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I was godless yet I warred with God.

Some say I killed my brother,

Inside he bled a lot. [see hint 2]

Generally I had a tough reputation.

Yet to modern ears I can sound quite sweet!


Who was I and can you explain each line of my description?


Hint 1

"I" was a well-known historical person, hence the history tag. So, I'm disallowing purely mythical figures, although "I" was and am certainly legendary.

Hint 2

The clue "... my brother; inside he bled a lot." uses a common cryptic-clue technique. Note for cryptic solvers. I did not say "... my brother: twisted inside he bled a lot", instead I said, "... my brother - inside he bled a lot." This excludes "Abel"! For people who are not used to cryptic crosswords, don't worry, all will become clear when you solve the rest of it.

Hint3

The sweetness aspect will perhaps be most familiar to US speakers of English although, speaking as a Brit, I'm sure people from the UK are familiar with the term from movies and TV.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure [cryptic-clues] is a good tag here? It means you have a cryptic crossword clue in the post. $\endgroup$ – bobble Jul 21 '20 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble - I have one definite cryptic-crossword type clue and another that most people would probably think qualifies. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jul 21 '20 at 21:40
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I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’m stuck on

Attila the Hun

I was godless yet I warred with God.

Attila was a Hun — a Godless barbarian — yet was nicknamed “the Scourge of God”

Some say I killed my brother,

His brother, another famous Hunnic leader, died on a suspicious hunting trip and was thought by many to be killed by Attila

Inside he bled a lot.

His brother’s name was inside “he bled a lot”, namely, Bleda the Hun.

Generally I had a tough reputation.

Attila did indeed have a tough reputation; and as noticed by @user70451, he was also the General of the Hunnic Armies.

Yet to modern ears I can sound quite sweet!

‘Hun’ is a term of endearment, especially in the US (and sometimes Canada too!). Hun is also short for honey which is definitely sweet!

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  • $\begingroup$ Congratulations - You have found me! There is one subtle point you have missed (the last-but-one clue) and one not-so-subtle (the final one). $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jul 23 '20 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ I think I got the not so subtle point, now... $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Jul 23 '20 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ You have certainly improved the final clue's answer. One more step is possible - rot13(Jul vf "uha" pbafvqrerq fjrrg?). Last-but-one, is the subtle one. Read every word of the clue carefully. rot13(rfcrpvnyyl gur svefg jbeq!) $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jul 23 '20 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ He was a rot13(trareny) or at least a rot13(yrnqre) $\endgroup$ – user70451 Jul 23 '20 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ @chasly-reinstateMonica — I can’t seem to find the second quasi-cryptic you were referencing in the comments above, although I feel like that has something to do with it.... $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Jul 23 '20 at 12:15
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I'll bite and write the naive answer which is probably wrong and intended as a distraction from the real one...

You are Cain.

I was godless yet I warred with God

You did a thing which people would classify as godless: murdered your brother. Then you had a verbal argument with God.

In general I had a bad reputation

You are the first murderer in the judeo-christian mythology. Also, you are a homonym for "cane", which was used to discipline children in the past - painfully so

to modern ears I can sound quite sweet

To continiue with the "cane" homonym, modern people frequently associate it with sugar cane, which became a widespread sweetener in the industrial era

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I deliberately baited the hook. Hadn't thought of the "cane" connection so +1 for that. Not my answer though. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jul 21 '20 at 21:29
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    $\begingroup$ P.S. One quibble, "Some say I killed my brother". I think everyone thinks your person killed their brother. In this case it is not so certain. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jul 21 '20 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ @chasly-reinstateMonica about your quibble, not all the world population, and not even all Christians, regard the biblical stories as having truly happened. $\endgroup$ – rumtscho Jul 21 '20 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ @rumtscho - good point! How about my hint? I think I might have got you there (?) (Although you'll notice it's a close thing) $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jul 21 '20 at 22:43
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I pretty sure the answer is

Arjuna -- Arjuna is a protagonist of the Indian epic Mahabharata and also appears in other ancient Hindu mythological texts.

I was godless yet I warred with God.

Arjuna had a fight with a Hindu god, lord shiva, also known as "the great god".

Some say I killed my brother;

Arjuna fought this war, but was not aware that he was fighting his brother. Karna (Arjuna's brother) was aware that Arjuna was his brother, but still chose to fight him. The result was that Karna got killed.

inside he bled a lot.

Arjuna felt very sorry for killing his own brother.

In general I had a bad reputation

Arjuna is known to be stubborn and is overly proud of how he comports himself and his reputation.

yet to modern ears I can sound quite sweet!

Arjuna is a sweet kind of fruit.

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  • $\begingroup$ Another ingenious answer! (+1) However, if you read carefully, it says "I killed my brother; inside he bled a lot."* You can see that "he" refers to the brother. Note also the hidden hint that indicates what type of clue that sentence is. Another point is that I think you are saying Arjuna is a fictional character - mine is historical (and very well-known) - see the history tag. However, the "sweet" part fits very well (perhaps better in some respects than my answer!) $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jul 23 '20 at 8:58

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