It’s hardly the biggest issue with the new Robin Hood movie, but I have to ask. Was any European ever drafted into the Crusades?



A nobleman like Robin of Locksley? No. Noblemen served in the Crusades either as part of their feudal obligations to their liege lords or as volunteers. And the vast majority of commoners in Crusader armies were professional soldiers or volunteers too. 

On a separate topic, it pisses me off how working-class figure of resistance Robin Hood got turned into nobleman savior and good king loyalist Robin of Locksley. The Richard Lionheart loyalist stuff was added in the 16th century, and the nobleman thing didn’t come in until practically the 17th century. 

The O.G Robin Hood was an anti-monarchical yeoman. 

I’m gonna heartily agree in spirit with @racefortheironthrone​, by vigourously disagreeing about the specifics. 🙂

  • Who even is the O.G. Robin Hood? We don’t know. It was an unrecorded oral tradition long before the Geste was written (c. 1450), and while we can gather that in its earliest form it was considered base entertainment, rowdy, and possibly bawdy, we don’t actually know what it said.
  • The nobleman thing came in c. 1600, until then it’s either yeoman or unspecified commoner. The “contemporary of Richard I” thing is earlier, but “loyalist”? Actually championing the good king? I think that’s Walter Scott, c. 1820. As for the ransom plot, that’s 20th century Hollywood.
  • By the way, the ransom plot is what pisses me off most. We stole (or re-appropriated) ALL THIS BLING, and instead of giving it back to those who need it, or hell, keeping it for ourselves, we’ll use it to ransom a warmongering moron just because “he’s the rightful king”? Ugh. How Lawful Stupid.
  • Now, earlier, the ballads give us many instances of Robin respecting the King, bowing to the King, accidentally capturing and then gladly letting go the King, declaring himself a loyal subject of the King, sure… but also pranking the King, mocking the King, poaching from the King, and fleeing the King. That’s oral tradition for you, things are fluid.
  • Earlier still, in the Geste, Robin respects the King (some King Edward) and dutifully accepts his invitation to join the royal court. But then he gets all restless, and splits without the King’s leave, and sods off to forest to be an outlaw again.
  • That said, “anti-monarchical” is a stretch. Robin Hood never opposes royal authority, like he opposes bishops and sheriffs and the like. At most, he refuses to actually give a shit. Which is pleasing enough. 🙂
  • Absolutely there was an oral tradition before the Geste, but I think we can be fairly confident that the oral tradition at or shortly before the time of the Geste had Robin Hood as a yeoman because that’s what the author of the Geste would have had as source material, and it’s unlikely that the more plebian oral traditions would be more aristocratic than the later written versions.
  • I think a play written in 1598 and published in 1601 could be described either as 16th century or 17th century, IMO. As for the Richard the Lionheart stuff at least starting in the 16th century (at least to the extent of King John being a bad/illegitimate king), here I’m following Dobson and Taylor. Might be wrong about that, fair enough. 
  • Agreed very much about the ransom.
  • It’s not an unrelenting conflict, but I think how anti-monarchical you see this is a matter of interpretation. To me, the key thing is that the Edward King is mostly an antagonist figure, and that in the end Robin Hood refuses to take his place in the royal court and goes back to being an outlaw. Moreover, those sheriffs are royal officials whom Robin is tricking and robbing and kidnapping and occasionally killing, so there’s a certain amount of anti-monarchism baked in.

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