Historical mystery solved
2 October, 2007
Art Innovations Hyper Spectral Imager SEPIA proves to be a truly powerful tool for studying old documents. Recently, Els Kloek of the NWO Institute for Dutch history used the Sepia to study the history of Magdalena Moons. Legends say that the Spanish general Francisco Valdez, who besieged Leiden in 1574, had a crush on Magdalena. During a dinner with Valdez, Magdalena allegedly asked him to postpone his final attack on the city. Valdez gave in to Magdalena, but did not anticipate the coming storm which would flood the area around Leiden. The Spanish soldiers fled from the area and Leiden was saved. However, up to now no evidence existed that supported this story.
Els Kloek performed measurements with the SEPIA at the National Archives in the Hague on a document written by Jan Moons, a second cousin of Magdalena. This document describes the prenuptial agreements of the marriage of Magdalena Moons with a Willem de Bye on the 23rd of October, 1597. In this document, the text behind the name of the bride has been made unreadable. However, by studying the quantitative spectral measurements of the SEPIA Hyperspectral Imager, this text could be clarified. The text reads “wede wijlen don F[ra]nc[i]sco de Baldees”, which means “widow of Francisco Valdez”. With this, proof is delivered that Magdalena was indeed at one time married to Francisco Valdez; proof that could not have been delivered without the Sepia.
Simon Opzoomer. Magdalena Moons smeekt haar verloofde Francisco Valdez de bestorming van Leiden nog een nacht uit te stellen, 1574: scène uit de Tachtigjarige Oorlog, SK-C-294.