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List of Lord Raglan evaluations

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Here are evaluations of Lord Raglan's hero profile for a variety of people, for both well-documented people and people nowadays usually considered mythical. There are striking differences; mythical people have incidents in their biographies that well-documented people tend to lack, especially well-documented people over the last few centuries. Well-documented people often have undistinguished ancestries, they have no hint that they are coming, and nobody tries to kill them in their infancy. At the other end of their lives, they are seldom repudiated, they usually die in a rather normal fashion, and they sometimes spend their last moments underground rather than elevated.

The scores here may differ from Lord Raglan's and Alan Dundes's scores, and scores in places like Lord' Raglan's Hero Pattern, because of differing opinions.

Bible

Moses

(~1300 BCE?) This scoring is somewhat stricter than Lord Raglan's; he may have used some additional legendary material.

  • (1) She was a Levite (the priestly tribe), and he was her first child. Score: 1/2
  • (2) He was also a Levite, though not a very notable one. Score: 1/2
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) Score: 0
  • (5) Score: 1
  • (6) The Pharaoh orders the killing of the Israelite baby boys. Score: 1
  • (7) His mother puts him in a basket and that basket in the Nile. Score: 1
  • (8) An Egyptian princess finds him and raises him. Score: 1/2
  • (9) Score: 0
  • (10) Yes. Score: 1
  • (11) He triumphs over the Pharaoh. Score: 1
  • (12) Zipporah, a daugher of a priest in Midian. Score: 1/2
  • (13) He becomes the leader of the Israelites, leading them out of Egypt. Score: 1
  • (14) Lots of wandering in the Sinai and east of the Jordan River. Score: 1
  • (15) Lots and lots and lots of them. Score: 1
  • (16) Though he gets a glimpse of the Promised Land, God tells him that he is not allowed to enter it. Score: 1
  • (17) He hands over command to Joshua son of Nun. Score: 1
  • (18) He died while in good health. Score: 1
  • (19) On top of Mt. Nebo. Score: 1
  • (20) Joshua is not one of his children. Score: 1
  • (21) His body was buried, but at a location that is now lost. Score: 0
  • (22) Score: 0

His total score: 15

King David

(~1040 - ~970 BCE) The first king of the united Israelite kingdom described in the Bible, and founder of the Davidic dynasty.

  • (1) She's not mentioned in the Bible, though the Talmud identifies her as Nizbeth daughter of Adael. Score: 0
  • (2) Jesse son of Obed is an undistinguished commoner. Score: 0
  • (3-9) Score: 0
  • (10) He was always in his kingdom. Score: 0
  • (11) After he defeats Goliath, King Saul chose him to lead his armies. David leads his armies against the Philistines in several battles, and Saul gets jealous and plots to kill him. Score: 1
  • (12) He marries several women: Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Maachah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah and Bathsheba. Michal is a daughter of Saul. Score: 1
  • (13) After Saul commits suicide to avoid getting captured, David gets appointed king by the men of Judah. Score: 1
  • (14) He has a long fight with Saul's son Ish-bosheth and his followers, and after defeating them, he conquers the Jebusite fortress Jebus (Jerusalem), making it his capital. He leads several more conquests, he brings the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, and he has a sex scandal involving Bathsheba. He then suppresses some rebellions and suffers through God's seeming dislike of statistics, among other things. Score: 0
  • (15) With the possible exception of being a singer-songwriter, nothing notable. Score: 0
  • (16) In his old age, his son Adonijah declares himself king. Score: 1/2
  • (17) Bathsheba and Nathan convince David to make his son Solomon king instead. David even gives final instructions to Solomon. Score: 1/2
  • (18-19) Score: 0
  • (20) Solomon. Score: 0
  • (21) He is indeed buried. Score: 0
  • (22) None mentioned. Score: 0

His total score: 4

He has no prophecies. Unlike Moses and Jesus Christ, his Lord Raglan score is well within the range of well-documented people in modern times, and the details of his scoring also parallel such people's score details.

Jesus Christ

(7-2 BCE - 30-36 CE) Lord Raglan's profile has an obvious application to the historicity of Jesus Christ. This scoring of him will list which of the canonical Gospels he got a nonzero score for, if only some of them had.

