Medieval kings have often been given nicknames throughout history because of characteristic of theirs, which stands out the most, which leaves you wondering why some might be called “the Cabbage”, or even “Fiery Dragon Wolf”. This is a list of the 10 most amazing names of medieval kings from history.
Constantine was nicknamed “Copronymus” which roughly translates to “shittyname”, or “dungname”. He was given this nickname after he supposedly couldn’t hold it in while getting baptised as a baby. Constantine lived up to his name, by being kind of insane. He went on a campaign destroying religious symbols, offing abbots, and forcing monks to marry nuns. When his brother attempted a coup but failed, Constantine had him blinded, along with his children. He then went on to successfully slaughter his enemies in the theatre of combat, his enemies being Syria, the Arabs, and the Bulgarians. He was one of the strangest and most interesting medieval kings in history.
Ivaylo “The Cabbage”
Ivaylo was a peasant revolutionary living an insufferable existence in Bulgaria, in the 13th century. He gathered a large army made out of other disgruntled peasants, and attempted to take power from the nobles. Out of derision they nicknamed him “Cabbage”, and surprisingly it was this nickname that would eventually lead to his downfall. But before then, he would defeat the nobles and become the Tzar of Bulgaria. He only ruled for a year, before he was forced to flee after a large army, set up by nobles, came after him. He fled to the fearsome Mongols, and asked for their help, but they turned him down because he was named after a vegetable (genuinely), and they executed him.
Son Of A Bitch
Lugaid, High King of Ireland, “Son of a Bitch”, gained his nickname after supposedly suckling on the teats of a hound. After being kicked out of Ireland by his foster-father, he lived in exile, but wouldn’t stay there for long. He raised an army with his ally Benne Brit, son of the King of Britain. They invaded Ireland and he took the crown for himself. After 30 years on the throne, he was eventually driven out after a false judgement on a female hospitaller, made him enemies with the wrong people. He went to his foster-father, Ailill, to try and make peace, but things didn’t go as planned. Upon seeing his son Ailill gave him a loving embrace, and bit his cheek with a poisoned tooth. Ailill ordered a poet to finish the job, who stabbed him when his back was turned with a spear.
Harald Bluetooth, son of King Gorm the Old and Thyra Dannebo, was the first king of Denmark, and now famous online for having the name Bluetooth. Bluetooth lived a life full of battle, and treachery. Consolidating his rule over Jutland and Zealand, only to be deposed by his own son, Sweyn Forkbeard. His distinctive bluish-black tooth, is where he gained his nickname, and the word Bluetooth we use today was inspired by Harald. It was Bluetooth who introduced Christianity to Denmark. He lived from 958 to 986.
Louis “The Universal Spider”
Louis was the son of King Charles VII, who he continuously rebelled against, and his father would continuously forgive him everytime. He was determined to take the throne, and no matter how forgiving his father was, Louis eventually broke the camels back. Charles banished his son from court. Louis married Charlotte of Savoy even though his father did everything he could to stop this. He even sent an army to force Louis to do as he said, but Louis went as far as to seek refuge from his father’s most hated enemy, Philip the Good.
When Louis’ father died in 1461, he could finally ascend the throne. He used his cunning to end the Hundred Years’ War, getting rid of all his enemies. He was left to simply strengthen his rule, and his countries economy. His cunning plans and constant power grabs led his enemies to name him the Universal Spider. Alleging he spun webs of conspiracy. He was likely one of the most cunning medieval kings in history.
Frederick “The Bitten”
In 1270, Margaret fled after her husband’s unfaithfulness pushed her over the edge, but she couldn’t bear to leave her son. The pain she felt at leaving her son Frederick was so great, she bit him on the cheek. This is how he became known as Frederick the Bitten. It was the year 1280, Frederick and his brother waged war on their half-brother Apitz. Apitz was the favourite to inherit their father’s throne. After nine years of fighting, their father couldn’t take it any more, and recognised the right of his real children to inherit the throne.
Louis “The Leaper”
Louis the Leaper was an incredibly weird, but also brave man. He attempted to steal the county of Saxony by stabbing its ruler, only to end up in his tower prison. Here he jumped, not once or twice, but continuously for three years all over his cell. When the guards threatened to execute him, he jumped once more, this time out the window. He splashed down in the river Saale. His servant was awaiting in a boat on the river, and even had his favourite white horse called Swan ready for him. This is undeniably how he gained the name “the Leaper”.
Later, as a free man, he still refused to be bound by circumstances. He wanted to build on a mountain, he didn’t actually own. In order to get around any territorial dispute he had his men dig up his own ground, and cover the mountain in it. He then declared it was his, and built the fortress of Wartburg.
John I “Of Happy Memory”
King John’s rule of Portugal begins in 1385 and lasted until 1433. He helped preserve the independence of Portugal from Castille. He was celebrated with the nicknames “the good”, “the Great”, and in Castile “the bastard”. John besieged and captured the African city of Cueta in 1415. He lost only 8 men during the battle, and only 4 years later defended it from a Moroccan counter-attack. This was the beginning of the Portugese empire. John was an unusually educated king for the time, due to him being the master of a religious order at a young age. He loved culture and learning, and this passion was passed on to his children who were known as the “illustrious generation”.
Vsevolod “The Big Nest”
Vsevolod the Grand Prince of Vladimir was one of 10 children, but the only one who was taken by their mother to Byzantium. There he grew up and married the Princess Maria Shvarnovna. Vesevolod fathered 14 children, who he would later put to good use. When he ascended the throne, due to being his father’s only living heir he sent his daughters off to marry princes all over the world, and gain influence over them. “The Big Nest” is how people referred to him on account of the large family he fathered.
Fiery Dragon Wolf
Famed for his valour and bravery, Fiery Dragon Wolf was a king like no other. Poets wrote for years about him leading the Black Army of Hungary against the Ottoman invaders. It was after these exploits in battle that he was given the nickname, Zmaj Ognjeni which means fiery dragon. His real name was Vuk which means wolf. So he was known as Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk, Fiery Dragon Wolf. He fought at the battle of Battle of Breadfield against the Ottoman Empire. He also fought against the Czechs, Poles, Austrians, and Turks. Over time he became a heroic figure in Serbian national songs. Out of all the medieval kings he clearly has the most amazing title, in fact, I’ll say it again just so you can enjoy it one more time, Fiery Dragon Wolf.