10 Famous and Fascinating Sealed Boxes Part 1

About 10 famous and fascinating sealed boxes in history including boxes of Pandora and Henry the Fifth.

10 FASCINATING SEALED BOXES

1. PANDORA: THE BOX THAT STARTED IT ALL

No list of boxes would be complete without the inclusion of the first known sealed box, Pandora's box. In Greek mythology Pandora was the first woman, created by Zeus to avenge Prometheus's theft of fire. Pandora, whose name means "all-gifted," was endowed with every possible charm and sent to earth with a very special deadly box. Prometheus was too wise to be deceived by Pandora's beauty, but his younger brother, Epimetheus, fell in love with her and accepted the box as a wedding present from the gods. When Epimetheus allowed Pandora to open the box, a cloud of evils flew out, spreading death, disease, and destruction throughout the world. All that remained inside the box was one small comfort--hope.

2. HENRY V OF ENGLAND: A BOX OF INSULTS

Presents that royalty exchange with one another usually are chosen with the utmost care so as not to cause offense. Not so the giant gilded present that the dauphin of France sent in 1414 to King Henry V of England. The gift was brought unexpectedly by two French ambassadors to England during a time of serious deliberation between the king and his bishops on the validity of his claim to the French throne. The box was opened in the king's presence to reveal the dauphin's gift--a barrelful of tennis balls. The jibe was at the king's frivolities as a youth, when his prowess had been more evident on the tennis court than on the battlefield. The king wrote to the dauphin that "ere ought long he would tosse him som tennis balles that perchance should shake the walles of the best court in France." Henry went on to win the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. In the Treaty of Troyes he was recognized as the rightful heir to the French throne, and he married Catherine, daughter of the king of France.

3. MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS: A BOX OF ACCUSATIONS

One of the biggest question marks in all history hangs over the casket (jewel box) letters of Mary, Queen of Scots, whose young husband, Lord Darnley, was murdered in 1567. Three months after his death, Mary wed his suspected murderer, the Earl of Bothwell. The casket love letters, found under a servant's bed and alleged to be in Mary's hand, implicated her in adultery and the murder of Darnley. Fearful for her life as a result of the scandal, Mary fled to England in 1568 and threw herself upon the mercy of Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth arranged two trials where the letters could be examined, and although the letters were found incriminating, they did not conclusively prove Mary's guilt. Nonetheless, Elizabeth saw Mary as a possible claimant to the English throne and therefore held her prisoner until ordering her execution in 1587. The casket that held the infamous letters is still on display in Scotland, but whether the letters were authentic or forged remains a mystery.

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