What’s in a name?

March 17, 2011

During the Terror phase of the French Revolution, all titles of nobility were proscribed. The viscount of Saint-René was interrogated: “What is your name?”

“Viscount of Saint-René.”

“There are no more viscounts.”

“I’m called de Saint-René.”

“No one is de any longer.”

“I’m called Saint-René.”

“There are no more Saints.”

“So then, I’m René.”

“There is no longer a Re (king).”

“Well then, I’m just (French for “born”)

“And shortly you will be dead.”

Fernando Palazzi, Enciclopedia degli aneddoti (Milan: Ceschina, 1946), 3 vols., Col. 12350. (Nobility.org translation.)

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 58

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