Today in Medieval English History

Richard II (1-6 -1367 to 2-14-1400) came to the throne June 23, 1377. He ruled until deposed by Henry IV in 1399. His reign was good for arts and literature, not so hot politically. Richard attempted to build his political power without real alliance with the great lords of England, and that created resentment. His dedication to peace might seem laudable now, but in the Middle Ages the best kings were warrior kings. Also, Richard spent vast sums in the peace that had no obvious rewards, unlike wartime spending, which also turned opinion against him. Richard’s personality is hard to get at, but his reign’s last few years emphasis on fear rather than popularity made him an esay target for deposition.

Sadly, most of what people know of Richard II comes from Shakespeare, whose drama was great but whose history was not.


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