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1066- England as a Wishbone for the Flaxen-Haired Vikings

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  • #16
    Originally posted by The Purist

    All things considered though, I think that had Hardraada been the 'invader', and killed off much of the Godwine line at Stamford Bridge as actually happened at Hastings, William may have been viewed as more "Liberator" than "Conqueror". Neither Hardraada nor William had a very strong case for the throne.
    They didn't, but then neither did Harold! Hardraada had little intention of marching south preferring rather to build a power-base in the north of England over the winter. I could see that possibly changing if he got word of William landing in the south but he may still have waited condemning the country to months, if not years, of conflict.
    Signing out.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Full Monty
      They didn't, but then neither did Harold! Hardraada had little intention of marching south preferring rather to build a power-base in the north of England over the winter.
      Agreed. [see edit] There probably would not have been a succession problem had Edward's nephew Aethling Edward not died so suddenly on his return to England from exile in Hungary in 1057. After that, the whole line up of 'natural' successors got badly skewed with the death of Earl Ralph and the near elimination of Cnut's Danish line of decendants. By 1058 or so only Aelfgar held a large earldom from that line while the Godwine line had six living adult male heirs that were in positions to take over the vacant earldoms as the older gentlemen died off. The childless Edward was slowly forced into a position where the most powerful family would gain the throne on his death, despite Aethling Edward's own son (Aethling Edgar) being nearly of age by the time of King Edward's death.

      Sorry if that seems convoluted but I think it is a fairly accurate outline of the "power politics" of the time. One almost needs a notebook to draw out the family trees as one goes along.


      Originally posted by Full Monty
      I could see that possibly changing if he got word of William landing in the south but he may still have waited condemning the country to months, if not years, of conflict.
      I see no reason why William would not have pushed his claim against Harold Godwinson or Harald Hardraada, after the latters success at Stamford Bridge, in late 1066 or 1067. William was a very ambitious man and an accomplished warlord and was not shy about exploiting his tenuous claim to the throne by whatever means came to hand.

      Man, I love this medieval stuff,...but trying to follow the family lines is almost a second hobby in itself (or training for a first class migrane).

      Edit: Yet by the time of Edward's death there were few viable choices left.]
      Last edited by The Purist; 11 Mar 06, 05:32.
      The Purist

      Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by The Purist
        Neither Hardraada nor William had a very strong case for the throne.
        Was there anyone with a better claim than Harald, Harold, or William? IIRC, the problem was the lack of a clear heir.
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        • #19
          Originally posted by Janos
          Was there anyone with a better claim than Harald, Harold, or William? IIRC, the problem was the lack of a clear heir.
          Prior to 1058 I think think the person with the strongest claim would have been Edgar, son Aethling Edward, nephew to the King, but would not quite be of age by the time of Edward's death, if I recall correctly. It is important to note that the succession did not necessarily need to be heriditary or even within the same bloodline. Other contenders were Earl Ralph and Count Walter of Vexin but Aething Edward was the son King Edmund "Ironside" who was still remembered in England as a hero. The case for Edgar is made stronger by the fact that his great grandmother, Ealdgyth, was widow of Sigeferth who is part of the family of Leofric of Mercia. Earl Ralph had a less strong tie to the throne through French links but the family was also less popular because of various military failures in 1052. Count Walther was more French than English and was, anyway, busy running his own lands in France. There is also Aelfgar, son Leofric, Earl of Mercia and Siward, Earl of Northumbria or one of his children.

          However, one by one, all these players either died (Earls Ralph, Siward, Count Walther and Aethling Edward), committed treason (Earl Aelfgar) and were exiled or were under age (Aethilng Edgar, son of Edward or Waltheof, son of Siward). Thus we are left with Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, claimed through his sisters marriage to King Edward, Harald Hardraada, with the Danish connection through Cnut and William of Normandy with his claim through relation to Emma, his great aunt, wife of King Aethelred II and then of Cnut.

          Quite simple, no?
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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