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Thread: The Cult of the National Hero

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    Member Member Basiliscus's Avatar
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    Default The Cult of the National Hero

    Hello guys, I was wondering what information people has on national heros, their deeds and who they primarily struggled against. Any help would be appreciated.

    I'm looking for just a better background, NOT a political arguement. Please keep your OPINIONS of national heroes to another thread, I'm looking only for background.

    This stems from a capsule in Norman Davies "Europe: A History" entitled "El Cid" in which is discusses the role of the national hero.

    I've done some basic research into some of those listed such as El Cid, George Castriota and am familiar with the story of William Wallace. I've also been reading up on more recent national heroes such as Simon Bolivar and those which flourished during the British Empire, such as Wellington or Nelson.

    I would like to know more, if people can list information, on people such as Andreas Hofer and Janosik.

    Any help would be appreciated Thanks in advance;

    Basiliscus.
    " 's a ruaig e dhachaidh, air chaochladh smaoin "
    " And sent him homeward, Tae think again "
    (translation by John Angus Macleod)

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    Robber Baron Member Brutus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    Interesting. What kind of National Hero should it be? Does it have to be a military hero or a great statesman, and does he have to 'worshipped' in some kind of way?

    Some Dutch National Heroes for you (in chronological order):

    Julius Civilis, first Century AD. He led the Batavian revolt against the Romans in the years 69-70. (The Batavians were a Germanic people living in the Lower Rhine region) The Batavians were widely worshipped during later ages as being the ancestors of the Dutch. Their revolt against Rome was especially seen in a good light during the Dutch Republic (1579-1795) when it was seen as the beginning of a feeling of Dutch independance. For Example, Holland was called the "Bataafse Republiek" (Batavian Republic) during 1798-1806. Also, modern Djakarta was under Dutch rule called "Batavia"

    Jan I of Brabant, 1253-1294. As duke of Brabant he is probably the least 'Dutch' of this list, but I just couldn't leave him out. Under his rule Brabant became the leading principality in the Netherlands, espiacially after he wun the battle of W÷rringen (on the Rhine near Cologne) in 1288 against the Bishop of Cologne and the count of Guelders (as well as some others) which won him the duchy of Limburg as well as the title "Duke of Neder-Lotharingen" (Lower Lorraine), which technically made him overlord of all the Netherlands and practically independant from the German emperor. Since most of Brabant is now in Belgium the Belgians have probably more claim to him, however.

    Floris V of Holland, 1254-1296. Count of Holland and Zeeland, he was nicknamed "der keerlen god" (God's man) and was very popular with the people of his counties. He also fought in the battle of W÷rringen as a supporter of Jan I of Brabant. In 1296 he was murdered by some dissatisfied nobles led bij Gijsbrecht van Amstel. The revenge that was brought upon Amstel (lord of what is now Amsterdam) by Floris' supporters was subject of Joost van den Vondel's most famous play "Gijsbrecht van Aemstel".

    William of Orange (Willem van Oranje, Willem de Zwijger), 1533-1584. The most important nobleman from the Netherlands (since he inhereted the possesions from his cousin in 1544), he was born in Germany at the Dillenburg on the Rhine. Having been a confidant of Both Emperor Charles V and his son Phlip II, he led the Revolt against Spain which started in 1568. He had some considerable military successes (as well as drawbacks), and was outlawed and subsequently murdered at Delft by Balthasar Gerards. His life's tale is still in the Dutch National Anthem.

    Piet Hein, 1577-1629. Not much is known about him, except that he conquered the Spanish "Zilvervloot" (The yearly shipment of silver from South-America to Spain) off the coast of Cuba in 1628 as a captain sailing for the Dutch West-India Company. He is still commemorated in a famous old Dutch song: "Piet Hein, Piet Hein, zijn naam die is maar klein/ Zijn daden benne groot, zijn daden benne groot/ Hij heeft gewonnen den zilveren vloot." (Piet Hein, Piet Hein, his name is only small/ His deeds are large, his deeds are large/ he has wun the silver fleet.)

