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mousteriana Profile
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Re: William the Conqueror


Bill H:

About that oath: None of the chronicles seem to agree(a) as to exactly what was sworn, and (b) even where the location of the swearing of this oath. The BT and some chronicles seem to imply that it was sworn over holy relics, but they don't exactly indicate what sort of holy relics were involved. What makes you think they were the bones of St. Catherine? I've never heard anything about this before. Heck, even David Bates and David Douglas aren't exactly that specific. I'm just curious, you understand.
Anne G
Oct/15/2008, 6:52 am Link to this post Send Email to mousteriana   Send PM to mousteriana
 
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Re: William the Conqueror


Thats a great post Bill H.
That view of Senlac Day which widens the focus of historical scrutiny beyond a battle site is absolutely essential to understanding exactly what was at stake.The idea that the Usurper merely saw the Conqueror as just another reconstructed Viking was always wrong and it is laughable that it still has currency today albeit in ever-diminishing circles emoticon That being said you really have to ask why the Usurper continued to believe he had a hope in hell of winning.The Conqueror rallied to his cause some of the most advanced people in The Kingdom Of The Franks. The extent to which his vision of Normandy-Angleland and their perception of his just claim to rule in Angleland fitted into what was in between those two vital factors: his strategy within The Kingdom Of The Franks is surely at the centre of the intellectual-spiritual rigour required to understand the advances and reversals that were to subsequently transpire over the next 21 years and under the Red's magnificent leadership after 1087.
We are of the strong opinion that the divisions within the Norman leadership about the aims and objectives of The Norman Revolution 1058-1100 can be traced decisively to that separation of interests and objectives that coalesced at Senlac 14.10.1066 which certainly destroyed the lesser force,the Usurper, but did not grasp the necessity of how 1054-58 and Varaville emoticon were asking the kind of questions the Conqueror was deliberating based on the betrayal he suffered from Henri 1 after Val-es-Dunes and the consequences it had on how he valued the Confessor's promise that he should rule in 1051.Warenne and Lanfranc were certainly with the Conqueror after Senlac in relation to how to deal with The Kingdom Of The Franks in a historic sense but others had a sort of temporary arrangement with the Conqueror which did not contain the kind of stability necessary. But would you call that 'support'? We think not. Our Forum had that superb debate about Adele de Blois' ultimate desertion of the Conqueror and the Red's cause.Perhaps its time to apply it to take one example, Mortain? We consider it always important to keep in view how the Conqueror found himself far in advance of his fleet that fateful mist-wreathed morning off Angleland's coastline.Naturally he waited for the remainder of the fleet to join him by taking an early breakfast.And so they did and the rest is history. But what is also history that in a far more intellectual-spiritual,strategic sense they,in their majority, never did catch up with him.That was their tragedy and our legacy.
Your point Anne G is really answered in Bill H's post.
If you know the story of Saint Catherine, the picture is complete.The Conqueror's identification with The Protomartyr,Saint Cecilia,The Blessed Mary etc was founded on his understanding of their stories not icons or anything else of peripheral importance. The Conqueror was a great believer in amassing the biggest concentration of forces militarily to achieve his objectives in the Temporal scheme of events and no less so in the theological.
He wanted to reassert his victory of being promised by the Confessor in 1051 that he would rule in Angleland after the Confessor's death in the mind of someone,the Usurper, whose reputation individually and as part of the Godwin clan was,shall we say 'less than honourable'.What better way to do this than to use as one of the holy relics on which to swear an oath of allegiance, the bones of the third most important Saint in Christendom after The Protomartyr and Saint Cecilia? The Conqueror would have had to be a fool not to use those bones brought to Normandy auspiciously in the year of its utmost need,1054, and the beginning of Henri 1 and Martel's war of extinction on the province.
The Conqueror was not a fool. Those bones were used in a unique example of the fusion of The Temporal and The Eternal.Why are the historical records not specific? Perhaps it was the case of being presumptious in the pursuit of claiming noble objectives.In those days of Christendom, the belief system had a gravity about it which today the 'average bod' can scarcely begin to comprehend. To sum it up crudely, what you did in life had consequences for the afterlife and God's Judgement. Presumption was as close to being a 'mortal sin' as you could get and may well have crossed over to the territory of damnation in certain,defined contexts.It is, in our view, that intellectual-spiritual borderline,the sands of which are constantly shifting and holding in the mindset.The Conqueror, as Bill H underlines, had a piety in his life that governed everything he did(unlike for example Henry 11),especially in matters of strategic significance about which for obvious reasons,he had to be sure.
It's really all about understanding the complexity of events down to their finest detail and having the 'fearless',critical nous to deduct a rational conclusion.Some people have that capacity,others shy away from it while some others do not have it.When you are dealing with someone of the historial stature of the Conqueror (or the Red),you have a responsibility,a duty to possess that capcity and exercise it to the optimum effect.That is what Bill H did in his post.We congratulate him for it whilst simultaneously observing that 'borderline' nature of it.

