3Rani Lakshmi Bai Brings Her Toddler to War
Rani Lakshmi Bai had two things in common with most Disney princesses: a dead mother and spunk. Lakshmi Bai was born in India in 1835, and her dad worked for a prime minister, so she was raised in a royal setting. But unlike most princess types, Lakshmi Bai wasn't content to just learn needlework and curtsy etiquette. Instead, she spent her youth studying swordsmanship, archery and how to use guns, and also how to find the tightest yellow jumpsuits. Clearly this is all going to come into play later.
Oh yeah, this is definitely a Rufus Wainwright moment.
Lakshmi Bai was married to her Prince Charming at age 12 (again -- yeah, it was a different time) and they adopted a son. But then her husband the raja died soon after. At this point a guy named Lord Jackass cited the Doctrine of Lapse as justification for seizing the rani's lands. According to the British government (who was occupying India at the time), the princess and her son weren't of royal blood, so the throne was empty.
Also a mistake was riding a toy pony and brandishing a pipe cleaner.
While emotionally recovering from the trauma of losing a husband while also still being a child herself, Rani Lakshmi Bai said "Fuck it" and became a freedom fighter. Her first move was to recruit an army that allowed lady soldiers. Next up, fighting the British! She took her role so seriously that she reportedly went into battle with her adopted son strapped to her back, presumably to drop him off at soccer practice after each fight.
Weirdly, he never got put in reserve.
Rani Lakshmi Bai, "the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders," was eventually killed during the Battle of Gwalior. According to a British report of the battle, she died "firing at the man" who had shot her in the back ... hopefully while Raja Jr. was at the babysitter's.
2Princesses Chelidonis & Archidamia Were True Spartans
Remember in high school, or for some of you, yesterday, when all it took to cement a ruined reputation was a single outrageous rumor? Usually one started by a glue sniffer who said they knew someone who knew someone who thought they saw so-and-so "doing it" with a janitor's dust broom? (In the butt?) Remember that? Sometimes reading the Greek historian Plutarch feels like someone took all those high school rumors and codified them in classy English leather. Keep that in mind as we tell you about the next two women.
"I said it was the chair, but no one listened."
According to Plutarch, there was a decrepit old Spartan noble named Cleonymus, who, through luck and probably a lot of money, married the much younger Chelidonis (who was a lady, in case we had to make that clear). It should also be noted that Cleonymus was a bit of a bastard and everyone hated him. As often happens in these cases, Cleonymus ended up cuckolded when Chelidonis fell in love with her great-nephew. And, as cuckolded men often do, he left town and convinced a neighboring army to join him in his quest to exact his revenge on the couple/relations who wronged him.
He stubbed his toe once, and sent ten thousand men to lay siege to the table.
Long story short, the guy Cleonymus invited to the revenge party was Pyrrhus, the same Pyrrhus that the phrase "pyrrhic victory" was named after. Pyrrhus and Old Man Cleo approached Sparta with 25,000 soldiers, 2,000 horses, 24 elephants and pages of angst-ridden poetry. So the Spartans gathered, took a vote and decided it was best if the women folk stayed out of the fray.
But Chelidonis and her buddy Princess Archidamia disagreed.
We dunno, Hollywood told us woman's armor should have tassels or something.
Princess Archidamia entered the senate "with a sword in her hand" and told them that they were all going to die unless Sparta's women took to the battlefield. She also served as captain to the Spartan women and put Spartan children to work, because this was Sparta, after all. As for Princess Chelidonis, she paced her bedroom with a noose tied around her neck so that her estranged husband would never take her alive.
Later, she used it for less morbid things.
Thanks to Princess Archidamia's leadership and Princess Chelidonis' horniness, the Spartan women were able to hold off the invading armies long enough for Chelidonis' boyfriend to show up and assault Pyrrhus from the rear -- which was every bit as brutal in ancient Greece as it sounds.
Phyrrus, seen here either dying or achieving orgasm. It's hard to tell with ancient Greeks.