Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Saxon + Norman = English

From Scott's Ivanhoe:

"...it was not until the reign of Edward the Third that the mixed language now termed English, was spoken at the court of London, and that the hostile distinction of Norman and Saxon seems entirely to have disappeared..."

The last king of the House of Wessex, Edward III, died on January 5, 1066.  Edward reigned for roughly 24 years.  Edward favored Normans at his court, which was a cause of discontent with his powerful father-in-law, Godwin, Earl of Wessex.  Wessex is the traditional stronghold of the Anglo Saxon monarchy.  Edward himself was the son of Emma of Normandy, and he had spent time in Normandy in his youth.

Edward's death led to the short-lived reign of Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon king before the Norman invasion.  Harold reigned from Edward's death to October 14, 1066, when he was killed at the Battle of Hastings, and William the Conqueror took England.

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