Friday, October 10, 2008

Heavy Thoughts

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.



John said...

Sounds like a very interesting book.

Do you get to make up your own name or does history decide that for you?

KKTSews said...

Bilbo, I know math isn't your strong suit, but for the record on the weight of a suit of armor--I believe your total should be 53, not 45.
I always felt for the poor horses that had to carry the knights and all that regalia--don't forget the lance. Some will say the horses were bred to it, but it's still a LOT of human to carry.
Be light on your toes today/tonight!

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Not to mention that Vlad was the inspiration for Dracula

Gilahi said...

Not a title, exactly, but my favorite name ever is Sir E. Farquhar Buzzard. And that's pronounced buz-ZARD, thankyouverymuch.

Amanda said...

It definitely sounds like an interesting book. I'll see if its in the libraries here.

Blog Stalker said...

Dont forget about 'Barry the socializer and Biden the poison know.......just to balance things out.

Great info and if I had spare time(laugh) Imight considering looking for the book. Who knows, maybe I'll find it down the line.

Have a great day!

Bilbo said...

John - I don't think you get to pick your own name. I shudder to think what Mike would pick...

Katherine - oops! Leave it to you to check my math...that's what I get for doing this so early in the morning. I fixed the total, so now the subsequent readers will think YOU are the one who can't add.

Andrea - yes, Vlad the Impaler was, in fact, the inspiration for Dracula. Radu the Handsome somehow just wouldn't have done the job.

Gilahi - what a great name! Is it one of the ones from Groucho Marx that I haven't heard yet? It beats Groucho's famous "J. Cheever Loophole, Legal Eagle."

Amanda - let me know if you can't find the book there. Who knows...Santa Claus might send you a copy.

Blogstalker - good suggestions. I think I'll take another look at this in a week or two and see what we can come up with.

Mike said...

Just a few suggestions

Mike the magnificent
Mike the marvelous
Mike the majestic
Mike the brilliant
Mike the excellent
Mike the glorious
Mike the imposing
Mike the superb
Mike the resplendent
Mike the spectacular
Mike the outstanding
Mike the dazzling

or the most glorious title of all

Mike the retired

Gilahi said...

Nope, he was a real person. That's why I provided the link in the comment. If I broke it some way, Google him and/or look him up in Wikipedia.

fiona said...

You missed out "Mike the Modest" lol!
And how come in Scotland we have
Robert The Bruce?
What on earth is "a Bruce"????

Gilahi said...

Just before "The Philosopher's Song", the guys from Monty Python explained this. Apparently Robert The Bruce was Australian.