I briefly posted about this on the blog’s Facebook page, but wasn’t able to go into it as much as I would have liked. Today was an annual review for all of the Striderling’s therapies (I’ll post on those soon ~ short version, he’s doing very well!) and we had friends over for lunch, so things were a wee bit hectic for a bit.
Meeting’s done, lunch is done (although some dishes remain), the husband has left for work, the children are (semi) happily playing, so I’m going to take the time to indulge in some historical excitement.
Scientists in England announced today that they’ve confirmed “beyond any reasonable doubt” that they’ve found Richard III’s remains. I rarely read comments in news stories and since there are more than two hundred on that particular article, I won’t have time to get through all of them, but the ones I’ve seen are witty and thoughtful.
What fascinates me about this story is the way so many branches of learning blend seamlessly; the historians have the information about Richard’s wounds, scientists analyzed the skeleton to see how well these accounts compared. Historians track genealogies; scientists compared the DNA of two descendants of Richard’s relatives (one is a cabinet maker, the other chose to remain anonymous… can’t really blame them). There is a good article here about how skepticism is warranted based on only DNA evidence (although the author doesn’t also seem to take into account the fact they used two modern samples). They decided it was him based on preponderance of evidence… the location of his body, the wounds, the curvature of the spine, the age of the skeleton, AND the DNA. In our high-techy age, DNA gets a lot of press coverage, but it wouldn’t be able to do much in cases like these if it weren’t for the careful work of historians over centuries. Just sayin’…
Richard III’s reputation, as any anglophile knows, is one somewhat hotly contested. Either he was a shrewd, responsible ruler or he was Evil Incarnate. I’m very much on the fence; he’s dead and gone, all the people whose lives he helped or ruined are also dead and gone, so it seems to be mostly an interesting intellectual exercise rather than a Live or Die question. I love historical debates enough that I’m happy to sit back and watch the intellectual sparring.
If you’re curious about Richard III’s story and that sparring, here are good resources to look at. Free ones are marked with an asterisk.
Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time
* free4Kindle ~ Richard III by Clements R. Markham
* Jacob Abbott’s Richard III
a more modern biography by David Baldwin, Richard III (so many clever titles ) ~ I’ve not read this one… any CR readers familiar with it?