Robin Hood and the Crusades: When and Why Did the Longbowman of the People Mount Up Like a Lord?

Stephen Knight

Abstract


Robin Hood riding home from crusade seems a default opening to modern Sherwood stories, especially in film. But the late medieval point of the longbow was to make him a peasant and a pedestrian, bearing a weapon deadly to the gentry, as at Agincourt. This essay examines Robin's rise into the aristocracy and onto horseback, discovering that the formation is remarkably new, related to film, and that crusading in the myth is both new and negative. Robin Hood continues to chart the history of the present.

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