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John (1166-1216), King of England (reigned 1199-1216). The circular inscription (in Latin) is the opening words of the Magna Carta: 'Johannes Dei gratia rex Anglie, dominus Hibernie' (John, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland). The Magna Carta, the Great Charter of English liberties, was first issued by King John at Runnymede on 15 June 1215. It established the principle that the King was subject to the law and limited the power he had over his barons. Artwork from 'The Great Charter and Charter of the Forest' (1759), a scholarly edition of Magna Carta by British jurist William Blackstone (1723-1780). Inscription continued in C021/7777.
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