    Michiel de Ruyter, 1607-1677. Born at Vlissingen (Flushing), he quickly rose in the service of the Dutch navy, becoming captain in 1637, Vice-Admiral in 1653 and Luitenant-Admiraal and Supreme navy commander in 1665. He wun many great Battles during the first three "Engelse Oorlogen" (Dutch wars, 1652-1654, 1665-1667, 1672-1674), as well as in the Scandinavian waters and the Mediterrenean. His most famous feat was him sailing to Chatham in 1667, when he broke the chain defending the Thames and captured the English Flag ship, the "Royal Charles". This triggered the for England humiliating peace of Breda in the same year. He is also still commemorated in a song still known to many older people.

    King William II, 1792-1849, king 1840-1849. When only still prince he fought in the Batlle of Waterloo (1815) as Dutch commander and was heroically wounded. Later he commisioned the writing of the Dutch constitution by J.R. Thorbecke after seeing the rebellions that occured all over Europe in 1848. He was very popular with the people, at least more then his father William I, who lost most of his public appeal in the prolongued war with the Belgian Rebels (1831-1839) and his son, William III, who was known as "king Gorilla". Als, the Football Club of the city of Tilburg is called "Willem II".

    Jan van Speijk, 1802-1831. He was a gunboat commander who was stationed with his ship in Antwerp when the Belgians revolted against Dutch rule in 1831. His ship drove to the shore because of an unfavourable wind and was threatened to be captured by Belgians. Seeing this, he grabbed his sigar or a burning fuse, and with the words "Dan liever de lucht in" ("Rather be blown up") he set the gunpowder on fire and blew up himself, his crew and many Belgians who were already on board.

    Well, I could probably come up with many more (loads of Admirals, like Maarten Harpertszn. Tromp and Witte de With, princes of Orange like Maurits, Frederik Hendrik and William III (king of England) and statesmen like Johan van Oldebarneveldt might also apply) but these are probably the most 'heroic'.
    Last edited by Brutus; 05-31-2005 at 16:01.

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    Member Member Basiliscus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    Thanks for that Brutus. Your information is greatly appreciated. I'm hoping the international community out there can contribute something of their own national history so that people can become more aquainted with who people from different countries identify with. I find it most intresting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus
    Interesting. What kind of National Hero should it be? Does it have to be a military hero or a great statesman, and does he have to 'worshipped' in some kind of way?
    Any kind of hero, with whom the populace of the country in question look to as a great leader or otherwise exemplary human being. Not restriced to military leaders, any man (or woman) who contributed to a countries well-being should be on the list. And there is no restriction on people being worshipped, although this is not a religious thread.

    I come from Scotland, and there is a few I will outline currently.

    William Wallace is perhaps the most famous of Scotland's national heroes, and star of the appauling film 'Braveheart'. He was traditionally portrayed as a Renfrewshire knight, son of a landholder Malcolm Wallace. However, recent evidence suggests he was infact son of Alan Wallace, a crown tenant in Ayrshire. This is a claim backed up by the fact Wallace's earliest engagements were in and around Ayrshire. A more detailed description of his life can be found on the internet, but suffice to say he is the main man who fought against English overlordship, and sacrificed his life in the process. He won a great victory over the English at Stirling Bridge, and gave the Scots confidence that the English could be beaten, if fought on the right terrain.

    Robert the Bruce is also a great national hero, the man who was inspired by and continued the process of armed resistance to the English overlordship. I live on the site of the Battle of Bannockburn, and am fully aware of the patriotism the Scots feel against the English. He lead great victories against the English (and features in the national anthem, The Flower of Scotland). Bruce also sent the Declaration of Arbraoth to Pope John XXII which was the first document recognising Scotland's independance.

    Also Kenneth MacAlpin, the Scots chieftan who united the Picts and the Scots of Dal Riada into an alliance which forms the basis of the current form of Scotland.

    The only English hero I can think of from this period is Robin Hood who was a kind-of crusader for justice.
    " 's a ruaig e dhachaidh, air chaochladh smaoin "
    " And sent him homeward, Tae think again "
    (translation by John Angus Macleod)

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    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    I dont know about heroism of these two fellas,but everyone in my coutry knows them by the name.They are both from medieval times and both peasants.
    First peasant called Lalli who smashed with an axe the head of an bishob Henry,because the bishop had been rude to his wife.
    The second one is Jaakko Ilkka who started an rebellion against Swedish and got himself hanged.
    Dont ask me why they have become national heroes of Finland.
    Maybe we are just bit wierd.
    Ja Mata Tosainu Sama.

