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1521 - Major, John - Historia Maioris Britanniae

Allusion
Date 1521
Author Major, John
Title Historia Maioris Britanniae, tam Angliae quam Scotiae (A History of Greater Britain as well England as Scotland)
Mentions Robin Hood; Little John
Title-page of the first edition of Major's work / Public domain.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-12. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-14. PDF from Robert Lynley.

Allusion

Circa hæc tempora vt auguror Robertus Hudus Anglus & paruus Ioannes latrones famatissimi in nemoribus latuerunt, solum opulentorum virorum bona diripientes. Nullum nisi eos inuadentem vel resistentem pro suarum rerum tuitione occiderunt. Centum sagittarios ad pugnam aptissimos Robertus latrociniis aluit, quos .400. viri fortissimi inuadere non audebant. Rebus huius Roberti gestis tota Britannia in cantibus vtitur. fæminam nullam opprimi permisit, nec pauperum bona surripuit, verum eos ex abbatum bonis ablatis opipare pauit, viri rapinam improbo, sed latronum omnium humanissimus & princeps erat.[1]

[Archibald Constable's translation:]
About this time it was, as I conceive, that there flourished those most famous robbers Robert Hood, an Englishman, and Little John, who lay in wait in the woods, but spoiled of their goods those only that were wealthy. They took the life of no man, unless either he attacked them or off'ered resistance in defence of his property. Robert supported by his plundering one hundred bowmen, ready fighters every one, with whom four hundred of the strongest would not dare to engage in combat. The feats of this Robert are told in sons: all over Britain. He would allow no woman to suffer injustice, nor would he spoil [p. 157:] the poor, but rather enriched them from the plunder taken from abbots. The robberies of this man I condemn, but of all robbers he was the humanest and the chief.1[2]

Source notes

IRHB's brackets.
Marginal note in the Latin text: "Latrones Angliæ, Robertus hudus, Ioannes paruus". Translated by Archibal Constable: "The English robbers, Robert Hood and Little John".[3]
Note 1 to Constable's translation: "Camden (Britannia, p. 642, ed. 1600) quotes Major as his authority for the story of Robin Hood. For another early Scottish reference to the story, see Mr. Æ. J. G. Mackay's William Dunbar, Introd. pp. ccliv.-cclvi. Major calls Robin Hood 'Robertus Hudus'."[4]

IRHB comments

The passage comes at the end of a chapter on King Richard I, sandwiched in between the death of that monarch and the accession of King John.

Lists

Editions

Discussion

Nelson, Malcolm A. The Robin Hood Tradition in the English Renaissance (Salzburg Studies in English Literature: Elizabethan & Renaissance Studies, vol. 14) (1973), pp. 23-27.

Citations

Nelson, Malcolm A. The Robin Hood Tradition in the English Renaissance (Salzburg Studies in English Literature: Elizabethan & Renaissance Studies, vol. 14) (1973), pp. 23-24.

Also see

Notes