Saturday, February 09, 2013

HISTORY. Saga. Normans, Strongbow, and Norse Migrations.

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Pick a Place.
Ireland.  Looking for Old Norse
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Viking Invasions 700's on
Norman Invasion.
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A.  The Norse (Vikings)

Vikings raided, invaded and captured Irish for slaves; and raided monasteries. Note that this was not a first occurrence of attacks by somebody against the monasteries: many of the early Christian monasteries also raided each other, and Irish people themselves also raided the monasteries.  Perhaps the loals did not have the same battleax-gusto, but there were raids, deaths, treasure to be had.  See http://www.irelandseye.com/irish/people/settlers/vikings2.shtm.
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There were also tradesmen Vikings, agriculture Vikings,  town folk. Many Vikings came as settlers and stayed. Early Ireland was a place of contrasts, and even among clerics, self-interest.  Here is a view of life:  http://english.glendale.cc.ca.us/christ.html
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The Viking stories in Iceland offer a picture of a community with its own laws, allegiances, systems.  Not "barbaric" the sense of lawless.
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B.  Tracking the Norse. Summary at FN 1
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1.  We are accustomed to thinking of the Norse as Vikings from Norway or Iceland, or Denmark. Norse generally means North.
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The Norwegian-Icelandic Norse headed for Scotland (including the Orkneys and the Hebrides) and Ireland (among far-ranging other parts of the world).  Ireland was as a target for the Viking-Norse - Ireland first as source of booty, then a settlement destination for the Norse.
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Meanwhile, other waves of Norse aimed for the heart of France, up the Seine and any waterway that could be found. They made so much trouble that Paris bought them off so that they would continue up to Burgundy instead; and finally they all bought off the Vikings from their dreadful raids by giving them Normandy - land of the Northmen.  Normans.
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So the Normans were named from the who raided France and were bought off by giving them Normandy, France. They are the ones who invaded the British Isles. And then, from there, Ireland.
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Danes, another group of Norse, headed for England more likely.  Swedish Vikings tended to raid and invade and settle more south and East - into Northeast Europe, and Russia.
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So:  relationships between groups include those stemming from raids, invasion, exploitation, enslavement in and this applies to Ireland's interaction with the Norse.  Where a stand-off results, with neither fully conquering the other, or fending them off,  see a cultural tolerance arise.  Settlers settle and contribute to the community, the community grudgingly accepts, many cross-pollinate eventually, there is intermarriage.
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The Norse settling in Ireland as well as the rest of the British Isles, became integral parts now of that entire heritage.
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FN 1.  Summary.  Timelines in history:
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Try "The Timechart History of The World: 6000 Years of World History Unfolded," Third Millennium Press 2004.  Scandinavia and Britannia start about 450AD.
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1. Norse invasions.
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The Norse conquered - obtained Normandy, France, in 906; and the Norse conquered England a century later, in 1066.
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In the 10th Century, after some back and forth as to Dublin, these towns were Norse:  Dublin, Wexford, Wicklow, Arklow, Waterford, Cork, Limerick. Lands were not necessarily firmly under Viking rule, however, as Irish kingdoms continued to resist, and in some areas, the relationship became one of mutual tolerance, see The Viking World at
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Then another branch of Northmen, not the old Vikings in raiding longboats, but by then the "Normans," stemming from Normandy, and then from England as the Anglo-Normans, invaded Ireland in 1170.
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Meet Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare, known as "Strongbow" (this name was also his father's in his time).  - from Waterford to Dublin and beyond, see Norman roots at France Road Ways, Normandy, Normans; and the Strongbow and Norman invasion at http://www.castlewales.com/is_clare.html/.
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There are long histories of castles, defenders, defeats, victors rebuilding, but the tall square Norman keep, strong and a refuge, see
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2. King Henry of England.
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Henry had rejected Strongbow's claims to certain lands, for reasons not entirely clear; but then the King became concerned at the successes of Strongbow and the Anglo-Normans in garnering support.  Henry had to reassert control,  and opportunities arose. 
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Dermot of Ireland had come to Henry II for help in regaining his Leinster lands and throne, and Henry gave Dermot a writing declaring that all who supported Henry were released, if they chose, to support Dermot.  And many did, including Strongbow who saw a chance to regain his former glory another way, see http://www.castlewales.com/strngbow.html. 
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3.  The tale behind Dermot's plight:
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There was a scandalous event among kings in Ireland, giving rise to rivalries and retributions; and King Henry was open to helping the one who lost his lands (the one who had the affair was duly punished).  See Lough Gill entry here, http://irelandroadways.blogspot.com/2006/06/yeats-country-sligo-and-gort-lough.html where the affair apparently was had.  And follow-ups as to history at the Adare section here, showing the division between Christianity before 1100 or so, and after, with the imposition of Gregorian Reforms, see http://irelandroadways.blogspot.com/2006/05/ruins-and-headstones-in-golf-courses.html
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And the Pope had the key: 
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If the Pope gave permission for invasion, whether or not he had authority to do so, and for ecclesiastical ends (this being the era of Gregorian Reforms 1100 and on), and if the King pays handsomely for it, then the Pope wins by gaining clerical control over an unruly Christian non-Roman island; and the King Henry wins by getting his people in Ireland. 
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Enter Strongbow and the Welsh lords invading in earnest,  paying the  Pope, the King in Ireland who lost his lands (Dermot) got them back, wed his daughter to Strongbow as promised, and maneuvered the throne to Strongbow upon Dermot's death, as promised, and the Pope got an ongoing payment of so much per head.  Nice. See http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/geraldwales1.asp The Norman strain apparently was feisty, requiring such controls - the King had to be Somebody.
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A trip to Ireland - see the number of Norman towers along the coasts, inland, even Yeats' home  at Gort is a Norman tower house. Return and then find out the time sequence, the stresses, the conflicts.  So some surnames of Norse derivation may not have arrived with Vikings going a-Viking, or settling thereafter, but could have come from another direction: with William the Conqueror in Normandy invading England, and the Normans then in time invading Ireland with Strongbow and others,  Many Normans also settled in Wales.
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This is like a paperless filing cabinet, putting in bits that we may want to follow up later.

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