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posticon Tostig Godwineson


It might seem out of place for supporters of The Norman Revolution 1066-1100 to pay tribute to a [sign in to see URL] fact it is out of place emoticon and the reason is Tostig was special.
When he visited the Conqueror at sometime between 1065-66,after his overthrow in Northumbria in late 1065,he showed the kind of foresight that caused him to bloc with Harald [sign in to see URL] was pro-Viking.
In 1066 there were two revolutionary roads for Angleland : A Viking Kingdom linked inextricably to a new North Sea Empire a la Cnut the Great 1016-35 or Annexation to Carolingian Europe in general and Normandy in particular.
According to the most reliable account by Ordericus Vitalis, the Conqueror was favourable to Tostig's [sign in to see URL] can be little doubt that a combined operation was prefigured if not planned in [sign in to see URL]'s crushing victory over Sweyn of Denmark at Nissa in 1062 despite being outnumbered 3-1 sent shockwaves which would have easily reached [sign in to see URL] had great respect for the Conqueror and it is very conceivable that a division of Angleland was a realistic possibility assuming that the divided camp of Harold Godwineson could be disposed of by a combined assault.
Harold's coup d'etat in January 1066,was a [sign in to see URL] attempt to cobble together a "third way" which was based on the pre-Cnut the Great period and the end of Ethelread the Unraid.
Harold was trying to turn the history of the 11th Century on its head which does not make him a revolutionary but very [sign in to see URL] the Great had triumphed in his aim to establish a "North Sea Empire" because ultimately Angleland was not viable as an independent [sign in to see URL] Anglo-Danes who were settled in the "Danegeld land" knew [sign in to see URL] were the people who were the backbone of Cnut's rule and an integral component of his North Sea Empire.
To them,Harold was no [sign in to see URL],however,by allying himself with Hardraada was very much in the framework of a new North Sea [sign in to see URL] is the major reason why,after Gate Fulford,they were greeted as liberators in [sign in to see URL] had a significat problem in the eyes of these pro-Scandinavia people: he was linked by blood-ties to the Nissa-defeated court of Sweyn of Denmark.
Two kingdoms were viable in 1066,had the Viking Revolution triumphed at Stamford [sign in to see URL] the Conqueror's revolution in the South would have been easily accomplished with the Godwinesonist leadership decimated.
How long the two kingdoms could have co-existed is another [sign in to see URL] would however predict that it would not have been long and the Conqueror would have emerged victorious.
The fact that this historical scenario did not happen might shed new light on an old [sign in to see URL] the real reason that Hardraada was fatally "caught cold" at Stamford Bridge accounted for by the likelihood of him expecting to meet someone else (the Conqueror) to discuss dividing Angleland? Instead it was the other Godwineson.
We think its time to reappraise Tostig and redefine him according to the dominant currents flowing in his [sign in to see URL] this means taking Harold Godwineson down a peg or two or more, so be it!

Bill H,Franc B (both in personal capacity)
Apr/23/2004, 10:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to thewilliam theredforum2002   Send PM to thewilliam theredforum2002
 
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posticon Re: Tostig Godwineson


