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UK_Widowmaker

OT- A big day, for William the Bastard

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For once I'll shut up.

 

I actually know very little about Hastings apart from the obvious. What I do know is Harold II was a good king, defending his lands from the vikings, and nearly, very nearly, defending his lands from the Normans. With his demise, so ended the Saxon culture and monarchy, and in came the Norman era.

 

Sadly I don't know enough to speculate on whether this was good or bad for the country as a whole, but it's always sad when someone perceived to be a good ruler is undone by a usurper. What would a Saxon England have become down the centuries? Who can say.... but I don't know enough to even speculate.

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For once I'll shut up.

 

I actually know very little about Hastings apart from the obvious. What I do know is Harold II was a good king, defending his lands from the vikings, and nearly, very nearly, defending his lands from the Normans. With his demise, so ended the Saxon culture and monarchy, and in came the Norman era.

 

Sadly I don't know enough to speculate on whether this was good or bad for the country as a whole, but it's always sad when someone perceived to be a good ruler is undone by a usurper. What would a Saxon England have become down the centuries? Who can say.... but I don't know enough to even speculate.

 

Indeed!...I do think (again, with no real knowledge) that the Laws passed by the Normans in the UK, have had a profound effect on Modern Life, and shaped the Countryside into what we have now.

I kinda like the Normans...but then, I'm Biased... As my Family roots are from Falaise in Normandy...and William gave some land in Montrose to my Ancestors (apparently)....actually, think I'll grab a Kite Shield, my Son's Pony...and an Axe...and go claim back whats rightfully mine!....cya all later! :lol:

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Diex aie !!

I won't complain about the huge number of French words the Norman rule has introduced into the Saxon Germanic language, it makes English a language quite easy to learn down here to a people genetically impervious to learning of foreign languages. Dieu et mon droit, Honi soit qui mal y pense! Also, have you noticed on the famous Tapestry of Bayeux that Harold and many other Saxons can be identified as such through a splendid RAF mustache, thus proving to be fully English?

post-48840-0-02503500-1318594348.jpg

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Haha..yes indeed!...a very proud Moustache.

 

I thought I read somewhere, that the unfortunate chap in the tapestry was NOT in fact Harold at all, and the word HAROLD above his picture, was merely coincidence? (he is clearly clad in Norman Chainmail, Helmet and Shield)... though, I'm no armour expert either of course! :drinks:

Edited by UK_Widowmaker

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Well, if the legend is correct - that Harold was hit by an arrow in the eye - then the moustached guy

(or is it just a crying mouth?) is him. He holds the arrow with his right hand.

 

If anyone wants to see the whole tapestry - Wikipedia has it here:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux_Tapestry

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It's interesting to speculate what a continuing Anglo Saxon England would have been like. All we can really say is that fuedalism in the form introduced by William and heirs probably wouldn't have come about, or might have been ameliorated by existing AS common law, much of which (the bits affecting inheritance and rights) got swept away as the Normans systematically destroyed the AS hierarchy in England in the years after 1066. It's a period I really should read up on rather more, seeing as it marks the point at which England ceased to be an island nation and became truly part of Europe.

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Back around AD 2000, there was this question about who was the most significant person of the previous millennium. Guillhomme le Batard didn't even make the list, which I found utterly amazing. He made England and England made the modern world (as much as I hate to admit it). There was simply no more significant person in the last 1000 years in Western History.

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Well BH, I have to agree with you.

 

Without William, probably no feudalism in the Franco-European style. Without that, fused with English nationalism, the springboard that was an aggressive Plantagenet dynasty wouldn't have had the werewithall to take the next big steps. After that, there are too many diverse influences to imply a direct causality as to how the Briddish Empire came about.

 

One thing I will say though, and this will probably start an argument I suppose, is that the class structure imposed after the Conquest is still very much present in the UK a thousand years afterwards, modified only by the emergence of a third class - a middle/mercantile class - in the interim. Other than that, there's the hoi polloi, ie, most of us, and there's the people with power via land rights and riches, ie, the moneyed classes. You can add nuances of globalised capitalism and the emergence into the elite of those enriched by its activities, but in essence Britain still reflects much of the power and class structure bequeathed by William the Bastard.

