My historical dozen

Musing over who I would like to sit down and talk to from history and so …

Catherine the Great: ruled as Queen of Russia from 1762 until her death. Under her leadership, Russia was revitalised as a major European power and Russian society was reformed.



John Locke: argued that a government’s right to rule must be based on the consent of its people, promoted the idea of a ‘social contract’ – power sanctioned by the people, emphasised that all men were equal.



Eleanor of Aquitaine: founded the cult of courtly love, the highest expression of chivalry, her court produced a stream of troubadours, minnesingers and poets who idealised romantic love.



Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina: the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg, after her death, she left a revitalised empire that influenced the rest of Europe throughout the 19th century.



Pieter de Hooch: a Dutch Golden Age painter famous for his works of quiet domestic scenes, daily life and brick built courtyards.


Erik Satie: French composer that was a precursor of and influential on artistic movements such as minimalism, Surrealism, repetitive music, created small melancholic piano pieces.



Friedrich Wilhelm ‘F. W.’ Murnau: influenced by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Shakespeare and Ibsen, he became one of the most an influential lExpressionist film directors.



Hildegard of Bingen: German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath, founded scientific natural history in Germany.



Dragutin Dimitrijević known as Apis:  Serbian colonel, leading member of a military group that organised the overthrow of the Serbian government in 1903, leader of the Black Hand group responsible for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria in June 1914.



Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia: an intellectual devotee of occult arts and learning which helped seed what would be called the scientific revolution.



Count Miklós Bánffy de Losoncz: Hungarian nobleman, liberal politician and historical novelist, an  elected Member of Parliament, a Director of the Hungarian State Theatres, a traditionalist and a member of the avant-garde, he overcoming fierce opposition to mount plays from figures such as Béla Bartók.



Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk: politician, sociologist and philosopher, founder and first President of Czechoslovakia.




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