Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me! (or, Fulking about)

Malcolm Redfellow

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Thank you, Kenneth. Don't call us. We'll call you ...

Here I am, totally depressed with the worst-imaginable #Brexit outcome hovering over us. And Sunday prints feeding off the memoirs of the third-worst PM in UK history.

So, a mental diversion:

Which 'historical' character scores as the most repulsive of all time?

Several Roman Emperors — does Elegabalus out-fruitcake Caligula or Commodus? The cartoon version of Vlad III Țepeș?

No: I'm inviting candidates to take precedence over my current front-runner, Fulk III Nerra, Count of Anjou (and progenitor of the horrendous Angevin dynasties who serially mucked up western Europe and beyond). I'd guess my interest was sparked as a teenager, reading Alfred Duggan and Henry Treece. Incidentally, I nominate Duggan as the antecedent for Sharon Penman and Maurice Druon — and so for the phenomenon of George RR Martin.

If there is any basis for the story (it's medieval scribes, so fat chance) there's how Fulk despatched his first wife: Elisabeth. Oh, one thing is clear: Fulk had a ferocious temper and despatched any who crossed him (or failed to concur with his notions) without hesitation.

It was primarily a political marriage, arranged around the time of Fulk's accession. She was the heiress of Vendôme. In late 999 (or, say some accounts, 1000), Fulk had her burned at the stake, in one account wearing her wedding dress. Her crime was to have lingered too long with gathered.

Other versions suggest there was more than a simple if unsuitable flirtation involved. Elisabeth had failed to produce a male heir — their daughter, Adele, though went on to be the future Comtesse de Vendôme. For reasons that are unclear, Elisabeth gathered a support team, and hoved off to Angers. Fulk besieged the town, and the burning of both Elisabeth and the town duly followed. Elisabeth may have suffered one of those strange 'severe falls' in the process.

Fulk's second wife (who did spawn an heir) was Hildegard, who also died 'in suspicious circumstances'. The story here is that Fulk attempted to make a pot, which he presented to Hildegard, saying it was a present from 'the man who loved her best'. Perhaps in view of the precedent, Hildegard took this as an accusation, and defenestrated herself into the river, as a 'trial by water': being a sincere christian Fulk marked this by building a convent where her body was recovered.
 


Lumpy Talbot

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There was a horrible little jerk who was canonised by the roman catholic church. Around the time that the promoters of christianity in Italy were trying to expand their influence from the towns and out into the countryside among the pagani.

This little fellow used to try to sniff out pagan practices disapproved of by the bishops, old country beliefs and superstitions were actively discouraged, shall we say.

So one day this putative little saint was hard at work, and being the eager searcher for heretical behaviour he was, he wandered a bit too far from his guards and was dragged into some bushes by the hunted villagers, who promptly scragged him for good. A hated character by all accounts.

So the church dolled the story up a bit about him being a martyr instead of the vomitous little informer he was and then canonised him.
 

Barroso

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Wasn't there a nasty little holier-than-thou shít in England who went off to the middle east and had a hand in murdering a great many, and was shortly afterwards received into the bosom of the church?
His name is on the tip of my tongue, but I can't quite remember it ...
 

McTell

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No

fifilawe

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Wasn't there a nasty little holier-than-thou shít in England who went off to the middle east and had a hand in murdering a great many, and was shortly afterwards received into the bosom of the church?
His name is on the tip of my tongue, but I can't quite remember it ...
Richard I aka The Lion Heart went on a bloodspilling tour to the Holy Land to reclaim the land from the Followers of Islam.
 

Dearghoul

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Repulsivity (nesss?) comes across better on TV so we're left with a small subsection of the really repulsive that don't perform well under the glare of studio lighting.

I'd be more interested in Malcolms triumvirate of worst ever UK PM's. Two we can guess at but is the third The Duke of Wellington or Gordon Brown?
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Richard I aka The Lion Heart went on a bloodspilling tour to the Holy Land to reclaim the land from the Followers of Islam.
Richard's English rule began with a mass-murder of jews. Apparently to curry favour, some jews brought gifts to Richard's coronation, but were set upon, beaten and evicted. The London mob saw this as an invitation to 'open season' and acted accordingly.

I've never understood the admiration [masterful and businesslike rulerGillingham; military geniusMcLynn] extended to this thug. Yes, it's all part of the English national myth — quite possibly because Richard spent so little time (three months of his ten year reign) in his English kingdom.

Even the story of his capture and imprisonment by Leopold V der Tugendhafte omits the bits about his offensive behaviour to Leopold at Acre, and Leopold's accusation that Richard had caused the murder of Conrad of Montferrat. At least Richard died painfully, from a gangrenous wound inflicted in one of Richard's endless and trivial feudal disputes.

Any one of the Angevin and Plantagenet authority figures might be a contender for the loathsomeness award.

Worst prime ministers? So many: quite a rush in the 18th century, but Lord North must be contender; I'd have Aberdeen, Rosebery and Goderich outnastying Wellington in the 19th; Ramsay Mac must be in the running alongside most recent history.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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Heinrich Himmler. Now there's a fellow you wouldn't want to be sat next to you on a stool after emerging from the conveniences in your local sheltered establishment.

Little pebble glasses shining at you and plainly trying to think of something to say in order to have an ordinary conversation, something which didn't involve genocide, possibly.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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No
Come to think of it he wasn't far off becoming Prime Fuhrer of Gross Britain around 1940-1941.
 

Barroso

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Richard I aka The Lion Heart went on a bloodspilling tour to the Holy Land to reclaim the land from the Followers of Islam.
Many thanks for that, but I don't think I had a king in mind, maybe more a politician, maybe even a very high-up one.
 


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