Weird History
212 voters

Actual Nicknames Of Historical Figures That Made Us Say 'Really?'

November 30, 2020 1.2k votes 212 voters 9.5k views13 items

List RulesVote up the most colorful nicknames of historic characters.

Nicknames can be serious business. Whether created by one's enemies or allies, nicknames often become more associated with a historical figure than their given name. "Gaius" was an extremely common name in Ancient Rome, but there's only been one Caligula. Similarly, England has been ruled by three Richards, the most famous of whom is remembered as the "Lionheart."

US Presidents have had all sorts of nicknames, too, from the unflattering "Tricky Dick" to the superior "Honest Abe." When it comes to monarchs and other rulers, a nickname often reflects how their contemporaries viewed their reign. These can be insightful, funny, and sometimes just plain embarrassing. Vote up the best nicknames of historical figures.

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    Queen Victoria Is Known As The 'Grandmother of Europe' For Good Reason

    Queen Victoria Is Known As The 'Grandmother of Europe' For Good Reason
    Photo: Franz Xaver Winterhalter / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    This one requires very little explanation. England's Queen Victoria (1819-1901) had nine children, who in turn produced 42 grandchildren. Not only did these children marry into the royal families of Prussia, Denmark, Russia, and other European aristocracy, their grandchildren did the same. The German Emperor Wilhelm II, Queen Sophie of Greece, and Czarina Alexandra, were among Victoria's many royal descendants.

    And the queen's progeny still rule to this day. As Town & Country explains, "of the approximately 28 surviving monarchies around the world, five of them are held by descendants of Victoria."

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    Edward I Was Called 'Longshanks' Because He Was Tall

    Edward I Was Called 'Longshanks' Because He Was Tall
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Fans of 1995's Braveheart may remember Edward I (1239-1307) as the sinister King of England with a penchant for tossing men out windows. While his portrayal in that film is up for debate, his conflict with Scotland was very real. His invasion and domination of that country resulted in him being called the "Hammer of the Scots."

    Prior to this nickname, Edward was known as "Longshanks," which just means "long legs." This is due to Edward's imposing height of 6'2" - quite tall for his era. 

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    Abd al-Rahman ibn Sakhr Ad-Dausi Was Known As The 'Father of Cats'

    The Islamic faith looks kindly on cats due to the Prophet Muhammad's great affection for them. 

    One of Muhammad's companions and a teacher of the hadith, Abd al-Rahman ibn Sakhr Ad-Dausi is popularly known as Abu Hurairah, the "father of cats." This is due to his habit of always having a cat with him.

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  • Richard I (1157-1199) is popularly remembered as Richard the Lionheart, the courageous warrior king of the Third Crusade. His effectiveness as both a military commander and ruler of England remains a controversial topic.

    In his day, Richard was also known as Ricart Oc-E-Non, which means Richard "Yes and No" in Occitan. It is believed this nickname was borne from Richard's terse, straightforward manner of speaking.

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