The War that Changed the English Language – Mini-Wars #3


This video was made possible by Skillshare, an online learning community with over 17,000 classes in just about anything you can imagine. (jeez they’re sponsoring everyone nowadays) Keep watching until the end of the video to learn how you can get your first two months for free. England in the Middle Ages. The sun is shining . The birds are singing. The children are playing in the village square. “What a wonderful time to be alive!” “Hey, you’re dying of dysentary.” (welp) “Aaaaaaand, also, we’re being raided by Vikings.” “What an awful time to be alive!” It’s the Year 900. Europe is a Vikings wet dream. Raids galore. “Hey, you wanna go raid Paris?” Okay, that particular raid didn’t go too well, but the King of the Francs said, “You guys are pretty tough and scary.” “How about we give you land in northern France?” “And in return, you protect us from other Vikings.” And it was agreed. The Vikings set up the Duchy of Normandy And then they went full-on French. Converting to Christianity, learning the language, and making babies with the locals. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) England also had its fair share of Viking problems. In the 800s, Danish Vikings had conquered most of the country, but the Anglo-Saxons eventually managed to kick them out. Although they left behind a bunch of Viking settlers. Now this guy’s king. “He sucks. Replace him with his brother!” (k) and he was like, “Hey, baby.” “How you doin?” and had a son, and then turned around and was like, “Hey, baby.” “How you doin?” and had another son. (damn) And then he died and no one was sure which son to make King. “This one, cause he’s older!” “Not if I have anything to do with it.” “That works for us, too!” Then he grew up and married the Duke of Normandy’s daughter and had a bunch of kids. Remember this one, he’s important. Then his advisors came to him and said, “Hey, man, all those Viking settlers that are living here?” “They might band together and kill you.” “Well, then why don’t we kill them first?” And so it was. This pissed off the Danish king, who launched an invasion. And the Vikings conquered England once again. Then the Anglo-Saxons unconquered it. Then the Vikings reconquered it. The King’s family had to go into exile, including Edward Remember him? He went to Normandy where he lived for thirty years. He and his brother Alfred tried to return to England to retake the throne from the Vikings. But they were betrayed by the Earl of Wessex, who said, “Hey friend, I’ll take you to London where all the nobles are waiting to make you King” “Oh, no, look out, red-hot poker in the eyes.” (trolled) “I can’t see!” And thus you can’t be King. (jerk) Edward then escaped back to Normandy. After a few more Viking Kings came and went, one finally died without an heir and Edward was called back to England, where he became king. And that’s where our story begins [Intro] Here’s the thing about becoming a king in the Middle Ages. Often your entire country won’t support you at first. You can be vulnerable to rebellions and it’s up to you to take control. Fortunately for Edward, there was already a super powerful guy who had a lot of control over England and if Edward could get his support then England would be his. “Who is this guy?” “Aw piss,” “It’s the guy who gave my brother the red-hot poker in the eyes.” After an awkward moment where Edward exiled Godwin from the country, He eventually had to give in and let him keep his earldom. Possibly after Godwin gave him a bunch of gold and said he was very very sorry. King Edward also married Godwin’s daughter then Godwin died and his massive fortune was passed down to his sons who all became Earl’s in Particular this one became the new Earl of Wessex Harold Godwinson was now King Edward’s brother-in-law he was a close advisor to the King a brave warrior who had proven himself in battle against the Welsh and in many ways he Was almost like a Co-King, uh-oh Edward got old and he’s on his deathbed (rip) Possibly for religious reasons or maybe because he wasn’t happy about having to marry her He didn’t boink his wife and as a result has no kids. Meaning, there’s no obvious heir to the throne “Meaning I’m gonna be king.” “He does have a grand nephew. It could be him” “Hmm no let’s go with me” Just one problem. I mentioned that Edwards mother was in Norman Edward grew up in Normandy and he had a lot of Norman friends The current Duke of Normandy was William the bastard Why was he called the bastard one day his father was sneaking out of his castle When his advisors said, “Where are you going?” “Uh, to the tanner’s shop?” “Why?” “To get a…” “Tan?” But that was a lie firstly because tanner’s give you leather not tans and Secondly because he was really going to see the Tanners daughter one thing leads to another and out comes baby William born out of wedlock Thus an absolute bastard His father died when William was seven or eight and he became the new Juke he spent most of his childhood narrowly avoiding assassination Which probably turned him into the big balls tough guy? He’s remembered as today in 1051 the town of Aleçon tried to rebel against him and the townspeople beat on dead animal skins as an insult to his commoner mother William was furious and he responded by well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty that’s