King So-and-So the “_____”

Throughout history, kings have gotten additional titles.  They collected them like Pokemon, with “the strong” and “the just” and “the conqueror” being added on to dozens of names for kings.  What has fallen to the wayside in history is the glorious list of added namesakes that the kings wanted to hide from the annals of time.  Most interestingly is that you can trace the feelings of groups at the time based off the names for the monarchs that survived.  The modern translation would be stumbling across a tape a hundred years from now that had Fox News calling Reagan the greatest, or Obama a terrorist, or MSNBC calling George Bush a lackwit.  The feelings of the political climate can be extrapolated from the names that are given to the leadership

The perfect example of a terrible title to add was James II of England, “the be-shitten” or “the shit”.  Named so because he abandoned Irish allies in one of his military endeavors, the Irish took to calling him James the shit.  Sviatoplok I Vladimorovich of Kiev was known as Sviatopolk the Accursed because of his actions to take the throne.  Born one of the lesser claimants to the throne of Bulgaria, he ordered the assassination of three of his relatives and went to war with his younger brother to grab at the title of King.

There was an Eric II of Norway who had a weak relation with the Church of the era, leading to his nickname being Eric, Priest Hater.  Wladyslaw of Poland was nicknamed “elbow high” because he was short (while likely taller than an elbow, his political acumen can be gathered by the knowledge that he did little more than be short.  His son by comparison was known as “Casimir the Great”)

Ivaylo of Bulgaria was known as Ivaylo “of the cabbage” because he was a peasant who led a rebellion and dreamed of becoming a great king.  Because peasants were farmers at the time, his title was one to hail back to his origins.  There were a shocking number of obvious titles added to names, “Louis IV, the German” was a German monarch who became the Holy Roman Emperor.  Similarly, there were two kings who were known as “the purple-born” because of umbilical cord issues at birth.

Other titles described features that were striking, Edward Longshanks was said to be 6’4″ or taller, and was known as such because he was all leg.  Fredrick I “Barbarossa” was called that because of his red beard.  Barbarossa was Italian for redbeard, but in German he was known as “Kaiser Fredrick Rotbart”.  Louis of Aquitaine was called Louis the Fair, or Louis the Debonaire because he was a 9th century heartthrob.

By contrast, many people believe that the toilet has become known as the John because of King John the first of England.  John snagged the throne from his elder brother during the crusades and lost large amounts of power when he was forced to sign the Magna Carta.  The legend is that the toilet was known as the John because King John died of dysentery after losing the power of the English Monarchy to the Nobility, but the actual truth is that the toilet is known as a John because the modern flush toilet was invented by John Harrington in 1596 (produced by Thomas Crapper as well).

Names are quite important, they are what primarily designate your memory in history.  Remember that.

Citations:  (Through this you can find the links to any of the monarchs I talked about, and by searching their names online you can find out more about them individually)

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