Dice of the Day: English Carved Ivory Teetotum Gambling Ball (1600 to 1700 English)
‘Totum’ is Latin for ‘the whole’ and therefore is used in reference to the ‘whole stake’ in gambling. Teetotum balls act somewhat like spinning dice, but have faceted numbered sides so when thrown there is an equal chance of any number turning up which is not the case with dice. The English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) mentions a 32 sided ivory ball in ‘Some Thoughts Concerning Education’ (1693) in Section 150 he writes concerning teaching children to read… ‘what if an ivory ball were made like that of the royal oak lottery, with 32 sides…’ The Royal Oak lottery was introduced in 1630 by Charles I to defray the expenses of carrying water to London and was very popular. Lotteries first began to become an acceptable form of raising money for government funds under Queen Elizabeth I in 1568-69. It was started in order to fund urgent repairs to the harbours and fortifications of England then under the threat of invasion from the Spanish. Great pains were taken to ‘provoke the people’ to part with their money and even fortune tellers were consulted about ‘lucky’ numbers. Lotteries later became established by successive Acts of Parliament, even during the time of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. They became a popular and lucrative means of increasing government revenue and were regularly conducted, both in London and the country, by appointed contractors. Lotteries were not then confined to monetary prizes, but embraced silver, jewellery, books, paintings, tapestries and even live deer in Syon Park!
Andrea Palladio, Villa Almerico Capra detta La Rotonda, Vicenza, 1566-1580 VS Pedro Machuca, Palace of Charles V, Granada, Spain, 1526 VS Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand, “Prècis des leçons d'architecture", 1802-1805 VS Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Cimitière de Chaux, 1804 VS Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany, 1823-1828 VS Bramante, Tempietto di San Pietro in Montorio, Roma, 1502 VS Erik Gunnar Asplund, Stockholms stadsbibliotek, Stockholm, Sweden, 1928 VS Andrea Mantegna, House of Mantegna, Mantova, Italy, 1476 VS Oswald Mathias Unger, Hotel Berlin, 1977 VS Erik Gunnar Asplund, Woodland Chapel (Skogskapellet), Skogskyrkogården, Stocholm, Sweden, 1918-1920 VS Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Panaretheon, 1804 VS Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Maison de gardes agricoles pour le parc de Mauperthuis, 1790 VS Robert Adam, Syon House, London , England, 1762-1769 VS Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Barrière Saint-Martin, Paris, 1784-1788 VS Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Maison de campagne, 1773-1779 VS Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Pianta di Ampio Magnfico Collegio, 1750 VS Peter Zumthor, Gallery for the “360° I Ching” scultpure by Walter de Maria, Gallery Dia, Beacon NY, 2003 VS Jean Nouvel, Monolith, Expo 02, Morat, Switzerland, 2002 VS Andrea Palladio, I quattro libri dell'architettura, Libro Primo, cap. XVIII, scala a doppia elica del castello di Chambord, Francia VS Louis Kahn, Preliminary scheme of First Unitarian Church, Rochester, New York, USA, 1959 VS Philip Johnson and John Burgee, General American Life Insurance Company, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, 1977 VS Jože Plečnik, Slovenian Parliament Building, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1947 VS Pier Vittorio Aureli, The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, 2014 VS Baukuh; Public building, 2008 VS Armando Brasini, Basilica del Sacro Cuore Immacolato di Maria, Roma, 1923-1951 VS Charles Holden, Arnos Grove tube station, London, England, 1932 VS George Bähr, Frauenkirche, Dresden, Germany, 1726-1743 VS Emilio Ambasz, Houston Plaza Center, Houston, Texas, USA, 1982 VS Paulo Mendes da Rocha e João De Gennaro, Gimnasio del Club Atlético Paulistano, São Paulo, Brazil, 1958 VS Oscar Niemeyer, Standpipe for the Ribeirao das Lages, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1941
Do you think Henry VIII cared about or even recognised the physiological effect he was having on his daughters with the way he treated their mothers and other wives?
This is just my opinion, so take it for what that’s worth. I believe the facts support it, but one can never be certain what was going on in the head of another person, especially one five hundred years ago.
I believe Henry was completely aware of the trauma he caused the women in his life and he enjoyed it. He felt they fully deserved it, and so he had no guilt or hesitation in piling on the misery.
He rubbed his mistresses in Katharine of Aragon’s face. He showed off his bastard son at a feast Katharine was giving for some French nobles…. soon after Katharine had lost a child of her own. When Katharine (wisely) pointed out the folly of giving the boy two dukedoms because wealthy royal bastards had attempted to usurp the throne in the past, Henry spitefully punished her by dismissing her favorite ladies from court.
And, of course, we all know how he taunted Katharine with his favor to Anne Boleyn and her family.. He knew she loved him. (She was probably the only one of his wives who ever did.) He knew she was suffering, especially when she was so terrified of poison that she cooked her own meals over a fire in her rooms like a peasant. Did he at least reassure her that no one was trying to kill her? No.
