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Why is King John the classic villain?
BBC ^ | March 1, 2011 | Unknown

Posted on 03/01/2011 5:10:48 AM PST by decimon

A new film about King John further underlines history's judgement of the medieval English monarch as a cruel tyrant. But among the dozens of bad kings and despots, why is John always the pantomime villain?

Surrendering lands in France, forced into a humiliating climbdown with the nobility and ex-communicated by the Church. Not to mention being blamed for the murder of his nephew.

>

"He was a very considerable failure as a king. He loses a large amount of possessions inherited, in particular lands in France, like Normandy and Anjou. He manages to surrender his realm to the pope and ends up facing a huge baronial rebellion, a civil war and a war with France. In terms of failures, he is one of the worst kings."

And his unpleasant personality compounds his mistakes, says Mr Hudson. Trying to seize control of the throne while his brother, King Richard I, was imprisoned abroad, lost him the trust of the people long before he became king himself.

>

"I see him a bit like Barack Obama in so far as he inherited a nightmare situation from his predecessor but because he was a bad politician he didn't help himself to get out of it.

>

(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: crusades; godsgravesglyphs; richardthelionheart

Paul Giamatti as King John in Ironclad
1 posted on 03/01/2011 5:10:51 AM PST by decimon
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To: SunkenCiv

Aside from that ping.


2 posted on 03/01/2011 5:11:24 AM PST by decimon
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To: decimon
"I see him a bit like Barack Obama in so far as he inherited a nightmare situation from his predecessor"

When Nancy Pelosi's Democrats took Congress away from Republicans in January 2007, unemployment was at 4.5%, the deficit had been cut in half to $180 billion, taxes were low, and the Dow Jones was about 14 thousand.

Some nightmare.

3 posted on 03/01/2011 5:20:57 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: decimon

Maybe because it’s just tv and makes for a good story?


4 posted on 03/01/2011 5:26:24 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to...otherwise, things would be different)
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To: decimon

Give me Shakespeare´s.


5 posted on 03/01/2011 5:31:44 AM PST by onedoug (If)
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To: ClearCase_guy
When Nancy Pelosi's Democrats took Congress away from Republicans in January 2007, unemployment was at 4.5%, the deficit had been cut in half to $180 billion, taxes were low, and the Dow Jones was about 14 thousand.

All due blame to the Dems but the Pubs were hardly blameless. And then in the last play of the game, Bush through a Hail Mary pass right into a crowd of the opposite uniforms. Can anyone explain that?

6 posted on 03/01/2011 5:32:28 AM PST by decimon
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To: decimon
Why is King John the classic villain?

I believe this was explained some years ago:

"I got some reeeally bad advice from Rottingham..."

7 posted on 03/01/2011 5:37:00 AM PST by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: stuartcr
Maybe because it’s just tv and makes for a good story?

Probably. England has chosen its heroes and villains.

8 posted on 03/01/2011 5:37:18 AM PST by decimon
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To: decimon
King John isn't the pantomime villain of British Culture. If he was, the BBC wouldn't be rehabilitating him. That role belongs to the unfortunate Richard III, God rest his soul. Shakespeare's play has a lot to answer for....

The Richard III Society

9 posted on 03/01/2011 5:51:26 AM PST by Eepsy
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To: ClearCase_guy

Same way Richard the Lionheart was a disaster!

This article assumes people don’t know history...Bush as Richard I, one of the most beloved Kings of all time? I’ll take it!


10 posted on 03/01/2011 6:03:22 AM PST by BenKenobi (Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. - Silent Cal)
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To: decimon

One of my ‘Darth Vader moments’ in genealogical research was learning I was descended from King John. Bleh. :-)


11 posted on 03/01/2011 6:04:33 AM PST by Liberty1970 (Thanking God for many blessings :-))
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To: decimon

My favorite was Basil Rathbone...


12 posted on 03/01/2011 6:05:30 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Go Hawks !)
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To: decimon

John had to tax people to death to pay for his Brother Richards wars. That made him a villain.


13 posted on 03/01/2011 6:16:59 AM PST by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are at your door! How will you answer the knock?)
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To: decimon
Giamatti is a very versatile actor....
...not gorgeous, but convincing!...and strangely compelling.
14 posted on 03/01/2011 7:15:24 AM PST by Guenevere (....)
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To: decimon

In one sense, John and the Brits are analagous to King George and the colonists.

John’s abuse led to the “revolt” that produced the Magna Carta.

George’s abuse of the colonies led to the Declaration of Independence.


15 posted on 03/01/2011 7:20:37 AM PST by fruser1
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To: Guenevere
Giamatti is a very versatile actor....
...not gorgeous, but convincing!...and strangely compelling.

Probably a lot of good actors get mostly secondary roles. The better they are the less you notice them.

16 posted on 03/01/2011 7:29:52 AM PST by decimon
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To: decimon

Didn’t John sign the Magna Carta?


