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Old June 19th, 2010, 05:22 AM
Midas Midas is offline
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WI: Anglo Saxons remain in control of England

Any PoD post-1000 where the Anglo Saxons remain in control of England. Basically two questions:

How? and what happens. Just for the sake of it being a thought experiment (wondering what happens in a TL I might do), what would the short-term effects of an Anglo-Saxon elite enduring in England? And any long-term effects, if we just assume history goes as is for as long as the most liberal interpretations of the butterfly effect be stretched .

And as a side note, I've read the Anglo-Saxons and Byzantines had pretty good relations, is there any chance of them going Orthodox or anything wack like that?
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Old June 19th, 2010, 06:05 AM
Eigenwelt Eigenwelt is offline
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And queue the linking of Uncleftish Beholding in 5, 4, 3,...
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Old June 19th, 2010, 06:12 AM
Midas Midas is offline
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And queue the linking of Uncleftish Beholding in 5, 4, 3,...
*EDIT: Ah, I've heard of that- but that focuses more on linguistics than geopolitical implications doesn't it? Very interesting nonetheless, and certainly reflective of many linguistic/cultural differences that would've arisen.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 06:53 AM
robertp6165 robertp6165 is offline
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Originally Posted by Midas View Post
Any PoD post-1000 where the Anglo Saxons remain in control of England. Basically two questions:

How? and what happens. Just for the sake of it being a thought experiment (wondering what happens in a TL I might do), what would the short-term effects of an Anglo-Saxon elite enduring in England? And any long-term effects, if we just assume history goes as is for as long as the most liberal interpretations of the butterfly effect be stretched .

And as a side note, I've read the Anglo-Saxons and Byzantines had pretty good relations, is there any chance of them going Orthodox or anything wack like that?
Well, the effect is going to depend in great part on the specific choice of POD. As for possible PODs...

1) The obvious one...Harold Godwinson beats (and preferably kills) William the Bastard at Hastings.

2) Another, less obvious one...Edward the Exile lives long enough to succeed Edward the Confessor when he dies in 1066, and rules for about a decade afterward, giving Edgar the Atheling the chance to mature and succeed to the kingship when Edward the Exile dies (say in 1075-1080). The succession passes lawfully from one King to another, and the Normans never get a foothold in England.

3) An even earlier one. Edmund Ironside (don't you just love Anglo-Saxon nicknames?) defeats and kills Canute at the Battle of Ashingdon on October 18, 1016 and re-establishes the hold of the House of Wessex on the crown. He lives to the age of 60, surviving until 1048, when he is succeeded by his son, Edward (Edward the Exile in OTL). In this ATL Edward probably marries an Anglo-Saxon lady, rather than a Russian or Hungarian (the origins of his OTL are uncertain), and the OTL Edgar the Atheling is never born. Instead, another prince born of Edward and his ATL wife is born and inherits when Edward dies, lets say, for fun, in 1066. Once again, the Normans never get a foothold in England.

4) An even earlier one...Aethelred the Unready never marries Emma of Normandy. The Normans do not get a dynastic connection which gives them a claim, however tenuous, on the English throne. There is no Edward the Confessor. Couple this with a POD where one of King Aethelred's six sons by his first wife survives to inherit after the death of Canute, and you most likely have a surviving Anglo-Saxon England.

All of these will have different effects.

--A POD that involves the defeat of Canute by Edmund Ironside, while preserving the marriage between Aethelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, will likely lead to an England which is somewhat oriented toward France due to the Norman bloodline within the Anglo-Saxon royal family.

--A POD where Edmund defeats Canute, but the marriage between Aethelred and Emma never took place, might see Anglo-Saxon England not orienting itself to either Scandinavia or France, but trying to proudly maintain it's own traditions.

--A POD based on the victory of Harold Godwinson at Hastings likely leads to an England oriented toward Scandinavia and away from France. The Godwinsons were partially of Scandinavian heritage, and Harold and his successors would likely reject France and French influence because of French support for the Normans.

