Essay about 1066: the Year of the Conquest

1242 Words Mar 7th, 2010 5 Pages
David Howarth's, "1066: The Year Of The Conquest" Harold of England and William of Normandy were both rulers of great countries, so it stands to reason that they had some similarities in common. They both new how to lead, and they both knew how to survive in a feudal system. That is about where their similarities end. Like their leaders, England and Normandy both had similarities due to the time, and how people lived. They both operated on a feudal system, and they were both prosperous and happy before the Battle of Hastings changed everything.
The feudal system of the time operated on the premise of peasants or serfs, and thanes, or lords. The lords owned the land, and the peasants worked on it. In turn, they received the protection
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It is the whole reason he invades England, to gain the crown he feels he has lost in error.
He is also portrayed as cruel, and totally disinterested in the English people, even though when he was crowned, he promised to be a “kind lord” to them, but in reality, he was already giving away the English lands to his lord, and the people spent years revolting against his oppression, taxes, and tyrannical rule.
His background certainly had something to do with his cruelty. He ascended to rule Normandy when he was only seven years-old, but he was still a vassal to the King of France, so unlike Harold, he never really had the authority to rule over an entire country until he captured England. His childhood was filled with violence, and Howarth says, “He began to grow up with precocious signs of a genius for the politics of violence.” He started at the age of seven, and really did not know any other way of life. He had long spread the word throughout the courts of Europe that he was a powerful man; he was next in line for the English throne. Now, he had to defend his honor at all costs.
Harold on the other hand, must also have been somewhat power hungry, after all, he managed to get himself crowned king, but the author also states that most everyone who met him liked him. “…he was refreshingly normal. He was approachable, a man who would listen to complaints and other people’s

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