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Anarchy: War and Status in 12th-Century Landscapes of Conflict$
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Oliver Creighton and Duncan Wright

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382424

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382424.001.0001

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Historical Outline and the Geography of ‘Anarchy’

Historical Outline and the Geography of ‘Anarchy’

(p.13) Chapter 2 Historical Outline and the Geography of ‘Anarchy’
Anarchy: War and Status in 12th-Century Landscapes of Conflict

Oliver H. Creighton

Duncan W. Wright

Michael Fradley

Steven Trick

Liverpool University Press

This chapter covers two areas: it provides a sketch of English society and landscape in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, and presents a year-by-year chronology of Stephen’s reign. At the point of Stephen’s accession to the throne in 1135, the longer-term impacts of the Norman Conquest on English society and landscape were still being played out. Ethnicity and identity in the period were fluid, and so mid-twelfth-century England was a developing Anglo-Norman state rather that a subjugated dominion. While ‘the Anarchy’ of Stephens reign is frequently styled as a civil war, the conflict was unusually complex and protracted, and involved more than two opposing sides. The period saw persistent asymmetric warfare on the borderlands of Wales, a succession of incursions from Scotland and Angevin invasions from across the English Channel, while a struggle for control of Normandy dominated the wider strategic landscape. The most characteristic feature of conflict during the period was an unprecedented series of internal rebellions, led by disloyal, disenfranchised or marginalised magnates and underlain by regional grievances.

Keywords:   Angevin, Anglo-Norman England, civil war, Henry I, Henry II, king, Matilda, Norman Conquest, Stephen, succession

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