Military Review

About Richard III we say a word

So, Richard Plantagenet, 3-th Duke of York, had three sons.

Well, in fact, Richard York had four sons (though Edmund died in 17 years and did not participate in the development of dramatically known events). The three elders, tall, handsome, fair-haired and blue-eyed, went to their mother, Cecily Neville (like all sisters). And the youngest, named Richard, is the twelfth of thirteen children of York and Cecily ...

"The third son, Richard, (Edmund, early deceased, the author does not think) is small, badly folded, with a hump on his back, his left shoulder is much higher than his right, his face is unpleasant - all such that other nobles called him a predator, and others worse ... It is reported as a deliberate truth that the duchess, his mother, suffered so much in labor that she could not resolve without the help of a knife, and he came out into the light with his feet ahead and even with his teeth in his mouth. "

This is a quote from the historical work of the famous writer Thomas More, the author of "Utopia" and part-time "chief specialist" 16 century Richard III. It was on this opus that Shakespeare relied. From there, too, scooped information and later chroniclers who wrote history England.

(For reference: years of life of Richard III: October 2 1452 - August 22 1485; Thomas More: 1478 - 1535)

"Although in the 1491 year, the Mayor of London retreated with a stick and called a certain William Barton, a teacher who claimed to his students that Richard III was a hunchbacked man, a liar. Later, there was no one to cut the wings of an artistic imagination, eyewitnesses became extinct." (This is already a quote from a modern Richard specialist.)

Some such an impressive list seemed to be small, and they gave free rein to the pen:
"In the 17 century, crocheted shoulders, crooked legs, and bug-eyedness added to the previous charms, and a little later the unfortunate victim of the writer's imagination" grows up "and a fang curve." (Well, what, white boar.)

We will not delve into the fact that Thomas More, in turn, relied on the works of the enemy Richard Cardinal John Morton and fulfilled the order of the Tudor dynasty that seized the throne after the death of Richard — this is well known.

We will not also touch upon the actions of Richard III and their evaluation - this is a rather complicated question, although it is already well known that he went down in history as a slandered king.

Focusing on how in reality this hapless man looked like, who for many centuries painted with black colors.

Finding and studying the remains of the last English king, who died in battle, has allowed to refute the legend of the hump. Richard had severe scoliosis of the lower part of the spine - which could not look like a “hump” and in general was almost unnoticeable outwardly, at least when dressed.

But everything else continues to walk through the pages of modern publications. Here is what you can read in popular articles about Richard III:

"In this family of big, beautiful, healthy children, a sullen, short, sickly Richard must have seemed like a foundling ..."

"He was frail, stooped, lame, with a dried hand ..."


What of this is true?

Well ... almost nothing)

Let's start with growth. Measuring the skeleton allowed us to establish the growth of Richard: 172-173, see. It's not so little in our day. In the Tudor era, the average population growth in London was about 172 cm, so Richard was not at all short-lived. "Short" he could only look like against the background of his burly brothers, who were distinguished by their enormous height and powerful build.

Richard did have a more delicate constitution than the brothers, but he could not be "puny" by definition. A warrior who had been daily physical training since childhood, who wore armor weighing more than 20 kg and wielded a heavy sword, with any addition had a powerful muscular corset. By the way, it was this that held back the development of scoliosis (which began, most likely during puberty) and relieved Richard of back pain. The wearing of armor that played the role of a corset could also contribute to this.

What about dry hands and limping? No way. Both hands and legs of Richard, apparently, acted not just normally, but very skillfully. He was a great warrior (which is admitted by absolutely everyone, even his worst enemies do not deny his brilliant military qualities), he rode perfectly and from his youth proved himself not only as a talented commander, but also as an excellent fighter. Nowhere is there any information about his pain or sullen disposition.

There are few documents that mention Richard Gloucester (the Tudors did their best), but still something remained. And none of the contemporaries of Richard, who saw him and communicated with him, never mentions any physical defects. Neither a lame leg, nor a crippled or dried hand, nor a stoop ... But everyone unanimously celebrates his slender build (suddenly).

