Kristina Wasa


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René Descartes (1596—1650) French philosopher, mathematician

Hugo Grotius (1583—1645) Dutch jurist and diplomat


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(Queen Kristina of Sweden) (1626–89)

The daughter of Gustav II, Kristina inherited the crown of Sweden in 1632. In 1652 she suffered a breakdown, and in 1654 abdicated, the first step in a process that led her to Catholicism, and in later years she lived largely in Rome, although occasionally trying her hand at becoming monarch elsewhere. Her maxims are collected as Les Sentiments héroïques and L'Ouvrage de loisir: les sentiments raisonnables, addressing mainly ethical issues. But her academic interests were wide and absorbed her time even while she remained a sovereign. She is remembered in philosophy partly as the correspondent of both Descartes and Grotius. Each travelled to visit her in Sweden (Grotius in 1644 and Descartes in 1650), and both died of pneumonia as a result. Kristina's life after her abdication caused some scandal. In 1656, still believing in the divine right of monarchs (and ex-monarchs), she had a servant executed.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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