  • (1) She's not called the Virgin Mary for nothing; Jesus Christ was her oldest child. As to royalty, that could happen out of a common explanation for the discrepancy between Joseph's Matthew and Luke genealogies. It is that one of them is for Mary instead of for Joseph, making her also a descendant of King David. But that is rather weak. Matt, Luke. Score: 1/2
  • (2) Although Joseph lived as a commoner, both Matthew and Luke took the trouble to trace his ancestry back to King David. Since a Messiah must be descended from that king, we can count Joseph as an uncrowned king. Matt, Luke. Score: 1
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) Being impregnated by the Holy Spirit doesn't happen every day. Matt, Luke, John. Score: 1
  • (5) He's the Son of God. Matt, Luke, John. Score: 1
  • (6) King Herod orders the killing of the Bethlehem baby boys because he had learned that one of them will be the king of the Jews. Matt. Score: 1
  • (7) His parents flee to Egypt, taking him with them. Matt. Score: 1
  • (8) They raise him in Egypt, but Mary is his mother and Joseph his (step)father, meaning that they are not true foster parents. Matt. Score: 1/2
  • (9) Luke tells us about the great learning he displayed in the Jerusalem Temple one time. Matt, Mark, John. 1. Luke. Score: 1/2. Some noncanonical gospels, like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, go further, making Jesus Christ a childhood miracle worker.
  • (10) He leaves his family and goes into the desert. Matt. Luke. Score: 1
  • (11) The Devil challenged Jesus Christ to work some miracles, and also offered JC the rule of all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for JC worshipping him, but JC turned him down, and the Devil slinked away. I think that this counts as a defeat of a big enemy. Matt, Luke. Score: 1
  • (12) Score: 0. Although a relationship between him and Mary Magdalene is widely speculated on, neither the canonical Gospels nor most of the noncanonical ones contain much hint of such a relationship. The noncanonical Gospel of Philip describes Jesus Christ as lovingly kissing her on the mouth, but that's as far as it gets. In any case, Mary Magdalene is a commoner with nothing special about her.
  • (13) He becomes a great religious leader, and he even calls himself King of the Jews. Score: 1
  • (14) He preaches, he gets into arguments with Pharisees, and he works various miracles, but most of his career is not very dramatic. Score: 1
  • (15) His teachings qualify as laws in an informal sort of sense; one must not be too literal-minded about Lord Raglan's profile. Score: 1
  • (16) After his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, both the people of that city and the Jewish leaders there turn against him. They charge him with blasphemy for calling himself the Messiah and the King of the Jews, and in Matthew, the people form a lynch mob. Score: 1
  • (17) He is put on trial, Peter disowns him, and Peter and JC's other disciples flee. Score: 1
  • (18) He dies after only three hours of crucifixion, which is unusually fast for a young man in good enough health to do a lot of walking. There were also earthquakes, a mysterious darkening, and corpses taking walks from their tombs. Score: 1
  • (19) He is crucified on a hill named Golgotha. Score: 1
  • (20) Despite certain extracanonical speculations, he is childless. Score: 1
  • (21) Like several other mythic heroes, his body is absent from his tomb. This is because he rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. Score: 1
  • (22) He has one in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Score: 1

His total score: 18 1/2

Prophecy: He fulfilled several Old Testament prophecies, becoming King of the Jews. King Herod ordered the killing of the Bethlehem baby boys to keep JC from challenging him for his position.

Jesus Christ is way up there, alongside Romulus and Hercules and Oedipus and Krishna and King Arthur. This may explain why the question of the "historical Jesus" has been such a contentious one; telling fact from fiction in the Gospels can be difficult.

Breaking down by Gospels yields:

  • Matthew: 19
  • Mark: 11
  • Luke: 16
  • John: 13

Indian

Krishna

He was Arjuna's charioteer in the Battle of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata, and he was also an avatar (manifestation) of the Hindu god Vishnu.

  • (1) His mother Devaki is a sister of the wicked King Kamsa; her father Devaka was rich enough to afford a dowry of 400 elephants fully decorated with golden garlands, 15,000 decorated horses, 1800 chariots, and the hiring of 200 pretty young ladies to follow her. However, she had seven sons before having Krishna. Score: 1/2
  • (2) His father Vasudeva was the son of sort-of-king Surasena. Score: 1
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) Devaki learned that she was pregnant with someone special when she became pregnant with Krishna. Score: 1
  • (5) Krishna is considered an avatar of the great Hindu god Vishnu. Score: 1
  • (6) King Kamsa had imprisoned Vasudeva and Devaki, and had killed their previous offspring. Score: 1
  • (7) When he was born, he was switched with Yogamaya, daughter of Yasoda and Nanda (mother and father), thus frustrating Kamsa. Score: 1
  • (8) Yasoda and Nanda return to their home and raise Krishna there. Score: 1
  • (9) There are some childhood details, such as his learning to dance, his destroying some wicked demons, and his cavortings with some gopis. Score: 0
  • (10) King Kamsa invites Krishna and a friend to a wrestling match, hoping that Krishna will be defeated. Score: 1
  • (11) But Krishna wins, prompting Kamsa to order Krishna's foster father and several others murdered. Whereupon Krishna kills Kamsa. Score: 1
  • (12) Krishna marries some beautiful princesses. Score: 1
  • (13) He becomes a king. Score: 1
  • (14) The Kurukshetra War counts against this; Krishna also fights more demons and plays his flute; Krishna's fun loving is a rarity among religious prophets; only Jesus Christ comes anywhere close with his turning of water into wine for a wedding party. Score: 0
  • (15) Krishna delivers the Bhagavad-Gita to Arjuna at the beginning of that war. Score: 1
  • (16) His family misbehaves, leading to their destruction. Score: 1
  • (17) With his family destroyed and his kingdom torn apart by civil war, Krishna leaves the place to wander about by himself. He saw the destruction of his clan and kingdom. Score: 1
  • (18) He was shot in the foot by an archer named "Jara" ("Old Age"). Score: 1/2
  • (19) In a forest by the seashore. Score: 0
  • (20) He has no successors. Score: 1
  • (21) He rose up into heaven. Score: 1
  • (22) Several places are supposedly his last resting place. Score: 1

His total score: 17

Prophecy: King Kamsa discovered that his cousin Devaki would give birth to a son who would kill him. He then killed every son that he could of Devaki.

The Buddha

(~500 BCE?) Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha.

