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"1066- Dane on Dane?" Topic

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Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2022 7:07 p.m. PST

So in 1066, England was invaded by Harald Hardrada, in what many call the last great Viking invasion.

However, it is arguable that by then most of England was heavily influenced by the Danes and many were Danes by descent. While the popular belief is that the Anglo-Danes were mostly Northumbrian, I'd argue that all of Saxon England was heavily influenced by Dane culture and custom (and the Danes were heavily influenced by the Saxon Culture).

Similarly, you could argue that the Normans were essentially Franco-Danes, being themselves Vikings who came to France and like many visitors to France thereafter, found the local women to their liking and decided to stay and intermarry.

So…could one make the argument that the major campaigns in England of 1066 were essentially internecine wars between various Viking cultures? Saxon/Anglo-Dane on Dane and then Franco-Dane on Saxon/Anglo-Dane?

And could one argue that after the invasion, it was less resentment of Saxons vs. Normans and more one flavor of Viking descendent against another flavor of Viking descendent?

Just a topic for discussion.

Swampster05 Apr 2022 12:03 a.m. PST

More Scandi on Scandi.
Hardrada was Norwegian. Rollo of Normandy may have been Norwegian or Danish (even medieval sources are contradictory) and the settlers of Normandy appear to have been mixed, coming from nearly all parts of the 'Viking' world.

Popular belief may think of Northumbria as Viking though it is confusing as modern Northumbria wasn't Viking. The Vikings took the southern part which is now mostly Yorkshire and I think if anything, people associate the Vikings with York. Culture was showing signs of mixing, probably the most significant being the modification of Englisc with the introduction of much Scandinavian vocabulary and grammar.

The East Midlands and East Anglia were also part of the Danelaw though the lack of a 'Jorvik' in those areas means that those settlements haven't entered the public imagination in the same way.

Whatever the common Scandi roots, the difference in language between Norman and Saxon would have over-ridden the links of origin or any feeling that it was some kind of kin-strife.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine05 Apr 2022 1:27 a.m. PST

I would have suggested that the Danes that came with Cnute, and the various Scandinavian settlers before that, would have become anglisized rather than the more numerous English becoming Scandinavian.

Wesssex and southern Britan certainly never had any major Scandinavian settlement and they were, from Alfred's time, pretty much the driving force for creating an English identity.

King Harold's grand father was mostly likely Wulfnoth Cild who was certainly southern English. His mother however was Danish so who knows how he identified? My gut feeling is with a life spent mostly in Wessex and with and English paternal line he felt very English and not at all Scandinavian.

dapeters05 Apr 2022 9:02 a.m. PST

While those various peoples back then would have thought that everyone was a foreigner, their cultures and languages (dialect really) were very similar.

dapeters05 Apr 2022 9:05 a.m. PST

Also was there an invasion in 1069-70?

Swampster06 Apr 2022 12:01 a.m. PST

The language difference between Old Norse and Old English was far more than one between dialects.
Fažer vįr es ert ķ himenrķki,
verši nafn žitt hęilagt

Fęder ure şu şe eart on heofonum,
si şin nama gehalgod.

Father and Earth are similar, but virtually every language has words in common with others. (The word for 'three' is similar in virtually every European language and even as far as India.)

The culture of the Normans was very different to that of the others – even the common bond of Christianity was applied differently such as with the use of OE bible translations alongside the Latin.

dapeters06 Apr 2022 12:59 p.m. PST

If the modern Scandinavian can readily understand each other today does one imagine things were different 12 centuries ago? We are not talking about Greek or Hindi, but languages from the same trunk, limb and branch of the Indo-European languages. Many years ago I played an Old English version of Beowulf for some Icelandic friends they understood it. The difference between Icelandic and the other Scandinavian languages is about 1000 years of isolation.

Yes the Normans went on to become a different people but I doubt any of the parties needed interpreters in 1060s.

Augustus06 Apr 2022 3:52 p.m. PST

It's a dog eat dog world, I guess.

Swampster06 Apr 2022 4:05 p.m. PST

The Normans already spoke (Norman) French. Not only did they need interpreters but there is evidence of their existence. link

English and Norse were a lot more mutually intelligible and there does not, indeed, seem to be evidence of interpreters needed (unlike Norman French, Irish and Latin). Academics have tried to establish the degree of intelligibility and at least some have concluded that it was impossible to make a conclusion :) One academic reckoned it was on the level of individual words which would allow, say, trade but not easy conversation.
That could make them as distinct as the various modern Romance languages or much closer. Not as close, though, as modern Scandi languages or the various forms of Old French. It seems a big difference was in the grammar, including different word endings. The fact that loan words and grammar from ON affected OE shows that there was enough of a difference for it to have happened – there are, though, other words which were from a common root.

The region of England would also matter. Wessex English relatively few recorded Norse words but Middle English has a lot more, suggesting that the Mercian form of OE had an understandably greater impact from Norse.

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