Siward (/ˈsuːwərd/ or more recently /ˈsiːwərd/) or Sigurd (Old English: Sigeweard, Old Norse: Sigurðr digri) was an important earl of 11th-century northern England. The Old Norse nickname Digri and its Latin translation Grossus ("the stout") are given to him by near-contemporary texts. It is possible Siward may have been of Scandinavian or Anglo-Scandinavian origin, perhaps a relative of Earl Ulf, although this is speculative and unclear. He emerged as a powerful regional strongman in England during the reign of Cnut ("Canute the Great", 1016–1035). Cnut was a Scandinavian ruler who conquered England in the 1010s, and Siward was one of the many Scandinavians who came to England in the aftermath of that conquest. Siward subsequently rose to become sub-ruler of most of northern England. From 1033 at the latest Siward was in control of southern Northumbria, that is, present-day Yorkshire, governing as earl on Cnut's behalf.
He entrenched his position in northern England by marrying Ælfflæd, the daughter of Ealdred, Earl of Bamburgh. After killing Ealdred's successor Eadulf in 1041, Siward gained control of all Northumbria. He exerted his power in support of Cnut's successors, kings Harthacnut and Edward, assisting them with vital military aid and counsel. He probably gained control of the middle shires of Northampton and Huntingdon by the 1050s, and there is some evidence that he spread Northumbrian control into Cumberland. In the early 1050s Earl Siward turned against the Scottish king Mac Bethad mac Findlaích ("Macbeth"). Despite the death of his son Osbjorn, Siward defeated Mac Bethad in battle in 1054. More than half a millennium later the adventure in Scotland earned him a place in William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Siward died in 1055, leaving one son, Waltheof, who would eventually succeed to Northumbria. St Olave's church in York and nearby Heslington Hill are associated with Siward. (Full article...)
... that it was reportedly Elizabeth Willing Powel who asked Benjamin Franklin whether the United States was to be "a republic or a monarchy", to which he responded: "A republic... if you can keep it"?
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Gubazes II (Georgian: გუბაზ II, Greek: Γουβάζης) was king of Lazica (modern western Georgia) from circa 541 until his assassination in 555. He was one of the central personalities of the Lazic War (541–562). He originally ascended the throne as a vassal of the Byzantine Empire, but the heavy-handed actions of the Byzantine authorities led him to seek the assistance of Byzantium's main rival, Sassanid Persia. The Byzantines were evicted from Lazica with the aid of a Persian army in 541, but the Persian occupation of the country turned out to be worse, and by 548, Gubazes was requesting assistance from Byzantium. Gubazes remained a Byzantine ally during the next few years, as the two empires fought for control of Lazica, with the fortress of Petra as the focal point of the struggle. Gubazes eventually quarrelled with the Byzantine generals over the fruitless continuation of the war, and was assassinated by them. (Full article...)
Death of Hugh
Ralambo was the ruler of the Kingdom of Imerina in the central Highlands region of Madagascar from 1575 to 1612. Ruling from Ambohidrabiby, Ralambo expanded the realm of his father, Andriamanelo, and was the first to assign the name of Imerina to the region. Oral history has preserved numerous legends about this king, including several dramatic military victories, contributing to his heroic and near-mythical status among the kings of ancient Imerina. The circumstances surrounding his birth, which occurred on the highly auspicious date of the first of the year, are said to be supernatural in nature and further add to the mystique of this sovereign.
Oral history attributes numerous significant and lasting political and cultural innovations to King Ralambo. He is credited with popularizing the consumption of beef in the Kingdom of Imerina and celebrating this discovery with the establishment of the fandroana New Year's festival which traditionally took place on the day of Ralambo's birth. According to legend, circumcision and polygamy were also introduced under his rule, as was the division of the noble class (andriana) into four sub-castes. Oral history furthermore traces the tradition of royal idols (sampy) in Imerina to the reign of Ralambo, who made heavy use of these supernatural objects to expand his realm and consolidate the divine nature of his sovereignty. Due to the enduring cultural legacy left by this king, Ralambo is often considered a key figure in the development of Merina cultural identity. (Full article...)
Miniature from the manuscript of Pachymeres' Historia
Zeynab Begum (Persian: زینب بیگم; died 31 May 1640), the fourth daughter of Safavid king (shah) Tahmasp I (r. 1524–1576), is considered to be one of the most influential and powerful princesses of the Safavid era. She lived during the reigns of five successive Safavid monarchs, and apart from holding diverse functions, including at the top of the empire's bureaucratic system, she was also the leading matriarch in the royal harem for many years, and acted on occasion as kingmaker. She reached the apex of her influence during the early reign of King Safi (r. 1629–1649). In numerous contemporaneous sources, she was praised as a "mainstay of political moderation and wisdom in Safavid court politics". (Full article...)
Courage! I have shown it for years; think you I shall lose it at the moment when my sufferings are to end?
— Marie Antoinette, Responding to the priest who had accompanied her to the foot of the guillotine, who had whispered, "This is the moment, Madame, to arm yourself with courage."
Image 14The constituent states of the German Empire (a federal monarchy). Various states were formally suzerain to the Emperor, whose government retained authority over some policy areas throughout the federation, and was concurrently King of Prussia, the Empire's largest state. (from Non-sovereign monarchy)