February 4, 2013

"A team of archaeologists confirmed Monday that ancient remains found under a parking lot belong to long-lost King Richard III..."

"The verification came after scientific tests were used to match DNA samples taken from Canadian-born Michael Ibsen, a direct descendent of Anne of York, Richard’s elder sister."
Richard III supporters such as Philippa Langley, a screenwriter and member of the Richard III Society, were driven to find the lost king’s remains by a desire to reopen the debate over his place in history....

“I think the discovery brought the real Richard into sharp focus,” Langley said. “People are realizing that a lot of what they thought they knew about Richard III was pretty much propaganda and myth building.”
Why does finding the body have anything to do with the historical project of finding out what really happened in the past? There's something in the human psyche that makes us care about an ancient controversy because we are confronted with the man's bones. But there is also some relevant evidence:
Trauma analysis of the skeleton found 10 battle wounds, eight on the skull and two on the body, which were inflicted around the time of death, according to Jo Appleby, project osteologist of the University of Leicester. Many of the wounds provided evidence of “post-mortem humiliation injuries,” exacted on Richard III after death by his adversaries.
It looked a little something like this:



Warning: That was propaganda. And Class A scenery chewing.

By the way: As I was setting up that clip for the embed, Meade came over and said: "From just the audio, I couldn't tell if that was Laurence Olivier or a Monty Python parody."

ADDED: There's a Richard III ward in the Hospital for Overacting:

32 comments:

LarsPorsena said...

No spinal deformities. He's no longer the 'Crookback'.

virgil xenophon said...

"WARNING THAT was propaganda And Class A scenery chewing."

A) Was it ever!

B) Meade was right.

MadisonMan said...

Good detective work. But so what?

Maybe this means the movie will be remade. Keanu Reeves can play Richard III.

Craig said...

Stevenson's Black Arrow made glorious summer from the winter of discontent inflicted by Shakespeare on the son of York.

Bob Ellison said...

In Ocean's III, George Clooney (Danny Ocean) will saunter up to Richard and say "OK. I know a guy who has a horse."

MadisonMan said...

The thing I like about Richard III is how his character is involved in Lord Peter's Have His Carcase.

ricpic said...

Kingship in the late middle ages was no walk in the park. The King had to be in the saddle almost all the time in order to show his face to the various restless lords in his realm. Plus, he had to be in the thick of battle when battle occurred, which was practically non-stop. Richard III's reign lasted two years.

lemondog said...

How 'bout the raucous Ian McKellen version @ approx 2:06 shouting for a horse.

Mitchell the Bat said...

They must not have civil war reenactors over there.

furious_a said...

"You know what's remarkable? That England looks in no way like Southern California!"

...or, well, Spain, in this case.

Meade said...

Jim Harbaugh after 49ers' failed final drive: A call! A call! My dignity for a call!

Hagar said...

Whatever his character might have been, people at the time believed he had the young princes killed and blamed him for it.
And their skeletons were found in the Tower long ago.

garage mahal said...

They must not have civil war reenactors over there

I'm a flame war reenactor.

Ann Althouse said...

"No spinal deformities. He's no longer the 'Crookback'."

Read the article. The deformity is there. That's why the thought they'd found it and why they did the DNA test.

Shouting Thomas said...

Is this related in some way to Beyonce's half time show last night?

David said...

Eight "battle wounds" to the head sounds like an execution to me.

edutcher said...

Brando should have played him.

(wonder who would have lost...)

Nomennovum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nomennovum said...

Read the Wikipedia entry for Richard III. He was a brave man, an advocate for the common man, and a proponant of freedom.

Yet given his physical attributes, he wouldn't get so much as a wink on OKCupid: too short.

William said...

To be fair to Olivier, he had other, better scenes in that movie. Stars tend to now die quicker than Little Nell and with far less twitches, but that was the style back then....In a perverse way, Shakespeare's villainization of him has secured his reputation. He was an unimporant king in an unglorious era, but, because of Shakespeare, people are aware of who Richard was and that Shakespeare gave him a raw deal. I believe that there are societies in England devoted to rehabilitating his name.

