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12056Re: [mythsoc] Crossdressing heroines and other things that remain

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  • Stolzi
    May 6, 2004
      i received the material below on a religious List. At the end of the fourth para, we see another woman leading troops in battle. Though it doesn't say what she was wearing at the time.

      The prophetess Deborah in the book of JUDGES (4th chapter) in the Bible, and her terrific "song" in Ch. 5, is another example of courage and leadership. And Jael in the same chapter is an example of... something (!)

      Today, on May 1, the Church honors the holy memory of Saint Tamar
      of Georgia (around 1160-1213), a queen who demonstrated the
      spiritual strength of womanhood as a heroine of faith and virtue.

      Tamar was a descendant of the ancient Bagration dynasty that long
      ruled Georgia, an orthodox Christian country in the Caucasus
      Mountains between Europe and Asia. Born around 1160, she became
      co-ruler with her father, King George III, in 1178. She ruled in
      her own right as monarch after the death of her father in 1184.
      In 1185, she was wed in an arranged marriage to a Russian prince,
      George Bogolyubskiy. But the marriage, which ended up being
      childlessness, ended with the prince's banishment when he involved
      himself in court intrigues and stirred up unrest in Georgia. She
      then married a husband of her own choosing, the Georgian prince
      David Soslan (who proved to be a more faithful consort), in 1188.

      Tamar's reign (1184-1213) went down in history as being Georgia's
      "golden age." A woman of true faith and virtue, she took her
      God-given stewardship of government very seriously, in the spirit
      of Saint Paul the Apostle's teachings (Romans 13:1-7). She
      followed in the footsteps of her royal grandfather, King David III
      (nicknamed the "Builder" or "Restorer," also a saint of the
      Church), building on his initiative to make religion, education
      and culture vibrant forces binding together all Georgians. To
      this end, she sponsored the building of numerous churches,
      monastic communities and schools, where orthodox Christian culture
      was taught and developed. She also convened a council of Georgian
      bishops to set church life in Georgia aright and put it in good

      Tamar's efforts in this area were not just the expected actions of
      a "typical" medieval monarch. Georgia was surrounded by hostile
      Muslims bent on destroying its orthodox Christian heritage and
      forcing it to convert to Islam. Tamar worked hard to make sure
      that heritage survived and did not fall prey to heterodox enemies.
      When Muslim neighbors demanded that she submit to their rule and
      embrace Islam instead of orthodox Christianity, she took charge of
      her country's military forces herself -- a rather unusual thing in
      a day and age when women were considered weaker and less suited
      for military service than men. Believing it was her duty, as sole
      monarch, to share in the defense of her homeland and the hardships
      of her soldiers, she led them in combat herself. Under her
      leadership, the Georgians scored key defeats over the larger
      forces of Muslim Azerbaijanis and Seljuk Turks in 1193, 1195,
      1203, 1204 and 1206, ensuring the survival of orthodox Christian
      civilization in the region.

      Under Tamar's rule, Georgia reached a historic height as a
      regional power and experienced a major flowering in education and
      culture. A famous Georgian poet of the time, Shota Rustaveli,
      commemorated her queenship in his poem "The Knight in the
      Panther's Skin," an epic of Georgian literature. Because of her
      wise, just rule in peacetime and her bravery on the battlefield,
      her subjects addressed her as "king" as well as "queen." In fact,
      they called her "the king of kings and queen of queens" out of
      love for her. She has gone down in Georgian history as "Tamar the

      Tamar spent the final years of her life at Georgia's Bardzia Cave
      Monastery. She lived in a humble nun's cell connected to the
      church by a window, so she could hear and pray along with the
      worship services offered there throughout the day. After a
      lifetime of service to her Church and her people, she peacefully
      fell asleep in the Lord there in 1213. After her death, her name
      was added to the calendar of saints by the Church, due to her
      personal example of heroic faith and virtue, as well as the
      people's veneration of her.

      Tamar's name (and its different forms, such as Tamara, Tamra or
      Thamar) comes from the Old Testament of the Bible. In its
      original Hebrew, it means "date palm tree." By dint of her faith
      and virtue in seeking and following God's will, Tamar lived up to
      her name in line with the words of Psalm 91:11-13 (Septuagint
      numbering): "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree... Those
      planted in the house of the Lord will blossom forth in the courts
      of our God."

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