 

<dons tin hat, flame proof long johns and awaits outraged rebuttal!!>

 

Having a brother called Odo must have been really cool thobut.

Edited by themightysrc

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I’d go earlier than William - for the very existence of England itself.

 

At the time when the Romans were here in Britain, you need to forget any concept you have of Scotland and England. It would still take 700 years or so for these concepts to evolve, although the land was always here, and ‘somebody’ obviously ruled it. Scotland and England were tribal territories with no concept of nationhood. Even the origins of these tribes is often a matter of speculation and informed reasoning rather than actual known fact.

 

People speculate the ‘concept’ of Scotland began in 685 at the Battle of Nechtansmere, when a Pictish army under King Bridei Mac Bili comprehensively defeated an army of Angles, killing their King Ecgfrith. The Angles were routed, and having raided pictish lands for over 30 years, their defeat effectively put an end to their ‘expansionism’ to the North, with very few subsequent raids getting further than the modern day Central Region / Lothians. This battle marked a divide between developing cultures that would eventually lead to Scotland and England.

 

However, I don’t want to hi-jack the thread onto the Picts and away from the Saxons.

 

The birth of England, or rather England’s “Nechtansmere” if you will, occurred later in 937, at the Battle of Brunanburgh. This was a massive Battle where the Saxon King of Wessex and Mercia, King Athelstan, defeated a combined force of Picts, Vikings, Scots and the Irish, and comprehensively defeated them. The chronicle of the defeat is very one sided in favouring the victorious Saxons, but disputed in it’s tone. (It was common for the victor to beef up his side of the recorded story). The fact is after the battle, there was no campaign taken north to conquer any of the undefended territory which Athelstan did want, so perhaps the defeat wasn’t quite so absolute as the chronicler described. Athelstan hadn't the strength left in his own army to take the lands for himself, but chose to consolidate the border he held of a unified Saxon Kingdom.

 

It doesn’t really matter anyway, because where Scotland had it’s Nechtansmere, the Battle of Brunanburgh served to establish a border between Saxon lands and ‘the North’. The strength of King Athelstan established the concept of a Saxon Kingdom which would become England. For 130 years anyway…

 

If Saxon Harold had defeated Norman William in 1066, the date which the old git Mr Bloody Hawthorne would have drummed into UKWidowmaker’s head, would probably have been Brunanburgh 937 and not Hastings 1066. (We might also have known whereabout Brunanburgh was actually fought).

 

You can’t say no Athelstan, no England, but the battle in 937 is a cultural crossroads where everything we know would have changed if the victory had gone the other way, and but for Athelstane, who knows how the tribes of the UK would have settled their territories, or rather formally ‘recognised’ them, - with Berwick of course being NORTH of the Border.

Edited by Flyby PC

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I’d go earlier than William - for the very existence of England itself.

 

Well of course, the Normans weren't thick on the ground so they ran the place through the existing Saxon bureaucracy, modified to their Frenchified tastes. So obviously there was an "England" before Guillhomme came along. But I'm not so sure the pre-Norman version of England would have had nearly as much impact on the rest of the world as the post-Norman version.

 

Of course, by the time England really got into its global stride, it was mostly under Scottish and Irish management :cool:

 

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I'm very curious about Normans, and a bit under-read if I'm honest.

 

I don't understand how the Norman culture became so prevalent so quickly throughout England, and even Scotland a little bit, (though Scotland is slightly different and made peace of sorts with the Vikings). For a long time, the measure of success in a Saxon king was his capacity to drive out the Vikings. If Saxon England could resist the Vikings, I don't quite get it why the Norman invasion was so successful in deposing the Saxon culture. It seems the Normans won the wars, by crushing rebellions and building their castles, but they also won the peace pretty effectively too. With the numbers of Normans involved, I don't quite understand how they managed it, unless they weren't considered so very foreign by the local population they had just conquered.

