William of Normandy (the Conqueror)

The share of the United Kingdom in ancient times, have the difficult fate of being repeatedly conquered and plundered.

First it was the Romans, led by Caesar, then the Picts and Scots, who missed no opportunity to attack neighboring tribes Britons, then led by the Anglo-Saxons and Gengista RHCS.

In the IX century the seven Anglo-Saxon countries (or counties) were merged into one under the rule of King Egbert and collectively known as England.

After the death of Egbert Anglo-Saxons had to come to grips with the peoples of the North - Norman, horrifies their raids all of Western Europe. The first attack on England Danes and even established on the island "area of ​​the Danish law." But their presence the country delivered King Alfred the Great, who defeated the Danish squad in the 880 and 893, respectively.

However, this victory was short-lived, and the Vikings continued to constantly threaten the peace of the Angles.

Only a few years after the death of King Cnut England free from the Danes, soon to be conquered by the Normans, descendants of the northern peoples.

Day of the Battle of Hastings - 14 October 1066 - became one of the most significant in the history of England. Since then, a new period began, completely changed the face of the country and its way of life, language and culture.


Duke William of Normandy, son of Duke Robert, who for his violent temper was nicknamed the Devil. His mother was a young girl from the town of Falaise, named Arlette.

William was not yet seven years old when his father, to receive forgiveness of sins, made a vow to make the journey on foot to the holy places in Jerusalem. Norman barons tried to keep Duke Robert, telling him that the land can not be left unattended ruler.

- On my honor, - said the Duke of them - I will not leave you entirely without a ruler. I have a little son, who will grow up and, if so God wills, will be honest and intelligent man. Take it as a sovereign, as I declare it as his heir, and now I enter into possession of all the Duchy of Normandy.

Barons to fulfill the desire of Duke Robert, because it says the ancient chronicle, had their taste. They swore allegiance to the boy.

When Robert while traveling to the holy places died several Norman counts and barons, as well as parents of former Dukes of protest against the election, saying that the child can not rule over the descendants of the Danes. The Lords Bessenii and Kotantinskogo Peninsula, more than any other rebellious and more others are proud purity of their origin, have led unhappy and gathered a large army, but were defeated by the young duke.

Young William was extremely ambitious and vindictive: he ruined his father's relatives in order to enrich and elevate the family of the mother. He was severely punished for ridicule that rained down on him from all sides, due to a low of origin. Once, when he was besieging the city of Alencon deposited heads to shout it from the height of the walls: "Skin! Skin, "and was struck with the skin, alluding to his craft falezskogo citizen who the grandson of William. The young duke immediately ordered to chop off hands and feet all the prisoners that were in his hands, and ordered the slingers throw them into the city.

Harold Saxon

King of England Edward became seriously ill and died on January 5, 1066. On his deathbed, he always spoke of his apprehension, he had terrible vision, and in fits of melancholy terrible scenes from Scripture came to his mind. "The Lord drew his bow - he raved. - Lord drew his sword, he waved to them as a warrior, he will express his anger with fire and sword. " These words inspired Tha Nam horror that surrounded this minute king bed.

No matter how weakened the idea of ​​Edward, he has, however, become more strength and determination to declare the nobles, who asked him for advice on the choice of his successor, which is most worthy to reign young leader Harold Saxon grandson Vulfnota. Saying the name of Harold, King Edward showed himself above the prejudices and even higher ambition to keep the crown in his family. Harold one seemed able to resist the dangers threatening the state.

On the day of the funeral of Edward, amid the general mourning and under the influence of the critical situation of the country, Harold was elected king and dedicated by Archbishop Stigand.

Grandson Vulfnota, reaching the supreme power, has shown itself since the accession to the throne just, wise, friendly, loyal public interest, and, in the words of one historian, to protect his country, he did not spare himself in the works or on land or on the sea. Harold took a lot of work and worries, to win a general discouragement, manifesting itself in various forms.

These days, a comet appeared over England. It made an extraordinary impression on all the wonder and horror. People thronged the streets and squares of cities and villages, and looked at the sky. One monk wrote a sort of poetic reference to the new comet, which contained the following words: "Here, finally, again was you who were forced to cry so many mothers! For many years, I saw your lights, but now you seem frightening, because you also spoken to me ruin my country! "

Beginning of the new reign was marked complete return to the customs, rejected in the preceding reign. In ancient charters of King Harold Saxon printing has replaced print hanging on the Norman model. Harold, however, does not extend to his reforms to deprive posts and expelled from the country Normans. These foreigners continued to enjoy all the rights of citizens, but few are grateful for this generous they began to establish control of internal and external intrigues in favor of the Duke of Normandy. In all likelihood, they and sent an embassy, ​​which was the report of the death of William Edward and the election of Harold.

