Matilda was born in February 1102, the eldest child of Henry I and Matilda of Scotland. She had one younger brother, William Adelin. Little is known about her early life, but it is likely that she stayed with her mother where she was taught to read and educated in religious morals.
In April 1114, Matilda married Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor. During this marriage she gained considerable practical experience of government. She played a full part in it by sponsoring grants, dealing with petitioners, and taking part in ceremonial occasions. She was controversially crowned Empress of the Holy Roman Empire when she and Henry traveled to Italy in 1116 and acted as imperial regent when her husband traveled. Henry died in 1125 and left childless, Matilda returned to Normandy.
Henry I’s failure to produce another male heir after the death of William Adelin in 1120 made Matilda his preferred choice as his successor. In 1126, the Anglo-Norman barons swore to recognize Matilda and any of her future heirs. In order to secure the southern borders of Normandy, Henry married her to Geoffrey of Anjou, the son of Fulk, Count of Anjou. They were married in 1128 and by the time Henry I died in 1135, they had two sons, Henry and Geoffrey.
After Henry’s death, Matilda and Geoffrey faced opposition from the Norman barons and were unable to pursue their claims. Instead, Matilda’s cousin, Stephen of Blois easily claimed the throne with the backing of the English Church. In 1139, Matilda crossed into England to take the kingdom by force with the support of her half-brother Robert of Gloucester and her uncle, David I of Scotland. Her forces captured Stephen in 1141 but her attempts to be crowned at Westminster failed due to bitter opposition from London crowds. Because of her retreat she was never formally declared Queen of England and only received the title Lady of the English.
Later in 1141, Matilda’s brother Robert was captured and she agreed to exchange him for Stephen. The war then degenerated into a stalemate and in 1148, she returned to Normandy which was now in the hands of her husband. She left her eldest son Henry to continue the campaign in England. She settled into her court near Rouen and for the rest of her life focused on the administration of the Duchy. When Geoffrey died in 1151, Henry claimed the family lands and in 1154 succeeded the throne as Henry II. In Normandy, Matilda often acted as Henry’s representative and presided over the government. Henry depended on her during the early years of his reign and asked her advice on policy matters.
In her old age Matilda focused increasingly in Church affairs and her personal faith. When she died in 1167 her remaining wealth was given to the Church. Her tomb’s epitaph included the lines, “Great by birth, greater by marriage, greatest in her offspring: here lies Matilda, the daughter, wife, and mother of Henry.” (x)
Michelangelo’s David was, like, real easy to make.
We typically experience classic works of art in a museum, stripped of their original contexts, but that serene setting can belie a tumultuous history. Take Michelangelo’s statue of David: devised as a religious symbol, adopted as a political emblem, and later iconized for its aesthetic beauty. James Earle walks us through the statue’s journey, to show how art gains layers of meaning over time in the TED-Ed Lesson The many meanings of Michelangelo’s Statue of David
my followers, who put up with all my shenanigans, whether you reblog everything I post or just sit there and smile (hopefully frequently) at my reblogs
anyone who liked/reblogged the Andy Lister gif and made it trend. It was an insane experience and I thank you all for it
the wonderful people I follow for allowing me a (mostly) drama-free Tumbling experience and for not spoiling any Marvel movies, especially when you get to see them the week before I do
anyone who reads my stories, whether you turn away after the first chapter or read the whole thing religiously; whether you review, favorite and follow; or whether you just grin like a loon when I do something right. I appreciate all your trust and support!
my family, my job and my home
and all my friends both in real-life and fandom, both those I talk to frequently and those I wished I talked to more.
I wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving (assuming you celebrate)!