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The Third Plantagenet: George, Duke of…

The Third Plantagenet: George, Duke of Clarence, Richard III's Brother (2014)

by John Ashdown-Hill

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This is a strongly Ricardian (as in Richard III) life of Richard's middle brother, George duke of Clarence. Some of it is reasonably solid --it does have the merit of printing in full a number of important documents relating to the charges and counter-charges by Clarence, his followers ands his enemies, which ultimately ended in his execution, quite possibly being drowned in a cask of malmsey wine as the popular story has it. (there are in fact several near-contemporary reports of this story.) On the other hand, the author chooses to believe just about every scandal as long as it serves Ricardian ends --that the duke of Somerrset not only fathered the Lancastrian prince Edward (supposed son of Henry VI) on Queen Margaret but also that the same duke fathered the supposed Tudors Edmund and Jasper on the former Queen Catherine, and that Edward IV was not merely betrothed but well and truly married to Eleanor Butler before he married Elizabeth Woodville. He does have one good point --that one of the men executed for circulating propaganda for George (against Edward and his son by Elizabeth Woodville) had previously been associated with Eleanor Butler's family and might have picked up the story, but omits the fact that Eleanor was dead before the boys (though not their elder sister who later married Henry VII) were born.

He also has an odd obsession with proving that George was shorter than his brothers, not only Edward IV who was around 6 feet) but even Richard III (who was something like 5'8" and, as we now know from his bones, bent by scoliosis). He bases this almost entirely on a remark by a Burgundian official who saw George and Richard as children and said Richard was 8 and George was 9, when in fact George was 11. Ashdown-Hill assumes this meant that George was small for his age, though the Burgundian says nothing about the actual size of the boys, and may have just been assuming a normal difference thinking they had been born in immediate succession. Ashdown_Hll also repeatedly says there is no contemporary evidence for the claim that George looked tall and (relatively) fair like Edward instead of shorter and darker like Richard, but there is in fact a statement (of which he actually quotes the part about Richard) that Richard (or his supporters) allegedly said he was the true son of Richard duke of York because he and the duke were both small and dark, while Edward and George were not. Since the story had to discredit both Edward and George in order to establish Richard's claim , it must have been based on the observable fact that Richard's elder brothers looked alike. ( )
1 vote antiquary | May 30, 2016 |
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´Ενα παιδάκι είχε πέσει, λέει [το παραμύθι], σ'ένα πηγάδι κι είχε βρήκε μιάν πεντάμορφη πολιτεία — βαθιά περιβόλια, θυμούμια, μέλι, ρυζόγαλο, παιχνιδάκια...
[The story] says that a little boy fell into a well, and there he found a wonderland — a city with great surrounding walls and, as I recall, honey, rice pudding, toys...
(N. Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek (trans. J. Ashdown-Hill) 7th ed. (Athens: 1973, pp. 212-213)
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One estimate of George, Duke of Clarence, penned about a century after his demise, suggested that he 'was a goodlie noble prince, and at all times fortunate, if either his owne ambition had not set him against his brother, or the envie of his enimies his brother against him.'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0752499491, Hardcover)

From the author of The Last Days of Richard III comes the first full biography of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Kings Richard III and Edward IV

Less well-known than his brothers Edward IV and Richard III, George, Duke of Clarence has so had little written about him, that historians are faced with a series of questions: Where was he born? What was he really like? Was it his unpredictable behavior that set him against his brother Edward IV? George played a central role in the Wars of the Roses played out by his brothers—but was he for York or Lancaster? Who was really responsible for his execution? Is the story of his drowning in a barrel of wine—as he did in Richard III—true? And was "false, fleeting, perjur'd Clarence" in some ways the role model behind the 16th-century defamation of Richard III? Finally, where was he buried and what became of his body? Can the DNA used recently to test the remains of his younger brother, Richard III, also reveal the truth about the supposed "Clarence bones" in Tewkesbury? John Ashdown-Hill exposes the myths surrounding this pivotal and central Plantagenet, with remarkable results.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:59 -0400)

With informative but accessible text, the sport is brought to life. This work offers an in-depth look at the sport, from its history and beginnings to the modern game, how it's played, who plays it and the rules that govern it. Packed with facts, stats and full-colour photographs, this is the essential guide.… (more)

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