In the wild world
I would love you
I would call you
I would seduce you
eyes, hands, lips
careless as wind,
I would speak
all the names
of your hidden desires
and give them to you,
day after day
until you are breathless,
and burning for my touch.
So when you riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind.
Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy.
Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality.
Wake Up and Live!
~ Bob Marley - Wake Up and Live ~
Today we have the benefit of hindsight. We know, as fourteenth-century people suspected, that the mortality caused by the bubonic plague of the Black Death was the worst demographic disaster in the history of the world.
We also know that the mortality came to an end in the first outbreak soon after 1350; contemporaries could not have known this would happen - so far as they were concerned everyone might well die.
Some treated each day as if it were their last: moral and sexual codes were broken, while the marriage market was revitalised by those who had lost partners in the plague.
We also know that the plague returned regularly, first in 1361 and then in the 1370s and 1380s and, as an increasingly urban disease, right through until the Great Plague of 1665 in London. But by around 1670 it disappeared from England for over two centuries until a number of outbreaks occurred either side of 1900.
It was not until these modern outbreaks that the bacillus was identified and connection between rats and plague discovered. Despite all their best efforts people in the historic period had no remedy against the mysterious plague, except as
Daniel Defoe put it, to run away from it.
Geoffrey of Monmouth introduces Guinevere, "the loveliest woman in all the island" with her marriage to Arthur. He proudly states that she "descended from a noble family of Romans and reared in the household of Duke Cador" implying a fair match. Monmouth's interests lie primarily in the legitimizing effect of Guinevere's Roman blood.
Yet her ancestry earns no forgiveness when Guinevere breaks "the oath of her prior nuptials" by becoming queen to the usurping Modred. Earlier accounts, in accordance with the attitudes of the early Latin texts discussed above, assumed that
Guinevere accompanied the throne as Queen, as spoils to the victor. Monmouth, however, attributes her newfound allegiance not to her situation but to "unconscionable lust" (91). Rather than see Guinevere as a "mere pawn of political events," Monmouth paints her as Modred's accomplice.
Even before Chreitien introduced Lancelot, Guinevere's reputation caught up with her. Just as she
finally became a noteworthy character, Guinevere shouldered some of the blame for the fall of Camelot through her betrayal of Arthur, continuing the Welsh tradition of her traitorous nature.
Women's History Magazine
Buto was a cobra-goddess whose original home and cult center was in the Delta of the Nile at Per-Uatchit. In time she became a prominent protectress of all of Lower Egypt. As such she was routinely connected to the goddess of Upper Egypt, Nekhebet. Together, they appeared in many pieces of art as symbols of the Two Lands, a united Egypt.
It is thought perhaps that her powers could be used against the pharaoh as well. Her bite may have been the deadly device used by Anubis at the appointed time of the pharaoh's death. cobra first worn on the brow of Buto was a personification of the sun's burning heat and she was called the "Lady of Heaven" and the queen of all of the gods.
She was closely associated with Horus the Elder, who was the protector god of Lower Egypt. Also she was associated with Harpokrates (Horus the Younger); she protected him from Seth in the marshes of the Delta while Isis was searching for the body of Osiris.
Women's History Magazine
A story is told of an inhabitant of Unst, who, in walking on the sandy margin of a voe, saw a number of mermen and mermaids dancing by moonlight, and several sealskins strewed beside them on the ground.
At his approach they immediately fled to secure their garbs, and, taking upon themselves the form of seals, plunged immediately into the sea. But as the Shetlander perceived that one skin lay close to his feet, he snatched it up, bore it swiftly away, and placed it in concealment.
On returning to the shore he met the fairest damsel that was ever gazed upon by mortal eyes, lamenting the robbery, by which she had become an exile from her submarine friends, and a tenant of the upper world. Vainly she implored the restitution of her property. The man had drunk deeply of love, and was inexorable; but he offered her protection beneath his roof as his betrothed spouse. The merlady, perceiving that she must become an inhabitant of the earth, found that she could not do better than accept of the offer.
This strange attachment subsisted for many years, and the couple had several children. The Shetlander's love for his merwife was unbounded, but his affection was coldly returned. The lady would often steal alone to the desert strand, and, on a signal being given, a large seal would make his appearance, with whom she would hold, in an unknown tongue, an anxious conference.