Bill H and Franc B,Tostig showed true insight to the history of Scandinavia-England relations down the [sign in to see URL] alliance with Harald Hardraada was a master-stroke and probably a direct result of that meeting with the [sign in to see URL] Tostig struck the deal with Hardraada he crossed a rubicon as you might [sign in to see URL] actions in Northumbria which ended with his overthrow were a dry-run for his Viking-revolutionary [sign in to see URL] failure led him to the inescapable conclusion that linking up with Hardraada's operation was the only rationale way of pursuing his [sign in to see URL] I see as ingnored in many a historical analysis of these times;was that what won Tostig over was Hardraada's "Norwegian model" for England:the lagting [sign in to see URL] concept legitimised dual monarchical rule in Norway in the 11th and early 12th [sign in to see URL] and Tostig were set on re-establishing a North Sea Empire on the Cnut the Great [sign in to see URL] 1030 at the Battle of Stiklestad Cnut's army allied with Norwegian peasants,defeated Olaf 11 attempt to regain control of [sign in to see URL] Battle of Nissa you refer to was Hardraada's [sign in to see URL] here's a wee question you might consider was Tostig's father Earl Godwine at Stiklestad fighting for Cnut? I would think [sign in to see URL] was this Norwegian dual-monarchy concept that Tostig discussed with the [sign in to see URL] a dual monarchy would have revolutionised England but in no way was it comparable to The Norman Revolution which was easily the more [sign in to see URL] it would have enabled from the Conqueror's perspective would have been a breathing [sign in to see URL] the Normandy-South England formation had been [sign in to see URL] would have been in a stronger position to deal with Hardraada's inevitable ambitions.I'm no so certain that it would have been settled as quickly as you [sign in to see URL] least from Hardraada and Tostig's perspective which was based on the relatively peaceful experience of dual-monarchy in Norway in the 11th Century.A showdown with H-T was inevitable further down the [sign in to see URL] for sure! Tostig to his credit struck while the iron was [sign in to see URL] 1068 Sweyn of Denmark gave up on the notion of re-establishing a North Sea Empire by agreeing with the Norwegian king not to invade Norway [sign in to see URL] may well explain why the uprising in North England in 1069 against the Conqueror was such a wee storm in a teacup compared to what it might have [sign in to see URL]'s invasion inspired that uprising but his leadership was compromised and corrupted to the [sign in to see URL] took Scandinavia 16 more years to assimilate the lessons of the Conqueror and The Norman [sign in to see URL] 1085,Cnut the Holy of Denmark,Olaf the Quiet of Norway and the Count of Flanders assembled a huge invasion force to repeat Cnut the Great's [sign in to see URL] the Holy was the leading force in the [sign in to see URL] was no [sign in to see URL] asaimilation was fatally flawed through not winning the leadership of his nobles by overtaxing [sign in to see URL] paid with his life at the Benedictine church he founded at [sign in to see URL] is why to a decisive degree political-military leadership has to be spot on and no so much ideological [sign in to see URL] and Tostig had that leadership but,as their early defeat showed, it was no [sign in to see URL] Conqueror combined the political,military and ideological factors [sign in to see URL] a Norman perspective Tostig's takeover in Northumbria down to his daath at Stamford Bridge deserve praise.

Sammy (personal capacity)
Apr/24/2004, 11:07 am Link to this post Send Email to thewilliam theredforum2002   Send PM to thewilliam theredforum2002
 
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Re: Tostig Godwineson


All
Probably not the only one, but I'd like to have been a fly on the wall at that Conqueror-Tostig get [sign in to see URL] question is what was the status of the meeting? If it was to agree a plan,why would the Conqueror not insist on his visitor swearing on holy relics to verify it? Given that the timing of the meeting could only have been after Tostig's expulsion from Northumbria and the near-civil war situation which followed or after Harold had usurped the throne in 1066.
In the first case,an oath would have been in order given the instability and in the second an absolute necessity.
I'm puzzled too as to why the Conqueror should suddenly start trusting the words of a Godwineson even though, in Tostig's case, his action in Northumbria showed him to be a dissident.
The other thing that seems strange (to say the least)is why if such a pro-Norwegian axis was being formed around Hardraada why the Sons of Aelfgar,Edwin and Morcar,could not be roped [sign in to see URL] Aelfgar had been outlawed by Harold Godwineson with the tacit support of Edward the [sign in to see URL] exile had been ended with the help of Magnus of Norway,Hardraada's [sign in to see URL],Edwin and Morcar should have been Hardraada's ally not [sign in to see URL] only explanation to me is that Tostig was the fly in the ointment due to his rule in Northumbria.
If this is acceptable then Tostig is a double-edged sword to friend and foe.I think its likely that Hardraada should have dumped Tostig and gone into a anti-Harold bloc with Edwin and Morcar who commanded a huge army at Gate Fulford.
The so-called "dual monarchy" position is plausible in the light of Northumbria's history as an independent kingdom within Angleland. I'm just not wholly convinced that the Conqueror would have tolerated such a duality for even a [sign in to see URL] have to remember the forces he had united in his cause and the international significance of the Papal Banner.
Rob (personal capacity)
Apr/24/2004, 4:41 pm Link to this post Send Email to thewilliam theredforum2002   Send PM to thewilliam theredforum2002
 