the kind of guy We’re dealing with here William and Edward were good friends and Edward allegedly promised that William could have the English throne after him A decade later Harold Godwinson even visited William and pledged an oath to him over Holy relics promising that William could be the next king of England Although it’s possible Harold only did it because William was holding his family hostage So when William heard that the king was on his deathbed he said hooray. I’m gonna be king So now you have two extremely powerful men who both think they’re about to become the next king. But wait This guy is the king of Norway He spent most of his life as a warrior for hire. Fighting for whoever would give him the most gold You name a place. He probably fought a war then Poland. Yep. Estonia. Yep. Against pirates in the Mediterranean Yep, the holy lands Sicily and Bulgaria. Yep He got crazy rich off the back of it and was swimming in gold Then he returned home and became King One of the previous Norwegian kings had made an agreement with one of England’s Viking kings saying that when that Viking King died the king Of Norway would get the English throne. Hardrada felt that because of this agreement He was now entitled to the English throne He was also eager to go on one last big conquest that would turn him into a legend So when he got word that Edward was on his deathbed he thought I’m gonna invade England and then I’m gonna be king So now we have three extremely powerful men who all think they’re about to become the next king of England and that means somebody’s probably About to get hurt back in England Harold Godwinson is watching over the dying King Edward. Suddenly. He comes out with a shocking announcement Hey, everyone gather in. That’s it. Come closer. Don’t be shy. Okay, so I’ve got bad news. The king is dead I know very sad, but good news. He said that I should be the next king. So hooray for me and Oh, yeah He said that if he once told anyone else They could be king that he doesn’t like them anymore and they should just stay in Normandy And also he said that no one should ask any further questions Okay. Good talk. Go um. Go do whatever it is you do Usually it took months of preparation to crown a new king But Harold rushed it and he had himself crowned the same day King Edward was buried in Normandy William’s advisors came to him and said: “Hey Big Willie, bad news, Harold Godwinson has taken the English throne.” And William was furious So he sent an envoy to Harold who said: “William says you stole the throne and demands you immediately return it to him.” Hmm Let me think about that thinking No. (good answer) “He said no.” “That bastard.” “Wait, I thought you were the bastard”. (lol) “Dude. Uncool.” William immediately began gathering his armies together and preparing for an invasion of England Now killing a king was generally frowned upon in old-time Europe because they were considered to have been chosen by God himself So back in Normandy, William had to get God on his side. He needed the Pope’s blessing for his conquest So he went to the Pope and said “Godwinson made an oath to me over Holy relics And then he usurped the throne. Can I kill him?” “Yeah, sure. Why not.” So the Pope gave William his blessing meaning William now had God on his side. Everything was ready to go Just one problem. The wind. It was blowing the wrong way and William had to wait with his army in Normandy While Godwinson waited with his army in the South of England, they waited and waited and waited and waited. And then William said screw it and sailed for England and got shipwrecked because the wind was blowing the wrong way So then he decided to keep on waiting They waited for two months and the wind never changed eventually Godwinson got bored and also ran out of food for his soldiers So he sent them all home, and he returned to London The south coast was undefended and all William could do was keep waiting while the northerly wind kept William in Normandy It was carrying Hardrata and his Viking army to England Hardrata landed near the old Viking city of York and defeated a regional army led by the northern Earl’s and York’s surrendered When Godwinson heard about this, he must have been pretty upset He had just disbanded his army. And now he had to gather them all together again and march all the way north He made the exhausting journey in just FOUR days (hm, impressive) Which is crazy quick and he caught the Vikings off guard and unprepared for battle. The two armies stood on either side of the river Derwent Legends says that a beserker Viking single handedly held the only way crossing the river dodging arrows and fending off attackers Until some English soldiers got under the bridge in a barrel and gave him the old spear in the jewels This gave the Vikings enough time to form a shield wall. But because they’d been caught off guard Many weren’t wearing their chainwear and armour and the English eventually defeated them, killing Hardrada, and with him bringing the Viking era in England to an end just keep waiting…just keep waiting.. well…this is BOOORING! *squeak* ayyy there we go! Finally! Williams fleet of over 700 ships and 14,000 men set sail and landed on the English coast at Pevensey and set up camp near Hastings and Harold was still all the way in York his exhausted army had to march all the way south just days