Château de Coucy

In design and execution the fortress was the most nearly perfect military structure of medieval Europe, and in size the most audacious.

One governing concept shaped a castle: not residence, but defense. As a fortress, it was a symbol of medieval life as dominating as the cross. All of its arrangements testified to the facts of violence, the expectation of attack, which had carved the history of the Middle Ages. The castle’s predecessor, the Roman Villa, had been unfortified, depending on Roman law and the Roman legions for its ramparts. After the Empire’s collapse, the medieval society that emerged was a set of disjointed and clashing parts subject to no central authority. Only the Church offered an organizing principle, which was the reason for its success, for society cannot bear anarchy.

ref: Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978) p. 5

Oleaginous Word of the Day

oleaginous ‎(comparative more oleaginous, superlative most oleaginous)

  1. Oily, greasy.
  2. (of manner or speech) Falsely or affectedly earnest; persuasively suave.
    The oleaginous salesman convinced me to buy a more expensive car.
    ref: wiktionary
    By far the most decisive issue driving the Brexit campaign was immigration.  Anti-immigrant sentiment was first stirred by Nigel Farage, the oleaginous leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, UKIP.
    ref:  Rise of Hateful Little England

Battle of Hastings

The Norman conquest of England by an army of Norman, Breton, and French soldiers, led by Duke William II of Normandy, later styled as William the Conqueror culminated in the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066.  After the Norwegian king Harald Hardrada invaded northern England in September, Harold, head thug of England,  defeated and killed him at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Within days, William landed in southern England. Harold marched south to confront him, but left a significant portion of his army in the north, and was defeated and killed by William’s force at Hastings. William faced rebellions for years, and was not secure on his throne until after 1072. He confiscated the lands of the resisting English elite, some of whom fled into exile. To control his new kingdom, William gave lands to his followers and built castles commanding military strongpoints.

Love it or hate it, the Battle of Hastings took place on October 14 1066!

ref: wikipedia

Rule of the Road at Sea Aids to Memory in Four Verses by Thomas Gray

I.  Two Ships Meeting
When both Lights you see ahead,
Port your Helm and show your Red.

II. Two Ships Passing
Green to Green- or Red to Red
Perfect Safety – go ahead.

III. Two Ships Crossing
If to your Starboard Red appears,
It is you duty to keep clear;
To act as judgement says is proper
To Port – or Starboard – Back – or stop her.

But when upon your Port is seen
A Steamer’s Starboard Light of Green,
There’s not so much for you to do,
For Green to Port keeps clear of you.

IV. All Ships must keep a look-out and Steamships must Stop and go Astern if necessary.
Both in safety and in doubt
Always keep a good look-out;
In danger with no room to turn,
Ease her – Stop her- go Astern.

from Manual of Seamanship Vol. 1,
Printed under the authority of His Majesty’s Stationary Office, Eastcheap, 1908.