April 17th, 2008, 01:31 PM
Im excited now, but confused. Who is William the Forsaken supposed to be? Or i have i missed something major?:confused:
April 17th, 2008, 02:55 PM
William was born in Falaise, Normandy, the illegitimate and only son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy, who named him as heir to Normandy. His mother, Herleva (among other names), who later had two sons to another father, was the daughter of Fulbert, most probably a local tanner. He also had a sister, Adelaide of Normandy, also through Robert and Herleva. Later in life the enemies of William are said to have commented derisively that William stunk like a tanner shop, and the residents of besieged Alençon hung skins from the city walls to taunt him. According to the interpretations of some recent authors Herleva was of Jewish descent.
William is believed to have been born in either 1027 or 1028, and more likely in the autumn of the later year. He was born the grandnephew of Queen Emma of Normandy, wife of King Ethelred the Unready and later of King Canute the Great.
Duke of Normandy
By his father's will, William succeeded him as Duke of Normandy at age eight in 1035 and was known as Duke William of Normandy (French: Guillaume, duc de Normandie; Latin: Guglielmus Dux Normanniae). Plots by rival Norman noblemen to usurp his place cost William three guardians, though not Count Alan of Brittany, who was a later guardian. William was supported by King Henry I of France, however. He was knighted by Henry at age 15. By the time William turned 19 he was successfully dealing with threats of rebellion and invasion. With the assistance of Henry, William finally secured control of Normandy by defeating rebel Norman barons at Caen in the Battle of Val-ès-Dunes in 1047, obtaining the Truce of God, which was backed by the Roman Catholic Church.
Against the wishes of Pope Leo IX, William married Matilda of Flanders in 1053 in the Cathedral of Notre Dame at Eu, Normandy (Seine-Maritime). At the time, William was about 24 years old and Matilda was 22. William is said to have been a faithful and loving husband, and their marriage produced four sons and six daughters. In repentance for what was a consanguine marriage (they were distant cousins), William donated St-Stephen's church (l'Abbaye-aux-Hommes) and Matilda donated Sainte-Trinité church (Abbaye aux Dames).
Feeling threatened by the increase in Norman power resulting from William's noble marriage, Henry I attempted to invade Normandy twice (1054 and 1057), but to no avail. Already a charismatic leader, William attracted strong support within Normandy, including the loyalty of his half-brothers Odo of Bayeux and Robert, Count of Mortain, who played significant roles in his life. Later, he benefitted from the weakening of two competing power centers as a result of the deaths of Henry I and of Geoffrey II of Anjou, in 1060. In 1062 William invaded and took control of the county of Maine, which had been a fief of Anjou.
Upon the death of the childless Edward the Confessor, the English throne was ferociously disputed by three claimants -- William, Harold Godwinson, the powerful Earl of Wessex, and the Viking King Harald III of Norway. William had a tenuous blood claim, through his great aunt Emma (wife of Ethelred and mother of Edward). William also contended that Edward, who had spent much of his life in exile in Normandy during the Danish occupation of England, had promised William the throne when William visited Edward in London in 1052. Finally, William claimed that Harold had pledged allegiance to him in 1064. William had rescued the shipwrecked Harold from the count of Ponthieu, and together they had defeated Conan II, Count of Brittany. On that occasion, William knighted Harold, and deceived him by having him swear loyalty to William over the concealed bones of a saint.
In January 1066, however, in accordance with Edward's last will and by vote of the Witenagemot, Harold Godwinson was crowned King by Archbishop Aldred. Immediately the new monarch raised a large fleet of ships and mobilized a force of militia, arranging these around the coasts to anticipate attack from several directions. Harold after defeating his brother Tostig and Harald Hardrada in the north, marched his army 241 miles to meet with the invading William in the south. Their forces met at what is now called the Battle of Hastings where it is said that Harold Godwinson was shot through the eye with an arrow and died.
The first would-be attacker was Tostig Godwinson, Harold's brother, but he was successfully defeated by Edwin, Earl of Mercia at a battle on the south bank of the Humber.
Meanwhile, William submitted his claim to the English throne to Pope Alexander II, who sent him a consecrated banner in support. Then, William organized a council of war at Lillebonne and openly began assembling an army in Normandy. Offering promises of English lands and titles, he amassed at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme a considerable invasion force of 600 ships and 7,000 men, consisting of Normans, French mercenaries, and numerous foreign knights. Initially, Harold opposed William with a large army on the south coast of England and a fleet of ships guarding the English Channel.
Fortuitously, however, William's crossing was delayed by weeks of unusually bad weather. William managed to keep his army together during the wait, but Harold's was diminished by dwindling supplies and falling morale with the arrival of the harvest season. He also consolidated his ships in London, leaving the English Channel unguarded. Then came the news that Harald III of Norway, allied with Tostig, had landed ten miles from York. Harold was forced to head north with his army. After a victory against the forces of Earls Edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria at the Battle of Fulford, Harald and Tostig were defeated by Harold's army at the slaughterous Battle of Stamford Bridge on September 25.
