Historical Speculation and Research

 


♛ Roman Nail & King Richard III ♛


 
Wild speculations are not as un-historical as you might think.
Perhaps my wild speculation I start here might show you that the ‘expectations’ of the researcher and here especially the historian have quite some influence on the outcome of the research.
In a way, one finds what one expects to find and searches for.
 
The find of King Richard III’s remains shows this excellently and why in all the research and university methodology, Philippa Langley was so very crucial and important for the outcome.
 
There are exceptions with chance finds, but even here you need to know what importance the things might have you stumble upon, whereas most artefacts are lost, when not found by someone who understands their value for research and history or even understands that they are artefacts and not e.g. a rusty clump of earth hindering you to plant something or a bothersome stone.
 
So now, let us have a closer look at my speculations about the ‘Roman Nail’ and the position King Richard III’s body was found in:
 

ATTENTION:
Please continue reading the following speculations only if you have a rather strong stomach and can stand anatomical and biological details after death.
If not, please start below with the “King Richard III”-News and the newest articles from the press.

 
The position King Richard III was found in his grave, makes it likely that his hands had been tied together when he was positioned into the grave. After 3 or more days of exposure of the corps to the public, death rigidity would have faded by now and the hands otherwise would have slipped from this unnatural position he was found in.
 
But why did the friars dump him so unceremoniously?
Depending on the temperature (August can be warm and humid), the body would have started to show the early signs of decay and might have already exuded a strong smell, if not even his stomach accid might have already broken through. For certain, his heavy head wounds would have started to smell abominably and might have been pestered by flies and … (I leave the rest to your gruesome imagination).
But the reasons for dumping King Richard III quickly in his grave might not only have been pressure by the new King Henry VII, but quite understandably also human reactions and necessities.
 
The more it is praiseworthy that they did take his body and buried him in a significant spot in their church.
 
 
The one aspect which had always astonished me about the burial was the ‘Roman Nail‘ in close proximity to King Richard III. It had been found so close to him, that at first it had been reported as an arrowhead potentially lodged in his back close to his spine.
 
But why would a ‘Roman Nail’ turn up in a grave for a hurriedly dumped king?
 
Either it was by accident and the monastery was based on earlier Roman foundations, which lie eaxctly as deep as the friars dug the grave. This for me is a rather weak argument, as in this case other artefacts of the time would show the level of earth as a Roman foundation, but those signs are missing or at least not reported so far.
 
Or, the friars intentionally put the nail into the grave together with the King.
Potentially used as reliquaries, the Roman nail could have had religious importance, especially when believed to have had significance or a connection to the crucifixion of Jesus, but even symbolical, the importance and religious connection still is strong, especially when the nail really derives from Roman times. For example the Pope till in our days wears a ceremonial robe with a broad band where Roman nails are embroidered in, to show the wounds Jesus had to bear for us.
 
The Roman nail could have been used as reliquary to ease the way of the deceased king, but also could have been a symbol for his wounds received for his people.
In both cases, it might have been a very valuable and holy symbol of his time, given to him by the friars in honour and true sympathy for King Richard III.
 
 


♛ King Richard III ♛


 
Historians begin their research by speculating about the importance of certain facts found in King Richard III’s grave, like his curved spine and the consequences they had for his life.
From speculation the following sound research can reveal, if actual events and mentions in resources give foundation to the speculations and prove them as having been actual fact.
 

 

2 Responses to Historical Speculation and Research

  • I just listened to and watched the video of John Ashdown-Hill’s lecture at the March 2, 2013 Leicester Conference about the Greyfriars Dig,’The Search for Richard III”. His lecture was fascinating in its details of the logic and evidentiary discovery that he explored to reach his conclusions about where King Richard III might be buried–and how DNA mapping was used to confirm the bones were, indeed, those of King Richard III. He clearly lays out his contributions that–along with Philippa Langley and others–helped to find and acknowledge the remains of King Richard III.

    Thanks for sharing the links!

  • RGerhart says:

    Dr. Ashdown-Hill and his research were crucial to find the exact location and reconstrue the area of the digging. I am fascinated what his research did for the discovery of King Richard III. I am quite astonished, why the UoL keeps so silent about his contribution.

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November 1, 2019

Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth – By Mike Ingram (HeritageDaily)


October 8, 2019

Painted as a villain – how the Tudors regarded Richard III (by Christina J. Faraday, APOLLO.The International Art Magazine)


August 22, 2019

10 things you need to know about the battle of Bosworth (by Chris Skidmore, BBC History Extra)


June 16, 2019

Philippa Langley on RIII – Podcast: BBC Interview of 6th January, 2015 (RadioPublic.com)


February 20, 2019

Richard III: Leicester Cathedral £11.3m plans approved (by BBC East Midlands, BBC News)


October 4, 2018

The battle for Bosworth field: Historians react to decision to build on battlefield where Richard III died (by Rachel Dinning, BBC History Extra)


May 23, 2018

Richard III find historian John Ashdown-Hill dies (BBC News)


April 9, 2018

The secret intimacies of Edward IV: multiple marriages and a same-sex affair? (by Dr. John Ashdown-Hill, History Extra)


October 24, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: “Sleepwalker” star Richard Armitage is Living the Dream (by Izumi Hasegawa, What’s Up Hollywood)


September 12, 2017

Was Richard III a loyal brother or murderous tyrant? 60 seconds with Chris Skidmore (by Rachel Dinning, History Extra)


 

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