Years had thus glided away, when it happened that one of the children, in the course of his play, found concealed beneath a stack of corn a seal's skin; and, delighted with the prize, he ran with it to his mother. Her eyes glistened with rapture -- she gazed upon it as her own -- as the means by which she could pass through the ocean that led to her native home. She burst forth into an ecstasy of joy, which was only moderated when she beheld her children, whom she was now about to leave; and, after hastily embracing them, she fled with all speed towards the seaside.
The husband immediately returned, learned the discovery that had taken place, ran to overtake his wife, but only arrived in time to see her transformation of shape completed -- to see her, in the form of a seal, bound from the ledge of a rock into the sea. The large animal of the same kind with whom she had held a secret converse soon appeared, and evidently congratulated her, in the most tender manner, on her escape.
But before she dived to unknown depths, she cast a parting glance at the wretched Shetlander, whose despairing looks excited in her breast a few transient feelings of commiseration."Farewell!" said she to him "and may all good attend you. I loved you very well when I resided upon earth, but I always loved my first husband much better."
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you
~ Kahlil Gibran ~
I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne'er beguiled!
And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart's delight.
So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten-thousand shields and spears.
Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.
International Olympic Committee chiefs voted on Thursday to lift the barrier to the last all-male summer sport.
Three women's weight classes will be added to the Olympic programme for 2012 Games in London, with one of the 11 men's classes dropped to make room.
"Women's boxing has come on a tremendous amount in the last five years and it was time to include them," said IOC president Jacques Rogge.
Women will fight at flyweight (48-51kg), lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (69-75kg).
The IOC's decision was described as "historic" by Olympics minister Tessa Jowell.
"It will be a landmark moment come London 2012 when for the first time every sport will have women participating in it," she said.
"There are still major disparities in the number of medals women can win compared to men but this is a step in the right direction.
"In this country women's boxing has come on in leaps and bounds and is growing quickly at all levels.
"London 2012 will now create the first-ever generation of boxing heroines and hopefully inspire even more women to take up the sport."
Source: BBC Sport
Martial, whose Spectacles were written to celebrate the inauguration of the amphitheater in AD 80, also speaks of women fighting in the arena, "It is not enough that warrior Mars serves you in unconquered arms, Caesar. Venus herself serves you too" (VII), and as venationes, "Illustrious Fame used to sing of the lion laid low in Nemea's spacious vale, Hercules' work. Let ancient testimony be silent, for after your shows, Caesar, we now have seen such things done by a women's valor" (VIII).
Domitian, the younger brother of Titus, who succeeded him the following year, is explicitly said to have presented women as gladiators. He "gave hunts of wild beasts, gladiatorial shows at night by the light of torches, and not only combats between men but between women as well" (Suetonius, IV.1) and "sometimes he would pit dwarfs and women against each other" (Dio, LXVII.8.4). Juvenal, a contemporary of Martial (XII.18), is especially critical of women from distinguished and illustrious families disgracing themselves in the arena or, for that matter, being enamored of gladiators and prizing them above home and country (VI. 82ff).
"What sense of shame can be found in a woman wearing a helmet, who shuns femininity and loves brute force....If an auction is held of your wife's effects, how proud you will be of her belt and arm-pads and plumes, and her half-length left-leg shin-guard! Or, if instead, she prefers a different form of combat [as a Thraex, both of whose legs were protected], how pleased you'll be when the girl of your heart sells off her greaves!....Hear her grunt while she practises thrusts as shown by the trainer, wilting under the weight of the helmet..." (Satires, VI.252ff).The desire for excitement and notoriety was such that several edicts were enacted to limit the participation of women in the arena, at least those who were not slaves or of low social status. Senators (but not equites) first were prohibited from fighting in the arena in 46 BC, when one had desired to compete as part of the games accompanying the dedication of Caesar's new forum (Dio, XLIII.23.5; Suetonius, XXXIX).
There was another ban in 38 BC prohibiting senators (and their sons) from fighting as a gladiator (and appearing on stage) (Dio, XLVIII.43.3). In 22 BC, even the grandsons of senators could not appear on stage (Dio, LIV.2.5; Suetonius, Augustus XLIII.3). Performances in the arena were even more scandalous and must have been banned, as well.