  • (1) His mother Maya was a princess and he was her only child. Score: 1
  • (2) His father Suddhodhana was a king. Score: 1
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) He was conceived when Maya dreamed that a white elephant had entered her body through her side. Score: 1
  • (5) He was an enlightened being on his last reincarnation before achieving Nirvana. Score: 1
  • (6) King Suddhodhana decides to keep him from his future career by pampering him, keeping him from an awareness of suffering and death, instead of by trying to kill him. Score: 1/2
  • (7) Nobody attempts to rescue him from that upbringing. Score: 0
  • (8) Maya dies and he is raised by her sister Mahaprajaprati. Score: 1/2
  • (9) That pampering through his childhood. Score: 0
  • (10) Score: 0
  • (11) He sees an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and an ascetic, and he deserts his wife and son in search of enlightenment as to what he saw. He goes on a long quest, mortifying the flesh, and experiencing Mara the Tempter trying to lead him astray, until he achieves enlightenment under a Bodhi tree. Score: 1
  • (12) He effectively stays single the rest of his life. Score: 0
  • (13) He becomes the leader of his new religious movement. Score: 1
  • (14) He decides to spread the word about what he has learned. Score: 1
  • (15) He issues his teachings, which contain laws of a sort. Score: 1
  • (16) Score: 0
  • (17) Score: 0
  • (18) He dies from eating a meal of tainted pork, an oddity because Buddhism has the ideal of vegetarianism. Score: 1
  • (19) Nothing special about where he died. Score: 0
  • (20) His son does not succeed him. Score: 1
  • (21) He is cremated. Score: 1
  • (22) He has no tomb, but there are temples containing his relics, like the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Score: 1

His total score: 13

Prophecy: When he was born, some soothsayers predicted that he would become a great religious leader and not a worthy heir for his father. His father then tried to keep that from happening, but he failed.

Greco-Roman

Zeus

He is the head of the Olympian pantheon, but he and the other Olympians were pictured in very anthropomorphic terms, so he is worth an entry.

  • (1) Rhea, a Titan or second-generation deity and daughter of the first generation deities and Universe rulers Ouranos and Gaia. However, she had 5 children before she had Zeus. Score: 1/2
  • (2) Kronos, another second-generation deity, ruler of the Universe and son of Ouranos and Gaia. Score: 1
  • (3) Both are children of Ouranos and Gaia. Score: 1
  • (4) Score: 0
  • (5) Kronos was a god. Score: 1
  • (6) Kronos had swallowed his older 5 brothers and sisters, and he wanted to do the same to the baby Zeus. Score: 1
  • (7) When Rhea gave birth to him, she gave Kronos a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he then swallowed. Score: 1
  • (8) In some versions, Rhea took him to a cave in Crete, where he was raised by a goat named Amalthea; other versions are similar. Score: 1
  • (9) Score: 1
  • (10) When he grows up, he confronts Kronos. Score: 1
  • (11) He makes Kronos vomit up his brothers and sisters, and he and his fellow third-generation deities fight and defeat Kronos and his fellow second-generation deities. Score: 1
  • (12) His sister Hera. Score: 1
  • (13) He becomes the ruler of the Universe. Score: 1
  • (14) Score: 1
  • (15) He revealed laws to King Minos of Crete. Score: 1
  • (16-21) Not applicable
  • (22) He has a tomb in Crete: 1

His total score: 14 1/2 out of 16

Prophecy: Kronos learned that he and Rhea would have a child who would overthrow him, so Kronos swallowed each child that Rhea had.

Heracles (Hercules)

The well-known strongman hero.

  • (1) Alcmene, daughter of King Electryon of Tiryns. He was her only child. Score: 1
  • (2) King Amphitryon of Tiryns. Score: 1
  • (3) They were first cousins. Score: 1
  • (4) Score: 0
  • (5) Zeus was his real father, appearing to Alcmene in the form of Amphitryon and making her pregnant. Score: 1
  • (6) Hera tries to spite her husband Zeus by first trying to interfere with Hercules's birth, and then by trying to kill the baby Hercules with some snakes. Which he strangles. Score: 1
  • (7-8) Score: 0
  • (9) Score: 1
  • (10) Score: 0
  • (11) He kills the Nemean Lion, among other feats. Score: 1
  • (12) He marries King Creon's daughter Megara. Score: 1
  • (13-15) Score: 0
  • (16) King Eurystheus becomes displeased with him on account of some murders he had committed. Score: 1
  • (17) And sentences him to performing his famous Twelve Labors. Score: 1
  • (18) He disappears from his funeral pyre. Score: 1
  • (19) On top of Mt. Oeta. Score: 1
  • (20-21) Score: 1
  • (22) He is worshipped in temples: 1

His total score: 15

Perseus

  • (1) Danae was daughter of King Acrisius of Argos, and he was her only child. Score: 1
  • (2) Zeus. Score: 1
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) Acrisius learned that he would someday have a son who would kill him, so he put Danae into a bronze-walled dungeon. But Zeus came by and he entered that dungeon by turning himself into a shower of gold and letting himself pour in. Score: 1
  • (5) Zeus. Score: 1
  • (6) When Acrisius finds out, he puts Danae and Perseus into a chest and tosses it into the sea. Score: 1
  • (7) The two survive. Score: 1
  • (8) The fisherman Dictys raises him. Score: 1
  • (9-10) Score: 1
  • (11) He kills Medusa the Gorgon, cutting off her head. Score: 1
  • (12) Andromeda, daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia. Score: 1
  • (13) He founds Mycenae. Score: 1
  • (14) Score: 1
  • (15) Score: 0
  • (16) He killed Acrisius by accident, beaning him with a discus in an athletic contest. He then had to expiate his blood guilt. Score: 1
  • (17) He did so by exchanging kingdoms with Megapenthes, going from Argos to Tiryns. Score: 1
  • (18-19) Score: 0
  • (20) Some of his descendants rule Mycenae. Score: 1
  • (21) Score: 0
  • (22) There is a shrine to him on the Mycenae - Argos road. Score: 1

His total score: 17

Prophecy: King Acrisius discovered that his daughter Danae would one day have a son who would kill him. So he had her locked in a tower. But she has Perseus, and he grows up and one day participates in an athletic contest. He accidentally beans Acrisius with a discus, killing him.

