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Titles like "First of his name" or "Fifth of his name" are a very original construct on Martin's side. However, I am curious, were these titles ever used in history for true?

Edit: I think people misunderstood my question. I know people have added numbers "the first, the second or the fifth..." after their ancestors. I am asking if there ever was used title "(number) of his name". I am asking, for example, was there ever in real life someone like "George, Second of his name"?

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  • 5
    it also seems you are creating different accounts, you may want to merge them
    – Skooba
    Feb 1 '20 at 16:13
  • In our world calling someone the first, or second, or third, etc. of their name is not a title. A feudal title is literally a statement giving someone rank, which thus gives an indication of their political powers, and usually the ethnic group or territory that they rule. eurulers.altervista.org Calling someone the fifth of their name is a description - not a title - that helps to identify them from other leaders in the same fief with the same name. At least in our world "the xth of his name" works as a description and not as a title. Feb 2 '20 at 18:03
  • As far as I'm aware (having read too many Chinese webnovels) it is not unheard of for Chinese parents to give names based on the order of birth. Although this is based on what I read in novels so take this with a grain of salt. Feb 5 '20 at 20:09
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This is most likely based on real life Regnal Names.

The regnal name is usually followed by a regnal number, written as a Roman numeral, to differentiate that monarch from others who have used the same name while ruling the same realm.

So as we see something like "George IV" (read as George the fourth) in real life, Martin just adds some fluff to it.

For a real life example (link thanks to @Valorum) we see the exact "first of his name" phrase used in The Peerage of England (full title is much, much longer) publish in 1735 by Arthur Collins.

... to King Henry IV, and to our Lord Henry, late King of England the fifth, as to his ancestor James, late King of Scotland, the first of his name, as Guardian and Governour to his said ancestor, during his minority, whilst he remained in England ...

This trend seems to have boomed around 1750 and lasted until about 1900 before declining rapidly.

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  • Odd that this is used as a stereotypical High Medieval styling when it turns out to be most popular in the modern period. British aristocracy is weird sometimes.
    – Cadence
    Feb 1 '20 at 23:57
  • @Cadence I think this may correlate more to the availability of books rather than the use of the language.
    – Skooba
    Mar 4 '20 at 22:00
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In English names, if people are named after an ancestor (usually a parent), a roman numeral is appended to their name to distinguish them. So Robert Smith I can have a descendant named Robert Smith II, who in turn can have a descendant named Robert Smith III. The suffix is pronounced "the first, the second, the third,...". This was common for English royalty and I believe this is what Martin based that on.

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The precise formula was probably not invented by Martin.

For example, the secondary school I attended in the UK was founded in 1669, after the restoration of Charles II to the monarchy, and the opening line of the school song was:

'Twas in the days of Charles, the second of the name …

Not identical with Martin, but very close.

The tune that was in use when I was there was composed in about 1910, but I don't know if the words were earlier than that date - from the language in general they look 19th-century, or even earlier.

(As a footnote on historical continuity, for the first 300 years of its existence the chairman of the school governors had always been a direct descendant of its original founder!)

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