Pattaya Daily News

28 December 2006 :: 15:12:39 pm 5128

Myths And Legends 2: Robin Hood

Robin of Sherwood, Robin of Locksley, Robert Fitzooth, Robyn Hode or Robin Goodfellow? Who exactly was the legendary English folk-hero cum villain with a heart of gold and did he in fact actually exist? Well, to be frank, we can’t truthfully say, but, like King Arthur, he represents an eternal archetype whose purpose was to inspire, especially in time of crisis.
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The stories of Robin Hood are typically set in England between the 12th and 15th centuries with most of the events taking place in or near Sherwood Forest. In the first stories, Robin appears as a simple highway robber trying to avoid capture, but later tales represent him as a man wrongfully denied his noble title.

As a forest dweller, he seems to have roamed throughout the heavily forested midlands and north of England, through Nottinghamshire, Barnsdale forest in Yorkshire and as far as Cumberland. The most authoritative document, one of the Sloane manuscripts in the British Museum, maintains he was born around 1160 in Lockesley in Yorkshire or Nottinghamshire, which presents a slight problem as the place spelt with or without an “e” doesn’t actually exist in either county. An attempt to have him born in Loxley, Staffordshire, a yeoman son of a landowner similarly poses the problem of being a non-existent place. The assertion that he was a dispossessed nobleman, Robert Fitzooth, the earl of Huntington, is justified by the claim that vulgar pronunciation easily corrupted the name Robert Fitzooth into Robin Hood, which seems highly unlikely.

Further pedigrees cast him as an outlawed supporter of the defeated Simon de Montfort circa the mid 13th century and even as a Wakefield man who was a participant in Thomas of Lancaster’s rebellion in 1322. Clad in green, Robin and his merry band were reminiscent of the fairy legends of the Celts. Robin was a name often given to fairies and even the guardian god or spirit of the woodland, Robin Goodfellow, or the Green Man so often seen in ancient church carvings. In truth, we shall never know; suffice it to say that his legend was the inspiration of the oppressed peasantry of England and has represented the glorified arch-hero who robbed the rich to feed the poor ever since.

Mediaeval England, even over the period of the 12th to the 14th centuries, was still suffering from the tribulations of the transition from the Anglo-Saxon ascendancy to that of the Normans. The Anglo-Saxon aristocracy had either been killed or had largely fled to the Byzantine empire, leaving the Anglo-Saxon yeomanry and peasantry to the mercies of the Norman aristocracy, which has left its legacy in the English language with words of oppression such as gaol, (jail), court, magistrate, penalty and punishment. Let’s also not forget that the Normans were originally Norsemen or Vikings, who had become French over a period of little over a century, so not exactly the most enlightened of individuals!

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Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Entertainment News

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