Oedipus

  • (1) Jocasta was queen of Thebes, and he was apparently her only child. Score: 1
  • (2) Laius was king of Thebes. Score: 1
  • (3-5) Score: 0
  • (6) Laius and Jocasta find out that he will someday kill Laius and marry Jocasta, so they leave him out in the wilderness to die. Score: 1
  • (7) A shepherd rescues him. Score: 1
  • (8) He is raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth, who have no children of their own. Score: 1
  • (9) Score: 1
  • (10) He finds out about his true parentage and decides to return to Thebes. Score: 1
  • (11) As he travels, he kills Laius for being in the way. Score: 1
  • (12) He marries Jocasta. Score: 1
  • (13) And becomes king of Thebes. Score: 1
  • (14) Score: 1
  • (15) Score: 0
  • (16) Oedipus learns that he is the one who had killed Laius, and that Jocasta is his mother. Score: 1
  • (17) Jocasta hangs herself and he pokes his eyes out and leaves Thebes. Score: 1
  • (18-19) Score: 0
  • (20) His sons Eteocles and Polynices succeed him as king of Thebes. Score: 0
  • (21-22) Score: 0

His total score: 13

Prophecy: When he was born, his parents learned that he would grow up and kill Laius and marry Jocasta. They tried to keep that from happening by abandoning Oedipus in the wilderness, but they failed.

Romulus

(~ 750 BCE?) The legendary founder of Rome.

  • (1) Rhea Silvia, daughter of Numitor, king of Alba Longa. Romulus and his twin brother Remus were her only children. Score: 1
  • (2) In some versions, King Amulius had raped Rhea Silvia. Score: 1
  • (3) Amulius was brother of Numitor, and thus her uncle. Score: 1
  • (4) Amulius made Rhea Silvia a Vestal Virgin so that she would not have a son who would overthrow him. Score: 1
  • (5) The Roman god Mars. Score: 1
  • (6) When she has Romulus and Remus, Amulius wants them killed. Score: 1
  • (7) She puts the two baby boys in a basket, and that basket in the Tiber. Score: 1
  • (8) They are raised first by a wolf, then by a human couple, the shepherd Faustulus and his wife Acca Larentia. Score: 1
  • (9-10) Score: 1
  • (11) He helps Numitor overthrow Amulius. Score: 1
  • (12) Hersilia is a commoner. Score: 0
  • (13) He founds Rome, though he kills Remus along the way. Score: 1
  • (14) Not quite. He leads in several wars, including the kidnapping of the Sabine women. Score: 0
  • (15) He founds the Roman Legions and the Roman Senate. Score: 1
  • (16) In some versions, he becomes autocratic. Score: 1
  • (17) In those versions, the Senate condemned him. Score: 1
  • (18) He disappeared in a storm, though in those versions, the senators dismembered him. Score: 1
  • (19) He disappeared from Caprae Palus (Goat's Marsh), a very flat place. Score: 0
  • (20) Numa Pompilius was not anything close to his son. Score: 1
  • (21) His body was never found. Score: 1
  • (22) He became worshipped as the god Quirinus, and Lapis Niger (Black Rock) in Rome's Forum had supposedly marked his grave. Score: 1

His total score: 19

Prophecy: Romulus: King Amulius of Alba Longa discovered that Rhea Silvia would have a son who would grow up to overthrow him. So he made her a Vestal Virgin, a pagan nun. Romulus himself made a sort-of prophecy that was sort-of fulfilled. After mysteriously disappearing, he briefly returned, telling senator Proculus Junius that his city, Rome, deserves to rule the world and that Romans should learn how to conquer it.

Alexander the Great

(356 - 323 BCE) Alexander III of Macedon, the great conqueror.

  • (1) Olympias was a daughter of a king of Epirus, and Alexander was her only child, or at least her first one. Score: 1
  • (2) Philip of Macedon. Score: 1
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) Olympias dreamed that she was struck by lightning, and a snake was once found with her as she slept. Score: 1
  • (5) The god Zeus. Score: 1
  • (6-7) Score: 0
  • (8) He is raised by his parents in Macedon. Score: 0
  • (9) We learn some details, like how Aristotle was one of his tutors. Score: 0
  • (10) He was already in it. Score: 0
  • (11) He got into power as a result of his father dying; the closest to a triumph over a reigning enemy was suppressing some rebellions. Score: 0
  • (12) Some Persian princesses. Score: 1
  • (13) Score: 1
  • (14) His reign was one war of conquest after another. Score: 0
  • (15) He adopted Persian customs and tried to get his Greek underlings to do so. Score: 1
  • (16-17) Score: 0
  • (18) His death was rather mysterious. Score: 1
  • (19) In a palace in Babylon. Score: 0
  • (20) His two sons were murdered by some rivals. Score: 1
  • (21-22) Score: 0

His total score: 9

Prophecy: Alexander the Great: Plutarch tells us that on the day that Alexander the Great was born, the temple of Artemis in Ephesus burned down, and the local soothsayers interpreted this as meaning that a disaster for Asia had been born that day. Their prophecy was fulfilled by Alexander's conquests.

Julius Caesar

(100 - 44 BCE) Gaius Julius Caesar, first emperor of Rome.

  • (1) Aurelia Cotta came from a prominent family, but Julius was her third child. Score: 1/2
  • (2) Gaius Julius Caesar the Elder, who came from an aristocratic family, and who was proconsul of Asia. Score: 1
  • (3-4) Score: 0
  • (5) He claimed descent from the goddess Venus. Score: 1
  • (6-8) Score: 0
  • (9) His tutor was a Gaul, among other things. Score: 0
  • (10) He was in his "kingdom" all his life. Score: 0
  • (11) He defeats the Senatorial factions led by Pompey. Score: 1
  • (12) Pompeia, a granddaughter of his predecessor Sulla. Score: 1
  • (13) He becomes dictator indefinitely. Score: 1
  • (14) His rule was mostly peaceful. Score: 1
  • (15) He created the Julian calendar, among other laws and reforms. Score: 1
  • (16) Some of his subjects decided that he was too much like a king. Score: 1
  • (17) Despite that, he was not overthrown, and he stayed in his position for the rest of his life. Score: 0
  • (18) He was assassinated by his opponents. Score: 0
  • (19) In a room adjoining the east portico of the Senate house. Score: 0
  • (20) His grand-nephew Octavian (Augustus Caesar) succeeded him. Score: 0
  • (21) He was cremated. Score: 1
  • (22) Score: 0

His total score: 9 1/2

Augustus Caesar

(63 BCE - 14 CE) A.k.a. Octavian, the second Roman Emperor.