17 posted on 03/01/2011 8:19:18 AM PST by sportutegrl
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To: sportutegrl
Didn’t John sign the Magna Carta?

Yes. How willingly he signed it could get an argument.

18 posted on 03/01/2011 8:38:59 AM PST by decimon
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To: decimon

King John was not a good man
He had his little ways
And sometimes no one spoke to him
For days and days and days...

Mrs. AV


19 posted on 03/01/2011 11:23:51 AM PST by Atomic Vomit (http://www.cafepress.com/aroostookbeauty/358829)
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To: decimon; nickcarraway; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

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Thanks decimon. Here's the reason this op-ed was written in the first place:
"I see him a bit like Barack Obama in so far as he inherited a nightmare situation from his predecessor but because he was a bad politician he didn't help himself to get out of it."
Obama has used the nightmare situation -- Democrats in control in Congress -- to set the stage for the uprising, that's cool.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

· History topic · history keyword · archaeology keyword · paleontology keyword ·
· Science topic · science keyword · Books/Literature topic · pages keyword ·


20 posted on 03/01/2011 5:06:05 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: fruser1; decimon; SunkenCiv; Pharmboy
In one sense, John and the Brits are analagous to King George and the colonists.

John’s abuse led to the “revolt” that produced the Magna Carta.

George’s abuse of the colonies led to the Declaration of Independence.

That's not quite the case.

John was incompetent and a complete failure. All of this was made even more glaring by the fact that he followed two strong and fairly successful kings.

The American colonies had been growing apart from the British since the first colonists came to America. The French and Indian War was extremely expensive and the British thought America should pay for some of it. These abuses eventually resulted in the Revolution; a major factor in the Revolution was George's pride, otherwise it is likely that Parliament would have withdrawn the troops much sooner.

However, the Revolution aside, George III was extremely popular with the British. His reign saw the defeat of Napoleon and solidified Britain's power for the next century. Granted he suffered from dementia, blindness and other ailments in the last decade or so of his reign (during which time his son served as Regent), but he remained popular.

It was during the reign of George III that the British monarchy allowed Parliament to assume ever more control of politics and saw the emergence of a true constitutional monarchy.

The general opinion of Britons today is that George III was incredibly successful. American independence was inevitable at some point and aside from the period surrounding the War of 1812 America has always enjoyed great relations with the UK.

21 posted on 03/01/2011 5:31:12 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: decimon; SunkenCiv

Biggest clymers of the recent (post crusades) pre-modern age?? My candidates would be Tamerlane, Edward III of England, and Gustavus Adolphus. John doesn’t even come close to any of those three.


22 posted on 03/01/2011 7:20:20 PM PST by wendy1946
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To: Eepsy

I think it would be easier to restore the Stuarts than the House of York.


23 posted on 03/01/2011 7:34:59 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Colin Firth Rules!)
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To: wagglebee

It points to the general failure of analogy, but more relevantly, it shows that drawing historical parallels doesn’t generally work very well. :’) John’s nickname was Lackland — he had problems ruling as a regent, and that got worse when Richard got picked up on priors (/joke alert) by another of the crusader kings while on his way home. John didn’t have a feudal freehold that he could call his own until he got himself crowned, but he wasn’t either a war leader or a strong secular leader, and the barons sensed blood in the water. And of course, the whole feudal ruling class was made up of violent thugs. The only thing that kept them from killing John when they cornered him was, no one much wanted the job, and they’d gotten everything spelled out (they thought) to ensure they wouldn’t have to worry about continuing to enrich themselves and have jousts and extramarital side action and such. And, they weren’t fired up about carting their asses the length of the Mediterranean to fight in the Middle East when they could be enjoying themselves.

In the American colonies, the colonists were *mostly* not aristocrats, or as the old joke goes, impoverished nobility. Some were hired by or otherwise recruited by the various well-borns who had received (for a fee) a charter or license over some often vaguely defined chunk of the eastern seaboard, that had previously no English settlements. Skills that came in handy for 17th c industries — building mills for example, or any kind of skin-handling (furriers, glove-making, etc etc) were bound to produce goods for the British market.

What caused the rupture was the dawning that none of the lands were historically deep feudal possessions. It was freeing, and undermined the feudal basis by which the aristrocratic ruling class continued to run England and its possessions. Chopping out a home of their own, learning its ways (including the ag practices adapted from the non-Euro locals), and making lives for themselves went on for 150 years and more (in my family, six generations, including the first two born in England) throughout the colonies.

The English Civil War, culminating in the beheading of Charles I (an act Cromwell called “a cruel necessity”) had a very real impact on the development of American society before the American Revolution. The Restoration brought back the monarch, but the struggles that had preceded the ECW had shown that political power lay with Parliament. As someone noted in another thread (the one about Prince Andrew), James II was booted from the throne just like that when he tried to restore Roman Catholicism in the UK (more to the point, in the palace). His daughter and her German husband were declared the monarchs. They chased James into exile in France.