Women, given their appearance on the stage, also were included for the first time. But this senatus consultum (senatorial decree) seems to have been ineffectual. Aristocratic women and equites continued to appear on stage and the ban was lifted (Dio, LVI.25.7). In AD 11, a SC declared that "no female of free birth of less than twenty years of age and for no male of free birth of less than twenty-five years of age to pledge himself as a gladiator or hire out his services
Women's History Magazine
He may have come down from the trees, but prehistoric man did not stop swinging. New research into Stone Age humans has argued that, far from having intercourse simply to reproduce, they had sex for fun. Practices ranging from bondage to group sex, transvestism and the use of sex toys were widespread in primitive societies as a way of building up cultural ties.
According to the study, a 30,000-year-old statue of a naked woman - the Venus of Willendorf - and an equally ancient stone phallus found in a German cave, provide the earliest direct evidence that sex was about far more than babies. Timothy Taylor, reader in archeology at Bradford University, reviewed evidence from dozens of archeological finds and scientific studies for his research.
“The widespread lay belief that sex in the past was predominantly heterosexual and reproductive can be challenged,” said Taylor. He argues that monogamy only became established as hunter-gatherer societies took up agriculture and settled in houses, allowing the social roles of men and women to become more fixed. Experts believe research such as Taylor’s may help overturn false assumptions that sex for the purposes of reproduction is the form closest to nature.
Petra Boynton, a relationship counsellor and health lecturer at University College, London, found the study “refreshing”. “So much evolutionary theory promotes the idea that humans, particularly women, are preprogrammed for monogamy, but that is often simply overlaying science on a preexisting view of society,” she said.
Taylor, whose research is published by Haworth Press in the Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality, says the human attitude to sex arose from the complex interaction of physical and mental development. By comparison with modern humans, who appeared about 300,000-100,000 years ago, apes have tiny male genitals, no female breasts and are hairy. But they are easily able to distinguish the sexes because males can weigh up to three times as much as females.
Humans, by contrast, are far less easy to distinguish by size. Taylor says that prominent male genitals and female breasts developed to aid recognition of the opposite sex in creatures of similar size and shape. The similarity in size, combined with the ease of face-to-face sex, allowed intercourse to become a vital part of social interaction, communication and inventiveness.
Source: The Sunday Times
Billy’s Bar and Grill was built in 1877 in Anoka, Minnesota. It was originally a hotel that had a restaurant and bar in it. After a fire swept through the Anoka area in 1884, and the building was severely damaged it was rebuilt and ready to open in 1885.
Shortly after reopening its doors and the first anniversary of the fire, the hotel had its first murder occur. A drunken disagreement between friends led to one man shooting the other.
In the 1920s the original owners turned it over to relatives and in 1952, the hotel was converted into apartments and stayed that way until 1975. The ownership changed hands a few times over the years and now just a bar and grill.
The place is haunted by a red haired woman that is believed to be a prostitute from the 1920s that disappeared while working in the hotel. She appears in a third floor window and is known to walk through the bar and grill.
There have been incidences when the pictures on the walls move and the lights turn on and off. There was one time when the beer cases shifted in the stock room to the point of blocking the door.
More Haunted Bars
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
According to Kojiki (712 C.E.), the oldest extant source of Japanes mythology, Amaterasu was the 'Great Goddess Shining in Heaven'.
The programme focuses on the king's medical problems which grew worse in his later years, especially his ulcerated legs and his obesity: measurements of his armour show that, between his 20s and his 50s, the 6ft 1in monarch's waist grew from 32in to 52in, his chest expanded from 39in to 53in, and, by the time of his death in 1547 at the age of 56, he is likely to have weighed 28 stone.
Full Article: independent.co.uk
Social psychologists at McGill University have discovered that different beliefs between men and women about the power of flirting can hurt committed relationships. Men simply do not see the same danger as women when a flirt strikes, says Prof. John Lydon, a relationship expert and lead author of the study in the July issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.
But there is an almost immediate negative impact on the relationship, researchers discovered in a series of experiments involving 724 heterosexual college students involved in serious relationships.
