Topics

The Normans

Dan Daast
 

I've been reading on the Norman shenanigans in Britain, Ireland, Sicily, and the Outremer and it struck me just how well Arminger picked his role models. Very much in line with his own personality (apart from the outright sadism).  Hugely able, extremely lucky, boundlessly ambitious, utterly ruthless, and possessing of a very strange balance of amorality and respect for legalisms, and the Pope.

It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious. 

Still, a remarkable moment in history. Rollo's little settlement ended up being influential on a massive scale. One of he authors argues that even the Great Schism (or the last straw for it, in anycase) was the unintended function of the contemporary tangle between the Papacy, the Normans, and the Byzantines.

markus baur
 

Am 22.09.2017 um 06:02 schrieb Dan Daast:
I've been reading on the Norman shenanigans in Britain, Ireland, Sicily, and the Outremer and it struck me just how well Arminger picked his role models. Very much in line with his own personality (apart from the outright sadism).
which however would not really have raised eyebrows in that time ..

servus

markus

 Hugely able, extremely lucky, boundlessly ambitious, utterly ruthless, and possessing of a very strange balance of amorality and respect for legalisms, and the Pope.
It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious.
Still, a remarkable moment in history. Rollo's little settlement ended up being influential on a massive scale. One of he authors argues that even the Great Schism (or the last straw for it, in anycase) was the unintended function of the contemporary tangle between the Papacy, the Normans, and the Byzantines.
--
Email from my mobile connection.

Kier Salmon
 

Dan, citations, please? I always need more books on my TBR pile.

Kier Salmon
Editor 4 Hire

On Sep 22, 2017, at 9:37 AM, markus baur <baur@...> wrote:

Am 22.09.2017 um 06:02 schrieb Dan Daast:
I've been reading on the Norman shenanigans in Britain, Ireland, Sicily, and the Outremer and it struck me just how well Arminger picked his role models. Very much in line with his own personality (apart from the outright sadism).
which however would not really have raised eyebrows in that time ..

servus

markus

Hugely able, extremely lucky, boundlessly ambitious, utterly ruthless, and possessing of a very strange balance of amorality and respect for legalisms, and the Pope.
It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious.
Still, a remarkable moment in history. Rollo's little settlement ended up being influential on a massive scale. One of he authors argues that even the Great Schism (or the last straw for it, in anycase) was the unintended function of the contemporary tangle between the Papacy, the Normans, and the Byzantines.
--
Email from my mobile connection.

joatsimeon
 

When a guy's nickname is "the Weasel", alarms should go off.


From: Dan Daast <paradoqz@...>
To: stirling <stirling@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Sep 21, 2017 10:02 pm
Subject: [stirling] The Normans

I've been reading on the Norman shenanigans in Britain, Ireland, Sicily, and the Outremer and it struck me just how well Arminger picked his role models. Very much in line with his own personality (apart from the outright sadism).  Hugely able, extremely lucky, boundlessly ambitious, utterly ruthless, and possessing of a very strange balance of amorality and respect for legalisms, and the Pope.

It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious. 

Still, a remarkable moment in history. Rollo's little settlement ended up being influential on a massive scale. One of he authors argues that even the Great Schism (or the last straw for it, in anycase) was the unintended function of the contemporary tangle between the Papacy, the Normans, and the Byzantines.

Victoria Short
 

I'm not Dan, but a good place to start would be David C. Douglas' "The Norman Achievement", which is a bit dated but a good overview of the whole Norman thing.

The big problem is that there really aren't a lot of "overview of the entire spread of Norman history through Normandy, England, and Sicily". Historians tend to concentrate on either the early period in France, the conquest and ruling of England, or the conquest and ruling of Sicily. There is some side work done on the Anglo-Normans going to Ireland/Southern Scotland also, but that's usually an adjunct to the English bits.

The "classic" biography of William the Conqueror (or Billy the Bastard) is Douglas' "William the Conqueror". Bates' did a shortish biography also titled "William the Conqueror". A good overview (if I do toot my own horn, as I did most of the work of research and writing) is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_the_Conqueror. I also wrote most of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_conquest_of_England and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hastings. Any of the books in the references sections of those articles would be good starting points for the English side of Norman history. Marjorie Chibnall's "Anglo-Norman England" is also good, for covering not only the history but some of the society and culture.

