Thursday, July 5, 2018

First Line Friday: Anglo-Saxon Edition



First Line Friday is brought to you by Hoarding Books.

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"Until quite recently, little attention has been paid by historians, blinded by the very fact of its success, to the process, after Hastings, by which William the Conqueror, made good his claim to the English throne against the will of the English."
 
I am so torn on how I feel about William the Bastard. Okay, not him specifically, as you can tell by my reference, but by the Normans conquering my dear Anglo-Saxons. I believe Harold was the rightful king chosen by the Witan, and any promises he made to William were clearly under duress. If only Harold had waited a little longer for reinforcements before marching from Stamford to Hastings; the whole of England's history would look a lot different.

But without the Norman kings, we would not have the Plantagenet dynasty, which began with the marriage of two very intelligent and highly motivated people, through whom the whole of Europe would become related as their eight children married into royal houses on the Continent. There's a reason, after all, that Eleanor of Aquitaine is referred to as the 'Grandmother of Europe'. Despite my love for the Anglo-Saxons, I can not imagine a world without Eleanor taking center stage.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Happy Reading!
Sarah

48 comments:

  1. Interesting thoughts, and I'm no expert but I've even thought in the past what would it have been like if the Normans had not won? It's interesting to think about if there were alternate timelines where things were different, and we could see them...

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    1. Then have I got the book for you! GK Holloway wrote a really great book about this called 1066: What Fates Impose - and you know it has to be good if it is historical fiction that I will read! THEN he and a group of authors wrote a collection that came out around the anniversary called "1066 Turned Upside Down" and it goes through the year of 1066, imagining different scenarios - anything from Edgar Aetheling being crowned instead of Harold, to Harald Hardrada winning at Stamford. You MUST read it if this topic interests you, it was phenomenal!

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    2. Sounds incredibly interesting. Do the authors touch on feudalism at all? I'm aware that the system was really instituted in England only after the Normans destroyed the Saxon nobility and had to reorganize everything.

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    3. Each alternative history story is very different, I don't really want to say much about it, because it was such a great collection and some were so thoroughly unexpected, it was great. But yes, the nobility was pretty much wiped out, and those who were not killed in battle saw all their lands handed over to the Norman nobility.

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  2. it sounds so cool. I like to read your blog post and enjoy the story you shared with us. I am looking for such story finally I found it here. I will ebooks download online and finished the story later.

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  3. Happy Friday!😎

    My first lines come from Loving Grace by April Smith.

    I’M LATE. THE PHONE IS already ringing off the wall by the time I make it to my desk. I toss my keys and bag to the side, not really bothering with where they land. I’ll get them later. I grab the phone and snag the corner of the desk with my hip. That’s going to leave a mark.

    Have an awesome weekend and happy reading!😊

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    1. Happy Friday to you as well Susan, thanks for coming by. Happy a lovely, book-filled weekend!

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  4. My first line comes from The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard

    Proluge
    November 1942

    The news that June's grandfather was being evicted had come from her older sister Mary, who worked in town at Langham's Drug Store.

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    1. Hi Caryl, thank you for coming by and sharing your line this week. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  5. Your excerpt was fascinating. I'd love to sit in a class and listen to you retell that part of history. The book I'm sharing on my blog is "Lord Livesey's Bluestocking" by Audrey Harrison. I will share the first line from chapter 22. "Livesey stood next to his aunt in the side chapel, taking in the scene whilst gritting his teeth." Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thank you Anneliese! My dream job would be a professor of medieval or Anglo-Saxon history. Basically, the history through all of the England, from Roman Britain to 1603 (when Elizabeth I died and the Tudor era came to a close). Pretty much any of those eras in those 1600 years are my favorites.

      Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend!

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  6. I'm not doing a FLF post this week, but may I throw the cat among the pigeons? I do seem to recall hearing and reading that the Edward the Confessor's true heir of the blood was neither William nor Harold but a boy called Edgar.
    A nephew's son- so great nephew I suppose.

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    1. Edgar Aetheling was the last male blood relative of Edward the Confessor, and became the last Anglo-Saxon king from the House of Wessex elected by the Witan after Harold's death in 1066, but he was never crowned. Edgar was born in Hungary where his father Edward the Exile and his older brother, Edmund, had been spirited away to when their father Edmund Ironside had been murdered by Cnut, so that Cnut could not have them killed also. The boys were raised in Hungary, married there, and Edmund died there. The timeline is a bit unclear, but Edward the Exile and his family returned to England during the Confessor's reign, as the Exile was a potential heir to the throne and it was obvious by then that the Confessor would have no children. But the Exile died (likely murdered, possibly even by Harold's family) before he and the Confessor ever had a chance to meet. Edward the Confessor and Edmund Ironside were half brothers, so yes, Edgar was the Confessor's great nephew. Kings were chosen by the Witan, so Edgar being a male blood relative did not guarantee he would elected as the heir. It is my understanding that the Witan elected Harold because of Edgar's age and lack of experience in warfare. However, when Harold was killed at Hastings, the Witan did elect Edgar, trying to put off William from taking the throne.

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    2. True. Although I hear the Saxons had the last laugh, because Edgar's sister was taken to Scotland, where she became Queen, and her daughter ended up marrying Henry I. Her daughter's daughter was the Empress Matilda!

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    3. Yep, Edgar's sister became Saint Margaret of Scotland, she was canonized in 1250. This fact always kind of comforts me a bit, because Empress Matilda gave birth to Henry II, who married Eleanor of Aquitaine. I suppose it is possible that things still would have gone that way, had Edgar been crowned and gone on to rule.

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  7. I'll share a first line from a book I hope to start reading very soon.

