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Galswintha (Chilsuinta, Celeswintha, Geleswintha) – (c546 – 568)
Merovingian queen consort
Galswintha was the elder daughter of Athanagild, the Visigothic king of Spain, and his wife Goisvintha, daughter of the Vandal prince Hoamer. She was raised in Toledo and was married (567) to Chilperic I, King of Neustria (539 – 584), as his second wife. The queen received extensive dower estates but the marriage remained childless, mainly due to the king’s infatuation with his mistress Fredegonde, formerly the servant of his first wife Audovera, who used her influence and wiles to turn Chilperic against his new wife.
Fredegonde plotted her death, and eventually, Galswintha was killed at Soissons, being strangled in her bed by a slave (May 24, 568). Gregory of Tours recorded in his Historia Francourum that ‘After her death God showed forth a great miracle. A lamp was suspended by a cord over her tomb, and without being touched by any, this lamp fell to the pavement before it. It was as if the lamp sank nto some soft substance, it was buried up to the middle, without being broken at all, which thing appeared a great miracle to all who saw it. The king made mourning after her death, but after a few days took Fredegonde again to wife. Therefore his brothers cast him from the kingdom, deeming that the aforesaid queen was not slain without his prompting.’
Chilperic soon regained his kingdom but this murder was the beginning of the deadly and destructive feud that existed thereafter for three decades between Fredegonde and Chilperic’s sister-in-law, the famous Brunhilda the wife of Sigebert I, King of Austrasia, who was Galswintha’s younger sister. Venantius Fortunatus wrote the poem de Gelesuintha preserved in his Carmina which described and lamented her unfortunate fate.

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From December 1836 to March 1837 Emerson gave his first series of independent lectures, the first that is, that he designed himself and gave under his own auspices. It was called the Philosophy of History, and it was a very important series for Emerson, since out of it evolved the great essays on "History" and "Self Reliance" that he would publish in his first volume of in 1841. There is also a lecture on "Literature" in the Philosophy of History series, given in January 1837. The general theme of the series is stated in the introductory lecture: "We arrive early at the great discovery that there is one Mind common to all individual men; that what is individual is less than what is universal; that those properties by which you are man are more radical than those by which you are Adam or John; than the individual, nothing is less; than the universal, nothing is greater; that error, vice, and disease have their seat in the superficial or individual nature; that the common nature is whole." Literature, then, is the written record of this mind, and in one important sense literature is always showing us only ourselves. This lecture contains Emerson's most extreme--and least fruitful--statement of his idealist conception of literature. He contrasts art with literature, explaining that while "Art delights in carrying a thought into action, Literature is the conversion of action into thought." In other words, "Literature idealizes action." In an abstract sense this may be so, but Emerson is generally at his best when he sees literature moving us toward action, not away from it. In another place this lecture has a very valuable comment on how literature is able to reach into our unconscious. "Whoever separates for us a truth from our unconscious reason, and makes it an object of consciousness, ... must of course be to us a great man." And there is also a rather uncharacteristic recognition of what Gustav Flaubert would call . "The laws of composition are as strict as those of sculpture and architecture. There is always one line that ought to be chosen, one proportion that should be kept, and every other line or proportion is wrong.... So, in writing, there is always a right word, and every other than that is wrong."


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Gamal, Samia – (1922 – 1994)
Egyptian belly dancer and film actress
Born Zaynab Ibrahim Mahfuz (Feb 22, 1922) in the town of Wana, she was raised in Cairo. She had ballet instruction and then received dance training from Badia Masabni, the founder of modern Oriental dance and also studied under the famous Taheyya Kariokka. Taking the professional name of ‘Samia Gamal’ she appeared in many films. Her early appearances during the 1940’s in movies such as Taxi hantur (A Hansom Carriage) (1945), El Ersane talata (The Three Suitors) (1947), Lo Sparviero del Nilo (Hawk of the Nile) (1949) and El Sakr (The Falcon) (1950) secured her fame with Egyptian audiences.
King Farouk pronounced Samia ‘The National Dancer of Egypt’ (1949) which brought her international attention and she travelled to the USA where she performed at prestigious nightclubs. Gamal continued dancing until aged well into her sixties. Her later film credits included Gli Amanti del deserto (Desert Warrior) (1956), Kull daqqa fi qalbi (Every Beat of My Heart) (1959), El Nagham el hazine (Sad Melody) (1960) and Tarik al shaitan (The Way of the Devil) (1963). Her life was the subject of the posthumous documentary The Fabulous Samia Gamal (2003). Samia Gamal died (Dec 1, 1994) aged seventy-two.