The War that Changed the English Language - Mini-Wars #3

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12:43   |   May 24, 2018


The War that Changed the English Language - Mini-Wars #3
The War that Changed the English Language - Mini-Wars #3 thumb The War that Changed the English Language - Mini-Wars #3 thumb The War that Changed the English Language - Mini-Wars #3 thumb


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  • England in the Middle Ages.
  • The sun is shining . The birds are singing.
  • The children are playing in the village square.
  • "What a wonderful time to be alive!"
  • "Hey, you're dying of dysentary." (welp)
  • "Aaaaaaand,
  • also, we're being raided by Vikings."
  • "What an awful time to be alive!"
  • It's the Year 900.
  • Europe is a Vikings wet dream.
  • Raids galore.
  • "Hey, you wanna go raid Paris?"
  • Okay, that particular raid didn't go too well, but the King of the Francs said,
  • "You guys are pretty tough and scary."
  • "How about we give you land in northern France?"
  • "And in return, you protect us from other Vikings."
  • And it was agreed.
  • The Vikings set up the Duchy of Normandy
  • And then they went full-on French.
  • Converting to Christianity, learning the language, and making babies with the locals. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
  • England also had its fair share of Viking problems.
  • In the 800s, Danish Vikings had conquered most of the country, but the Anglo-Saxons eventually managed to kick them out.
  • Although they left behind a bunch of Viking settlers.
  • Now this guy's king.
  • "He sucks. Replace him with his brother!" (k)
  • and he was like, "Hey, baby."
  • "How you doin?" and had a son, and then turned around and was like, "Hey, baby."
  • "How you doin?" and had another son. (damn)
  • And then he died and no one was sure which son to make King.
  • "This one, cause he's older!"
  • "Not if I have anything to do with it."
  • "That works for us, too!"
  • Then he grew up and married the Duke of Normandy's daughter and had a bunch of kids.
  • Remember this one, he's important.
  • Then his advisors came to him and said,
  • "Hey, man, all those Viking settlers that are living here?"
  • "They might band together and kill you."
  • "Well, then why don't we kill them first?"
  • And so it was.
  • This pissed off the Danish king, who launched an invasion.
  • And the Vikings conquered England once again.
  • Then the Anglo-Saxons unconquered it.
  • Then the Vikings reconquered it.
  • The King's family had to go into exile, including Edward
  • Remember him? He went to Normandy where he lived for thirty years.
  • He and his brother Alfred tried to return to England to retake the throne from the Vikings.
  • But they were betrayed by the Earl of Wessex, who said,
  • "Hey friend, I'll take you to London where all the nobles are waiting to make you King"
  • "Oh, no, look out, red-hot poker in the eyes." (trolled)
  • "I can't see!"
  • And thus you can't be King. (jerk)
  • Edward then escaped back to Normandy.
  • After a few more Viking Kings came and went, one finally died without an heir and Edward was called back to England,
  • where he became king.
  • And that's where our story begins
  • [Intro]
  • Here's the thing about becoming a king in the Middle Ages.
  • Often your entire country won't support you at first.
  • You can be vulnerable to rebellions and it's up to you to take control.
  • Fortunately for Edward, there was already a super powerful guy who had a lot of control over England
  • and if Edward could get his support then England would be his.
  • "Who is this guy?"
  • "Aw piss,"
  • "It's the guy who gave my brother the red-hot poker in the eyes."
  • After an awkward moment where Edward exiled Godwin from the country,
  • He eventually had to give in and let him keep his earldom.
  • Possibly after Godwin gave him a bunch of gold and said he was very very sorry.
  • King Edward also married Godwin's daughter then Godwin died and his massive fortune was passed down to his sons who all became Earl's in
  • Particular this one became the new Earl of Wessex Harold Godwinson was now King Edward's brother-in-law
  • he was a close advisor to the King a brave warrior who had proven himself in battle against the Welsh and in many ways he
  • Was almost like a Co-King, uh-oh Edward got old and he's on his deathbed (rip)
  • Possibly for religious reasons or maybe because he wasn't happy about having to marry her
  • He didn't boink his wife and as a result has no kids. Meaning, there's no obvious heir to the throne
  • "Meaning I'm gonna be king." "He does have a grand nephew. It could be him"
  • "Hmm no let's go with me"
  • Just one problem.
  • I mentioned that Edwards mother was in Norman Edward grew up in Normandy and he had a lot of Norman friends
  • The current Duke of Normandy was William the bastard
  • Why was he called the bastard one day his father was sneaking out of his castle
  • When his advisors said, "Where are you going?"
