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The historicity of Robin Hood is not conclusively proven and has been debated for centuries.

There are numerous references to historical figures with similar names that have been proposed as possible evidence of his existence, some dating back to the late 13th century.

There have been numerous variations and adaptations of the story over the last six hundred years, and the story continues to be widely represented in literature, film and television.

Robin Hood is considered one of the best known tales of English folklore.

The character of Robin in these first texts is rougher edged than in his later incarnations.

In "Robin Hood and the Monk", for example, he is shown as quick tempered and violent, assaulting Little John for defeating him in an archery contest; in the same ballad Much the Miller's Son casually kills a 'little page' in the course of rescuing Robin Hood from prison.

The setting of the early ballads is usually attributed by scholars to either the 13th century or the 14th, although it is recognised they are not necessarily historically consistent.

He became a popular folk figure in the Late Middle Ages, and the earliest known ballads featuring him are from the 15th century.the latter is more comic, its plot involving trickery and cunning rather than straightforward force.Other early texts are dramatic pieces, the earliest being the fragmentary Robyn Hod and the Shryff off Notyngham (c. These are particularly noteworthy as they show Robin's integration into May Day rituals towards the end of the Middle Ages; Robyn Hod and the Shryff off Notyngham, among other points of interest, contains the earliest reference to Friar Tuck.No extant ballad early actually shows Robin Hood 'giving to the poor', although in a "A Gest of Robyn Hode" Robin does make a large loan to an unfortunate knight, which he does not in the end require to be repaid; As it happens the next traveller is not poor, but it seems in context that Robin Hood is stating a general policy.The first explicit statement to the effect that Robin Hood habitually robbed from the rich to give the poor can be found in John Stow's Annales of England (1592), about a century after the publication of the Gest.

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