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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old June 5th, 2017, 07:11 AM   #1

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The Plantagenets & Magna Carta


'Henry II was denounced by his critics as a tyrant'.

Modern day historians provide us with evidence of opposing views of Henry II. Glanvill and Ralph Niger are apparently very different in what they have to say about H.II. Glanvill has 'to say the least, a very unbalanced opinion of H.II as lawmaker.' !!! Niger presents a catalogue of tyranny that occupies three entire pages of the modern printed edition and that might have made even Nero or Caligula blush'. !!!

There is of course as you will know plenty of context: Glanvill was the King's chief law officer and Justiciar, the other a former servant of Eleanor of Aquataine and later canon of Lincoln Cathedral writing in the wake of the Becket affair!

So.

Our modern historian concludes in evidence the most likely reality lieth: 'Somewhere between these two extremes...' but moreover: the entire Plantagenet dynasty 'treated the realm as its own private estate, to tax or trouble as family interest dictated. [AND] This was the tradition of Angevin or Plantagenet kingship against which Magna Carta was intended to supply a remedy.' !!!

Not just King John. But the Lords of Angers as a dynasty, in Normandy, England and beyond! But this is all just too different from the generally understood, (popular) line as it were, [if i can say as much] from (my) primary school education, from subsequent TV history, from magazine & newspaper articles etc, from wheresoever over the years. And cannot really be the case, surely. That we have been sold an idealised version of events: H.II generally good (apart from becket but we'll allow that); Richard I, generally good (albeit absent, and in need of cash but it was for the 3rd Crusade, so?), and then John; John the Worst, that's it!
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Old June 5th, 2017, 08:36 AM   #2

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John was never going to win any popularity contests, he simply didnt have the tools for the job. His problem starts with him being the anti-richard. What ever virtues Richard had John didnt. The crusading warrior was at least dashing, strong and corrageous, now there was a man you could respect and fear. The barons would have thought twice about confronting such a king. Richard was feared and hated, John was just hated.
In the real world Richard was the pits as a king. He looted the country and then absented himself to go on crusade, then to make matters worse he got himself captured on the continent and a truly enormous sum of money was required to bail him out. Poor John was landed with the task of fighting a war whilst rebuilding his treasury. That he failed in both was unsuprising.
So who you voting for, the strong but hated dashing warrior who beat the French.
or the weak, hated military failure who tried to steal his brothers throne.

Is this a accurate summary, no certainy not, but it is a familliar one.
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Old June 5th, 2017, 11:08 AM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by funakison View Post
John was never going to win any popularity contests, he simply didnt have the tools for the job. His problem starts with him being the anti-richard. What ever virtues Richard had John didnt. The crusading warrior was at least dashing, strong and corrageous, now there was a man you could respect and fear. The barons would have thought twice about confronting such a king. Richard was feared and hated, John was just hated.
Isn't the opposite true, that most barons didn't need to confront Richard as he was selling whatever privilege was wanted. So not to much fear as the absence of a motive.
John then was dealt a bad hand as he needed to reverse those privileges in order to obtain a steady income and sufficient control.
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Old June 5th, 2017, 12:06 PM   #4

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John apparently had a large library, with many theological works.
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Old June 5th, 2017, 12:14 PM   #5

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Perhaps he was a bit like Gaddafi in his later years?
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Old June 5th, 2017, 02:30 PM   #6

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Wasn't John merely less than brilliant, somewhat incompetent; and had an unconscious (and probably conscious) existential need to compete, in order to achieve. Which led his otherwise biological character to devise other means. Thus the (written) Chancery rolls appear to begin under John in 1199, and town charters, no doubt good for commerce and trade (as well as pissing off the nobility). But on another day made terrible decisions that would have exacting consequences: such as the murder of Arthur of Brittany while in his custody in France, which led to the invasion and subsequent conquest of Normandy by Philip Augustus in 1204; and his failure to agree to the appointment of Stephen Langton by the clergymen of Christ Church and the Pope, to the office of Archbishop of Canterbury, and thus to the excommunication of the whole of England! And then to engage in expropriation from the Church.

And thus the chroniclers of the 1230s.....'Foul as Hell is, it is defiled by the presence of King John'.
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Old June 6th, 2017, 04:04 AM   #7

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Most medieval kings were incompetent, but some were more incompetent than others.....................................
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Old June 6th, 2017, 10:02 AM   #8

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Most medieval kings were incompetent, but some were more incompetent than others.....................................
Sure, why not. Maybe they were all incompetent more or less (and John was unlucky), but did they not also surround themselves with administrators that were competent. Even John's team has been described as "highly efficient".
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Old June 7th, 2017, 02:32 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willempie View Post
Isn't the opposite true, that most barons didn't need to confront Richard as he was selling whatever privilege was wanted. So not to much fear as the absence of a motive.
John then was dealt a bad hand as he needed to reverse those privileges in order to obtain a steady income and sufficient control.
Even if the barons had had a beef with Richard, he would have had to push them mighty hard for them to take up arms against him.
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Old June 7th, 2017, 03:49 AM   #10

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Even if the barons had had a beef with Richard, he would have had to push them mighty hard for them to take up arms against him.
.......................maybe because he wasn't here? Just his PR man.
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