30th 2013
Nominations are now open for Best Title Ever

Posted under: American history, European history, fluff

First Sealord of the Admiralty probably gets my vote, but Supreme Allied Commander is pretty boss, too. (What does it say about me that I gravitate towards these European-oriented military offices and titles? Hmm.) Maybe I should just keep it simple and ask that people call me Citoyenne Historianne. (At least that’s a democratic civilian title, albeit rather European-sounding.)

What’s your pick for Best Title Ever?


41 Responses to “Nominations are now open for Best Title Ever”

  1. Jake on 30 Apr 2013 at 10:06 am #

    How about George Washington’s preference — “His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties.”

  2. J. Otto Pohl on 30 Apr 2013 at 10:45 am #

    One of the titles of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was “Shadow of God on Earth.”

  3. Indyanna on 30 Apr 2013 at 10:55 am #

    I decided to go with something along the Viking line, so I downloaded an app and came up with “Drengr,” who are described there as: “The Drengr comprise the backbone of The Vikings, those members who have proved both their abilities and their commitment and who now have a say in the running of The Vikings and a vote in Society decisions.” You also get a Purple shirt and a cool helmet. (Maybe not best ever, but best this morning.)

  4. koshembos on 30 Apr 2013 at 10:55 am #

    The Osama Bin Laden Al Qaida Chaired professor of justified terrorism

  5. Western Dave on 30 Apr 2013 at 10:56 am #

    I’m rather partial to the Electress of Hanover these days.

  6. Tony Grafton on 30 Apr 2013 at 11:00 am #

    I’ve always liked Rector magnificus, myself.

  7. Nicoleandmaggie on 30 Apr 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    I have a soft place in my heart for the Rear Admiral designation.

  8. Paul Harvey on 30 Apr 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Supreme Leader is a candidate, but really love Citoyenne Historianne, so voting for that one.

  9. Kathleen on 30 Apr 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    I’ve always thought that had I the suitable opportunity, I’d modify Haile Selassie I’s titles and stylings to suit my gender and situation:

    “His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia, Elect of God”.

  10. Katherine on 30 Apr 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    I was always fond of “First Citizen” because it has a strange mix of democratic unity and hierachy…

  11. Ruth on 30 Apr 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    I kind of like the nicknames that famous medieval people got. Ruth the Venerable. Ann the Astonishing.

  12. Fratguy on 30 Apr 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    “Lord High Executioner”, kind of goofy and camp when you chew on it bit but I guess that was Gilbert and Sullivan’s point.

  13. Historiann on 30 Apr 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Otto & Kathleen: your comments remind me of a puritan minister by the name of William Gouge, who wrote a book called Of Domesticall Duties (1622). He wrote of the family patriarch as his wife’s Lord and Master, or in his terms, “the Image and Glory of God.” That would be a pretty good approximation of the derisive term women started using for their household patriarchs by the end of the 18th C, “the Lords of Creation.”

    Thanks, everyone–you made me laugh! Keep ‘em coming–it’s that time of the year. I think I’m terrifying my senior seminarians with my merciless marking up of their rough drafts, so I need a little light humor this week.

  14. Profane on 30 Apr 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    “Rex Anglorum per omnipatrantis dexteram totius Bryttaniae regni solio sublimatus”

    (King of the English, raised by the right hand of the Almighty to the throne of the whole kingdom of Britain – applied to Athelstan, an early 10c. English king.)

  15. Charlie on 30 Apr 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    Look Columbus was a tool, but sorry, “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” is SO baller.

  16. Historiann on 30 Apr 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    “Baller?” Srsly?

    Wasn’t that a title bestowed on Columbus by a 19th C poet, anyway?

  17. JB on 30 Apr 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    Groom of the Stool.

  18. Belle on 30 Apr 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    At this moment in time, Professor Emeritus sounds pretty damned appealing.

  19. Mark Peterson on 30 Apr 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Columbus’s title, “Admiral of the Ocean Sea,” was bestowed on him by Ferdinand and Isabella, because the “sea” he had become the master of in his voyages of discovery was called the “Ocean Sea,” “Ocean” being the ancient name for the river-like sea that encircled the known world (i.e., the “Old World” or the “eastern hemisphere” from time immemorial.

    Meanwhile, back in 2009, my esteemed alma mater sent out an alumni info update list that included, as boxes to check, no less than 137 different honorific titles. I found this so appalling that I sent it to Harper’s Magazine, and they published a selection of them in the “Readings” section of their January 2010 issue. Here’s a link, though you may have to subscribe to Harpers for it to open.
    If it won’t open, here’s a small sampling of some of the choice options that the alumni of mankind’s greatest university could elect for themselves:

    Datuk Haji
    Her Excellency
    His Highness
    His Majesty King

  20. Mark Peterson on 30 Apr 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Personally, “Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal” has always appealed to me. Also, “Papal Master of the Horse”

  21. Indyanna on 30 Apr 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Mark Peterson’s hilarious list of titles reminded me that George Montagu-Dunk, the Second Earl of Halifax, cut his sinecurial teeth on a post called “Master of the Buckhounds,” which Wikipedia notes were headstrong curs “smaller than staghounds,” highly prized by princes everywhere for coursing after smaller game such as “fallow deer.” Alas, this entirely-useful office was eliminated in 1901 in a round of Parliamentary leveling not seen since the English Civil War.

