By Robert Lacey
With perception, humor and engaging element, Lacey brings brilliantly to existence the tales that made England--from Ethelred the Unready to Richard the Lionheart, the Venerable Bede to Piers the Ploughman.
Read or Download Great Tales from English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and More PDF
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Extra resources for Great Tales from English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and More
To accomplish his birdman outfit, the monk should have stretched parchment or skinny fabric over the body, which, we're informed, he connected to either his palms and his ft. this day the ravens and jackdaws that reside round Malmesbury Abbey might be obvious hovering at the updrafts that blow up the hill among the church and the valley of the River Avon, and Elmer could have attempted to repeat them as he leapt off the tower and glided down in the direction of the river. based on William of Malmesbury, the historian who recorded Elmer’s feat within the following century, the monk controlled a downward waft of a few 2 hundred metres prior to he landed - or, particularly, crash-landed. He did trap a breeze from the head of the tower, yet used to be shocked by way of the atmospheric turbulence and turns out to have misplaced his nerve. ‘What with the violence of the wind and the eddies and while his attention of the temerity of the attempt,’ comparable William, ‘he faltered and fell, breaking and crippling either his legs. ’ William of Malmesbury most likely obtained his tale from fellow-monks who had identified Elmer in outdated age. The eleventh-century stargazer used to be this kind of personality brushed off as mad in his lifetime, yet later noticeable as a visionary. In his ultimate years Elmer’s limping determine used to be a well-recognized sight round the abbey - and the would-be birdman may clarify the failure of his nice firm with wry humour. It used to be his personal fault, he may say. As William informed it, ‘He forgot to slot a tail on his prevent components. ’ KING CANUTE AND THE WAVES advert 1016-35 KING CANUTE (CNUT) WHO governed THE English from 1016 till 1035 and who attempted to show again the waves, has long past down in folklore because the very version of conceitedness, stupidity and wishful pondering. sooner or later the King invited his nobles right down to the seashore because the tide was once coming in, ordering his throne to be put the place the waves have been advancing around the sands. ‘You are topic to me,’ he shouted out to the water, ‘as the land on which i'm sitting is mine . . . I command you, as a result, to not upward thrust directly to my land, nor to presume to rainy the garments or limbs of your grasp. ’ no longer unusually, the ocean paid no awareness. in accordance with the earliest surviving written model of the tale, the tide saved on coming. The waves ‘disrespectfully sopping wet the king’s toes and shins’, so he needed to leap again to prevent getting wetter. King Canute’s soaked toes are a ancient snapshot to rival King Alfred’s smoking truffles, and, as with the tale of the tarts, we get our proof now not from an eyewitness yet from a manuscript that used to be now not written till a couple of hundred years later. on the subject of Canute we will be able to determine the storyteller accurately as Henry of Huntingdon, a rustic clergyman who lived at the fringe of the Fens round 1130 and who wrote a background of the English in compliment of ‘this, the main celebrated of islands, previously referred to as Albion, later Britain, and now England’. An fanatic for his neighborhood wetlands - ‘beautiful to behold . . . eco-friendly, with many woods and islands’ - Henry compiled his historical past from different manuscript histories, such a lot significantly Bede and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and from the non-public thoughts of people that had lived during the nice occasions.