My aar will follow the fortunes of the kingdom of England, whichever dynasty happens to control it (hopefully it won’t be pagans, because then I’ll have to mod it).
DISCLAIMER: I have shamelessly stolen the title, style and a fair few of the jokes from the book 1066 and all that, which means it will be written in a kind of surreal textbook-history manner. So if you find anything funny, it’s probably unoriginal. On the plus side, the aar will at least be fairly short.
DISCLAIMER #2: I seem to have made a lot of jokes about France; please don’t be offended as I have nothing against France. France is great. I’m merely parodying the traditional, impulsive, irrational Anglo-Saxon distrust of anything Gallic. Honestly.
William I: a Conquering King
The Norman Invasion
In 1066 England fell quite completely to the Normans, a pragmatic and warlike folk who had previously descended from Scandinavia, and thus resided in northern France and southern Italy. The Normans were compelled to conquer England by their fervent desire to avoid becoming Frenchmen (a cause to which the Pope himself had given his blessing), and therefore easily triumphed over the one-eyed English king, Harold.
The Futile System
Upon being made king in the south, the Norman leader William made some very conquering laws to deal with his conquered subjects. He immediately introduced his futile system, whereby all the land belonged to the Norman barons, and all the barons belonged to him. He then very cleverly decreed that this was ‘Traditional Custom’, and that things had been like this all along. If anyone complained, he pointed out that the numbering of English kings started with him, and therefore any previous Saxon rules were by definition illegitimate, and probably imaginary. In this way, he was able to brush aside the fact that he had slaughtered five-sixths of the old Saxon nobility, and so despite having usurped 24 different titles, he was able to maintain an ‘honourable reputation’ abroad. Thus he became known as William the Conqueror (or, in the Saxon translation, William the Bastard).
Leo Fricson and The Saxon Revolt
Initially his system was a success, and William was able to spend his time planting new forests, dukes, etc. Inevitably, though, the remaining natives became restless at this state of affairs, and the whole of the north of the country rose upwards in civil war, under Leo Fricson, the memorable Saxon rebel. The rebels were assisted by various brands of zealous, rebellion-preaching firebrand, and by the Norman turncoat William Fitz Osbern de Breteuil, who trecherously lent the use of his many names to the Saxon cause. Matters were further complicated when several of the King’s regiments decided that, by the terms of the new traditional custom law, there could be no Saxons to fight as they had never existed in the first place, and accordingly went home. However, the rebellion ultimately failed, because of course their being conquered by King William the Conquerer was somewhat inevitable in the end. The defeated Saxons were exiled to the furthest reaches of Scandinavia (and, due to an administrative oversight, Derby). Meanwhile, the infamous Osborn FitzWilliam de Breteuil was given the harshest possible punishment under Norman custom, and was sentenced to France.
fig 1: wave of nothern firebrands
fig 2: norman footsoldiers find a legal loophole
fig 3: sentenced to france
Demise of William I
Immediately after these victories, William held a victory hunting party in one of his newly created forests with one of his newly created dukes. During this trip he was attacked by a vicious bore and left only half-alive. Thus his enemies had the last laugh.
fig 4: the conquerer's painful, drawn-out, mildy ironic death