Saturday, March 24, 2018

"Robin Hood" was right

The beginning of the movie Robin Hood (the real one, starring Errol Flynn) shows a scene of atrocities being committed by the soldiers of Prince John (played by Claude Rains). It is tempting to ignore those as Hollywood hyperbole; but A History of England and the British Empire confirms that much, and worse, after John became king:

Before long, however, the country was seething with discontent, since John created such a reign of terror that, as one chronicler put it, "No one durst speak." The chronicles were discreetly silent about this period; but a few stories, passed around, demonstrate that it was extremely risky to criticize the king. One unfortunate archdeacon was so ill-advised as to wonder, aloud, whether he ought to stay in the service of an excommunicated king. With an appallingly heavy weight of lead fastened to his head, he was incarcerated in a cell, too small for either sitting or standing, until he starved to death.

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