  • "Uh, to the tanner's shop?"
  • "Why?"
  • "To get a..."
  • "Tan?"
  • But that was a lie firstly because tanner's give you leather not tans and
  • Secondly because he was really going to see the Tanners daughter one thing leads to another and out comes baby William born out of wedlock
  • Thus an absolute bastard
  • His father died when William was seven or eight and he became the new Juke he spent most of his childhood narrowly avoiding assassination
  • Which probably turned him into the big balls tough guy?
  • He's remembered as today in
  • 1051 the town of Aleçon tried to rebel against him and the townspeople beat on dead animal skins as an insult to his commoner mother
  • William was furious and he responded by well, let's just say it wasn't pretty that's the kind of guy
  • We're dealing with here William and Edward were good friends and Edward allegedly promised that William could have the English throne after him
  • A decade later Harold Godwinson even visited William and pledged an oath to him over
  • Holy relics promising that William could be the next king of England
  • Although it's possible Harold only did it because William was holding his family hostage
  • So when William heard that the king was on his deathbed he said hooray. I'm gonna be king
  • So now you have two extremely powerful men who both think they're about to become the next king.
  • But wait
  • This guy is the king of Norway
  • He spent most of his life as a warrior for hire. Fighting for whoever would give him the most gold
  • You name a place. He probably fought a war then Poland. Yep. Estonia. Yep. Against pirates in the Mediterranean
  • Yep, the holy lands Sicily and Bulgaria. Yep
  • He got crazy rich off the back of it and was swimming in gold
  • Then he returned home and became King
  • One of the previous Norwegian kings had made an agreement with one of England's Viking kings saying that when that Viking King died the king
  • Of Norway would get the English throne. Hardrada felt that because of this agreement
  • He was now entitled to the English throne
  • He was also eager to go on one last big conquest that would turn him into a legend
  • So when he got word that Edward was on his deathbed he thought I'm gonna invade England and then I'm gonna be king
  • So now we have three extremely powerful men who all think they're about to become the next king of England and that means somebody's probably
  • About to get hurt back in England Harold Godwinson is watching over the dying King Edward. Suddenly. He comes out with a shocking announcement
  • Hey, everyone gather in. That's it. Come closer. Don't be shy. Okay, so I've got bad news. The king is dead
  • I know very sad, but good news. He said that I should be the next king. So
  • hooray for me and
  • Oh, yeah
  • He said that if he once told anyone else
  • They could be king that he doesn't like them anymore and they should just stay in Normandy
  • And also he said that no one should ask any further questions
  • Okay. Good talk. Go um.
  • Go do whatever it is you do
  • Usually it took months of preparation to crown a new king
  • But Harold rushed it and he had himself crowned the same day King Edward was buried in Normandy
  • William's advisors came to him and said: "Hey Big Willie, bad news, Harold Godwinson has taken the English throne." And William was furious
  • So he sent an envoy to Harold who said: "William says you stole the throne and demands you immediately return it to him." Hmm
  • Let me think about that
  • thinking
  • No. (good answer)
  • "He said no." "That bastard." "Wait, I thought you were the bastard". (lol)
  • "Dude.
  • Uncool."
  • William immediately began gathering his armies together and preparing for an invasion of England
  • Now killing a king was generally frowned upon in old-time Europe because they were considered to have been chosen by God himself
  • So back in Normandy, William had to get God on his side. He needed the Pope's blessing for his conquest
  • So he went to the Pope and said "Godwinson made an oath to me over Holy relics
  • And then he usurped the throne. Can I kill him?"
  • "Yeah, sure. Why not." So the Pope gave William his blessing meaning William now had God on his side. Everything was ready to go
  • Just one problem. The wind. It was blowing the wrong way and William had to wait with his army in Normandy
  • While Godwinson waited with his army in the South of England, they waited and waited and waited
  • and waited.
  • And then William said screw it and sailed for England and got shipwrecked because the wind was blowing the wrong way
  • So then he decided to keep on waiting
  • They waited for two months and the wind never changed eventually Godwinson got bored and also ran out of food for his soldiers
  • So he sent them all home, and he returned to London
  • The south coast was undefended and all William could do was keep waiting while the northerly wind kept William in Normandy
  • It was carrying Hardrata and his Viking army to England
  • Hardrata landed near the old Viking city of York and defeated a regional army led by the northern Earl's and York's surrendered
  • When Godwinson heard about this, he must have been pretty upset
  • He had just disbanded his army. And now he had to gather them all together again and march all the way north
  • He made the exhausting journey in just FOUR days (hm, impressive)
  • Which is crazy quick and he caught the Vikings off guard and unprepared for battle. The two armies stood on either side of the river Derwent
  • Legends says that a beserker Viking single handedly held the only way crossing the river
  • dodging arrows and fending off attackers
  • Until some English soldiers got under the bridge in a barrel and gave him the old spear in the jewels
  • This gave the Vikings enough time to form a shield wall. But because they'd been caught off guard
  • Many weren't wearing their chainwear and armour and the English eventually defeated them, killing Hardrada,
  • and with him bringing the Viking era in England to an end
  • just keep waiting...just keep waiting..
