About E.H. Kern

Historian and writer. PhD. Contributor at Book Riot. Blogger at Quirk Books. Affiliated as Visiting Scholar with University of Miami and adjunct instructor at Florida International University, both in Miami, FL.

Catherine Jagiellon, Queen of Sweden

This is the portrait of Catherine Jagiellon, daughter of Sigismund I of Poland-Lithuania, born in 1526 in Kraków, Poland.

Katarina Jagellonica

Catherine Jagiellon (1526–1583). Source: Wikipedia.

Catherine Jagiellon married Duke Johan of Sweden in 1562. She a Catholic, he a Lutheran, and son of Gustav I Vasa (r. 1523–1560) who brought the Reformation to Sweden. In 1568, Catherine became queen of Sweden after Duke Johan ousted his brother, Erik XIV (r. 1560–1568), and took power for himself as Johan III.

Together, Catherine and Johan had three children–Elisabeth (1564–1566), Sigismund (1566–1632), and Anna (1568–1625). Sigismund became the legitimate Catholic heir to both Sweden and Poland-Lithuania. Needless to say, the complicated situation in the Baltic involving Sweden, Poland-Lithuania, and Muscovy became even more entangled because of this.

In the end, Sigismund was ousted from the Swedish throne by his Protestant uncle, Charles IX (1599/1604–1611). He never gave up his claim as king of Sweden. The schism within the Vasa-Jagiellon dynasty wasn’t solved until the death of Sigismund in 1632, incidentally the same year as his cousin, Gustavus Adolfus (r. 1611–1632).

Catherine Jagiellon died in 1583. She lies buried in Uppsala, Sweden.

Katarina Jagellonica

The tomb of Catherine Jagiellon, the Uppsala Dome, Sweden. Photo: E.H. Kern.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

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The Stockholm Bloodbath

On the upcoming anniversary of the Stockholm Bloodbath, a public mass execution of members of the nobility and clergy in the middle of Stockholm on November 7-9 in 1520, a portrait of the man held responsible for it all. Kristian II, in Sweden nicknamed Kristian the Tyrant, the last reigning king of the Union of Calmar.

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The last reigning king of the Union of Calmar, Kristian II (r. Denmark and Norway 1513–1523, r. Sweden 1520–1521). Source: Historiska Museet.

100 noblemen and clergymen were executed for having been in opposition to the King or for being perceived as threats to his reign.

The executions took place at Stortorget (Main Square) in Stockholm. I took this picture of the square when I was there this summer.

Stortorget_2

Stortorget, Gamla stan, Stockholm. The location where the Stockholm Bloodbath took place. The building on the left is the Nobel Museum. Photo: E.H. Kern.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

The Life and Work of Christine de Pizan, Feminist Writer of the Middle Ages

On August 15, 2017, I published the following post on Book Riot.

The Life and Work of Christine de Pizan, Feminist Writer of the Middle Ages

(British Library, Harvey MS 4431 f. 4).

Women during the Middle Ages tend to be seen as oppressed, robbed of all agency, and constantly under the guardianship of a man. Even though the lives of women during the Middle Ages were more circumvented than the lives of women living in Europe and the United States today, the idea that they lacked control is not entirely true.

Nor is it entirely true that medieval women were prevented from expressing their views in public, or that they were prevented from pursuing artistic careers because of the burdens laid upon them as mothers, wives, and daughters.

In fact, during the Middle Ages there were plenty of women who led independent lives, excelling as politicians, artists, and writers. One of these women was Christine de Pizan, a French renaissance poet who is the first woman in France known to have made her living solely from writing. Christine is also known as one of the earliest feminist writers, publishing protest poems, utopian fiction about a city inhabited only by women, and a celebration of the achievements of Joan of Arc.

If you would like to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

100 Must-Read Books about Ancient History

On July 31, 2017 I published the following post on Book Riot.

100 Must-Read Books about Ancient History

Rome. Athens. Memphis and Thebes. Ramses II. Nefertiti. Julius Caesar. Cleopatra. Aristotle. Sappho. Cyrus the Great. Democracy. Oligarchy. Republic and Empire.

Societies and people long gone and still they tickle our imagination.

Ancient history as a scholarly endeavor came into existence during the time of the European empires. The imperialists of Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany looked to the distant past for validation and wrote their history accordingly, resulting in a research field dominated by white men focusing on Rome and Greece.

But things are beginning to change. Ancient history and Classical studies are becoming more inclusive. The ancient histories of Persia, India, present-day Iraq and Sudan and their influences on Rome and Greece are being acknowledged. The white dominance among Classicists is being challenged. Inter-disciplinary research projects bring together the disciplines of history and archaeology.

This list of 100 must-read books about Ancient History reflects these changes. Prepare for your TBR list to explode.

If you would like to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

The Three Pillars. Thoughts Brought on by the Events in Charlottesville

The Boomerang’s header photo shows three concrete pillars. Those pillars stand a ten minute walk from the house where I grew up. They were placed there during World War II to stop Nazi-German tanks in case of an invasion of Sweden from Nazi-occupied Norway. The three pillars still stand there today because they are indestructible. They are a testament to the fact that Nazis can be destroyed and that if you stand strong, you will prevail.

In the words of my friend, the Austrlian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Sana’a Pentateuch

On August 4, 2017, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Sana’a Pentateuch

Yemen is a country that somehow feels further away than most. Located on the south-west part of the Arabian Peninsula, news about Yemen only seem to reach us when there is a tragedy.

But Yemen is so much more than the occasional news story from a far away land. Yemen is a country with an old civilization capable of wonderful art.

Book art.

One of the most famous books from Yemen is the so-called Sana’a Pentateuch.

If you would like to read this post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Lisbon Bible

On July 27, 2017 I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Lisbon Bible

When King Afonso I of Portugal gained recognition for the independence of the Kingdom of Portugal in 1143, there had been a Jewish community in the Iberian Peninsula since at least the second century C.E. After having been expelled from Jerusalem by Emperor Hadrian, Jews found themselves a new home in one of the farthest-most provinces of the Roman Empire. The Jewish culture that developed here is known as Sephardic, from the Judeo-Spanish word for the Iberian Peninsula—Sepharad. A vital part of Sephardic culture was the creation of the Bible, also referred to as the Tanakh by Jews and as the Hebrew Bible by Christians.

If you would like to read the rest of the post, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.