Thursday, June 15, 2006
This Day in Pre Renaissance History
John should have left Richard to rot in Trifels Castle.
When I think of bad press, I think of Richard III, the last English King to die in battle. (1485. Just think, seven more year sand Columbus would land on Hispanola) It was like Michael Moore and Ann Coulter ganged up on his reputation but the winners write history and as nearly as I can determine, back then hsitory and fiction seemd to have been more closely aligned than they are today.
Maybe we should sponsor a essay contest: :Identify your least favorite English King and explain why."
Was it Stephen who died of a surfeit of lampreys?
I disagree that John was a particularly bad king. He wasn't as bad as his ransomed brother, for instance. He was probably better than either Henry VI or George III, who were both insane. George IV (George III's regent) was pretty much a disaster. The Stuarts were all pretty bad (specifically including James VI and I). It wouldn't be hard to go on.
That whole, "there'll never be another King John" thing is exactly what I was referring to when I said his reputation was undeservedly bad. "Never be another Charles" would have been a better rule (and I say that without intending to imply anything about the current heir apparent).
I think John was bad but you are right in that he had plenty of company, including his brother. There was another son besides Geoffrey, whom I seem to recall was killed in a tournament from a fall from a horse, but his name escapes me. I don't know whta happened to him but something did as he was older than John.
In that regard, I jsutr read an article in Military History Quarterly that suggests that Edward I (Longshanks) reputation as a military commender is largely undeserved.
Ok, Good English Kings: Henry III, John's son, (the Builder, you have to like that); Edward III; Henry V (Once more unto the breach; Cry God for Harry; We happy few: Kiss me Kate.) William III (wasn't he gay, hence no heirs?); Georges V and VI.