Impressive Epithets on low nobles

Oct 2016
Under the sun
While studying the Albigensian Crusade, I came across a Count of Foix, himself a vassal of the County of Toulouse named Roger-Bernard II, who was known as "the Great". I've never come across such a minor character with an impressive cognomen like that. Further examples/reasons for this title would be appreciated


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
I assume there was a Roger-Bernard I. Was there a Roger-Bernard III, IV, etc? It's my humble opinion that suffixes like 'the great' are applied to distinguish one person from among many with the same name. The best examples I can provide are the Carolingians:
Charles Martel
Charles the Great aka Charlemagne
Charles the Bald
Charles the Fat
Charles the Simple

Imagine how confusing it would be if they were all just Charles. I suspect adding Roman numerals after their names was a later convention.

I agree it's unusual to see 'the Great' given to a minor nobleman. Might it be a kind of joke or pun, like maybe they used 'the Great' when they really meant 'the Tall' or 'the Fat?'
Nov 2010
It's all to do with the origin of surnames and stuff. Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar etc, to distinguish him from his father I think. Obviously that sort of system can't go on forever so surnames (son of, from...) appeared.

There's a big thread on it somewhere.