  • (1) Atia Balba Caesonia was a daughter of Julius Caesar's second sister Julia; Augustus was her second child and first son. Score: 1/2
  • (2) Gaius Octavius was from a respectable but undistinguished noble family. Score: 1/2
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) A snake made Atia pregnant with Augustus. Score: 1
  • (5) The god Apollo appeared in the form of that snake. Score: 1
  • (6) The Senate decreed that no male child was to be raised in the year that Augustus was born. Score: 1
  • (7-8) Score: 0
  • (9) In his early childhood, he hushed up some noisy frogs, and at the age of 12, he delivered a funeral speech in honor of his grandmother Julia. Score: 0
  • (10) He was always in his "kingdom". Score: 0
  • (11) He defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Score: 1
  • (12) Clodia Pulchra, Scribonia, and Livia Drusilla, all of whom had some eminent ancestry. Score: 1
  • (13) Score: 1
  • (14) He settled down after defeating Antony and Cleopatra. Score: 1
  • (15) He negotiated two Settlements with the Senate. Score: 1
  • (16-17) Score: 0
  • (18) His death was announced by various omens. Score: 1
  • (19) He died indoors. Score: 0
  • (20) His stepson and adopted son Tiberius succeeded him as Emperor. Score: 0
  • (21) Though he was cremated, his remains were deposited in his mausoleum. Score: 0
  • (22) Score: 0

His total score: 10

Prophecy: Augustus Caesar: Suetonius tells us that when the wall of the town of Velitrae (Velletri) was struck by lightning, soothsayers interpreted this as a prophecy that a ruler of the world would someday be born there. That ruler was Augustus Caesar.

Northern Europe

King Arthur

(~500 CE?) The legendary king of Britain.

  • (1) Igraine, a princess, has some daughters but only one son, Arthur. Score: 1
  • (2) King Uther Pendragon. Score: 1
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) Uther Pendragon makes Igraine pregnant with Arthur with the help of Merlin and his sorcery. Merlin gave Uther the appearance of her husband, Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, so she thought Uther was Gorlois. Score: 1
  • (5-6) Score: 0
  • (7) Merlin takes him away from his birth parents. Score: 1
  • (8) He is raised by Sir Ector and Sir Kay. Score: 1/2
  • (9-10) Score: 0
  • (11) He defeats eleven kings who rebelled against his rule when he became king. Score: 1
  • (12) Princess Guinevere. Score: 1
  • (13) Merlin crowns him king of Britain after he successfully pulls a certain sword out of a certain stone. Score: 1
  • (14) Score: 1
  • (15) He establishes a code of chivalry. Score: 1
  • (16) His nephew Mordred marries Guinevere and proclaims himself king while he was away on some military campaigns. Score: 1
  • (17) He returns and defeats Mordred. Score: 0
  • (18) However, he is seriously wounded, and he gets himself taken to Avalon to be cured. Score: 1
  • (19) Score: 0
  • (20) He and Guinevere have no children. Score: 1
  • (21) After being taken to Avalon, he is never seen again. Score: 1
  • (22) Glastonbury Abbey has his grave. Score: 1

His total score: 14 1/2

Prophecy: He demonstrates that he is a legitimate king by pulling a certain sword out of a certain stone.

Historians have debated the question of who was King Arthur's historical prototype, and some historians have concluded that he is entirely mythical. This debate is much like the debate over the historicity of Jesus Christ, though without the doctrinal commitments.

Modern History

George Washington

(1732 - 1799) The leader of the American Revolution's armies and the first President of the United States.

  • (1) Mary Ball had a rather undistinguished ancestry. However, George was her first child. Score: 1/2
  • (2) Augustine Washington was a gentleman farmer. Score: 1/2
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) No evidence of that. Score: 0
  • (5) Not even the likes of hagiographer Parson Weems had claimed that. Score: 0
  • (6) No evidence of that. Score: 0
  • (7) His parents stayed put with him in their Virginia estate. Score: 0
  • (8) He was raised by his biological parents. Score: 0
  • (9) Aside from Weemsian mythology, we know little bit about that, mostly his teen years. He was very good at mathematics and he learned a bit of surveying, but he never learned any foreign language. Score: 0
  • (10) He inhabits his "kingdom" all his life. Score: 0
  • (11) He led the Continental Army in its successful fight against the British in the American Revolutionary War. Score: 1
  • (12) Martha Dandridge was the daughter of a gentleman farmer. Score: 1/2
  • (13) He gets elected President. Score: 1
  • (14) Suppressing the Whiskey Rebellion was likely the biggest event in it. Score: 1/2
  • (15) He improved relations with Britain, and he stated his thoughts on governing in his Farewell Address. Score: 1
  • (16) Just the opposite. He reluctantly ran for a second term and he refused to run for a third one. Score: 0
  • (17) He retired, but his successor got him to help plan for a possible war with France. Score: 0
  • (18) He died of some illness. Score: 0
  • (19) In his home. Score: 0
  • (20) He was childless and likely sterile as a result of smallpox. Score: 1
  • (21) He was buried in his Mount Vernon estate. Score: 0
  • (22) Score: 0

His total score: 6

Napoleon Bonaparte

(1769 - 1821) French leader and conqueror of much of Europe.

