National Heros

Discuss historical events and information concerning any culture, time, or location in our world (or even the frontier beyond).

Unread postby Ranbir » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:13 pm

England - St George for vanquishing evil dragons from our lands.

England - BFG, for protecting the children of our great country from child-eating giants.

Francis Drake for the naval exploits?
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Unread postby SYL » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:44 pm

St. George was a Roman soldier (of a Greek father and Palestinian mother) who never went anywhere near Britain. He's a saint because he was executed for being a Christian, the "dragon thing" was based on a Cappadocian myth that predated Christianity. He might be the country's patron saint, but a national hero? That's stretching it. 8-)
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Unread postby Ranbir » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:54 pm

Yet you still can't explain how we are dragon free. Stop taking away this man's moment in legend. Jealous.
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Unread postby Duncan » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:20 pm

I thought it was Bard the Guardsman of Laketown who killed Smaug with a well-aimed arrow to free the world of dragons, not this George bloke... I'll give you the BFG though.

I'll also note that I have made a point of mentioning national sporting heroes. As well as scientists, artists can be both international and national heroes as well. Here's an example:

Spain - Gaudi for... most of Barcelona.
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Unread postby Koichi » Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:26 pm

I don't think this is true at all. I think that Aneurin Bevan's championing of the modern welfare state and Charles Darwin reshaping the way we look at biology makes them as much British "national heroes" as Drake and Nelson. It's just that war heroes make the most obvious candidates.


I said usually. I know there are exceptions who aren't categorized as soldier/statesmen. However, whatever the person did there has to be some reason they're tied to the nation's identity. Athletes (Pele) and artists (Selena) could arguably fit this category but the overwhelming mass majority of them do not, and I wanted to point this out.
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Unread postby SYL » Thu Sep 15, 2005 4:00 pm

I don't even think it's a "mass majority", that's my contention. I think it's incorrect, and unfortunate, to conflate "military hero" and "national hero".
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Unread postby Duncan » Thu Sep 15, 2005 4:19 pm

There are plenty of military heroes who are not national heroes. Examples might be Robert E Lee, or Stonewall Jackson. Undoubtedly military heroes for their much-admired generalship. But not, I would contend, national heroes.
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Unread postby Koichi » Thu Sep 15, 2005 4:56 pm

I don't even think it's a "mass majority", that's my contention. I think it's incorrect, and unfortunate, to conflate "military hero" and "national hero".


Well, national heroes are folks who contributed significantly to the well being of their country (usually) right? Like them or not, military figures often provide that contribution and therefore comprise most of what we think of as national heroes. That is not to say this honor excludes artists or athletes.

Take El Cid for example. Spaniards regard him as very significant to the creation and identity of Spain as we know it (as Washington was for the US). During the Middle Ages, most of Spain, the southern portion, was ruled by Muslims who invaded from North Africa. They built a thriving Caliphate centered around Cordoba where science, art, and literature flourished. The Christian kingdoms, in comparison, were small, divided, and feudal. Starting in 1086, Yusuf, Sultan of Morocco, launched a fresh series of campaigns aimed at unifying the peninsula under Muslim rule. El Cid was largely responsible for leading the inferior Spanish armies in resistance and effectively preventing Spain from becoming a Muslim Arab/Berber country.
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Unread postby SYL » Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:54 pm

Well, national heroes are folks who contributed significantly to the well being of their country (usually) right? Like them or not, military figures often provide that contribution and therefore comprise most of what we think of as national heroes.


It's not a case of liking it or not. While military heroes do indeed contribute towards a country's history, status and wellbeing, those politicians, artists, writers, scientists etc. who make a country what it is, who define it's values and it's culture, are equally important. Placing military heroes above the vast majority of "heroic" figures who had no warlike role to play is just shortsighted, I'm sorry.
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Unread postby Ranbir » Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:02 pm

A nation's hero is one, I'm guessing that the entire nation admires. Most like their military heroes. Go to a pub and badmouth a hero. I can bet that you'll get a nice stomping if you did badmouth Churchill. I don't see that happening for Darwin.
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