Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Robin Hood: Un-American?

While I was watching TV this evening with my family, we were bombarded with images from the most recent version of the tale of Robin Hood. In turn, this reminded me of a tasty little historical tidbit that puts me at odds with the famous bandit from Sherwood Forest.

Robin Hood fought against King John. In several renditions of the story, the bandit remains loyal to King Richard, John's Brother. A quick look at history reveals that King John became king anyway, after Richard died. He then got into a political battle of wills with Rome over the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury. When John was forced to back down, his barons gathered together and forced their king to sign a little piece of paper that stated no man is above the law and became the foundation upon which the United States is built. It was the Magna Carta.

Eventually I will see the newest version of Robin Hood, but I will always be grateful to King John and part of me will root for the villain. Without him wearing the crown, I don't get to be who I am today.


  1. Good point, sir. Though let's remember the Magna Carta was no penned with the "common man" in mind.
    : )

  2. @JB: actually, to piss off the barons, King John insisted on putting a few conditions into the Magna Carta detailing the barons' responsibility towards the people *they* rule, just as they were insisting on *his* obligations to *them*. So King John had more to do with the good of the common man than many suspect.

  3. On the other hand, the stories also play Hood as the champion of an oppressed people, defending them from the heavy taxation of the English monarchy. He doesn't attend many tea parties, but you know, it's there if you look for it. ;)