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Lady Godiva


Lady Godiva Riding In the Nude

Lady Godiva
Lady Godiva riding naked through Coventry.

NEARLY a thousand years ago, Lady Godiva, married to Leofric, Earl of Mercia, got famous for a legendary ride through Coventry in Warwickshire, wholly naked. Why would a lovely woman do such a thing? Some might ask the counter-question: Why not?" and say, "A beautiful woman doesn't really need clothes [Norwegian proverb]".

Lady Godgifu flourished ca. 104080. She was a pretty woman.

The Tale

Lady Godgifu cared greatly for the people of Coventry who were ruled over by her tyrannical husband Leofric. He imposed heavy taxes on the people and he and Godgifu often argued about it. She begged him to be more merciful.

One day Leofric got so exasperated that made the promise that if she rode naked through the streets of Coventry on Market Day, he would cancel the tax altogether. The lady took the challenge and in 1040 rode through the streets, clothed only in her long, blond hair.

Leofric kept his promise, and the people of Coventry did not have to pay taxes, except for horses. He also changed his ways. Instead of persecuting the church he mended his relationship with Godgifu and founded a Benedictine monastery with her.

One of the late version of the tale says that she asked everybody to stay indoors during her ride, with their windows and doors shut. Only one man peeped. That was Tom the tailor. He gave name to all sorts of Peeping Toms - [◦Link] [◦Fine background thoughts]


BACKGROUND INFORMATION. The earliest extant source for the story is the Chronica (under the year 1057) of Roger of Wendover (d. 1236). He recounts that her husband, in exasperation over her ceaseless imploring declared he would reduce Coventry's heavy taxes if she rode naked through the crowded marketplace. She did. Ranulf Higden (d. 1364), in his Polychronicon, says that as a result Leofric freed the town from all tolls save those on horses. An inquiry made in the reign of Edward I shows that at that time no tolls were paid in Coventry except on horses. A later chronicle asserts that Godiva required the townsmen to remain indoors at the time fixed for her ride.

Peeping Tom, a citizen who looked out his window, seems to have become a part of the legend in the 1600s. In most accounts he was struck blind or dead.

A Godiva procession, from 1678 part of Coventry Fair, is held every seven or eight years.

Some hatched thoughts

Marcel Duchamp. Nude Descending a Stairs. No. 2. 1912.
The famous Nude Descending a Stairs No. 2, 1912, by Marcel Duchamp.

To be lovely to look at is often part of the strivings for better social class.

To appear preeminent and good-looking by such as good clothes, decor and debased servility of others - expect something far better than partiality from it.

Remain judicious as long and well as you can. It takes time and at times hard-won experiences to find out which honey is non-poisonous.

As for nudity, this should be acknowledged: Humans are born naked. Neitherforeskin nor nudity is any shame. But it is possible to denude oneself for bad reasons, and do it awkwardly too. It is fit to take care, for the neighbours around may not be good or mature. Adjust accordingly.

Noticing or observing what is wise had better be accompanied with noting what is common too. Adjust accordingly, that is, make the best out of it.

Those who get overpowered by restrictions in the long art of living, have a need for resuscitations, When many unsound or non-helpful standardised ways of coping and living or rigmarole suffocate us, we happen to need plenty of "green politics".

One hallmark of the good friend is courage.

Family living is based on friendship and service.

For centuries, persons were baptized nude in the church.



Ebu: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2009 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD. London: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009.


◦Nudity in the Bible


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