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Re: Tostig Godwineson


Consummate revolutionary that he was,the Conqueror knew that an enemy is broken at its weakest link.
Between 1065-66 he finally had irrevocable confirmation that the Edwin-Morcar leadership in Mercia and Northumbria respectively was that link.
The Treaty of Northampton which ended the near-civil war crisis of late 1065,elevated Harold Godwineson to effective leadership of Angleland as the Confessor slipped into [sign in to see URL] a price was demanded of Godwineson: the expulsion of Tostig from his earldom and the abiding distrust of Edwin and Morcar,whose perception of Northampton was that it was heavily weighted to keeping the Confessor and what he stood for in place.
It is emphatically not the case that they perceived the Confessor as an obstacle to Godwineson: the House of Wessex controlled the Witanegemot.
It is our view that the Conqueror calculated, as early as the Treaty of Northampton and its aftermath,that Edwin and Morcar would not unite behind a Godwineson throne takeover.
The conflict between Leofric and Godwine, both loyal supporters of Cnut the Great, continued with their [sign in to see URL] had gone out of his way to persecute Earl Aelfgar,Edwin and Morcar's father: crushing a Welsh ally (Gruffyd) and outlawing the [sign in to see URL] is well known but what is less clear:what were the perspectives of Edwin and Morcar for the post-Confessor phase?
We would assess them as favouring a settlement that would leave their power-base [sign in to see URL] was unrealistic even within the Hardraada Norwegian [sign in to see URL] battled at Gate Fulford to defend Northumbria and Mercia not [sign in to see URL],that explains their refusal to fight at Stamford Bridge and Hastings.
We would state however that this did not preclude an accommodation by Edwin and Morcar within the Hardraada Norwegian template for Angleland with Tostig's power suitably [sign in to see URL] would explain the "relaxed camp" that Hardraada set up at Stamford Bridge even as Godwineson's army was marching out of York where,in contrast to Hardraada he had been sullenly received by the people.
Harold Godwineson's march north was about blocking a deal between Edwin and Morcar and Hardraada around his Norwegian template rather than defeating the king's claim to a [sign in to see URL] tantalisiing question is:
Did Godwineson understand the ramifications of Hardraada's Norwegian template?
Hardraada and Tostig's defeat at Stamford Bridge ended the prospects of that template becoming reality,Hardraada's claim to a kingdom but from a Norman and the Conqueror's perspective it ended a deal with the Edwin and Morcar leadership which served to further entrench their historic divisions with Godwineson and their refusal to lead their crack troops with him to Hastings.
Furthermore,it may also explain why they never truly believed that the Conqueror would strike North with his armies,after they surrendered to him, since if they had learned that a Hardraada-Conqueror deal had been struck around the Norwegian template,they had a strong reason for believing the Conqueror would hold his agreed portion of Angleland because they knew his policy was to hold only that which he could realistically defend within the context of Normandy-Angleland.

John G,Vice-Chairperson,Hugo,CT.(all in personal capacity)

Apr/27/2004, 9:04 pm Link to this post Send Email to thewilliam theredforum2002   Send PM to thewilliam theredforum2002
 
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Re: Tostig Godwineson


Lots of speculation, but little in the way of facts.