--A POD based on the survival of Edward the Exile might still see conflict with Normandy, but with stronger internal support for the Anglo-Saxon monarchy due to the succession being seen as more legitimate (there were many who viewed Harold Godwinson, with good reason, as a usurper).

So you see, it's really all a function of which POD you pick. And there are many more to choose from. The above is just a quick list of the more obvious ones.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 07:37 AM
Midas Midas is offline
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Awesome, that was a really quick, succinct list of a lot of possibilities for more longevity of the Anglo-Saxons in England. I'll do some readings in a bit, but the most enticing one to me is Aethelred the Unready not marrying Emma of Normandy. I'm doing a PoD in 1000-'02 as well for a Vinland TL, so that seems like the most logical one to try.

Would there be any reprocussions of Aethelred not marrying Emma? I'm not too familiar with the history of that particular incident- as in, would Normandy take offence or would it just have been politics of the time.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 09:17 AM
kellineil kellineil is offline
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Originally Posted by Midas View Post
And as a side note, I've read the Anglo-Saxons and Byzantines had pretty good relations, is there any chance of them going Orthodox or anything wack like that?
There will be plenty of people suggesting potential POD's regarding Anglo-Saxon England surviving.

With regards to Anglo-Saxon England siding with the Eastern Roman church in the great schism, they did in OTL. In 1066 this was more political than anything, the 2 churches having not diverged that much by this point. The split was (officially) about leadership in the church.

However, the church in the British Isles was always quite divergent from accepted practice. For instance, by 1066 most of the church that looked to Rome strongly disapproved of clergy marrying. This was not the case in England, and for that matter what would become the Eastern Orthodox Church. The rest of the British Isles would also probably move away from Rome if England had allied herself with the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Roman Church had at this point only acquired supremacy over the Celtic Church in the preceding 200 years. At this point you could easily have a resurgence in the Celtic Church

In the long run I don't think a union of the Constantinople and Celtic churches would be sustainable. The theological differences between the 2 were to great. However a short term political union against Rome is possible and may end with a Celtic Patriarch. The Celtic Church may also end up being dominant in Scandinavia

Just thoughts
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Old June 19th, 2010, 09:52 AM
Mikestone8 Mikestone8 is offline
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One more way.

Harald III of Norway dies any time prior to the Summer of 1066. He was about fifty, by Viking standards an old man, so it could be natural, and Norse rulers often died by violence. Take your pick.

That means no Stamford Bridge, so Harold's army isn't weakened by the northern campaign. He polishes off William with little trouble.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 12:41 PM
Cuāuhtemōc Cuāuhtemōc is offline
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English is certainly going to not have the French-Norman influence it would have in OTL and probably adopt more loan words from either the Celtic languages or the Scandinavian
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Old June 19th, 2010, 01:41 PM
Sam Sam is offline
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Originally Posted by kellineil View Post
With regards to Anglo-Saxon England siding with the Eastern Roman church in the great schism, they did in OTL. In 1066 this was more political than anything, the 2 churches having not diverged that much by this point. The split was (officially) about leadership in the church.
Do you have a cite for that?
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Old June 19th, 2010, 01:57 PM
Midas Midas is offline
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Do you have a cite for that?
I've actually read it in past threads, maybe I'll dig them up later. It's what got me interested. I know Harold was excommunicated, but since I'm going for an earlier PoD that's not a factor. But in terms of general discussion on the matter (which is why I started the thread) it's completely relevant.

