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Feb 7, 2011

Years later, some anonymous writer, carried away by his imagination, wrote Rudel’s fictionalized biography. This style was called vida and was quite popular in the medieval period. This vida became the basis for a legend. According to it Rudel fell in love with Countess Hodierna of Tripoli without even seeing her! He just heard about her beauty from pilgrims, who were returning from the Holy Land. Rudell was so smitten, that he took a long sea journey just to see Hodierna. Unfortunately, during the voyage, he fell sick and was brought ashore in Tripoli already a dying man. When Hodierna heard the news, she came down to the shore from her castle and Rudel died in her arms.

The whole legend was a fluke, and, naturally, it never happened. But it was romantic! When 19 century Romanticism authors discovered the legend, they just could not pass the opportunity and meet it the halfway. To mention a few, Robert Browning, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Ludwig Uhland, Heinrich Heine, Giosué Carducci created their poems based on this fiction story. In the next century more epic poems and even an opera were created as well.

Usually, they say that life is more interesting than fiction. This time it was the other way around.

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Posted: Feb 7, 2011 9:25am
Jan 6, 2011

In 1895 citizens of Paris were flowing to see the La Princesse lointaine at the theater. Great Sarah Bernhardt played the leading female role on the stage. And French dramatist Edmond Rostand, who wrote this drama was lauded by the whole Europe. In the center of his creation there was a story about love of a troubadour to a beautiful princess who lived far away from him … So, where did this story come from?

Well, once upon a time there was a famous troubadour Jaufré Rudel. He really existed and was quite famous composer and poet of his times. Rudel is even considered to be one of the inventors of the “love from afar” style in troubadours poetry. He was of noble origin, in fact, his title was Prince of Blaye. History did not leave us much about Rudel, the only thing that is known for the fact is that he died overseas during Second Crusade around 1147. Several his fellows-troubadours, including famous Marcabru, composed their songs about him, lamenting on his death. Seven of Rudel’s poems have survived to the present day, four of them with music. And here is where we could end this story, when something interesting happened.

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Posted: Jan 6, 2011 11:42am
Aug 7, 2008

Trying to cover his tracks, Ptolemy IX put Alexander’s body in a glass sarcophagus instead. It did not work, though. Citizens of Alexandria were furious and could not forget Ptolemy’s unforgivable deed. They started riots. In the end, greedy Ptolemy IX was killed, which served him right.

But, wait, there is even more. While doing my research for web analytics company, I found something else. It seems that Alexander’s body was kept on display till late antiquity. There was one nasty looter related to this story. It was no one else but Roman emperor Caligula who robbed Alexander’s tomb, stole his armored breastplate and wore it in Rome. Well, as we know, Caligula also ended badly.

It was around two hundred of our era when finally emperor Septimius Severus closed Alexander’s tomb to the public. His son, emperor Caracalla was a big fan of Alexander the Great and often visited his tomb during his rule. After that, history loses track of Alexander’s tomb. The details are pretty vague and unverified.

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Posted: Aug 7, 2008 7:16pm
Jul 23, 2008

In the archives of my web analytics company I read an intriguing ancient story related to sudden and unexpected death of Alexander the Great.  Alexander's death has been reinterpreted many times over the centuries. And the debate surrounding the cause of Alexander's sudden death has never been clearly resolved. Here are some clues from the ancient sources.

In the fourth century BC there were quite persistent rumors claiming that Alexander the Great did not die of illness but was poisoned by one of his generals. Well, many had powerful motivations for seeing Alexander gone. Yet, people whispered to each other only one name of the alleged assassin: "Antipater".  The latter was a famous Macedonian general, supporter of Phillip II of Macedon and his son - future Alexander the Great.  So, how close to truth were these rumours?

Antipater was a great friend to both the little Alexander and his mother, Olympias. In fact, Olympias and Antipater were so close that there was a gossip at the time that he was the real father of Alexander. Later Antipater aided Alexander in his struggle to secure his succession after Philip's death.

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Jun 24, 2008

One of the most controversial tales of inner-Earth-dwellers is the so-called "Shaver Mystery". In 1945 a story was published by some Richard Shaver, who claimed he had recently been the guest of what remained of an underground civilization. In archives of web analytics company I found that although few really believed the story, Shaver always averred that his story was true. He contended that the Elder Race, or Titans, came to this planet from another solar system in our prehistoric past. After a time of living on the surface, they realized our sun was causing them to age prematurely, so they escaped underground, building huge subterranean complexes in which to live.

Eventually, they decided to seek a new home on a new planet, evacuating the Earth and leaving behind their underground cities populated by artificial beings: detrimental robots and integrated robots. It was these beings that Shaver claimed to have met. Despite the enormous popularity of the Shaver Mystery the location of the entrance to this underground world was never divulged.

May 27, 2008

I had to gather bits and pieces of information about the myth of the lost kingdom of Lyonesse in archives of web analytics company. There just was not much to write about. The legend of a sunken kingdom Lyonesse appears in both Cornish and Breton mythology. In Christian times it even came to be viewed as a sort of Cornish Sodom and Gomorrah story. Lyonesse is identified as a sunken land lying off the Isles of Scilly, to the south-west of Cornwall. Lyonesse is a fictional country in Arthurian legend, birthplace of the knight Tristan. In the medieval story, after Battle of Camlann, that took place supposedly in 537, King Arthur's men fled west across Lyonesse. They were pursued by Mordred and his men. Arthur's men survived by reaching what are now the Isles of Scilly, but Mordred's men perished in the inundation.

Other versions of the medieval story mention that Lyonesse is the home of Guinevere, a small land situated between Camelot and Malagant's territory. This kingdom was ruled by Guinevere's father until his death, after his death Guinevere received the title of the Lady of Lyonesse.

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Posted: May 27, 2008 1:47pm

 

 
 
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Ekaterina G.
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