Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Monday, 21 June 2021

Brunanburh: History for Videogamers

 Just a very quick extra post on The Great Battle of 937 - someone sent me a link to this, which is pretty much aimed at videogamers, but I rather enjoyed it, and it seems a reasonable presentation of current thought [the battlefield site is probably a bit out]. It's 11 minutes or something - sorry about the sponsors' adverts and That Voice, and the cute captions, but it's not a bad little summary.



No, I haven't downloaded the game.

14 comments:

  1. Very interesting Tony…

    Yes it’s a pretty good summary…

    From the tone of the voice I was surprised not to hear him say something like…
    “ bless… it was the olden days”… or “ how adorable swords and spears “

    It’s clearly aimed at promoting the game… I have to say knowing your love for computer gaming I am surprised you didn’t download it instantly…ūüėĀ

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Hi Aly - I'm not sure, but the tone of the voice suggests it might be a robot, but I'm so old now I can't really tell the difference.

      We have a bad history at my house with videogames, and cyberbullying, and all that, so you are right - I'm not a big fan, but occasionally I can see some merit in them! Most of my broadband service still gets sucked into the world of Steam and similar, so I guess I am a reluctant investor. Take care, dude.

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    2. Touch of South African about him I think.

      Good little overview. Little picky point: it refers to Constantine's mob as 'the Scots'. Weren't they Scots AND Picts?

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    3. Chris - yes - that's true - we get into some problems of language here, I think - strictly, Aethelstan's lot weren't the English, either - they were the Anglo-Saxons-and-others who lived in the areas described - we can call them the English, no problem. We don't have a name for "The People Who Came from Alba", as far as I know, but they were an alliance of tribes and communities - the Scots being incomers into Galloway etc from N Ireland and the Picts being from the Highlands and the Eastern side, the most important difference at one point being religious - Constantine was a Christian, but a lot of his allies were not. One political manoeuvre which the film doesn't mention is that Constantine married off his daughter to Olaf the Viking, so he was at it as well.

      One thing that is clear is that where I live may be Scotland now, but it was the northern bit of Northumbria in those times. O Flower of Northumbria....

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    4. To balance that up, wasn't most of modern Cumbria then in Strathclyde? (Home of the Strathclyde er.. Welsh. Eh?)
      People from Alba = Albannach. Like people from Sasainn (Saxonland) are the Sasannach.

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    5. Chris G - yes, I guess that's right, but we're back into languages again. Isn't Albannach a Gaelic word? I'm not sure, but I don't think Constantine's lot were Gaelic speakers - they might have been Brythonic speakers, or Pictish (whatever that was). They might, at a pinch, have called themselves Albannach, but we don't have a useable, modern English word which says who they were. Maybe we do...

      Martians, if they exist, must have their own name for themselves, since they don't know they live on Mars. This is terribly confusing.

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    6. Good point on the ‘English’ and the ‘Scots’.

      Rory Stewart has some interesting remarks along these lines in his book about walking the border region. The ‘Gallicisation’ of Scottish culture in modern times.

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    7. I have certainly bleated about this here before, but our local train station has a bilingual sign which gives the name of the village in English and Gaelic. Gaelic is the official second language, so there we have it. Unless they were visiting, no Gaelic speakers are likely to have been here; currently, unless they are immigrants from the Western Isles, or studying it at night school, no-one speaks it here now. A Gaelic station sign is merely an affectation to impress someone or other (Americans?) with our nationhood. What is especially galling is that the Gaelic name is merely a literal (modern) translation of what is an Old English name, meaning barley farm or barley store. So some-one has created a new word specially for the policy and the sign. In our case, Polish would have been a far more sensible alternative. Residents of Wales will be well familiar with this charade.

      Anyway, what language did Picts speak? [Not that we were ever Picts, either]

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    8. Well, yes, but maybe it was Alba before it was Gaelic! We only know the Picts by what other people called them. I always thought the country only got called Scotland by accident, as the English (Angles?) thought that everyone who came from the North was a Scot like the Christian missionaries they'd met, but not sure if that's just a wives' tale.

      Ah there's the politics of language. Draw lines on a map and everything on one side has to be the same, to prove the point. I believe Gaelic was spoken (alongside Scots) in more of Scotland in mediaeval times and it gradually receded West but I'd be pretty sure it never had much use in Lothian and the Border. As you say, affectation.
      I notice that in Orkney (another part of 'Scotland' that never had Gaelic, they have neatly got round this by not putting up any road signs at all.

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  2. Actually jolly interesting and shamefully, as an Englishman, a battle I had never heard about.

    Personally I would have preferred Al Murray aka The Pub Landlord as the narrator!

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    1. Hi Matt - Al Murray would leave us in no doubt who the good guys were, I'm sure. Unfortunately the good guys were a bit German, which might be a problem. The commentary on the film is weird - I'm sure I've heard text-reading apps that sound like that, and there's something about that sing-song up and down pitch-profiling of the words that suggests that whoever is speaking doesn't actually understand what he's saying. I suggest he is a robot.

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    2. One thing that surprised me a bit was that the Great Battle seems to have involved about 10K a side, which obviously was big at the time, but it makes me wonder how the numbers compare with the big bashes in the ECW. I can remember when you got fights as big as that at Millwall FC on a Saturday. I won't mention the Glasgow Old Firm, since this is technically supposed to be the biggest battle ever in England...

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  3. Not a bad little presentation, voice aside it’s good to see these small presentations are taking place as in some cases it’s the only way some people will learn our history! So if it’s linked to a game so be it! Like you I can’t make my mind up about the voice real or IT generated some pronunciation would suggest the latter.
    Still it’s a good battle to fight !

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    1. I thought about this - I might fancy a boardgame or something, but a clash between two big shieldwalls sounds a bit grim as a miniatures game. My early experiences with Ancient battles were WRG, and there were a lot of games that ended up as just a huge slugging match. Last man on his feet won.

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