Recent links of note:
“Rather Break than Bend”
Clare Jackson, London Review of Books
Today’s royal weddings might seem extravagant, but they’ve got nothing on the Valentine’s Day nuptials of Elizabeth Stuart (1596–1662) and Frederic V of the Palatinate, the future king of Bohemia, who staged a mock sea battle on the Thames as part of their celebrations. It was a dramatic start to a dramatic union, which saw the couple rule Bohemia for a single year before a defeat at the Battle of White Mountain forced them to flee to the Dutch Republic. Elizabeth, who adopted the personal motto “rather break than bend,” pursued restitution of her husband’s lands as vigorously as she did her prey (a keen sportswoman, she was fond of hunting with a crossbow on horseback, even when pregnant). Known to contemporaries as “the Queen of Hearts” or “the Winter Queen,” this fascinating figure is the subject of a major new biography by the Dutch historian Nadine Akkerman reviewed this week by Clare Jackson in the London Review of Books.
“I came, I saw, I bought the souvenir”
Mary Beard, Times Literary Supplement
Though tourism in the ancient world was “largely restricted to emperors, aristocrats and the super-rich,” ordinary Romans, writes Mary Beard in the Times Literary Supplement, “were much more mobile than is often imagined.” Like modern holiday-makers, they also collected trinkets, such as glass bottles engraved with famous monuments or cityscapes, to commemorate an occasion. Especially popular were miniature replicas of well-known statues, including the Parthenon’s Athena and the now-lost “Tyche of Antioch.” Beard discusses these and other ancient tchotchkes in this playful review of two new books on the subject: Destinations in Mind by Kimberly Cassibry and Souvenirs and the Experience of Empire in Ancient Rome by Maggie L. Popkin.
“The return of the ‘Prodigal Son,’ ” by Paul du Quenoy. On Miami City Ballet’s final program of the season.