GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2006-09 > 1159075165
From: "David Teague" <>
Subject: RE: use of word, "pretender"
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2006 05:19:25 +0000
>From: "Diana Gale Matthiesen" <>
>Subject: RE: use of word, "pretender"
>Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2006 10:19:23 -0400
< major snipping>
What about someone who has no blood-right to being king vanquishing the
rightful king and taking his place claiming to be the rightful king? He's
not the one out of power, he's the one in power, but shouldn't be. Is he a
No; he's a usurper, not a pretender.
I know I'm picking this to death, but I don't want to mis-use the word.
Basically, what it boils down to is this: "pretender" is one of those words
-- like "usurper," for that matter -- which pretty much always carries a
value judgment. If the speaker/writer wishes to pass no judgment on the
situation, the term with which I am most familiar is "claimant."
To use period examples:
Henry Tudor (pre-Bosworth) was the Lancastrian claimant.
Richard III is often (though hardly universally) refered to as a usurper --
except by his partisans and defenders (then and now).
Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel were either imposters, or pretenders, or
both, depending on your point of view.
And, of course -- as mentioned earlier in this thread -- the dispossessed
Stuarts were known as the Old Pretender and Young Pretender, respectively.
Hope this helps.