Nine Worthies


I came across a medieval tradition of “Nine Worthies” and the three from the Classical period are Hector, Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. I have to say I’m puzzled by why Hector is one of the figures? Is it because of Aeneas and the Roman connection?

4 thoughts on “Nine Worthies

  1. I think it’s just that Hector is considered the truly noble figure from the great poem of antiquity, yes? This is only a guess, so I’m prepared to be schooled by some classicist or medievalist out there. The Nine Worthies were (as I understand it) not just supposed to be cool figures but to instantiate specifically heroic or chivalric values, so one can see how Hector would fit (and not, say, Odysseus, who though wily was not a moral exemplar).

    • Yes, but Hector is not the main character in that great poem, is he? Why not choose Achilles instead? Or Aeneas (as the founder of Rome)?

      What I found so far is that the idea of “Nine Worthies” comes from a book by Jacques de Longuyon [called Les Voeux du paon (The Vows of the Peacock)] from 1312. So now I have to track it down and see for myself.

  2. I don’t know if I would call it “desecration” – it wasn’t “sacred” to begin with! The man celebrated his victory/mourned his friend a bit too much, I don’t see anything wrong with that (in the context) and plus he did return the body to Priam after all.

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