Since the ECW, the authority of the British crown has been curtailed, bit by bit (sometimes in bigger bits than in other times); the Parliament has dealt with dynastic failures (James I / VIth was declared monarch upon the death of Elizabeth; Queen Anne died childless and the line of Georges started) by voting. The reality probably is that the American Revolution had some of its roots in the English Civil War, and the erosion of monarchical power through gradual political processes is partially rooted in the American Revolution.


24 posted on 03/01/2011 7:50:52 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: decimon

Interesting. Second movie about early English history in a month (the other is ‘The Eagle’, about Roman Britain). It has had a lot of tough luck, losing Peter Postelwaite (he died) and Richard Attenborough (illness), and apparently Angus MacFadyen (from ‘Braveheart’). Still has Derek Jacobi and Brian Cox, among others. Good to see that the ‘Greatest English Knight’ (Sir William Marshall) is a character.


25 posted on 03/01/2011 7:53:56 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Colin Firth Rules!)
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To: wendy1946

I had to look that one up. :’)

http://onlineslangdictionary.com/definition+of/clymer


26 posted on 03/01/2011 7:58:03 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: SunkenCiv
That's recent history. The guy makes a collosal stink over GW Bush calling him an a****** and for troubles his name becomes a synonym for a******. Similar to the story of Thomas Crapper who invented the flush toilet.
27 posted on 03/01/2011 8:35:06 PM PST by wendy1946
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To: Eepsy
King John isn't the pantomime villain of British Culture. If he was, the BBC wouldn't be rehabilitating him. That role belongs to the unfortunate Richard III, God rest his soul. Shakespeare's play has a lot to answer for...

Eepsy, if you are interested in another perspective on Richard, you might try Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour (if you haven't already read it). An excellent read.

28 posted on 03/01/2011 9:25:18 PM PST by annie laurie (All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost)
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To: wagglebee
Thanks for the ping...now, in answer to the question: Was there anyone King John did not piss off?
29 posted on 03/02/2011 4:41:13 PM PST by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: decimon
"Probably a lot of good actors get mostly secondary roles. The better they are the less you notice them."

They also tend to be extremely versatile and avoid type-casting. I'm thinking a good example would be Tom Wilkinson who in the last decade or so has played Cornwallis, Benjamin Franklin, Carmine Falcone in two Batman movies, Friedrich Fromm and a Roman Catholic Exorcist...among many other roles. Excellent and hugely underrated actor.

30 posted on 03/02/2011 4:50:48 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Pharmboy
I don't think he pissed off his father. Nevertheless, his father probably realized that he was incompetent and purposefully named him "Lackland" and didn't give him anything. Unfortunately, Henry the Young King turned against his father and then died just as his Henry II tried to reconcile. Richard I (Cœur de Lion) was more interested in the Crusades and never had children, so John wound up with the crown.
31 posted on 03/02/2011 4:53:56 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: decimon
Why is King John the classic villain?

For some reason raping the wives, daughters and mistresses of the membors of your court tend to tick people off. Odd I know but there you are.

Then there was his quaint habit of extortion. People tend to regard that as socially unacceptable behavior.

32 posted on 03/02/2011 5:30:39 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (When all you have is bolt cutters & vodka everything looks like the lock on Wolf Blitzer's boathouse)
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To: Joe 6-pack
...Tom Wilkinson...

I've seen the name but couldn't picture him. Did a search and don't recognize him. Don't see that many movies, though.

33 posted on 03/02/2011 5:50:40 PM PST by decimon
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To: SunkenCiv
The Restoration was generally viewed as the triumph of the Tories over the Whigs, who had to walk a fine line between opposition to the Tories and supporting a revolutionary cause then deemed treasonous. James II's oppressive measures, however, lead to what might be viewed as the last chapter of the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, which breathed new life into the Whig cause and strengthened Parliament's role in government. Suddenly, ideas practiced during the Civil War, like parliamentary government, were respectable again.

I agree all this had a huge impact on American thinking. John Locke, who returned to England with William and Mary, gave a philosophical basis for the new Whig thinking on government. His writings were very popular in America and influenced the Founders

The English ruling class seemed to think America was overrun by Whigs and Presbyterians, who they blamed for the American Revolution. Way too simple, but certainly a kernel of truth to that.

34 posted on 03/09/2011 2:30:20 PM PST by colorado tanker
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To: colorado tanker

There was a Whig party in early America of course, not too sure about the Presbyterian impact — but then, leave it to the hidebound Brits to get it wrong.


35 posted on 03/09/2011 4:39:36 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: SunkenCiv
Not so much the formal Whig U.S. party. The English of that time would regard any republicans as Whigs as in the sense the Tories regarded anyone who supported the Cromwellian republic or their descendants as Whigs.

The English of that day would regard anyone whose church was not governed by bishops as Presbyterians, so that would include New England congregationalists. It did not include baptists or Quakers, however.

36 posted on 03/09/2011 5:24:59 PM PST by colorado tanker
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