For the history buffs out there


#1

Was the Norman invasion of England in 1066 a positive thing for England or not?

JRR Tolkein says: No

Russell Kirk says: Yes

what say you?


#2

I think it was a good thing for two reasons.

First, it allowed the English language to develop into the richest in the world. The French spoken at the court, paired with the (Germanic) English spoken by commoners at home, allowed for two parallel languages, sometimes mistranslated and misappropriated, so that in the end there were often multiple words for the same idea, but each with a different shade of meaning.

Second, it allowed England to keep up with the Jones’s, so to speak. As an island separated from the main part of Europe, Britain has always been insulated by geography. But because of royal ties of blood, as well as incessant territorial battles, England has been invested in the continent. Many great ideas have come out of the British Isles, but because of the greater population, diversity, and intercontinental trade found on the continent, the mainland would necessarily have developed faster than England, had the latter remained isolated.

I’m not familiar with Russell Kirk - what’s his view in a nutshell?


#3

Um, Tom, why did you have “we don’t want to be speaking German”?

When the Angles (Saxons) came to England, their tongue was “Germanic”, in the same sense that French, Spanish, and Italian are “Romance” languages; same family. French, Spanish and Italian have many similarities but many differences as well.

Also, when the Saxons came, their language rooted out the earlier English language, which was Celtic in origin (surviving in Welsh and Gaelic). So already, we’ve had one group of people (the Celts) who have been invaded by the Saxons, and finally we have the Normans. (And we can’t forget that there was also a Roman invasion --Caesar invaded England in 47 B.C. and it became a province and was indeed settled by many Roman citizens, who of course brought Latin, some early Christian as well as pagan practices.

The “language” jibe is not at all jermane to the question under consideration. You might want to consider rephrasing your first point to accurately reflect the “good point” of the Conquest.

And for the record, though I don’t sprechen die Deutsch myself, it’s my maternal heritage, and the way your first “notation” on the poll is phrased was a tad offensive. Speaking German isn’t a bad thing.

And you might be interested to know that German was almost the official language of the United States. When it came time to vote for a national official language, German was defeated by English by only ONE vote.


#4

[quote=digitonomy]I think it was a good thing for two reasons.

First, it allowed the English language to develop into the richest in the world. The French spoken at the court, paired with the (Germanic) English spoken by commoners at home, allowed for two parallel languages, sometimes mistranslated and misappropriated, so that in the end there were often multiple words for the same idea, but each with a different shade of meaning.

Second, it allowed England to keep up with the Jones’s, so to speak. As an island separated from the main part of Europe, Britain has always been insulated by geography. But because of royal ties of blood, as well as incessant territorial battles, England has been invested in the continent. Many great ideas have come out of the British Isles, but because of the greater population, diversity, and intercontinental trade found on the continent, the mainland would necessarily have developed faster than England, had the latter remained isolated.

I’m not familiar with Russell Kirk - what’s his view in a nutshell?
[/quote]

“Only after the Norman conquest did England emerge from Dark Age political and legal simplicity.” (182 The Roots of American Order). Kirk views the high English culture, from which America derived most of its legal, political, cultural, artistic, and commercial tendancies from as being created by the Normans. The Normans allowed for civilization to take root in England.

Others like Tolkein think the previous English simplicity may have been a preferable way of life.


#5

[quote=Tantum ergo]And you might be interested to know that German was almost the official language of the United States. When it came time to vote for a national official language, German was defeated by English by only ONE vote.
[/quote]

I loved this story when I first heard it, but unfortunately it’s not true.


#6

[quote=Tantum ergo]Um, Tom, why did you have “we don’t want to be speaking German”?

When the Angles (Saxons) came to England, their tongue was “Germanic”, in the same sense that French, Spanish, and Italian are “Romance” languages; same family. French, Spanish and Italian have many similarities but many differences as well.

Also, when the Saxons came, their language rooted out the earlier English language, which was Celtic in origin (surviving in Welsh and Gaelic). So already, we’ve had one group of people (the Celts) who have been invaded by the Saxons, and finally we have the Normans. (And we can’t forget that there was also a Roman invasion --Caesar invaded England in 47 B.C. and it became a province and was indeed settled by many Roman citizens, who of course brought Latin, some early Christian as well as pagan practices.

The “language” jibe is not at all jermane to the question under consideration. You might want to consider rephrasing your first point to accurately reflect the “good point” of the Conquest.

And for the record, though I don’t sprechen die Deutsch myself, it’s my maternal heritage, and the way your first “notation” on the poll is phrased was a tad offensive. Speaking German isn’t a bad thing.

And you might be interested to know that German was almost the official language of the United States. When it came time to vote for a national official language, German was defeated by English by only ONE vote.
[/quote]

Yes many people invade land all the time. I was not talking about when the Celts invaded England, or when the Angles invaded England, or even when the Spanish or Germans tried to later. I asked about 1066. Why start telling me I should have rephrased the question and then start mentioning 6th century evernt? If you want to know about the Angle-Saxon invasion post your own thread.