Steve Walsh,John G,Bev Morton,Paul,Martin Tilston,Lydia Giles,Sammy (all in personal capacity)
Oct/18/2008, 11:59 am Link to this post Send Email to WilliamtheRed Forum1   Send PM to WilliamtheRed Forum1
 
mousteriana Profile
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Re: William the Conqueror


WRTF and all:

I wasn't aware William identified with any saints or martyrs. Some later European kinds did, but this was several hundred years later, and the "landscape" so to speak, had changed somewhat. What are your sources for this assertion? I'd be interested to know so I could check them out.
Anne G
Oct/18/2008, 6:44 pm Link to this post Send Email to mousteriana   Send PM to mousteriana
 
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Re: William the Conqueror


The sources are obvious from the history of the Conqueror, Mousteriana.
The Protomartyr is the name on the abbeys at Caen.Saint Cecilia is represented by the naming of the Conqueror and Mathilde's daughter in 105emoticonCecile).Saint Catherine as the original post explains, was the saint whose bones were carried to Rouen in 1054 and no doubt received with great rapture by the Conqueror and Mathilde otherwise the correct thing to have been done would have been to send the monk away with a flea in his ear with the bones.
I sometimes think reading your posts that you think yourself to be 'walking on egg shells' regarding the interpretation of events where facts are supplied inviting a conclusion.
Sometimes you have to think outside the box.Try it sometime. emoticon
Pereobu (personal capacity)

Last edited by WilliamtheRed Forum1, Oct/25/2008, 12:28 pm
Oct/25/2008, 12:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to WilliamtheRed Forum1   Send PM to WilliamtheRed Forum1
 
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Re: William the Conqueror


I wish to register an objection with whoever has control over this Chatboard that the emoticon inserted over 1054 is not mine but the work of some external idiot whoever it might be.
Pereobu (personal capacity)
Oct/25/2008, 12:31 pm Link to this post Send Email to WilliamtheRed Forum1   Send PM to WilliamtheRed Forum1
 
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Re: William the Conqueror


WRTF 1:

I didn't put it there! Don't look at me! emoticon
Anne G
Oct/25/2008, 7:25 pm Link to this post Send Email to mousteriana   Send PM to mousteriana
 
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Re: William the Conqueror


Are you sure you haven't input any certain symbols that happen to coincide with Windows keyboard shortcuts?

For example, I have, in the past, accidentally found the copyright symbol when trying to type brackets and symbols.

After all this time, I doubt that any viruses or hackers etc would have got in to this site?

---
http://1066andallthat.forumfree.co.uk/
Oct/29/2008, 8:32 pm Link to this post Send Email to Housecarl 1066   Send PM to Housecarl 1066
 
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Re: William the Conqueror


Mousteriana and Housecarl,
Pereobu's view is correct.It was inserted separately from the posting as it loaded.Besides, he has no reason to frown about 1054 since it was the beginning of the 1054-58 victory of The Norman Revolution in Normandy.Whoever has made that disgusting interference clearly has a problem with 1054 but is intellectually incapable of expressing it in words.That is not a reason for defacing a chatboard member's comments.Anyone who would do such a thing is of no use to themselves or anybody else.If any member of our Forum experiences such interference again, report it to me.
Concerning the point about Saint Catherine of Alexandria's bones.Is it not reasonable to deduce that the 3rd most important Saint in Christendom after The Protomartyr and Saint Cecilia, would not be at the forefront of any verification of someone like the Usurper's word? The Conqueror was intent on reaffirming his just claim granted to him by the Confessor in 1051.Since the Confessor was renowned in Medieval Europe for his piety, would it not seem wholly fitting that Saint Catherine's status would be more than a worthy compliment to the Confessor's earlier commitment? As Pereobu mentions,the Conqueror and Mathilde would have been overjoyed at the arrival of such holy relics in Rouen especially in 1054.Surely, only fools or atheists would have missed an opportunity to put the holy relics to the optimum use? The Conqueror and Mathilde were neither and ardently pious.The fact that the historical records are reticent on the subject should not be a sign that the holy relics were not used. Perhaps the reason for there being no direct reference was that such was the awe and wonder of the Saint Catherine Cult that to link it up with a Temporal event of such magnitude would have been seen as possibly offensive to God.You only need to recall that Saint Catherine's story specifically mentions that she married Jesus Christ in Heaven.Think about how that impacted on the Medieval theology in its influence over people of all categories. It was something that had to be handled with great piety.

