Meerkat I like how Portugal is just sitting there and then someone tries to tackle them and they dive so everyone just leaves them alone after that.
baleen Leave the free people of Novgorod alone, you Mongol blowing Muscovites!!!
rural May I pedantically point out that this map ludicrously assigns modern "nation state" labels to areas that were completely decentralized or which did not recognize any overarching authority or identity whatsoever? 0:00 "France" AAAANNNHHH. Wrong.
CIWB I was under the impression that the early Capetians circa 1000 AD were recognized as the kings of France, even if their supposed vassals were largely independent.
EvilHomer Oi! We're living in a world that's inextricably driven by the cultural constructs of 19th-century nationalism. Our revisionist narratives are a critical part of our identity, and are absolutely vital if our nation-states are to maintain their current aura of legitimacy! So get with the program, buster!
Hah, watch, next you'll be telling us that Joan of Arc WASN'T a patriotic nationalist inspired by her civic duty to keep France free of foreign enemies! Hahaha!
EvilHomer CIWB - it really depends on how you define "France" and "King of France".
"King of France" implies that the King in question was ruling a geographical area recognized "as" France, but of course no such geographical entity existed at that time. I'd argue that a better term would be "King of the Franks", which implies a much looser polity - indeed, if I remember correctly, this was exactly the term that the early Capets used, and the term that would continue to be used for at least a couple centuries.
It's true that, by 1000 AD, the area in question was ruled by a seething mass of landed nobility who owed at least nominal fealty to the Capetian kings of West Francia. So I guess, strictly speaking, rural's claim that they "were completely decentralized (and) did not recognize any overarching authority" is wrong. I'd say a more accurate statement would be: "they were almost completely decentralized, and the overarching authority was hardly ever recognized, if at all." (and to this, I'd pose the question: if an "authority" is not recognized by the men it claims power over, then in what sense is it actually an "authority"?)
As for the statement "(they did not recognize any overarching) identity", I'd say this is completely accurate. The Frankish kingdom was a confused mess of culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse peoples, many of whom had only recently been brought to the fold (notice the Burgundians getting swallowed up by Robert II), and a few of whom would promptly leave again. Indeed, it really wasn't until long after the rise of centralized, absolutist monarchies that the people of France would even begin to have what we'd call an "overarching identity", and even that only works if we ignore the Bretons.
Any fans of "The Lion in Winter"? Take a look at that Grey Poupon colored area of England and France from 0:12 thru 0:18 -- all of that was Henry II's land. You may be used to thinking of him as "the king of England", and okay he was, but he was ruler over a hell of a lot more territory than that. In fact, "The Lion in Winter" took place on the continent, not in England, because the really cool real estate was on the continent. At the same time, as rural, CIWB, and EvilHomer have said, just because Henry II had Frankish holdings didn't mean that he was under the control of King Philip (Timothy Dalton), which is why they were negotiating over territory, treaties, marriages, and the like.
memedumpster EvilHomer's trolling has gotten remarkebly sophisticated.
EvilHomer Please, my trolling has always been remarkably sophisticated.
Bort, I have not seen The Lion in Winter (the play, right? Perhaps you could find a version to submit?) but I am genuinely fascinated with Henry and Eleanor, and more broadly, the phenomenon of these bizarre feudal inheritances. Feudal society was built upon layers of concrete social obligations owed to real, individual people; yet today, we tend to think of ourselves as being ruled by (and part of) a singular "national" entity, an abstract, anthropomorphized construct. Sort of like the way corporations have, in the past century or two, acquired "personhood" status, despite the fact that they are not people and have no existence outside the realms of law or cultural-consciousness.
For example, I am a citizen "of" the United States. I belong to, and am part of, a body politic with an ephemeral existence, separate to and above that of the various estates which constitute it. Obama is our President, but he is not the absolute object of our loyalty, nor is he the source of our identity. If and when he ceases to be President, there will be no break in our socio-political obligations, at least not in our minds; we will still be "part of" the United States, unbroken and indivisible.
However, if we were to replace our system with a feudal one, things would be very different. My own chain of fealty - mine to the Lord of my city, his to the Lord of my state, and so on - might very well still extend upwards to King Obama. But that's it, that's all it means - I've got an obligation to the man, King Obama, until such a time as my feudal oaths are discharged. When Obama ceases to be King, my feudal duties will pass on to another. This will probably be his designated heir. Or perhaps it won't be! Perhaps, through marriages, or through economic treaties, or even just through someone somewhere up my chain getting fed up and deciding his overlord was not upholding the overlord's end of the feudal bargain, my socio-political "identity" would switch. The state I lived in might pass by marriage into the demesne of the King of Canada. Maybe my city would get annexed by the Grand Duchy of Japan. Having no "national" identity, what would it matter whether my King held court in Washington, or Tokyo?
And that's basically what happened in France and Aquitaine. I've had some pretty heated arguments with people about the Hundred Years War, simply because they don't seem to "get" this simple fact of pre-national life. They honestly believe that the Hundred Years War was all about "English" invaders fighting "French" patriots on their own soil; balderdash and horsecloppers! As you pointed out, Bort, the "English" ruled a good chunk of "France", more than a third of it at one point, perfectly legally and with no less validity than the Parisian Kings could lay claim to the environs of Isle-de-France! Not to mention that most of these "English" monarchs were, in fact, Frenchmen, born and raised and speaking only the language of France! The modern concept of the nation-state is completely inadequate for understanding such a situation.
(although this being said, I believe that the English holdings on the continent were still considered *de jure* vassals to the King of France, which meant that the King of England, though absolutely independent in all the ways that count, still had to offer some ceremonial blowjobs to the French king. I'm a bit hazy on the details so please don't call me out on this, but I do know that the various English monarchs post-Henry had to offer up some shows of gratitude to the Frogs, and that when Edward III stopped doing so it was considered a major diplomatic slight and precipitated the Hundred Years War)
While we're on the subject of Henry II and France and whatnot, there's something I've been trying to find for awhile now. Years ago, I remember reading an English translation of Edward III's official legal claim to the Throne of France; I think it was a letter sent to the Pope written BY him, or if not by him, then by his lawyers. It was a really solid argument, fascinating to read, and one of those things that I could always trot out whenever I got into a nerd fight on Blackboard or Gamefaqs or Gaia Online or wherever else college-me was arguing history. Sadly, I can't find it anymore, so does anyone know what the heck it was, or where I can find a copy?
If I were a knight, I'd name my noble steed Rainbow Dash.
EvilHomer (actually, no, I would not. Discounting for a minute that, as a knight, I would have no knowledge of MLP:FiM, knightly destriers were mostly stallions. So I'd have to name him something macho and manly, like Big Mac, or Applejack. Rainbow Dash would be the name of my favorite palfrey or courser, a swift and sure-footed mare whom I would paint with chalk-lightened woad before every ride.)
EvilHomer Oh fuck, what am I saying? She'd HAVE to be a courser; Rainbow is too fast to be anything else. Fluttershy would be my palfrey, and I'd paint her coat with saffron... which would, of course, drive me to bankruptcy in short order.
I'll shut up now.
EvilHomer Wait, when was saffron introduced to medieval Europe?
Tigany According to Wikipedia, the Romans brought saffron with them when they colonized Gaul, but the spice was lost to western Europe after the Franks took over and was only reacquired some time between the 8th and 14th centuries, after which it was considered an effective medicine in the face of the plague (and coveted enough to ignite the "saffron war.")
Jet Bin Fever I'm having flashbacks to Medieval Total War.
And man Germany gets messed up for a while then comes back swinging!