Tag Archives: war

Berenice – the ”Little Cleopatra”

Berenice was born in Rome to Agrippa and Cyprus before Agrippa became king in 36 C.E.  She bore the Roman name of Julia.

She was Herods’ great-great-granddaughter and only thirteen years of age at the time she married Marcus, the son of Alexander, Head of the Jewish Community in Alexandria, and nephew of Philo the philosopher.

With the death of Marcus in 44 C.E, Berenice became a widow at only sixteen. She then married Herod -her father’s oldest brother- and became Queen of Chalcis, a tiny principality in the Lebanon Mountains. She would retain this title even after her husband’s death.

Berenice had two sons by Herod: Hyrcanus and Berenicianus. She was widowed for a second time in 48 C.E, being only twenty years of age.

After Herod’s death, the Kingdom of Chalcis was given to Berenice’s older brother, Agrippa II. Together with his brother and sister, he moved into the new Kingdom’s Residence into close quarters.

Many sources indicate that Agrippa II and Berenice were often found together in official capacities. They would appear in public together, as when Agrippa gave his peace address to the people of Jerusalem just before the outbreak of the revolt against Rome.

The New Testament mentions Berenice’s presence with her brother at Paul’s trial, and in rabbinic literature, she is mentioned as the Queen alongside her brother, the King. In two sources this constant companionship is interpreted as incest.

Josephus claimed that rumors of the siblings’ inappropriate relationship led Berenice to seek a third match.She decided to marry Polemo, King of Cilicia, who had to be circumcised and undertake a Jewish lifestyle. However, this was not a successful marriage. She, later on, left Polemo and returned to her kingdom.

Berenice was present in Palestine during the outbreak of the Jewish revolt against the Romans between 66–70 C.E.  Josephus Flavius described her as a solitary peacemaker, using all her strength in that difficult period of the preliminaries of the revolt. She had made a vow to be in Jerusalem at that time.As required by the vow, her hair was shorn and she walked barefoot.

She made her way to the Roman governor’s palace to ask Gessius Florus and demanded to desist from the violent activities he had undertaken against the Jewish population of Jerusalem. But her efforts were to no avail.

She finally joint venture with her brother to still the Jewish insurrection.

It was during this time that Berenice met Titus and fell in love. He was eleven years her junior.

After the revolt, Titus returned to Rome to assist his father in the government, while Berenice stayed behind in Judea.They would be reunited after four years when she and Agrippa came to Rome in 75.

She lived with Titus at the palace and reportedly acted as his wife in every aspect. This was the time she was at the height of her power and quite influential during this period.

However, being under public pressure, Titus had to restore his reputation for his people and sent her away. When he became Emperor in 79, Berenice returned to Rome but she was not welcome anymore. Titus died two years later.

Berenice was to be remembered as a ”little Cleopatra” in her aspiration to become the Empress of Rome.

 

Berenice the ''Little Cleopatra''

Berenice the ”Little Cleopatra”

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An unofficial royal visit..

The funeral of the former President of Israel Shimon Peres was held on 30 September 2016 in Jerusalem.

Many dignitaries from all over the world made a final tribute to  this Great Man. Charles, the Prince of Wales, was among them.

At the end of the ceremony, which took place on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Prince Charles went to visit the Russian Orthodox nuns of the St. Mary Magdalene convent on Mount of Olives, where they live in contemplation.

He brought with him a bouquet of flowers, picked from his Scottish residence’s garden, to lay on the grave of his grandmother, Alice of Greece, born Battenberg, mother of Prince Philip.

                                                         A visit of utmost importance…. 

But who was this Princess Alice of Greece?

Princess Alice de Battenberg

Princess Alice de Battenberg

She was a remarkable woman.

During the Second World War, she had hidden a Jewish family in her own home. In 1994 she posthumously received, for her bravery, the title of  :

                                                          “Righteous Among the Nations” 

For this occasion a ceremony was held at the Yad Vashem Holocauste Museum in Jerusalem, where the Prince Consort Philip was the guest of honor and he would
visit his mother’s grave on the Mount of Olives for the first time.