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    Robber Baron Member Brutus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    Quote Originally Posted by Basiliscus
    Thanks for that Brutus. Your information is greatly appreciated. I'm hoping the international community out there can contribute something of their own national history so that people can become more aquainted with who people from different countries identify with. I find it most intresting.
    You're welcome. However, you should not overestimate our nationalism after reading my story. The Dutch are notorious for their low nationalistic feeling. Actually, many people feel more closely related to their home region or province, which national feelings already stem from the Middle Ages when what is now the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and adjecent French and German regions were divided in numerous principalities that were all united under the Burgundian dukes and the Habsburgs in the period 1384-1543 (the first to 'join' being the county of Flanders, the last the duchy of Guelders). A more 'Dutch' national feeling can only be found since the rebellion against Habsburg, or 'Spanish' rule, that has become known as the "Eighty Years-war" (1568-1648). Still, many people consider it an insult to be said coming from "Holland" as that is only the name of the province (currently split in two) that became the leading power in the (very complicated) Dutch Republic, not of all it's regions. The most real National Hero I mentioned (because of his link with the entire country as well as him still being seen as "Father of the Fatherland" today), is William I of Orange, also known as "the Silent".

    Quote Originally Posted by Basiliscus
    The only English hero I can think of from this period is Robin Hood who was a kind-of crusader for justice.
    Wasn't Robin Hood a fictional figure? However, he still may be linked to a national feeling, I didn't know that. If you're interested in Wallace's time you should take a closer look at the two medieval princes I mentioned, especially Floris V, who was captured in 1290 by his dissatisfied nobles on orders of the English king Edward I (Wallace's adversary, as you know) and was more or less accidentally killed later in the process. The reason for this was that Floris was allied with the Avesnes-count of Hainault and the French king against the Dampierre-count of Flanders, Edward's ally. This makes our histories somewhat liked as politics were even then already almost 'global'.

    Anyway, good luck with your research! I'll be following this thread as I am curious what other people percieve to be their National Heroes.
    Last edited by Brutus; 06-01-2005 at 12:19.

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    Member Member Petrus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    France beeing - almost - cured of the nationalist plague she has known during centuries, it is difficult to qualify a national hero nowdays for this country.

    Anyway, i would chose Vespasien.

    Although he lived in a period where france did not even exist, his name was chosen in the late XIX- early XX th century, for watever reason, to name the public urinals.

    I think all of those reasons qualify him as a typical french national hero.

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    is not a senior Member Meneldil's Avatar
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    Default Re : The Cult of the National Hero

    I don't think there something like a national hero in France, but rather a Republican Myth, which sometimes sounds like a religion (not really now, but at least until the late 60's).

    Of course, we have some great historical figures, and many of them are kinda worshiped in the country (Joan of Arc, Voltaire, Napoleon, Jaures, Jean Moulin and more recently, De Gaulle), but many of them are seen as symbols of the Republican Myth (though this is often silly).

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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    In Romania we have many heroes:

    Mircea cel Batran(Mircea the Old) - Fought against Bayazid Ildirim many times and he got heroic victories like the one at Rovine

    Stefan cel Mare(Stephen the Great) - The greatest Voievode of Moldavia( in Romania, present Moldavia is more than half of Moldavia that Stephen the Great had)

    and many others....These are only from the medieval period...
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

    Proud

    Been to:

    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

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    Member Member Magister Pediyum's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    national heroes = seconde half of 15th century before that their cant bee national heroes because there are no nations and national states

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    Ambiguous Member Byzantine Prince's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    Alexander the Great. On of the few heroes that acquired God status when he was alive, worshiped by his entire army.

    If Greece ever had a reincranted Alexander in our midst we would be unstoppable again(unless we drink to much and die again that is).