Friendly Normans
The invasion of the Normans

William of Normandy, he aspired to the English crown, took advantage of the confusion in the UK and produced a military invasion. William gathered a huge army and swam to the English coast.

The ship, which sailed Duke William, was led by a banner sent by the Pope, at the top of the mast and a cross instead of a flag. Its sails were of various colors and painted on them were seen in many places of the three lions - the banner of Normandy. On the nose was carved figure of trumpeting angel with a banner in his hand. Finally, the big lights, raised on Mars - a necessary precaution in a night swim in the sea - were to serve as a beacon to all ships.

This ship, a fleet more than the other, went ahead for the day and the night, and left everyone behind. In the morning the Duke ordered the sailor to climb to the top of the mast and see if there are other ships. "I see nothing but the sky and the sea," - said the sailor, and immediately had cast anchor. Soon sailor climbed the mast again and said that this time noticed 4 ships, for the third time, he exclaimed: "I see a forest of masts and sails."

By mischance, the British ships, long held off the coast of Sussex, and returned back by a lack of food supplies, so that the troops of William came easily to Pevensey, near Hastings, September 28, 1066. The first landed archers - they were wearing short clothes and shaved their hair, and then landed the riders in the copper chain mail and helmets of polished iron conical, armed with long spears and strong and the double-edged swords.

Duke went ashore last, in the moment when he touched the foot of sand, he stumbled and fell face down. Uproar, voices were heard: "God bless us! It's a bad sign. " But William, jumping up and said immediately: "What's with you? What are you so surprised? I grabbed this earth with his hands and swear by the greatness of God, nor how much it is, it's ours. "

The Normans went to Hastings and close to the city camped.

Harold was in London when the messenger came with the news that the Duke of Normandy, landed and hoisted their flag on the Anglo-Saxon territory.

Harold moved south, giving orders on the go all erlam arm guards and bring them to London. Western troops were immediately; troops from the north is too late because of the great distance, but nevertheless it was possible to believe that the English king will soon be surrounded by all the forces of the state.

One of the Normans, the benefit of which have broken the law once the expulsion issued against them, advised Duke William guard and said that after 4 days of the Saxons will have 100,000 troops.

Too impatient Harold does not have waited four days he could not restrain his desire to fight in close combat with strangers, especially when he saw the devastation produced. Hope to protect their countrymen, and perhaps a desire to try against the Normans sudden unexpected attack prompted him to move in the direction of Hastings with forces four times smaller than that of Duke of Normandy. But William's camp was guarded against any eventualities, and his posts were scattered everywhere.

Harold people who speak French, they were sent to the army of the Duke, to consider the location and calculate the force. On their return they were told that the camp of William priests alone more than the British vigilantes. They took over the priests of all the Normans who shave and cut their hair short, while the British used to let his hair and beard. Harold could not help but smile at this story. "Those you find in a lot of do not priests and men of war, which we will soon show what they are worth."

Harold Saxon infantry

Hour battle seemed close. Both brothers Harold became beside him. Detachments of the Anglo-Saxons took a long chain of hills, fortified stockade of stakes and willow fence. On the night of October 13, William ordered the Normans to announce that the next day will battle.

In the morning in the Norman camp Bishop of Bayeux celebrated the liturgy and bless the troops. The army was divided into three military columns: the first comprised troops from the counties of Boulogne and Pontus and most of the hired vigilantes, second were the allies of Brittany, William personally commanded the third column, which were Norman knights. Duke jumped on the Spanish horse, which he had brought from a wealthy Norman travel to the tomb of St James. At that moment, when the troops were to move, Duke, raising his voice, addressed them with the following words: "My loyal, honest friends! You crossed the sea of ​​love for me and exposed themselves to danger of death, for which I am staying in front of you a great debt. Know that we will fight for what is right and what is not only for the sake of conquest of the kingdom I came here because of the sea. The people of this country are deceitful and duplicitous, perjurers and traitors. They committed many atrocities and betrayals against the Normans, and today you get back at them for it, if it pleases God. Think about how to fight bravely, and mercilessly kill everyone, because if we win, we will all be rich. The fact that I win, and you win, but if I grab the ground, it will be yours. Think hard about what you will gain fame today, if we win, and if you are defeated, you are irretrievably lost, because you have no way to escape. Before me you will find: on the one hand - and the troops unfamiliar country, on the other - the sea and the troops again. Who fled, and he died, and who will fight bravely, will be saved. Obey, for the sake of God, each duty, and we will win. "

