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Most Overrated

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Rowan
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Most Overrated

Post by Rowan » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 2:21 pm

The latest edition of BBC History magazine has an interesting list that I thought might spark an interesting discussion here. Perhaps not a debate, but something interesting nonetheless.

The list is of persons in history that various historians believe to be overrated. I'd be interested in learning what others think of this list. For the moment I have time only for listing the names. I'll come back later and summarize why each person is on the list.

  1. Spartacus
  2. Matilda
  3. Edward IV
  4. Henry V
  5. Mary Queen of Scots
  6. John Locke
  7. William Wilberforce
  8. Napoleon Bonaparte
  9. Oscar Wilde
  10. Charles Darwin
  11. Lord Baden-Powell
  12. Winston Churchill
  13. Malcolm X


In the mean time, what do all of you think of this list. Is anyone really overrated? What makes them overrated? The number of books written about them?

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Brenna
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Post by Brenna » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 6:13 pm

[quote=""Rowan""]The latest edition of BBC History magazine has an interesting list that I thought might spark an interesting discussion here. Perhaps not a debate, but something interesting nonetheless.

The list is of persons in history that various historians believe to be overrated. I'd be interested in learning what others think of this list. For the moment I have time only for listing the names. I'll come back later and summarize why each person is on the list.

  1. Spartacus
  2. Matilda
  3. Edward IV
  4. Henry V
  5. Mary Queen of Scots
  6. John Locke
  7. William Wilberforce
  8. Napoleon Bonaparte
  9. Oscar Wilde
  10. Charles Darwin
  11. Lord Baden-Powell
  12. Winston Churchill
  13. Malcolm X


In the mean time, what do all of you think of this list. Is anyone really overrated? What makes them overrated? The number of books written about them?
[/quote]

I really wish that magazine didn't cost $75.00 a year to get in the U.S!

Although I like her, the whole Mary Queen of Scots/Elizabeth thing is way overrated! I guess you could say Edward IV was overrated, but I'm curious as to why.
Brenna

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 6:21 pm

Brenna.... try your local Barnes & Noble. I subscribed last year because I didn't think I'd find it here, then I saw it in B&N so I've let my subscription go and will buy it there.

As for Edward IV, this is what the historian Nigel Saul says about why Edward is overrated:

Long priased for his reassertion of order after Henry VI's chaotic rule and - unsurprisingly - for his success in restoring royal finances, Edward IV actually achieved very little. His reign provides a classic case of the triumph of style over substance.

It is true that his court was magnificent, and he cut a fine figure as a ruler. Moreover, he knew how to build, as his magnificent remodelling of St George's Chapel, Windsor, shows. But think of his legacy. Aborad, when he had the chance to emulate the successes in France of his predecessor Edward III, he backed off, choosing instead to take a pension from the French king. At home, by his ill-judged marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, he divided the nobility, sowing the seeds for his brother's usurpation and ultimately for the overthrow of the House of York.

Edward IV's failings were those of Charles II two centuries later: laziness, superficiality and self-indulgence. Like him, he was simply a merry monarch determined never to go on his travels again.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 6:38 pm

Im curious as to what exactly is meant by "overrated"? Do they mean overrated in terms of their impact upon their times? Or overrated on their impact on history? Or do they just mean who was not as good as we make them out to be?

Im curious about what exactly is meant by the term.

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Brenna
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Post by Brenna » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 7:08 pm

[quote=""Rowan""]Brenna.... try your local Barnes & Noble. I subscribed last year because I didn't think I'd find it here, then I saw it in B&N so I've let my subscription go and will buy it there.

As for Edward IV, this is what the historian Nigel Saul says about why Edward is overrated:

Long priased for his reassertion of order after Henry VI's chaotic rule and - unsurprisingly - for his success in restoring royal finances, Edward IV actually achieved very little. His reign provides a classic case of the triumph of style over substance.

It is true that his court was magnificent, and he cut a fine figure as a ruler. Moreover, he knew how to build, as his magnificent remodelling of St George's Chapel, Windsor, shows. But think of his legacy. Aborad, when he had the chance to emulate the successes in France of his predecessor Edward III, he backed off, choosing instead to take a pension from the French king. At home, by his ill-judged marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, he divided the nobility, sowing the seeds for his brother's usurpation and ultimately for the overthrow of the House of York.

Edward IV's failings were those of Charles II two centuries later: laziness, superficiality and self-indulgence. Like him, he was simply a merry monarch determined never to go on his travels again.
[/quote]

I will look! I never need an excuse to go to B&N! :D
Brenna

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Post by Nefret » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 7:19 pm

[quote=""Brenna""]I will look! I never need an excuse to go to B&N! :D [/quote]

Checking out what new books are out? :D
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"
{Ensiferum}

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 7:25 pm

[quote=""Kveto from Prague""]Im curious as to what exactly is meant by "overrated"? Do they mean overrated in terms of their impact upon their times? Or overrated on their impact on history? Or do they just mean who was not as good as we make them out to be?

Im curious about what exactly is meant by the term.[/quote]

This is the intro for the article:
Are these the most overrated people in history? We asked a panel of expert historians to reveal who they consider to be the most overvalued personalities from the past.

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 7:41 pm

Did they ask 13 expert historians? I can think of no other reason to have a list of 13 people. Generally they stick to a nice round number like ten.

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 7:57 pm

[quote=""LoveHistory""]Did they ask 13 expert historians? I can think of no other reason to have a list of 13 people. Generally they stick to a nice round number like ten.[/quote]

Yep. Thirteen different historians.
  1. Peter Jones
  2. Anna Whitelock
  3. Nigel Saul
  4. Tom Holland
  5. Tracy Borman
  6. Justin Champion
  7. Edward Vallance
  8. Saul David
  9. Andrew Roberts
  10. Patricia Fara
  11. Denis Judd
  12. Christopher Lee
  13. Amanda Foreman

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon January 23rd, 2012, 8:20 pm

No clue how William Wilberforce landed on that list. Far from being overrated, I don't think they even teach about him in American schools. I had to check him out from several sources ofter watching the movie they put out about him five years ago -- can't remember the name -- and was absolutely flabbergasted at all the things this man had accomplished during his lifetime. As an animal breeder and trainer, I had no idea he had first proposed the RSCPA. And as one who has worked with anti-human-trafficking groups for a decade, it was embarrassing to realize I knew nothing of the years and years he put into getting the British parliament to first abolish slavery, and then to put their money where their mouth was, paying the captains and crew of British ships who captured slave ships a reward 'per head freed' for the slaves released.

In Wilberforce's own words, he set out to 'change the manners of English society' -- by which he meant to turn them towards compassion for animals, people, and orphans. One contemporary said the "Good causes stuck to Wilberforce like burrs to a dog."

It took him a lifetime and most of his fortune, but history records that he succeeded. How could you overrate someone like that?

I think these pompous historians overrate themselves.

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