Magna Carta

(1215)

About the Author

The authorship of the Magna Carta is not entirely known. Some historians believe that a document called the “Articles of Barons” formed the basis of the Magna Carta. The consensus is that these articles were worked into a final document by a group of learned men, most likely headed by Stephen Langton, William Marshal, and Robert Fitzwalter.

Langton was born around 1150. After the death of the archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter, in 1205, Langton became embroiled in a power struggle between King John and Pope Innocent III. Langton was the pope's choice to succeed Walter, but John had another candidate in mind. Eventually, John capitulated, and Langton became the archbishop of Canterbury. During the baronial conflict with John, Langton supported and advised the barons. However, he extricated himself from the conflict when the opposition turned to violence, and he was one of the king's emissaries at Runnymede. He died in 1228.

William Marshal, the First Earl...

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Portrait of King John (Yale University Art Gallery)

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