Speaking of memes, Millennium Elephant's daddy Richard shares his birthday with Henry Tulip. This fact reminded me to look up exactly where the princes in the tower fit into the Wars of the Roses, in good time for listening to my friend Nev's The Kingmaker.
Ooh look, Henry Tulip's granny was the French bird Henry V married after his European Cup win at Agincourt. Top fact about that: Henry had been wounded 12 years before in the longbow-on-longbow action at Shrewsbury. An arrow hit him in the face, leaving him noticeably scarred. This detail is not included in the best-selling biography by W. Shakespeare.
I think I'm right in saying that the name "wars of the roses" was a contrivance of Shakespeare's, too - it certainly wasn't used at the time the wars were actually going on (1455-1485, or 1487 if you're a pedant). Shakey's plays show those decades of war to be miserably brutal and bleak (until, er, his patron's granddad took control after the Battle of Bosworth Field), so the title's meant to be ironic. Like there being a "buttercup massacre" or a "dandy-lion holocaust".
(Yes that's an archaic spelling, before you write in.)
The ironic title is not just a pretty bit of word-play; it's useful in differentiating from the other civil war. Which is often referred to as two civil wars anyway, because silly King Chuck surrendered and then started fighting again. Yes, that does seem like nit-picking, but this was not 'Nam, there were rules...
Anyway, wars can't be civil either. The civility-bit is a "treaty". It’s always the diplomats and peacemakers who have to clear up the mess, as a wise Time Lord might remark someday soon.
(We also tend not to call the squabbling between the boss-eyed King Stephen and his big sister a civil war, because, er, we tend to forget about it anyway. Oh, and if Henry IV hadn't jumped the queue, we might have had a King Roger.)
This kind of semantic stuff appeals to me anyway (I've always loved the Master's self-contradicting line in Dr Who and half of all the Drs Who, as the Cybermen point menacing guns at him: "I am the Master, and your loyal servant.").
I've also spent a morning beefing up metadata, gathering all the synonyms, homonyms and Houyhnhnms I can think of, which may explain why brain has gone wandering...
Friday 23 May 1662
3 hours ago