Monday, May 21, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #31



Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's topic is "Best Character Names". Forget all those fantasy/paranormal/whatever names fluttering around, there are plenty of unusual/uncommon names found in all sorts of beautiful non-fiction books that I am happy to share. Today I am focusing on three figures from history, some pretty bad-ass women who have amazing stories to tell.

(Links go to Goodreads)

Eleanor of Aquitaine
Okay, so this name is not unusual, and is kind of making a comeback (something that distresses me to no end). But one of the things that makes her name special is that it is possible she was the very first Eleanor. (I find some variations to the story, so this is not a 100% for-sure thing). However, Eleanor's mother's name was Aénor. Eleanor was named Alíenor, literally meaning 'another Aénor'. Also, Aquitaine in itself is pretty neat.

Recommended Titles

Aethelflaed
While the name is a mouthful, she is a most intriguing figure from the long-ago days when the Anglo-Saxons ruled and William the Bastard was still nearly two centuries away from setting foot on England's soil. Aethelflaed was the first-born child of my fave king, Alfred the Great and there is some interesting research out there about her that shows perhaps she learned a thing or two military-wise from her father. When her husband died in 911, she became known as 'Lady of Mercia' and sought out her brother Edward the Elder as a partner so they could rule their respective kingdoms with aid from one another and attempted to further their father's idea of a united England - something that would come to fruition during the rule of Edward's son Athelstan.

Recommended Titles

Boudicca, Bouddica, Boudica, Boudecea

I have said, more than once, that my little lady is extremely lucky that I discovered Eleanor of Aquitaine before I learned about the mighty queen of the Iceni, Bouddica. And for the record, there are so many spellings even I use them interchangeably because honestly, it is easy to lose track of the number of consonants and vowels when one is typing quickly. Whether Bouddica's story is true or not, whether she was a warrior who rallied the tribes around her and defeated the Romans twice, rather completely before being routed in a third meeting and subsequently losing her own like (either from illness or suicide), the story is A-MAY-ZING. However, given the fact that her revolt was written about by both Tacitus and Cassius Dio, I am inclined to believe she existed. Not to mention the fact that there is a whole layer of earth in both Colchester and London referred to as the 'Boudiccan Layer' or 'Boudiccan Destruction Horizon' that reveals her presence the complete decimation she and her followers brought down upon the two Roman-controlled cities at the time. Her story is so intriguing, it is a shame we don't know more of it.

Recommended Titles


Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Leave a link to your TTT so I can take a look at what you've shared this week.

Happy Reading!
Sarah

36 comments:

  1. Love your twist on the topic this week - great selections. :)

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    1. Thanks Lauren! I have been super excited for this TTT for a while, I had my girls picked out ages ago!

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  2. I love your take on the list this week! :-) Suitably historical!

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    1. Why thank you! I have been eagerly waiting for this TTT to come :)

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  3. I've always thought Aquitaine was a cool name, frankly, and Eleanor of Aquitaine just sorta rolls off the tongue. I like Alienor too. Some of those French place names always get me, like Poitiers or Avignon. I mean really? :)

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    1. Right?? It was once called Aquitainia by the Romans. I loved the spelling of Alienor, but decided to stick to Eleanor after a lot of thought. Though, everyone thinks she is named for Eleanor Roosevelt, so maybe I SHOULD have gone with the original spelling!

      I am hopeless with pronouncing French names! I just say them super American and keep going, haha.

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  4. I love your choices and your angle for them. I love to read historoical biographies I even have a huge book titeled 5000 years history 1000 famous historical figures but it miffed me a bit that there is only 5 female in there. The feminist in me is rebelling against it.

    My TTT: https://fantasyraiders.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/top-ten-tuesday-how-do-you-pronounce-it-names/#more-8421

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    1. I'd be very interested in reading that book - who is the author or editor? Out of 1000, surely they could have found more than 5 females though. I can easily think of way more just off the top of my head.

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  5. Nice twist on the topic. I am not much into historical biographies but these looks like great read.

    My TTT: http://flippingthruthepages.com/2018/05/ten-diverse-books-of-2018-on-my-tbr-with-character-names-in-the-title/

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    1. Thanks! History is pretty much all I read, so I have plenty more recs if you are ever interested!