And of course, Richard did not “look like a foundling” in the family: he just, the only of the sons of York, went to his father - after whom he was named.

Here is how eyewitnesses describe it:

"He was well built, but of small stature."

“He is three fingers taller than me, but much slimmer; he has graceful arms and legs, and a noble heart. "

"He is a very noble prince, patron of knightly virtues, behaving like a prince, and features very similar to the noble duke of York, his father."

And the cherry - a description of the lady who danced with Richard at the ball:

"Richard was the most handsome man in the room, with the exception of his brother Edward, and he was well built."

Ta-dam ... with light movements of the pen of unbiased contemporaries, our sullen lame hunchback turns into ... a freak turns into a slender, gracefully folded youth of pleasant appearance). Chestnut wavy hair, gray eyes, dark sable eyebrows, expressive face - meet Richard Gloucester as he was a young man.

About Richard III we say a word

Further more. We will study the recently discovered Richard III Gloucester skeleton and solve the so-called "hunchbacked question".

Regarding the "hunchback rate" of the late Richard III, a certain amount of inaccurate expressions circulate, because of which it is still unclear to people whether there was a hump or no hump? And if not, how much was one shoulder higher than the other, if it was? And what was there with a "dried hand"? By the way, neponyatki on these issues are quite common in England, where the SAUK (The UK Scoliosis Association) had to express a formal protest against the Air Force Channel 4 about the "offensive turns" allowed by television in reports about the king.

“The expressions used are not just sloppy and offensive, they are misleading. Not to mention that there is no such medical term as “hunchback” in medicine, ”protests Philip Langley of the Ricardian Community. Well, everyone knows how Philip is anxious about the lost king and his reputation, but not only can the warrior's nickname “The Hunchback”, which the osteologists have given the remains of Richard III they investigated, can jar. About 3-4% of the world's population covered by medical statistics has scoliosis, and in 90% of cases it is impossible to determine the cause of this spinal curvature.

So what's up with Richard's spine? Osteo-archaeologist from the University of Leicester, Joe Appleby, is not ready to say anything definite. Most likely, Richard began to develop scoliosis after he turned 10. But at what age specifically - it is not clear. Most likely, the curvature of such a degree put a strain on the heart and lung, but it is impossible to take into account how much the rib cage was expanded and strengthened due to physical exertion that Richard started from early childhood. Perhaps scoliosis to the extent that he was on the eve of his death caused the king pain. We can only say with certainty that Richard’s height was 172 cm.

Osteo-archeology is a slow science. Samples of the bones found during excavations in Leicester will be studied for a long time, and some conclusions will be made not today and not tomorrow. Moreover, the conclusions will almost certainly be cautious, followed by “obvious” turnovers. One thing, however, is important to remember: “hunchback” is kyphosis. Richard had no kyphosis.

So what is scoliosis. Scoliosis is a curvature of the spinal column to the side, and it can be accompanied by a kind of twisting of the column around its axis. This is not a disease by modern concepts, and the causes of scoliosis are often impossible to establish or prevent. To this day, from 3 to 4, the percent of the healthy population at some point finds that they developed scoliosis. Only about 10% scoliosis can be explained by neuromuscular abnormalities, muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. Scoliosis can also develop as a result of some major diseases such as Marfan syndrome (an autosomal dominant disease from the group of inherited connective tissue pathologies).

Scoliosis can cause changes in posture. Both shoulders may slightly protrude forward, giving the impression of a stoop. Or, especially in the case of S-shaped scoliosis, posture may look completely normal - the curvature balances each other. If the curvature of the spinal column is in its lower part, the posture remains normal, but one shoulder may be more or less higher than the other. Or not to be.

Scoliosis, which begins to form at the age of 7 - 18 years, is classified as late manifestation scoliosis, AIS (Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis). It is this type of scoliosis that most often does not have any obvious cause, hence the term “idiopathic”. To this day, no methods of predicting that a person may begin to develop scoliosis have not justified themselves - and genetic research is among them.

