Robin Hood is the most famous outlaw in the whole of world fiction, and during the modern period his popularity has only increased. This is largely because he reflects both sides of the traditional social order, as a decent English gentleman, unjustly outlawed, who fights his way back to respectability with the help of ordinary people. In his original, medieval, form, he is actually even more remarkable, as a man of the common people himself, from the greenwood, who blatantly flouts the social and religious order while upholding a basic humanity and goodness. This talk is intended to show what was so different about him that made him so famous in world culture while other outlaws, fictional and real, have disappeared. It is also, however, a quest for his origins. Was he a forest god or spirit, or was there a real, remarkable, human being, who inspired the legend because he did something really outstanding? It will be concluded that there actually is good historical evidence that suggests an answer to this question.

Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.

Here are some of his other talks you might be interested in

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