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Alfred Duggan (born Alfredo León Duggan; 1903–1964) was an English historian and archaeologist, and a well-known historical novelist in the 1950s. His novels are known for meticulous historical research.
Though brought up in Britain, he was born Alfredo León Duggan in Lomas de Zamora, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a family of wealthy landowners of Irish descent. His family moved to Britain when he was two years old. His father Alfredo Huberto Duggan, a first generation Irish Argentinian, was appointed in 1905 to the Argentine Legation in London, and died in 1915. In 1917, his mother, the Alabama-born Grace Elvira Hinds, daughter of the U.S. Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, became the second wife of Lord Curzon, the former Viceroy of India. Duggan and his brother Hubert (1904–1943) were brought up in Britain at Curzon's seats, and were educated first at Wixenfordand Eton. Thereafter Alfred went to Balliol College at Oxford, where he became acquainted with Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh. He often features in Waugh's letters and diaries of the period, and his South American background may have influenced the character of Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited , though Waugh described the character as "2/3 Brian [Howard] and 1/3 Harold Acton. People think it was all Harold, who is a much sweeter and saner man [than Howard]."
Alfred Duggan kept a car while at Oxford, one of the few students with sufficient funds and influence to do so; the University Statutes prohibited undergraduates from keeping a car within a certain distance of the town centre at Carfax, and so Duggan kept his, an early Rolls-Royce, just outside the limit of the jurisdiction of the University Proctors, and would regularly drive himself and his friends to and from London during the social season. At Oxford he was part of the Hypocrites' Club.
During 1938–1941, Duggan served with the London Irish Rifles, with active service in the Norwegian Campaign. For the rest of the Second World War he worked in an aeroplane factory.
In 1953, Duggan married Laura Hill. They went to live in Ross-on-Wye, where he died in April 1964.According to a review by John Derbyshire, Duggan "in later years, his inheritance gone... adjusted philosophically to his changed circumstances, living a bookish and domestic life utterly at odds with the extravagant dissipation of his youth. He seems to have been a devoted husband and parent, and a loyal friend."
Duggan's novels are known for their basis of meticulous historical research. He also wrote popular histories of Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages. Knight with Armour, his first novel, appeared in 1946. He visited practically every place and battlefield described, since he was also an archaeologist, having worked on excavations in Istanbul during the 1930s.
Unlike many historical novelists, he does not idealise his subjects. A few characters are noble, some rather nasty, many mixed in their motives. Some of the novels can be seen as funny, in a dry noir style. A recurring theme is the slow moral corruption of a character who begins with an exalted opinion of himself as noble, wise and brave, but gradually compromises himself morally.
Most of the stories are told from the viewpoint of the ruling class – sometimes the ruler, sometimes a knight or noble. In English history, his novels show a general approval of the Norman conquest.
Duggan's novel Three's Company (1958) was praised by Rex Warner, who stated, "Mr. Duggan has succeeded in making him (Lepidus) a modern character, but he has also firmly placed him in his own age. Three's Company is a most competent piece of work, scholarly, alive, and suggestive."In an introduction to Duggan's novel Count Bohemond (1964), Evelyn Waugh said Duggan's "literary style remained constant. It is as crisp and clear in this posthumous novel as in his first.... There is no groping in Alfred's work. At the age of forty-seven he published his first book. It was lucid and masterly, absolutely free of affectation or ostentation."
Marcus Antonius, commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from a constitutional republic into the autocratic Roman Empire.
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (First Folio title: The Tragedie of Ivlivs Cæsar) is a history play and tragedy by William Shakespeare first performed in 1599. Although the play is named Julius Caesar, Brutus speaks more than four times as many lines as the title character, and the central psychological drama of the play focuses on Brutus.
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was an English writer of novels, biographies, and travel books; he was also a prolific journalist and book reviewer. His most famous works include the early satires Decline and Fall (1928) and A Handful of Dust (1934), the novel Brideshead Revisited (1945), and the Second World War trilogy Sword of Honour (1952–1961). He is recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the English language in the 20th century.
The Second Triumvirate was a political alliance formed after the Roman dictator Julius Caesar's assassination, comprising Caesar's adopted son Octavian and the dictator's two most important supporters, Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. The triumvirate for organizing the republic, as it was formally known, ruled the Roman Republic essentially as a military dictatorship, with each of the triumvirs assuming charge of an individual set of provinces. Unlike the earlier First Triumvirate, the Second was an official, legally established institution, whose overwhelming power in the Roman state was given full legal sanction and whose authority outranked that of all other magistrates, including the consuls.
