Thursday, 13 June 2013

Bald and Fat

By one of history's quirky little coincidences, both Charles the Bald and Charles the Fat were born on this day, respectively in 823 and 839. Charles the Fat had the distinction of being the last ruler of a united Carolingian Empire. He was widely regarded as a spineless and inept fellow, a waste of (a considerable amount of) skin - though historians are, of course, divided over this verdict. Charles the Fat was inept even in the matter of fathering an heir, though he did manage one illegitimate son.
Charles the Bald, on the other hand, was more successful, alike in ruling an empire and in fathering offspring - among their number Louis the Stammerer and Lothar the Lame. Historians are again divided over the question of whether he was bald; he might even have been exceptionally hairy. But there seems to be no disputing that Charles the Fat was on the large side, and no doubt Lothar the Lame and Louis the Stammerer gamely lived up to their names. It might be fun to revive this habit of labelling royals with descriptive cognomens. We could begin with our own Prince Charles - but no, that would be too cruel (and possibly treasonous)...

9 comments:

  1. Joey Joe Joe Jr.14 June 2013 at 01:05

    Charles the Chinless is the obvious choice, no? Although, given I and II, he may well decide that being crowned Charles III might not be the best start to the job. In that case we have George the Jug-Eared or, perhaps, Arthur the Homeopath.

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  2. As the integrity of the historical succession is key to royal legitimacy, might we not show our loyalty by drawing an unbroken line between Charles the Fat and Charles the Fatuous?

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  3. Excellent suggestions all!

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. This list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monarchs_by_nickname) has a few unusual ones including Louis the Unavoidable, Basarab the Little Impaler, Henry the Impotent, Constantine the Dung-named, Coloman the Bookish and Geoffrey the Broom-plant. There's a tough field for Charles to compete in.

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  6. Can we imagine King Charles the Third's face on every banknote? Might as well be mine, "King Anon the First"..surely this royal nonsense is all over now? Probably not...

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