One of the most interesting parts of being in an Archery class is knowing that you are doing an activity that people have been practicing for centuries! Archers play an important role in our history, and many favorite literary figures have been familiar with the bow and arrow. One of the most well known is the legendary Robin Hood!
The line between fact and fiction when it comes to Robin Hood is pretty hazy. The earliest references to his adventures are found, oddly enough, in court cases from the 13th century. For a while, the term Robin Hood was used to describe anyone who was a suspected thief! The first written story that we have about him is a ballad, or a long song meant to tell a story. These songs tell stories of Robin Hood playing tricks, and talk about his rivalry with the local sheriff.
In times when the kings weren’t kind, or when the common people struggled to put food on their table, the idea of a hero who could challenge the king and get away with it was very appealing. Telling stories about Robin Hood were a small way for common people to protest against the king. Later, in times when lifestyles were more stable and the people liked their king, they weren’t as interested in telling his story. This was a time when the aristocratic class, or the lords and ladies, wanted him to be their hero. His character was given a lordly title, and stories stopped being about his crimes as much, instead focusing on his lady love, Maid Marian. Throughout the renaissance and the periods that followed, Robin Hood was a chivalrous figure who cared about honor, nobility, and courtesy.
Today’s version of Robin Hood, a romantic hero who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, wasn’t established until the 19th century. While Queen Victoria was ruling over England, the country went through a period where people became very concerned with morals and values. The idea of a hero who was just a thief wasn’t something that parents wanted to teach their children, so Robin Hood stopped challenging the king and the sheriff, and focused instead on helping take care of the people around him.
Robin Hood is an interesting character who is famous for his skill with a bow and arrow. He's one of the first people that many think of when they see archery. He has an interesting story, and plays an important part in our history and literature!