Annals of the Anglo-Norse

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by tuareg109, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. tuareg109 Banned

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    Annals of the Anglo-Norse

    Table of Contents

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    Siward the Stout [Sigeweard Digri], Earl of Northumbria
    Lived 1000-
    Reigned 1023-

    "Earl Siward was one of the old breed; he himself had been born in the land of the Danes, and journeyed to England as a young man."
    --Bishop Cola of Durham, Annals of the Anglo-Norse, Anno Domini 1217

    Earl Siward "the Stout" of Northumbria started his dazzling career of political and military prowess as the thane of Eirik Hakonsson, who had been Regent of Norway and, afterward, had been obliged as a vassal of Knud the Great to aid in his conquest of England. As a reward for his services, Eirik had been given the Earldom of Northumbria; Thorkel the Tall was given East Anglia, Eadric Streona the Traitor Mercia, and Knud kept the developed and defensible lands of Wessex and Kent for himself.

    In 1023 Eirik died, and Siward the thane, though rather young, became Earl Siward of York. The lands of Bernicia, part of and beholden to Northumbria, gained independence from Siward's rule under Earl Ealdred of Bernicia, descendant of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Northumbria. Facing a hungry Mercia and vengeful Bernicia, Siward legitimized his early rule by marrying Aelflad, the daughter of Ealdred; this meant that his son Osbjorn, born in 1027, had the blood of Anglo-Saxon kings and Danish conquerors in him.

    In 1038 Ealdred was killed by Carl Thurbrandson, whose father Thurbrand the Hold had killed Ealdred's father Uhtred the Bold, last Anglo-Saxon Earl of Northumbria, just after Knut's conquest in 1016. Ealdred's brother Eadulf was much less dear to Siward, and was disposed of in 1041 with the sanction and connivance of King Hardeknud. In this way, Earl Siward of York attained the Earldom of Bernicia and combined the two titles. He was now Earl Siward of Northumbria, with a realm stretching across the northern quarter of the English realm.

    In 1042 Hardeknud died, and England came under the rule of an English king once more; Edward the Confessor, remnant of the mighty Kings of Wessex was left juggling three very powerful vassals, who were remnants of those that Knud had put in power in 1016. Earl Siward was one of these vassals; the remaining two were Earl Godwin of Wessex, and Earl Leofric of Mercia.

    The three men spent the decade between 1042 and 1051 building up their defenses and causing small border wars between each other's thanes; King Edward the Confessor, impotent politically as well as in the marriage bed, was in no position to stop them. Change arrived when the anti-French Earl Godwin refused to punish the inhabitants of Dover for clashing with the visiting retainers of young Duke Eustache II of Boulogne, called Aux Gernons for his marvelous mustaches; taking this as a threat to his authority, King Edward easily enlisted the help of his other two Earls, and Godwin and his sons were exiled. In lieu of Godwin's son Harold, Earl Leofric's son Aelfgar became Earl of East Anglia; this greatly shifted power into the Mercians' hands.

    The next year, however, Godwin and his brood returned with an armed force of Bretons and Frisians, and with popular support were reinstated in Wessex and East Anglia. A year later, in 1053, Godwin died and left the Earldom to his 31-year-old son Harold Godwinson; Harold's own Earldom of East Anglia was ironically handed back to Aelfgar.

    Earl Siward of Northumbria watched these events with amusement; in York, north of the Humber River, he was far from action or sanction. His southern border was safe, and he could focus his entire power on the Scots, which he did with low-key warfare every year. In 1046 he had in fact invaded Scotland all the way up to Moray, and installed Mael Coluim, son of dead King Donnchad and Siward's sister Sibyla, on the throne in place of the usurper Mac Bethad. A year later, however, and the 15-year-old Mael Coluim had lost the throne again to Mac Bethad, and was an exile at Edward the Confessor's court.

    In 1054, finding himself powerful enough, Earl Siward again invaded the Scots, with the purpose of seizing Teviotdale and making inroads into broad, fertile Lothian and the Scottish lowlands adjacent, as well as reinstalling his nephew. He himself remained in York to keep an eye on interesting developments in Wales and the actions of Earl Harold Godwinson, and sent his son Osbjorn to command his men. At the Battle of the Seven Sleepers, Osbjorn and the Northumbrians carried the day, and Mac Bethad was afterwards in no position to deny Northumbrian occupation of Teviotdale and the high hills south of Lothian.

    Osbjorn Siwardsson took an arrow to the left eye during the battle, but continued to command and even fought on foot with this grievous wound [POD. In OTL Osbjorn died in this battle and Siward's powerful Earldom was given to a Godwinson]; this earned him the nickname One-Eye, or Anegde. This bravery, along with other victories and distinctions earned before the age of 27, forced Earl Siward to proudly honor his son with a great feast in the autumn of 1054, at the end of the campaign season.