In one experiment, a meeting with an "available, attractive alternative" was closely followed by the discovery their partner had done something that irritated them, such as reveal an embarrassing detail to others. The men got angry. The women, however, became more loving and forgiving.
According to Lydon, these young women recognized the danger presented by an attractive flirt and worked to shore up the committed relationship they already had. The men didn't have a clue what was going on, he says.
"One of the undergraduate males (in the study) asked, `Does this mean men are pigs?' said Lydon, adding that it only means men are self-focused and "not making the connection."
In another test, men and women were just asked to visualize meeting a sexy flirt of the opposite sex. The men also failed to connect the dots.
When presented with the letters LO(space)AL, men wrote "local" while women chose "loyal."
Similarly, BE(space)A(space)E was " became" to men, and "beware" to the women. Lydon says women are just more proactive at saving the relationship, using skills honed over centuries of being warned of the perils of flirtatious men.
"Women are just more likely to have guys coming on to them," he says, adding that this kicks in a defensive response, "Oh, I've got to watch out for the relationship."
Men, who are considered able to handle themselves in the face of an aggressive female, aren't raised with relationship-saving tricks, says Lydon, adding that it is possible to "train the men up."
Simply having men visualize meeting a hot babe and then come up with strategies, such as ignoring her or mentioning their girlfriend, helped the study subjects actively work on keeping their committed relationship safe, he says.
We should note that some men don't even pick up on when women are flirting (unless the female is being extremely obvious). Some men are just clueless.
Image souce: heavymetalfashion.blogspot.com
Although turning base metals into gold, known by the Greek term chrysopoeia, was not the only aspect of alchemy, it was seen as the ultimate goal and it was believed it would be possible if the right combination of ingredients was mixed together.
Although some believed finding the secret would be a long process of mixing the exact ingredients in the right way, others searched for what became known as the ‘philosopher’s stone’, a material that would turn anything into gold.
Despite thousands of years of trying, the formula for transmuting base metals into gold was never found. Alchemy is and was seen by many as a mystical art, some alchemists however took an approach that was more scientific.
A hot, cramped studio, the potential for bodily slipups, and a whole lot of sweat: Sounds like a date from hell. But, in fact, yoga dates are on the rise—and for good reason! They are intimate, sensual, and cheap, and great for your body and soul, to boot.
As yoga becomes more mainstream, yoga dates help break up the monotony of the standard dinner-and-a-movie night. “You can learn quite a bit about somebody more quickly than in a restaurant where there’s less interaction with others and it’s the run-of-the-mill date,” says Jennifer Macaluso-Gilmore, who coaches women on dating and relationships.
Getting your blood flowing in a PG setting can certainly be beneficial with a new partner. “When you move your body you feel good, when your blood starts flowing and you start breathing,” says Jennifer Fink Oppenheimer, a New York–based yoga teacher. “Any sort of exercise makes you feel good, but yoga specifically opens you up.”
A Poem about Prostitution
When I was young and had no sense
In far-off Mandalay
I lost my heart to a Burmese girl
As lovely as the day.
Her skin was gold, her hair was jet,
Her teeth were ivory;
I said, "for twenty silver pieces,
Maiden, sleep with me".
She looked at me, so pure, so sad,
The loveliest thing alive,
And in her lisping, virgin voice,
Stood out for twenty-five.
by George Orwell
9. The Moon Cannot Be Stolen
Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal. Ryokan returned and caught him.
"You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift."
The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away. Ryoken sat naked, watching the moon.
"Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon."7. Announcement
8. Great Waves
They drew out their swords, and to cutting they went,
At least an hour or more,
That the blood ran apace from bold Robin’s face,
And Marian was wounded sore.
“O hold thy hand,” said Robin Hood.
“And thou shalt be one of my string,
“To range in the wood with bold Robin Hood,
“And hear the sweet nightingall sing.”
Note that it is Robin who concedes the contest. Far from being embarrassed when they discover each other’s true identities, he welcomes her with open arms into the woodland fraternity. She is already Robin’s lover, as an earlier verse of the ballad makes clear –
With kisses sweet their red lips meet,
For shee and the earl did agree;
In every place, they kindly imbrace,
With love and sweet unity.
- but now she is also his equal in the band.
Through her own genius, she captivated the two greatest Romans of her
time, and destroyed herself.