  • (1) Letizia Ramolino, a minor aristocrat. Napoleon was her fourth child out of 13. Score: 1/2
  • (2) Carlo Buonaparte, a minor aristocrat and Corsican politician. Score: 1/2
  • (3-8) Score: 0
  • (9) He was sent to a military academy at Brienne-le-Château in France. Score: 0
  • (10) He moved to France, though he returned to Corsica a few times. Score: 1
  • (11) He overthrew the French Directorate. Score: 1
  • (12) Joséphine de Beauharnais, daughter of a sugar-plantation owner in Martinique. Score: 1
  • (13) He crowns himself Emperor Napoleon I. Score: 1
  • (14) He orders several major wars. Score: 0
  • (15) The Napoleonic Code, adoption of the metric system, emancipation of the Jews, reorganization of the military, and several other reforms. Score: 1
  • (16) He and his supporters get overpowered by their opponents, but many of them continue to be loyal. Score: 0
  • (17) He gets exiled first to Elba, then to St. Helena. Score: 1
  • (18) Was discovered to be stomach cancer. Score: 0
  • (19) Likely indoors. Score: 0
  • (20) He appoints his son Napoleon II as his heir, though his nephew Napoleon III ends up ruling for a while. Score: 0
  • (21) He was buried in St. Helena, though his remains were later moved to Paris. Score: 0
  • (22) He has a tomb at Les Invalides. Score: 1

His total score: 8

Napoleon was the opposite of being repudiated. After being exiled to Elba, he escaped, and his followers helped him get into power again. But his opponents saw what was happening, and famously defeated him at Waterloo. He was exiled to St. Helena, for the rest of his life. Though Napoleon II did not get to rule, Napoleon III did.

Abraham Lincoln

(1809 - 1865) US President during the US Civil War.

  • (1) Nancy Hanks, an uneducated farmer. He was her second child out of 3. Score: 0
  • (2) Thomas Lincoln, another uneducated farmer. Score: 0
  • (3-8) Score: 0
  • (9) He went to school for only 18 months, and he did not like to kill animals. Score: 0
  • (10) He entered politics in Illinois, the state where he did much of his growing up in. Score: 0
  • (11) His Presidential opponent, Stephen Douglas, had not been his predecessor James Buchanan's intended successor. Score: 0
  • (12) Mary Todd was the daughter of a banker. Score: 1
  • (13) He becomes President. Score: 1
  • (14) His Presidency was dominated by the Civil War. Score: 0
  • (15) The Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in Confederate-controlled territory, establishing a system of national banks, building of railroad lines westward, land-grant colleges, etc. Score: 1
  • (16-17) Score: 0
  • (18) He was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, who snuck into his balcony box. Score: 0
  • (19) An elevated and somewhat-prominent spot. Score: 1
  • (20) Robert Todd Lincoln was somewhat successful, but not nearly as notable as him. Score: 1
  • (21) Score: 0
  • (22) In the Lincoln Tomb. Score: 1

His total score: 6

This is a serious version, of course. But someone once composed a facetious version which makes him score much higher, though it has been hard to find it online.

Charles Darwin

(1809 - 1882) Charles Robert Darwin was that famous British biologist.

  • (1) Susannah Wedgwood came from an aristocratic family. He was her fifth child out of 6. Score: 1/2
  • (2) Robert Darwin came from an aristocratic family, and his father was the noted biologist Erasmus Darwin. Score: 1/2
  • (3-8) Score: 0
  • (9) We learn some details of his childhood. Score: 0
  • (10) His voyage on the Beagle might be interpreted as that, though it is a stretch. He becomes convinced of biological evolution only well afterward. Score: 0
  • (11) He publishes his Origin of Species and other important works. Score: 1/2
  • (12) Susannah Wedgwood, from his mother's family. Score: 1
  • (13) He gets hailed as a great scientist. Score: 1
  • (14) He continues to be productive for the rest of his life, though it was hard for him to compete with his magnum opus. Score: 0
  • (15) He makes evolutionary biology much more than some vague speculations. Score: 1
  • (16-18) Score: 0
  • (19) In his home. Score: 0
  • (20) Some of his children become notable scientists, though in different fields. Score: 1/2
  • (21) Buried in Westminster Abbey. Score: 0
  • (22) Score: 0

His total score: 5

If he had lost favor with his scientist colleagues, they would have dismissed him as a crackpot. But they did the exact opposite, and he got buried in the most honorable place in Britain.

Winston Churchill

(1874 - 1965) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II.

  • (1) Jennie Jerome was a daughter of a businessman. He was her first child out of 2. Score: 1
  • (2) Lord Randolph Churchill was a prominent politician. Score: 1
  • (3-8) Score: 0
  • (9) We learn that he was independent and rebellious, and did poorly in school. Score: 0
  • (10) He was always in his "kingdom", despite going on various military tours of duty. Score: 0
  • (11) He was chosen as Prime Minister by party officials. Score: 0
  • (12) Clementine Hozier, from an aristocratic family. Score: 1
  • (13) He becomes Prime Minister twice. Score: 1
  • (14) World War II. Score: 0
  • (15) Not very notable here. Score: 0
  • (16) Though he suffered setbacks in his career, like losing in 1945, he left politics as a result of poor health later in life. Score: 0
  • (17) Score: 0
  • (18) A stroke. Score: 0
  • (19) In his home. Score: 0
  • (20) His son Randolph goes into politics and his daughter Mary had a long career in public life, but none of his children came close to succeeding him as Prime Minister. Score: 1
  • (21) He was buried. Score: 0
  • (22) In his family's plot at St Martin's Church, Bladon. Score: 0

His total score: 5

Adolf Hitler

(1889 - 1945) Leader of Germany and conqueror of much of Europe. Also known for genocide. He has been a favorite villain for over half a century, which makes him a sort of negative hero.

