Friday, June 16, 2006

Five Historical Figures MEME

Martyn's fault again. But it's a relative easy MEME if you're interested in history.

Five historical figures I'd like to meet, in no particular order:

1. Ambrosius Aurelianus, 5th century - Just to check out when he actually existed, and to confirm he was victor at Badon*

2. Akhenaten, aka Amenhotep IV, Egyptian Pharaoh, 1530s BC - Introduced the concept of one god to Egypt. Somewhere between the 1970s and 2000s he's moved from a Christ-like figure (when my mother had to study him for her teaching course, so I also read the books) to a bonkers tyrant (the last tv programme I saw). Either way, his Hymn to the Sun is said to be similar to some of the Psalms ... The only one of my five with any sort of contemporary pictorial representation, btw, despite being the oldest by far.

3. Edwin of Deira & latterly of Bernicia, Bretwalda, 7th century - Courage in the face of adversity, boundless energy, warlord extraordinaire, hedging his bets with Christianity. Got a v good mark from Bede. How did Edwin cope with one of the most dangerous jobs on offer - being a king in the dark ages

4. Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, 1st century - Governor of Britannia during the Boudica revolt. Literally kept his head against all odds. Bet he'd be as scary as I think he was

5. Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, 10th century - A woman in what was very much a man's world

* Not interested in meeting 'King' Arthur as he's a myth and not historical

Would love to know who other people would like to meet, if they want to have a go


At 1:01 pm BST, Blogger Tony Keen said...

One of the few things I'd be prepared to say for sure about Ambrosius Aurelianus is that he definitely existed. I don't think he was victor at Badon though, because I don't think that Gildas tells us he was. But I realize I'm in a minority here.

At 1:23 pm BST, Blogger Martyn said...

They were much better answers than mine :-)

At 4:17 pm BST, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

Martyn - I thought your answer were better than mine, so we're quits ;-)

Tony - Why *should* Gildas state that Ambrosius was victor at Badon? Everyone then would have known; but that's a bogus reason, as it's been used to argue that's the reason why Arthur isn't mentioned ... aha! I thought I was in the minority in putting two fingers up at Arthur regarding Badon. I should make it plain that I do not equate Arthur with Ambrosius. I say Ambrosius for Badon mainly to annoy the Arthur-supporters. btw, I have heard arguments that the Gildas manuscript has some iffyness punctuation-wise; forgotten the ins and outs now. As I said a while back, I don't argue about this era any more, so have 'stood down' on that front, and forgotten everything :-)

At 8:49 pm BST, Blogger Tony Keen said...

I've certainly seen some scholars state that Gildas does tells us that Ambrosius was victor at Badon, but that seems to me to be a misreading of the text. Which, as you say, is a bit of a mess (for instance, he spells few names the way we would expect, which makes all the identifications made from his text potentially unsound).

I agree that Ambrosius is not Arthur, though I'm sure he's one of the historical figures that contributes to the mythical amalgam we now know as Arthur. Another is whoever actually did lead the Britons at Badon. I tend to think that if there ever was a historical British warlord called Arthur, then it is at the front of the troops at Badon that he is most likely to be found - but Arthur's absence from Gildas convinces me that any historical Arthur cannot have been anything like as important as later tradition makes out.

At 8:54 pm BST, Blogger Gabriele Campbell said...

Hm, looks like a meme I may do. Lemme think a bit.

At 4:17 pm BST, Blogger Carla said...

I'll keep out of the Arthur/Ambrosius debate :-) - I can't add anything to what Alex and Tony have already said. I'd like to meet Ambrosius to find out if there were two of him - isn't there a theory that there may have been two men of the same name, perhaps uncle and nephew, in order to span the chronology of the various (semi)historical references?

I second number 3 - Edwin of Deira and Northumbria. He's the subject of my current novel, for all the reasons you list. (So in a few months' time you can 'meet' him and part of his story as imagined by me, and can duly take me to pieces if you don't agree with me).

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