The “Nine Worthies” (in French, Les Neuf Preux) are the nine most valiant men ever to live.
- Alexander the Great
- Julius Caesar
- Judas Maccabeus (patron of The Maccabee Society)
- King Arthur
- Godfrey of Bouillon
The first three are pagan. The middle three are Jewish. The last three are Christian. The nine Worthies were first “canonized” in 1312 by Jacques de Longuyon in his Voeux du Paon (The Vows of the Peacock). Jacques de Longuyon was a famous martial artist in his day and a champion with the broadsword. The list recurs through history and each man exemplifies the warrior politician.
Personally, I can think other men who might fit the list. Yet I like the threefold arrangement of pagan, Jewish, and Christian. As the editor of The Maccabee Society, I receive emails and comments from (Christian) readers who are confused or angered that our articles sometimes seek wisdom from ancient pagan authors (eg, the Stoics, Plato, Aristotle, and others). This ‘Christian only’ approach to wisdom is represented by early thinkers (like Tertullian) but the majority opinion among Christians is that light, reason, and virtue can be found among the non-believers. Just as the ancient Israelites plundered the Egyptians of their treasures before the exodus, so we Christians should plunder the pagans of any gold, silver, or jewels that they may have acquired through rational thinking or right philosophy.
If I could supplement or add to the list of Worthies, I’d suggest:
- Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus
- Constantine the Great
- Saint George
- Saint Maurice
- Saint Sebastian
- Saint Louis Rex
Who would you add to the list? Please leave a comment below: