1066 - French horsepower broke England

Peter Nicolai Arbo
5th January 1066,The English king Edward the confessor had died the 5th January 1066, and then earl Harold Godwinson was proclaimed king at  Westminster Abbey the day after the 6th.

It was a problem that the old king had promised both Harold and William "Bastard" of Normandy the seat of the throne before he died. Both men were distant relatives to the childless Edward the confessor. When William heard of it he quickly raised an army.

The infamous last viking king Harald Hardrada also claimed the English throne and he was faster than William the bastard,

8th September,1066 240-300  Viking ships landed on the beaches of Scarborough and began an attempt to gain the English throne.

20th September,1066 Battle of Fulford: Harald Hardrada defeated the northern English earls Edwin and Walther. 2 days later Harald Hardrada attacked and conquered York.
24th September,1066 Harold Godwinson arrived after marching more than 300 km from London.
25th September,1066 Battle of Stamford bridge
Battle of Stamford bridge
Harald  Hardrada went berserk at the battle of Stamford Bridge but it did not help.
Harold Godwindson won the battle against his brother Tostig and Harald Hadrada, who was both killed at Stamford Bridge.
Olav Kyrre became the new king after his father Harald Hardrada died. The English army had no time to rest it had to move quickly to South England where the Normans was expected to arrive.

Duke William of Normandy
28th September,1066  William the conqueror arrived with 700 ships at Pevensey

A sign from the sky
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle wrote that, around Easter time, “a portent such as men had never seen was seen in the heavens”. Visible for a week, it was described by some as the “long-haired star”. According to the Bayeux tapestry, this long-haired star was bad news for poor Harold Godwinson. As his compatriots look up at the comet with wonder, the English king is portrayed being warned  by a figure, presumably an astrologer, that the comet is an omen of doom. William , on the other hand, regarded it as a positive portent – though that, of course, was in retrospect.

Battle of Hastings did not take place in Hastings,the battle was fought at Senlac Hill 10km north-west of Hastings.

14th October,1066 Duke William of Normandy was nervous in the morning that he had put on his coat with the wrong side up. His men looked at him with disapproval as it was a bad day for their leader to show insecurity. 18 days before he had landed with his army on the South English coast with an impressive force of 7500 men.

The Normans scout had reported that the English army, that was commanded by Harold Godwinson had placed themselves on top of a hill only a few km away.

From the hilltop Edward Godwinson could see that the Normans moved forward in 3 columns. Harold ordered his cavalry to dismount their horses and form a living shield wall against the attackers. William replied with an archer attack on the shield wall and then he let his footmen attack. The attackers were handicapped, because they had to attack up a hill, the Norman foot soldiers were then repulsed. Also the Norman cavalry attack was repulsed. The battle fought for many hours, but the Normans had found a weakness in the English tactics. Several times units from the shield wall had stormed after the Normans, when they had to retreat down the hill.

William then ordered a group of cavalry to attack and then quickly retreat. A big group of English followed them, but suddenly the riders turned around and cut off the possibility to retreat to the shield wall. The English rashness was punished merciless all the surrounded men was killed by the knights. The Normans continued their successful tactics all over the front, and when they had killed many Englishmen, they broke the English columns and then Norman knights had a easy match against the English infantry. The English panicked and according to the Norman bishop Guy of Amiens "They stood so close that the dead could not fall" then Harold Godwinson was shot with an arrow through his eye, a Norman knight put his sword through Harold`s body, the English army totally dissolved. William now got the nickname the Conqueror. On Christmas day he was crowned king of England
A pagan Slavic rebellion broke out, the leader of the Obrotrites, Gotskalk, who was married to Sweyn Estridsons daughter Sigrid was killed. Cruelty and looting followed and church people was sacrificed on pagan altars. A last attack on Hedeby from a combined East Slavic army made the citizens finally abandon the town. The survivors moved across the Schlei inlet, which separates the two peninsulas of Angeln and Schwansen, and founded the town of Schleswig. The Saxon lords could not resist the attacks and Hamburg was also burned down.

Sweyn Estridsson made a last attempt to conquer England 3 years later with 240 ships, he managed to capture York but William the conqueror bribed the Danish leader Asbjoern and used the scorched earth tactic, and the vikings had to retreat from England.

1065 Battle of Dinan

Conan 2 vs William the bastard in the Breton-Norman war
Before the invasion of England, William the bastard of Normandy sent word to Brittany, warning them against attacking his lands, because he was backed by the Roman pope.
Conan 2 of Brittany said to William the bastard that he would take the opportunity to invade, so William's Norman army set out for battle. Outside the monastery of Mont Saint-Michel, two Norman soldiers became mired in quicksand, but Harold Godwinson, at that time allied with Normans saved their lives.William the conqueror`s army chased Conan  from Dol-de-Bretagne to Rennes and the Britons finally surrendered at Château de Dinan.
William ordered the construction of ships
An unexpected ally came to Harald Godwinson. King Harold’s brother Tostig had been deprived of his earldom in Northumbria by Edward in October 1065

1064 - Peace

The Danish-Norwegian war was finally over, at Goeta river the 2 kings promised to keep the peace as long as they lived. Twelve good men secured the border between Denmark and Sweden, with 5 stones, the 6 Danish men were:
Tolli,Totti and Toki from Jutland, Gymkil from Sjaelland and Dan from Skaane and Grimtun from Halland.
Harold Godwinson shipwrecked at Ponthieu, Normandy and was taken captive by Guy I, Count of Ponthieu, who took him to his home castle of Beaurain.
Harold Godwinson swore an oath to William the conqueror
King Harold was warned by Halleys comet
Duke of Normandy, William demanded the release of the Harold Godwinson, and Count Guy delivered Harold Godwinson after being paid a ransom for him.

Harold was not released from Normandy until he too had sworn on the Holy Relics to be Duke William's vassal, and to aid him to the throne of England, this was displayed on the Bayeux Tapestry.
William had secured the border with Anjou, William was involved in a rebellion in the Duchy of Brittany. He supported Riwallon rebellion against Dol Conan II in the Breton-Norman war.
Breton-Norman war, Bayeux tapestry
Roger de Hauteville attacked Palermo.

1063 Battle of Cerami

By Prosper Lafaye - Reproduction in "Les Normands en Sicile", Antonino Buttitta
The traders from Pisa made a successful naval assault upon the Saracen controlled Palermo it was under command of Giovanni Orlandi to help of Roger of Hauteville in his conquest.
In June at the Battle of Cerami, around five miles to the west of the Norman stronghold at Triona Sicily: Roger and Serio 2 of Hauteville lead a group of 136 knights and 150 infantry Normans to defeat a much larger army of Zirid Muslims, according to a legend he won by a vision of Saint George.

The Zirids abandoned the siege of Cerami, Roger led an early cavalry charge which failed to break the Zirids, whom then counterattacked  however the Norman infantry stood their ground. St. George was said to have appeared clad in shining white armor and bearing the flag of St. George upon his lance. His speech allotted the Normans to attack again and again. Normans won a decisive victory.

1062 - Naval battle of Nisaa

Sweyn 2 Estridson and Harald Hardrada clashed in a naval battle near Nisaa, outside the coast of Halland.
After a tough battle where the famous Earl Skjalm hvide was captured by a group of men who held him with their shields, one of Skjalm Hvides Ensigns named Aslak cleared a whole ship with an oak stick
Aslak cleared a whole ship with an oak stick- Saxo made a poem

The Danes retreated and Sweyn II only survived because of a noble Norwegian chieftains help. Skjalm Hvide managed to swim away later.
Sweyn II fleeing battle of Nisaa

Skjalm Hvide swims away
Leaving in the dark

1061 - Normans captured Sicily

In January Robert de Grantmesnil, his nephew Berengar, half-sister Judith (the upcoming bride of Roger I of Sicily), and l1 monks of Saint-Evroul-sur-Ouche was banished from Normandy and traveled  to the Mezzogiorno.

The Normans assembled and army and in May 1061 they captured Messina from the Saracens. Later they captured Triona, which they used as a future headquarter. Messina was ruled by Robert Guiscard and Roger I of Sicily.

1060 - Harald Hardrada started to plunder Denmark again.

The large ship Ormen (The Serpent) was built for Harald Hardråde as a busseskip (a big, broad ship) with a gilded dragon’s head at the bow stem and a hook-shaped stern stem.
Harald Hardrada  began to plunder Denmark  again.
Denmark was split into 8 clerical units: Vendsyssel with Thy, Odense ,Viborg, Roskilde, Ribe, Aarhus, Lund and Dalby. Dalby was soon canceled and put under Lund.

Sweyn II Estridsson received  a papal letter in which he was obliged to pay peters money to the Vatican church and Anno Domini became the official time stamping which were used in official documents. The catholic church gained influence, their influence changed vigilante affirmative action and collective punishment, it became possible to pay a fine if you had done a murder. If a man became judged lawless only the king could lift the ban, this increased the monopoly of violence to the state(King).
William the Conqueror could relax he became stronger, both his enemies King Henry of France and count Geoffrey died.
In May The Normans under leadership of Robert Guiscard conquered Taranto. A Sicilian Emir of Syracuse, Ibn al-Timnah, arrived at Reggio to secure the help from Normans against his rival emir, Ibn al-Hawas. He promised that, in return al-Timnah would acknowledge their claim over Sicily.
Christian rune church inscription at Fyn Ørsted Church "Samson kills Lion"
Stenkil Rangvaldson became king of Sweden he ruled until 1066. The last of the Uppsala dynasty  Emund died, Stenkil came from Western Gotaland, and he created a bishopric among the Swedes in Sigtuna. Later the bishop was driven out, a strong pagan culture was still strong in Uppland.