Thursday, September 18, 2014

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown*

Two years ago the remains of Richard III were discovered under a parking lot, of all places, in Leicester, England. The postmortem is finally done, revealing all sorts of fascinating information about his death in the Battle of Bosworth.

Go here to read the initial article, but be sure to click through to here, where you can view the actual bones. The picture of the skeleton as first uncovered, when you click to enlarge it, clearly shows severe scoliosis. Interestingly, a modern reconstruction of the spine indicates that it would not be terribly obvious, in spite of its twisty nature, and could easily be disguised by clothing.

Some would say it wasn't so with his twisty nature.

(No pro-Richard hate mail, please; I agree with you. History is written by the victors and it is naturally in their best interests to portray the vanquished as vile and disgusting as possible, to make clear to the conquered that they themselves are much better overlords. Richard got a bad rap. And no, he didn't have the princes murdered. So there.)

The description of the various wounds truly brings home the horror of warfare during Richard's time. His horse mired in mud, he dismounted and faced his attackers on foot. Somewhere along the line, he had apparently lost his helmet, and the wounds to his skull support that - his enemies saw the vulnerability and went for it with gusto.

It's incredible what light modern science can shed on events long past.

*Yup, a quote from Will's Henry IV to introduce a discussion of Richard III. Wanna make something of it?

1 comment:

melissa said...

I've followed this story too...finally a bit of news that's valid and interesting, and not depressing. Well, unless you own the parking lot they dug up. But still... :)