after their battle with the Vikings. Harold made it to London and considered just Staying there waiting for William to come to him but William forced Harold’s hand by burning down a bunch of villages Harold’s army set out and met Williams on the 14th of October 1066 and both sides prepared themselves for the Battle of Hastings the English were on a hill so they decided to stay there because it was A good defensive position the Normans approached and the two sides probably spent a while yelling at each other William and the Normans had a few tactical advantages over the English the first were the archers the Normans sent volley after volley of arrows Of the English who formed a shield wall in defence Then Williams sent his infantry up the hill The English threw anything they had at them and the Normans couldn’t break through the shield wall Then the Normans next tactical advantage came into play William sent his cavalry up the hill but even they struggled to break through the shield wall defences. Wave after wave of Infantry and cavalry came and Harold knew All he had to do was let the Normans exhaust themselves and he would win but then something a bit strange happened It’s possible the Normans incorrectly believed William had been killed Maybe they lost their will to fight against the shield wall, or maybe it was an intentional deception tactic But suddenly the norman forces turned and ran away from the english believing they had won the english broke their shield wall and chased down The retreating Normans who then turned around encircled the English troops and cut them down in the chaotic fighting that followed Harold Godwinson was killed The most popular theory being that he took an arrow in the eye the English were defeated and William had won He was no more just a bastard now He was a conqueror at first English Nobles were reluctant to make him King but William burned down a few more villages and the nobles Eventually gave in and offered him the crown as he was coronated the local villages and Westminster let out a cheer of support but William Thought it was a riot So he burned down the village (they just love burning down the villages..) William then had to go on a long and costly campaign of quelling rebellions and burning down villages all over England *insert burning down village compilation* To force the people into submission and England went through a massive transformation under its new Norman rule English Nobles were replaced with Normans They built castles and grand cathedrals But one of the most interesting changes occurred within the English language The Normans brought their dialect of French to England and emerged with Old English and ways we still live with today First of all, The Normans were obviously the ones in power So words related to power like government judge castle and crown come from norman’s words that are considered Posher are more refined are usually the norman ones at first the anglo-saxons probably weren’t that friendly to the Normans while the Normans likely weren’t that amiable towards the Anglo-Saxons. An Anglo-Saxon might come into a room, but a Norman would enter into a chamber, an Anglo Saxon might buy themselves a shirt While the Norman would purchase a blouse, and while that filthy peasants new shirt may be fair The Norman blouse is absolutely beautiful! The Normans actually considered some anglo-saxon words so crude that I can’t even say them on YouTube. But there’s more! Ask an anglo-saxon What job he does and he might respond with some low-level trade such as a baker, a Miller, or a shoemaker But a Norman has a skilled trade like a painter, a tailor, or a merchant the anglo-saxon farmers working in the fields owned many cows, pigs and sheep But once they were served up in a Norman banquet, they became beef, pork, and mutton and written English changed to since many Anglo Saxons couldn’t write the written language was romanticized your annoying friend that says Cool Hwip might just be speaking an old English dialect as the anglo-saxons originally wrote it hwen hwere and hwat but the Normans swapped the w and h around and the long English ‘a’ vowel sounded more like an ‘O’ to the Normans so you can thank them that you live in a home not a ham (thx Normans! :D) Hey, fun fact about William. The man couldn’t read or write not in French not in English not in anything (he have dyslexia) well What if I told you there is a place where you could learn French English? even Japanese if you wanted and not just that pick up a musical instrument learn to code games and apps Animation photography and film anything you could dream up old taught by genuine experts and you can get your first two months for free I’m talking about skill share with over 17,000 classes in the arts business Technology and more I get a lot of comments asking how I create these videos and the answer is a mixture of After Effects Photoshop And illustrator you can find classes for all skill levels on Skillshare pair those new design and animation skills with some coding and you’re on your way to making your first indie game or app you can Get unlimited access to all of this for a very affordable ten dollars a month But if you want to try it out first you can get two months for free by using this link Which can also be found in the description below. 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