Can you tell I studied the period in college? I was always more interested in William II, Billy the Bastard's son, and his reign. I remain fascinated with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranulf_Flambard .. who is just a very intriguing person all around. Personally, I wouldn't have made it two weeks in Norman Arminger's PPA, but I do share a rather deep knowledge of what he studied.

V

On September 22, 2017 at 12:10 PM Kier Salmon <k_salmon@...> wrote:


Dan, citations, please? I always need more books on my TBR pile.

Kier Salmon
Editor 4 Hire



On Sep 22, 2017, at 9:37 AM, markus baur <baur@...> wrote:

Am 22.09.2017 um 06:02 schrieb Dan Daast:
I've been reading on the Norman shenanigans in Britain, Ireland, Sicily, and the Outremer and it struck me just how well Arminger picked his role models. Very much in line with his own personality (apart from the outright sadism).
which however would not really have raised eyebrows in that time ..

servus

markus

Hugely able, extremely lucky, boundlessly ambitious, utterly ruthless, and possessing of a very strange balance of amorality and respect for legalisms, and the Pope.
It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious.
Still, a remarkable moment in history. Rollo's little settlement ended up being influential on a massive scale. One of he authors argues that even the Great Schism (or the last straw for it, in anycase) was the unintended function of the contemporary tangle between the Papacy, the Normans, and the Byzantines.
--
Email from my mobile connection.



Dan Daast
 

I keep running into debate about that, and the thesis that it's actually from the Latin Viscardus i.e. Cunning.

Dan Daast
 

I make no guarantees vis-a-vis the quality, this is just what I am currently chewing through:

The Normans in the South by John Norwich

The Normans by Marjorie Chibnall

Norman Invasion of Ireland by Richard Roche

The Normans: The History of a Dynasty by David Crouch

Roger II of Sicily: A Ruler Between East and West by Hubert Houben

Normans in European History by Charles Homer Haskins

Strongbow: The Norman Invasion of Ireland by Conor Kostick

The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris 

Heather Knight
 

   Never date anyone with the middle name "the". Be very cautious when dealing with these people.  ModPol prevents me from saying more.

Heather

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 22, 2017, at 2:14 PM, joatsimeon via Groups.Io <joatsimeon@...> wrote:

When a guy's nickname is "the Weasel", alarms should go off.


-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Daast <paradoqz@...>
To: stirling <stirling@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Sep 21, 2017 10:02 pm
Subject: [stirling] The Normans

I've been reading on the Norman shenanigans in Britain, Ireland, Sicily, and the Outremer and it struck me just how well Arminger picked his role models. Very much in line with his own personality (apart from the outright sadism).  Hugely able, extremely lucky, boundlessly ambitious, utterly ruthless, and possessing of a very strange balance of amorality and respect for legalisms, and the Pope.

It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious. 

Still, a remarkable moment in history. Rollo's little settlement ended up being influential on a massive scale. One of he authors argues that even the Great Schism (or the last straw for it, in anycase) was the unintended function of the contemporary tangle between the Papacy, the Normans, and the Byzantines.

Kier Salmon
 

Thank you. Between you and Victoria, I’ve got a good set to go on.

Kier Salmon
Editor 4 Hire

On Sep 22, 2017, at 12:49 PM, Dan Daast <paradoqz@...> wrote:

I make no guarantees vis-a-vis the quality, this is just what I am currently chewing through:

The Normans in the South by John Norwich

The Normans by Marjorie Chibnall

Norman Invasion of Ireland by Richard Roche

The Normans: The History of a Dynasty by David Crouch

Roger II of Sicily: A Ruler Between East and West by Hubert Houben

Normans in European History by Charles Homer Haskins

Strongbow: The Norman Invasion of Ireland by Conor Kostick

The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris

Erik Fischer
 

Even Bruce 'The Boss' Springsteen?


Am 22.09.2017 um 22:35 schrieb Heather Knight via Groups.Io:

   Never date anyone with the middle name "the". Be very cautious when dealing with these people.  ModPol prevents me from saying more.

Heather

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 22, 2017, at 2:14 PM, joatsimeon via Groups.Io <joatsimeon@...> wrote:

When a guy's nickname is "the Weasel", alarms should go off.


-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Daast <paradoqz@...>
To: stirling <stirling@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Sep 21, 2017 10:02 pm
Subject: [stirling] The Normans

I've been reading on the Norman shenanigans in Britain, Ireland, Sicily, and the Outremer and it struck me just how well Arminger picked his role models. Very much in line with his own personality (apart from the outright sadism).  Hugely able, extremely lucky, boundlessly ambitious, utterly ruthless, and possessing of a very strange balance of amorality and respect for legalisms, and the Pope.

