April 2014

biblical otps - Samson and Delilah

One of the most famous couples in the Bible, Samson and Delilah’s story is a classic parable from the book of Judges. Samson, one of the eponymous judges, was an Israelite given superhuman strength by god to perform wonderous feats and protect his people. His strength came from his hair, which he never cut out of fear of losing his power.

Eventually, Samson would fall in love with a woman named Delilah - a Philistine, who were the enemies of his people. The Philistine rulers approached Delilah and coaxed her to try to find the secret of Samson’s strength. Samson, not wanting to reveal the secret, teased her, telling her that he will lose his strength should he be bound with fresh bowstrings. She did so while he slept, but when he woke up he snapped the strings. She persisted, and he tells her he can be bound with new ropes. She ties him up with new ropes while he sleeps, and he snaps them, too. Eventually Samson tells Delilah that he will lose his strength with the loss of his hair. Delilah relays this information to the Philistines, who cut Samson’s hair and, having thus weakened him, blind him as well.

Samson would later regain his strength and tear down the columns of a Philistine temple, killing himself and many others in the process. Delilah’s fate is not known.

April 2014

biblical otps - King Solomon and The Queen of Sheba

Solomon was an ancient Israelite King and the son of David. He is credited with the building of the First Temple and is thought to have been a wealthy and popular ruler. The Queen of Sheba was queen regnant of the ancient kingdom of Sheba, thought to span from modern Ethiopia to Yemen. She is one of the few female rulers mentioned in the Bible.

Legend states that the Queen of Sheba (often named Makeda) visited King Solomon in ancient Jerusalem. There he introduced and then converted her to monotheism.

Further legends tell of Solomon inviting the Queen of Sheba to a banquet, serving spicy food to induce her thirst, and then allowing her to stay in his palace overnight. Solomon then presented the Queen of Sheba with a wager: if she were to take anything from his palace, they would spend the night together. The Queen, knowing that she, a wealthy monarch, would have no reason to steal anything, agreed. Later, the queen woke in the middle of the night and went in search of water to slake her thirst. Solomon, who had been waiting for her, told her that if she took water from his palace, she would be breaking her oath.

She drank the water. They spent the night together.

April 2014
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April 2014

Cartimandua was a 1st-century queen of the Brigantes, a Celtic people living in what is now northern England. She came to power around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, and formed a large tribal agglomeration that became loyal to Rome. She appears to have been widely influential in early Roman Britain.

Our only knowledge of Cartimandua is through the writings of Roman author Tacitus, who presents her in a negative light. He writes of her treacherous role in the capture of Caratacus, who had sought her protection, her “self-indulgence, her sexual impropriety in rejecting her husband in favour of a common soldier, and her “cunning strategems” during her rule. However, he also consistently names her as a queen, the only one such known in early Roman Britain.

Boudica was ruler of the Iceni people, a Celtic tribe, who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. In AD 60 or 61, while the Roman governor Gaius Paulinus was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey off the northwest coast of Wales, Boudica led the Iceni as well as the Trinovantes and others in revolt.

Boudica led 100,000 Iceni, Trinovantes and others to fight the Roman Legio IX Hispana and burned and destroyed several settlements in Britannia. An estimated 70,000–80,000 Romans and British were killed in the three cities by those led by Boudica. The crisis caused the Emperor Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, but Suetonius’s eventual victory over Boudica confirmed Roman control of the province. Boudica’s fate is not known.

The two women are the only known female Celtic rulers of the age.

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