The Normans were the original liberal metropolitan elite Remainers #Hastings

Today is the anniversary of Hastings, when those baddies the Normans conquered England. But were they baddies? The economy also grew hugely in the late 11th and 12th century, and there was a big increase in trade with continental Europe, especially the export of wool, although this may also have happened anyway. There was also a rise in the number of monasteries, which were the main centres of learning before universities began to spring up; and teaching at Oxford… Read on

Vikings and The Last Kingdom: how TV drama fell in love with bloodthirsty paganism

At the Catholic Herald: The Vikings are violent and uncouth, but for all that they are portrayed as being honest and earthy, authentic and fun-loving; the Christians in contrast are peaceful but also cowardly and hypocritical. The Church is accused of acquiring gold for monasteries out of sheer greed; their attitude to sex and celibacy is nonsensical; the Christian armies are weak and worthy of contempt, led by cowardly kings (in real life the Vikings disappeared for a… Read on

Feast Day of St Thomas Becket – December 29 #ThomasBecket

Feast Day of St Thomas Becket – December 29 #ThomasBecket

This is from 1215 and All That: A very, very short history of Magna Carta and King John A lowborn cleric Significantly, Clause 1 of Magna Carta starts by stating ‘that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired’. Central to the conflict of this age was the relationship between the Plantagenet monarchs and the only being more powerful – the Almighty. It rather goes without saying that during this… Read on

Imagine a world without America – a terrible prospect

Imagine a world without America – a terrible prospect

Imagine a world in which McDonalds has not been invented. A world without Coca-Cola, Burger King, Gap, MTV, Hollywood blockbusters, hip-hop, Marlboro, cocaine, nuclear weapons, the Iraq War or Sarah Palin. It’s a tempting proposition. Ever since the attacks on the United States almost a decade ago the world’s policeman has become increasingly unpopular, not just in the tough neighbourhoods between Morocco and Pakistan but also in the middle class suburbs of western Europe. Not only is the United States consistently… Read on

Marr on Darwin

Marr on Darwin

When I heard that Andrew Marr was presenting a show about Charles Darwin that would take him off to Germany, Turkey, America and the Caribbean, I wasn’t just angry; I was positively Islamic. Grrgh, I thought, here he is, the face of the New Establishment, the pseudo-socialist libertine-authoritarian Jockocracy, swanning off around the world care of the overtaxed, small-c conservative blue-county English license-payer, and probably getting a few digs in at Christianity in the meantime. By the end of first… Read on

The death of swords and sandals 



The death of swords and sandals 



Alexander the Great was a force of nature, one of only a handful of men to change the course of world, rather than national, history. He finished classical Greece before destroying the Persian Empire, conquering 90 per cent of the known world and bringing the whole of Eurasia, west of the Himalayas, into one cultural mass. His conquests spread Hellenic culture as far as India and his decisions reverberated like ever shrinking shockwaves throughout centuries. And his brief existence inadvertently… Read on