Thursday, April 27, 2006

John 'Lackland', King of England 1199-1216

John 'Lackland', King of England 1199-1216. The Age of Chivalry has this essay up dealing with this Medieval English king.

History has generally believed that King John was a disaster. He is a villian in the Robin Hood myths. He is portrayed as a weak monarch in Shakespeare's King John. His barons forced him to sign the Magna Carta in 1215 and he was on the brink of losing the throne when he died.

But yet, some sources see King John differently. This essay is one of them. It notes, "King John is generally seen as a corrupt and ruthless monarch, which led to the revolting barons demanding their rights in the famous Magna Carta. Yet another school of thought has John as a keen administrator, a good general, an astute diplomat, and a hard-working and intelligent ruler with a strong sense of justice."

Despite this, King John is still not very highly regarded. The BBC History Magazine named him the worst Briton of the 13th Century in 2006. His shares the "worst Briton" honor with such villians as Jack the Ripper (19th century) and Titus Oates (17th century).

Still, was he really worse than other kings such as Henry III or Edward I "The Hammer of the Scots?" Or has he just gotten a lot of bad press because of the difficult times he lived in and and his inability to solve many of the problems that confronted him?

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