10 Oct 17

Names and Reputations:

“Character is much easier kept than ‘recovered’”

Thomas Paine

Among most American Indian tribes, at least in the 1800s and before, each individual had a name, but you didn’t get to select it yourself!

You were named for some habit or quirk displayed at you grew up. Some were named for the weather on the day they were born. Others were named for some comical faux pas committed as a youth.

The practice is not common in Western Culture, save for certain instances, particularly among royality, and particularly when individual behavior (good or bad) significantly influenced important historical events.

Hence, we have “Richard, the Lion-Hearted,” a title obviously conferred upon Richard by his admirers (chief of whom was himself, not may others), and subsequently picked-up by historians and thus eventually made part of the permanent record.

Likewise, with 18th Century Russian Czar, “Peter the Great.” Most who lived under Peter thought he was far from “great!”

Less fortunate were:

“Charles the Bad,” King of Navarre, Spain (14th Century)
“Boleslav the Cruel,” of Bavaria (11th Century)
“John the Bastard,” of Portugal (15th Century)
“Rudolf the Sluggard,” of Burgundy (11th Century)
“Henry the Impotent,” of Castile (15th Century)
“Louis the Stammerer,” of HRC (9th Century)
“Charles the Fat,” of HRC (9th Century)
“Louis the Do-Nothing,” of France (10th Century)
“Ethelred the Unready,” of England (11th Century)
“Frederick the Fickle,” of Portugal (14th Century)
“Ivan the Terrible,” of Russia (16th Century)

Even less fortunate were:

“Joanna the Mad,” of Castile (16th Century)
“Harold the Lousy,” of Norway (9th Century)
“Albert the Peculiar,” of Austria (14th Century)

Least fortunate of all was:

“Alfonso the Slobberer,” of Galicia, Spain (13th Century)

I suspect unflattering titles, as noted above, reflect a brutally honest assessment that, for some reason, escaped “revision” by subsequent historians!

Even today, we see attempts on the part of the world’s self-proclaimed elitists (who ought to know better) to immortalize themselves by appending their names to undertakings, such as “Obamacare,” ad nauseam.

Most such will ultimately suffer the same fate of the curious gallery listed above. Unflattering titles will stick. The rest of their “legacy,” along with their memory, will mercifully fade away!

“When I take care of my character, my reputation takes care of itself.”

DL Moody