To some extent, AIS is more often diagnosed in tall people, whose growth has been rapid. At the moment when AIS manifests itself, the degree of spinal curvature is already significant, and it is extremely difficult to treat this curvature. As for children's scoliosis, it is easier to correct, but for the time being there is no database of how “long-playing” the results of such treatment will turn out.

Actually, how King Richard could feel with his scoliosis can be found out in the only way: to find people of approximately the same height as the king, of the same body type, leading at least remotely similar way of life. Nowadays, children do not begin to learn how to work with a sword from early childhood, but many start to play sports regularly with 6-7 years. And many from childhood begin to engage in equestrian sports. The Ricardian Community in England in March 2013 addressed all its members to share their life experiences with scoliosis, and the collection of information was thus begun.

Of particular interest is the experience of an 18-year-old youth of light stature, an increase in 172 cm, with an absolutely identical spinal curvature of Richard III. His experience is interesting because the boy started practicing with Roman and Celtic from childhood. weapons and ride. That is, not so intensive, of course, training in martial arts, as in the Middle Ages, but rather approximate. Now Cameron Ferrell is participating in tournaments in full armor, and the only thing you can find fault with is a little more rapid than in peers, breathing with strong athletic loads such as running. The doctor, observing Cameron, is sure that the young man’s excellent physical form is explained by advanced archery, exercises with a sword and a spear, and riding muscles.

This is actually not a secret. Any “backboard” knows that the only long-lasting escape from pain is daily exercises that strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen. Its with every single damage to the spine, but daily and for life.

Scoliosis Susan Walles began years with 14. Now she understands why she then developed a tendency toward a wrong, leaning right landing in the saddle. Then she simply gave the masters her saddle in the mess. For most of her life, the woman lived, having no idea that she had scoliosis, worked as a driver in the Territorial Army and passed all training sessions for the army contingent. As far as she recalls, the only bone-related nuisance was a microcrack in the left foot after a particularly heavy march in nasty shoes. Scoliosis Susan was diagnosed in 27 years. Since it was a question of the spine of a young woman planning to have a family, the lower part of the S-shaped curvature was promptly strengthened. The operation was 5,5 hours, and the post-operative period of half a year passed in a full tight corset. Now Susan has already endured some genera that were easy. She emphasizes that outwardly her scoliosis was never noticeable.

But perhaps the most striking example of the fact that scoliosis with well-developed muscles does not make a person a freak or an invalid - this is the six-time Olympic champion and eight-time world champion Usain Saint-Leo Bolt.

Here is a black man.

But the study of samples obtained from Richard’s skeleton is not at all limited to the study of the main, conspicuous feature of this skeleton - scoliosis. Using radiocarbon research, it was found that his diet consisted of foods high in protein, meat and fish. The fish was, for the most part, freshwater and fresh, not salty. This is logical, because Richard’s piety is well documented by a mass of sources, and church posts suggest fish consumption every Friday and Sunday, plus the eves of all major church holidays. The meat diet of the nobility of those times consisted of game, for the most part, but also included pork and beef.

Some practitioners of dentists also paid attention to the bite of the king typical for that historical period, in which the upper and lower teeth "meet", that is, the upper jaw does not overlap the lower, as is typical for our contemporaries. They attribute this to the fact that the current bite is the result of the use of a fork. At the time of Richard, as they believe, a piece of meat was taken in hand, a piece was clamped with his teeth and cut off with a knife from the main piece. But, I emphasize, this is a remark by dentists, not researchers.

Returning to Richard. His status really made available to him the most modern medical practices at that time, but if the doctors were engaged in his scoliosis, then these doctors were not physiatrists, but surgeons. During his period, it was surgeons who were engaged in applying tractions, massages, repositions, ointments and patches. Physiatrists specialized in drug design and body functioning problems. Therefore, the specialists who critically perceived Dr. Lund’s theory are quite right in proposing that she turn to the more modern Richard’s surgical treaties — the works of Guy de Scholiac, the greatest surgeon of his time, and the works of the English surgeon, John Bradmour, who served Henry IV and Henry V, and which, at one time, drew an arrow from the skull of the latter with a completely unique operation that saved the then prince’s life.