Greg Follis
Apr/28/2004, 1:21 pm Link to this post Send Email to wulfstan   Send PM to wulfstan
 
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Re: Tostig Godwineson


Greg,

What speculation and what,as you seem to imply,factual omissions? One-liner assertions such as you make can only carry weight within the contexr of a rigorous [sign in to see URL] without the other is like Hamlet without the Prince.
All historical studies have elliptical qualities about them,epecially when they are written in ancient or medieval [sign in to see URL] should not preclude effective conclusions based on the available facts and conclusions arrived at by earlier,historical studies after the events.
Historical debate is of the essence if those of us who are grappling with historical events are to produce rigorous assessments which clarify those events or which,at the very least,open doors to scientifically-derived clarification.

Hugo,Franc B,Bill H. (all in personal capacities)
Apr/29/2004, 10:01 pm Link to this post Send Email to thewilliam theredforum2002   Send PM to thewilliam theredforum2002
 
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Re: Tostig Godwineson


1. Harold did not usurp the throne. All the English and Norman sources state that King Edward made him the heir, and the witan elected him king. No matter what you may think, wish or conjecture, that's the fact of the matter.

2. There is no evidence from any extant sources that Tostig met with William after his expulsion, much less that William co-ordinated his invasion with Harold of Norway. If you have evidence of this, please cite your reference.

3. There is absolutely no evidence outside the Norman sources that King Edward ever made William his heir. Edward had no right to do so even if he wished it. William spent the rest of his life trying to justify his usurpation of the throne and the murder of thousands of Christian people.

Greg
Apr/30/2004, 12:08 am Link to this post Send Email to wulfstan   Send PM to wulfstan
 
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Re: Tostig Godwineson


Greg:

It's possible that Edward really didn't want Harold or any of the other Godwinsons anywhere near the throne. He may have felt too "beholden" to them, yet distrustful of them. I don't know, 'cause I wasn't there. But in any case, about all Edward could have done in this case was make his preference for William known, if he had such a preference. And then the Witan would have had to go along with it, for which there is absolutely no evidence AFAIK. But that's about the best one can say about this.
Anne G
Apr/30/2004, 4:45 am Link to this post Send Email to kebara   Send PM to kebara
 
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Re: Tostig Godwineson


Anne,
The sheer volume of speculation on this issue boggles the mind, but if we are to come to any conclusion that approaches reality we have to stick with what the sources say. The Norman sources are obviously propagandistic and unreliable on this point. King Edward fell ill at the time of the Christmas feast when most of the witan would have been in attendence at court. For some reason, we are not told why, Edward by-passed his own blood kin, Edgar Aetheling, and nominated Harold as his heir; even the Norman sources admit this. Harold had been the prime mover in the kingdom since 1053. In one English source he is termed "sub-regulus"(under-king). Once nominated by Edward, the witan elected him as king. We can speculate till doomsday but these are the facts.

Greg
Apr/30/2004, 12:53 pm Link to this post Send Email to wulfstan   Send PM to wulfstan
 
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Re: Tostig Godwineson


Greg,there most certainly is an utterly reliable source for the Conqueror's meeting with Tostig [sign in to see URL] is to be found in Ordericus Vitalis on his assessment of William of Jumieges account of the historical event.
It is also emphatically the case that the Conqueror received a promnise of the succession to Angleland in [sign in to see URL] very year that Queen Emma [sign in to see URL] was the embodiment of Normandy's growing,progressive influence since the time of Aethelred the [sign in to see URL] Godwines hated her as much as the [sign in to see URL] addition,his own formative years in awe of Normandy makes the promise utterly plausible to all but the most sceptical mentality.
One really must maintain a sense of balance in one's understanding of the rhythm and tempo of the historical period in question.
Rob,With regard to Tostig's visit to Hardraada in Viken,it is clear that Tostig had a huge task to convince him that it would be viable for him to mount a successful [sign in to see URL],and this is very telling of the times,he did not trust the rulers of Angleland and that the Housecarls (Danes to a man)were an awesome military prospect he was not willing to readily entertain.

Lydia Giles,First Secretary,CT (both in personal capacity)
May/1/2004, 10:30 am Link to this post Send Email to thewilliam theredforum2002   Send PM to thewilliam theredforum2002
 


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