Life

The 5 Most Badass Moms in History

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maria theresea

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The 5 most badass moms in history

It’s Mother’s which is the day when we officially decided that we should honor our nation’s mothers for the insane amount of work they put into keeping their households from descending into Lord of the Flies-style anarchy, and then go back to taking it for granted the rest of the year.

Of course, this is hardly a new phenomenon. Moms have been dragging their children towards civilization for as long as humans have been around. And there are some moms who are so hardcore that they basically were too busy running everything to care if they were being appreciated. Here are the five most badass moms in history.

Olympias

Angelina Jolie

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Played by Angelina Jolie in the Oliver Stone movie AlexanderOlympias was definitely a woman whose life is worthy of its own movie. Wife of the King of Macedonia, Olympias gave birth to a son after reportedly having a dream where she was visited by Zeus himself in the form of a snake. That son grew up to become Alexander the Great, and Olympias was a serious reason for his success. She even had Alexander’s rivals to the throne secretly murdered, and may have even killed her husband, Alexander’s father Phillip, before he could award the throne to his son by another woman, whom Olympias also had poisoned. That’s the other woman, and her son.

Yeah, that’s quite a bit of murder in the space of a month, so not really a woman you want to cross.

As Alexander went off to conquer the largest Empire in history up to that point with the army of a tiny greek state, Olympias stayed behind to keep a lid on things with, you guessed it, judicious application of poison. After Alexander himself died, perhaps by poison (Ancient Greeks were really big on poisoning each other), Olympias made it her mission to make sure that her grandson would one day inherit the throne.

The death of Alexander had all of his former generals fighting each other over the right to rule his now massive empire and politics back in Macedonia got pretty heated. After losing the throne to a usurper, Olympias raised her own army and took it back, having the man and his wife executed which they must have seen coming considering her long established scarcity of f*cks to give about taking her enemies out permanently.

Unfortunately for Olympias, the war started to turn against her and another general soon besieged her in a city and captured her. Figuring that turn around is fair play, he ordered her executed. Not a single one of his soldiers was willing to carry out the order though, saying that they could never harm the mother of Alexander. Of course, her pattern of killing everyone who got in her way left her with a lot of enemies in the city whose relatives she had killed and were more than willing to stone her to death.

Elanor of Aquitaine

eleanor of aquitaine

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Queen of both France and England, Elanor of Aquitaine was born a mere Duchess of the French region of Aquitaine. Apparently, owning a dutchy can really improve your tinder game, because she was soon the most eligible bachelorette in Europe and married the king of France. After failing to produce a son, the marriage was annulled by the church on the grounds that they were second cousins (this was the middle ages). Afterwards, Elanor married a guy named Henry who became kind of England, uniting the crowns of England and Normandy. Elanor soon gave birth to a son who became Richard the Lionheart

While Richard was off on a crusade, Elanor stayed behind to run the realm, organizing many affairs of state. She is also famous as a proponent of the courtly love idea, meaning that all of the ideas you have of romance and chivalry probably owe a lot to Elanor.

Elanor was famous as sort of a proto-feminist. She ruled by herself, took care of her own lands, and didn’t let anyone tell her what to do. Elanor ended up outliving all of her children except two, and died in old age, carrying out her legacy of badassness to the end.

Mary Wollstonecraft

mary wollstonecraft

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The mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein’s Monster, Mary Wollstonecraft was a badass in her own right, writing dozens of books and being widely regarded as one the first feminists. Her books argued that women were the intellectual equals of men and it was the lack of education which held them back. She struggled to break into a literary career at a time when women were not expected to speak their minds, let alone write novels.

Wollstonecrat moved to France to observe the French Revolution, which she hoped would embody her ideals about equality. There she fell in love with an American adventurer and became pregnant for the first time. When he moved on, abandoning her and the infant in Revolutionary France, she returned to England where she began writing again. She gave birth to her second child Mary, later author of Frankenstein’s Monster, and died in childbirth there.

Maria Theresa

maria theresea

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Born the last heir to the Austrian house of Hapsburg, Maria Theresea become the heir to a kingdom that was in serious trouble. Her father had squandered the wealth of the nation fighting wars on multiple fronts. When he died from eating bad mushrooms (seriously), Maria took over control of the country. Because her father had wanted a son, Maria had never been trained in matters of state, so she deferred to the judgement of her husband and her father’s ministers. This turned out to be a bad move because they were all terrible at running the country.

They had already bankrupted the country, soldiers hadn’t been paid in months, and everyone in Europe was licking their lips at the opportunity to carve up the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As Maria began studying the situation, she realized that she was the only person of authority around who had any idea what was going on and so assumed the reins of power herself. She then proceeded to kick out all the greedy foreign kings who had taken advantage of the Empire’s weakness to seize some territory.

Keep in mind she did all of this while having a truly prodigious number of children. In fact she had sixteen of them, which meant she was more or less constantly pregnant. A few of these children became important in their own right, including the future queen of France, Marie Antoinette.

Boudicca

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Boudicca was a queen of the British tribe known as the Iceni at the time of the Roman invasion of England. Her husband had basically made a deal with Rome that said, Rome can have my land after I die, and in exchange, none of my people are hurt or harassed. It was a fair deal, Rome got to have that part of England without bloodshed, and the Iceni didn’t have to get crushed by the unstoppable juggernaut of the Roman army and sold into slavery.

Unfortunately for the Iceni, the Romans really only cared about diplomacy as long as it benefited them. So, the second Boudicca’s husband died, the Romans basically set about sacking the villages of the Iceni and taking whatever they wanted. They even tied Boudicca to a post and whipped her while taking advantage of her two daughters.

Now, this was designed to force the Iceni into submission, and for most people it would have worked. But Boudicca was not most people. Instead of having her spirit broken, it was more like her spirit was replaced by some kind of ancient demon formed from all of mankind’s hatred and fury over the course of history. Boudicca declared war on the Romans and set about rallying every British tribe who were tired of being ruled by some short-statured jerks from Italy.

Boudicca’s rebellion grew and thousands flocked to her banner as she killed every Roman she could find and burned their cities in England to the ground. Finally deciding that this was a serious emergency, the Romans sent a legion to the island to put a stop to the rebellion. On the day of the battle, Boudicca told her soldiers that while she was a noble woman, she was fighting for the sake of her honor and daughters and not her lost kingdom. She also informed them that even as a woman she intended to fight to the death and if they, as men, wanted to run that was totally cool, as long as they were fine with looking like total wimps in front of everyone.

Unfortunately for the British, the Roman army didn’t conquer most of the western world at the time by being bad at putting down rebellions, and the rebels were defeated. Boudicca, true to her word drank poison rather than surrender to the Romans.