We note an important detail. Actually, a lot of people saw at various occasions the details of Richard's addition, ranging from the ceremony of initiation into knights and ending with a few days, when the body of the deceased king was put on public display. If the deformations were visible, they would not fail to write about them.

Thus, with respect to Richard, the “hunchbacked question” can only be partially answered. No, the king did not have a hump. Yes, most likely his spinal curvature was in no way noticeable from the outside, and it is quite possible that the king never got into trouble that exceeded the average level of “it hurts here, it hurts” that people usually live with. There is no reason to believe that Richard went through any special treatment related to his spinal curvature, no. In the economic books of his court, available to historians, both in the ducal and royal periods, only ordinary purchases of medical ingredients similar to those purchased for other nobley farms were noted for Richard himself.

Perhaps the only, striking exception from the ordinary, was the moment with the bed. It is known that during the “royal period” Richard III “could not sleep in the beds of others”, and that his own marching bed was taken for him everywhere wherever he went.

Of course, the explanation can be quite simple: in the midst of a whirlwind of stress and change, through which his life has flown over two years, the king needed something permanent, some kind of ritual to help him switch and fall asleep. Type of soft toys, without which many of our adult contemporaries sleep does not come. And many of our contemporaries complain that they can not sleep properly in hotels and away. But the ritual of detachment from the daily cares in the case of Richard was the evening prayer. And, presumably, prayer was not a formality for him.

The second explanation may be the desire to avoid possible troubles from other people's beds related to hygiene. In principle, the man of the ducal and royal rank did not stop anywhere, but who said that all the aristocrats and owners of inns at the end of the Rose Wars were clean, jealously following the immaculate condition of the beds for guests. And to wake up in the morning with bites of small creatures, which will then itch at the crucial moment under the armor, is a nightmare. Of course, English inns always had an amazingly clean reputation among travelers, but there could be exceptions. And in the castles ...

The idea that the personal bed was fiddling with the king seems very attractive because its design somehow helped to cope with pain in the back and muscles. Any “spinner” knows that his muscles can hardly withstand at least six hours in bed if the bed is bought without careful consideration of the characteristics of damage to the spinal column. Dislocation of the discs, damage in the vertebrae, curvature of any kind - each deviation requires its own ergonomics. Alas, we do not know whether Richard’s camp bed was somehow ergonomically modified, no indications in this direction have yet been found.

As for the “dry hand,” about which “everyone knew”, it is no more than one of the many legends invented by Thomas More. This strange passage was written by a science fiction writer from a rather dry record in the Crowland Chronicles: "where he was coming from," Hastings, coming to the Tower to the council, beheaded by his command. Thomas, Archbishop of York, and Bishop of Ely, although they were spared, they were imprisoned in separate castles in Wales. ”More wrote that Richard allegedly accused Hastings of witchcraft, showing his injured hand ”, and that this was proof of his, Richard, deceit: after all, his hand was“ dry ”from birth, as“ everyone knew. ”

In fact, no modern source speaks of any trouble with Richard’s hand. Moreover, in his last fight, Richard, hacking himself to Earl Richmond, who had taken refuge behind the backs of hired pikemen, killed two-meter-long Sir John Cheney to death. Broken by that moment already spear. Then he killed the standard-bearer Heinrich Tudor William Brandon with the sword of his father Brandon Charles, 1 of Duke Suffolk, who made a dizzying career under Henry VIII Tudor. One masterful blow. And plunged the Tudor standard with a red dragon on the ground. It remains to admit that either we are dealing with a miracle, or Richard’s hand has never had any problems.

The restored face of Richard III of Gloucester.

