Names of Shame: The Six Rulers with History’s Worst Epithets

The Social Historian

Image John-George I of Saxony. Mine’s a Pint.

Everyone loves a good epithet. Charles the ‘Great’, Sven ‘Forkbeard’, Eric the, er, ‘Memorable’.

But namecalling, it turns out, is really not cool and can be very mean. So spare a thought for these six men: the Johnny-two-straps of History’s great playground.

James the Shit (King of England, Ireland and Scotland, 1685-88).

Poor James II was probably England’s most rubbish King, ever. In 1685 he inherited a state that was peaceful, prosperous, and financially secure. And yet he managed to mess it all up faster than you can say ‘David Moyes’. Never one to miss the opportunity for a strop, he chucked the Great Seal into the Thames and legged it to Ireland where he made some lovely new allies, before promptly deserting them. They showed their feelings about this through the medium of wit, and dubbed him for posterity as Seamus…

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