Why is it not “jermane” to the question? If the Normans had not invaded England…assuming noone else had either…we would not be speaking English now would we?

Seriously, German was NEVER considered as a national language for the U.S. How would that make any sense? Only a very small percent of Americans ( mostly in Penn. I believe) spoke it. That is an urban legend and it is more than a little naive to subscribe to that idea. It wouls be like making Vietnamese the national language now (btw–I didn’t know we had a “national official language”)

This poll offended you!!! I thought perhaps, for the first time, I would create a thread that didn’t offend anyone…wow–even when I don’t try…I offend. well German boy: Es tut mir nicht leit


#7

German GIRL, sweetie, German girl.

Gosh, I guess I ruffled your feathers a bit. And, mea culpa, I was wrong about the German vote. I knew I should have checked it more carefully, that’s what I get for being home and only checking via the Internet instead of being at work where I could have checked out real materials in the library.

However, let’s try to start all over again, friendly-like, with my apologies for being wrong on several counts.

What I meant to say is, for the positive aspects of the Norman Conquest, it isn’t that “we don’t want to be speaking German”. That is, indeed, a moot point. Saxons didn’t speak German, and one of the posters quite correctly pointed out to you that the admixture of Norman French and Saxon Old English produced the masterpieces of first Chaucer and later Shakespeare et. al.

Indeed, what would Russell Kirk, for example, have considered the best reason for the Norman conquest? I don’t think it was “not speaking German”. Since you very kindly referenced Mr. Kirk for another poster, and since you equally well referenced Mr. Tolkien’s reason as the second part of your poll, could you please use Mr. Kirk’s best reason, if not by changing your question, as a response to me, so that I can better think about my own take on the Conquest?


#8

I agree with Digitonomy. The Norman conquest was eventually good for the English language. Otherwise, Old English would have evolved into something much more Germanic sounding than Middle English and eventually modern English. Not that there’s anything wrong with German–my own ancestors were German. But the Norman admixture led to a richer language, and ultimately, to Chaucer and Shakespeare.

After having read the book “1066–The Year of The Conquest” though, it seems the conquest was NOT good for the English, at least in the short run. And it’s hard to use the just war theory to justify improving the language.


#9

[quote=Tantum ergo]Also, when the Saxons came, their language rooted out the earlier English language, which was Celtic in origin (surviving in Welsh and Gaelic). So already, we’ve had one group of people (the Celts) who have been invaded by the Saxons, and finally we have the Normans. (And we can’t forget that there was also a Roman invasion --Caesar invaded England in 47 B.C. and it became a province and was indeed settled by many Roman citizens, who of course brought Latin, some early Christian as well as pagan practices…
[/quote]

A few points – the Saxons couldn’t root out the English language. “England” and “English” come from “Angle Land” – the land of the Angles, who were germanic tribesmen who came over with the Angles.

The ancient Britons spoke a Celtic language, as you say, but it should properly be called “British” or “Pritish” or “P-Celtic.” Gaelic is “Goidelic” – a different branch of the Celtic languages.

Caesar invaded Britain, but didn’t stay – he actually made two incursions. Britain was conqured by Claudius, nearly a century later.

[quote=Tantum ergo]And you might be interested to know that German was almost the official language of the United States. When it came time to vote for a national official language, German was defeated by English by only ONE vote.
[/quote]

That’s an urban legend – there’s a list of things that were decided by “one vote” but all of them are wrong.

In fact, there has never been a vote on a “national official language” for the United States. We use English universally, but no law requires us to do so.


#10

This question does not make a whole lot of sense. why not have a poll on whether the Roman invasions or Saxon invasions were a good thing, or the Viking invasions. Would England have been better off if the Danes rather than the Normans won in 1066?To even pose such a question and expect a debate assumes that you would be able to predict the course of historical development of the existing culture. There is a branch of pop history that specializes in “what if” scenarios, and for the most part the assumptions they make are unfounded and unsupportable, and their premises betray lack of knowledge or consideration of many factors existing in the situation they are studying. i.e. what if Lee had won at Gettysburg, discussed as if Vicksburg and the war in the West were not even happening.


#11

[quote=Tantum ergo]German GIRL, sweetie, German girl.

Gosh, I guess I ruffled your feathers a bit. And, mea culpa, I was wrong about the German vote. I knew I should have checked it more carefully, that’s what I get for being home and only checking via the Internet instead of being at work where I could have checked out real materials in the library.

However, let’s try to start all over again, friendly-like, with my apologies for being wrong on several counts.