Well, a portrait shortly before death

As for Richard's personality, Bishop Thomas Langton, accompanying the king in progress, wrote that he was much more fair than other kings, especially caring for the poor, correcting distortions and friendly rejecting cash gifts. Suppose that Langton, a northerner who owes his advancement to Richard, was biased. But Lord Bacon was not biased, except in a completely different direction, but he writes that Richard was "a prince with proven virtues, energetic for the English nation and a good legislator to alleviate the situation of poor people."

Actually, he was perhaps the only king in history who simply ceased the practice of “voluntary” donations, which, in fact, were frank extortion from the royal power. Considering that Edward's treasury was stolen by the Woodvilles, Richard did not bathe in money. His father had once kept the army in France for years with his own money, most of which the government had never returned to him, but Richard himself chose not to take, but to borrow - to secure a loan with his property.

More specifically, Richard did not accept offerings from at least London, Worcester, Canterbury, Gloucester. He canceled the confiscation of Woodstock’s land held by his brother in favor of the crown. He returned the land to the priory office of Pontefract, which Edward had once taken away. He gave York a new and valuable charter. He freed Gloucester from many duties.

Richard the Third ordered the judges to be impartial and fair, making certain qualifications in the knowledge of laws (especially complex regulations regarding property) a criterion for appointments. Richard issued laws protecting members of the judicial jury from harassment and blackmail, and, characteristically, prohibited the sale of property of those arrested on the basis of suspicion, allowed the magistrates to release pendants before trial on bail. He even went so far as to ban the confiscation of the lands of those who were accused of treason but not yet convicted.

But the smaller legal cases did not go without his attention. He improved the work of the administration departments dealing with the problems of speculation, drinking, gambling, fraud. He appointed free legal assistance to those who did not have money for lawyers - and this practice was continued under the Tudors. He eradicated corruption in the judiciary and among officials, and introduced scrupulous registration of all expenses of the royal court. Tellingly, he issued the legislative acts of his parliament in English, so that they became known not only to the elite, but also to any resident of the kingdom.

Richard defended the interests of English artisans, without closing the door to imports. When it increased the trade in wool, sea freight and fishing. He cleared the rivers of poacher nets, illegally installed by large landowners with the consequences that the fish became inaccessible to ordinary people and eventually disappeared from the rivers.

In terms of culture and education, he appointed generous subsidies to Cambridge Kings College and Queens College, despite the fact that they were founded by Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. Part of the dedication was made on behalf of Queen Anne. Oxford got a little less, but he also got the land from the possession of Buckingham, and Oxford was exempted from some payments in favor of the crown. Richard made many grants to composers and minstrels, he created a royal orchestra and choir, and he allowed the importation of printed materials. Richard created the Herald College, and appointed the first Heroldmeister, giving them a mansion in London (later confiscated by Henry VII) and appointing them a tax exemption. But especially the church expectedly received a lot from Richard, which subsequently led his ill-wishers to declare that in this way he prayed for his many sins.

It is known that even before Richard became king, he carried on his shoulders a whole heap of titles and related duties, which implies that he had a fair amount of experience and management skills. And everyone admits that he managed his duties perfectly. And yes, he was quite severe in cases of violations: in York several soldiers of his army were executed on his orders for crimes and lawlessness committed in the city during the transition to London. Richard was a great diplomat and a gifted commander that everyone recognized. He generally managed to make a lot of small and large improvements in the functioning of the kingdom. The problem was that any improvement meant the infringement of the usual privileges of the few in favor of the majority, but these few had real power with which they did not want to part. As they say, signing fair laws, he signed his own death sentence.

However, if it were not for Mohr and Shakespeare, who created the image of the monster king, the child-murderer king, the cripple king, the usurper of the throne - who knows, would his personality and his time be studied with such passion, considering every smallest fact? Hardly, I dare to suggest.

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  1. Herculesic
    Herculesic 20 January 2018 06: 56
    The man can see that he tried! Thanks, it was interesting! However, as usual, I’ll joke that the scientists did not find the children’s skeleton of Richard the Third, and they rented the adult skeleton from “unidentified persons”! lol The author, I ask you to not joke attention to my joke! And for the article you +!
  2. iury.vorgul
    iury.vorgul 20 January 2018 07: 12
    Great article! I have long been interested in the personality of Richard York. But, I wonder why in the "Opinions" and not in the "History"?
    1. SPLV
      SPLV 20 January 2018 11: 18
      Quote: iury.vorgul
      But, I wonder why in the "Opinions" and not in the "History"?

