Was William Wallace the real Robin Hood ?
This recent article was in many papers around the world.
Here we go again:
"A Canadian novelist is causing a stir in Britain after claiming that the mythic figure of Robin Hood - outlaw champion of medieval England's poor - was actually inspired by the 13th-century Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace, hero of the 1995 Mel Gibson film 'Braveheart'.
B.C.-based, Scots-Canadian writer Jack Whyte, a leading author in the genre of historical fiction, is touting the Robin Hood-Wallace link as part of the rollout of his latest novel, The Forest Laird, based on the life of the Scottish knight who led successful battles against English overlords before his execution in 1305.
Wallace was already a powerful symbol of Scottish nationalism when Braveheart's idealized portrayal of the man heightened popular and scholarly interest in his life, Whyte told Postmedia News on Monday from his home in Kelowna, B.C.
Recent academic research into the real Wallace, he said, was key to his background work for The Forest Laird and led him to a belief that the Scottish hero may well have given life to the Robin Hood myth.
While the novel doesn't explicitly make the connection, Whyte said, "to me it's obvious that there is evidence to indicate (Wallace) was the prototype of what would develop over the next 100 to 200 years" into the Robin Hood legend.
Wallace, Whyte notes, is known to have worked as a forest gamekeeper as a young man, then to have been outlawed for alleged poaching and forced to hide in the woods for a period of time.
He is also known have suffered the death or abduction of his wife Mirren (the Scottish name for Marian) at the hands of a district sheriff.
Whyte also points to the only historical document definitively linked to Wallace as an important clue - a letter sent to the German city of Lubeck in 1297 urging its businesses to continue trading with Scottish merchants despite the battles then raging with English forces.
The letter's wax seal includes the image of a longbow, suggesting Wallace was - like the Robin Hood of legend - a skilled archer.
"The emblem on the seal is a drawn longbow. That's what started me thinking," said Whyte.
Even the scant findings of historians probing Wallace's life "heaved up a huge mountain of possibilities and probabilities" for a rich retelling of the story, he added.
Whyte first drew comparisons between Wallace and Robin Hood in an interview with the Calgary Herald in November.
"You don't have to be a genius to add up two and two and get Robin Hood," Whyte said at the time. "I firmly believe that this man, as a young man, was the archetype from which the legend of Robin Hood grew."
The idea has now reached Scotland itself, where scholars are reacting to the Canadian writer's suggestion that two epic figures from British history - each the subject of ancient tales and Hollywood films alike - are deeply intertwined.
"Robin Hood is a towering figure in English folklore," Scotland on Sunday reported this week in a story about Whyte's new book. "But it seems the origins of the mythical hero may lie in the form of Scottish arch-anglophobe William Wallace, who carved his place in history by fighting English oppression."
University of Nottingham researcher David Crook was quoted questioning the theory, and added his view that the Robin Hood character probably evolved from a medieval-era thief whose story was embellished in subsequent generations.
But Stirling University lecturer Fiona Watson, a Wallace expert, acknowledged the possibility of a link. "There are a lot of parallels between Wallace and the Merry Men."
As for direct historical connections between the life of Wallace and the legend of Robin Hood, she added: "Nobody can definitely say 'it isn't', just as they can't say definitely 'it is', because you're dealing with an old culture you can't trace."
Noted Robin Hood scholar Stephen Knight, a professor of English at Cardiff University in Wales, told Postmedia News on Monday that while "there is no sign that Wallace was the original of Robin Hood," there is evidence that Wallace's life story had "some influence on the development of the Robin Hood myth.."
Whyte said that while he is "not stipulating that William Wallace was Robin Hood," the "basics of his story are such that they could be easily adapted to English folklore."
Whyte, 70, came to Canada from Scotland in 1967, and still speaks with a strong accent from his native country."
Well it sells books and gets publicity.............what do you think??
Labels: Robin Hood History