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Famed throughout the ancient world for her outstanding beauty, queen Nefertiti remains one of the most well known of the queens of Egypt. Nefertiti was the Wife of Akhenaten during the Eighteenth Dynasty. She bore Akhenaten 6 daughters and no sons, and shared a near co-rulership with the king.
Fifteen years after her appointment to the position of Queen of Memphis, Nefertiti mysteriously disappeared. Egyptologists have assumed that this was either due to banishment or her death. However, little evidence suggests that she actually died. Similarly, speculation exists as to whether she was the obscure pharaoh Neferneferuaten.
Nefertiti was the chief wife (queen) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who took the name Akhenaten when he led a religious revolution which put the sun god Aten at the center of religious worship. Art from the time shows a close family relationship, with Nefertiti, Akhenaten, and their six daughters depicted more naturalistically, individualistically, and informally than in other eras. Images of Nefertiti also depict her taking an active role in the Aten cult.
After about fourteen years, Nefertiti disappears from public view. Akhenaten was succeeded first by one Pharaoh, Smenkhkhare, usually described as his son-in-law, and then by another, Tutankhaten (who changed his name to Tutankhamen when the Aten cult was abandoned), who is also usually described as Akhenaten’s son-in-law.
One theory of Nefertiti’s disappearance is that she assumed a male identity and ruled under the name Smenkhkhare. In another theory, she was murdered as part of the return to the traditional Egyptian religious customs. Another is that she simply died.
As for Nefertiti’s origins, these too are debated by archaeologists and historians. She may have been a foreign princess from an area in what is now northern Iraq. She may have been the daughter of the previous Pharaoh, Amenhotep III, and his chief wife, Queen Tiy, in which case either Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) was not the son of Amenhotep III, or Nefertiti married (as was a custom in Egypt) her brother or half-brother. Or, she may have been the daughter of Ay, who was a brother of Queen Tiy.
“Whether women are better leaders than men I cannot say. But I can say they are certainly no worse – Golda Meir”
When the word “greatness” comes to mind, Golda Meir comes immediately to the forefront. Her commitment to her land and to her people was the paragon of human dedication. Her complete involvement, tempered with love, fired by fierce devotion, caused the world to know that she was a true mover of mountains.
Though born in Kiev, Russia, she moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her family in 1906. In 1915, she joined the Labor Zionist Party. In 1917, she married Morris Meyerson and they moved to Tel Aviv (then Palestine) in 1921. Later they became the proud parents of Sarah and Menachem.
Golda Meir was nominated by the Labor Party to be Prime Minister of Israel on March 7, 1969. She held this esteemed position until 1974. Before Golda Meir became Prime Minister, she was the Foreign Minister for Israel from 1956 to 1965, During her time as Foreign Minister, she had the opportunity to work with the cooperative agricultural and urban planning programs between Israel and Africa.
Golda Meir was very proud of her international, as well as domestic work. After this time she became the Secretary General of the Mapai Party. She was Minister of Labor from 1949 to 1956, a position which was her personal favorite, for she had the time to work with and for the people.
Always concerned with her people, Golda Meir, working with the Labor Movement, attended the Zionist Congress in Geneva in 1939, to help ensure protection of European Jews. She was greatly saddened to discover that many Europeans were not as caring as she thought they might be. In 1948, she was part of the People’s Council signing the vital proclamation establishing the State of Israel.
One of the hardest days in the life of Golda Meir was October 6, 1973 – the beginning of the Yom Kippur War. It was a great tragedy for Golda Meir. In June, 1974, Golda Meir retired from political life.
Dates and positions do not begin to explain the lasting positive influence of Golda Meir. She is still deeply loved today by her people and by millions more throughout the world. Her dedication to her country and her personal concern for all people are legendary. Whatever Golda Meir did, she did for the people. If Greatness is given a name, it surely is Golda Meir.
