Mary who??

I took a few moments to rearrange my blogroll and add names where I knew them.  I don’t think I am breaking anyone’s anonymity because I either found the name on your blog or in a comment. Don’t be alarmed if it looks like I purged you.  I merely rearranged you, I seldom purge people, and then only because they lose interest in me or I in them. Even given my conservative approach to purging,  I probably have not been consistent in rearranging, so don’t be alarmed if I move you again.  Ginnie of Golden Gaze got me started.  I think I have her name sorted, but may have messed up some other name. 

When I began blogging and adding names, I could not decide how to list people.  In many cases I used the verbatim blog title and in others inserted a name if I knew it.  Freda was one of the first people to welcome me to the Blogosphere and I put her name in Blogroll with part of her blog title.  I probably won’t change it unless she asks me too, but her proper blog title is “What’s the Story in Dalamory,” which is kind of cute.  I have her listed as Freda in Dalamory because that is how I think of her.  Freda in Dalamory, way up in Scotland where it is sometimes cold in winter.  Freda even has a little Scots Terrier named Misty.

I am not Scot or Scots descent but have had an interest in the Scots for a long time. Like many young girls I fell in love with the romantic Mary Queen of Scots. In the process of studying for my history degree, I crossed paths with Mary on several occasions, most especially the course I took on the Age of Reformation.  I also crossed paths with her when I spent some time in Scotland, the home of the clan from which my children received their last name. 

Notice I said the “Age” of Reformation.  That’s because, much to the chagrin of the Pope, the Jesuits in the Catholic Church got the Reformation ball rolling.  Shocking isn’t it, but the Reformation was originally a reforming of the Catholic Church, not a Protestant revolution. The downside was that just as the French Revolution evolved into a Reign of Terror, the Reformation became very bloody.  Heck the Reformation ended in a witch craze as every student of Protestant Puritan New England knows.  

Burning witches by the Catholic Church.  That’s another falsehood unmasked by revisionist historians. More witches were burned in the “Protestant” countries than in Catholic countries, and contrary to what some leftist feminists claim, some of the “witches” were men. 

We read about everyone and everything in our course on the Age of Reformation: Catholics, Calvinists, Huguenots, Muslims, you name it.  I loved that course.  Another course I had on the sixteenth century, was the History of the Scientific Revolution. And, here’s another bit of shocking news, there might not have been a “Scientific Revolution.” Much historical evidence suggests science evolved from the rediscovery of the writing of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians preserved in monastic libraries, and the uncovering of ancient places like Pompeii and Herculaneum around the same time. All this rediscovering was done by Catholics, often Jesuits, with the support of the Pope or some other church worthy.  Newton himself was trying to talk to God when he discovered the importance of the number 7.

Okay, I am simplifying but basically, what I discovered is that a continuous line back to ancient Egypt and Greece connects with the European “Scientific Revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Furthermore, the part of the history you learned where “The Church” was anti-science is wrong, unless you are speaking of China or Arabia.  Although things are somewhat different today, both Islam and Confucianism proved hostile to science in the sixteenth centuries and for different reasons.  

Historical revisionism isn’t nearly as bad as what some right-wingers suggest.  For one thing, history is being continuously reworked as new evidence comes to light. Also,women’s history is revisionist history, and guess what, it was there all along.  Perhaps a better term these days is rediscovered history, or “history we missed the first time we wrote it.” To me, this is what makes history fun. When history was only about Protestant white guys it was boring if you weren’t a Protestant white guy. 

Mary, Queen of Scots

Not that White Guys didn’t accomplish a lot. Next month, PBS is going to broadcast a special based on Niall Ferguson’s book, The West and the Rest. I haven’t seen the film, and I’ve only read part of the book, but I intend to finish the book and watch the program.  If I remember, I am going to report on the film here after I watch it. Ferguson is a Scotsman, and I sure hope he remembered his Queen. 


12 thoughts on “Mary who??

  1. As president of the PWGHR! (Protestant white guys history rules!) fan club I must take exception at your “boring” comment. Our history may be totally screwed up with witch burnings, religious wars, pestilence and famine, but it is far from boring.


  2. I have to put names on my blogroll to help me keep everybody straight. Thanks for keeping me on there even though I’ve been away for so long on our trip. My life is still crazy, I’m afraid.


  3. I enjoy Niall Ferguson in Newsweek, so maybe I should read his book and catch the PBS special. But with apologies to White Guys, be careful what you ask for. It’s often dangerous to be part of the power structure. Ask Mary Queen of Scots!


  4. I enjoy the way your share your interest in history: You start with a current interest, activity or challenge of yours, follow your thoughts to a historical connection, lay out a broad swath of history, throw in pertinent and intriguing facts, include a bit of myth busting or fine-tuning and wind up with current info that equips us to explore further if we are so interested. Kudos!


  5. Hooray, I’m still there! Twice!

    I fell in love with the Four Marys when I read about them as a teenager. Jean Plaidy wrote The Young Elizabeth and The Young Mary for teenage girls. I loved her novels and learned a lot of Tudor history from them.

    I still have a brochure I bought at Speke Hall in Liverpool, about thirty-five years ago. It is a Tudor mansion near Liverpool, in good condition.

    My point: big Tudor fan here 🙂


  6. Finally, a blogger talking about the details. Thanks, Dianne. Am I the only one who could use more of this and related topics: how we decide frequency, stuff that gets lost in time but needs writing about, etc. Glad to be revealed along with others by true name.

    While your phraseology “history we missed the first time we wrote it” is on the mark for women’s history, does everyone know how inclusive it is as in race, social class, ethnicity, etal? Guess it’s my role to be your blog’s token “leftist feminist” but, like others, those clothes do not always fit.


    • Actually, for leftist feminists, I was thinking more along the lines of those women who insist many millions of women were burned as witches. Not true, although some suffered that fate, mostly at the hands of fellow villagers.


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