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Great War Leaders Who Never Held A Crown

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Katherine Ashe
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Post by Katherine Ashe » Sat November 27th, 2010, 5:52 am

I fear I cannot resist: there was, very notably, Simon de Montfort, who conquered England in 1263 but refused the Crown twice. His intent was to firmly establish Parliament -- some 500 years before any other country had a government with representatives actually elected by the people.
I mention this no doubt at some risk, as I write about Montfort. But his refusal of the Crown is in Volume Four, which isn't out yet. Sharon Penman has the span of his life long since in print. The best biography (not fiction) is by Charles Bemont if you can find it, the recent one by Maddicott is pricey and surprisingly bitter.

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Katherine Ashe
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Post by Katherine Ashe » Sat November 27th, 2010, 6:14 am

Ludmilla asked: Have there been great military leaders who would have made great rulers, or do we generally regard those two positions as requiring very different and distinct skills? Do great military leaders stink at the kind of politics successful rulers have to use?

Montfort was considered by his contemporaries the greatest military leader of his time. He succumbed to jealousies -- which is probably common. His supporters, I suspect much to his chagrin, thought he was the Angel of the Apocalypse, or maybe the risen Christ. His fellow lords found this very offensive. This is the same sort of jealousy that brought on Julius Caesar's murder. On the other hand, military leaders who do seize the sovereignty often survive and prosper: Octavian/Augustus, assorted English kings, Mao, Charlemagne, Alexander...

Being an effective military leader and being an effective head of state are not mutually incompatible at all. It seems the problem often lies in the moment of transition -- will the populace accept the new leader, or in the leader's failure to seize enough power to protect himself.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Sat November 27th, 2010, 6:23 am

Your mention of Montfort reminds me of General George Washington, who was offered the chance to be the king of America. Or so legend would have it.
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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Sat November 27th, 2010, 4:11 pm

Washington was offered kingship by the army. Congress probably wouldn't have gone along. But yes, the offer was made, and yes, he turned it down. There is, however, no proof of the incident with the cherry tree. ;)

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Post by EC2 » Sat November 27th, 2010, 10:58 pm

William Marshal - Knight, magnate, general, statesman extraordinaire and regent of England.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

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Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

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Post by annis » Sat November 27th, 2010, 11:28 pm

Posted by EC
William Marshal - Knight, magnate, general, statesman extraordinaire and regent of England.
What would the Plantagenets have done without WM? He saved their bacon several times, especially towards the end of John's reign, and after J's death - and this at a time when Marshal was getting on in years and could have been forgiven for choosing a comfortable retirement.

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Post by EC2 » Sat November 27th, 2010, 11:35 pm

[quote=""annis""]Posted by EC


What would the Plantagenets have done without WM? He saved their bacon several times, especially towards the end of John's reign, and after J's death - and this at a time when Marshal was getting on in years and could have been forgiven for choosing a comfortable retirement.[/quote]

If you read the Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal, he sobbed at the enormity of the task when they offered him the Regency. (he was about 70) Never mind his death scene, it is for me one of the most moving parts of the Histoire amd a true and humbling example of greatness and grace.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Post by Russ Whitfield » Mon November 29th, 2010, 8:15 am

Julius Caesar was pretty handy on the battlefield. But only made it to "dictator for life." (not that the Romans would have worn a king - clearly, emperor was a better title. But Caesar wasn't even the first Emperor either).

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Post by Libby » Mon November 29th, 2010, 9:34 pm

Then there was Robert Curthose, the eldest son of William the Conqueror, who was one of the leaders of the first crusade - but who got beaten to the throne of England, twice, by his younger brothers.
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This has gone off topic, as the original query

Post by parthianbow » Tue November 30th, 2010, 2:36 pm

was about five different people, but it's very interesting adding other 'nearly' characters from history. ;)

Hannibal Barca (surely he's a major candidate?)
Stilicho (5th C AD; saved the Roman Empire's a*s on numerous occasions.)
William Wallace
Last edited by parthianbow on Tue November 30th, 2010, 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: error
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