Saturday, January 28, 2017

Leaders and Nicknames

Up through the eighteenth century, many leaders became known by additional names.  For example, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries you find Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and Frederick the Great.  Farther back you have Frederick the Wise, Ivan the Terrible, Wenceslaus the Good, Boleslaw the Brave, Demetrius the Besieger, Alexander the Great, etc.  Nobody seems to get cool nicknames like that added to them anymore, in life or after death.  Are our modern historians just too staid and boring?  Too afraid to make value judgements?  Or simply lacking the nationalist or pecuniary motivations toward hagiography that once existed?

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