It's an established tradition that noblemen often get epithets--an adjective that describes that person's defining characteristic. But not every nobleman can be Charles the Great, Philip the Bold, or Suleiman the Magnificent. Some aristocrats through history have received less flattering nicknames. Paul Anthony Jones of Mental Floss has rounded up 60 odd or insulting epithets. Here are a few samples:
5. ALFONSO THE SLOBBERER was King of Galicia from 1188-1230. He apparently earned his nickname because he foamed at the mouth when enraged. […]
9. ARCHIBALD THE LOSER was the son of Archibald the Grim, who served as 4th Earl of Douglas from his father’s death until his own death in battle in France in 1424. […]
18. CHILDERIC THE IDIOT was King of the Franks from 743-751. No one is quite sure what he did to earn the epithet “the Idiot,” but seeing as he ended his reign by being deposed and consigned to a monastery, it may be nothing more than an attempt by his successors to tarnish his name. […]
21. CONSTANTINE THE DUNG-NAMED was the nickname of Constantine V, the Byzantine Emperor from 741-55. The Latin epithet Copronymus, “dung-named,” was unsurprisingly bestowed on him by his many enemies. […]
25. EYSTEIN THE FART, Eystein Halfdansson, was an 8th century king of Norway. The epithet “Fart” is usually taken to mean that he was a busybody or loudmouth, although no definitive explanation has yet been found. […]
33. HALFDAN THE BAD ENTERTAINER, also known as King Halfdan the Mild, was the son of Eystein the Fart. His nickname apparently refers to his habit of paying his soldiers generously, but providing them with little food or entertainment. […]
35. HENRY THE IMPOTENT was king of Castile from 1454-74. His nickname probably refers to his disastrously ineffectual reign, although some accounts have since suggested that Henry was genuinely impotent, if not secretly homosexual.
36. IVAYLO THE CABBAGE, also known as “Ivaylo the Swineherd,” was a Bulgarian farmer who led a peasants’ revolt in the late 13th century and proclaimed himself Emperor of Bulgaria in 1278. He was overthrown the following year and assassinated. […]
45. LOUIS THE UNAVOIDABLE was the nickname of Louis XVIII of France, who spent much of his reign in the late 1700s and early 1800s either in prison or in exile during the French Revolution. When Napoleon was finally defeated in 1815, Louis was the “unavoidable” choice to return and reclaim the throne.
The other day, I mentioned to my editor, Miss Cellania the Caffeinated, that this naming tradition is one that we should revive.
-via VA Viper