The Normans came close to the fortifications of the British and began to start up their arrows. Armed with spears riders closer to the gates of strengthening and attempted to break them down. The Anglo-Saxons, standing around a flag stuck into the ground and forming a dense and solid wall, the besiegers met by hitting a backhand battle axes, spears and severing their armor. Normans did not succeed to get inside the fortifications, pull up stakes or fence, and, tired of futile attack, they retreated. Then the duke ordered all his arrows to move forward again and commanded them not to shoot arrows straight ahead and up, so that they fell over the fence enemy camp. A lot of English was due to this maneuver, wounded and predominantly in the face. At the very Harold boom gouged out the eyes, but he continued to command and fight.

Normans attack resumed with cries of "Mother of God! Help me, O God! Help me, O God! "But again, they were pushed back from the gate to a large building, closed shrubs and grass ravine where their horses and themselves stumbled, fell down and died.

There was a moment when the army seized with horror that came from across the sea. A rumor that the Duke was killed - and at the same time the news began to flee. William threw himself toward running, threats barred their path and attacking the spear. Then, taking off his helmet, he exclaimed: "Here I am! Look at me, I'm still alive, and with God's help I shall win. " Riders returned to the fortifications, but they still could not break down the gate, do not breach. Then the duke ordered a thousand horsemen to move forward immediately to take flight. The sight of this feigned flight forced the Saxons to lose his cool, they rushed to pursue the enemy with his neck tied up with axes. But then hidden in ambush squad Normans came out to meet them, and the British were taken by surprise attack strikes copies of swords to defend themselves against which they could not, because his hands were busy with a big ax. When they left their ranks, fence fortification was destroyed.

William was killed by his horse, King Harold and his two brothers had fallen from his banner, which was replaced by the flag, sent from Rome. The remains of the English army, having lost their king and banner, the battle continued until nightfall, so the fighting on both sides know each other only by language. Warriors Harold scattered, and many of them died on the roads of the wounds and fatigue. Norman cavalry pursued them without rest, giving no quarter. They spent the night on the field of battle, and the next day, at dawn, Duke Wilhelm marshalled his troops and ordered to make the roll call. Many of the soldiers, the dead and dying were spread out next to the vanquished. Lucky as survivors of them, as the first profit of victory were the property of dead enemies.

Meanwhile, Harold's mother spent some time on the field of battle, and no one dared to ask for the issuance of his body. She said Norman historians, offered gold by weight of the body of his son. But the duke refused and declared that the man who changed his word and faith, can not have another grave like a pile of stones on the sand. He instructed one of his men named William Male, arrange it so that Harold was buried as a vile villain. But for some unknown reason, this order was not enforced: the body of the last Anglo-Saxon king was buried with military honors in the church Valtgema, built by Harold. It is said that two monks from Valtgema have made for themselves at the mercy of softening the blow of the winner remains of his benefactor. All these events are narrated Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

There is a legend that still sometimes visible blood stains on the spot where the battle took place. They said that they are shown on the hills to the north-west of Hastings, after the rain unto the earth.

Immediately after his victory, William vowed to build a monastery on the site of the Holy Trinity and St. Martin. This vow was not slow to be fulfilled, and the main altar of the monastery was built on the very spot where it was hoisted, and then defeated the banner of King Harold. The outer wall was built around the hill that brave Englishmen covered their bodies, and all the surrounding land, on which there were various scenes of battle, became the property of the monastery, which is called the «Battle-Abbey».

After the death of William the Conqueror, according to feudal traditions, his eldest son, Robert short-legged, went to Norman ancestral lands, the middle son, William redhead - England. The third son, Henry, a highly educated man, received only money. However, wasteful Robert dreaming only of adventure and eager to go on a crusade, gave his brother William redhead Normandy in exchange for campaign financing. After the death of hunting in the year 1100, William Rufus, Normandy and England and went to Henry, who married the Anglo-Saxon Princess Maud, was the founder of the Anglo-Norman empire.

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