9 March 2024

Now what about this ...

 ... the early records of the See of Exeter tell us that the episcopium was moved from the villula of Crediton to the civitas  of Exeter because the former had so very often (saepius) been devastated (devastari ... notice the intensitive de-) by the Infestation of Pirates.

I wonder what pirates  meant in the middle of the eleventh century. Did it refer to the raiders from the North; that is, the Vikings, the sophistication of whose advanced culture we are often invited, through Exhibitions and Seminars, to admire?

Or do we have here, coming on stream, our old friends the Barbary Pirates, Messengers of the Third Great Abrahamic Civilisation?

Where did all that loot from the great Anglo-Saxon monastic settlements end up?

Surely those who have excavated sites in Scandinavia and North Africa must know what Anglo-Saxon artefacts have come to light?


Thomas said...

It could be either or both, of course. The vikings weren't picky about who they traded with. But, sadly, there is another possibility. William of Malmesbury describes in disturbing detail a flourishing English slave trade at the end of the eleventh century with merchants in Bristol selling native men, women and children to the Irish. Such trade was forbidden by St. Anselm and the Synod of Westminster in 1102.

The Anglo-Saxon chronicle also records several incidents in which Earl Godwin of Wessex (1101 - 1152) and his wife enslaved local captives, sending the the prettiest girls to Denmark 'for a good price' and his how son Harold (yes, that Harold who was king of England by 1066) raided the coat of Somerset for 'cattle, captives and property'.

Perhaps there was a good reason the Pope sent William of Normandy his blessing and a banner to back his invasion.The Normans had viking ancestors, of course, but there's nowt as committed as a convert!

Thomas said...

Sorry, the dates for Earl Godwin should be 1001 to 1052, of course. Otherwise he would be younger than his son and his his floruit after the Norman invasion.