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Old 01-01-2013, 06:18 PM   #1
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Historical crushes?

In the novel forum there is a thread on crushes on fictional people, but judging from some comments in there, it seems several of us have crushes on historical people as well. I figured it'd be a completely silly but rather fun thread if we admitted to our embarrassing fondness for certain dead people.

I'll go first: I have plenty of crushes, but my biggest one is probably on John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, a notoriously mercenary and sycophantic military genius who laid the foundations to his fortune by becoming the kept man of one of the mistresses of Charles II at 19 (according to the legend, Charles discovered the affair and told him "I forgive you, because I know you only do it to earn your bread"). He was good-looking, glib, self-serving (some would even say completely lacking in loyalty to his benefactors) and terrified of his forceful wife. He was also notoriously stingy. There is a story (possibly untrue) about how he was leaving a dinner-party, and the host kindly called a sedan-chair and gave him a few pennies for the fare. Betting on what he'd do, the other gentleman gathered at the window, only to find him - as some had expected - to have pocketed the pennies and walking home (he was by this time already one of the richest men in England). Be as it may regarding that particular story, his tight purse was a contemporary running gag, and his letters are full of really petty economic concerns. It's even said the reason he personally wore gaiters rather than boots (which was customary for the cavalry) was that they were cheaper and easier to mend.

Personally, I think the fact that he was so preoccupied with practicalities actually helped him as a commander - he was extremely good at planning and providing for his troops. He was also one of history's greatest tacticians and is by many considered the greatest English general ever. For both those things, he was extremely loved by his troops.

Me, I don't like him half as much for his virtues as for his flaws, though. And I probably wouldn't like him half as much if he hadn't been a hottie in his youth!

So what about you? What secret crushes do your closets hide?
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:33 PM   #2
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Tough to find remember a woman I've encountered, since historically they had to pretty notorious and narrowly directed to become noted ... if I was a woman, I'd think Ben Franklin would be a challenge worth chasing. He did a lot of chasing himself, but I wonder if he ever developed a deep love for anyone, or if he would have if Rebecca had been able to tolerate a sea voyage.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:42 PM   #3
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Most of my crushes lie in the far future, but in the past I'd have to say Robin Hood. I realize most of the legend is fanciful. I think I'd like to meet the man behind the legend, though.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:26 PM   #4
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I've always been taken with William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. His rise from the younger son of a minor noble, to a powerful noble in his own right, to the regent for a young king and one of the shining examples of chivalry in an age of amazing people.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:45 PM   #5
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Oh, man, when I was a kid, I had the biggest crush on Cleopatra. I read every book I could find about her and I just thought she was the coolest. I liked, especially, that she probably wasn't that pretty, but was smart enough to make people do stuff to help her.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:11 PM   #6
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As a kid I had a crush on the portrait of Mozart in our grade school music room (not a good likeness of the historical composer, but striking and attractive enough). I can't find the image, but it made him look a bit rockstar - more pretty and wild than actual portraits of Mozart reveal him to have looked. And, when it came around - yes, I did love the film "Amadeus" for embodying that.

My other crush was Jesus. It was the 70s and the "portraits" rendering him as awfully pretty were ubiquitous. I learned early to have crushes on long haired boys, I suppose.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:18 AM   #7
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Ahaha, thanks for starting this, Flicka!!

Ohhh I have a few... in fact I have a folder on my computer labelled "history crushes", for pictures, haha. I have to admit to being a bit superficial and liking historical figures more when I discover they're good-looking...

My top crushes:

George Mallory



(on the right)

One of the first men to seriously attempt Mt. Everest, though he and his climbing partner Andrew Irvine (also cute) died near the summit in 1924. He was moody and emotional (things I like in a history crush, though not a real life one) and very in love with his wife (though when he was younger he was very in love with another young man). In his day job he was a teacher who got in trouble for being the kind of 'cool' friendly teacher you didn't think they had back then. Plus, look at him!!

Edward Mannock

(see http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125198)

The top-scoring British ace of WWI, despite being really old for a WWI pilot, at all of 26. He was a really nice guy and a good squadron leader-- when they had new pilots (who were at a high risk of getting shot down, being new) he'd make sure to keep their planes close to his, and help them get their confidence up so they had a better chance of surviving. Despite his successes, though, he was suffering the emotional effects of war pretty badly... on his last leave home he broke down in tears to a friend over going back. He was absolutely terrified of being shot down in flames, even as he shot others down the same way. Pilots sometimes wanted to follow the paths of planes they'd shot down to see if they'd really got them-- he always always said NOT to do this, because it exposues you to anti-aircraft fire. He was killed doing just that, for whatever reason. Sad.

