Thursday, July 7, 2011
Look at her over there, dressed up in her Sunday best, tired smile on her face, sword in one hand and the lifeless head of a bearded man in the other.
I had to do some research.
Apparently, Judith was a very popular subject of painters for several hundred years. She is seen lopping this dude's head off, or lugging it around, in countless painting. People really dug it.
It comes from The Book of Judith, an old account that the Catholics liked so much that they included it in their bible. The Protestants - not so much. Not one mention whatsoever in their bibles.
Seems this General Holofernes was stomping through the Holy Land beating up on people and came to Judith's town. Well, they had some pretty good defenses, so the General decided to camp outside and issue threats and such.
After a while, Judith, a very beautiful widow, had had enough of it. She got all gussied up and marched on down to the encampment. Judith told General Holofernes that she had decided to switch sides and give him all the intel he would need to conquer her city.
General Holofernes fell head over heels in lust. A couple days later, Judtih got the General drunk as a skunk, stole his sword, lopped off his head, and brought it back home. Her fellow citizen hung the head from the city wall.
When the General's troops found out, they freaked and ran away. Judith lived happily ever after.
Online commentary explains Judith's popularity through history as a David vs. Goliath kind of thing - the small and weak defeating the big and strong. There is another aspect - Judith is the ancient world's Mata Hari, and sexy spies are always in vogue.
I see another aspect, however. People love hot chicks with swords. Judith is the Bible's answer to Red Sonja - minus the chainmail bikini, of course.
So go hunt down more pictures in Google Images or find the original text. It's not a bad little story. It would make a great background for a high level NPC in a campaign. Perhaps she has even become leader of her city. Or maybe she took to the road afterwards righting wrongs. The story could even be the inspiration for a espionage based D&D adventure.