12
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In rebellion I earned my fame;
Before the events, few knew my name.

Of origin, none can be sure;
My resting place too is obscure.

With arrow and bow I left my mark;
Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

Towards the end I ran out of breath;
Not much later I met my death.

Of me they write many a tale;
Now who am I? You mustn't fail.

Edit:

Each line (beside the last) is its own clue.

Hint:

There is no doubt that I am real.

Hint:

I hail from Europe (and I'm a person)

Several people have made very good guesses, even some that fit the clues nearly perfectly. As such, I will add a little advice to possibly create some new ideas:

Most people are assuming "origin" to mean where I am from, but the word itself has many meanings. Try some of the others. Also check out my comment on Sompom's guess for some guidance.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is this a riddle or is this actually historical knowledge? $\endgroup$ – Gordon Allocman Jun 21 '16 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ @GordonAllocman My mistake, it's historical knowledge. I changed the tag $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 21 '16 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ This question may give away the solution somewhat so I'm not expecting a concrete reply, but just to be clear do I need an extensive knowledge of history to solve this? I don't have that so I feel I may be wasting my time otherwise. $\endgroup$ – pime Jun 21 '16 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ @pime I believe that the subject of the riddle is someone who most people have heard of, but not as obvious as what Dalton's guess was. That's probably the best answer I can give you $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 21 '16 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ If i didnt know better this sounds like america and britain, but theres no obscurity about graves...? $\endgroup$ – The Great Duck Jun 22 '16 at 2:34

10 Answers 10

10
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William Wallace

In rebellion I earned my fame;

He was a little-known knight who became a great leader fighting the British.

Before the events, few knew my name.

He was of lesser nobility, but not well-known.

Of origin, none can be sure;

Wikipedia states little is known of his family history or even his parents.

My resting place too is obscure.

After being drawn and quartered, his body pieces were displayed in separate locations and apparently he has no tomb.

With arrow and bow I left my mark;

William Wallace's personal seal displayed the image of a bow and arrow. The phrase "left my mark" is meant to be taken literally, as his "mark" is that of a bow and arrow, and he left it in wax.

Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

He fought the British to gain freedom.

Towards the end I ran out of breath;

He was hanged, which obviously constricts the airway.

Not much later I met my death.

He was not killed by hanging: they hanged him to get him almost to the point of death. Drawing and quartering soon after is how he actually met his death.

Of me they write many a tale;

From Wikipedia: "He is the protagonist of Blind Harry's 15th-century epic poem The Wallace and the subject of literary works by Sir Walter Scott and Jane Porter, and of the Academy Award-winning film Braveheart (1995)."

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For bow and arrow, look at the second image down on the right hand side of the wikipedia page (de-spoilered) $\endgroup$ – The Dark Jun 22 '16 at 7:08
  • $\begingroup$ Well done! The part about leaving his mark with a bow and arrow was meant literally--that was his seal $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 22 '16 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I'm glad to have a good first answer on this site. I like the puzzles and riddles, but always lose the FGITW battle. And @TheDark I should have spotted that. I linked to the Wikipedia page, after all. $\endgroup$ – user2052 Jun 22 '16 at 14:36
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My best guess is:

Geronimo

In rebellion I earned my fame;

Geronimo is, of course, best known for being the last American Indian to officially surrender to the US government, after having fought it for many years

Before the events, few knew my name.

Geronimo was just a regular guy before he became known for making the Wild West a little more wild

Of origin, none can be sure;

Not sure exactly, anyway. Wikipedia has that he was born "Near Turkey Creek" in modern-day New Mexico.

My resting place too is obscure.

This is a sticky point. He has an official grave in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, but it is rumored that his bones, or at least his skull has been stolen!

With arrow and bow I left my mark;

Geronimo never learned to use a gun*. Presumably he spent some time in ranged combat, however, so he would have had to have some proficiency with some other weapon. Maybe a bow?
*At least, I think I read that somewhere... I can't find the source any more. Maybe I have confused him with someone else I read about!

Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

He wasn't fighting the US and Mexico because he liked them, after all...

Towards the end I ran out of breath;

Geronimo was thrown from his horse and was not found until the next day. He had a bad case of pneumonia...

Not much later I met my death.

Which he died from a few days later.

Of me they write many a tale;

There are all kinds of movies, books, etc. about Geronimo.

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  • $\begingroup$ Man, with how well this fits it pains me to have to tell you it's not the intended answer $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 22 '16 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ never learned to use a gun quote is at least confirmed by History channel - but fairly well disputed (for instance there is a picture here of him armed with a rifle and he was known to arm his own men with them) $\endgroup$ – LinkBerest Jun 22 '16 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ You have the right idea (not exactly on but similar guidelines) on lines 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8, but those are much more obvious than the other three (and nobody has gotten any of those). The three remaining lines are the ones that truly differentiate who I am from who you and the others have proposed. $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 22 '16 at 2:41
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Is it

Robin Hood?

In rebellion I earned my fame; Before the events, few knew my name.

robin hood is typically depicted as an everyday man who rises to fame by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor

Of origin, none can be sure; My resting place too is obscure.

No one knows whether or not robin hood actually existed or if he is simply folklore

On top my horse I led the assault; Of me my men did truly exalt.

robin hood's band of merry men followed him loyally in the stories

With arrow and bow I left my mark; Life under foreign rule was just too stark.

robin hood is most often depicted as highly proficient with bow and arrow

Of me they write many a tale; Now who am I? You mustn't fail.

there are practically countless variations of the robin hood tale

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  • $\begingroup$ Good guess and reasoning, but incorrect. I'll wait a few hours for more responses before giving any real hints $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 21 '16 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ I just changed and moved the third line; check it out and see if you can come up with any other ideas $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 21 '16 at 19:59
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Maybe too similar to

Robin Hood

here, but..

Are you:

William Tell

In rebellion I earned my fame; Before the events, few knew my name.

William Tell and the surrounding folklore was a symbol of independence for the Swiss rebellion against the Habsburgs

Of origin, none can be sure; My resting place too is obscure.

Whether or not Tell actually lived is a subject for debate. He 'rests' purely in legend.

With arrow and bow I left my mark; Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

Tell famously refused to bow to the Habsburgs, thus having to shoot an apple from atop his son's head.

Towards the end I ran out of breath; Not much later I met my death.

Am not sure on this. The only cause I could find of his possible death is drowning (while saving a child), which makes sense, but seems an uncommon part of the folklore.

Of me they write many a tale; Now who am I? You mustn't fail.

There are many versions of the Tell tale. And failure to hit the apple would have resulted in his sons death.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nope. Keep in mind the last line is the question, not a clue $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 21 '16 at 20:59
2
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This is a large stretch, but so far the only solution I can come up with.

The clues may fit for

Joan of Arc

Because:

In rebellion I earned my fame; Before the events, few knew my name.

She was famous for leading a rebellion against the English during the Hundred Years' War, and was unknown before that.

Of origin, none can be sure; My resting place too is obscure.

Her "origin" as in her birthplace is known to be Doremy, but the origin of her visions are the work of legends and this could fit the riddle. Her resting place is indefinite as her body was burned to ashes and thrown in the Seine.

With arrow and bow I left my mark; Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

The archery part is unclear (she was famously shot in the leg by a crossbow), but foreign rule would be England.

Towards the end I ran out of breath; Not much later I met my death.

The first part could indicate her trials for heresy and her method of execution, being burned at the stake.

Of me they write many a tale

Canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church, made into multiple legends

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  • $\begingroup$ Not quite. I'll add a hint in a little bit $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 21 '16 at 22:11
2
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Is it

William Tell

In rebellion I earned my fame;

Tell's played a leading part in the rebellion that lead up to the Swiss Confederation

Before the events, few knew my name.

Not sure - I guess he wasn't famous before the apple incident and the rebellion

Of origin, none can be sure;

There are several theories of who Tell actually was, or even if he existed.

My resting place too is obscure.