~ Roman historian Dio Cassius ~
Labels: Ancient History
The love usually came easy, in the first blush of passion, money and excitement. The hate would generally follow, after arrests, abandonment and ultimate betrayal.
The media fuss went to the molls of the Public Enemy gangs. They were photographed in court, and their mug shots reproduced and sent to every corner of the U.S. Yet, organized crime figures of New York and Chicago were rarely photographed on the streets. Consequently, inner-city molls remained behind the scenes.
The dubious honor of the spotlight went to the women of the Midwest Crime Wave, who basked in their scarlet personas throughout 1933 and 1934. Kathryn Kelly, the wife of Machine Gun Kelly, preened during her Federal kidnapping trial in Oklahoma City. Clyde Barrow’s Texas girlfriend, Bonnie Parker, said cheese while fondling her man’s pet guns and cigars. These photos, left behind in a Joplin, Missouri shootout, found their way to the front page, if not the photogravure of every Sunday Supplement.
The Crowned Queens of Gangland formed a prototype for the forgotten molls who weren’t caught on cue. Most were smarter than Kit Kelly and Bonnie Parker. They avoided publicity, in light of their sad reality. A moll’s only value was her ability to lay low.
The female associates of mobsters first assumed unwilling importance in 1933 when FBI agents, police officers, and district attorneys, took molls seriously enough to interrogate them with the same force and brutality used on male prisoners.
Before that, in the years 1905-1930, during which time the New York Women’s Court was documented by the Committee of 14, females were arrested mainly for prostitution and shoplifting. These crimes were of little interest to police, who would see the woman handed over to Magistrate Court and the case disposed of with bail, bribe or a prison sentence. Yet, police ignored mobsters’ wives and sweethearts throughout the 1920s.
After the Kansas City Massacre in June 1933, the precursor to the FBI, the Bureau of Investigation of the Justice Department, took an interest in the women running with Verne Miller, the Barkers and Alvin Karpis. Later, with the arrests of the Dillinger gang women in 1934, the art of the interrogation advanced from its earliest, primitive stages of bright lights and sleep deprivation to a more sophisticated denial of constitutional rights.
Police interrogators were willing to go to extremes to ensure the women talked. After an arrest, a woman was held "incommunicado" for up to two weeks without regular sleep, food, or telephone access to an attorney. They were punched, with hair pulling and cigarette burns. Verbal abuse in the form of insults, with ethnic and racial slurs occurred.
Police felt justified, if queasy, in using these savage methods. The gun moll was the most important element in the manhunt.
Women's History Magazine
It is generally accepted that pyrotechnology or the manipulation of fire began in Europe around 25,000 years ago, however new evidence has come to light that may suggest it began in South Africa 50,000 years earlier.
A cache of weapons made from a stone called silcrete have been found with a glossy red colouring. This suggesting that the people discovered that heating the rock would transform it from a poor material for tool making, into an outstanding one as it would make it easier to flake allowing for more advanced blades and other tools to be made.
The findings were published in August 2009 and suggest that some of the 72,000 year old tools were mounted on handles and used to hunt, amongst other things, Cape buffalo and the tiny mole rat, made in to knives or into valuable items for exchange purposes.
Brown claims that far from fitting the stereotypical image of the brutish, unintelligent caveman, these people demonstrated high levels of intelligence and may even have been responsible for colonizing the rest of the world.
Xara when living in the early 80s was practicing Santeria, she was from Nicaragua. Legend has it that she traveled to New Orleans to obtain various ointments and potions from a Voodoo priest. The Voodoo priest and Xara became entangled in an affair. When the Voodoo priest discovered that Xara was cheating on him with his own brother, he poisoned her with toxins from the puffer fish. With various rituals, he was able to turn her into a zombie.
Xara became a zombie prostitute on the streets on New Orleans. Her mind was under the complete control of the Voodoo priest turned pimp. Eventually the Voodoo priest released Xara and she returned to Biloxi. Xara was never the same again. She always seemed like she was in a daze.
The last time anyone saw Xara is when she was picked up by a trucker in a Mack truck. Xara was never seen or heard from again. Many people thought she was killed by a trucker serial killer.
