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Sunday, June 03, 2012


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can you please post a map of wales including where the marcher lords where. are any of the=m stil around today in the same family or notg. also a family tree for the plantagents


What about Churchill's histories make historians wince? I found them to be a pretty good overview of history, without delving deep into any single event.

The History of England

Hi Brian
Yes, I agree - I love them. They are not taken seriously by historians (and I imagine I am being a bit sweeping here - there may be plenty of historians who love them for the same reason you and I do) for three reason I think; firstly simply because they are as you say pretty general; but secondly becuase though they tell the story well, they don't really add anything new to the debate. And finally becuase they are very whiggish, and that approach with it's story of an inevitable climb to democracy and international greatness is no longer very popular.
Very happy to be corrected by a proper historian though!


Although it is whiggish, Churchill's History of Marborough is a cracker, and his research assistant was Maurice Ashley (I think), and there seems to be original research / analysis. Its as good as Trevellyan's History of Queen Anne, though I guess you would say they are whigs of the same feather. But I'm no historian.

Great podcast by the way.

The History of England

Yes, I remember reading the History of Marlborough - quite lengthy, but yes I remeber loving it. Though specifically the only thing I can remember is Churchill complaining about how Marlborough spelled the word 'descent'. Odd what sticks in your mind isn't it?
And yes I think Trevellyan and Churchill are definately tarred with the same brush. I remember quoting Trevellyan in an essay once. Got hammered. Royally.

Michael Sharpnack

My question is complicated and probably requires more than a short post but I'm curious about it so I'll post anyway. When you explained the nature of warfare during the Norman England period, I was shocked by how few men were involved in battles, relative to other empires that I've learned about. The Romans, even during the time that they were confined to the Italian Peninsula, such as during the Punic Wars, supposedly fielded armies of tens of thousands. The Mongols during this period fielded massive, well trained armies that seemed to operate completely differently than the Normans'. I have a few hypotheses for this discrepancy: the combined population of Norman England was not large enough; the social stratification that created a warrior class necessarily excluded the average townsperson from participating. My favorite thought, however, is that the nature of warfare was such that war wasn't a question of existence. You mentioned wasting, but the concept of "total war" doesn't seem to exist at this time and location as it has during previous times and modern, i.e. WWII. The wars sound rather like a game of thrones to a noninvasive central power (by modern standards) that didn't actually affect the life of the average townsperson. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue.

Thank you, and I truly enjoy listening to your podcast.

The History of England

Hi Michael... yes, its a massive change isn't it? There is some cause for uncertainty of course; one of the things is that a knight might be supported by several men at arms, and this 'lance' of the knight and his men at arms is by no means always a standard size; and given that the chroniclers didn't really hold the common man to much account, they rarely got mentioned. So the armies could have been bigger. But I think your analysis is right; war was a matter for local feudal lords, rather than a large scale state like the Roman or Carthaginian empires; or a folk movement like the Mongols. It's generally accepted that the population had fallen, but not in proportion to the size of the armies. War was a pastime of the Aristocracy by this time - amost a game. The thing that always struck me was the number of aristocrats who died - very small indeed.

Chris Kennedy.

I came to this fantastic and informative podcast quite late via The History of the Roman and so I have only listened from 1066 and all that. I would love to listen from the beginning. How do I do this? I love your laid back style by the way and you really bring the whole thing to life for me and you keep it simple and so interesting. Thank you.

Chris Kennedy,
Aged 46,

Aurelian Radu


I am currently binge-listening to your wonderful podcast and I have one question. Could you tell me where you I could find the qoute about medieval skepticism? 24:12 "There are many people who do not believe God exists..." Which prior said that? Could you provide a link to the quote?

Thank you and keep up the great work. It might take you centuries to finish it, but it only took me days to get to this episode. I guess binging is the best compliment.

The History of England

Hi Aurelian.. It is a quote from the Prior of Aldgate, about 1200. I got the quote from Robert Bartlett's book 'England under the Norman and Angevin Kings' page 478.

Hope you keep enjoying it!


Part 1 Good pdcasts; however, as an analytic historian by passion, particularly of European, German and British history, I find gaps in the history line of your podcast, which create problems with understanding. The Romans never fully left Britain: Many had married local Celtic women esp. of high families, they had children, lands and property., and they continued to be in influential political position.. On the other hand, soon after the temporary fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the Roman Christian Church took over the job of the Empire; and the Emperors, senators and princes put on religious fancy dresses and started ruling from the cathedrals. In 800 started the Holy Roman German Empire with Charlemagne as Emperor; and you very well mentioned, Emperor Otto started the system of ruling through Church hierarchy, effectively making the secular states as mere secular wings of the Church. England had the same system, that’s why the problems between state and the church as religious bureaucracy was more loyal to the Pope than the king. >>> Part 2


Part 2 Therefore, while the Holy Roman Empire made decisions about conquering Ireland, Wales and Scotland, as the Albiginian Crusade in France, kings were merely and practically the Pope’s swordsmen, mere secular wing of the Popes and the Holy Roman Emperors; and the kings and emperors could be blackmailed and harassed on the name of God and the devil and the Hereafter etc. and sent to Christian crusades for conquest’s and mass murders, particularly when ill... It is as well that Romans who had intermarried with Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Danes and Normans, themselves remained essentially Romans in their loyalties and politics, of course under the spiritual-imperial guidance and the organized politics of the essentially a Roman Church, ruling on the label of Christ. Therefore saying that English conquered Scotland may be incorrect and a hatred-creating anti-English propaganda, rather than the truth that the Roman Christianity conquered Wales and Scotland using Celtic-Anglo-Saxon, Danish and Norman army which would soon include Scottish and Irish Christian recruits to conquer other parts of the world.

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