Sunday, January 18, 2015

Robin Hood - Red Head??

I couldn't resist the temptation to write a follow-up to that last post. The idea that Robin Hood might equate to Red Head (robin meaning red, and hood possibly equalling head) just being too tempting.

Robin Hood of course was an outlaw, robin might even be cognate with robbing or robber. I've come across red hair and outlaws before - notably the red-headed bandits of Mawddach, a large band of outlaws and thieves that terrorised Wales during the 16th century.

This all tallies a little bit with something else I've been covering recently - the relationship between red hair and the ancient Phoenicians. The Phoenicians may seem quite far removed from robbers and bandits, however a possible link may be found in the word pirate. Some people have suggested that there could be a link between the words pirate and pyro, meaning fire, as in funeral pyre or pyrotechnics. In fact, the words pyre and fire are quite similar.

The Phoenicians are also linked with fire via the fabled Phoenix, the fire-bird, consumed in flames and re-born out of the ashes. The word Phoenician not only begins with a P like pyro, but also with a F-sound (Ph) like fire. So maybe pirates, the bandits of the sea, link in with the sea-faring Phoenicians. Maybe the names share a common origin.

The name Phoenician also supposedly means red/purple-people, as we've discussed before. Could pyro and purple be cognate with each other? Did 'purple' originally mean the colour of fire? - hence the confusion over whether it notates a red or a purple colouring.

This is all highly speculative of course, but I can't help but wonder out loud.

Going back to Robin Hood though it's interesting to note that in early ballads Robin Hood supposedly wore red clothing. He was also often accompanied by Will Scarlet :p

1 comment:

  1. He himself was a redhead. The blonde thing is from Errol Flynn. Hood in his name refers to the tree canopy. The hood over Sherwood. Outlaws were called "Men of the Hood" in reference to this. It also comes from one of the historical figures that influenced the legend, Robert Hode. An actual outlaw, who's name is registered on official documents from the time the word of mouth legends would have originated. Came across this as I was writing an article about this. Thought I'd share the info.