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Sunday, February 12, 2012


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Hard Core Troubador

Many thanks for introducing Morton's Fork to me. A bit of research shows I've been mixing the old metaphors incorrectly. I will from this point on get the usage of my Hobson's Choice, Catch 22, Sophie's CHoice, and now Morton's Fork right. The pedants of the world rejoice!

The History of England

Sophie's Choice ! So that's another one for the collection - bit more modern I guess (from the film?) and could be why Morton's fork is on the way out...

Jeremy Hoffman

Thanks for the wonderful podcast, as always. To me, if the history of England were a soap opera, then Richard's death would have happened like this: actor playing Richard wants to leave, or his contract is ended; so let's just kill him off with a cook wielding a crossbow. At least that's how it feels.

Simon Thomas

I always get the feeling that when a monarch is praised by historians for being 'a good administrator' it is because, being historians, they value that sort of thing and that they can't think of anything else positive to say about them - Mussolini, made the trains run on time. John, crap king but boy did he leave good records.

Arthur is also a little unfortunate here. His claim was pretty strong. Will we ever have a King Arthur?

The History of England

The entire Angevin clan should be a good candidate for a soap opera - or maybe a reconstructed docudrama- at home with the Angevins - and as you say, ah now time to kill him off!...I also have a theory that Richard actually felt like a bit of a berk. I mean there he was showboating and clapping the guy who was trying to shoot, and then ...oops, got him. I think that explains why he didn't say anything, slunk ofbak to his tent and tried to dig the blt out on his own before anyone noticed.


That was a great impression of Winston Churchill, by the way.

The History of England

Thank you Brian. It's a gift. Thinking of making a career change...


Fantastic episode, this one.

Enjoyed the histoiography, examining the opinions of John down through the ages. To top it off with that Winston Churchill impression was priceless.

Please give a belated wrap to your son for his participation in that brief re-enactment. Thanks also for introducing me to Morton's Fork: a concept that I will endeavour to introduce into day-to-day conversation at the first opportunity.

One question: in an earlier episode you mentioned Richard I giving "Excalibur" to Tancred as a gift (or some such). What is the provenance of this sword? Was it just something that he had forged on the quiet and handed out at an opportune moment for maximum impact, or was there some rusty old blade handing around that people were attaching a mythical history to?

The History of England

I have to say, I've been rather pleased with the reaction to my WC impression. I am now constantly searching for an excuse to do it again...

Um, I'm not sure exactly what the provenance was to be honest. I wouldn't put it past Richard to go and find some old bit of rust somewhere and pass it off - not a man, I suspect, who let truth get in the way of a good story!

And I shall be sure to pass your congratulations to Henry.

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