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British archaeologists have confirmed that the skeleton of a man found beneath a parking lot in Leicester is King Richard III, who died in battle at Bosworth Field five centuries ago:
There was an audible intake of breath as a slide came up showing the base of his skull sliced off by one terrible blow, believed to be from a halberd, a fearsome medieval battle weapon with a razor-sharp iron axe blade weighing about two kilos, mounted on a wooden pole, which was swung at Richard at very close range.
….But many of the other injuries were after death, suggesting a gruesome ritual on the battlefield and as the king’s body was brought back to Leicester, as he was stripped, mocked and mutilated….One terrible injury, a stab through the right buttock and into his pelvis, was certainly after death, and could not have happened when his lower body was protected by armour. It suggests the story that his naked corpse was brought back slung over the pommel of a horse, mocked and abused all the way, was true. Bob Savage, a medieval arms expert from the Royal Armouries who helped identify the wounds, said it was probably not a war weapon, but the sort of sharp knife or dagger any workman might have carried.
Transitions of power were tough affairs back then. I guess that’s what comes of being a hated hunchback who murders innocent little princes.
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