Friday, June 16

The Magna Carta

The Magna Carta, drafted by Archbishop Stephen Langton, was forced upon King John at the field of Runnymead on this day in 1215. England's barons had been on the verge of revolt against the high-handed king who had never been able to match the popularity of his dashing older brother Richard Coeur de Lion. Though the charter was not the genesis of Western liberty as is often claimed--that honor really should go to Robert the Bruce’s Arbroath Declaration of 1420--the Magna Carta did guarantee several key provisions of common law for the nobles including trial by a jury and a prohibition against new taxes without permission of mediating magistrates--both of which afforded them with the rudimentary beginnings of a representational parliament. John, loathe to yield even a fraction of his power, appealed to the pope, promising to become his vassal. The pope promptly voided Magna Carta.

3 comments:

L. Mckinley Davis said...

Well, Dr. Grant,
I leave for Rome in the morning.

Honestly, i wish i was going to Rome after a year of studying Antiquity, but that's not gonna stop me from enjoying it.

-Logan Davis

Eric F. Langborgh said...

I had no idea that the Pope voided the Magna Carta. Thank you, Dr. Grant for this post.

BTW, the Declaration Of Arbroath was signed and sent to Pope John XXII in 6 April 1320AD in response to Robert the Bruce's excommunication for recapturing Berwick. It read, in part:

...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.


Absolutely stirring.

In Christ,
--Eric

*The Blogstar said...

Great post!

I have enjoyed your blog Dr Grant.

I hope to see you around.

Peace