What is a “house law?”

golden-bullHouse law is not really an English expression, rather just a literal translation of the German Hausgesetz. Nonetheless, it is understandable if one thinks of an old fashioned household in which “Father’s word was law”. In the German expression, the house was a noble one, like the House of Windsor in England. Ruling noble houses [more…]

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What’s in a name?

popular-childrens-namesWhat’s in a name? This answer intentionally avoids any reference to the myriad of websites that tell about the meaning of names. Mothers and fathers want their child to have the right name or names. There are different traditions which may make the selection easier. If Dad is already a “junior” or “the third”, the [more…]

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Could I be a descendent of Charlemagne?

charlemagneYou could indeed be a descendent of Charlemagne, but if so, then probably so is everyone else you know (but you don't have to tell them). Charlemagne was crowned on Christmas Day in the year 800, which endears him to people who have trouble remembering dates. He married Hildegard in 772, and they had at [more…]

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Why were the crown princes of France called “Dauphin”, literally, a dolphin?

dolphin-dauphinBetween 1350 and 1791 there were 28 Dauphin de France, the title of the heir apparent to the French throne, similar to the title Prince of Wales in England. But why should he be the “dolphin” of France? Strictly, the correct title was Dauphin de Viennois, the dolphin of Vienne, a town in Département Isère. [more…]

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