    Teviotdale belonged to the Earldom of Northumbria, and there was no telling at the time what the future would hold.


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    Great Britain in AD 1054. Northumbria under Earl Siward in green, Mercia under Earl Leofric in blue, Hereford under Earl Ralph "the Timid" of Mantes in orange, Wessex under Earl Harold Godwinson in red, Kent under Earl Leofwine Godwinson in yellow, East Anglia under Earl Aelfgar Leofricson in purple, King Edward's personal crown lands in white.
    1 - Moray, King Mac Bethad's almost Norse-Gael homeland and power base
    2 - Alba and the Lowlands, Gaelic areas leaning more now to Mael Coluim son of Donnchad
    3 - Argyll, a rather independent Norse-Gael Earl
    4 - The Isles, a Norse-Gael stew of semi-independent statelets
    5 - Isle of Mann, a small independent Norse kingdom
    6 - Strathclyde, a Gaelic kingdom of waning importance
    7 - Gwynedd, led by the mighty Gruffyd ap Llywelyn and allied to Mercia
    8 - Deheubarth
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
  2. tuareg109 Banned

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    Sooo sorry about the map's quality, of course.

    Those of you coming over from FOR WANT OF THE HAMMER will notice the radically different style. This TL, instead of being character-based, is event-based. In a few updates I anticipate being 5 or 10 years ahead; in FWOTH, of course, I've gone through 3.5 years in...38 updates.

    If you have any qualms on cultures/names/historicity, feel free to criticize! I love criticism, and do not feel accomplished unless somebody's calling my work a piece of shit!

    Enjoy, all.
     
  3. Rich Rostrom Well-Known Member

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    The map is fine. It's about the right size, for once. (Too many people post enormous graphics that can't display properly, and stretch the text display off the screen.)
     
  4. tuareg109 Banned

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    Well, isn't that strange? I'm no artist, but I fail to see how it can be so hard to understand the dimensions of the page and the point at which an image becomes a nuisance.

    Anyway, thanks.

    Do you have anything to say about the TL?
     
  5. Grouchio Well-Known Member

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    All I have is one piece of advice: Don't overstretch yourself buddy! ;)
     
  6. The Professor Pontif of the Guild

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    Nice start!

    I would however keep the spellings either contempory or "future-nationalised"), ie Knud as Cnut, rather than mix too much.
    And shouldn't Enoeyde be in Old (Northumbrian) English Anegde?
     
  7. Lindseyman Am I a Northerner? I think that I am!

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    The North shall rise and take its rightful place!
    One query weren't Lindsey, Kesteven and Holland (Lincolnshire to most of you) part of Mercia rather than Northumbria at that time?
     
  8. altwere Well-Known Member

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    Very nice start.
     
  9. tuareg109 Banned

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    Annals of the Anglo-Norse

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    Siward the Stout [Sigeweard Digri], Earl of Northumbria
    Lived 1000-
    Reigned 1023-

    "Young lord Osbjorn, with the respect of men and the wounds of war, quickly took his cousin Mael Coluim called Cenn Mor as friend and admirer; this was to serve him and his sons well."
    --Bishop Cola of Durham, Annals of the Anglo-Norse, Anno Domini 1217

    On December 22nd, just in time for Christmas, there arrived in York the son of Siward's sister Sibyla and rightful King of Alba and the Scots, Mael Coluim, called Cenn Mor for his high-handed and conceited manner. Before York, Mael Coluim had been at the courts of the Earl of Mann, the hill-forts of the wild Cumbrians, King Gruffydd ap Llywelyn of Gwynedd, Earl Godwin of Wessex, and finally, after Godwin's exile in 1051, in London with King Edward himself.

    Mael Coluim's mother Sibyla had something more of the Norse blood in her than the English, and it showed through her boastfulness and attempted belittling of her son. Mael Coluim, who had been nine years old at his father's death, was sufficiently developed to stave off these attacks, and take every chance to prove his dominance and skill. Thus it was that Mael Coluim, at the age of 23, arrived at York already bitter at the world which had taken his birthright from him, and quite experienced at leading men.

    Earl Siward greeted his younger sister and her son warmly, and many were the toasts and felicitations given at the feast of valor and victory in praise of lord Osbjorn, who was four years his cousin's senior. Such was the merriment and good feeling that not one case of flyting was recorded, and not one brawl broke out between the Anglo-Norse companions of Earl Siward and the Gaelic guards of Mael Coluim.

