Last Look


The Magna Carta on view at the Center for British Art.

Society of Antiquaries of London

Society of Antiquaries of London

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If you grew up in the United States, you think of the Declaration of Independence as old. But then there's old as in the Magna Carta. The original agreement was forced on King John of England in 1215 by rebellious barons. John and his son, Henry III, revised and reissued the document several times, and the 1225 text—shown here in a copy made around the same time—was the last; decades later, it was formally recognized as law. Known as the Great Charter of English Liberties, the Magna Carta limited royal power and protected the barons' privileges, and is a landmark in the history of constitutional law.

This copy, which can be seen at the Yale Center for British Art until May 27, is on loan from the London Society of Antiquaries. 

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