Tag Archives: hospitals

Fulvia and Florence, a Formidable Pair

8 Apr

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that when I announce that I’ve got an article in a magazine, I usually provide a tasteful, cropped photo of the article – an image that shows enough to help you find it in the magazine and hopefully want to read more, but not enough to upset the people at the magazine who deal with copyright and fair usage.

This time is a bit unusual because, although I currently have an article in two magazines, I don’t have a copy of either of them. I moved home almost a year ago, but while I thought I had updated my address with all my contacts while I was still having my post forwarded, in fact I obviously didn’t, and the magazines are probably confusing the person at my old house, or sitting in a forlorn corner of a sorting office. It makes me wonder what else I may be missing…😕

Anyway, it seems fair to assume that this sort of thing didn’t happen much to either Fulvia or Florence Nightingale. Although they both moved around a fair bit, Florence was fearsomely organised. Fulvia probably was too, although less material survives about her; she was certainly fearsome.

Flo and Fulvia

Florence and Fulvia – they probably wouldn’t have been the best of pals.

What is most remarkable about these two women, though, is not so much their administrative skills as the way they both played a public role as women in societies where public roles for women didn’t really exist (unless you were Queen Victoria or a vestal virgin).

Of course, it helped that they were both from rich and important families, but there’s no need to hold that against them. While it’s possible that there were many poor and obscure women who would have achieved just as great things if they had had the same opportunities, those stories don’t lend themselves so well to popular history articles.

Florence and Fulvia both made convincing use of the opportunities life had given them. One transformed hospitals and established nursing in Britain as a proper profession, the other started a war that nearly changed the course of Roman (and therefore European) history. You can probably guess which was which.

You can find the article on Florence Nightingale, ‘the Lady with the Lamp’ to those who loved her, ‘the Bird’ to those who didn’t, in the April edition of Premier Christianity magazine. You can find the article on Fulvia in the April edition of History Today magazine. (I can’t tell you what she was known as, because most of it wasn’t repeatable.)

Enjoy! And then send me your copy once you’re finished with it 😉

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