Green politics, philosophy, history, paganism and a lot of self righteous grandstanding.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Norman Orcs Who Rule Us Still

Orc, in Old English means demon, and it was a word used by contemporary chroniclers for the Norman invaders who ravaged England after the Battle of Hastings. 

After 1066 only 5% of England south of the Tees remained in English hands. This is what William of Malmesbury had to say about the "1%" of the 11th century:

"The Normans, that I may speak of them also, were at that time, and are even now, exceedingly particular in their dress and delicate in their food, but not so to excess. 


They are a race inured to war, and can hardly live without it; fierce in rushing against the enemy, 

and, where force fails of success, ready to use stratagem or to corrupt by bribery.

As I have said, they live in spacious houses with economy, 


envy their superiors,

 wish to excel their equals,

 and plunder their subjects, 

though they defend them from others;


they are faithful to their lords, 

though a slight offence alienates them.

They weigh treachery by its chance of success,


 and change their sentiments for money."


Rob Malagola said...

Clever, and a nice find! Good old William, a Malmesbury man, like myself, and with a nose for the nub of things.

Martin Porter said...

Thanks for that. We need a William today to tell us how it really is.

Kevin Kimmich said...

I found that to be a pithy and interesting post. I'm in the US and am many degrees removed from this topic. I'm curious if there's persistent antagonism for the Normans, and how conscious people are of this in the general population there. I also wonder how conscious Norman-descendent people are and if contemporary organizations, e.g. Yale's Skull & Bones, are really an outcropping of some ancient tribalism.