It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious. 

Still, a remarkable moment in history. Rollo's little settlement ended up being influential on a massive scale. One of he authors argues that even the Great Schism (or the last straw for it, in anycase) was the unintended function of the contemporary tangle between the Papacy, the Normans, and the Byzantines.

Eric Oppen
 

These days, if I run into someone nicknamed "The Weasel," I wonder if he isn't related to Harry Potter's best guy friend.

On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 4:20 PM, Erik Fischer via Groups.Io <erik_fischer_69@...> wrote:

Even Bruce 'The Boss' Springsteen?


Am 22.09.2017 um 22:35 schrieb Heather Knight via Groups.Io:
   Never date anyone with the middle name "the". Be very cautious when dealing with these people.  ModPol prevents me from saying more.

Heather

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 22, 2017, at 2:14 PM, joatsimeon via Groups.Io <joatsimeon@...> wrote:

When a guy's nickname is "the Weasel", alarms should go off.


-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Daast <paradoqz@...>
To: stirling <stirling@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Sep 21, 2017 10:02 pm
Subject: [stirling] The Normans

I've been reading on the Norman shenanigans in Britain, Ireland, Sicily, and the Outremer and it struck me just how well Arminger picked his role models. Very much in line with his own personality (apart from the outright sadism).  Hugely able, extremely lucky, boundlessly ambitious, utterly ruthless, and possessing of a very strange balance of amorality and respect for legalisms, and the Pope.

It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious. 

Still, a remarkable moment in history. Rollo's little settlement ended up being influential on a massive scale. One of he authors argues that even the Great Schism (or the last straw for it, in anycase) was the unintended function of the contemporary tangle between the Papacy, the Normans, and the Byzantines.

Heather Knight
 

  Bruce Springsteen is a notable exception to the rule.

Heather, who thinks Providence was safer when Raymond Patriarca and Nicky Bianco ran the place.

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 23, 2017, at 1:56 PM, Eric Oppen <ravenclaweric@...> wrote:

These days, if I run into someone nicknamed "The Weasel," I wonder if he isn't related to Harry Potter's best guy friend.

On Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 4:20 PM, Erik Fischer via Groups.Io <erik_fischer_69@...> wrote:

Even Bruce 'The Boss' Springsteen?


Am 22.09.2017 um 22:35 schrieb Heather Knight via Groups.Io:
   Never date anyone with the middle name "the". Be very cautious when dealing with these people.  ModPol prevents me from saying more.

Heather

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 22, 2017, at 2:14 PM, joatsimeon via Groups.Io <joatsimeon@...> wrote:

When a guy's nickname is "the Weasel", alarms should go off.


-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Daast <paradoqz@...>
To: stirling <stirling@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Sep 21, 2017 10:02 pm
Subject: [stirling] The Normans

I've been reading on the Norman shenanigans in Britain, Ireland, Sicily, and the Outremer and it struck me just how well Arminger picked his role models. Very much in line with his own personality (apart from the outright sadism).  Hugely able, extremely lucky, boundlessly ambitious, utterly ruthless, and possessing of a very strange balance of amorality and respect for legalisms, and the Pope.

It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious. 

Still, a remarkable moment in history. Rollo's little settlement ended up being influential on a massive scale. One of he authors argues that even the Great Schism (or the last straw for it, in anycase) was the unintended function of the contemporary tangle between the Papacy, the Normans, and the Byzantines.


Dan Daast
 

Another illusion melting. The more actual research on the era I do, the more I have to change my mind on the relative scale of achievement by the two Norman warlords.

On the one hand, Robert carved out a state from scratch in the hothouse of ugly that was the southern Italy in 1150s. On the other, he was mostly contending with the Byzantines, during one of their weakest interludes, and a bunch of Lombard princes who (to borrow a phrase) couldn't organize a piss up in a brewery, if their lives depended on it.

William, might have inherited a duchy but had to survive a truly murderous minority and then spend his youth contending with other Norman grandees (i.e. basically Guiscard facsimiles on crack), as well as the French King, and a bunch of North French feudal lords. In other words, outside of the HRE, probably the cream of the European martial class at the dusk of the 11th century.


On Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 09:02 pm, Dan Daast wrote:
It's also a bit disconcerting to feel one's bedrock assumptions shift. I've been judging the Guiscards mostly by their latter day achievements in Sicily and tended to see them as 'the better' Normans. But seen within the context of their entire careers, William was, if anything, less rapacious. 

Alasdair Urquhart
 

For a contemporary account of how the early 12th century "French" nobility saw the world and in particular how they saw military affairs, try "The Deeds of Louis the Fat" by Suger, Abbot of St Denis, translated by Cusimano and Moorhead. Suger, although a churchman, was directly involved in a number of military operations, attacking castles etc., and there is internal evidence that the stories were written down for a noble audience as they happened. This was the period when the Capetian kings were beginning to widen the area of their control - or at least influence - from the tiny area around Paris they had been reduced to in the mid 11th century but before the full, formal "feudal system" had really developed. Most of the stories are about Louis VI attempting to impose his authority on his nominal subordinates, each in their own castle, and his interactions with his powerful neighbours such as the dukes of Normandy and the counts of Blois-Chartes-Champagne.

Fascinating stuff! Lots of "tut, tutting" about barbaric and impious murder and slaughter but, on the other hand, rejoicing at the destruction of someone who had offended against God (as judged by Abbot Suger!). 

Alasdair

Bob Ogus
 

I got it for 6 bucks on Amazon

 

Bob

 

From: stirling@groups.io [mailto:stirling@groups.io] On Behalf Of Alasdair Urquhart via Groups.Io
Sent: Sunday, October 01, 2017 5:05 AM
To: stirling@groups.io
Subject: Re: [stirling] The Normans

 

For a contemporary account of how the early 12th century "French" nobility saw the world and in particular how they saw military affairs, try "The Deeds of Louis the Fat" by Suger, Abbot of St Denis, translated by Cusimano and Moorhead. Suger, although a churchman, was directly involved in a number of military operations, attacking castles etc., and there is internal evidence that the stories were written down for a noble audience as they happened. This was the period when the Capetian kings were beginning to widen the area of their control - or at least influence - from the tiny area around Paris they had been reduced to in the mid 11th century but before the full, formal "feudal system" had really developed. Most of the stories are about Louis VI attempting to impose his authority on his nominal subordinates, each in their own castle, and his interactions with his powerful neighbours such as the dukes of Normandy and the counts of Blois-Chartes-Champagne.

Fascinating stuff! Lots of "tut, tutting" about barbaric and impious murder and slaughter but, on the other hand, rejoicing at the destruction of someone who had offended against God (as judged by Abbot Suger!). 

Alasdair

Dan Daast
 

Rough crowd, the medieval French. Remind me of the Macedonians, circa 4th century BC.

The same was true of pretty much the entire Europe, they still seem to stand out even in that environment, until the Anglo-Normans put them in the second place.

Although (while my knowledge of it is extremely patchy) I'm getting the sense that the Germans of the time might have been even rougher.

 

On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 02:05 am, Alasdair Urquhart wrote:
For a contemporary account of how the early 12th century "French" nobility saw the world and in particular how they saw military affairs, try "The Deeds of Louis the Fat" by Suger, Abbot of St Denis, translated by Cusimano and Moorhead. Suger, although a churchman, was directly involved in a number of military operations, attacking castles etc., and there is internal evidence that the stories were written down for a noble audience as they happened. This was the period when the Capetian kings were beginning to widen the area of their control - or at least influence - from the tiny area around Paris they had been reduced to in the mid 11th century but before the full, formal "feudal system" had really developed. Most of the stories are about Louis VI attempting to impose his authority on his nominal subordinates, each in their own castle, and his interactions with his powerful neighbours such as the dukes of Normandy and the counts of Blois-Chartes-Champagne.

Fascinating stuff! Lots of "tut, tutting" about barbaric and impious murder and slaughter but, on the other hand, rejoicing at the destruction of someone who had offended against God (as judged by Abbot Suger!). 

Alasdair

Alasdair Urquhart
 

I think it was true of just about all warrior societies. Might is right and what the guy with the sword wants, he gets. The difference with 11th/12th century western Europe was having the church try to put limits on the violence - having Peace and Truce-of-God days when fighting was - theoretically - forbidden; condemning feuding, etc. It's possible to see this as the foundation of chivalry and the notion that women, children, the sick were not fair targets, that violence should be limited and used in a righteous cause - preferably killing heathens and claiming the holy land for Christendom!