  • well...this is BOOORING!
  • *squeak*
  • ayyy there we go!
  • Finally!
  • Williams fleet of over 700 ships and
  • 14,000 men set sail and landed on the English coast at Pevensey and set up camp near Hastings and
  • Harold was still all the way in York his
  • exhausted army had to march all the way south just days after their battle with the Vikings. Harold made it to London and considered just
  • Staying there waiting for William to come to him but William forced Harold's hand by burning down a bunch of villages
  • Harold's army set out and met Williams on the 14th of October
  • 1066
  • and both sides prepared themselves for the Battle of Hastings the English were on a hill so they decided to stay there because it was
  • A good defensive position the Normans approached and the two sides probably spent a while yelling at each other
  • William and the Normans had a few tactical advantages over the English the first were the archers the Normans sent volley after volley of arrows
  • Of the English who formed a shield wall in defence
  • Then Williams sent his infantry up the hill
  • The English threw anything they had at them and the Normans couldn't break through the shield wall
  • Then the Normans next tactical advantage came into play
  • William sent his cavalry up the hill but even they struggled to break through the shield wall defences. Wave after wave of
  • Infantry and cavalry came and Harold knew
  • All he had to do was let the Normans exhaust themselves and he would win but then something a bit strange happened
  • It's possible the Normans incorrectly believed William had been killed
  • Maybe they lost their will to fight against the shield wall, or maybe it was an intentional deception tactic
  • But suddenly the norman forces turned and ran away from the english believing they had won the english broke their shield wall and chased down
  • The retreating Normans who then turned around encircled the English troops and cut them down in the chaotic fighting that followed Harold Godwinson was killed
  • The most popular theory being that he took an arrow in the eye the English were defeated and William had won
  • He was no more just a bastard now
  • He was a conqueror at first English Nobles were reluctant to make him King but William burned down a few more villages and the nobles
  • Eventually gave in and offered him the crown as he was coronated the local villages and Westminster let out a cheer of support but William
  • Thought it was a riot
  • So he burned down the village (they just love burning down the villages..) William then had to go on a long and costly campaign of quelling
  • rebellions and burning down villages all over England *insert burning down village compilation*
  • To force the people into submission and England went through a massive transformation under its new Norman rule English Nobles were replaced with Normans
  • They built castles and grand cathedrals
  • But one of the most interesting changes occurred within the English language
  • The Normans brought their dialect of French to England and emerged with Old English and ways we still live with today
  • First of all,
  • The Normans were obviously the ones in power
  • So words related to power like government judge castle and crown come from norman's words that are considered
  • Posher are more refined are usually the norman ones at first the anglo-saxons
  • probably weren't that friendly to the Normans while the Normans likely weren't that amiable towards the
  • Anglo-Saxons.
  • An Anglo-Saxon might come into a room, but a Norman would enter into a chamber, an Anglo Saxon might buy themselves a shirt
  • While the Norman would purchase a blouse, and while that filthy peasants new shirt may be fair
  • The Norman blouse is absolutely beautiful!
  • The Normans actually considered some anglo-saxon words so crude that I can't even say them on YouTube. But there's more! Ask an anglo-saxon
  • What job he does and he might respond with some low-level trade such as a baker, a Miller, or a shoemaker
  • But a Norman has a skilled trade like a painter, a tailor, or a merchant the
  • anglo-saxon farmers working in the fields owned many cows, pigs and sheep
  • But once they were served up in a Norman banquet,
  • they became beef, pork, and mutton and written English changed to since many Anglo Saxons couldn't write the written language was
  • romanticized your annoying friend that says Cool Hwip might just be speaking an old English dialect as the
  • anglo-saxons originally wrote it hwen hwere and hwat but the Normans swapped the w and h around and the long English 'a' vowel sounded more like an
  • 'O' to the Normans so you can thank them that you live in a home not a ham (thx Normans! :D)
  • Hey, fun fact about William. The man couldn't read or write not in French not in English not in anything (he have dyslexia)
  • well
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