As ruler of the USSR. from 1929 to 1953, Joseph Stalin was in charge of Soviet policies during the early phase of the Cold War. Born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili on December 21, 1879, he adopted the name Stalin, which means “Man of Steel,” while still a young revolutionary.
Stalin first rose to power in 1922 as secretary general of the Communist Party. Using administrative skills and ruthless maneuvering, Stalin rid himself of all potential rivals in the party, first by having many of them condemned as “deviationists,” and later by ordering them executed.
To ensure his position and to push forward “socialism in one country,” he put the Soviet Union on a course of crash collectivization and industrialization. An estimated 25 million farmers were forced onto state farms. Collectivization alone killed as many as 14.5 million people, and Soviet agricultural output was reduced by 25 percent, according to some estimates.
In the 1930s, Stalin launched his Great Purge, ridding the Communist Party of all the people who had brought him to power. Soviet nuclear physicist and academician Andrei Sakharov estimated that more than 1.2 million party members — more than half the party — were arrested between 1936 and 1939, of which 600,000 died by torture, execution or perished in the Gulag.
Stalin also purged the military leadership, executing a large percentage of the officer corps and leaving the U.S.S.R. unprepared when World War II broke out. In an effort to avoid war with Germany, Stalin agreed to a non-aggression pact with German leader Adolf Hitler in August 1939.
When Hitler invaded the U.S.S.R. on June 22, 1941, Stalin was not seen or heard from for two weeks. After addressing the nation two weeks later, Stalin took command of his troops.
With the Soviet Union initially carrying the burden of the fighting, Stalin met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Tehran (1943) and Yalta (1945), and with Churchill and Roosevelt’s successor, President Harry S. Truman, in Potsdam (1945), dividing the postwar world into “spheres of influence.”
Though the U.S.S.R. only joined the war against Japan in August 1945, Stalin insisted on expanding Soviet influence into Asia, namely the Kurile Islands, the southern half of Sakhalin Island and the northern section of Korea. More important, Stalin wanted to secure a territorial buffer zone that had ideologically friendly regimes along the U.S.S.R.’s western borders.
In the wake of the German defeat, the U.S.S.R. occupied most of the countries in Eastern Europe and eventually ensured the installation of Stalinist regimes. Stalin said later to Milovan Djilas, a leading Yugoslav communist, “Whoever occupies a territory also imposes his own social system.” He believed that the Americans and the British “imperialism” would clash and eventually “socialism” would triumph.
After initially approving the participation by Eastern European countries in the U.S.-sponsored Marshall Plan (1947), Stalin forbade it. Stalin also sought to gain influence in Germany, though his exact goals remain controversial. Denied access to the western German occupation zones, he agreed to the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in October 1949.
Encouraged by Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949, Stalin gave the green light to North Korean leader Kim Il Sung to attack South Korea in June 1950.
His confrontational foreign policy and his domestic terror regime (the “Stalinist system”) had an impact on Soviet society and politics well beyond the dictator’s death of natural causes at age 73 on March 5, 1953.
The diversity of pictures that sound made possible was the most characteristic feature of the movies in the 1930’s. They were filling the democratic role that the theatre itself had played a century earlier, and nightly programs often showed a startling resemblance to those of the popular playhouses of that earlier day. As well as straight theatre, the movies offered a modern equivalent for the equestrian melodramas, elaborate burlesques, and variety shows which had once had such wide appeal.
At firstrun houses there might be seen in quick succession a classical play filmed with all the artistry the producers now commanded, an extravagant girl-and-music show, a detective thriller, a bloodand-thunder western melodrama, a sophisticated comedy, and a slap-stick farce. A single show, again like those of mid-century, invariably included one of these main features; one or more specialities, which might well be a singing or dancing act (the news reel was an innovation for which the theatre had had no parallel); and a comedy short, which took the place of the nineteenth-century afterpiece.
