By Nigel Cawthorne
Who was once Robin Hood? all through background the figures of the hooded guy of Sherwood wooded area and his band of outlaws have transfixed readers and audience; yet the place does the parable come from? the tale seemed out of the legend of the fairway guy yet discovered its position in the course of the reign of Richard II, the Lionheart, who was once clear of England battling within the crusades. In his absence his brother John lay waste to the rustic. yet does this inform the whole tale? used to be Robin a bandit prince prior to a troop of brigands? Who used to be the Sherrif and used to be he in reality the valid legislations within the land scuffling with vigilantes?
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And as for Mixed Mathematics, I may only make this prediction, that there cannot fail to be more kinds of them, as nature grows further disclosed. Thus much of Natural Science, or the part of nature Speculative. (Adv. Learn. 360–1)59 This marginal conception of mathematics is reflected in Bacon’s classification of knowledge in the Advancement of Learning and De Augmentis. 61 There are two significant exceptions, however, where he uses the classification in a revisionary way: to separate natural philosophy and theology, and to make sure that mathematics is assigned a strictly subsidiary role.
Until Aristotle’s authority in natural philosophy was undermined, Dee’s attempt to explore the importance of mathematics in a practical context had no rationale, outside of his Neoplatonically inspired numerology. 48 Government accounts 47 Roger Ascham, English Works, ed. William A. Wright (Cambridge, 1970), 282–8. 48 The backwardness of England in this respect is remarked upon in Ramus, Proœmium Mathematicum (Paris, 1567), 55–9. The situation in the rest of Europe with respect to formal education in mathematics was more complicated.
Moreover, the motivation behind some forms of what we can identify as eclecticism hinge on the practical nature of knowledge, whereas others do not, so it is important that we be clear about the kinds of eclecticism that were prevalent in early-modern natural philosophy in England, and identify what drives them. Eclecticism was a feature of philosophy in the late Hellenistic, Roman, and early mediæval periods. 64 The most familiar case of syncretism is that of the various ‘Platonist’ schools, most notably the Middle Platonists and Neoplatonists,65 and especially the Christian appropriation of Neoplatonic thought in Augustine and others in the formulation of a Christian metaphys- 63 Charles Trinkaus, In Our Image and Likeness: Humanity and Divinity in Italian Humanist Thought, 2 vols.
A Brief History of Robin Hood by Nigel Cawthorne