Assessment of the reign of 'Bad' King John, whose cruel and inept rule led to the humiliating submission to the nobles with the signing of Magna Carta in 1215 : the first time the powers of the monarchy were officially restricted by law. Forced into office by the absence of his brother Richard on Holy Crusade duty, John has always had a bad press as arch-enemy of mythical national hero Robin Hood, but his crimes also include squandering his soldiers' wages on high living, starving prisoners to death and raping the wives and daughters of his fellow nobles.