Discussion: Forgotten Figures

As sort of a lead-up to my first real Forgotten Figures article on Monday or Tuesday, I thought we’d have a discussion about it.  Not the articles themselves, but the whole concept of obscure historical figures.

My idea with the series is, as I’ve said, to bring to light figures that are forgotten in mainstream history.  I still love Julius Caesar, Cleopatra and Charlemagne, but who can forget the accomplishments of Aurelian, Zenobia and Emperor Li Shih-min? Some of those names are far from obscure in the circles of history buffs, but they have been forgotten by most people.  As in, you could go up to a random person on the street, tell them the name and ask what they accomplished and most people would look at you blankly.  So basically, as far as I define it, it’s all about name recognition.

That’s why I chose to start on what will hopefully be a regular article series here on The Mad Reviewer.  I have a passion for history that I want to share and although it’s not necessarily the most book-related thing ever, many of these people are people I discovered either within books or people I’d love to see represented in fiction.  So if you’re an aspiring historical fiction writer, maybe you’ll find inspiration here in the weeks to come.

Enough preamble, though.  What I want to know is this: Who is your favourite historical figure that’s been forgotten by the mainstream media?  Why?

(And on a side note: Is there a particular figure you’d like to see me feature in Forgotten Figures?  I’m quite open to suggestions and I have the resources to mount at least a decent research effort into most eras, so please don’t hold back if you want to share your love of an obscure figure.)

One comment

  1. marcuslee2401

    As I inferred in my other comment, I don’t really know any particular historical figures outside of the common ones. However, I like to read and watch shows on history. Even a so-called well known figure will have a story most don’t know very well. It’s just the name they can name.

    Or, there’s other times that a different person is famous for the same reason. Like the history of the telephone. We all know Mr. Bell, but there was at least one other. Don’t know his name unless I look it up. They were working on the invention at the same time, but society only really remembers one.

    Another example of that is the first black baseball player. Jackie Robinson holds the famous slot, but there were others who were just as courageous near the same time and even one reference I found that was much earlier … as in the previous century.

    My examples so far are fairly modern, but there’s lots of material in ancient history too. (As you’ve already mentioned) In looking for ancient historical figures to read about, I found The Leper King of Jerusalem. That would make an interesting article.

    Look forward to it all.

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