Episode 73: Possession, Power and Checkmate

In this episode, we explore the connections between possessions and power – especially political power.  No Medieval king exemplified that connection better than Henry I of England.  Henry valued his possessions, and he made sure to collect every penny that was owed to him. And speaking of possessions, this was also a period during which the English language was starting to change the way it indicated possession. We explore these linguistic developments by examining the language of the Peterborough Chronicle.

9 thoughts on “Episode 73: Possession, Power and Checkmate

  1. Hi Kevin,
    actually the right spelling of the original word of “prince” is ” princepS”.
    Once more thank you so much for your great podcast.
    Kind regards,
    Tom

  2. I’m only half-way through this and am enthralled — first, I’ll finally remember Henry 1 as a real (money- and power-grubbing) person and not just some vague first-of-the-Henrys. Second, your explanation of chess and checkers is fascinating.
    Thank you!!

    • That’s the definition also given by the Concise Oxford Dictionary, though it gives “mat” as being a Persian word. I believe there’s been a lot of interaction between Persian and Arabic down the centuries, though, so the word may well be the same in both.

  3. I was so excited to hear the discussion about the emergence of “of” possessives in English! I’m writing my dissertation on this topic and was curious if there is any evidence that either of these forms could be used recursively at the time? e.g. is there any recorded use of a phrase like “The brother of the advisor of William” or “William’s advisor’s brother”?

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