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History
THE NORMAN WAY
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A SERIES OF 3 PROGRAMMES
Begins Wednesday 26 May 2004 11:02-11:30am for 3 Wednesdays
The Norman Way presented by David Aaronovitch
The Norman Way

THE NORMAN WAY investigates the infamous regime change that occurred in 1066: its cause, its immediate aftermath - and its continuing legacy...

There is nothing new about the concept of 'regime change' : people of 11th century Britain were thoroughly familiar with it. Following his examination of everyday life under the Roman Empire, in THE ROMAN WAY, David Aaronovitch explores aspects of the daily existence and preoccupations of our forebears in 11th and 12th century Norman Britain.

This was a time when Britons were on the receiving end of a regime change inflicted by their Norman neighbours - a time when the interests of a stronger foreign power took precedence over local concerns.

Staging a battle dressed as Norman soldiers THE NORMAN WAY highlights parallels between then and now - bringing the period vividly to life with the help of contemporary accounts and chronicles, the newest research-findings and current areas of fierce academic debate, and the very latest archaeological evidence.

People of the 11th century were no strangers to political spin, either. The official chroniclers of the Norman regime eagerly promoted the Norman way of doing things and the justness of Duke William's claim to the English throne - after all, history is always written by the victors…

So how accurate is our view of that period? Was William the Conqueror an opportunistic invader - or was he truly Edward the Confessor's rightful heir? Was King Harold really killed by an arrow in the eye? How unsophisticated was the late Anglo-Saxon regime, and how brutal was the Norman one? And what changes - for good or bad - did the Norman Conquest instigate?

THE NORMAN WAY also sheds light on some of the wonders and blunders of that age: the 11th century bureaux de change, the difficulties of faking royal seals, the advantages and disadvantages of a trilingual state, the inconvenience of charter-renewals, the clergy's attempts to stop people dancing in the churchyards, the horror of ordeals by fire or by water - or by bread and cheese! - and the scientific genius of the flying monk of Malmesbury...


re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings I: CONQUERING
In the first programme of this series, David Aaronovitch begins by examining life in late Anglo-Saxon England, the various claims to the English throne, Duke William's invasion, and how the events of 1066 were portrayed by Norman chroniclers - after all, history is always written by the victors...
Go to PROGRAMME I


King William III: RULING
When Duke William of Normandy was crowned King of England - he vowed to rule the country "like all the best kings before him". Well, did he? Was his rule characterised mainly by its brutality, its administrative energy, or its focus on financial profit? Find out with David Aaronovitch...
Go to PROGRAMME II


Norman Architecture - Ely CathedralIII: MENDING THE BROKEN CHAIN OF HISTORY
David Aaronovitch concludes his exploration of what it was like to live through this regime-change by examining some of the wonders & blunders of the age: indoor plumbing at Battle Abbey, period undergarments, and one monk's intrepid attempt at manned flight. All this and more...
Go to PROGRAMME III


If you enjoy these programmes, why not give THE ROMAN WAY a listen? It's the predecessor to this series, with David Aaronovitch exploring all levels of ancient Roman society, from Senators to Slaves.



Listen Live
Audio Help
DON'T MISS
In Our Time
Thursday 9.00-9.45am, rpt 9.30-10.00pm. Melvyn Bragg explores the history of ideas. Listen again online or download the latest programme as an mp3 file.
THE NORMAN WAY PAGES

Home Page
Go to Programme 1
Go to Programme 2
Go to Programme 3

BBC LINKS
BBC History
This Sceptred Isle
The Norman Conquest
Key Events of The Conquest
What did the Normans do for us as a Society?
Voices of the Powerless
BBC Wales: The Coming of the Normans
The Threat of Invasion: 1066
Anglo-Norman Timeline
The Roman Way
USEFUL LINKS
Reading the Bayeux Tapestry
British Museum: COMPASS
The Norman World
Conquest: Recreating Anglo-Norman History
Domesday Book

The BBC is not responsible for any external sites.
PRESENTER
David Aaronovitch
David Aaronovitch
David Aaronovitch is a broadcaster and journalist. Having been editor of On The Record, he moved onto presenting a number of programmes, including On Air, The Argument and Radio 4's Copy Snatchers.

In 2002 he presented the acclaimed series The Roman Way that looked at life in the Roman Empire.

He also writes regularly for The Guardian and The Observer.

Newspaper Articles by David

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