Wednesday, May 20, 2015

There Was An English Colony Called "New England" In Crimea During The Crusade Era

A blog post by Caitlin Green on the topic appears here.  It was established shortly after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and persisted until sometime in the 1200s, around the time that the Crusader states were also falling apart. Allegedly, it was founded by Anglo-Saxon exiles from the Norman Conquest who went first to Constantinople, the capitol of the much diminished (post-Islamic expansion) Byzantine Empire.

According to these sources, what seems to have occurred is that, in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a group of English lords who hated William the Conqueror's rule but had lost all hope of overthrowing it decided to sell up their land and leave England forever. Led by an 'earl of Gloucester' named Sigurðr (Stanardus in the Chronicon Laudunensis), they set out with 350 ships—235 in the CL—for the Mediterranean via the Straits of Gibraltar. Once there, they voyaged around raiding and adventuring for a period, before learning that Constantinople was being besieged (either whilst they were in Sicily, according to the Edwardsaga, or in Sardinia, as the CL). Hearing this, they decided to set sail for Constantinople to assist the Byzantine emperor. When they reached there, they fought victoriously for the emperor and so earned his gratitude, with the result that they were offered a place of honour in his Varangian Guard.

This sequence of events appears to underlie all four of the sources mentioned above and is moreover supported by contemporary Byzantine sources too[.]
The probably left in 1075 CE.

1 comment:

Grey said...

I think that deserves a wow.