Alasdair


On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 08:37 am, Dan Daast wrote:
Rough crowd, the medieval French. Remind me of the Macedonians, circa 4th century BC.

The same was true of pretty much the entire Europe, they still seem to stand out even in that environment, until the Anglo-Normans put them in the second place.

Although (while my knowledge of it is extremely patchy) I'm getting the sense that the Germans of the time might have been even rougher.

 
On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 02:05 am, Alasdair Urquhart wrote:
For a contemporary account of how the early 12th century "French" nobility saw the world and in particular how they saw military affairs, try "The Deeds of Louis the Fat" by Suger, Abbot of St Denis, translated by Cusimano and Moorhead. Suger, although a churchman, was directly involved in a number of military operations, attacking castles etc., and there is internal evidence that the stories were written down for a noble audience as they happened. This was the period when the Capetian kings were beginning to widen the area of their control - or at least influence - from the tiny area around Paris they had been reduced to in the mid 11th century but before the full, formal "feudal system" had really developed. Most of the stories are about Louis VI attempting to impose his authority on his nominal subordinates, each in their own castle, and his interactions with his powerful neighbours such as the dukes of Normandy and the counts of Blois-Chartes-Champagne.

Fascinating stuff! Lots of "tut, tutting" about barbaric and impious murder and slaughter but, on the other hand, rejoicing at the destruction of someone who had offended against God (as judged by Abbot Suger!). 

Alasdair

Alasdair Urquhart
 

Hope you enjoy!


On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 04:12 am, Bob Ogus wrote:

I got it for 6 bucks on Amazon

 

Bob

 

From: stirling@groups.io [mailto:stirling@groups.io] On Behalf Of Alasdair Urquhart via Groups.Io
Sent: Sunday, October 01, 2017 5:05 AM
To: stirling@groups.io
Subject: Re: [stirling] The Normans

 

For a contemporary account of how the early 12th century "French" nobility saw the world and in particular how they saw military affairs, try "The Deeds of Louis the Fat" by Suger, Abbot of St Denis, translated by Cusimano and Moorhead. Suger, although a churchman, was directly involved in a number of military operations, attacking castles etc., and there is internal evidence that the stories were written down for a noble audience as they happened. This was the period when the Capetian kings were beginning to widen the area of their control - or at least influence - from the tiny area around Paris they had been reduced to in the mid 11th century but before the full, formal "feudal system" had really developed. Most of the stories are about Louis VI attempting to impose his authority on his nominal subordinates, each in their own castle, and his interactions with his powerful neighbours such as the dukes of Normandy and the counts of Blois-Chartes-Champagne.

Fascinating stuff! Lots of "tut, tutting" about barbaric and impious murder and slaughter but, on the other hand, rejoicing at the destruction of someone who had offended against God (as judged by Abbot Suger!). 

Alasdair

 

Dan Daast
 

I think every society found a way to put those limits in place. You can't really have a society, otherwise. I think it's arguable that until late Middle Ages Western (continental) Europe, in fact, had very few of those constraints compared to most of its neighbours, who'd managed to mobilize it more successfully toward the outsiders. French, Germans, Italians (even the Spanish, faced with the pressures of the Reconquista) were more than just as happy to raid each other's estates as anyone else's.

Britain, as usual, seems somewhat off the beaten path, in that respect, even after the Conquest had imported the latest customs of the mainland.

An interesting snapshot in time for the West. Still a very savage society but with just enough cultural/social sophistication and discipline to sharpen the martial edge of that savagery to a truly terrifying level of martial skill.

As individual fighters, I think, French/Norman knightly products of the feudal 'manufacturing process' were probably the best of the age. Unfortunately for them, of course, the wars are not fought by the individual fighters. 


On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 02:37 pm, Alasdair Urquhart wrote:
I think it was true of just about all warrior societies. Might is right and what the guy with the sword wants, he gets. The difference with 11th/12th century western Europe was having the church try to put limits on the violence - having Peace and Truce-of-God days when fighting was - theoretically - forbidden; condemning feuding, etc. It's possible to see this as the foundation of chivalry and the notion that women, children, the sick were not fair targets, that violence should be limited and used in a righteous cause - preferably killing heathens and claiming the holy land for Christendom!

Alasdair

On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 08:37 am, Dan Daast wrote:
Rough crowd, the medieval French. Remind me of the Macedonians, circa 4th century BC.

The same was true of pretty much the entire Europe, they still seem to stand out even in that environment, until the Anglo-Normans put them in the second place.

