2

I recently came across this medal created to commemorate the preservation of George III from an assassination attempt in 1800: George III medal (the image was taken by me)

The inscription reads

GEORGIUS III·D:G·BRITANNIARUM REX·FIDEI DEF·& c·

I understand most of the inscription but cannot figure out what the "& c·" at the end means.


The translation that I have come up with so far is:

George III, by the Grace of God, King of Britain, Defender of the Faith, & ________

closed as off-topic by user69715, Rathony, KillingTime, SJuan76, John Dallman Dec 28 '16 at 11:19

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Requests for trivia or basic historical facts are off-topic if they can be easily answered by looking up the relevant topic on Wikipedia. We're trying to complement common historical references, not duplicate them." – user69715, Rathony, KillingTime, SJuan76, John Dallman
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    &c is usually an abbreviation of etc. – taninamdar Dec 28 '16 at 3:42
  • 1
    "& c." is an abbreviation for et cetera. I don't know what it corresponds to, however, since (to the best of my limited knowledge) Fidei Defensor isn't usually followed with anything. – Shimon bM Dec 28 '16 at 3:44
  • European rulers often had a long list of historically accumulated titles, so et cetera stands for other, lesser titles. Examples are given on this website, e.g. Georgius Tertius, Dei Gratia, Magnae Britaniae, Franciae et Hiberniae, Rex, Fidei Defensor, Dux Brunsvicensis et Luneburgensis, Sacri Romani Imperil Archi-Thesaurarius et Princeps Elector etc. – njuffa Dec 28 '16 at 3:50
  • 1
    Per Wikipedia, in 1800 his full style was "George the Third, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and so forth" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ), which you must admit would be pretty hard to fit on a coin. – jamesqf Dec 28 '16 at 3:51
  • 1
    voting to close as trivia – user69715 Dec 28 '16 at 6:06
2

As per Elizabethan Gleanings, by F. W. Maitland in The English Historical Review - Vol. 15, No. 57 (Jan., 1900), pp. 120-124, the suffix "and so forth" (or "&c" respectively) has been first used by Queen Elizabeth I to circumnavigate the difficult question of religious affiliation (emphasis mine):

Has this phrase (sc. "and so forth") always been meaningless ? [...]

If we look at the book to which we naturally turn when we would study the styles and titles of our English Kings, if we look at at Sir Thomas Hardy's Introduction to the Charter Rolls, we shall observe that the first sovereign who bears an "&c" is Queen Elizabeth. Now let us for a moment place ourselves in the first days of her reign. Shall we not be eager to know what this new queen will call herself, for will not her style be a presage of her policy? No doubt she is by the Grace of God of England, France and Ireland Queen. No doubt she is Defender of the Faith, though we cannot be sure what faith she will defend. But is that all ? Is she or is she not Supreme Head upon earth of the Church of England and Ireland ?

The full difficulty of the question which this young lady had to face as soon as she was safely queen may not be justly appreciated by our modern minds.

"Styles" here refers to the "manner of address". Note that the above is speculation by the author of the essay, not necessarily fact.

The trivia given as the reason for the close votes is the claim in Wikipedia that

"European monarchs, who sometimes have lengthy titles due to dynastic claims to territories accumulated over the centuries (and also as a matter of prestige), often shorten their full titles by concluding it with "et cetera"

The claim is not referenced (unless you count it as a reference that Yul Brynner in a movie based his usage of the phrase on a novel that features the king of Siam, which as a reference is absurd on a number of levels).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.