Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Spray of Pearls" saves the day!

(taken from "Uppity Women of Medieval Times" by Vicki Leon)

When the Crusader armies from France were headed to Egypt in 1249 - things looked bad for the Egyptians - not the least of which was that the Sultan had just died in his wife's tent. What to do? What to do?

Well, Shajar al Durr (Spray of Pearls), the wife came up with an ingenious idea. She told only 2 close advisers about her husband's untimely death and instead began issuing bulletins and orders "signed" by the Sultan each day. The Egyptians rose to the occasion, thinking their fearless leader was still in charge, and the Crusaders were sent packing.

After killing off the heir apparent to her husband - sweet little Shajar al Durr became the Sultana and ruled for 7 years. She was later forced to marry and step aside from her office. Not one to take retirement easily, she had her husband killed but unfortunately by this time the tide had turned against her and she met the same fate.

Oh, but what a woman!! Beautiful, intelligent and ambitious in a culture and at a time in history when women were hidden from view.