  22. GAdams on 30 Apr 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    Amtrak has an assortment of titles you can choose from for ticketing that included “Lady”. Or they did c.2003 when I last booked a fare. Why yes, I did designate myself as “Lady Adams” on a trip from Boston to DC. I could not resist. Yet, I was not treated with any special deference or care in my economy seat amongst the common folk. Perhaps I should have chosen Dutchess”. Lesson learned.

  23. cgeye on 01 May 2013 at 1:02 am #

    I always thought “Law Lord” was nice — so much so that I pined for Mary Lou Lord to marry Jude Law, and merge their names…

  24. Evan on 01 May 2013 at 3:21 am #

    Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator, called himself (according to the sage of knowledge Wikipedia) ‘His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular’.

  25. Historiann on 01 May 2013 at 6:22 am #

    Mark–thanks for the clarification on Columbus’s title. It is poetic, if not in fact bestowed by a 19th C poet.

    GAdams: if you used Dutchess, you’d be Lady G., Dutchess of (Whatever). You’d have to figure out the whatever part, too.

    As for titles, I think the newly-minted Pope Emeritus should be called instead the Dowager Bishop of Rome. (Sorry to go all Downton Abbey on you, but I think Maggie Smith would make a fantastic Ratzinger, of course.)

  26. Perpetua on 01 May 2013 at 6:25 am #

    I have to say I prefer the more poetic titles, like Otto’s contribution – the Shadow of God on Earth. Titles in the Western tradition tend to be more literal. How cool is that?

  27. ProfSweddy on 01 May 2013 at 9:47 am #

    I am always tickled when I order a desk copy from Routledge. I have never chosen one of their alternative salutations but they include Dame, Herr, Sr. Chf, and Madame. Next time I order a book from them, I may style myself Countess Spottiswood just for fun.

  28. Historiann on 01 May 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Or Herr Doktor Professor Sweddy?

  29. David Nichols on 01 May 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    I am partial to “Knight Commander of the Order of Count Dracula,” the title (presumably honorary) given by the Count Dracula Society to Russell Kirk.

  30. Indyanna on 01 May 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    I notice that nobody is picking the academic titles that lie about us like bent tools on a shop floor: viz. “chair, search committee,” or “coordinator of curriculum innovation and implementation.” In truth, centuries from now, when the academy has been mooked into oblivion, nobody will probably be picking them either, if they still have blogs. As in: “wow, I think maybe I would like to have been an “associate vice-president for disruptive and transformation studies,” the way we now pick through various certificates of chieftainship with a certain naive wonder.

  31. Tenured Radical on 01 May 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Komrade Radical.

  32. Leslie M-B on 01 May 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    It’s more a nickname than a title, but from Game of Thrones: Kingslayer. If we styled ourselves thus, do you think administrators would see “faculty governance” in a new light?

  33. Historiann on 01 May 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Great idea, Leslie: who will volunteer to serve as the Kicker of the Dean’s Ass, or the Humiliator of the Provost?

  34. Ruth on 01 May 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    When I flew Lufthansa I checked the box for Frau Professor Doktor. Although, I am now informed, I wasn’t actually entitled to do so, because you have to hold a professorial title in a German university to be thus addressed.

  35. GlassPen on 01 May 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    I’d also vote for “Shadow of God on Earth”..divine!

    But the title I covet professionally is “Director, Disruptive Technologies.” It is an actual job title at (dare I say this here?) Elsevier…not that I do (or would) work there.

  36. Susan on 02 May 2013 at 12:22 am #

    Well, the title I have always wished for is Marchioness, only because I have secretly always wanted to be a Martian. (The down side is having to marry a Marquis…)
    Lady of the Bedchamber sounds good right now.

  37. Feminist Avatar on 02 May 2013 at 3:45 am #

    Susan, you could just inherit or be appointed in your own right. If the latter, you would be following in the illustrious footsteps of Anne Boleyn.

  38. Bob Blaskiewicz on 02 May 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    You can’t beat Kim Jong Il’s titles, I’m afraid, among the best:

    Guiding Star of the 21st Century
    Glorious General, Who Descended From Heaven
    Highest Incarnation of the Revolutionary Comradely Love

    and, of course,

    Dear Leader, who is a perfect incarnation of the appearance that a leader should have.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Kim_Jong-il%27s_titles

    (On the wikipedia page, I’m pretty sure that “Father of the Neighbor’s Children” should be Father of the Nation. :)

  39. Geoff on 04 May 2013 at 12:42 am #

    If you look further down the hierarchy there are other cool titles, including mine – journeyman.

  40. link love | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured on 04 May 2013 at 1:10 am #

    [...] asks what your best title ever is.  Rear [...]

  41. Smoak on 08 May 2013 at 7:07 am #

    Chief Overlord of the Universe is nice. Or you could go with one that Vietnam era vets would know. I will leave it at the acronym – HMFIC.

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