    Good feeling, too, ran between Osbjorn and Mael Coluim. After recovering from the celebrations of Christmas, the men could often be seen laughing and training together in the bitter cold of Northumbrian winter. Each found his own match in the other; whether it was spear-hurling, horse-riding, lance-battling, or sword-playing, the two men were almost evenly matched.

    As the January and February storms came on more time was spent indoors. Lord Osbjorn's childhood tutor Steward Cola Bradbrica, who now tutored his young brother Waltheof, had taught him well games of tafl and the skald tradition. Now Osbjorn and his cousin spent the long winter nights playing tafl and composing skald lyrics in English, Norse, and Gaelic.

    They spent almost every night drinking heavily of good Northumbrian mead and ale, and singing their silly songs with the brothers of their companies; every morning was spent recovering, and so another slow winter day began. Earl Siward disdained this excess, for his youth had been forged in iron and blood; thane to Eirik Hakonsson at the age of 19 and Earl by the age Mael Coluim was now, he'd had nobody to correct his mistakes and the still-powerful Earls of Bernicia to contend with. Still, Earl Siward drank and worried, and began to feel that itch in the area of his liver which would kill him some years later.

    Sibyla, who had long been a source of embarrassment to her son due to both her domineering nature and her sexually liberal ways in the houses of guests, was now old enough to fret and worry, and thus caused a new embarrassment. As soon as the snows stopped falling and the air cleared, Osbjorn and Mael Coluim and their retainers bolted through the gates of Castle York, over the River Ouse, and into the hills and moorlands of the Pennines, there to hunt and regale each other with campfire tales for days at a time.

    This carefree winter and the time spent together forged a mighty bond between lord Osbjorn Anegde and Mael Coluim Cenn Mor; Osbjorn swore on the lands of his father that he would regain Mael Coluim's kingdom for him. The other young Anglo-Norse and dispossessed Gaelic lords and retainers too gained an excellent opinion of each other, and would spread tales of their wild treks and whooping hunts throughout Alba.

    These forays and carouses continued through to April, when the snows began to melt in earnest and the thanes and huscarls of the Earldom of Northumbria began to gather. Summer was on its way...along with war.



    Gah, turns out it was Eustache II of Boulogne's and not William of Normandy's men who were attacked in Dover in the previous "prologue" update, leading to the exile of Godwin and his sons.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  10. tuareg109 Banned

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    To others: Thank you all too, of course! Keep pointing out mistakes in language, historicity, and anything else you may find!

    I have changed the nickname to Anegde, but I want to keep the names culturally segregated. In a Roman TL, for example, the worldview will be very Rome-centric, and not at all tolerant of strange-sounding foreign names; in smaller, more mixed states like those of the British Isles, culture varied greatly and was important in a different way.

    For example, Sibyla--an Anglo-Norse woman--married Donnchad--a Gaelic-Scottish man--and bore his son and heir, Mael Coluim. In other cultures--like Rome--any free--let alone noble--Roman woman marrying a Greek would be cause for some kind of riot; getting her half-Roman son accepted in society would be nigh-impossible.

    So that's why. Thanks though.
     
  11. Sian Sianic Enterprises

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    not quite sure chess would have come to the Anglo-Norse just yet ... its first generally acknowledged to have reached Europe from Iberia somewhere in the 900's, was likely first introduced in England following the Norman Conquest and would probably have played Hnefatafl, which was the dominating board game in north europe before the 12'th century
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  12. tuareg109 Banned

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    !!! Thank you very much, and duly changed!
     
  13. Thoresby Well-Known Member

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    Great idea. Coming from the Danelaw I've always been interested in the idea of a more lasting Christian Anglo-Norse hybrid culture.
     
  14. FellowNerd Jeb's! only shill

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    This is immensly interesting. Subscribed
     
  15. Julius Vogel Pursuant

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    I wonder how much remained of the prior British culture in this area at the time? Any at all or what? If there were any significant traces one could end up with a more British Anglo-Norse mix. Maybe even a stronger Gaelic influence too.
     
  16. tuareg109 Banned

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    Slick Willie took care of that; you'd need a POD with the Northumbrians readily accepting William as king and not rebelling, then the North would be culturally different, and more Norse.

    As it stands, almost 5% died of hunger alone, during the Harrying of the North. How many died due to battle/rebellion, we don't know. With the northern lords accepting the Norman king, I'm sure Northumbria would evolve a different form of modern English, with less French influences.
     