  • (1) Klara Pölzl, who was very ordinary. He was her fourth child out of 6. Score: 0
  • (2) Alois Hitler, a customs official. Score: 0
  • (3-8) Score: 0
  • (9) We have some details of that. Score: 0
  • (10) He moved to Munich in Bavaria, Germany in 1913, and he became one of the first members of the Nazi Party in 1919. Score: 1
  • (11) He gradually rose to power, gaining seats in the Reichstag (German Parliament) and forming a coalition with a more mainstream conservative party to become Chancellor. Early in 1933, the Reichstag building had a big fire, and Hitler demanded -- and got -- extraordinary powers to combat the Communists. He soon outlawed all other political parties, and his coalition partners disbanded themselves. Score: 0
  • (12) Eva Braun, who was also very ordinary. Score: 0
  • (13) He became unquestioned leader of Germany, ordering a purge of his good friend Ernst Röhm's militia, the S.A., along with Röhm himself. Score: 1
  • (14) It is almost the opposite. Soon after coming to power, he ordered the rearming of Germany, he made alliances with Mussolini and Tojo, he helped his good friend Francisco Franco win the Spanish Civil War, he annexed Austria in 1938 and took over part of Czechoslovakia that year, and he started World War II by attacking Poland, eventually conquering much of Europe. On the domestic front, he ordered massive public works, including a highway system that impressed one of his conquerors, General Dwight David Eisenhower. Score: 0
  • (15) The Nuremberg Laws, among others. Hitler was a firm believer in the "leader principle" (Führerprinzip), and his underlings competed for his favor. Score: 1
  • (16) Though his land was conquered and dismembered by his opponents, many of his supporters stayed loyal until they faced the prospect of defeat, and some of them continued to stay loyal, claiming that they were only following orders. Score: 0
  • (17) He stayed in power until the bitter end, committing suicide in his bunker with Soviet troops only a few blocks away. Score: 0
  • (18) He shot himself as he bit a cyanide capsule. Score: 0
  • (19) An underground bunker has the opposite topography . Score: 0
  • (20) He had no children. Score: 1
  • (21) After partial cremation by his supporters, Soviet intelligence agents buried his body near their East German headquarters, and later completely cremated and scattered the remains. Score: 0
  • (22) He has no tombs or monuments. Score: 0

His total score: 4

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

(1917 - 1963) One of the most glamorous US Presidents, his assassination has inspired numerous conspiracy theories.

  • (1) Rose Fitzgerald was the daughter of a notable Boston politician, John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald. He was her second child out of 9. Score: 1/2
  • (2) Joseph P. Kennedy was a successful businessman who was involved in politics. Score: 1
  • (3-9) Score: 0
  • (10) He entered politics in his home town, Boston, Massachusetts. Score: 0
  • (11) He defeated Richard Nixon in the Presidential race of 1960. Nixon had been Dwight Eisenhower's Vice President for the last 8 years, and Nixon may reasonably be interpreted as Eisenhower's successor. Score: 1
  • (12) Jacqueline Lee Bouvier came from a rich family with a long history. Score: 1
  • (13) Score: 1
  • (14) His Presidency is rather tumultuous, with crises in Cuba and Berlin. Score: 0
  • (15) Though he had some ambitious "New Frontier" and civil-rights plans, he had little success in getting them passed. He was more successful in starting the Apollo program to land astronauts on the Moon. Score: 1
  • (16-17) Score: 0
  • (18) Shot by a lone lunatic. Score: 0
  • (19) In his parade car. Though not an elevated place, it was a very prominent place. Score: 1/2
  • (20) His children were not quite as successful as he had been. Score: 1
  • (21) He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Score: 0
  • (22) Score: 0

His total score: 7

Including the controversies and conspiracy theories about his assassination turns (18) from 0 to 1, increasing his score to 8. The score here is from treating such theories as unconvincing, since Lee Harvey Oswald had been one of several lone lunatics who had killed or tried to kill Presidents.

Muammar Gaddafi

(1942 - 2011) Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Al Gaddafi, leader of Libya. Notable for being one of the few well-documented big heroes who got repudiated by his followers.

  • (1) Aisha Gaddafi was poor and illiterate, and Muammar was her youngest child. Score: 0
  • (2) Mohammed Abdul Salam bin Hamed bin Mohammed Gaddafi, a.k.a. Abu Meniar, was also poor and illiterate. Score: 0
  • (3-7) Score: 0
  • (8) He was raised by his biological parents. Score: 0
  • (9) He went to a Koranic elementary school in Sirte, and later to a high school in Sabha. In his teens, he became a Nasserite Arab-nationalist revolutionary activist. Score: 0
  • (10) He was already in it. Score: 0
  • (11) In 1969, he overthrows King Idris. Score: 1
  • (12) Nothing special about either Fatiha Nuri or Safia Farkash Brasai. Score: 0
  • (13) He promotes himself to Colonel, becomes the unchallenged leader, and gives himself titles like "Brother Leader" and "Guide of the Revolution". Score: 1
  • (14) He had a tumultuous rule. Score: 0
  • (15) He composes his Green Book, mandates studying it in school, imposes some of the more strict Islamic laws, like forbidding alcohol, etc. Score: 1
  • (16) The attacks he ordered on protesters in Benghazi in 2011 provoked an all-out civil war, and some of his officials and soldiers defected. Score: 1
  • (17) He flees Tripoli, and later, Sirte. Score: 1
  • (18) He was lynched by some militiamen, and the details are somewhat obscure. Score: 1/2
  • (19) He did the opposite not long before he died, hiding in a drain pipe underneath a road. Score: 0
  • (20) They are either dead (Mutassim, Saif al Arab, Khamis), jailed by his successors (Saif al Islam), or in exile (Mohammed, Saadi, Hannibal, Aisha). Score: 0
  • (21) He was buried in the desert. Score: 0
  • (22) In a secret location, and a presumably unmarked one. Score: 0