Finally... Hemingway. In his early 20s.



Other than the simple LOOK AT HIM, and his talent.... he was great. I've read lots of his letters from his late teens and early 20s, and looks and talent aside I'd fall for him. He's hilarious in writing to friends and sisters, playing with words and spellings, writing in dialects, giving everyone nicknames, being generally silly. One of my favourites is a letter from the mid-1920s where he tells Fitzgerald that The Sun Also Rises is obivously a rip-off of the Great Gatsby, since both main characters are Lake Superior salmon fishermen and all. He's strongly emotional and very driven. With his first wife, Hadley, he's even sickeningly mushy (it's almost embaressing, considering the Hemingway Persona). Even knowing it wouldn't last (it never did) and he'd probably cheat on me too.... I want to go back in time and have Hemingway!!!

Hahaha. By the way, there's also an awesome tumblr of history crushes... we aren't alone! http://fuckyeahhistorycrushes.tumblr.com/
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:08 AM   #8
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So glad I'm not alone! You all make me feel less weird.

I have a lot of crushes on people with questionable personal traits and habits whom I don't even necessarily like. Like Catullus (bet he was fun company, though), Cesare Borgia (no, can't explain that at all) and Louis XIV (although I at least know that he looked nice in his youth; you know, before he got old and lost his teeth and developed an anal fistula and all that). I have a weird fondness for Kaiser Wilhelm II too, that I can't explain. His mustaches make me giddy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeleyanLee View Post
I've always been taken with William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. His rise from the younger son of a minor noble, to a powerful noble in his own right, to the regent for a young king and one of the shining examples of chivalry in an age of amazing people.
I've always fancied him too. Fascinating man.

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Oh, man, when I was a kid, I had the biggest crush on Cleopatra. I read every book I could find about her and I just thought she was the coolest. I liked, especially, that she probably wasn't that pretty, but was smart enough to make people do stuff to help her.
I had a similar (Egyptian) crush on Hatshepsut, simply because I thought it was so cool with the idea of a female pharao. I had one on Totmes III too.
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Last edited by Flicka; 01-02-2013 at 01:46 PM. Reason: apparently I can't spell late at night, especially not Egyptian names...
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:59 AM   #9
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I'm totally crushing on Oscar Wilde now, not so much because of his writing but because of his life. And I love his photos.

I've had a bit of a crush on King Matyas Corvin, the 15th century King of Hungary if only because he was one of the greatest rulers of his time and most people sadly don't know of him. He brought the Renaissance to the east, fought vigilantly against the Turkish threat when the west could not be bothered, and he had the greatest library of the time, second only to the Vatican with the number of volumes he owned (he also did not like the printed word, preferring his books to be written and illuminated by hand). Maybe not so much a crush, but a deep admiration for the man.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I've always been taken with William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. His rise from the younger son of a minor noble, to a powerful noble in his own right, to the regent for a young king and one of the shining examples of chivalry in an age of amazing people.
I agree. Particularly after reading Elizabeth Chadwick's books on him.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:40 AM   #11
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I'm a fool for old-time Hollywood stars. Gals like Inger Stevens or Louise Brooks leave me speechless.

Then there's Evelyn Nesbit. I'd shoot Stanford White for her any day. Granted, he needed shooting, but if it would impress the original Gibson Girl, I'd plug Mahatma Gandhi.

I'm not all about movie stars and pin-ups. I appreciate a woman of strong political views. Someone like Soong May-ling. Talk about a get-back stare.

And then there's Madame Nhu. She could fill out an ao dai and she was handy with a .38. Not to mention she could crack wise about Buddhist BBQ, I like a gal with a sense of humor. As Ngo Dinh Nhu said, "Darling, ao dai for you!" She made getting involved in a land war in Asia seem like a good idea.

OK, maybe I just have a thing for fascist Asian chicks.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:58 AM   #12
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Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. Slept with a queen, escaped from the Tower of London.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:25 PM   #13
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I've had the most immense crush on the French Revolutionary Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just since childhood. I used to carry a picture of him around in my purse and even considered changing my surname to his. I know he was a DREADFUL person but I can't help it, I'm hooked.

I also love Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Oscar Wilde, Henry V and Lucile Desmoulins. Oh sigh.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:42 AM   #14
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I developed a thing for Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. I think it's because I feel that he was screwed out of being Protector and then beheaded.

I have a thing for John Keats, too.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:30 PM   #15
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The first one who comes to mind purely for his physical attractiveness is Joseph Chamberlain, Victorian politician.


The second is John Stuart Mill, not for his looks (see below!) but for his ideas and his very romantic relationship with Harriet Taylor.


