Friday, August 15, 2014

Differing Reactions to Historical Figures

My wife and I were watching the Who Do You Think You Are episode with Valerie Bertinelli.
Ms. Bertinelli learned she had King Edward I for an ancestor.
As the historian was telling her all about the great things King Edward, or Longshanks, did for parliamentary democracy, my wife had a very different reaction.
Another nickname for King Edward, besides Longshanks, was Hammer of the Scots. My wife's maiden name is Wallace.

Some historical figures have both positive and negative associations - depending upon who you are. People will react differently to discovering they have a particular US President in their family tree. There are Romanians who count Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, aka Vlad the Impaler, as a national folk hero.
I'm sure my wife hopes Valerie Bertinelli, and her family, are able to focus on the good things King Edward did, but she is happy we haven't found Edwardian ancestry for either of us.
(The image is of a portrait in Westminster Abbey thought to be of Edward I)


Anonymous said...

No Edward I ancestry here either. Another leader who is assessed in very different terms depending on the particular issue being discussed is Andrew Jackson. The Trail of Tears is enough for me to wish he weren't on the $20 bill.

John said...

Excellent example