His total score: 5 1/2

He is here because he is a rarity: a great leader in recent centuries who got repudiated by his people without the threat of being conquered. Tsar Nicholas II, Richard Nixon, and Mikhail Gorbachev also qualify here. Nicholas II abdicated after mounting discontent with his failing leadership, and he was arrested and later executed by the Bolsheviks. When Nixon's involvement in the Watergate scandal was exposed, leading politicians from his party started to oppose him, and he resigned rather than be removed from office by Congress. Six years into his Presidency, Gorbachev seemed like a failing leader to many Soviet citizens, and Soviet hard-liners tried to overthrow him. But Russian-Republic leader Boris Yeltsin led the defeat of that coup, enhancing his political stature and reducing Gorbachev's to lame-duck status. A few months later, Yeltsin and other Soviet-republic leaders voted the Soviet Union out of existence, taking Gorbachev's position with it.

Though Muammar Gaddafi's name has one Arabic-alphabet spelling, it has numerous Roman-alphabet ones, which may be summarized as {G,K,Kh,Q}a{d,dd,dh,th}a{f,ff}{i,y}.

Modern Fantasy

Anakin Skywalker

Star Wars character, who adopted the name Darth Vader.

  • (1) Shmi Skywalker was a commoner, but Anakin was her only child. Score: 1/2
  • (2) Cliegg Lars is a possible human father. Score: 0
  • (3) Score: 0
  • (4) Shmi claimed that Anakin had no father. Score: 1
  • (5) Instead, his "father" was the Force. Score: 1
  • (6-9) Score: 0
  • (10) He becomes a Jedi, and eventually a Dark Lord of the Sith. Score: 1
  • (11) He gradually takes the side of Chancellor, then Emperor Palpatine. Score: 0
  • (12) Padmé Amidala. Score: 1
  • (13) He is a major Empire leader. Score: 1
  • (14-15) Score: 0
  • (16) On board the new Death Star, Emperor Palpatine encourages Luke Skywalker to take his place. Score: 1
  • (17) He pushes Palpatine down a shaft after Palpatine tortured Luke. Score: 1
  • (18) The dying Palpatine explodes in a shower of Force lightning, short-circuiting his suit and killing him. Score: 1
  • (19) In the interior of the Death Star. Score: 0
  • (20) Neither Luke nor Leia decide to follow the Dark Side of the Force. Score: 1
  • (21) He is cremated on Endor. Score: 1
  • (22) Score: 0

His Total Score: 10 1/2

Prophecy: Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn was convinced that he was the "Chosen One" of Jedi prophecy "who will bring balance to the Force," and George Lucas has claimed that he had fulfilled that prophecy by destroying the Sith: Palpatine and himself.

Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa

These two Star Wars characters have closely-parallel biographies, so they will be treated together. Some post-series novels were used to fill out details of their post-movie careers.

  • (1) Princess Padmé Naberrie Amidala, whose only children were those two. Score: 1
  • (2) Anakin Skywalker. Score: 1
  • (3-6) Score: 0
  • (7) When Padmé died after giving birth to the two, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Beru Organa decided to keep the children safe, because they were sure that Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader would consider them a threat. Score: 1
  • (8) Owen and Beru Lars raise Luke on Tatooine, and Bail and Breha Organa raise Leia on Alderaan. Score: 1
  • (9) Score: 1
  • (10) They gradually join the rebellion against the Empire. Score: 1
  • (11) They both help defeat Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. Score: 1
  • (12) Luke marries Mara Jade and Leia marries Han Solo. Score: 1
  • (13) Luke helps rebuild the Jedi Order, and Leia helps rebuild the Republic. Score: 1
  • (14) Rather likely. Score: 0
  • (15) Related to (13). Score: 1
  • (16-22) Not applicable.

Their total scores: 10 of 15

Harry Potter

The famous J.K. Rowling character.

  • (1) Lily Evans was a witch, and Harry was her only child. Score: 1
  • (2) James Potter was a pure-blood wizard. Score: 1
  • (3-5) Score: 0
  • (6) Lord Voldemort tried to kill him when he was a baby, giving him a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. Score: 1
  • (7) He is rescued by Albus Dumbledore and Rubeus Hagrid. Score: 1
  • (8) By the Dursleys. Score: 1
  • (9) Counting "childhood" as his pre-Hogwarts years. Score: 1
  • (10) He gets sent to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Score: 1
  • (11) He fights Lord Voldemort several times and eventually defeats him. Score: 1
  • (12) The witch Ginevra Molly "Ginny" Weasley. Score: 1
  • (13) He becomes head of the Aurors, an elite unit that hunts down bad sorcerers. Score: 1
  • (14) Apparently so; he and Ginny have three children. Score: 1
  • (15) He and Ronald Bilius "Ron" Weasley revolutionize the Auror Department and Hermione Jean Granger is high up in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Score: 1

His total score: 12 of 15

Prophecy: Harry Potter: Lord Voldemort learns from Severus Snape that a certain Sybill Patricia Trelawney had prophesied in a job interview that someone capable of defeating the "Dark Lord" will soon be born. That someone was Harry Potter. Lord Voldemort then tried to kill the baby Harry Potter.

This article was originally at the Beacon Library (now defunct).

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