Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Richard III #kinginthecarpark

Well well well...look who decided to show up. For those of you that live under a rock (no pun intended, Richard) the body of former king of England, Richard III, was found in August of 2012 underneath a parking lot in Leicester. The DNA results came in yesterday, proving that it truly is Richard.

Apart from the discovery and who Richard III was, which are easily accessible on actual news sites, I would like to dive into an interesting perspective I read. In a BBC article, reporter Tracy Norman hit the nail on the head for me:
For me, though, the real significance of the find will be in bringing us face to face with history. Somehow, the more legendary (or notorious) a figure becomes, the less human they seem. Great historical icons such as Henry VIII can sometimes seem no more real than the characters of a fairy tale. We have their portraits, their letters, and a host of other proofs that they existed, but they remain tantalisingly out of reach.
I loved reading this as it suggests the absurdity of finding a former king of England who had a reputation as a malicious, bad-ass, corrupt, ill-intentioned, murderous man...under a parking lot. A parking lot for goddsakes, how demeaning. What could be worse for a king? Under a Victoria's Secret? How about under a methadone clinic?
Also, it is amazing that the oral and written history passed down from Richard's reign in the 1480's is accurate according to what has been discovered so far by his skeleton. He was described as a hunchbacked man, and it is apparent from the curvature of the spine, that he indeed had scoliosis, which would have given him an uneven look, one shoulder being higher than the other.

The mistreatment of Richard, postmortem, is apparent in various injuries found on his body. These "humiliation injuries" fit into our historical records as well. This man was injured during a battle (the Battle of Bosworth Field, last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses to be specific), as history has suggested for all these years. That archaeologists were able to pinpoint his location based off existing oral and written history is astounding. The "fairy tale" of Richard has become a reality.

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