Before Harold could return, the weather had lifted and William had crossed, landing his army at Pevensey Bay (Sussex) on September 28. Then he moved to Hastings, a few miles to the east, where he built a prefabricated wooden castle for a base of operations. From there, he ravaged the hinterland and waited for Harold's return from the north.
Battle of Hastings
On October 13, William received news that the already weakened army led by Harold was approaching from London, and at dawn the next day, William left the castle with his army and advanced towards the enemy. Harold had taken a defensive position atop the Senlac Hill Senlac ridge, about seven miles from Hastings, at present day Battle, East Sussex.
The Battle of Hastings lasted all day. Although the numbers on each side were about equal, William had both cavalry and infantry, including many archers, while Harold had only foot soldiers and few if any archers. Along the ridge's border, formed as a wall of shields, the English soldiers at first stood so effectively that William's army was thrown back with heavy casualties. William rallied his troops, however -- reportedly raising his helmet, as shown in the Bayeux Tapestry, to quell rumors of his death. Meanwhile, many of the English had pursued the fleeing Normans on foot, allowing the Norman cavalry to attack them repeatedly from the rear as his infantry pretended to retreat further. Norman arrows also took their toll, progressively weakening the English wall of shields. A final Norman cavalry attack decided the battle irrevocably, resulting in the deaths of Harold—who was probably killed by an arrow in the eye—and two of his brothers, Gyrth and Leofwine Godwinson. At dusk, the English army made their last stand. By that night, the Norman victory was complete, and the remaining English soldiers fled in fear.
March to London
For two weeks, William waited for a formal surrender of the English throne, but the Witenagemot proclaimed the quite young Edgar Ætheling instead, without coronation though. Thus, William's next target was London, approaching proudly through the important territories of Kent, via Dover and Canterbury, inspiring fear in the English. However, at London, William's advance was beaten back at London Bridge, and he decided to march westward and to storm London from the northwest. After receiving continental reinforcements, William crossed the Thames at Wallingford, and there he forced the surrender of Archbishop Stigand (one of Edgar's lead supporters), in early December. William reached Berkhamsted a few days later where Ætheling relinquished the English crown personally and the exhausted Saxon noblemen of England surrendered definitively. Although William was acclaimed then as English King, he requested a coronation in London. As William I, he was formally crowned on Christmas day 1066, in Westminster Abbey, by Archbishop Aldred.
Although the south of England submitted quickly to Norman rule, resistance in the north continued for six more years until 1072. During the first two years, King William I suffered many revolts throughout England (Dover, western Mercia, Wales, Exeter). Also, in 1068, Harold's illegitimate sons attempted an invasion of the southwestern peninsula, but William defeated them.
For William I, the worst crisis came from Northumbria, which had still not submitted to his realm. In 1068, with Edgar Ætheling, both Mercia and Northumbria revolted. William could suppress these, but Edgar fled to Scotland where Malcolm protected him. Furthermore, Malcolm married Edgar's sister Margaret, with much eclat, stressing the English balance of power against William. Under such circumstances, Northumbria rebelled, besieging York. William managed to contain them at Lincoln. When a new wave of revolts broke out in western Mercia, Exeter, Dorset, and Somerset. Edgar gained the upperhand when a Danish Army arrived under the command of Sweyn II While an attempt was made by William to buy off the Danish Army none of the messengers ever got through the Danish Picketts.....
April 17th, 2008, 04:26 PM
Ahhh...that William :D
Quite. I was wondering as well.
He could be in trouble if young Robert decides to have a go at usurping Dad in Normandy.
On a selfish note, I quite hope he does. I've always had a soft spot for the fellow.
April 17th, 2008, 08:07 PM
The Rise of the Atheling
The Danes arrived just in time to lift a siege at York. Combined then with a growing Northern Saxon Army they managed to push William back in a series of running battles. At the Battle of Derby, William fell from his horse breaking his leg, after his forces began to fall back William attempted to rally his men one last time but in a mildly ironic turn of history was hit in the shoulder by an arrow, shot from the bow of a mercenary French Archer.....
In a genius political maneuver Edgar issued a proclamation promising to honor the holdings of any Norman Lords who would swear fealty and promise not to aid the usurper in his flight South... As most Nobles saw that William's days where numbered in England they chose to if not openly swear fealty to Edgar, atleast they would not do anything to anger the New King...
As the Norman Army fled from the Allied Forces of Northern England, Denmark, and Scotland they raized and looted a wide swath of Southern England, leading in large part to the dominance we see today of the North.
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