Craig said...

The Battle of Bosworth Field was the grand climax that finally brought the bloody and interminable conflict to an end. Romeo and Juliet was the War of the Roses in microcosm.

vza said...

Richard III discovery: the experts' reaction

http://www.historyextra.com/news/richard-iii-discovery-experts-reaction

Mitch H. said...

From vza's article link:

Finally, historians might be cautious about accepting the fact that the body is indeed that of Richard III. When some bones in Westminster Abbey were examined in 1933 to determine whether they belonged to the long lost Princes in the Tower, the team of experts found that they were. We now know that their research was seriously flawed and that they merely found what they were looking for.

IIRC from a book on the subject that those "princes' bones" they found in the tower were off by more than a century or two in age from what they were took for back in the 30s. Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel were something other than the usual run of pretenders, fakes and phantasms - the princes' aunt the Duchess of Burgundy hosted Warbeck in her own household on the continent for years. That's a bit close to hold a political fake.

Does anyone know where Simnel and Warbeck's bones are located? I'd like to see DNA tests on them.

Sharc said...

Excellent Python reference! I love that there is a pack of Rat Kings from the Nutcracker waiting to be institutionalized. I can't stand it when silent or puppet characters grossly overact just through gestures. Incidentally, the rest of the room seemed to be filled with Johnny Depp pirates. Monty Python way ahead of its time, as usual. Too funny.

AlanKH said...

Is William Shatner too old to play Richard III? He's a natural for that scene.

Petunia said...

LOL at the thought of Shatner chewing up the scenery as Richard III.

I think this is really cool. I hope someone does a forensic reconstruction using the skull, so we can have a better idea of how he really looked.

AllenS said...

10,000 years from now, people will happen upon my skeletal remains, and with one look at my shin bones, they'll say: "Man, this dude was clumsy."

ampersand said...

Hmm. Whazzup with the UK. John Knox is also buried under a parking lot,possible inspiration for Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi, "They paved over a pair of guys and put up a parking lot

Mitch H. said...

The denser your land, and the longer your history, the more likely it is that something important is lying under your asphalt.

For instance, a good chunk of the battlefield of Franklin in Tennessee is underneath a Pizza Hut. Preservationists find this a great outrage, that the sacred ground where Cleburne, the Stonewall of the West, died with his horse straddling the Union works, lies under the overfed asses of an indeterminate number of families eating substandard pseudo-Sicilian fast food on any given weeknight.

Me, I figure life, however humble and dull, trumps the traces of old death, however dramatic or notable.

Christy said...

Richard's story resonates today. He epitomizes the idea that history is written by the winners. If I remember correctly, the definitive bio was written by Thomas More, who was raised in the household of the Bishop of Ely, John Morton, later the Archbishop of Canterbury and an avowed enemy of Richard III.

In a few hundred years will Oliver Stone's version of JFK be the accepted one? Will students learn that the Supreme Court changed the outcome of the 2000 election? The mainstream press is writing the future history. How accurately do you figure?

Craig said...

I'm disappointed. I thought it might have been Jimmy Hoffa.

Amartel said...

"No spinal deformities. He's no longer the 'Crookback'."

They found scoliosis which confirms the "hunchback" part of the story, but no withered arm. The Tudors really soaked this guy in propaganda so no other branch of that family would rise up and threaten them. There's probably a lot of truth, but also a lot of lies. Shakespeare worked for a Tudor queen. Most of our cultural image of Richard III comes from the story Shakespeare told. Did he kill Edward IV's children, the princes in the tower? Probably but he definitely had accomplices. And it's also just as likely that Henry VII had them killed thru his sympathizers and backers. That would serve 2 purposes: Shmear Richard III and clear the path once Richard III was out of the way.