Monday, 15 June 2020

magna carta libertatum

On this day in a meadow near Windsor, the Archbishop of Canterbury mediated a peace treaty between a contingency of rebellious barons and John, the unpopular king of England, signed and sealed with the promise of swift justice, a statutory limit on fealty to the Crown by the landed-gentry, a council for arbitration and restraining the monarch by rule of law.
As much as the document is romanticised and mythologised, neither party kept their ends of the bargain, leading to the decision to be overruled as moot and void by the pope in Rome, Innocent III, precipitating the First Barons’ War. John’s successor reissued the charter, albeit with some of its more radical provisions removed to win an uneasy peace and setting the precedent for subsequent monarchs to renew the deal at the start of their reigns until the Civil War and the execution of Charles. No correspondence is implied though certainly some would be willing to unyoke themselves from the tyranny of science—even if the disburdening of the tiresome proves ultimately uneconomic—but this anniversary greets England (again disunited, fortunately) approving the opening of non-essential retail. Most things don’t just end once we’re fatigued or told we’ve had enough and time to move on. I wish Lisa had been allowed to finish her mnemonic device—I wonder what the next verses would be.