Saturday, September 13, 2008

This was what being α was?   posted by Razib @ 9/13/2008 12:51:00 PM

I recall once in high school history my teacher telling us that the average American lived like a king compared to Henry VIII. Not implausible considering the conveniences which were the products of only the past few generations, let alone centuries. That being said, people were in abundance during Henry's period, at least when it came to the whims of the king. So I was surprised when I was skimming over some original documents detailing the English Reformation that several contemporary observers note that Ann Boleyn was rather average in attractiveness. Her exceptionality in appearence was her rather dark complexion for an Englishwoman. In any case, I decided to check out the paintings of Henry's other wives, and was shocked that they seemed rather unexceptional by an large. I left out Anne of Cleves because she wasn't picked by Henry, though I suppose Catherine of Aragon is a borderline case since Henry was young enough that he had little choice in the matter. Anyway, makes you wonder about what people actually do when they have power to do what they want to do, and what they value.