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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries

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Old February 10th, 2018, 11:24 AM   #31
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From: Chalfont, Pennsylvania
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Originally Posted by notgivenaway View Post
Maybe. But he could have considered himself more worthy for the throne, as a descendant of the Wessex line. Harold was only loosely descended from Alfred the Great at best.
It is certainly news to me that there was any claimed descent of Harold II from Alfred the Great.

Originally Posted by ThatGuy View Post
Wasn't Harold allegedly descended from Alfred's older brother Aethelred?
That is a very new theory that as far as we know was never alleged in Harold II's lifetime. If it was not claimed during Harold II's lifetime, and there is no evidence that it was, then that would not help Harold II hold the throne even if it was true.

Godwin's origin is obscure. He was probably the son of Wulfnoth Cild, a South Saxon thegn, but Wulfnoth's ancestry is disputed. A few genealogists and historians argue that he was descended from Alfred the Great's elder brother, King Æthelred I (865–71), but almost all historians of Anglo-Saxon England reject this theory.
A few scholars have put forward a genealogical reconstruction making the Godwins descend from Alfred the Great's elder brother, King Æthelred I of Wessex. The theory was first proposed by the historian Alfred Anscombe in 1913,[10] and advocated by the genealogist Lundie W. Barlow in 1957[11] and the Mayanist scholar and genealogist David H. Kelley in 1989.[12]
Frank Barlow is almost alone among modern scholars in taking the theory seriously. Peter Rex, in his biography of Harold, describes Godwin as one of Cnut's new men, and dismisses claims that the family had aristocratic ancestry.[22] Emma Mason, in her history of the Godwin family, describes Wulfnoth as a mystery man who was probably a minor figure at court in the late tenth century,[23] and Ian Walker in his biography of Harold gives a similar description of Wulfnoth as "a relatively minor figure who attended court only infrequently".[24] Williams in her ODNB article on Godwin,[1] and Robin Fleming in her ODNB article on Harold,[2] do not mention the theory when discussing Godwin's ancestry, and according to Stenton: "Of his origin nothing can be said with any assurance."[25]

Anscombe, Alfred (1913). "The Pedigree of Godwine". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. 3. 7: 129–50. doi:10.2307/3678418. JSTOR 3678418.

Barlow, Frank (2002). The Godwins:The Rise and Fall of a Noble Dynasty. Pearson Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-78440-6.

Kelley, David H. (1989). "The House of Aethelred". In Brook, L. L. Studies in Genealogy and Family History. Tribute to Charles Evans on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday. Foundation for Medieval Genealogy. pp. 63–93. OCLC 22235011.

Originally Posted by notgivenaway View Post
Well, Anglo-Saxons are not really popular amongst the Establishment at the moment, although things are slowly changing.
I think because much of the establishment is descended from Normans, it's their history that is promoted the most. It's a shame, considering the Normans would not have had their legacy without the Anglo-Saxons building the foundation. The works of Athelstan, Edgar, or even Aethelred, rival anything William or Henry I did.[/QUOTE]

i find it hard to believe that 950 years later much of the British establishment have a majority Norman ancestry instead of Anglo-Saxon and/or ancient Briton. I even find it hard to believe that most members of the British establishment have a small but higher proportion of Norman ancestors than the general population does.

I think that instead of repeating the myth of majority Norman ancestry of the British establishment it would be better for you to say that you think it is because much of the establishment mistakenly believes the myth of their majority Norman ancestry. Thus you would be pointing out that pro Norman bias in history is based on a myth of Norman ancestry instead of the fact that Normans are a tiny proportion of the ancestry of modern British people.

Originally Posted by The Cell View Post
Herald Godwinson was also petty legendary, even though his reign was rather short . Had he won the engagement against the Normans, he would have been hailed as the greatest military leader of all time...
Greater than Hannibal, greater than Alexander, greater than Caesar, Greater than Napoleon, greater than Genghis Khan? Well, I guess his followers would have called him the greatest.

Last edited by MAGolding; February 10th, 2018 at 11:53 AM.
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Old February 10th, 2018, 06:09 PM   #32

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Well most of British history was first documented in the 19th century, and by historians who were aristocrats. Even today, most aristocrats have strong Norman descent. This is where the pro-Norman bias stems from, even if it is not as strong as it once was. there is the old notion that Anglo-Saxons were just woodcutters and farmers, until the Normans came and civilised England,

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