Thursday, April 15, 2010

Search for the real Robin Hood



A couple of posts back I quoted Starhawk referring to Robin Hood as a kind of Pagan icon.  So I thought I would link to this recent long article in the Guardian from England titled - My search for the real Robin Hood

"Plenty of people think Robin is a myth, beginning life as a woodland sprite somewhere in a lost pagan past. "Somebody existed," he says. "Some, several – it doesn't really matter. They existed and they exist now. It's like any yarn: it gets spun until you turn into Errol Flynn. Who was he? Was he anybody specific? It really doesn't matter because it's the stories that people relate to....

I find Crook's hypothesis seductive. Robert Hod/Robert of Wetherby is a real figure, active in the 1220s, captured and killed by the sheriff of Nottingham (briefly holding the post of sheriff of York) in 1225, spawning a Billy the Kid-type legend that spreads all over England, becoming the generic outlaw, and producing ballads and songs which are common all over England 150 years later. The chronology of cultural diffusion feels feasible: a sliver of reality – a common outlaw in the badlands of south Yorkshire, robbing travellers on the Great North Road, with nothing to suggest his motive was anything other than personal gain and whose criminal career is rapidly, and bloodily, brought to an end – gradually becomes this all-pervading myth which eventually reaches Hollywood and the world..." ...(Cont.)...