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus was a Roman general and statesman who formed the Second Triumvirate alongside Octavian and Mark Antony during the final years of the Roman Republic. Lepidus had previously been a close ally of Julius Caesar. He was also the last Pontifex Maximus before the Roman Empire, and (presumably) the last Interrex and Magister Equitum to hold military command.
Bohemond I of Antioch, also known as Bohemond of Taranto, was the prince of Taranto from 1089 to 1111 and the prince of Antioch from 1098 to 1111. He was a leader of the First Crusade, leading a contingent of Normans on the quest eastward. Knowledgable about the Byzantine Empire through earlier campaigns with his father, he was the most experienced military leader of the crusade.
Alexander Raban Waugh was a British novelist, the elder brother of the better-known Evelyn Waugh, uncle of Auberon Waugh and son of Arthur Waugh, author, literary critic, and publisher. His first wife was Barbara Jacobs, his second wife was Joan Chirnside and his third wife was Virginia Sorenson, author of the Newbery Medal–winning Miracles on Maple Hill.
Sextus Pompeius Magnus Pius, also known in English as Sextus Pompey, was a Roman military leader who, throughout his life, upheld the cause of his father, Pompey the Great, against Julius Caesar and his supporters during the last civil wars of the Roman Republic.
Ruben III, also Roupen III, Rupen III, or Reuben III, was the ninth lord of Armenian Cilicia or “Lord of the Mountains” (1175–1187).
The siege of Antioch took place during the First Crusade in 1097 and 1098, on the crusaders' way to Jerusalem through Syria. Two sieges took place in succession. The first siege, by the crusaders against the city held by the Seljuk Empire, lasted from 20 October 1097 to 3 June 1098. The second siege, of the crusader-held city by a Seljuk relieving army, lasted three weeks in June 1098, leading to the Battle of Antioch in which the crusaders defeated the relieving army led by Kerbogha. The crusaders then established the Principality of Antioch, ruled by Bohemond of Taranto.
Tancred was an Italo-Norman leader of the First Crusade who later became Prince of Galilee and regent of the Principality of Antioch. Tancred came from the house of Hauteville and was the great-grandson of Norman lord Tancred of Hauteville.
Conscience of the King (1951) is an historical novel by British author Alfred Duggan based on the life of Cerdic Elesing, founder of the Kingdom of Wessex. It begins 40 years after the events covered in The Little Emperors, set during the last years of Roman Britain from 406-410 CE. His later novel The King of Athelney (1962) concerns one of Cerdic's most famous descendants, Alfred the Great.
Gaius Julius Caesar, one of the most influential men in world history, has frequently appeared in literary and artistic works since ancient times.
Grace Elvina Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston, GBE was a United States-born British marchioness and the second wife of George Curzon, British parliamentarian, cabinet minister, and former Viceroy of India.
Quintus Lutatius Catulus Capitolinus was a politician in the late Roman Republic. His father was the like-named Quintus Lutatius Catulus, consul in 102 BC. He gained the agnomen "Capitolinus" for his defense of the capital in 77 BC against Lepidus.
Hubert John Duggan was a British Army officer and politician, who was Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Acton from 1931 until his death. He was an opponent of appeasement and broke the whip on several important occasions, voting to bring down Neville Chamberlain in 1940.
Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator, was assassinated by a group of senators on the Ides of March of 44 BC during a meeting of the Senate at the Curia of Pompey of the Theatre of Pompey in Rome. The senators stabbed Caesar 23 times. They claimed to be acting over fears that Caesar's unprecedented concentration of power during his dictatorship was undermining the Roman Republic, and presented the deed as an act of tyrannicide. At least 60 senators were party to the conspiracy, led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Despite the death of Caesar, the conspirators were unable to restore the institutions of the Republic. The ramifications of the assassination led to the Liberators' civil war and ultimately to the Principate period of the Roman Empire.
Wixenford School, also known as Wixenford Preparatory School and Wixenford-Eversley, was an independent preparatory school for boys near Wokingham, founded in 1869. A feeder school for Eton, after it closed in 1934 its former buildings were taken over by the present-day Ludgrove School.
Servilia was an ancient Roman woman who was the wife of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus Minor, the son of the triumvir and Pontifex maximus Lepidus. She may also have been the same Servilia who was at one time engaged to Octavian.
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