Usurpation, Murder and More | Matt’s History Blog

I read a series of blog posts recently that sought to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Richard III ordered the deaths of his nephews. Whilst I don’t take issue with holding and arguing this viewpoint I found some of the uses of source material dubious, a few of the accusations questionable and some of the conclusions a stretch. There are several issues with the narrow selection of available sources that continually bug me. It is no secret that any conclusive evidence one way or another is utterly absent but I have issues with the ways the materials are frequently used.

Sir Thomas More

Sir Thomas More

There are four main sources that are often used, two contemporary and therefore primary sources and two near-contemporary which are habitually treated as primary. The farthest away in time from the events that it describes is also the one traditionally treated as the most complete and accurate account, which in itself should urge caution. Sir Thomas More is believed to have started writing his History of King Richard III around 1513 when he was an Undersheriff of London and the first thing to note is that he never actually published the work. It was completed and released in 1557 by More’s son-in-law William Rastell. It is unclear what…

Source: Usurpation, Murder and More | Matt’s History Blog

2 thoughts on “Usurpation, Murder and More | Matt’s History Blog

  1. All what you say about the truth,is absolutely right.But it is a wrong approach to try to ‘exonerate Richard of anything .We have the real villain of this story.His name is Tudor.Oh,but he became the victor and the founder of the posterior establishment, so his proven crimes must be approached with caution.Even Ricardians start to tiptoe when they deal with this aspect of the question. Tudor’s first Parliament was a case when ‘law itself is perfect wrong'(Shakespeare).In my new book I suggest that once we know what happened at that Parliament,no accusation against Richard should have ever been taken seriously. If he had done the things Tudor chroniclers accused him of,he would have been like most politicians until the present day.It is outrageous that even Ricardians participate in talks discussing whether or not Richard ‘was a villain’.He had to be a saint just not to be called a villain.If he was like everybody else,he is called. a villain.
    What is interesting in Matt’s ideas that he. also recognized that even in Tudor times there were writers who in a hidden,coded way defied the official versions.I think this is of huge importance. Shakespeare is the most misinterpreted playwright of world literature,but as both Matt and I suppose,More is also a misunderstood, or maliciously misinterpreted writer. These writers help us to look at the whole thing differently.This way a totally different picture emerges,the opposite of the traditional one.The main question is not what Richard did or didn’t do,the main question is how the established, unscrupulous power could distract public opinion from its own villainy, directing it to this debate instead.

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  2. It seems logical to me that the writings after the event were always intended to please the Tudor view, so are unlikely to try to exonerate Richard of these crimes. As for the contemporary reports, Matt is right to look into who compiled them, and at those requesting them. They surely had sufficient motives to see Richard’s name blackened.
    We will never know the truth of course. As with the Kennedy assassination, and scores of other contentious events, the truth is always the first casualty of not only war, but reporting.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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