One year later, Xara was seen walking the road side, staring blankly ahead and if you watched her long enough, she would dissipate into nothingness. It appears that Xara the Zombris is now a restless spirit, seeking out the man that snuffed out her life.
Women played a very important roll in the ninja clans of the past. Known as Kunoichi, the female ninja could often use their own femininity to get very close to the enemy.
Using psychological warfare and mind manipulation as weapons, the kunoichi could get in close enough to poison the victim without leaving a trace.
Kunoichi were trained in a variety of weapons, similar to the ninja, but because of the different situations they would face some smaller close range weapons were used more often.
Weapons like blinding powders, poisons, daggers, rope and even the fan were often carried because they could be used at close range and would be easy to transport without notice.
Imagine a young woman crying, and how it would make you feel. You'd probably want to try to help her, and maybe even offer her some assistance. This is just one example of how the kunoichi could trick someone into walking right into a trap, a very powerful weapon.
The clothing worn by the kunoichi depended on the situation, maybe it called for no clothes, who knows?
Women's History Magazine
Whether she was addressed as Madame or Ma’am, Señorita or Squaw, a woman needed guts to live out West. The ‘weaker sex’ encountered savage, brutal and obnoxious obstacles (and these were just the men!), not to mention mean ol’ Mother Nature and a plague or two. Or three.
In spite of these barriers, or maybe because of them, the American frontier attracted legions of nonconforming women–mavericks, loners, eccentrics and adventurers. And through it all they kept their sense of humor: ‘I’ve got 350 head of cattle and one son,’ said a widowed ranchwoman. ‘Don’t know which was harder to raise.’
In the case of the ‘boat people’ (immigrants from Europe) who ventured out West, the women were typically cut off from family, friends, their native culture and the ‘protective strictures’ of Eastern society. Some were crushed by the experience, others survived and more than a few thrived.
Of course, many of the so-called wild women were already in the Wild West and lived on the plazas and in the wigwams, hogans and teepees up and down the canyons and across the Great Plains. Among both the natives and newcomers were plenty of feisty women who weren’t afraid to mix it up with anyone, man or beast. As a modern leader put it, ‘No country, no culture, no people will ever rise above the standards of its women’....
Like their male counterparts on the frontier, the early female arrivals were rugged individualists who angled west to gain the cherished privilege of being left alone to do what they pleased. And often as not, ‘doing what they pleased’ was a nice way of saying they were women of easy virtue. A Forty-Niner’s poem sums up the early arrivals to California:
The miners came in ‘49,
The whores in ‘51,
And when they got together
They produced the native son.
Many women who came West were trying to escape their past. Others saw too many restrictions in Eastern society and wanted to create a future in this new land of opportunity. All were hoping against hope, and many had nothing to lose.
Source - HistoryNet.com
Women's History Magazine
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.
Without doubt, Aphrodite earned her reputation for frivolity and promiscuity as a result of her very liberated sexuality. However, this reputation was not so much a condemnation of her behavior as it was a fear of her uncontrollable nature.
Aphrodite was one of the most unique of the Greek deities in the freedom of her sexual life. Aphrodite's charms came from her magic cestus, an embroidered girdle that, in both gods and men, aroused passion for the wearer. So great were Aphrodite's seductive abilities that every god, including the great Zeus, desired her as his wife.
However, Aphrodite was too proud for any of her suitors and rejected them all. As a punishment, Zeus made her the wife of Hephaestus, the homely and lame smith-god. This union did nothing to curb Aphrodite's actions, and she discouraged Hephaestus from sharing her bed in additon to being unfaithful to him.
Perhaps the most celebrated of Aphrodite's affairs was her relationship with Ares, the god of war. Although such a union may at first seem incongruous, it is actually a match of two divinities of the same nature. Aphrodite, the beautiful maiden who attracts the attention of the most powerful of the gods only to decline him, refuses to be controlled by her marriage to Hephaestus--she will not be denied freedom in the area of her dominion. Likewise Ares, an alternately rageful and cowardly god, can never be predicted in his actions. Aphrodite's rebellious nature is reinforced by the creation of many children by her liason with Ares. In addition, Phobos and Deimos, Anteros, and Harmonia were even passed off as the offspring of Hephaestus.