A big-if that comes to me is "foreign policy". I know we're talking about the medieval ages but just in terms of general trends: would you think it's right to assume that if I don't go with a PoD that involves dynastic claims involving Normandy and a ressurgence of the Anglo-Saxon House of Wessex- AS England is going to be more oriented towards Scandanavia or even inwardly to the isles? Just within the next 50-60 years at least.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 03:07 PM
Janprimus Janprimus is offline
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English is certainly going to not have the French-Norman influence it would have in OTL and probably adopt more loan words from either the Celtic languages or the Scandinavian
Not to the same extant as IOTL, but IIRC Edward the Confessor was influenced by Normans, however more important is the fact that France was culturally dominant. So there will be some French (cultural) influence and probably more than Celtic or Scandinavian influences, but obviously not nearly as much as IOTL.
Besides if England has problems with Normandy, than the house of Capet (kings of France), but also Brittany and Anjou, become very useful allies.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 03:44 PM
Korporal Nooij Korporal Nooij is offline
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Not to the same extant as IOTL, but IIRC Edward the Confessor was influenced by Normans, however more important is the fact that France was culturally dominant. So there will be some French (cultural) influence and probably more than Celtic or Scandinavian influences, but obviously not nearly as much as IOTL.
Besides if England has problems with Normandy, than the house of Capet (kings of France), but also Brittany and Anjou, become very useful allies.
Wouldn't that be an amazing constructed language for someone to create?
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Old June 19th, 2010, 06:55 PM
Lysandros Aikiedes Lysandros Aikiedes is offline
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I didn't know of the pre-conquest English Witan flirting with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, although it seems alot of dispossessed Anglo-Saxon landowners did reportedly flee to the Byzantine Empire in the years following 1066. Some of them served in the Varangian Guard. I often wondered that, during the joint Byzantine-Crusader siege of Nicaea in 1097, antagonism between the Norman element (those commanded by Robert Curthose) of the Crusader forces and the Englinbarragonoi troops (if they were present) could have added friction between the allied camps.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 08:01 PM
Valdemar II Valdemar II is offline
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Linguistic I doubt we will see that much greater amount of Celtic loanwords, the Anglo-Saxon seemed unwilling to adopt them in OTL, we will still see some Normannic influence, but what we really are going to see are Low German and Low Franconian influence on the english language, maybe enough that Englisc stay mutual intelligible with the continental West Germanic languages.

Cultural while England will still look somewhat to France, I think the low lands, Denmark and North Germany will be the primary focus of English foreign politic, we may see the Hansetic League establish themself in England, especially without the Normannic destruction of much of the native aristrocracy, England will likely stay much more decentral duplicate to repeat French and German attempts to centralise their states. Maybe they repeat the French experience or end up like the German with a much more fragmented structure.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 08:05 PM
Janprimus Janprimus is offline
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Originally Posted by Valdemar II View Post
Linguistic I doubt we will see that much greater amount of Celtic loanwords, the Anglo-Saxon seemed unwilling to adopt them in OTL, we will still see some Normannic influence, but what we really are going to see are Low German and Low Franconian influence on the english language, maybe enough that Englisc stay mutual intelligible with the continental West Germanic languages.

Cultural while England will still look somewhat to France, I think the low lands, Denmark and North Germany will be the primary focus of English foreign politic, we may see the Hansetic League establish themself in England, especially without the Normannic destruction of much of the native aristrocracy, England will likely stay much more decentral duplicate to repeat French and German attempts to centralise their states. Maybe they repeat the French experience or end up like the German with a much more fragmented structure.
IIRC England already had good functioning state by standards of that period before the Normans took over England. William the Conqueror left a lot of those institutions intact (but not the old aristocracy).
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Old June 19th, 2010, 08:21 PM
Valdemar II Valdemar II is offline
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IIRC England already had good functioning state by standards of that period before the Normans took over England. William the Conqueror left a lot of those institutions intact (but not the old aristocracy).
So had Germany under the Hohenstaufen, but like Germany where the nobility the old Stem Duchies served to help weaken the central power, the local nobility of Saxon, Anglo and Danish descend in the former independent statelets may push to weaken the central state, many of them have good claim to local power. The Normans right to the land build on it being given to them by the new rulers, the old nobility right to the land build on them being the original rulers.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 08:54 PM
MerryPrankster MerryPrankster is offline
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IIRC the Holy Roman Emperors were not hereditary. The English monarchy was.

That alone means central authority is going to be strengthened, as an elected monarchy has to buy off the electors and a hereditary ruler doesn't.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 09:27 PM
robertp6165 robertp6165 is offline
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IIRC the Holy Roman Emperors were not hereditary. The English monarchy was.