He stripped away every friend she had. (At the end of her life, her best friend Maria de Salinas, risked her very life to defy him and see Katharine one more time, so she would not die alone.) He put her in increasingly awful living conditions, in climates that would aggravate her health problems. He went out of his way to do everything he could think of to make her miserable.
Out of all of the hateful and vicious things Henry did during his reign, his cruelty to his daughter stands out as particularly awful. Because she refused to “admit” she was a bastard because her parents’ marriage was unlawful, Henry wouldn’t allow Mary and Katharine to see one another or communicate. It’s often mentioned in almost perfunctory terms in histories of the era, but take a moment to consider how horrifying it is to separate a loving mother and daughter because of spite. Even as Katharine lay dying, Henry refused to allow them to see one another.
He said horrible things about Mary, knowing they’d get back to her, announcing at court he had no worse enemy in the world, and she was a horrible unfilial daughter. He put his infant daughter, Elizabeth, in Mary’s household and tried to force Mary to serve Elizabeth as a maid. (Mary, for her part, adored the infant and spent hours singing to her, playing with her, and making her little dresses.)
Mary could not acknowledge Elizabeth as her superior in rank. If she did, it meant that she was acknowledging her father as head of the church (blasphemy) and betraying her mother, as well as surrendering her claim to the throne. She refused to eat at a table where Elizabeth’s plate was placed at the head of the table, and her own was with the maids. She starved herself instead of eat there and accept her place. The other maids, assigned to serve Elizabeth, abused her.
She fell ill from the stress and starvation. But her father didn’t care. He sent doctors to make sure she wouldn’t die, but other than that, she could suffer the results of her own “stubbornness.”
When he charged Anne Boleyn with adultery, he went out of his way to celebrate ostentatiously, rowing his barge up and down the Thames with torches blazing and musicians playing. Could Anne Boleyn hear it in her prison? Probably not - but not for lack of Henry trying.
After Anne Boleyn’s execution, Mary thought everything would change. She blamed Anne for her horrific treatment. After all, what girl would imagine her father could treat her with such brutal indifference? It had to come from Anne. But to her shock, it only got worse. Her father sent nobles to berate and verbally abuse her until she broke. This girl, who had starved herself, suffered harassment and her father’s nasty comments, and her mother’s loss, finally broke.
She signed what her father wanted her to sign. He brought her to court a few months later to see his new pregnant wife, Jane Seymour. Jane said it would have been a shame if harm had come to Mary, England’s chiefest jewel. Henry replied, “No, that’s Edward,” patting her belly.
What made his comment even more cruel was the fact that Mary had been nicknamed England’s chiefest pearl when she was young.
Mary, learning in the most cruel and stark fashion possible, that her father valued that unborn child more highly than herself, fainted right then and there.
Did Henry care that his eldest daughter had just been traumatized to the point of passing out? No. he didn’t apologize or seek to comfort her when she came to. He just told her to be of good cheer and nothing would go against her. He’d made his point.
When he made an ass of himself introducing himself to his new fiancee Anna on Kleefes, he turned the sting of embarrassment back on her. The look of disgust she had aimed at him wounded him deeply - so he lashed it back at her by declaring her so ugly he couldn’t bring himself to consummate the marriage.
Did he care that this princess was being slandered on an international stage? Did he even pause to think of the humiliation she was suffering? It wasn’t even a consideration in his mind. She “deserved” it for displeasing him with her honest reaction to him. She had embarrassed him for a moment - he would embarrass her in front of the entire world. And historians have tended to continue it by agreeing she must have been repulsive.
He tortured Katheryn Howard by leaving her in Syon Abbey for months, wondering what would become of her. He didn’t want to go through a trial again, so he had her condemned by Parliament. But that took months… while poor Katheryn sat there with nothing to do but worry and weep. But she “deserved” it in his mind for not being as perfect and pure as he had bragged she was. She “deserved” it for embarrassing him by proving he wasn’t the expert in women he touted himself as. He had her executed with an ax, and Katheryn had to be terrified, knowing what had happened to Margaret Pole recently. As he had done with Anne Boleyn, he made sure he was seen as being jolly with the ladies, picking out her replacement.
So, to answer your question, yes, I think he knew the psychological effect he was having on the women in his life… and he enjoyed it.
1. A l'entrada del temps clar 2. Vida 3. Sitot me soi 4. Volez vous que je vous chant 5. Efforcier m'estuet ma voiz 6. Hui matin a l'ajournee 7. Hyer matin/Benedicamus Domino, motet 8. Je pour yver, pour noif ne pour gelee 9. Deus est ensi conme li pellicanz (The Lord is like the pelican) 10. Entre Adan et Hanikiel, motet for 3 voices 11. Cantiga de Santa María 116, Dereit’ é de lume dar 12. Cantiga de Santa María 15, Todo-los Santos que son no Ceo de servir muito an gran sabor 13. Quantas sabedes amare amigo, cantiga for voice and accompaniment 14. Sinc an, guldin huon! 15. Ich lobe ein wip 16. Owe dirre not 17. Bacche, bene venies, CB 200 18. Deduc, Syon, uberrimas, CB 34