One day like today, November 21, 1247 a man who never existed dies! His legendary name has been transformed into a symbol of the punisher of the powerful and rich: Robin Hood!
Robin Hood, as the legend goes, was a virtuous man who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. The first author to mention the name of Robin Hood was William Langland in 1377 in the poem “Piers Plowman”. Since then, generation after generation, the legend of Robin Hood began to be built, adapting to the imagination of every age. The… last Robin Hood was a man who hunted illegally in Barnsdale Forest and not in Sherwood Forest as it has come to be known.
A historian, if he “dusts” the books of English history he will find someone Robert Hood and not Robin Hood as he is known to the Anglo-Saxons, a fugitive in the north of England in 1226, but also someone Gilbert Robinhood, a thief from Sussex in 1296; none of the two were the source of inspiration for the myth. It is not surprising that medieval records mention a number of people called ‘Robert the Forest’ or ‘Robin the Forest’, some of whom were common criminals!
All the stories with the hero Robin Hood have two common characteristics: poaching in the royal forests and his enemies, the evil lords, the sheriffs. Robin was one of the most skilled archers in England, but it took Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 novel Ivanois to make him a Saxon hero fighting the Norman oppressors. In the 15th century, folk ballads praising Robin Hood were heard from word of mouth. His companions are knights, farmers, while he fights the clergy: that is, the bishops and archbishops, and against him are always the sheriffs.
The most common story it’s about archery contests and Robin Hood’s attempt to help the king Richard the Lionheart to return to the throne and saves Lady Marion from the evil Prince John.
Child of the cinema…
Her interest Literatureof Theater and his Cinema (countless of his films Hollywood themed on Robin Hood and starring by Errol Flynnhim Sean Connery up to Russell Crowe), TV’s adopted child, Robin Hood, has taken his place among the real people who walked this earth, but he wasn’t!
Robin Hood – as legend has it – died on a day like today, according to an English ballad of the 17th century, betrayed – this is how heroes-rebels from ancient times always die – by one of his cousins or in another ballad stabbed by one of his own. Robin, although non-existent, remained alive in the popular consciousness of the Anglo-Saxons (and not only) as the outlaw-rebel who fought tyranny.