Top 5 Medieval People

Richard I of England
Image via Wikipedia

Random post of the week – who are my top 5 people from the Middle Ages – real historical medieval people, not characters from any of my stories that is!

  1. Frederick II Hohenstaufen – not quite the Renaissance prince that earlier historians such as Kantowicz would like to think, but even so still quite amazing in what he tried to do – a cultured, yet autocratic prince, rather than a fanatic oaf of a king.
  2. Geoffrey Chaucer – he had the wit and charm to poke fun at all around him, but in quite a nice way – a bit like the Stephen Fry of the Fourteenth Century perhaps?
  3. Richard I the Lionheart – complete opposite of Frederick I at number the one above, but for bare faced oafish medieval kingly behaviour I think he has to be in my arbitrary list of Top 5 Medieval People. Hated England, hardly set foot in the place, but thanks to Hollywood’s portrayal of Robin Hood and Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe I grew up with him as the quintessential English Medieval King. Robin Hood wouldn’t be on my list, but he’s fictional anyway so can’t be!
  4. Dante Alighieri – the great Italian poet who gave us the Divine Comedy and the quintessential image of hell, while sniping at all and sundry, a bit nastier than Chaucer, and in my view not as great a poet, but still fascinating and able to conjure up great images.
  5. Owain Glyndŵr – rebel with a cause, but ultimately a doomed one. Not a man I knew a lot about until I read the Welsh Wars of Independence, but what a guy, what  crazy guy, deciding to go up against the might of Lancastrian England and nearly pulling it off too! The Welsh are getting a lot of good press recently for their passion and determination, and this chap certainly had that.

What do you think? Agree/disagree? Who would be in your top 5?

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