British Monarchy

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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby SunXia » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:58 am

Yup he's sadly forgotten as a pre-Conquest ruler and yet he is the only King of England to have "the Great" tagged on to his name!!

Do you think it will be bigger than Richard III DZ?? Interesting, considering how much of a debated and cultural icon Richard III is within the British conscience!! Don't hear much about the old great king but the societies dedicated to Richard have ensured his debatable legacy lives on!!
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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:22 am

Lady Wu wrote:British history fail... I didn't know Alfred the Great was real... :oops:


Who did you think invented cakes then? :P

I was more bemoaning that, if it is Edward, nobody will use to educated us about a rarely known pre-1066 ruler. Alfred getting more coverage then Richard? Quite possibly. Richard had Shakespeare, Horrible Histories and the society so that did cause a lot of interest but Alfred the Great/cake burner is a iconic ruler in a way Edward the Confessor and Harold, the only other ones remembered, aren't. He is a big part of a culture and the press will love (particularly if during slow Newsweek) to bring up Alfred, what he did, the legends and the mysteries. Maybe a state funeral in Winchester?
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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:37 pm

I'd love to see Alfred getting some lime light, truly a great and good man who (much to my frustration) is completely ignored in the history syllabus in England at the moment.
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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby Tigger of Kai » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:34 am

Yes it's a great story about how even the magistrate has to follow the rules : )
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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby SunXia » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:08 pm

Yeah I always wondered why Pre-Conquest is ignored on the syllabuses to such an extent as it is today!! I know there isn't much information on the Kings that existed before Norman Conquest but I love looking up all the little Kingdoms that once existed on such a relatively small island!! Is it perhaps a focus on England being England and not the split kingdoms Wessex, Mercia, Sussex, East Anglia, Northumbria and other such splinter kingdoms that were part of medieval England, there's quite a few to mention!!

I sometimes wonder if there's a certain culture to what we learn in School!! Like when we do English history its always about "The Golden Age" of Elizabethan times or her father, or the Norman Conquest etc it feels sort of preset to those topics maybe some more!! But it never goes further back than Harold II and Edward the Confessor and their roles in the Conquest!!

Before the Conquest there was a lot of battles on English soil between the kingdoms and with Danes and Vikings!! There were even some Danish Kings of England and parts of England so the land was quite divided and was continually changing but once William I came along that was it, the was England solid and formed!! There were a few border scuffles with the Scottish over the centuries and Wales was later absorbed but for the most part, England was no longer being torn, was no longer split into different Kingdoms and whoever controlled the throne controlled England and later Wales and further down the line, Scotland too!!

Its the same with the numerical succession of kings of England, they begin with the Conquest and ignore any Kings of England that preceded the Conquest!! Like Edward I, at his time, his name was uncommon in the English court since the Conquest and he was actually named after Edward the Confessor as his father was dedicated to venerating the man or saint!! There were other King Edwards, Edward the Martyr and Edward the Elder who controlled England under the House of Wessex!! I know that some used the term "Edward the first of that name after the conquest" I mean that's fine but when you says Edward I of England, its not numerically correct as it would be more Edward IV and that last king by that name would actually be Edward XI instead of Edward VIII before his abdication!! It's really the only time that happens so I don't see it being a massive deal!!

So yeah, like I said, there seems to be this culture of teaching the history of England from the Conquest onwards, maybe it has something to do with nationalism as the houses of Wessex et al were very unstable in maintaining control with constant invasions and things like that so maybe its like the birth of a stable England and everything that follows!!

Don't get me wrong, Irish history when its taught in schools has a very cultural aspect to it too, here in Northern Ireland we were taught about Norman Conquest and things of English history but when it comes to Irish history it seems to mainly focus on the Plantations then the later rebellions that followed!! Ireland was also divided by clans and chieftains before the plantations so I see a similar theme there!! The idea of a United Ireland and and striving for such a cause came during 1700s and 1800s and of course early 1900s!! So there definitely seems to be a very cultural aspect of Irish History being taught in schools here!! We also learn about The Troubles too which seems to be taught differently in my experience from school to school!! My religious schools taught that both sides IRA and UVF/UDA/LVF were wrong in their killings but I hear some people/schools painting only the other side as terrorists and ignore the fundamental meaning of terrorist!! So there's definitely a cultural form to teaching History here too!!

So all in all, the focus on History has a very cultural influence in my honest opinion and there always seems to be a hint of nationalism within its core!!
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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:59 am

I agree with you SunXia but it shocks me that the government don't want us to learn about the man that began the process of the unification of England. Surely that should fit in with their theme of a strong England?
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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby Jordan » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:26 pm

I fell in love with Offa of Mercia after playing the expansion of the first Medieval Total War. There's a great story about him involving an odd coin he issued with Arabic characters on it too, which I think was one of many. Pre-unified British isles (or even England) was really quite interesting.

I think SunXia is really onto something with her post. There is a bit of nationalistic/modern anachronism in the way history is taught and perceived. She raised several good examples of it in British history and I've noticed it in Chinese and US history as well. I'm kind of guilty of it as well by even using those labels.
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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:34 pm

Sun Fin wrote:I agree with you SunXia but it shocks me that the government don't want us to learn about the man that began the process of the unification of England. Surely that should fit in with their theme of a strong England?


I'm not sure it is any one government and that is too far back I imagine for what Gove wants. Or can be bothered with, it is out of sight, out of mind era

My expirence of school history is a lot gets ignored but collect nearly any book on King's and Queen's of England and it all starts from William the Conqueror. 1066 and all that, even Horrible Histories. I don't know if lack of info (like Harold), can't be due to William being first king without rival as then wouldn't it start at Edward the Confessor or before? There is a lot of nationalization in our history and maybe it is indeed "well we weren't invaded after that. The later ones don't count." behind whhy 1066 is the cut off point, maybe the fact Norman French is still used in ways Saxon English isn't means there is some degree of continuity with 1066 then there is with Harold or Edward? A degree of legitimacy?
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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby Tigger of Kai » Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:10 pm

If strong nationalism is what they're after then they should remember that the Normans were the biggest obstacle to the English becoming strong, or a nation! Macaulay said that an Englishman who celebrates the Plantagenets is "as absurd as it would be for a Haitian negro of our time to dwell with national pride on the greatness of Louis the Fourteenth, and to speak of Blenheim and Ramillies with patriotic regret and shame."

It's very important to separate out the ruler from the nation that he rules. When the failures of John the Doofus made certain that the Plantagenets wouldn't rule France, that's when it became clear that, instead of the backwater it had always been, England would be a nation, and a liberty-loving nation at that.
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Re: British Monarchy

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:04 pm

In all fairness my study of history consisted of:

Year 9: WW1, WW2, Mods and Rockers and 'Who Killed JFK?'

Year 10: Nazi Germany and Nuclear Bunkers

Year 11: Medicine through time and Vietnam War

Year 12: America 1890-1940 and Rise of Stalin

Year 13: British History 1952-2007 and a piece of coursework on a subject of my choice.

The only module which isn't modern history was medicine which shows you what an awful spread of 'history' gets taught in British high schools at the current time.
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