      Because it’s not an official journalist of the site, probably.
      1. igor67
        igor67 20 January 2018 11: 35
        Quote: SPLV
        Quote: iury.vorgul
        But, I wonder why in the "Opinions" and not in the "History"?

        Because it’s not an official journalist of the site, probably.

        rather, because almost no one goes into history
        1. Paranoid50
          Paranoid50 24 January 2018 22: 45
          Quote: igor67
          almost no one goes into history

          So for the better. yes The "History" section is quiet and calm, like in a library. No, of course, sometimes there are heated discussions there, but, compared to the news tides, it’s just an idyll. As for the small size of the contingent, then apparently the rest of the majority are well aware of ALL world history, and they will not find anything new for themselves in this section. request
  3. Egoza
    Egoza 20 January 2018 07: 59
    Thanks to the author! A very interesting article turned out. And once again we are convinced how the history is distorted not only here, but also abroad. How stereotypes are introduced, especially if talented people had a hand in this.
  4. parusnik
    parusnik 20 January 2018 08: 19
    Each country has its own skeleton in the closet ...
  5. seti
    20 January 2018 08: 49
    Quote: iury.vorgul
    Great article! I have long been interested in the personality of Richard York. But, I wonder why in the "Opinions" and not in the "History"?

    Come on, thank you to an unknown moderator who helped improve my article a bit. And where he placed it is not so important. Thanks for the comment.
    1. dSK
      dSK 20 January 2018 12: 50
      Hello Mr. Phaeton.
      Quote: seti
      Come on
      it will not help much you, a fan of the Anglo-Saxons.
      1. seti
        20 January 2018 13: 42
        You are confusing something. Why am I a fan of the Anglo-Saxons? Justify?
        History needs to be known and interested - there will be time to finish collecting material I will write an article about Ivan IV the one that is Grozny. Also in many ways a slandered king. If you are so literate - write something yourself than use your tongue to chat.
  6. Standard
    Standard 20 January 2018 10: 30
    Quote: seti
    say thanks to an unknown moderator

    To the moderator - thanks!
    Indeed, in the “history” of readers there would be definitely less (for me) one.
    And the article is great. Many thanks to the author!
  7. SPLV
    SPLV 20 January 2018 11: 19
    Perhaps controversial in some places, but extremely interesting and informative. Thank you for the article.
  8. SPLV
    SPLV 20 January 2018 12: 08
    .Documents in which Richard Gloucester is mentioned are few (Tudors tried)

    Here you have one example of a remake of history to your advantage. And with whom do modern politicians take an example?
  9. Raphael_83
    Raphael_83 20 January 2018 17: 33
    Exceptionally informative! This extremely ambiguous - and in every possible way glorified - monarch who has managed to do so much in such a modest time has always been interesting. Of course, adjusted for the fact that the War of the Roses to the limit of controversial conflict (like any civil war, in general) and simple, unambiguous conclusions and conclusions cannot be applied to either side.
    From SW. hi
    Stevenson described in his wonderful Black Arrow just such a traditionally (and not historically, as we can now see) the prevailing image of the Duke of Gloucester:
    weak physique, curved-sided, with a pale, painful and ugly face
    For all the inflexibility and cruelty shown by this literary incarnation, thanks to the skill and talent of Stevenson (and our translators), one involuntarily imbues him with sympathy.
  10. Grandadmiral
    Grandadmiral 21 January 2018 18: 44
    Great article, thanks to the author.
  11. Dimmih
    Dimmih 22 January 2018 13: 45
    Good article, put together what I read in various sources. Just great! And no Russoarii! Thank!
  12. sxfRipper
    sxfRipper 24 January 2018 22: 30
    Thanks to the author!