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Robin Hood is one of the most recognizable characters in popular culture. He has been the hero of countless books, comics, plays and of course motion pictures. Everyone has read or seen tales of the adventures of the outlaw and his band of ‘Merry Men’. He has become a by-word for a popular hero who takes from the rich and gives to the poor. It is assumed by many that he is only a
legendary. There are others who assume that he was a historical character. There has been a great deal of debate on the historicity of the famous outlaw. This article examines some of the latest research and theories on this question and tries to determine if there was a real Robin Hood?
[[File: Robin Hood one.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Statue of Robin Hood in Nottingham, England]]
==The story of Robin Hood==
The story of Robin Hood is so well known. The story is set in the 13th century Robin Hood was the alias of Robin of Locksley an Earl. He was a follower of King Richard I (the Lionheart) who when he went on Crusade had his throne usurped by his brother John. Robin is forced to become an outlaw by the evil King John who was a cruel tyrant. The Sheriff of Nottingham the agent of the King attempts to capture and kill the brave Robin. However, he defies him and in a series of adventures he escapes the clutches of the Sheriff and his henchmen. Robin assembles together a number of colorful outlaws such as Will Scarlett, Little John, and Friar Tuck. The hero is concerned for the welfare of the poor and he is opposed to the corrupt aristocracy and clergy. He is a great archer and is a thorough gentleman. The outlaw is typically shown to be in love with the beautiful Maid Marian. At the end of the tales of Robin Hood, he manages to outwit the Sheriff of Nottingham and helps the rightful king Richard the Lionheart reclaim the throne of England. This monarch pardons Robin and even marries him to Maid Marion. However, this is the modern version of the tale of Robin and there have been many earlier versions of the adventures of the outlaw and these are often very different from the one that we all know so well <ref> Kennedy, D.N. 'Who was Robin Hood?', Folklore, vol. 66 (1955), pp. 413-415</ref>.