Today is the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, which I suspect many forums and blogs associated with our hobby will be covering to some degree or other.
There are few battles throughout history, I think, that have had the effect to change the world with effects that last today and likely beyond. Perhaps Hastings could be considered as one of those world changing battles.
How you may ask could a battle fought 950 years ago, seven miles north west of Hastings with no more than about 13,000 men on the field of battle have had such world changing effects.
The answer lies in the effect it had on the British Isles and a major consequence that followed, with an effect that spread throughout the world carried in the wake of British influence that would develop hugely in the following nine and a half centuries.
Sadly to my way of thinking and as I have commented previously, British History is not taught the way it was when I were a lad. We have developed a modular teaching of history that fails to deliver an historical narrative about how we arrived with the nation states we have in these islands, the unwritten constitution built around the mother of parliaments, the rule of law, a constitutional monarchy and with English as the dominant language.
|If these chaps had won at Hastings these words would have looked a lot different!|
The Battle of Hastings is one of those cornerstone events in British History that changed Britain fundamentally, with one dominant culture, the Anglo Saxons, replaced by another, the invading Normans; and with the language at court being changed to French it forced the native population to develop a mix of Anglo Saxon and Norman French into what we know as modern English.
Thus for example the names for prepared foods adopted many words into English from the Norman French, words such as pork, mutton and beef.
This major change developed into the beautiful language of Shakespeare and the language that encompassed the globe, the language of the air and sea, the language of commerce.
If you speak English as a first language then you are evidence of the lasting effects of the Norman victory today nine hundred and fifty years ago.
If it had not been for William's victory on the 14th October 1066 I would probably have been writing this post in some form of Anglo Germanic Dutch. A thought to conjure with this December when we get the Dark Age collection out on the table at the Devon Wargames Group.
Happy Hastings Day to English speakers around the world.