I was out shopping the other day and, as so often happens, an interesting new book jumped off the shelf and concealed itself among the groceries until I reached the checkout, by which time I was, of course, obligated to buy it. The new book is The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: History, by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, Piers Marchant, and Melissa Wagner, and it contains all sorts of interesting (whether true or not) information about history presented in the fashion of the Worst-Case Scenario book series (you can see the rest if you click the link above and scroll down to the "also bought" section).
I was interested to note in the section on the Middle Ages a chart which compares the weight of a suit of armor to the weight of a 21st-century business suit. Here's how it breaks down:
Suit of Armor: Helmet, breastplate, gauntlet, and leggings - 45 pounds; sword and scabbard - 8 pounds. Total weight: 53 pounds.
Business Suit: Jacket, pants, shirt, tie, and belt - 5 pounds; shoes - 3.5 pounds; gadgets (PDA, cell phone, etc) - 1 pound. Total weight: 9.5 pounds.
All things considered, I'm glad I'm able to wear a business suit, not least because arguments over seats on the bus could get really ugly really fast if we all wore armor and carried swords.
Related question: does a police officer wear a law suit?
Moving on to the Renaissance, the book offers a comparison of the most and least fearsome names of European rulers. The "Most Fearsome" are:
Vlad the Impaler;
Charles the Hammer;
Peter the Cruel;
Ivan the Terrible;
John the Fearless; and,
Richard the Lionhearted.
While the "Least Fearsome" are:
Ivar the Boneless;
Radu the Handsome;
Philip the Good;
Ivan the Great;
Louis the Pious; and,
Theodoric the Great.
I wonder how they missed the ever-popular and unfortunately-named Ethelred the Unready.
This, of course, makes one wonder why we don't still use colorful names for our leaders. History might record such mighty and not-so-mighty leaders as:
King George the Decider;
Lady Sarah the Moose-Gutter (our answer to Vlad the Impaler);
Lord Cheney the Aimless; and,
Bilbo the Bewildered.
I'm tired of thinking. Time to go to work so I can stop.
Have a good day. Wear the right suit, and make sure your greaves match.
More thoughts tomorrow.