Britain is abuzz. Anglophiles and Shakespeare buffs throughout the world are excited, intrigued and fascinated. Recent DNA tests confirm the remains of Richard Plantagenet have been found.
According to legend, he is the infamous King Richard III, the notorious monarch who lived over five centuries ago, and now offers lessons from grave.
Richard III reigned from 1483 to 1485. He died from an axe blow to his head during the Battle of Bosworth Field attempting to keep his throne coveted by Henry Tudor, the future King Henry VII. Monks buried Richard at a monastery that the marriage-minded Henry VIII later closed. The sacred space fell into ruin and was built over, and Richard III’s body was forgotten.
Shakespeare helped to demonize Richard as a cold, calculating monarch. Of course the playwright was smart to do so. He lived during the reign of the Tudors, not the Plantagenets, and understood politics, survival and royal patronage. Richard III societies, however, have passionately kept vigil over the maligned king’s name.
Today, Richard III is back to have revenge on those who defamed him and marginalized his legacy. History is now being revisited. Long has Richard been stereotyped as a wicked, power hungry, physically deformed man willing to kill relatives perceived as having greater claim to the British throne.
In the years following his death, no survival-minded Brit dared publicly promote his accomplishments. Time forgot about Richard. Yet no matter how much it marched on, it still remains the great equalizer restoring balance and perspective. The discovery of Richard's bones will encourage a re-examination of a ruler history has long generalized as evil and ruthless.
It’s a reminder, especially to those who never had an interest in the past but enjoy dramas, soap operas, reality shows, or celebrity gossip, that history has it all. No matter how many years pass and turn to decades, centuries and millennia, human nature doesn’t change. Sex, power, money and social status still consume humans today as much as they did long ago.
Everyone given up to the earth has a personal story to tell—joys, sorrows, inflictions, failures, demons controlling emotions, among other things. There are always lessons to learn from those who have lived in the recent past, but especially from those who lived long ago. These lessons are as timeless in our lives today as in another time and place.
Paul Jesep is an attorney, policy analyst, and author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis: Learn to Live and Work Ethically”; “Credit Card Usury and the Christian Failure to Stop It”; and “Crucifying Jesus and Secularizing America – the Republic of Faith without Wisdom.”