What I meant to say is, for the positive aspects of the Norman Conquest, it isn’t that “we don’t want to be speaking German”. That is, indeed, a moot point. Saxons didn’t speak German, and one of the posters quite correctly pointed out to you that the admixture of Norman French and Saxon Old English produced the masterpieces of first Chaucer and later Shakespeare et. al.

Indeed, what would Russell Kirk, for example, have considered the best reason for the Norman conquest? I don’t think it was “not speaking German”. Since you very kindly referenced Mr. Kirk for another poster, and since you equally well referenced Mr. Tolkien’s reason as the second part of your poll, could you please use Mr. Kirk’s best reason, if not by changing your question, as a response to me, so that I can better think about my own take on the Conquest?
[/quote]

Actually, you’ve shown yourself to be a German-lady. I did not mean to seem so ruffled, I had just finished my morning caffeine injections and was perhaps more excitable than I should have been.

I was only joking about speaking German being a problem. That was the poll-choice I favored, so I made a joke out of the reason rather than seem to bias the poll.

In terms of reasoning…I was hoping to get some from you guys.

Es tut mir liet :tiphat:


#12

[quote=puzzleannie]This question does not make a whole lot of sense. why not have a poll on whether the Roman invasions or Saxon invasions were a good thing, or the Viking invasions. Would England have been better off if the Danes rather than the Normans won in 1066?To even pose such a question and expect a debate assumes that you would be able to predict the course of historical development of the existing culture. There is a branch of pop history that specializes in “what if” scenarios, and for the most part the assumptions they make are unfounded and unsupportable, and their premises betray lack of knowledge or consideration of many factors existing in the situation they are studying. i.e. what if Lee had won at Gettysburg, discussed as if Vicksburg and the war in the West were not even happening.
[/quote]

Well…that was why I directed the question to history buffs.…people who might enjoy speculating about alternate developments in history or people who might enjoy debating about the historical significance of certain events.

If you would like to post polls on other historical events, why don’t you?

If you are not interested in the subject…why bother posting to say that it doesn’t make sense to you: that’s why I directed it to history buffs…not puzzled people. :wink:


#13

[quote=Tom of Assisi]Was the Norman invasion of England in 1066 a positive thing for England or not?

JRR Tolkien says: No

Russell Kirk says: Yes

what say you?
[/quote]

It was a very bad thing in many ways :frowning:

Who is Russell Kirk ? ##


#14

[quote=JimG]I agree with Digitonomy. The Norman conquest was eventually good for the English language. Otherwise, Old English would have evolved into something much more Germanic sounding than Middle English and eventually modern English. Not that there’s anything wrong with German–my own ancestors were German. But the Norman admixture led to a richer language, and ultimately, to Chaucer and Shakespeare.

After having read the book “1066–The Year of The Conquest” though, it seems the conquest was NOT good for the English, at least in the short run. And it’s hard to use the just war theory to justify improving the language.
[/quote]

Not hard - impossible. The Anglo-Saxons were not culturally backward, either. William the Bastard’s ancestors stopped being Vikings only in 910 - he was illegitimate, so the name is completely accurate - whereas the Angles had been settled in England since the early 500s. Nor was England cut off from the Continent.


#15

Still, William managed to get the Pope to approve of the invasion.

Of course, he conveyed to the Pope only a one-sided story–said that King Harold was ruining the Church, or some such thing.

Also, wasn’t Duke William promsied the kingship of England by the previous king–Edward? At least, that was William’s story and he stuck with it. Harold’s story was that Edward had changed his mind on his deathbed. Too bad they didn’t have a 24 hour news cycle back then; it would have confused things even further.


#16

[quote=Gottle of Geer]## It was a very bad thing in many ways :frowning:

Who is Russell Kirk ? ##
[/quote]

In what ways was it bad?

Russell Kirk is an American Catholic and academic (1920–1994). He wrote a book called The Roots of American Order in which he talked, among other things, about the four great cultures that impacted American history and culture: the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, and the English. He’s a personal hero of mine.


#17

[quote=JimG]. Too bad they didn’t have a 24 hour news cycle back then; it would have confused things even further.
[/quote]

:rotfl:


#18

[post 1200]

Curious:

even if most of us feel it was ultimatley good. At the time, could we have said that? We can’t endorse something immoral because it will later prove beneficial, can we?

(not talking about any current events or anything :whistle: )

I guess there are really two questions:

  1. in retrospect was it good or bad?

  2. at the time was it endorsable?


#19

I’m not sure. Here’ what I wanna know: My Norman ancestors kicked the spit out of my Saxon ancestors and took over their land and country. Do I have to sue myself to get reparations?


#20

It’s always unfortunate when one group attacks another with greed in their hearts.

So I’d say bad.

But then again it was unfortunate that the Anglles-Saxons-Jutes attacked the Romano-Brits.

And it was a shame that the Romans under Claudius overran the Celts

And too bad for the Picts…

I suppose the Picts weren’t the first either, I don’t know, no one gets away with clean hands in history.


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