Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nineteen Years of Winter

I spotted this on Wikipedia and wondered where it came from because my copy of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, which includes various chronicles, but especially the Peterborough manuscript that this comes from, does not have this passage translated in the same way. The missing word is 'winter'.
" To till the ground was to plough the sea: the earth bare no corn, for the land was all laid waste by such deeds; and they said openly, that Christ slept, and his saints. Such things, and more than we can say, suffered we nineteen winters for our sins".
I took this text from The Online Medieval & Classical Library, where they have uploaded older (i.e. 19th century) translations of the work. It would be great to find the original Anglo Saxon so that I could see why my Micheal Swanton translation does not include the phrase "19 winters" and just says "19 years". It is not a big difference. The curiosity for me is due to George R.R. Martin's Fire and Ice series which includes winters that could be this long. 'Winter is Coming' is a slogan from the series. It is loosely based on the civil war that was called War of the Roses but these 19 years, King Stephen's reign, were also marked by civil war since Stephen was a usurper of the throne. Henry I's daughter the Empress Matilda had been named Henry's successor. When Stephen's son Eustace died, Stephen passed over his other sons and made peace with Matilda and so Matilda's son, Henry II was crowned when he died. It is just curious. That is all.

11 comments:

Kristin said...

And in ASOIAF, the Dance of the Dragons between Aegon II and Rhaenerya was based on Stephen and Matilda's conflict. Just as Matilda's son became the heir, Rhaenerya's son became king and reigned as Aegon III. The difference here is that Aegon II and his sister didn't make peace with each other--Rhaenerya died in the conflict. Aegon II had her eaten by his dragon.

The Kingmaker figure (Christon Cole) in ASOIAF is interesting, too, because there is a real-world parallel. During the War of the Roses, on which the series is based, the Earl of Warwick was called "the Kingmaker."

Upon the death of Viserys, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole, later called "the Kingmaker", defied the king's will, and crowned Prince Aegon as Aegon II. Ser Criston's motivations for doing so are unclear, but it was reputed that he and Rhaenyra were lovers before he took the white cloak, and their affair ended badly, adding a personal dimension to the conflict. In any event, many of the lords of the realm were aware of Viserys's wish to have Rhaenyra succeed him as Westeros's first queen regnant, and threw their support behind the princess. Doubtless, many of them were also the same clique who has spent years currying favor with the presumptive future queen. Conversely, Aegon had the support of many other lords, and a great armed conflict engulfed Westeros. The result was a devastating civil war which lasted for over a year, with the Targaryen family, the realm, and the Kingsguard divided against themselves. Many lesser branches of House Targaryen were exterminated in the war and most of the Targaryen dragons as well.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/The_Dance_of_the_Dragons

The Red Witch said...

Does GRRM say that it is based on that? I guess I should check out Westeros. Aegon II died in the conflict as well according to TotH.
The 'kingmaker' is clearly Warwick.
The winter of the Anarchy came to an end with the death of Stephen and the ascension of Henry II to the throne, despite his dysfunctional family and attempts at usurping by his sons.

The Red Witch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anachronist said...

Interesting - I almost lost all hopes to ever see another book from ASOIAF series in my hands but the historical parallels are so good...perhaps the words about winter lasting 19 years have been added later.

Tracy said...

I still haven't read ASOIAF - the talk of rape put me off a long time ago.

The Red Witch said...

@I almost lost all hopes to ever see another book from ASOIAF series in my hands.
He seems to be working pretty steady on it so we might at least see one more but his age and health is a worry about seeing the end of the series.
If I get a chance to look at an untranslated Peterborough Chronicle, I will have a look and see if winter is there.

Yes there are scenes in ASOIAF that raised the hair on the back of my neck. maybe I should send you a copy with all the creepy stuff blotted out with black marker. It is not as though it is relevant to the plot.

anachronist said...

I still haven't read ASOIAF - the talk of rape put me off a long time ago.

Some scenes are quite shocking, it's true, but nothing like Stieg Larsson, believe me. Still there are parts of the books undeniably cruel - it's better not to dwell too much on them.

maybe I should send you a copy with all the creepy stuff blotted out with black marker

Lol, bowlderize is the term for it.

*Bridget in full Hermione mode*:
Thomas Bowdler (11 July 1754 – 24 February 1825) was an English physician who published an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare's work, edited by his sister Harriet, intended to be more appropriate for 19th century women and children than the original.

Tracy said...

maybe I should send you a copy with all the creepy stuff blotted out with black marker.
And now you're reminding me of Catch 22!

If it's not as sadistic as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that's something, anachronist.

anachronist said...

If it's not as sadistic as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that's something, anachronist.

It is not. That one was totally sick.

The Red Witch said...

I think you have both put me off reading anything by Larsson

anachronist said...

You won't regret listening to us, The Red Witch. Of course it would be far more interesting if you actually read anything by him - then we could compare our impressions. I will tell you just this: if I had been warned beforehand I wouldn't have read his stupid book for sure.