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Sunday, March 15, 2009

If you want to have some fun, Google "Obama Plays Robin Hood" or even "Obama Hood." Seems that there are a lot of people of the opinion that President Obama's new budget and economic plans are like stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

On the other hand, there are those who think that Robin Hood was a real hero. I wonder what rich Hollywood types like Kevin Costner think?

Anyway, it was a great interest that I read the following article:

Hood not so good? Medieval manuscript says legendary British outlaw did too much robbin'

By DAVID STRINGER , Associated Press (edited for length)

LONDON - An academic says he's found evidence that Britain's legendary outlaw Robin Hood wasn't as popular as folklore suggests.

Julian Luxford says a note discovered in the margins of an ancient history book contains rare criticism of the supposedly benevolent bandit.

According to legend, Robin Hood roamed 13th-century Britain from a base in central England's Sherwood Forest, plundering from the rich to give to the poor.

But Luxford, an art history lecturer at Scotland's University of St. Andrews, says a 23-word inscription in the margins of a history book, written in Latin by a medieval monk around 1460, casts the outlaw as a persistent thief.

"Around this time, according to popular opinion, a certain outlaw named Robin Hood, with his accomplices, infested Sherwood and other law-abiding areas of England with continuous robberies," the note read when translated into English, Luxford said.

Luxford, an expert in medieval manuscripts, said the find "contains a uniquely negative assessment of the outlaw, and provides rare evidence for monastic attitudes towards him."

He said it was not entirely surprising that monks, as part of England's clerical establishment, harbored negative feelings about the bandit.

Luxford said Robin Hood stories from the Middle Ages paint him as an ally of "good knights and yeomen — salt-of-the-earth type people. But they are not so positive about his relationship with the clergy."

Luxford said the note — uncovered in the margin of the "Polychronicon," a popular history book that dates from the late 1340s — is the earliest known reference to the outlaw from an English source. He said it supports arguments that the historical Robin Hood lived in the 13th century, even though most popular modern versions of the story set him in the late-12th century reign of King Richard I.

Folklore has most commonly placed Hood in Sherwood Forest — where he is reputed to hidden from his nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham. The forest once spanned 100,000 acres (40,500 hectares) across Nottinghamshire, but has shrunk in modern time to about 450 acres (180 hectares).

"This is another piece of evidence from the Middle Ages showing he was from Sherwood," Luxford said. "It strengthens that connection."

Luxford said he planned to publish more details of the find in the Journal of Medieval History.

Sir Bowie "Friar Tuck-like" of Greenbriar


  1. Ah nicely spotted Bowster.. Your article seems to be longer and better written than the version i saw over here, so i didn't get my head round doing a blog of it.
    My eyes , as ever, were immediatley drawn to a photo of the actual caligraphic text, in the margin of the book , found in Eton Library, where scholars are now spending their time trawling through every last copy of their books, as they have completed going through the ones in Oxford and Cambridge, ( nice warm cosy recession proof work if you can get it..)
    As you can imagine, I've long rolled my eyes at what Hollywood and English TV have portrayed about Robin The Hood....but we shouldn't be surprised as Monks in such times weren't entirely the poor devout religious folk we think of Monks being, but well off members of very rich, land owning Abbeys, and much sort after for being the only people who could read and write, as English as we know it wasn't written down.
    Monks therefore got robbed a fair bit too, going to work for people like administrative Sherriffs....and this particular Monk probably had a nice chip on his shoulder about it.

    As for Friar Tuck, A friar with Robin's band in the historical period of Richard the Lion-Hearted would have been impossible, because the period predates friars in England;

    ..... so the very name Friar, confirms again that the real Robin lived under Edward the first and not Richard 1st as popularly thought...( at which point i can picture our KMSA founding fathers and their ladies thumbing through their small books about the Kings and Queens of the UK, that i sent them to prepare for their "Griswalds Go to England" tour in July LOL ).... ( see i told you you would need them...this UK history thing is a knotty beast, and not a place that Hollywood Likes :))

    But us Historians can be such dam squibs,....and i realise the legend is merely a feel good tale of Right verses Wrong handed down to inspire the next generation of Children....complete with Tights wearing hero.
    The Governments would do well to read these histories... As the Bankers having lost all our monies are expected to simply be bailed out by us hard working peasants... and in the words of Peter Finch in the film Network... " we're Angry, and we're not going to take it anymore..."

    cue the New Robin Hood ...Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire...hiding out in his crumbling castle...

  2. I read this article in the paper this morning about the pissed Monk. My response was much the same as Sir Dayvd's.

    I do appreciate the small book, thank you; however, I was an English History Minor in college, specifically from 1066 to the end of the Tudor period, so I know more about those blokes than the more current Hanover's and Windsor's.

    That being said, Edward I, ie, Long Shanks, was hardly a saint either! He was probably more cruel than the Sheriff as depicted in the Robin Hood legend...but he was a great King!

    And yes, a pissed off monk from that period was probably the George W. Bush of his day. Not quite smart enough to run his father's estate, but handy enough to make sure the Church, and thus his family, turned a profit!

    So, I see it as biased journalism of the day. Not unlike the biased journalism we still have to muddle through to find the truth.

    They've been trying to pin the rob from the rich to pay for the poor on the Democrats for years...nothing new hear...other than now we have a black face to go along with it. The face of the very thing they fear! I say but a hat on his head and I'll gladly join the Merry Band as we lop off a few heads of the self-pious righteous right like Rush the Sheriff of Nothinhead!

    Sir Hook the Hysterical Historian of Warrick

  3. Yeah they were all pretty cruel by todays standards... shhesh can you imagine some of the congressional and parlimentry inquiries that would go on today for some of the things that went on back then..... you know.... starting wars for no real reason and stuff..... ahhhh see what i did there??

    Thinking of Long Shanks...always makes me think of that other Arch Hollywood history distorter...Mel Gibson.. how he has got away with peddling his brand of history re-write i do not know... Braveheart was some mega crap on that regard... topped off by the conceit that Wallace inpregnated the Royal line of England... you've got to laugh..


  4. You are correct Sir D. Good jab! I would take Long Shanks approach to dealing with the execs of AIG right now!

    Can you imagine what he would have done with those assholes if he lent them money?! That would make for some A+ CSPAN viewing!

    As for Mel and Wallace...the righteous warrior always gets the girl in the movies!

    Neither side were Saints and both sides were certainly Sinners!

    Sir Hook the Scribe of Warrick