Marita Keel,First Secretary (personal capacity)
Nov/2/2008, 1:44 pm Link to this post Send Email to WilliamtheRed Forum1   Send PM to WilliamtheRed Forum1
 
mousteriana Profile
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Re: William the Conqueror


Marita and WRTF:

I am beginning to be very confused here. In the first place, I have never "read" either William or Matilda as being especially "pious" except when it suited their purposes(e.g. when William and Matilda were for a long time blocked from getting married; this was basically a "political" squabble). As for the saints you mention, I do know for a fact that churches and abbeys fought for possession of the remains of various saints, which were often supposed to have miraculous healing properties, and were therefore objects of veneration by the popuulations surrounding that church or abbey(and therefore sources of revenue for it). Sometimes important rulers came into possession of such relics, as "gifts", or they gave such gifts to a local church or abbey --- but not entirely for "pious" reasons. It was a way of keeping another local power on "their" side. Sorry to sound so cynical, but unfortunately, you just cannot read whatever history you are reading(whether it be about "Anglo-Normans" or something else) strictly at face value. If you do, you just end up missing a lot of what might be called important undercurrents. And it's iimportant not to miss them.
Anne G
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Re: William the Conqueror


Anne G,
It is supremely evident to us that you totally and utterly undervalue the role of religion in the Conqueror's view of how he saw the medieval world and how it saw him.
Religion was a sine qua non of his rule and of The Norman Revolution 1058-1100 itself.It was most obviously the case that the Conqueror and Mathilde were clearly of the view that the Temporal and the Eternal were different but inextricably linked.The Conqueror was not of the view that the Church was acceptable as a'co-partner' in his rule which is why he chose Lanfranc as Archbishop of Canterbury since that man understood that,as an annointed king,he must rule according to God's laws.Lanfranc recognised in the Conqueror someone whose piety was comparable to his own and therefore whose views were of necessity worthy of observance.A lesser ruler eg Henri 11 Plantagenet, would not,and did not, command such observance given his appalling conduct in the religious quarter culminating in the murder of Becket who was clearly in the Lanfranc mould as well as other predecessors especially Thurstin de Bayeux.
For the Conqueror and Mathilde, religion was not an extra item to be toyed with as they saw appropriate or otherwise but an essential ingredient to their Temporal and Eternal modus operandi.This is why it is accurate to refer to the Conqueror as a Priest-King not because he prized the Eternal above the Temporal but because he understood that they proceeded in step with him and he in step with them.One would observe that this subtlety of mentality evades you every time you comment on this vital facet of the Conqueror's view.Indeed, one might safely presume that is not so much cynicism as a singular incapacity on your part to assimilate the living history of the times in question which constitutes the source of that defect.You know you really need to study closely why the Conqueror and Mathilde chose the religious foundations which they did,not least at Cluny and Marcigny-sur-Loire, so that you will at least begin to appreciate why they saw religion in the unique way that they did.
One might presume that you consider the support for Cluny which they knew to be founded by an equally pious Count in 910 to be totally unrelated to the Treaty of Saint Clair-sur-Epte,concluded in the ensuing year,was merely 'incidental'.We do not and to the contrary consider it to be vital to the Conqueror's role,as he saw it, of being the saviour of Normandy when its very existence in the years 1054-58 was in the balance.
The founding of Saint Stephen and Holy Trinity churches and the naming of Cecile,all in 1058,were totally and utterly in harmony with the Conqueror and Mathilde's belief that God was responsible for the victory of 1054-58 and that it was due to their unique understanding of the interrelated condition of the Temporal and the Eternal and the fruits of their good works which had made it practical and realisable.

Lydia Giles,Bev Morton,"Briggs" (all in personal capacity)
Dec/13/2008, 12:21 pm Link to this post Send Email to WilliamtheRed Forum1   Send PM to WilliamtheRed Forum1
 


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