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Historical Novel

Ivanhoe is the titular protagonist of an historical fiction novel by Walter Scott, first published in 1819. The novel was highly successful and spawned a revival of interest in the Middle Ages in audiences of Europe and the United States, part of the wider Romanticism movement.

Ivanhoe was born in the Kingdom of England in the late 12th century. The country was ruled by the Plantagenet dynasty and the Norman nobility loyal to them. Ivanhoe's father Cedric the Saxon was among the last surviving members of Saxon nobility (the proper Saxon name was Cerdic. Scott made a misspelling when including it in the novel. Ridiculed at the time because there was no such name in the English language, the novel was popular enough that people actually started giving the children the "wrong" name. A century later few would blink at someone named Cedric).

Cedric planned a Saxon restoration in England, placing his hopes in his ward Lady Rowena. Rowena was among the last descendants of the old Saxon Royal lines. Cedric planned to find a husband of similar origin for her and them promote them as pretenders to the royal throne. Ivanhoe did not share his father's views and wanted Rowena for himself. His father felt betrayed and exiled him. Ivanhoe apparently then joined Richard I in the Third Crusade.

The novel deals with Ivanhoe's return of the Crusade and his involvement in a series of plots instigated by ambitious noblemen who were taking advantage of Richard's continued absence. In the process he revives his relationship with Rowena, gains a second love interest in the person of Rebeca, a Jewish healer accused of witchcraft and befriends both Robin Hood and a mysterious Black Knight. The Knight eventually turns up being Richard I in disguise and ready to reclaim his throne.

The novel ends with Richard back on the throne and winning support by Normans and Saxons alike, Ivanhoe and Rowena marrying. Rebecca has been proven innocent but leaves with her father for Granada, Spain. Rebecca happens to be among the most popular characters of the novel. At the time of first publication of its sympathetic treatment of Jews was groundbreaking. But the marriage of a young high-born man with a Jewess would be unthinkable. Later generations of readers find it disappointing that Rowena gets a happy ending and Rebecca self-exile.

Other Media


Ivanhoe (1997)

TV Mini-Series
TV Mini-Series

Ivanhoe returning from the crusades in the Holy Land to England which is ruled by corrupt Prince John. Ivanhoe is played by Steven Waddington.


Pantheon Character

No Caption Provided

In the universe of the Pantheon storyline, the character named Ivanhoe comes from the United Kingdom, living in a private Island somewhere off the coast of Scotland.

Video Games

Defender of the Crown

Defender of the Crown video game
Defender of the Crown video game

Defender of the Crown is a strategy computer game developed by Cinemaware and released for the Commodore Amiga in 1986. In 1987 it was ported to DOS, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Atari ST, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Macintosh and finally, the Apple IIGS in 1988. It was later ported to the CD-i.

Set in England in 1149 during the Middle Ages where, following the death of the king, the player assumes the role of a Saxon (Wilfred of Ivanhoe, Cedric of Rotherwood, Geoffrey Longsword or Wulfric the Wild) and tries to fight off the Norman hordes and wrestle for control of England and can ask for help from Robin Hood. Depending on the version of the game, Ivanhoe and the others will have a rating of either Excellent, Good, or Average in Leadership, Swordplay and Jousting.


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