Not sure about this one

With arrow and bow I left my mark;

Unsure - Tell was a crossbowman, but that would be bolt rather than arrow.

Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

He was rebelling against Austrian rule.

Towards the end I ran out of breath;

Apparently he died trying to save a child from drowning, presumably from drowning himself

Not much later I met my death.

See above

Of me they write many a tale;

There are lots of stories about William Tell

Now who am I? You mustn't fail.
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  • $\begingroup$ Also a solid attempt, but not the intended answer $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 22 '16 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Moose - thanks - I know who it is now (almost certain), but will let someone else answer rather than spamming guesses. $\endgroup$ – The Dark Jun 22 '16 at 4:19
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My best guess is

Conquest

In rebellion I earned my fame;

A conquest can be used to put down a rebellion.

Before the events, few knew my name.

Before people were conquered in the past few knew or even concieved such a thing could happen!

Of origin, none can be sure;

The first conquest of one country over another is unknown

My resting place too is obscure.

Nobody knows what the last conquest will be, along with how nobody knows when the last war will be.

With arrow and bow I left my mark;

A reference to the horseman of conquest.

Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

A complaint about why conquest is considered negative.

Towards the end I ran out of breath;

Nuclear warfare or conquest would cause survivors to choke to death on the ash kicked up

Not much later I met my death.

The resulting extinction event would likely bring about the end of man and therefore conquest.

Of me they write many a tale;

Pretty obvious really. War and conquest have sparked many many tales.

Now who am I? You mustn't fail.

I must not fail, and I believe I did not.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, kudos as this is the first non-human answer, but I'm a person $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 22 '16 at 2:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Moose darn. Also, as for,my explanation of the europe hint... Europe has conquered many many places over the centuries! $\endgroup$ – The Great Duck Jun 22 '16 at 2:36
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    $\begingroup$ I never even considered that the answer could be inanimate so +1 for that :P $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 22 '16 at 2:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Moose thanks. It just seemed to... Fit. :p especially the bow part. Though now that I think about it... No arrows. Very clear about that. No arrows. XD $\endgroup$ – The Great Duck Jun 22 '16 at 2:38
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Third guess based on next hint

You are an Unknown Solider, an Unknown Warrior, or just an Unknown

In rebellion I earned my fame; Before the events, few knew my name.

The events that lead to these entombed are all based in war. All are honored as heroes or patriots (fame) but none know their name.

Of origin, none can be sure; My resting place too is obscure.

Again Unknown, but with this comes the fact that many of these would simply be listed as MIA (missing in action) - leaving their resting place unknown.

With arrow and bow I left my mark; Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

Many of these are warriors who fell on foreign soil during war.

Towards the end I ran out of breath; Not much later I met my death.

See above (this could also be pointing towards the mustard gas used during WWI with the Europe hint)

Of me they write many a tale; Now who am I? You mustn't fail.

The stories of the unknown warriors should not be forgotten. Also, many people are still wondering where their loved ones fell and trying to find closure there. It also fits the last line even as the unknown Solider from Vietnam was actually identified and buried in a named grave by his family.

Hint:

All are real, one would say all are infamous, and these tombs and people exist worldwide. Finally this is a different take on the word "origin".


Second guess (due to last hint):

You are Spartacus

In rebellion I earned my fame; Before the events, few knew my name.

Spartacus was a slave gladiator who would have died unknown if not for leading a slave revolt.

Of origin, none can be sure; My resting place too is obscure.

There is a lot of argument on who Spartacus was and were he came from. There is also differing accounts on whether he fell in battle or if his body was never recovered.

With arrow and bow I left my mark; Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

The stretch here, as arrow and bow I'll either have to take to mean war or one would have to use the show Spartacus where one character (Mira) is famous for her bow and for teaching the other slaves. The second part is obvious as it was a slave rebellion and most sources do tend to lean toward him being of Greek not Roman origin.

Towards the end I ran out of breath; Not much later I met my death.

The famous painting, Tod des Spartacus, "Death of Spartacus" shows him being stabbed through the chest - a lung shot. During the battle in which he died.

