Episode 82: A Marriage for the Ages

The marriage of Matilda’s son, Henry, to Eleanor of Aquitaine was a crucial event in the history of England and France. It produced a powerful realm which contributed to the return of peace and the end of Anarchy.  In this episode, we explore these political developments, and we also examine the state of marriage in 12th century Europe.  We also explore how these events shaped the vocabulary of the English language.

Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

12 thoughts on “Episode 82: A Marriage for the Ages

  1. No husband 🙁
    In swedish Husbonde means “master” or “master of the house” or somesuch even if it is slightly softer in meaning, at least today. It comes from the word for house and farmer (bonde). Even though bonde might have had a different meaning 1200 years ago?

    Thanx for another fantastic episode!

    • Hi Klas,

      Thanks for the comments. By the way, I discussed the etymology of the English word “husband” in Episode 50. As you might expect, the English word was probably borrowed from Old Norse.

    • I believe husband originally had an association with farming in English – husbandry is still occasionally used to mean farming.

      Incidentally, the way the lower peasants were considered married in spite of having no ceremony survived in the concept of “common law marriage”, which people still talk about, although it no longer has any legal status.

  2. “Husbonde” is terribly archaic thought and is mostly used jokingly. Its best use in a serious way was in the translation of the Lord of the Rings, it is what Sam calls Frodo.

  3. What is the phrase mentioned that means “elegantly dressed”? It sounds like “Hraegl yuh frekulness”, but I can only find “hraegl” in an old English dictionary as meaning dress.

  4. I always wondered why the German word for novel is “Roman” (row-MAN). I think you may have just explained that for me.

  5. I really love to listen to the old English.
    This pod is excellent.
    I understand that English, at least written English, was in dire straits in the Norman period, but is the peril you describe just a tiny bit exaggerated? As you say, this is about ‘The Spoken History…’ and the common people, 97% of the population, went right on speaking English. Nothing like an existential threat, as with Native American languages, for instance.
    I repeat, tho, this is a truly great pod. Thanks for it.

    • Well, the podcast is the ‘spoken history’ of the English language, which means that I am ‘speaking’ about the overall history of the language – not just the history of the spoken language. So, yes, the Norman Conquest was a very significant event because written English almost disappeared. The spoken language continued among the masses, but as the subsequent episodes will indicate, the spoken language also changed greatly over the course of the following couple of centuries by abandoning a lot of its Old English features.

  6. I was following this using the transcripted version to help also (I have hearing loss) but not all of the episodes offer the transcript. Will that be offered for every episode? Or did I just miss the transcript field.

    • Hi Kathryn. There are a few transcripts missing because I haven’t been able to complete them yet. I hope to have them available soon.

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