There is also a second Royal tomb to be found in crypt of the convent; that of the great-aunt of Prince Charles, the Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia, murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Princess Alice of Battenberg was born on February 25th, 1885 at Windsor Castle.

Queen Victoria, Alice’s grandmother, felt very close to the little girl and soon realises that her granddaughter suffered from congenital deafness. She was taught lips reading and was able to speack correctly. even mastering several languages.

At the age of seventeen, Princess Alice met Prince Andrew of Greece for the first time, and fell in love. The respective families marked reluctance due to Alice’s young age however the couple will be united and their marriage announced. They got married and separated a few years later but have five children together.

The princess gives birth to four girls and a boy.

In 1911, further to the murder of Alice’s stepfather and the tension due to the war in the Balkan, the Greek royal family fled into exile and settled in Lucerne in Switzerland.

Eventually the Princess would return to Athens in 1938 to remain there until the end of the World War II, helping the Red Cross and dedicating her life to the poor and the sick in field hospitals. She converted to the Orthodox religion and became increasingly mystical to the verge of insanity.

In 1949, she founded an order of orthodox nuns, which was inspired by the one created by her aunt,  the Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia, born princess of Hesse.

Prince Phillip and his mother

Prince Phillip and his mother

The princess attended the coronation of her daughter in law Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, wearing the outfit of her religious order.

In December 1967, following the “Colonels coup d’etat” in Greece, she had to leave her country again. She came to live in Buckingham Palace, near her family.

She died in London on December 5th,1969. and was buried in the chapel of Windsor Castle.

Princess Alice’s last dying wish was to be buried in Jerusalem.

In 1988, her remains were finally transferred to the monastery of St. Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem, where she rests next to her aunt, Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia.

 

Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene

Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene

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Louis IX – King of France and the crusades

Saint Louis departing d'Aigues Mortes

Saint Louis departing d’Aigues Mortes

Every year at the end of August, the city of Aigues-Mortes in southern France celebrates the departure of Saint Louis for the Crusades.

This good-hearted and generous king never hesitated to invite the poors to his table. He vowed to cross himself after a long illness that many thought fatal.

While a relative peace and economic prosperity reigned in the Middle East, and diplomatic and trade relations were constantly increasing, an unwelcome alliance was made with the Prince of Damascus against the Sultan of Egypt. In 1244 the sultan took Jerusalem and destroyed the Christian army.

Pope Innocent IV then called for a new crusade and Saint Louis hasted to organise it.

The seventh crusade was to be the first one of the two crusades undertaken under the direction of Saint Louis – King of France.

In this southern city of France, construction work would be carried out, such as a port, a church called the ”Sablon”, and a tower to protect the port called ”Constance”, of which remains exist in the old town of Aigues-Mortes to this day.

This expedition regrouped 36,000 men committed to a new conquest of the holy places and the Holy Sepulchre, but also in order to found a colony in Africa. Therefore it was necessary to bring not only arms, ammunition and food, but tools as well.

A crusade in which no foreign sovereign was involved … strictly French !!

After receiving the papal blessing in Lyon, Saint Louis reached Aigues-Mortes the 25th of August 1248.

The cry of ” God willing”  accompanied the departure of these Fancs to the Holy Land.

Saint Louis remained in the Holy Land for four years in order to build the Kingdom of Jerusalem and to allow it to be capable of defending itself against a new threat: the Mameluks. The crusade ended in 1254 by the sudden return of the king to France after the death of Blanche of Castile, his mother who ensured the regency during his absence. Although this crusade did not reach the desired results, it was important for the survival of the Kingdom in the Holy Land.

Following the conquest by the Mamluks of the port City of Jaffa, Caesarea and Arsuf, Saint Louis decided to return for a new crusade.

While reaching the port of Tunis a plague broke out, and a large part of his troops became ill, as well as the king himself, who died in August 25th, 1270.

 

 

Saint Louis

Saint Louis