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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 June 21st, 2013, 10:43 PM   #31

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Domesday does cover southern Northumbria, the North Riding/Deira part of the old Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.
Deira was heavily Danish by the 11th century while Bernica in the north was still ruled by the powerful Anglo-Saxon house of Bamburgh.
In 1006 Malcolm II of Scotland besieged Durham and was defeated by Uhtred the Bold of Bamburgh, Ælfhelm of York, nominally ealdorman of Northumbria did not come to Uhtred's aid so Æthelred had him assassinated by the infamous Eadric Streona, presumably because he was unsure of the loyalty of the Danish population of southern Northumbria, cf St. Brice's Day massacre.
Ælfhelm's daughter, Ælfgifu, marring Cnut the Great would point to Æthelred being right.

Æthelred made Uhtred ealdorman of Northumbria and to consolidate his position Uhtred married the daughter of Styr, son of Ulf, a powerful Danish Jarl in York. In the contract made with Styr, Uhtred was to kill Styr's rival, Thurbrand the Hold another powerful Yorkshire thane.
Uhtred supported Sweyn Forkbeard in 1013, then switched back to Æthelred and Edmund Ironside on his death, then back to Cnut.

"Uhtred was summoned to a meeting with Cnut, and on the way there, he and forty of his men were murdered by Thurbrand the Hold, with assistance from Uhtred's own servant, Wighill and with the connivance of Cnut."

This started a blood feud in Northumbria that William inherited in 1066, he appointed about 10 earls of Northumbria without much success, the blood feud was still going on during the Anarchy of King Stephen among the grandchildren.
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Old June 24th, 2013, 05:02 AM   #32

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Thanks for that ....Fascinating, I have always wondered if there is some legacy of these times left today in modern Northumbria particularly in the ethnic make up of South and North and in the distinct accents and speech patterns that most outside of the area cannot distinguish
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Old June 25th, 2013, 03:05 AM   #33

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English Language is number 1 but the Anglo-Saxons also kept out the Danish Vikings from later trying to conquer Britain. The UK and Ireland would be All Danish today possibly if not for the Anglo-Saxons.

I'm betting it was the Anglo-Saxons who nicknamed the Danish Vikings The Black Danes. They were always fighting eachother.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 12:43 PM   #34

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I apologies if this has already been posted but according to research people with Norman names are statistically better off today than their Anglo-Saxon named fellows. So, even today we live with where our Anglo-Saxon ancestors were socially based in 1066.

On the other hand, most Norman names occur in the South-East where people in the Home Counties are better off anyway, so maybe it's just a coincidence.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 01:18 PM   #35

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Trial by juries has always been a main feature in Celtic, Germanic, and the Maliki school of Islamic laws. I'm afraid the British common law is Islamic by origin as I believe that laws of very different cultural origin have always been more influential in any parts of the world.
Whether it's been a feature of other cultures isn't relevant; the Anglo-Saxons did not receive their jury system from the Maliki school. They both developed these things in isolation from one another. The Saxons can trace their jury system back to the moots and allthings and such of Germanic peoples, in particular that of ancient Denmark, from whence the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons that settled in England had originated. Rather than the informal gathering typical of Germanic tribes, the Germanic tribes in Denmark had evolved a more formal, 12 man jury system. But the 12 man jury system that originated there, predates Islam by a very long time indeed.

British common law is certainly not Islamic in origin. Common law in Saxon England evolved out of conditions and needs that didn't even exist in the Middle East ... namely, the Saxons were not an urban peoples, their state was rather primitive in organization, most of the population and even most of the leadership was illiterate, and they lacked a universal system of codified law. By comparison, the Middle East - and most of Europe since the Romans - were more urban, had complex organized states with bureaucracies, had more widespread literacy, and had been using codified systems of formal law for centuries.

Common law developed because, even without a formal set of statutes to cover most cases in a consistent way, there was still a need for consistency to achieve any sense of justice. So before they had developed any legal codes, they came up with a system of law by precedence. Keep in mind that in the early part of the Saxon era, case law was practically the only law, for everything that didn't concern the royal courts, which handled matters of what we'd call 'national interest' today. There were no statutes on the books to be interpreted or applied in most of the cases that came before the courts. All they had was previous cases.

Islam has some case law and does use precedent, but it's fundamentally different from the case law of the English common law. It wasn't developed to generate new law but to interpret existing laws and religious dictates in complicated cases. English common law does this too, but it can also generate new law or even strike laws down. Because that's what it was originally intended to do, in an era when there was no formal system of codified laws. That's just never been the case in Islam. Even before Hammurabi, the Middle East had an organized system of formal laws, and by the time Islam arrived, that had been the practice for thousands of years. There was no need for a common law system that could create law where none existed, only for a case law system that could decide how the law that existed applied in a particular case.

As such, the so-called common law of the Islamic system is not really a common law system at all, it's a civil law system, like in France or ancient Rome.

Last edited by Edgewaters; June 25th, 2013 at 01:48 PM.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 01:59 PM   #36

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The bastard of Normandy didn't invade England in the Anglo-Saxon cultural period he invaded it in the Anglo-Danish period. Britain was very Scandinavian culturally back then.

I don't find this distinction terribly meaningful; after all, the Ingles, Jutes, and relevant Seaxons (those who settled England, that is) are all from Denmark too. But it's true that these groups had become different since settling in England, and at the time of the Norman invasion, England was heavily under the political and cultural influence of the state that had developed in Denmark since they had left.
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Old April 12th, 2016, 05:55 AM   #37

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numerous:

- England itself
- London in its current boundaries (the City/the square mile)
- many placenames (Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Norwich, Northampton, Southampton, Nottingham, Ipswich to name a few of many)
- the English language
- shires
- concepts of monarchy and government, like royal councils, coronation ceremonies, limited monarchy of at least the major nobles
- earliest works of literature (Beowulf)
- relationships between countries/kingdoms in Great Britain (initial subjugation of the Welsh, Scots) that led ultimately to the UK
- days of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday. Saturday is Roman)

The basic framework of what England is today, more or less.

The Normans largely changed the Witan council to the Curia Regis, and made French/Latin the official legal and governmental languages. Other than that, William and co. didn't change that much.
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Old April 12th, 2016, 06:16 AM   #38

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As notgivenaway says, virtually all of modern England's bones and most of its muscles are Saxon in origin. And of course, through the empire, England and then Anglicised Britain influenced a heck of a lot of the world. The Saxon legacy is massive. Bigger than the Normans', who changed very little (and of that they did change, very little was not slowly beginning to occur anyway).
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Old April 12th, 2016, 01:58 PM   #39

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to add to the earlier commentss on trial by jury, this is in fact Norse, so Germanic not but not English/Saxon. Anglo-Saxons, even Normans, had either trial by combat or a thegns, ealdormen, or the King himself, used to try cases based on precedent and common law. Henry II, obviously later than the Saxons by some time, saw how the former Anglo-Danish areas administered local justice and expanded this throughout England. It was a holdover in places like York and Derbyshire, where the Danes in King Alfred's time had put in place their own legal systems together with the Saxon principles.
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Old April 13th, 2016, 12:52 AM   #40
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Also from the 10th Century onwards the Church (that is nothing to do with Islam) was promoting the abolotion of Slavery, Islam was busy promoting it and has never stopped.
Not that I'm anti Church. But according to the Domesday book the large Church estates were the biggest owners of slaves.

But revisionist history is most likely correct, AS England was the most progressive state in Dark Age Europe.
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