Royalty’s all consuming concern for controlled lines of succession and the Church’s all consuming concern for the comings and goings of their flock’s reproductive organs sure did converge to do a number on children born out of wedlock! Poor bastards. Evidently a perusal of Parish registers, especially those prior to the 19th century, are positively awash in irritated euphemisms for bastardy. It dawned on me that some of the more creative among you might wish to utilize these variants when questioning the paternity of your enemies. See below for a short list (each linked, incidentally, to a notable bastard).

Child of Shame
Filius Adulterinus (son of adultery)
Filius Fornicatoris (son of fornication)
Filius Meretricis (son of a prostitute)
Filius Nullius(son of none)
Filius Populi (son of the people)
Filius Scorti (son of a whore)
Filius Terrae (son of earth)
Filius Unicus Cujusque (son of one and all)
Filius Vulgi (son of a commoner)
Ill Begotten
Incerti Vero Patis (father uncertain)
Merry Begot
Natus Ex fornicatione
Nothus (of a Plebian mother and a Gentleman)

In closing, I’d like to draw your attention to one final and particularly notable bastard whom I think embodies not only the literal meaning of the word but quite often the more modern, broadly pejorative, meaning as well:

“That same wicked bastard of Venus that was begot of thought,
conceived of spleen, and born of madness, that blind
rascally boy that abuses every one’s eyes because his own
are out, let him be judge how deep I am in love.”
-William Shakespeare. As You Like It.

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