252 – The Coming of the Anglo-Scandinavians

At the start of 867, there were four major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in Britain. By 874, three of the four – Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia – had lost their independence. That’s a timespan of only 7 years, and in that 7 years the political landscape of Britain had changed dramatically and permanently.

That’s insane. For scale, that’s just barely longer than Lost. Imagine being a free kingdom back when you thought something interesting was going on with Walt, and then being fully under the control of a foreign government by the time that you realized that everyone was just hanging out in a church with Hurley… for some reason.

And as an aside, what the hell was Lindelhoff thinking when he wrote that? It’s been over a decade and I’m still annoyed.

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  1. Little confused by your use of the word imaginary. What I understood you to mean was that Danelaw was imaginary in the 9th century, meaning illusory or not real. Presumably it became more concrete with time? Perhaps becoming something real by the 11th Century, by which time it was widely recognized such that it was not imaginary but it was a social imaginary?

    1. I meant it appears to be a social imaginary. The idea that there was a geographic united body politic called the danelaw in the 9th century is sort of like how we have all sorts of imaginaries about things of the past. Like the imaginary that all Scandinavians went aviking, for example.

      1. If you are saying that The Danelaw existing in the 9th century is currently a social imaginary, I think you may be overestimating the extent to which people care or imagine to care about what was happening in Witby or Colchester in 878. But I agree that any 9th Century Scandinavian who stayed home to chop wood and chase sheep rather than go aviking was obviously not much more than a thrall.

  2. I’m shocked to realise I’ve caught up on the entire main story in just a couple of months of listening. I guess this means the time has come to become a member ;)

    1. Have a look at when that entry in the chronicle was written. It was written down in the Norman period. ?

      Also, it appears that back then it referred to legal distinctions. “The laws of the danes” rather than a description of a geographical body politic, which is how it is commonly used now.

      1. It all depends upon how you class them I suppose.

        Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum
        This Old English agreement between King Alfred of Wessex (871–899) and Guthrum, the viking king of east Anglia (d. 889/90)

        The 12th Century docs were copies of Mini documents or Treaties that came before, The two versions of the Peace are subtly different, with the second version being longer, including a number of sub-clauses and details that are omitted from the first version,

        the Peace of Ælfred and Guthrum, henceforth the Peace – survives in two English copies and in early-twelfth-century Latin translation as part of the Quadripartitus collection.

        Hope that helps. Will try to dig out some info from the Chronicles for you

  3. Did I hear it correctly? A hide of land enough land to support a person (at 22:07 minutes, not in the rough transcript)? A hide of land was originally intended to represent the amount of land sufficient to support a household, around 120 acres, as you established in previous episodes, so a hide was pretty impressive, not just a small portion of land to support just one person living on it. Am I right?

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