If you’ve ever wanted to put “a pox on the phony King of England,” you’re in luck! This bullseye-hitting, wealth redistributor is the man for the job: And he goes by the name of Robin Hood. Robin is a well-known figure in English folklore as a heroic outlaw who “robbed from the rich to give to the poor,” assisted by his troupe of Merry Men. Whether this hero could have been a real person is uncertain – some suggest that “Robin Hood” was a pseudonym for an actual medieval bandit who may be known to history by some other name. Regardless, the many tales about this mysterious hero are enough to keep the mind a-churning…
In medieval times, Robin Hood was first portrayed as a commoner, then later evolved into an aristocrat because there were no Charles Dickens novels around to show people the nobility in the hearts of impoverished orphans. This newly gentrified Robin became an outlaw after his lands were wrongly taken from him by a corrupt sheriff. Robin and his merry men thus began a brigand’s life in Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.
Robin Hood Breastplate w/ Pauldron:
The earliest narrative ballads telling the Robin Hood story date to around the 15th century. Elements such as Robin’s care for the lower classes, his special regard for women, his extraordinary archery skills, and his animosity towards the Sheriff of Nottingham are all present. Robin’s merry men are also featured in these ballads, but Maid Marian and Friar Tuck are suspiciously absent. Because Robin Hood later became an essential part of May Day festivities, it’s thought that Maid Marian and Friar Tuck entered the legend through these games.
In pop culture, Robin Hood is usually a contemporary and supporter of King Richard the Lionheart who ruled in the late 12th century. The story goes that Robin was driven to becoming an outlaw because of the tyrannical rule of King John, brother of Richard, who took the throne while Richard was away at the Crusades. Disney supports this version and has delightful musical numbers as proof, so perhaps we should adjust our goggles to Robin Hood as an impish fox running around the forest with a bulgy bear and stealing burlap sacks full of gold.
Robin Hood Archers’ Vambrace:
The 2010 film Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe tells yet another tale, this time chronicling the years up Robin’s turn into an outlaw. After being wrongfully imprisoned by King Richard, Robin breaks free with a band of fellow archers only to discover a French army is seeking to overtake England. Robin also receives a commission from a dying knight to return his sword to his father in Nottingham. Robin’s journey there leads to his meeting Maid Marian, aiding the poor villagers, and claiming his destiny seeking justice for the English people… and of course, leaving every archery aficionado absolutely drooling with envy.
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