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Oct. 14 1066 A Bad Day For Harold, An Important Day For the World


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Via Meadia


History is so long and so many events have occurred that Via Meadia rarely takes note of particular anniversaries. But October 14 is different. The Battle of Hastings was fought on this day back in 1066. King Harold of England, fresh from defeating a Viking invasion in the north, marched through the heart of England to encounter the invasion of the Normans—a southern branch of the Vikings who had settled in a part of northern France.


King Harold died in the battle, killed by an arrow through his eye. The English were divided and the nobles were bickering; there was no other leader capable of resisting the invasion, and the Duke of Normandy went on to be crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey on Christmas of that year.


It was one of the most consequential battles ever fought. It would set England on a course that eventually led to the establishment of the British Empire—and the foundation of the United States. The Norman Conquest left its stamp on English culture and politics in ways that are still with us; its impact on the development of the English language was especially strong. The Norman conquerors brought the French language with them, and while the English of the majority would ultimately triumph, the language that emerged from the Norman dominion would be profoundly changed. For two hundred years, English disappeared as a language of learned and powerful people. In the royal court and the palaces of the nobility, French was spoken. The Church continued to use Latin. English was the language in which rich people spoke to their servants. By the time the French conquerors began to assimilate to the language and culture of the people they had conquered, English had changed.







Note: 13 October 2012

Battle of Hastings Event Cancelled


English Heritage regrets that due to extreme weather conditions, the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings will not now be taking place on Sunday 14th October.

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