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  6. I like the Eleanor of A. name!!Classic!

    http://justmeandmyblogreviews.blogspot.com/2018/05/top-ten-tuesday.html

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    1. Thank you Joann! I loved the name, and was reading a book about Eleanor of Aquitaine while I was pregnant with my daughter. I liked it because it was classic and classy and uncommon at the time, so I thought. Apparently I am not the only one who thought this in 2013 (when my daughter was born)!!

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  7. I love old names and they're even better when they have some kind of historical content to them. My girls are named Taylor and Madison and a friend told me if I had a third, I had to name her Kennedy. Thankfully, that never happened! Hahaha!

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    1. And... I forgot to add my link. UGH.

      Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

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    2. Madison was a name I considered for my daughter! I do like the president theme, I definitely support that! Or if you'd had a boy you could have gone with Lincoln, or Tyler, Adam (- the s of course)...so many possibilities!

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    3. And no worries, I always find myself having to make multiple replies...as I just did now, haha!

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    4. Hah at the multiple replies! And although it was unintentional, I like the presidential theme as well - there's so much variety and a ton of good names.

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    5. I am hopeless sometimes in remembering everything I want to say in one reply! Agreed on the names - so many of the last names could also work as first names, there is quite a pool to choose from.

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  8. Those are definitely some cool names!

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    1. Thank you! I think they and the women they're attached to are pretty neat!

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  9. Oh, Boudicca Was one of my childhood heroes (yes, I *was* that strange child) and is a national icon to those who know about her. Did you know there's a statue of her on the Embankment in London near Parliament?

    I always roll my eyes when people say that girls today have few if any role models. Duh! Read some history books. You might have to do a bit of digging but you have people like:

    Joan of Arc
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    Mary Wollstencroft
    Bess of Hardwicke
    Elizabeth I
    Jane Austen
    Emmeline Pankhurst
    Ada Lovelace
    Mary Quant and even
    Margaret Thatcher.

    ....and that's before I move onto the less known non-Anglo-American examples.....

    All this talk makes me want to pick up some biographies.... [muses]

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    1. See, but it is not strange to me, which tells me we are probably both strange, lol.

      I am planning a trip to England, Scotland, and France when Eleanor is older because I want to show her the places that still exist that are related to Eleanor. I have already accepted the fact that when I see her vase at the Louvre and her effigy at Fontevraud, I am going to bawl like a baby. One of the stops I also plan to make though is to see Bouddica's statue. I love that her story is kept alive.

      And you know I agree - plenty of great female role models. May not be LIVING anymore, but there are plenty of them in the history books and I intend to teach my Eleanor about as many of them as I can!

      (I have a love/hate thing with E1). Like, I feel so deeply sad for Mary because so much of her adulthood outlook was shaped by henry's treatment of her and her mother, especially in keeping them apart. So suddenly Elizabeth looks like a savior after mary's reign and I can not help but think what a petulant child she was when it came to her favorites and her hissy fits.

      That's quite a good list you've got started there. There is a great two-volume book set called Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls and Eleanor and I are on the second one now. I love the stories told, but the title is kind of defeating the purpose - these women should not be viewed as rebels because they were scientists or courageous or whatever. Still, there are tons of great stories, some even I am unfamiliar with. It's a neat collection.

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    2. There's definitely an upsurge in the last 15-20 years of books by female historians digging out female historical characters that have been overlooked, sidelined or ignored by their male counterparts. At last we're starting to get a much more rounded view of our history.

      I don't think you'll find many fans of 'Bloody' Mary in the UK. What I know of her she comes across as somewhat of a pathetic character who found herself on the wrong side of history and tried to shoehorn the country back into the pre-Reformation days. That boat had passed and I think the country was much better for Elizabeth taking the throne. Sure, she was crazy from time to time but she was brilliant too. I don't envy what she had to go through to maintain power though.

      I've heard of the Rebel Girls books. I agree that it's good such things have finally been produced but it does give the wrong message that to get what boys have long accepted as their due needs an act of rebellion.

      I have been collecting a few books showing women doing what are normally expected to be men's jobs thereby breaking molds forever. Trailblazers are fun to read about.

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    3. I'm not surprised, you're not the first person from across the pond who has said my thoughts on Mary are a bit different from most :) And that may also be why my opinion of Elizabeth is so different as well. The real turning point for me on Elizabeth was her signing the death warrant for Mary Queen of Scots. MQoS had nothing left to lose but her life and she knew it, so her attempt at participating in any plots to overthrow Elizabeth isn't shocking. She'd been held captive for years and Elizabeth repeatedly refused to meet with her. But for Elizabeth to sign the warrant, and then later claim she did not intend for it to be carried out was absurd, she knew Cecil had been chomping at the bit for YEARS to execute MQoS and she knew it would be done immediately. She was petty and jealous and I don't much care for her.