That alone means central authority is going to be strengthened, as an elected monarchy has to buy off the electors and a hereditary ruler doesn't.
I think the comparison with the HRE is more apt than one might think, and that characterizing the monarchy of Anglo-Saxon England as "hereditary" is way off the mark. The Kings of Anglo-Saxon England were selected by the Witan. In a way, it's not so much different from what was happening in the HRE during this period.

It is true that the son of the king normally was elected...it was the same way in the HRE during this period, too. However, the Witan need not, and did not, always select the son of the recently deceased king as his successor. There were occasions when a brother or other relative of the King, rather than a son, was selected, for example. And in the most notorious example, the Witan went out of the House of Wessex entirely and selected Harold Godwinson, while leaving the legitimate heir...Edgar the Atheling...out in the cold. It was only after the Normans came that the rule of primogeniture was firmly stamped on the monarchy of England.

We tend to think of the Holy Roman Emperor being a weak monarch, judging it by what it became in the later Middle Ages. But during the period of Anglo-Saxon England, Germany was actually well on the road to an eventual centralized monarchy. The kings/emperors were accumulating more power for themselves, the nobility were getting weaker. What changed that was the Investiture Controversy between the Emperors and the Pope beginning in the late 11th century and continuing on through at least the end of the 13th century. By the time Germany emerged from that long process, the Emperors had been stripped of most of their power, which had accrued to the greater nobility, and Germany was doomed to spend the next five hundred years as a disunited jumble of competing states. Something similar could well have happened in Anglo-Saxon England, too.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 09:49 PM
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Celtic loan words could perhaps come in via Ireland, it could perhaps establish itself as a part of the modern world with no Norman invasions. But generally yeah, they wouldn't be very many.


The cliched thing in this scenario is for English to remain a utterly Germanic language. This though is a big no.
Just look to Dutch and the Scandinavian languages- no French rule there yet still a fair few French words. With the French as rich neighbours this would be very apparent on English. Not to mention the latin effect which will be strong.



The big thing I wonder- what of the north?
Would England reconquer the lands recently lost to the Scots?
What of Straithclyde?
I would well see Scotland kept as a small celtic highland nation with the English reasserting themselves in the low lands.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 11:13 PM
robertp6165 robertp6165 is offline
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So had Germany under the Hohenstaufen, but like Germany where the nobility the old Stem Duchies served to help weaken the central power, the local nobility of Saxon, Anglo and Danish descend in the former independent statelets may push to weaken the central state, many of them have good claim to local power. The Normans right to the land build on it being given to them by the new rulers, the old nobility right to the land build on them being the original rulers.
That's not actually true. The old ruling houses of the Anglo Saxon kingdoms, except that of Wessex, were wiped out during the Viking invasions. Wessex then reconquered the lands siezed by the Vikings and consolidated them into the Kingdom of England.

The Ealdormen who served in Mercia, East Anglia, Kent, Essex, Sussex, and Northumbria after the year 900 or so were either cadet branches of the House of Cerdic (the ruling house of Wessex) or in some cases (notably Northumbria and East Anglia) the descendants of Viking Jarls who had submitted to the Kings of Wessex during the reconquest. These non Cerdician families themselves became linked to the House of Cerdic through marriage as time went on.

So none of the Earls of England at the time of the Norman Conquest were ruling by right of descent from an original ruling house except possibly the Earl of Wessex*.

*Harold Godwinson is said to be descended from the House of Cerdic via Aethelmaer the Stout, one of the sons of Aethelred the Unready. However, there is a good deal of controversy about the linkage between Aethelmaer and Godwine, Harold's father. Godwine's father was said to be a man named Wulfnoth Cild, who was a "thegn of Sussex." But it is very uncertain that this Wulfnoth was actually a descendant of Aethelmaer or, indeed, a member of the House of Cerdic at all. Indeed, Harold Godwinson himself never claimed such a linkage when he was angling for the throne, and there are some documents which identify Godwine's father as a ceorl, or a commoner. So the linkage between the Earls of Wessex at the time of the Norman Conquest and the House of Cerdic is tenuous at best.
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