 

I wouldn't say the population wanted to be conquered, but the peace which followed came relatively quickly, which suggests to me the conquest met limited resistance from the common people, - but I'm not sure that's correct. The Saxons are certainly not reknowned for their subservience, but I don't know why they didn't just drive out the Normans - when surely they could have. To me that suggests a degree of acceptance with Norman government. I can see they were perhaps accustomed to serving their Lord, but could it be were they so indifferent to who that Lord actually was?

 

How did the Normans succeed suppressing and unifying the Saxon tribes when so many others, even Saxons themselves, had failed? I find that kind of thing very curious.

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Maybe, one could surmise, that the reason the Normans were not kicked out of GB by the Saxons...is they brought something the Saxon's liked?

 

(I vote Wine!) :grin:

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I might have to do a bit of digging on this, but as I recall, what happened was that William promptly disenfranchised the Anglo Saxon native 'nobles', parcelling out their lands to his friends and allies. Thereafter, it was a simple matter of defeating any gainsayers in each area - such as Hereward the Wake, if my memory isn't playing tricks - in detail. After all, how would they be able to band together to withstand what was then by then a professional Viking army with heavy cavalry (and in great numbers). Consider also that William was quite ruthless: the Domesday Book was an inventory for him to plan how best to plunder his newly conquered lands and how best to reward those who'd followed him to England. It wasn't compiled as an act of compassionate rulership or enlightened anthroplogy.

 

What I've read of William's reign is the usual story of a power hungry tyrant. If it hadn't been England, it could well have been Sicily or and extension of the Normans in France. He was no worse, nor any better, than the other land and power hungry men of his day. His call on history is that he managed to conquer a land that had peculiar advantages, and that he was able to stamp his authority on that land, in the main part by fenestrating its native aristos and by military dominance through an endless series of castle building. Think also about the cathedrals: build them huge and high to Almighty God, who's exalted you by blessing (implicitly) your success. Look at Norwich, Canterbury and the others. William built to impress people, and cow them.

 

There's no real mystery about William: he knew the levers to pull and the buttons to press, and he did precisely that. Machiavelli would undoubtedly have admired him.

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I get the 'take over and conquer' side of things, but it's how it was done that intrigues me.

 

The numbers I've seen suggest his army at the Battle of Hastings vary widely, but don't exceed 10,000 men. Ok thats a big army in 11thC. Whereas the Romans invaded in strength, eventually, I'm not aware of any massive numerical influx of Normans even after Hastings. The figure quoted for Normans who stayed in England are a mere 8000, with half of them dividing their time between France and England.

 

It's surely not so much that the Normans conquered England, but instead selectively conquered the ruling English aristocracy. To me that implies the population were perhaps reluctant to intervene to defend their Saxon lords. The Saxons had raised armies before, equal to the vikings, so they surely had the military might to do so again had the desire been there to get rid of the Normans. It's possible the Normans paralysed any co-ordinated resistance, but I think doing so would have been an extraordinary achievement with so few men.

 

For me the most logical explanation is that the difference between Saxon overlords and Norman overlords made little difference to the masses, unless you were a Saxon overlord.

 

 

For years in Scotland it was reckoned the Celts from Ireland wiped out the indiginous Picts, but modern theories suggest both cultures were very similar anyway, and to a large extent assimilated each other to become the one single culture. It's the same, (but different a little), with the Normans and Saxons culture. All credit is given to the Normans for supplanting Saxon culture and creating the nation of England, but I suspect there is as much, if not more, Saxon origin to the culture of England as there is Norman. (For one thing, we don't all speak French so there was a limit to Norman influence). That means Saxon and Norman cultures must have had a lot in common to begin with.

 

Perhaps if England had been left alone to grow as a Saxon culture, the differences in modern day England might not be so dramatic as we might at first suspect. English with a Norman/French twist, might have been English with a Saxon/German twist.

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Had the Normans not invaded...I might not be here, cheering you all up with Nonsense.

Think how much your pathetic English Lives, have been improved by my appearance!

 

RESPECT my Authority! :lol:

Edited by UK_Widowmaker

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