The feature films derived from plays of the legitimate stage ranged from Camille to Petticoat Fever, from Pygmalion to Idiot’s Delight. Historical romances were elaborately produced: Disraeli was a favorite picture one year, and in another Cimarron, a story of Oklahoma pioneering. Gone With the Wind was a sensation at the close of 1939. Well-known classics were adapted to the screen, with such notable successes as Captains Courageous and David Copperfield.
New possibilities opened up with animated cartoons. The “Silly Symphonies” had a great success, and one of the most popular pictures in 1937-38 was the cartoon fairy-tale (photographed in color) of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. To provide a comprehensive service to its exhibitors, a studio also needed to keep a stable of stars representing each of the most prominent types. Competition between stars was exaggerated by studio publicity and fan magazines, which delighted as much in inventing feuds between female stars of sirnilar appeal as they did in devising new romantic permutations among Hollywood’s leading figures.
Montegrappa is proud to honour one of the greatest heroes of the 20th Century, with a limited edition pen marking the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space. It signalled the start of manned space flight, launching the most exciting period in the history of man’s unquenchable thirst for exploration.
Born on 9 March 1934 in Klushino, Russia, Gagarin was a Soviet Air Forces pilot who, in 1960, after completing the selection process, was chosen with 19 other pilots for the Soviet space program. Gagarin was further selected for an elite training group known as the Sochi Six from which the first cosmonauts of the Vostok programme would be chosen. He became the first human being to journey into outer space when his the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1) spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961, with a time in space of 1 hour 48 minutes.
Following this momentous flight, Gagarin became a worldwide celebrity, touring widely abroad. Beginning in 1962, Gagarin served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union; he also spent seven years working on designs for a reusable spacecraft. Gagarin achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the Soviet Air Force on 12 June 1962 and on 6 November 1963, was promoted to Colonel.
Because of his importance as a Soviet hero, and fearing for his safety, officials banned him from participating in further spaceflights. Gagarin had become deputy training director of the Star City cosmonaut training base, later named after him, while re-qualifying as a fighter pilot. On 27 March 1968, with tragic irony and despite the best efforts of Soviet officials to protect him, Gagarin and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin died when their MiG-15UTI, on a routine training flight, crashed near the town of Kirzhach. Their bodies were cremated and the ashes were buried in the walls of the Kremlin on Red Square.
Originally conceived as part of the new Cosmopolitan collection, the importance of the 50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s space flight has elevated the pen to the status of a stand-alone limited edition. The Montegrappa Yuri Gagarin Pen joins the company of other honours including a series of commemorative ruble coins issued by the Soviet Union for the 20th, 30th and 40th anniversaries, his title of Hero of the Soviet Union and the re-naming of the town of Gzhatsk in 1968 as Gagarin.
Montegrappa’s artisans have engraved the barrel with the image of Yuri Gagarin in bas-relief, bordered with an interplanetary motif, while the cap features the coat-of-arms of the USSR. The pocket clip, fitted with a rotating ball at its tip to facilitate smooth insertion to and removal from a pocket, is flanked by reproductions of Moscow’s monument to Yuri Gagarin, completed in 1980 and located in Gagarin’s square. The fountain pen features a built-in piston-fed filling mechanism, providing ink to the two-tone 18K gold nib with ebonite feeder.
Both the roller ball and the fountain pen arrive in presentation boxes, fashioned in wood. The lid of the box is embellished with a metal plaque bearing an engraved image of Yuri Gagarin, with a commemorative message in Cyrillic characters. The box for the fountain pen also includes a complimentary bottle of ink.
To mark the 50 years since Yuri Gagarin’s historic space flight in 1961, Montegrappa will issue the Yuri Gagarin pen in a limited edition consisting of:
• 1961 silver fountain pens
• 1961 silver roller balls
• 50 solid 18K gold fountain pens
• 50 solid 18K gold roller balls
Since 1912, Montegrappa has been manufacturing high-quality writing instruments in the same historic building in Bassano del Grappa, North East Italy.
