England under the Normans and Angevins, 1066-1272

By H. W. C. Davis | Go to book overview

ENGLAND UNDER THE NORMANS AND ANGEVINS

CHAPTER I
THE NORMAN CONQUNT (1066-1072)

THE Norman Conquest of England was the outcome of a struggle, short and spasmodic in its character, between a handful of adventurers and a decadent nation lying on the outer fringe of European politics; and although it nearly affected the interests of several powers it occasioned no general disturbance of international relations. In fact if the importance of an event were to be measured by the commotion which it makes among contemporaries the Norman Conquest might be regarded as of little moment for European history. None the less it is one of those events which stand as a boundary mark between two stages of civilisation; and there is something more than accident in the rapidity with which, after the victory of Senlac, Europe emerges from the Dark Age into that splendid twilight which a large proportion of civilised humanity still prize more highly than the morning light of the Renaissance or the mingled storm and sunshine of the Reformation. Senlac was a symptom, to some extent a cause, of changes affecting every field of European activity. At the first glance Duke William and his Normans fall into the same category with the Goths of Alaric, the Franks of Clovis, the Vikings of Cnut and Harold Hardrada; the Conquest of England seems but another example of those predatory migrations which made and unmade so many barbarous kingdoms between the close of the fourth and the beginning of the twelfth century of our era. And even from this point of view the year 1066 constitutes a turning point in history, since the Conquest of England settled the broad outlines of European political geography for some time to

Importantance of the Conquest

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