  17. tuareg109 Banned

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    Annals of the Anglo-Norse

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    Siward the Stout [Sigeweard Digri], Earl of Northumbria
    Lived 1000-
    Reigned 1023-

    "They went forth that summer and, by Christmas, were feasting the death of foul Mac Bethad in Edeanburh."
    --Bishop Cola of Durham, Annals of the Anglo-Norse, Anno Domini 1217

    Lord Osbjorn set forth with his cousin Mael Coluim on the 12th of April Anno Domini 1055; their purpose was the possession of Edinburgh, principal city of the usurper Mac Bethad, and to see that man dead. They rode and their footmen trudged--some 500 horse and 6,000 foot--north through Bernicia, setting a steady pace for Bamburgh, which had been the capital city of Osbjorn's maternal uncle Eadulf's Earldom of Bernicia, before Siward had killed the man and taken over the land.

    The men at Bamburgh, though mostly Anglo-Saxon rather than Anglo-Norse, were glad to see the brave son of a princess whose line went back to Ida, the first Anglian King of Northumbria, arrive in their city. Lord Osbjorn and his cousin feasted there for two nights, and their numbers had swollen to 700 horse and 9,000 foot--a welcome boon. In addition to this were the arrivals of Mael Coluim of Strathclyde and noble Osulf.

    Mael Coluim of Strathclyde gave both lord Osbjorn and King Mael Coluim Cenn Mor many rings and chains of gold and silver, and promised them good land and a part of his kingdom's trade if they would install him in Strathclyde against the rebellious lords after the defeat of Mac Bethad; in addition, he swore to become Cenn Mor's vassal. Lord Osbjorn, with his cousin's approval, graciously accepted; after the defeat of Mac Bethad, they would turn south-west and into the hills of Strathclyde.

    Osulf was the son of that Earl Eadulf who Earl Siward had killed; the man was thus Osbjorn's mother's cousin, but had been a child in the year 1041, and unable to exercise his right to rule. He brought himself and a squire--so low had the line of Aella and the Kings of Northumbria fallen--and promised good service in return for the High-Reevedom of Bamburgh. This too lord Osbjorn, who had always felt pity for his mother's kin, accepted.

    On April 23rd the host left Bamburgh, to wind through Teviotdale and then over the hills to Lothian. There the minor lords who had treated with him last year, at the sight of Osbjorn's host, immediately declared fealty to him. Still there was no sign of resistance from Mac Bethad; no army and no warnings.

    Now a host of 1,000 horse and 10,000 foot, one of the most formidable every seen after the time of the Romans, the Army of Lord Osbjorn marched to Edinburgh, reaching it on the 1st of May. The city unexpectedly opened its gates, where its fearful steward Donnchad explained that Mac Bethad, on hearing of the size of Cenn Mor's host, had fled across the lowlands to Glasgow.

    Whereupon Cenn Mor shook his head and stated, "Fool of a man. See you what pride does to sense, cousin Osbjorn? To have been expedient and fled to Moray would have saved the usurper's life for years to come; organization of my realm and fighting those damned Morayvians would have taken years. As it stands, his pride has forced him to Glasgow. Saint Mungo will not tolerate that evil. He will be dead before year's end."

    Lord Osbjorn responded, "And yet pride is all a man has. I'd rather a bear tore my guts out than live as anything less than the son of my father, and Earl of Northumbria, and Lord of the North." Mael Coluim accepted this answer and confirmed the frightened steward in his post, also conferring upon him the Reevedom of Edinburgh.

    Cenn Mor's words proved prophetic. The host marched through the vale separating Glasgow from the Firth of Forth, and there encountered the army of Mac Bethad. A pitiful number of 6,000 still loyal to Mac Bethad met Osbjorn's army of twice their number, and were simply folded within the Anglo-Norse ranks. The most noble of the cavalry sat watching the battle unfold, and gave chase when Mac Bethad fled the field. Mael Coluim Cenn Mor beheaded Mac Bethad with his own sword while a well-thrown spear by lord Osbjorn impaled Mac Bethad's stepson, and Mormaer of Moray, Lulaich.

    The most noble and wealthy men of the host of lord Osbjorn entered Glasgow before dawn the next day and celebrated Mass at the Church of Saint Mungo. Bishop Michael mac Suein of Glasgow crowned Mael Coluim Cenn Mor on the 20th of May Anno Domini 1055 King of Alba and the Scots.

    After a week of feasting at the King's expense, the host still belonging to lord Osbjorn turned south into nearby Strathclyde, there to attempt to install Mael Coluim of Strathclyde onto his throne.


    EDIT: Edited some stuff.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  18. tuareg109 Banned

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    A better and more accurate map of the situation on May 20th, 1055.

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  19. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    Hello, just subscribed!
     
  20. MerryPrankster Donor

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    King Hereafter, a historical take on Macbeth, is one of my favorite books. A pity Macbeth dies in TTL, but it's still an interesting mileu.