First the list shows a predominant interest in the human figure. Among the sketches are misure d’una figura, molti nudi integri, molte bracci, gambi, piedi e attitudine; among the subjects are those beloved of the Florentine anatomical painters such as Castagno and Pollajuolo–ottoS. Sebastiani, and certi S. Girolami. Of the eight St Sebastians there remains only a hint in two slight drawings. Of the St Jeromes there exists the unfinished monochrome in the Vatican, which on grounds of style alone should be placed in this period. Both in pose and treatment it is close to the Uffizi Adoration, and like the Adoration, it may have been unfinished when Leonardo left Florence. If so, the entry on the list may refer to studies for this picture.
The Vatican St Jerome is one of the few works by Leonardo whose authenticity has never been questioned. But although he alone could have invented this magnificent image, the original makes less impression than it should. This is probably due to the fact that it has been badly damaged. The two halves of the panel are said to have been discovered by Cardinal Fesch in two different places, and one was being used as a table-top.
As a result the nervous drawing has been overlaid with retouchings, and some of Leonardo’s magic has evaporated; but we are still able to appreciate the composition as a whole, dominated by the grandiose gesture of the Saint. Both as an embodiment of passion and as what Roger Fry would have called a plastic sequence, this figure is a great invention. It stands midway between Signorelli and Michelangelo, recalling the former in the sharply defined planes of the torso, the latter in the rhythmic continuity of the pose. The concentration on a single theme is unusual for Leonardo. More characteristic are the accessories of the composition, the snarling lion, the landscape, and the dark cave foreshadowing the Virgin of the Rocks.
Finally, we reach the two consecutive items, una nosstra donna finjta: un altra quasi che n proffilo, “our lady finished; another almost, who is in profile”. Of the first picture we know nothing, but the second I have always believed to be the Madonna Litta in the Hermitage. It is the only one of Leonardo’s Virgins which could be called “in profile and we know from drawings that the design must date from about 1480. Unfortunately, the Madonna Litta has been totally repainted at least twice, once when it was finished by a Milanese artist about 1495, and once in the nineteenth century, when it was transferred from panel to canvas. It now looks like an oleograph. But even in this ruined condition it has qualities which are not found in shop work.
Gaddafi was the youngest child from a nomadic Bedouin peasant family in the desert region of Sirte. He was given a traditional religious primary education and attended the Sebha preparatory school in Fezzan from 1956 to 1961. Gaddafi and a small group of friends that he met in this school went on to form the core leadership of a militant revolutionary group that would eventually seize control of the country of Libya. Qaddafi’s inspiration was Gamal Abdul Nasser, a popular statesman in neighboring Egypt who rose to the presidency by appealing to Arab unity and condemning the West. In 1961, Qaddafi was expelled from Sebha for his political activism.
He went on to attend the University of Libya, where he graduated with high grades. He then entered the Military Academy in Benghazi in 1963, where he and a few of his fellow militants organized a secretive group dedicated to overthrowing the pro-Western Libyan monarchy. After graduating in 1965, he was sent to Britain for further training, returning in 1966 as a commissioned officer in the Signal Corps.
Rise to power
On September 1, 1969, Colonel Gaddafi and his secret corps of Unionist Officers staged a bloodless, unopposed coup d’état in Tripoli, the capital, while the elderly King Idris I was on a visit to Turkey. Immediately afterward there was a short power struggle between Qaddafi and his young officers on one side and older senior officers and civilians on the other, and Qaddafi assumed power in January 1970. He named the country the Libyan Arab Republic and ruled as president of the Revolutionary Command Council from 1969 to 1977, then switched to the title of president of People’s General Congress from 1977 to 1979. In 1979 he renounced all official titles but remained the de facto ruler of Libya.