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    Robber Baron Member Brutus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    Quote Originally Posted by Magister Pediyum
    national heroes = seconde half of 15th century before that their cant bee national heroes because there are no nations and national states
    I disagree. It is true that it is very hard to have a 'National Hero' before the second half of the 15th century, or thereabouts (That's different for every country), but a historical figure from before that time can be percieved as a national hero in later times, especially since in the nineteenth and early twentieth century many nationalities were projected backwards on peoples' ancesters.

    A hero isn't a hero because he actually was heroic or not, but because people percieve him or her as a hero. It's the same with nationality, people percieve a figure as being one of their own, regardless of he/she actually was so. For example, Charlemagne is seen by the French as a French hero, by the Germans as a German hero. The same with Alexander the Great and many other persons from the pre-nation state era.
    Last edited by Brutus; 06-01-2005 at 15:19.

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    Member Member Magister Pediyum's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    i am whit you on that on 100%

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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    I think Boudicca is regarded as a national hero in some respects.

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    MOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Member Idomeneas's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    Quote Originally Posted by NeonGod
    I think Boudicca is regarded as a national hero in some respects.
    yes but to whom? I mean her people doesnt exist anymore
    μηνιν αειδε θεα Πηληιαδεω Αχιληοs ουλομενην

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    Member Member Basiliscus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Cult of the National Hero

    Thanks guys for all the posts. Sorry I haven't been around much lately, university exams!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus
    You're welcome. However, you should not overestimate our nationalism after reading my story.
    I understand you're point Brutus and it is something I did not know before now. Cheers! Although I was aware there was strong independance feelings from the overthrow of Spanish government in the provinces. By the time of the 13th century politics had become a greater scene of power since the influence of the Pope and the crusades had opened up the world to many Europeans who beforehand would have been unlikely to have left their village, never mind their country! So it makes sense, English had intrests in the continent, and the Scots would ally with almost anyone who would help them fight the English.

    Scots have much nationalism because they have been constantly under English rule (or threat of English rule) and as such have a lot of resentment for those south of the border. Many English campaigns were brutal reprocussions for Scottish 'rebellions' and so this only further encouraged nationalistic feelings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus
    Wasn't Robin Hood a fictional figure?
    Well thats debatable. Robin Hood is more or less whoever you want him to be. I'm writing an essay on him and if you like I'll post the link when I'm finished it. But until then,

    Quote Originally Posted by Meneldil
    Of course, we have some great historical figures, and many of them are kinda worshiped in the country (Joan of Arc, Voltaire, Napoleon, Jaures, Jean Moulin and more recently, De Gaulle), but many of them are seen as symbols of the Republican Myth (though this is often silly).
    France also has strong anti-English feelings from the hundred years war, but also worked closely with Great Britain in both World Wars. Also, in later centuries, France became a major power (under Louis XIV i think?) and also under Napoleon. Although, do people in France regard these as heroes or villains (such as many Germans regard those who led the Nazi party)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magister Pediyum
    national heroes = seconde half of 15th century before that their cant bee national heroes because there are no nations and national states
    As Brutus quite rightly points out, many historical figures before the nation state era become heroes over many modern nations. Such as Charlemagne, and also Janosik, who is national hero of both the Polish and the Slovakians (according to the Norman Davies book mentioned earlier). Nations who don't have national heroes from antiquity often adopt figures who had some kind of role in their history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Byzantine Prince
    Alexander the Great. On of the few heroes that acquired God status when he was alive, worshiped by his entire army
    That is true. I know the other 'Fall of Constantinople' thread got a bit heated and I do not wish a repeat of that here, but does Greece have any more heroes closer to modern times, such as when they were under Turkish rule? (or does Turkey have heroes from this period?) I'm only asking for background if people know that?

    Quote Originally Posted by NeonGod
    I think Boudicca is regarded as a national hero in some respects
    Boudicca is regarded as a symbol of fighting against Roman opression in Britain. Many heroes emerge from this era, like Vercingoterix (sp?) and others. I shall be looking into this later.

    Thanks again for all the posts and I hope to hear more on this topic.
    " 's a ruaig e dhachaidh, air chaochladh smaoin "
    " And sent him homeward, Tae think again "
    (translation by John Angus Macleod)

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