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Throwback Thursday: Awesome Moms Of History: Queen Olympias Edition

I've got to say, I really enjoy these Throwback Thursdays. As a human who is proud to be a woman, researching these historical women has made me so proud to be the more-pain-tolerant sex. Seriously, seeing the strength that women - and especially mamas - have had since jump street is inspiring.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to this week's Badass Mother Of History: Olympias!

No, not Angelina Jolie. Olympias, the real deal!

Olympias is most well-known for being the mother of Alexander The Great AND Cleopatra. You know that phrase, "Behind every great man stands an even greater woman?" Pretty sure that was penned for Olympias. No kid turns out to be one of the most iconic rulers of all time without having a strong-spined mama pushing him along. And no woman becomes a cunning political genius without learning something from her mother.

You don't become the world's greatest military genius by accident. via Interfaith Oberserver

Olympias is not just a strong mama, she's also maybe one of the coolest/scariest women I've researched. I say scary because I'd probably be in silent awe if I met her in real life, but also kind of freaked out that she'd try to recruit me to some cult or something. Born Polyxena, to King Neoptolemus of the Molossians, Olympias was noble from birth. She was deeply into mysticism and joined a few cults devoted to worshipping various Greek Gods. Eventually she changed her name to Myrtale to reflect the commitment to The Cult of Dionysus. Upon her marriage to Philip II, King of Macedonia, she became known as Olympias.

In Greek culture, the birth of a great man was believed to be accompanied by mystical signs. After their marriage, Philip II claimed he had a dream in which he put a seal on Olympias' womb, a seal in the shape of a lion. She became pregnant with Alexander and the night before his birth, she dreamt that lightning struck her womb and set it ablaze. The fire spread rapidly and overtook everything and then extinguished. In case you aren't familiar with Alexander The Great, know this: "The Great" isn't his middle name. He's just so impressive that people started calling him that. Later on, Olympias gave birth to Cleopatra of Macedon. Cleopatra was her own Badass Mother Of History and legitimately ruled an entire kingdom for TWENTY ONE YEARS. Her death marks the end of the Hellenistic Period. Yeah, it's settled - she's getting her own future TBT.

You know how Cleopatra was into snakes? She git it from her mama. Painted by Peter Paul Rubens

Back to Olympias: this woman was the definition of the word ambitious. Reportedly, her marriage to Philip II was contentious because he wanted to control her and she was strong-willed. Eventually, Philip took another (his seventh) wife, who bore him a son. With tension between Olympias and Philip mounting, Philip failed to affirm that Alexander was his rightful heir. Olympias secluded herself in voluntary exile and began plotting. Eventually, Philip was murdered by his own bodyguard. Some believe that Olympias conspired to assassinate Philip as a means to help her son ascend to the throne.

If you aren't already a little intimidated by her, hold onto your boots. Apparently, Olympias ordered the execution of Philip's seventh wife and her son. You know, just clearing the path to the throne for her son Alexander. As moms do. Side note: Never again will I feel bad for hurrying to snag the last spot at a daycare for my kid.

After some political turmoil and many years, Alexander the Great died (probably poisoned). After his death, his wife gave birth to a son, and Olympias' grandson was expected to become King. Lots of political scheming and scandal later, and Olympias felt she had no choice but to intervene again. Philip III had claimed the throne for himself and his wife Eurydice ruled by his side. Olympias, MASTER MANIPULATOR MAMA, convinced Eurydice to turn her own army against her husband. After his defeat, Olympias ordered both Philip III and Eurydice to be executed.

Olympias is captured by her enemies. Note the Alexander the Great statue in the shadows. Painted by Jean-Joseph Taillasson

Eventually Olympias's badassery caught up with her. She was captured by enemies of her grandson. The military men ordered to kill her REFUSED, because, like...nobody messes with Alexander The Great's mom. So instead, the families of her victims stoned her to death. Heck, that's even a pretty badass way to die.

That's the kind of mama bear I want to have in my corner. Wouldn't you? What should we learn from Olympias' job as a badass mom? Tell me your take on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3.

 

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