Feb 29, 2012

The Normans

The Norsemen ranged very far afield, and some, as rational beings, opted to settle in more hospitable places than their icy homeland.

In Sicily they established the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. ‘Mafia’ is a Norse word meaning ‘Our side.’

They also formed the body guard of the ruler of the Ottoman empire, the only people he could trust. (Circassians, cousins to the Chechen, have long performed the same function for the monarchs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.)

They showed a strong approval of viniculture, naming one of their temporary settlements on the western side of the Atlantic Ocean Vinland the Good.

Perhaps their most important area of settlement was the area named after them, Normandy in France, still the producer of claret and the best wines.

England also interested them, and they poured in and settled there. The river Humber was established as the boundary, north of which was Danelaw, the Norse area.

William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, reputedly born the wrong side of the blanket, invaded from Normandy to conquer England in AD 1066, and won at the battle of Hastings, where the last Saxon king, Harold, was killed, leaving only the areas of the West Saxons, Wessex, and the East Saxons, Essex, and a few scattered enclaves to the native Saxon kings, like Alfred.

The English language still carries the marks of the divisions, with all words for animals as food having Norman French roots, such as beef, and all words describing animals from the view of the Saxon herdsmen having Germanic roots, such as cow. (See also mutton and sheep, and so forth.)

Cross-posted from Wahyusamputra at UK, at