Unfortunately, the two were discovered by Helios, the sun, on an occasion when they slept too late. Helios told Hephaestus, who conspired to trap them.
"And when Hephaestus heard the grievous tale, he went his way to his smithy, pondering evil in the deep of his heart, and set on the anvil block the great anvil and forged bonds which might not be broken or loosed, that the lovers might bide fast where they were...So the two went to the couch, and lay them down to sleep, and about them clung the cunning bonds of the wise Hephaestus" (Homer's Odyssey).
Hephaestus' trap did nothing to deter Aphrodite from her extramarital activities, and the goddess had many children by both gods and mortals. Many of these children were associated with different aspects of love and sexuality. By Zeus she became the mother of Eros, the creator of sensual love. Eros often appeared as a winged infant equipped with a bow and a quiver full of love darts which never missed their mark and took effect on both god and man. His half-brother Anteros, son of Ares, punished those who failed to return the love of others. By Hermes she was the mother of Hermaphroditus, who was welded with a nymph into a body with both sexes. By Dionysus she had two sons, Hymen and Priapus. While Hymen was worshipped as the god of marriage, the monstrously ugly Priapus represented human lust.
The most prominent of Aphrodite's mortal children was Aeneas, her son by the shepherd Anchises. Aeneas became the founder of the nation of Italy, and the mythical ancestor of the Roman people.
Aphrodite's offspring show just how total her control over love and other passions truly was. Through her children, she had power over all areas of human emotion. As all people, despite their character or position in life, possessed some capacity for feeling, Aphrodite's influence was perhaps more widespread than that of any other god.
Beliefs about witchcraft varied. Some (but not all) people who believed in witches believed that they held nocturnal meetings called sabbats. At the sabbat they did wicked things like dancing naked, indulging in orgies and carrying out a parody of the Catholic mass. Witches were even supposed to kill babies and eat them!
Most people believed that witches could fly.
According to some authorities when a witch made a pact with the Devil he touched them and left a mark (which was not necessarily visible) on their body. The mark was insensitive to pain. One test for a witch was to prick their body with a blade. If they did not flinch or bleed when pricked in a certain place then it was evidence that they were a witch.
Many people believed that witches could affect the fertility of animals (very important when people relied on flocks and herds for their livelihood). They also believed that witches could make humans or animals ill or even kill them by magic.
Many people believed in 'swimming' witches. If a witch was thrown into water the water would 'reject' them and they would float. If they sank they were innocent. (Although they might accidentally drown!).
Women's History Magazine
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
~ Maya Angelou ~
Probably everyone knows what chastity belts are - those devices that look like iron underpants with a lock. Well, the story goes that the chastity belt was invented in the middle ages by some paranoid Crusader who didn't want to leave his wife 'fully functional' at home while he was busy butchering people in the Holy Land.
Naturally, all his Crusader pals thought this was a good idea, and had chastity belts manufactured for all their mistresses, daughters and wives (in that order, most probably).
As plausible as it might sound, the chastity belt is not however a medieval invention - the romantic stories outlined in the paragraph above are nothing but a product of the over-active 19th Century imagination.
There are, in fact, no genuine chastity belts dating from medieval times: all known 'medieval' chastity belts have been produced in the first half of the 19th Century...The concept of a chastity belt itself is a lot older, but it was usually used in poems in a metaphorical sense.
Despite the common misconception, the use of the chastity belt was not usually imposed by men on women in order to force them to be faithful. If we use medieval poetry as a reliable source, we discover that the use of chastity belts was often in consensus between both parties. The use of the chastity belt in these poems is a metaphor for a pledge of fidelity. No locks or iron parts are ever mentioned - these metaphoric 'chastity belts' are usually made of cloth.
Real chastity belts became available later, and the majority of chastity belts were bought in the 19th Century, in England, by women. Often they would use the apparatus to avoid the consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace. Furthermore, the chastity belt was not imposed on people to avoid sexual intercourse.
Medical reports describe the prescription of chastity belts (or similar devices, which might have no resemblance at all with a chastity belt1) to prevent youngsters (of both sexes) from masturbating (alternative link), which in the 19th Century was thought to be both physically and morally harmful.
Women's History Magazine
Read More: witcombe.sbc.edu/willendorf/