Hmm . . . I didn't realize I had a Victorian politician fetish. Kind of disturbing.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:31 PM   #16
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Not sure why the photo of J.S. Mill didn't show up in my last post. Here it is again.


*** oh, dear. I just realized I probably killed this thread with my last photo. Sorry, everybody!

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Old 01-06-2013, 01:28 PM   #17
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Not sure why the photo of J.S. Mill didn't show up in my last post. Here it is again.
[/IMG]

*** oh, dear. I just realized I probably killed this thread with my last photo. Sorry, everybody!


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Old 01-06-2013, 10:59 PM   #18
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*** oh, dear. I just realized I probably killed this thread with my last photo. Sorry, everybody!
If it survived me mentioning "anal fistula" I think it'll survive anything!

Anyway, a picture of my fave dead Duke (see my first post):

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Old 01-07-2013, 03:28 AM   #19
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Alexander Hamilton.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:09 AM   #20
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I usually just lurk (I think this is my very first post?), but I felt I *had* to contribute to this thread, since I recently had this very conversation with some friends.

My number one pick? Despite his, um, issues, Gaius Valerius Catullus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catullus ) - it was poem 101 that got me, when we read it in first year Latin ( http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/The_Poe...s_Catullus/101 - includes a translation.)

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Old 01-07-2013, 06:22 AM   #21
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Ages ago I had a thing for the historical Macbeth, after a description of him from a medieval chronicler that basically said he was tall, blond and pretty And supposedly a damn good king as well, nevermind what Shakespeare said (mostly from Holinshed, and half of it not even about Macbeth but another Gaelic ruler called Dubh, but anyway).

Lately, I had a little thing for Jan Mydlař, who probably no one has heard of. Sixteenth / seventeenth century executioner from Chrudim in Bohemia, later became master executioner of the Old Town in Prague, after signing up to become executioner (a job you were then stuck with, as the Bohemian executioners were considered outcasts) in order to try and save his girlfriend Dorota from execution. He didn't succeed, but he tried, and was supposedly an unusually honest and decent bloke for someone in his position. And he was rich.

I also have a bit of a thing for Vílem of Rožmberk, who was a courtier of Rudolf II, again sixteenth into early seventeenth century, and an alchemist, but I don't have much of a reason for that one.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
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I've had the most immense crush on the French Revolutionary Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just since childhood. I used to carry a picture of him around in my purse and even considered changing my surname to his. I know he was a DREADFUL person but I can't help it, I'm hooked.

I also love Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Oscar Wilde, Henry V and Lucile Desmoulins. Oh sigh.
Another vote for Prince Rupert here and I go weak at the knees for Lawrence's portrait of Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux.

Feels so good to finally share little secret that the world!
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:11 PM   #23
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I've had a crush on Taira Kiyomori, the first great Japanese warlord. He was tough, intelligent, had a sense of humor and could be magnanimous. If he hadn't let the Minamoto boys live, the history of Japan would have been different.

I read the fragment about his death in The Tale of the Heike and it made a powerful impression on me. He told his people not to cry or pray over him, but to bring him the head of the Genji leader on the pike and to stick it at his grave. I thought it was pretty badass, and prayed for him for many years after that.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:20 PM   #24
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There are a bunch, but Alexander the Great would be the main one. I may have... ahem... a bookshelf full of books just about him.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:06 AM   #25
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Oh, yes, Alexander the Great. I've got a little bookshelf dedicated to him too. Mary Renault, it's all your fault...

Prince Rupert too. Gotta love a man with a poodle! Charles II also always did it for me. And the Earl of Rochester too.

My main crush has long been the Grand Condé. Arrogant, obnoxious, a terrible politician with a gift for antagonizing people, and a Very Bad husband (after years of indifference to a wife he never wanted to marry in the first place, he eventually locked her away in a remote chateau and on his deathbed begged the king to never let her out -- which the king never did). But also brilliant, talented and able to spot and nurture talent in others, well-educated and intellectually curious, and a knowledgable patron of scholars and writers. (The poet Boileau, after a particularly heated dinnertime discussion, remarked, In the future I will always be of M. le Prince's persuasion, particularly when he's wrong.) He was a patron of Moliere when everyone else was afraid to put on his plays.

And Condé was a great general - he won his first great victory at Rocroi at the age of 21, & won enough after that to prove it wasn't just luck. Even leading & losing a disastrous rebellion against young Louis XIV's govt was only a temporary setback. The chateau & gardens of Chantilly, which he spent a fortune on, are still well worth a visit. I don't think he would be a particularly nice person to meet, but he's fascinating to read about!

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