May 04, 2008

Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM)

As I believe I mentioned some time back, I am currently reading Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. This is my third or fourth attempt, each of the prior ones having got bogged down in the first volume. This time, however, I am well and truly away and look to make it right the way through.

The other day, I reached the point at which Alaric the Visigoth sacked Rome in 410 A.D. I mentioned this to Mom when I was chatting with her yesterday and she, in turn, mentioned the curious fact that at some point during the Victorian Period, Alaric became quite a popular name in some of the higher strata of English society. I recalled that indeed P.G. Wodehouse - himself of Edwardian vintage - had christened one of his senior characters - the Duke of Dunstable - as an Alaric. (I believe the Dook makes his first appearance in the Blandings Castle novel Uncle Fred in the Springtime.)

We pondered for a moment what might account for this particular naming convention - given that the original Alaric was, after all, a barbarian - but came away stumped. Anybody have any ideas?

Posted by Robert at May 4, 2008 06:56 PM | TrackBack

If you can get past Gibbon, you will probably actually like Thucydides "The History of the Peloponnesian War." It is a much more readable book even if the "history" part is a bit suspect on a few points. (Thucydides had been exiled after all)

If you are set on Rome, then you might also like Plutarch's biographies. He wrote bios of Greeks - mostly Athenians I think (they considered Greece ancient history) - and bios of Romans. Mostly politicians. Not all are great, but a few of the Athenians come across as Chicago style machine politicians. I guess nothing ever changes.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at May 4, 2008 07:59 PM

Sorry - I guess Plutarch was Greek, but living later under Rome.... Probably looking back at the glory days.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at May 4, 2008 08:04 PM

As far as naming....

Just a fashion

William Tecumseh Sherman is an American example.

I suppose you include James Tiberius Kirk as well.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at May 4, 2008 08:08 PM

ZD - I'm quite fond of ol' Thick-Sides, although you've got to be careful about what translation you use. (Yeah, I don't read a word of Greek.)

Posted by: Robbo the LB at May 5, 2008 10:12 AM