Islamic Socialism and Pan Arabism
Gaddafi based his new regime on a blend of Arab nationalism, aspects of the welfare state and what Qaddafi termed “direct, popular democracy.” He called this system “Islamic socialism” and while he permitted private control over small companies, the government controlled the larger ones. Welfare, liberation and education were emphasized. He also imposed a system of conservative morals, outlawing alcohol and gambling. To reinforce the ideals of this socialist state, Qaddafi outlined his political philosophy in his Green Book, published in 1976. In practice, however, Libya’s political system is thought to be somewhat less idealistic and from time to time Qaddafi has responded to domestic and external opposition with violence. His revolutionary committees called for the assassination of Libyan dissidents living abroad in February 1980, with Libyan hit squads sent abroad to murder them.
With respect to Libya’s neighbors, Gaddafi followed Abdul Nasser’s ideas of pan-Arabism and became a fervent advocate of the unity of all Arab states into one Arab nation. He also supported pan-Islamism, the notion of a loose union of all Islamic countries and peoples. After Nasser’s death on September 28 1970, Qaddafi attempted to take up the mantle of ideological leader of Arab nationalism. He proclaimed the “Federation of Arab Republics” (Libya, Egypt and Syria) in 1972, hoping to create a pan-Arab state, but the three countries disagreed on the specific terms of the merger. In 1974 he signed an agreement with Tunisia’s Habib Bourguiba on a merger between the two countries, but this also failed to work in practice and ultimately differences between the two countries would deteriorate into strong animosity.
A Hunkpapa Lakota chief and holy man under whom the Lakota tribes united in their struggle for survival on the northern plains, Sitting Bull remained defiant toward American military power and contemptuous of American promises to the end.
Born around 1831 on the Grand River in present-day South Dakota, at a place the Lakota called “Many Caches” for the number of food storage pits they had dug there, Sitting Bull was given the name Tatanka-Iyotanka, which describes a buffalo bull sitting intractably on its haunches. It was a name he would live up to throughout his life.
As a young man, Sitting Bull became a leader of the Strong Heart warrior society and, later, a distinguished member of the Silent Eaters, a group concerned with tribal welfare. He first went to battle at age 14, in a raid on the Crow, and saw his first encounter with American soldiers in June 1863, when the army mounted a broad campaign in retaliation for the Santee Rebellion in Minnesota, in which Sitting Bull’s people played no part. The next year Sitting Bull fought U.S. troops again, at the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, and in 1865 he led a siege against the newly established Fort Rice in present-day North Dakota. Widely respected for his bravery and insight, he became head chief of the Lakota nation about 1868.
Sitting Bull’s courage was legendary. Once, in 1872, during a battle with soldiers protecting railroad workers on the Yellowstone River, Sitting Bull led four other warriors out between the lines, sat calmly sharing a pipe with them as bullets buzzed around, carefully reamed the pipe out when they were finished, and then casually walked away.
The stage was set for war between Sitting Bull and the U.S. Army in 1874, when an expedition led by General George Armstrong Custer confirmed that gold had been discovered in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory, an area sacred to many tribes and placed off-limits to white settlement by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.
Despite this ban, prospectors began a rush to the Black Hills, provoking the Lakota to defend their land. When government efforts to purchase the Black Hills failed, the Fort Laramie Treaty was set aside and the commissioner of Indian Affairs decreed that all Lakota not settled on reservations by January 31, 1876, would be considered hostile. Sitting Bull and his people held their ground.
In March, as three columns of federal troops under General George Crook, General Alfred Terry and Colonel John Gibbon moved into the area, Sitting Bull summoned the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho to his camp on Rosebud Creek in Montana Territory. There he led them in the sun dance ritual, offering prayers to Wakan Tanka, their Great Spirit, and slashing his arms one hundred times as a sign of sacrifice. During this ceremony, Sitting Bull had a vision in which he saw soldiers falling into the Lakota camp like grasshoppers falling from the sky.