There are many, many false ideas and funny beliefs about the Middle Ages and some of the notable figures who lived in those times. Alfred and the cakes, Edward II and the hot poker, Eleanor of Aquitaine flinging poisoned toads on Fair Rosamund… And of course, almost everything you can think of about Richard III. In popular ‘myths’ of the middle ages, still clinging on with remarkable tenacity, everyone was hobbit-sized, had bad teeth, burned witches and bathed once a year under duress.
Some of these ideas have come from folklore or from popular fiction, like certain famous plays we know (COUGH); others have been handed down by the good old Victorians who wrote history THEIR way, just as they ‘improved’ on real medieval churches by rebuilding them in a NEW, ‘improved’ cod-medieval style, often obliterating real ancient artifacts and chucking out effigies and tomb slabs in the process.
Recently I was rather pleased to find this interesting little ‘myth buster’ article–link below.
I was particularly happy to see not only a positive re-assessment of Richard but a mention of his scoliosis which showed an understanding of the condition. It is really not that rare, that obvious, or that debilitating, unlike the way certain parties STILL like to portray it.