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Does using any of these historic names bother you?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by DeathtoTrite, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

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    Would any of these names/ these names slightly altered bother people?

    Cyril and Methodius (twins)
    Julian (who becomes the figurehead for a movement to restore something previously gone
    Orsini+ Colonna for two warring families
    Mandukhai for a female ruler of a semi-nomadic area
    Skanderberg as a powerful fortress in a weaker nation

    Thanks for any feedback!
     
  2. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Don't bother me a bit. I like real names in a fantasy setting. They can work just fine depending on the context.
     
  3. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

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    I'm not at all bothered. In fact, things like that can become a neat little Easter egg for history buffs.
     
  4. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    Yeah, I don't see a problem. If the character is essentially just a copy of the real life person then it might personally bug me a tiny bit, unless it's done in satire or for the sake of symbolism.
     
  5. Micheale

    Micheale Scribe

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    I don't mind it, like PP mentioned, if it is for symbolic reasons…

    However, sort of changing the names could be interesting… Like how GRRM possibly based his series off the war of the roses, with the Lancasters (Lannisters) and the Yorks (Starks).
     
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Normally, no. But Skanderberg would bother me because my eye keeps making it Skanderbeg, which is the historical name. The GRRM shift mentioned by Michaele is fine. But when it's a single-letter shift, it distracts the historian in me. It makes me wonder, was it a mistake? If it's intentional, why? And why only this one?
     
    Ophiucha likes this.
  7. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Since I don't know these names it wouldn't bother me. But - and this is a big one - if it was made clear that these were names from history and I felt suitably motivated or inspired, I would google them. Then if I found that the names / histories had been substantially altered, it would annoy me.

    I'm more comfortable with names from ancient mythology, simply because the tales are already told in any number of different ways so there is no actual historical fact to contradict.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

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    Could you maybe explain what you mean by this? I kind of meant it to be something a historian buff might see and be like "oh, that makes sense." Cyril and Methiodius were two Greek monks who worked together to try to convert Greater Moravia to Eastern Orthodoxy (they failed). In my book, they are ambitious twins with pretty much nothing in common with the historic duo. Would that bother you?
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    If they had nothing in common with the historical figures, why make the reference?
     
  10. The only problem I may have is if your other names are completely different from the names you listed. Like, if you had someone named Zercarzigath and his son was named Julian. Also, if you use Julian if there is not a single subtle "Hey Jude" reference I will be a little sad.
     
  11. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Yeah. To be more clear without naming specific books, I have read a number of works which reference ancient Greeks and Romans etc, where they have referenced them wrong. Time periods have been out, sometimes they talk about them interacting with people they couldn't possibly have interacted with, sometimes even their greatest achievements have been miss-attributed. And that does annoy me.

    My thought is that if you're going to name historical figures use them correctly.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    Same as skip.knox with regards to Skanderberg.

    Orsini and Colonna seem a little too on-the-nose. The names on their own are fine, but by having both of them and having them be in a feud -- to me, I would not be able to think of them as anything but fictitious members from the real houses of Orsini and Colonna. I'd probably do what Michaele suggested and change the names a little ala York-Stark, to evoke them without just... plopping a couple of Italian noble houses into your fantasy world.

    The other names don't bother me; Mandukhai might be a little too close, but if her politics are little like the historical Mandukhai's, I'd probably get over it pretty quickly. Like 65% of twins in fiction are a reference to something, so I definitely don't mind that one. Julian doesn't bother me at all either.
     
  13. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    Point of curiosity: what names would bug people? I once couldn't take a story seriously because a character whose wishes come true in horrible ways was named Midas, and I lost patience with a book that thought it was being clever by associating a character with snakes and statues and naming her Dusa.
     
  14. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

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    I'd have to agree that names that are supposed to be symbolic but end up being extremely heavy-handed would bug me.
     
  15. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

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    This is my point. Calling someone Octavian who rules an empire would just be obnoxious. I just hope that most of the names are either subtle enough that they are cool or common enough names that it wouldn't be obvious, eg- Marcus in some hypothetical Roman setting.
     
  16. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Octavian didn't rule an empire. He restored the Republic. ;-)
     
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  17. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

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    On a similar but somewhat different question- I'm looking for an honorific for my kingdom populated by nomads who have intermarried and now rule over local populations. I could use sir, or my lord, but I was thinking Pasha would be better. The question of course, is if this would feel too much like a lift out of the middle east. I already call local lords beys. I was also thinking about doing a slight change-- maybe Pahda.
     
  18. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I think real names are a good thing. It's hard to make up names, why bother if your story would allow old names to be used?
    I use 12-15th century names for my human names. I try to find different sources to create other race names.

    I would also not rule out real towns or villages names for use in generic terms, unless of course you are using the country and region for the setting of your story, then it can be specific.
     
  19. Avara

    Avara Dreamer

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    the names didn't bother me personally but then I'm not a history buff, so I'm not very familiar with those names. The only thing I would caution against is making sure the ethnicity/race of the names matches the ethnicity/race of the people they are attached to, even if it's only by influence. For instance I would be very bothered to come across a group of people based on Rome or Great Britain populated by white people only to find that all their names are taken from Africa or The Middle East. Basically, don't go naming a white character Simba or anything like that.

    And I would echo what others have said in that if a name is meant to be a historical reference then the character with that name should have some relation to the historical figure, otherwise what's the point?
     
  20. Avara

    Avara Dreamer

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    Is the culture and race of these nomads based on people from Middle Eastern countries? Do they come from an area that is reminiscent of the Middle East? Cause if not I would caution against using such terms as it could come off as cultural appropriation.

    Personally I don't see anything wrong with using "my lord" or "sir" in most instances. Why do you think Pasha would be better?
     
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