Of me they write many a tale; Now who am I? You mustn't fail.

"I am Spartacus" is a famous saying due to a few movies and tv shows.

Hint:

he is real, famous, and from Europe


First guess before last hint:

Genghis Khan

In rebellion I earned my fame; Before the events, few knew my name.

Genghis Khan's return to power, his real start, was in joining the Jin dynasty in attacks against the Tartars - who had rebelled against them. Before this, according to Wikipedia there was a ten year period of unknown history and certainly he was only known as some Mongul Khan at that point either way.

Of origin, none can be sure; My resting place too is obscure.

There exist very few records on Genghis Khan's birth and early life. He is famous for requesting that his grave be unmarked and unknown - including a story about his funeral guards killing anyone who meet them on the way to and from his burial grounds.

With arrow and bow I left my mark; Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

The mounted bow and arrow is the primary weapon of the Mongols. He conquered a large area and many tribes and groups (including a few he had been a vassal of).

Towards the end I ran out of breath; Not much later I met my death.

There are reports that he fell off his horse and died from a punctured lung (also being stabbed by a princess, an infection, and probably more).

Of me they write many a tale; Now who am I? You mustn't fail.

There are a number of stories about Genghis Khan - both those based in history and those based in fiction. With my favorite being the holodeck malfunction on Futurama.

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0
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I'm guessing it's

Philippides

The reason:

In rebellion I earned my fame; Before the events, few knew my name.

He became known because of a battle

Of origin, none can be sure; My resting place too is obscure.

After some crude web searches we don't know where he's born and where his grave is

With arrow and bow I left my mark; Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

Not really sure about this part lol

Towards the end I ran out of breath; Not much later I met my death.

This is the part that got me. According to the story, he ran to Athens to announce victory without taking a break and died soon after.

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  • $\begingroup$ You're right on with not knowing where he's buried and you're on the right track with the first lines, but that's it $\endgroup$ – Moose Jun 22 '16 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ it should be noted that Philippides, or Pheidippides, is not the Marathon Runner (this is a common mistake) and he may or may not have been a real person $\endgroup$ – LinkBerest Jun 22 '16 at 1:26
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I wonder whether you might possibly be

René Descartes.

Some things fit in nicely non-obvious ways (details to follow) but some important ones I haven't figured out yet.

In rebellion I earned my fame;
Before the events, few knew my name.

This I can't see how to fit. It's probably rather important.

Of origin, none can be sure;
My resting place too is obscure.

Descartes is best known for introducing coordinate geometry, one of whose features is an origin where the coordinates are all zero. Descartes was buried in (as Wikipedia puts it) "a graveyard used mostly for orphans". Then his remains were moved to France. Then they were moved again, but by this time his skull and one finger had gone missing.

With arrow and bow I left my mark;
Life under foreign rule would be too stark.

Perhaps the arrows on the axes in a geometrical diagram using coordinates. And Descartes worked on optics and figured out the angular radius of the rainbow. The bit about foreign rule doesn't fit so well, though -- Descartes spent much of his life abroad and doesn't seem to have had a problem with it. I suppose there's that famous cold day in 1619, but that seems like a stretch.

Towards the end I ran out of breath;
Not much later I met my death.

He died of pneumonia, or possibly peripneumonia.

Of me they write many a tale;
Now who am I? You mustn't fail.

Descartes is a towering figure in the history of philosophy and a great deal has been written about him. Not particularly in the form of "tales", though.

Hint 1: There is no doubt that I am real.

One of the things Descartes is most famous for is trying to doubt everything and see how much of philosophy and science one can build up securely from that foundation. (His famous "I think therefore I am" is the first step in the process.)

Hint 2: I hail from Europe (and I'm a person)

True enough for Descartes.

Hint 3: Most people are assuming "origin" to mean where I am from, but the word itself has many meanings. Try some of the others. Also check out my comment on Sompom's guess for some guidance.

I've used another meaning of "origin" and at least for lines 3 and 5 I've taken a different approach from the other answers here.

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