Historical Goodies? Tricky, because in some cases (notably military history) one person’s goody hero is another’s baddy enemy. Take Napoleon Bonaparte. Undoubtedly a baddy on the field of Waterloo, where his army was beaten by British forces under the Duke of Wellington but in other fields, such as metrication and administration, he did much to shape aspects of the modern world. In other areas of historical heroes, the representation of a particular personage might reply on props relating to his/her major achievement as much as the look and costume. Nonetheless, let’s risk a few suggestions for historical Goodies…
Jesus – Undoubtedly has the right credentials, but perhaps controversial for some. Seems to us if street sellers can offer Instant Jesus kits in St Peter’s Square, Rome, he is a potential contender.
Buddha – Bringing some religious balance, the main costume representation of this most influential entity is a gold statue.
Joan of Arc – Feisty French freedom fighter against the English.
Moses – One of the few biblical choices, but you should be okay if you take the tablets.
Winston Churchill – Renowned wartime leader and British Prime Minister.
King Henry V – English king who took the fight to the French at Agincourt and, thanks to Shakespeare, is better known than he might otherwise be.
Sir Francis Drake – Major sailor, explorer and privateer of Elizabethan/Tudor times.
Sir Walter Raleigh – The ‘other’ famous Elizabethan explorer, legendary for laying his cloak down for the Queen and introducing tobacco and the potato to western civilisation (or vice versa).
Queen Elizabeth I – Aside from her current counterpart and Victoria (who presided over the expanded British territories), possibly the best known of English Queens.
Pochahontas (& Captain John Smith) – The Native American Chief’s daughter and the English explorer whose life she saved and fell in love with.
Mother Teresa – A modern sainted soul whose charity works amongst the poor of India were tireless.
Cleopatra – There were actually several Cleopatras in Egyptian history, but this is the famous one who attempted to save her kingdom through romance with two of the military leaders of Rome.
George Washington – Founding Father of the United States of America.
Abraham Lincoln – Probably the second most famous American historical figure from the British point of view, noted for his Gettysburg address on the matter of slavery at the end of the Civil War. Although he was tall already (around 6’4’’), he was also noted for his stovepipe top hat in which, it is said, he kept important official documents.
Mahatma Gandhi – Pacifist who led the Indian sub-continent to Independence from British rule.
William I – William the Conqueror may not be seen as a hero by some, but like his later compatriot Napoleon, his skill with administration and quelling of meaningless Saxon violence was admirable.
Robert the Bruce – Scottish leader of early times who, legend has it, was inspired to continue his fight against the English invaders after watching a spider taking several attempts to build a web.
Napoleon Bonaparte – The little Frenchman with big ideas for a European Empire, built out of the foundations established by the French Revolution.
Horatio Nelson – Opposing Napoleonic forces at sea was Rear Admiral Nelson whose heroic leadership lead to the Victory at Trafalgar and his unfortunate death.
Duke of Wellington – Military strategist whose skill with land forces defeated Napoleon’s attempts to establish a European Empire, capitalising upon the Frenchman’s failed campaign against the Russians.
William Shakespeare – The greatest and best-known of English authors.
Queen Boadicea – As leader of the Iceni tribe in Eastern England she took on, and almost defeated the Roman Invaders.
Captain Scott – Arctic explorer whose attempts to reach the South Pole ended in disaster.
Charles Darwin – British scientist whose work on the science of evolution proved controversial but influential.
Emily Pankhurst – Leader of the Suffragette movement to gain voting rights for women.
Isaac Newton – Scientist best known for his ‘discovery’ of the principles of gravity and motion of objects.
Jane Austen – Possibly the best known British female author.
Florence Nightingale – Miss Nightingale’s work in the field of battle during the Crimean War set groundbreaking standards for nursing care. For those choosing this character, she had a small pet owl – Athena.
And finally, if you are still having trouble with suggestions for Historical Goodies why not check out our Historical Character section.