    "Two construction workers carried in the orange ladder splatted with dried paint blotches and old drywall mud."

    From The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble

    Happy Friday! :)

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  8. My first line is from Blind Betrayal by Nancy Mehl:

    As Martin Avery waited to be murdered, he was surprised to find that, more than anything else, he felt offended.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your line this week Paula, have a great weekend!

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  9. I love the interesting books you share every week!

    My current read is The Truth Between Us by Tammy L. Gray:

    Nine months, twenty-seven days, and four hours.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thank you Suzie, I do love history so, and especially this era, so I am always happy to hear when others find it interesting too. Sometimes I feel like the only one! Happy reading, hope you have a lovely weekend.

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  10. History books are always so interesting to read...happy Friday Sarah!

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  11. Ah..... 1066..... Interesting times. Shame 'we' lost but it all turned out pretty well in the end... kind of.....

    Anyway, My first line(s):

    "This is an argumentative book and one of the main contentions is already suggested by the title. The central misconception, which I set out to expose, is the notion that strong leaders in the conventional sense of leaders who get their way, dominate their colleagues, and concentrate decision-making in their hands, are the most successful and admirable."

    The Myth of the Strong Leader by Archie Brown.

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    1. And that is why I am so conflicted about the period! I think Harold would've been a good king, but the Normans had to make way for the Plantagenets, so...

      Happy Reading!

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    2. I do find it interesting that you get pro-Norman historians as well as pro-Anglo-Saxon ones telling different sides of the same story. Harold definitely *should* have won and probably would have if he'd prepared a bit more. As you say the whole of Western European/World history could've been very different if he had won!

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    3. Right, and I am definitely pro-Anglo-Saxon, but resigned to the Normans winning - though I never seem to stop complaining about it, ha! Harold's win at Stamford was so decisive, and I truly do believe if he would have waited for reinforcements before marching to Hastings, he would have won the day. The men were exhausted, having just fought in such a grueling battle and the march itself was long and tiring. They had the better position in the field, but there was no way they could hold it.

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    4. One of my early history teachers was clearly pro-Anglo-Saxon. He used to regal us with stories of Hereward and his resistance to Norman oppression. It obviously went deep!

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    5. Peter Rex has a book after this one, they're not necessary to read together, but the book after this one is about Hereward and the fight against the Normans. It is he book I am going to move next week!

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  12. Happy Friday!

    I'm reading Newlywed Games by Mary Davis right now, so here's the first line: "Bruce Halloway had looked up with a start when he heard the ruckus outside his office window."

    Hallie @ Book by Book

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    1. Happy Friday to you as well Hallie, thanks for stopping by. Happy Reading!

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  13. Happy Friday! My first line is from This Freedom Journey by Misty M. Beller:

    "This journey I take seems foolish to others, yet I can't help the yearning that fuels me. ~Adrien's Journal"

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  14. Enjoy your book! I hope you can stop by:

    http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2018/07/first-lines-friday-7618.html

    Colletta

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    1. Thank you so much Colletta, I hope to start it tonight. Happy Reading!

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  15. Very interesting! I always look forward to seeing what you will share from on Fridays.

    I’m sharing from Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton on my blog today, so here is the first line from chapter 2:

    “The babysitter was late, Addie and Walsh were flying around the house in superhero capes yelling the Batman theme song–“Da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-Batman!”–and Jenna had just poured a mug of coffee when Walsh bumped into her from behind, spilling hot liquid down the front of her black Full Cup Coffee T-shirt.”

    Happy Friday!

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    1. Thank you Yvette, I am glad that others find these topics as interesting as I do! Thanks for sharing your line, happy Reading!

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  16. The Resistance Edition ... love it!

    What if the Normans hadn't won? Well, the Welsh might still be independent, for one thing. No "United Kingdom" (such as it is). Interesting question!

    I'm sharing from The Forgiving Hour by Robin Lee Hatcher on the blog today. Not that I managed to stop with the first line—I've now finished it!

    Here's another great line, from Chapter Thirty. This is one I've been learning the truth of in the last year, attending my church prayer meeting with ladies three or four decades older than me:

    Being a Christian isn't a destination; it's a lifelong journey. There's always something new to learn along the way, always something fresh to be revealed.

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    1. Yes, so many things might be different! I read a really great alternative fiction book called '1066 Turned Upside Down' and it is a collection of short stories about how differently things could be. It was a great read, several authors came up with such interesting ideas.

      Happy Reading!

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  17. You're so smart!!! I love British history, and thought I knew quite a bit, but I've got nothing on you! 😉

    This week for FLF, I am showcasing Roseanna M. White's novel Whispers From the Shadows. Here, I will post the first line from chapter 2 in the book I'm just starting today, The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham.

    "Em, you look so improved."

    Kind of sounds insulting...I'll have to read on and find out the context. 😉

    Hope you're having a blessed weekend with lots of fun reading time. 😊

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    1. Oh gosh, thank you! I just happen to know a lot about some very specific times in history :D Thanks for sharing your line, have a lovely weekend!

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  18. The book I shared on my blog is The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli, but I'm currently reading Things I Never Told You by Beth K Vogt so I'll share that first line here: "The what-ifs taunted me every time I visited my parents, but any hope of beginning again had vanished years ago--if there'd ever been one. Hope you have a great weekend!

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    1. You too Becca, thanks for sharing your line. Happy Reading!

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  19. I'm making my rounds a little late this time. This sounds like it would be a great resource book, full of interesting information! I hope you enjoyed a nice weekend!

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    1. It was a lovely one here, lots of relaxing and reading after my daughter's birthday party on Saturday. Happy Reading!

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