Joan the Mad

I love the fact that, in ‘olden times’, people were referred to as ‘the’ something. Charles the Bald, Philip the Ugly, Frederick the Handsome, Philip the Unnecessarily Violent, Brian the Boofhead, etc. It makes history just that bit more comical.

Today, finally back at work, I was fixing up a record for Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Oddly, the was also the king of a few other places as well. Seriously, how could he possibly shoulder that sort of responsibility? Also, I reckon it was a bit selfish.

Anyway, Chuck 5 was the son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna the Mad. And I’ve been trying to find out why she was mad. Though, suffice to say, she doesn’t look too happy in this portrait.

She was, by all accounts of Wikipedia, a highly intelligent (and attractive) woman. She spoke many languages, could read and write, inherited many kingdoms and titles, outlived her husbands, yadda yadda yadda. However, by the end of her life, she’d been confined to a convent for reasons of insanity.

It could have been her marriage to the good looking Phil. He was one for ‘putting it about’, which she didn’t like. She also disagreed with his political views. Of course, she had little choice in the marriage given it was in order to link a couple of powerful European dynasties

It could have been the death of most of her family at a young age. Though this did make her heiress to lots of land, titles and power. Or, it could have been because her sister was Catherine of Aragon.

But, I reckon it was merely expedient. Philip the Handsome (and Rather Horrid) was rather keen on getting his hands on her titles and so, along with Ferdinand the Nothing-written-after-his-name, signed a treaty to have her deemed too insane to rule anything.

Whatever the reason, poor Joan has now gone down in history as The Mad. Poor, incredibly rich and powerful, thing.

The rest of my day involved researching ships, steam turbines and the like before heading home, into the snow and ice.

South West Trains, in their wisdom had decided to employ an inclement weather timetable. This meant the trains (to Alton, at least) were halved. I don’t mean the capacity! Rather the number. Instead of one every half an hour, I had to sit on a train for an extra 45 minutes before it left Waterloo.

I shouldn’t complain…it worked. I managed to get home.

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2 Responses to Joan the Mad

  1. Reading your blog today made me realize no matter the Era; being born a female seems to be a scape goat for all the problems of the world – blame the woman – they have the strong wide shoulders (metaphor) to bear the brunt of all the worlds problems (is that why the use of female names even for hurricanes; race boats, airplanes, and cars acting up – she will get cursed: ”she’s being a tiresome old biddy (or stronger language) and won’t run today’!

    I wonder if females will ever be honored and respected for their abilities? It seems no matter how great they are or were – the history books still depict the female gender as not quite up to par no matter how well they do.

    Glad you got home Gazza! Gotta say this female is happy our weather is back to hot and warm rather than cold getting colder as it was. Stay warm in jolly ole’ England.
    Love Aunty Jan. xxx

  2. flip100 mum says:

    Yes I am in full agreement with you Jan we do seem to get the blame for everything in history, but they cant do with out us other wise the world would end. Bet you were glad to get back to work, Gary please send some snow over here dreadful day we have had.
    Love mum

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