In Scorpio

20×20″ oil on linen.
Private Collection


The sister of a war lord Count, her appetizing youth belied the fact she was a skilled markswoman and archer. She was tasked with training her brother’s militia; even as a teenager, her impetuous actions to safeguard her family lands and dominions from attackers had prepared her well. After joining in an insurrection against her king, an outbreak of syphilis had taken hold on in her encampment; boils and ulcers, especially the pain in their bones, rendered them useless. The belief that women were the assumed source caused her followers to desert her. She surrendered and was executed along with her brother and uncle for high treason. Scientists and astronomers would later claim the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (the magic planet) in Scorpio had caused the outbreak, but as time wore on, they simply blamed the French.