Although (while my knowledge of it is extremely patchy) I'm getting the sense that the Germans of the time might have been even rougher.

 
On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 02:05 am, Alasdair Urquhart wrote:
For a contemporary account of how the early 12th century "French" nobility saw the world and in particular how they saw military affairs, try "The Deeds of Louis the Fat" by Suger, Abbot of St Denis, translated by Cusimano and Moorhead. Suger, although a churchman, was directly involved in a number of military operations, attacking castles etc., and there is internal evidence that the stories were written down for a noble audience as they happened. This was the period when the Capetian kings were beginning to widen the area of their control - or at least influence - from the tiny area around Paris they had been reduced to in the mid 11th century but before the full, formal "feudal system" had really developed. Most of the stories are about Louis VI attempting to impose his authority on his nominal subordinates, each in their own castle, and his interactions with his powerful neighbours such as the dukes of Normandy and the counts of Blois-Chartes-Champagne.

Fascinating stuff! Lots of "tut, tutting" about barbaric and impious murder and slaughter but, on the other hand, rejoicing at the destruction of someone who had offended against God (as judged by Abbot Suger!). 

Alasdair

Eric Oppen
 

As I understand it, in the ancient world (pre-medieval) there were some restrictions that were supposed to be observed in warfare.  Forex, if your town was taken, but you were not "in arms" (armed and armored) you were not supposed to be taken as a slave.  I have no doubt that these rules were frequently ignored or deliberately broken, but I do think they were there.

On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 4:46 PM, Dan Daast <paradoqz@...> wrote:
I think every society found a way to put those limits in place. You can't really have a society, otherwise. I think it's arguable that until late Middle Ages Western (continental) Europe, in fact, had very few of those constraints compared to most of its neighbours, who'd managed to mobilize it more successfully toward the outsiders. French, Germans, Italians (even the Spanish, faced with the pressures of the Reconquista) were more than just as happy to raid each other's estates as anyone else's.

Britain, as usual, seems somewhat off the beaten path, in that respect, even after the Conquest had imported the latest customs of the mainland.

An interesting snapshot in time for the West. Still a very savage society but with just enough cultural/social sophistication and discipline to sharpen the martial edge of that savagery to a truly terrifying level of martial skill.

As individual fighters, I think, French/Norman knightly products of the feudal 'manufacturing process' were probably the best of the age. Unfortunately for them, of course, the wars are not fought by the individual fighters. 

On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 02:37 pm, Alasdair Urquhart wrote:
I think it was true of just about all warrior societies. Might is right and what the guy with the sword wants, he gets. The difference with 11th/12th century western Europe was having the church try to put limits on the violence - having Peace and Truce-of-God days when fighting was - theoretically - forbidden; condemning feuding, etc. It's possible to see this as the foundation of chivalry and the notion that women, children, the sick were not fair targets, that violence should be limited and used in a righteous cause - preferably killing heathens and claiming the holy land for Christendom!

Alasdair

On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 08:37 am, Dan Daast wrote:
Rough crowd, the medieval French. Remind me of the Macedonians, circa 4th century BC.

The same was true of pretty much the entire Europe, they still seem to stand out even in that environment, until the Anglo-Normans put them in the second place.

Although (while my knowledge of it is extremely patchy) I'm getting the sense that the Germans of the time might have been even rougher.

 
On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 02:05 am, Alasdair Urquhart wrote:
For a contemporary account of how the early 12th century "French" nobility saw the world and in particular how they saw military affairs, try "The Deeds of Louis the Fat" by Suger, Abbot of St Denis, translated by Cusimano and Moorhead. Suger, although a churchman, was directly involved in a number of military operations, attacking castles etc., and there is internal evidence that the stories were written down for a noble audience as they happened. This was the period when the Capetian kings were beginning to widen the area of their control - or at least influence - from the tiny area around Paris they had been reduced to in the mid 11th century but before the full, formal "feudal system" had really developed. Most of the stories are about Louis VI attempting to impose his authority on his nominal subordinates, each in their own castle, and his interactions with his powerful neighbours such as the dukes of Normandy and the counts of Blois-Chartes-Champagne.

Fascinating stuff! Lots of "tut, tutting" about barbaric and impious murder and slaughter but, on the other hand, rejoicing at the destruction of someone who had offended against God (as judged by Abbot Suger!). 

Alasdair

Previous Topic Next Topic