      EXACTLY! There is a great website called A Mighty Girl that is amazing and usually I will refer to the book by that instead and just say, "Let's read about a few more Mighty Girls".

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    4. In another time MQoS could have lived in internal exile or even returned to Scotland to rule a friendly nation. But with Protestant England standing alone against the regional superpower Catholic Spain she was just too dangerous. Yes, she was played by those who wanted her as a symbol or rallying point for their own ambitions but she was also a player herself who imagined that she could be both Queen of England and Scotland. I'm afraid Cecil was right. She was an existential threat to the English crown and had to go. Elizabeth knew exactly what she was doing when she signed the death warrant but wanted to muddy the waters just enough not to take the whole blame. It was pretty transparent but there's little more that she could do to make such a radical decision - to essentially kill someone ordained by God to their position - and get away with it both in the eyes of public opinion and her own conscience. She was in a very difficult position almost from birth and, in my opinion, made a very good job of navigating very difficult times. What little I know of her, not being an expert by any stretch, I admire. I'll read up on her some more to see if my opinion changes much....

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    5. It is hard to fault MQoS for her upbringing though, and her idea that she could be queen of Scotland AND England. When you are crowned queen at nine months and raised in a way befitting a queen, it would be hard to break yourself of that as an adult when you are suddenly forced to navigate the sea of treacherous individual seeking their own power. It did not help that when she was at the French court, she was also styled as the Queen of England. I do understand the WHY, but I also hold Cecil in about as high esteem as I hold Elizabeth. Elizabeth did to Mary the same thing her father did to her mother - executed her based on invented evidence. If Elizabeth was going to be so bold as to execute a fellow monarch, she darn well should have owned it. Mary and Elizabeth are pretty polarizing, so I doubt you will change your opinion with the more you read about her, but of course I have some books to recommend to help you in your studies!

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  10. We actually named our cat Boudicca - Boudi for short (pronounced Bo-dee)! She's my little warrior and is afraid of NOTHING so it fits her well. It always confuses the heck out of her vets, though. (I think our current vet actually has her name down as Bo-dee, heh.)

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    1. Now that's a *cool* name for a cat!

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    2. This is amazing! In a very weird way, my daughter's nickname actually evolved into Boudi (Boo-dee) and Boudicca. I used to call her my little Buddha Belly because she had this cute little baby tummy. But then the baby tummy went away so the name evolved to Buddha, then Bood, then Boudicca (when she is extra feisty) and Boudi when she is not. It might sound silly, but it makes sense in my head!

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    3. Also, this is the second cat I have ever heard of being named Boudicca. It makes me heart so so happy when others also know who she is :D

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  11. I haven't read any of these books, but I really should. :)

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    1. Yes, mostly definitely!! And then we can discuss them :)

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  12. We've just been watching the BBC The Last Kingdom series on DVD and I knew there was something wrong about all the focus regarding Alfred's children going towards Edward-as-future-king. This post has jogged my memory regarding Aethelflaed who was a pretty amazing woman!
    And does anyone know why Alfred isn't Aelfred? I guess in the original Saxon he would have been?

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    1. I have such a hard time with historical dramas, much the way I don't do well with historical fiction. I loved the Tudors because of how hot Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Henry Cavill are, but there was a whole lot of the time where I would be sitting there saying, "Nope, that did not happen" or "Nope, he did not say that" or "NOPE, HENRY HAD TWO SISTERS, NOT ONE WHO CONVENIENTLY HAD HER NAME CHANGED TO THE OLDER SISTER'S FOR FEAR THE AUDIENCE MIGHT CONFUSE HIS SISTER AND HIS DAUGHTER."

      My guess on the spelling is exactly what you suggest. Aelfred or something similar becomes Alfred much more easily than his mighty daughter's name might convert to anything modern.

      The same even goes for Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her mother was Aenor, and she was named Alienor, literally 'another Aenor'. But her spelling has been altered throughout history also.

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  13. I never know how to spell Bouddica! I need to see a good film about her as she is fascinating!

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    1. Yep, I have pretty much given up. I pretty much stick to Bouddica or Boudicca. I would love to see a film about her, though there would be so much conjecture and Hollywood nonsense, I'd end up crying and throwing things at the screen probably.

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