anglo norman


Foulksrath Castle, Ireland

Foulksrath Castle is a 14th-century Anglo-Norman tower house located in Jenkinstown in County Kilkenny, Ireland.

The castle is closely associated with both the De Frene and Purcell families. The estate and original fortified and moated dwelling were first built in 1349 and occupied by the De Frene family and it is thought that the castle derives its name from Fulco De Frene (d. 1349) who was in the military service of Edward III and fought at the Battle of Crecy and the Siege of Calais. In the early 15th century the current castle was built by the Purcell family, relatives to the De Frene’s, after the estate came into their possession.

Keep reading


Why You Swear in Anglo-Saxon and Order Fancy Food in French - Tom Scott

They Might be Giants: Attack on Titan and the Legends of Gog and Magog

CW: Discussion of medieval antisemitism

Floch speaking of Erwin in Chapter 84. Perhaps also, inadvertently, referencing the powers of Ymir.

Ever since we got our first glimpse into Grisha’s notebooks I’ve had this suspicion in the back of my mind, but in the wake of Chapter 90 it’s crystalized for me. Isayama clearly draws inspiration from a wide range of mythological and religious sources, but there’s one family of apocalyptic legends that I think is particularly intrinsic to his world-building, based on the most recent chapters. That is the stories of the people of Gog and Magog and Alexander’s Gate.

A depiction of the Gog and Magog cannibals from a 14th century manuscript of Roman de toute chevalrie

There are many stories of Gog and Magog, and these stories adapt over time to suit the political ends of the people writing them. I’ll try to give the briefest possible overview that I can, and I will direct you to the Wikipedia page for the legends, since it is actually quite good. In general Gog and Magog are often people, possibly giants and cannibals (we’ll get to that), who have been sealed away by Alexander the Great in the Caspian Mountains. During the apocalypse, these people will be unleased and will have to choose a side in the final struggle of good and evil. In many versions of the legend they are the agents of Satan and the Antichrist.

The earliest mention of Gog and Magog appears in the Hebrew Bible, specifically the book of Ezekiel. Look familiar? Zeke is a standard shortened version of the name Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 38-39, Gog is the prince of a land called Magog. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to Gog:

“Therefore, mortal, prophesy, and say to Gog: Thus says the Lord God: On that day when my people Israel are living securely, you will rouse yourself and come from your place out of the remotest parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army; you will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the earth” (Form Ezekiel 38:14-16, The New Oxford Annotated Bible).

Here, Gog from Magog is an enemy whom God later tells Ezekiel He will crush. He is occupying a remote territory but will eventually launch an attack. It’s this idea of a dormant nemesis that becomes crucial to many of the later stories.

Over the following centuries, Gog from Magog shifts to Gog and Magog, both groups of people, but the apocalyptic element of the story remains. In the early Christian text of Revelations 19:11-21:8, for example, Satan rallies the peoples of Gog and Magog into a final battle with Christ.

Eventually these accounts of Gog and Magog merge with legends of Alexander the Great sealing a group of people in the Caspian Mountains (perhaps the Caucasus Mountains) with a great gate: sometimes Gog and Magog even becomes a name for the place, rather than the people trapped inside it. One of the earliest mentions of this tale comes from the first century Jewish writer Josephus, but it becomes important to many of the cultures around the Mediterranean. Both the Quran and the seventh-century Syriac The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius elaborate that Alexander’s Gate is sealed by two mountains coming together, a detail that is quite prominent in the (much later) medieval Alexander Romances.

In many early accounts of Gog and Magog, the people sealed within the gate are construed as monstrous in some form. For instance, In Roman de toute chevalerie, the twelfth-century work of Anglo-Norman writer Thomas de Kent, Gog and Magog are cave-dwelling cannibals. They are also sometimes conflated with the British (as in Welsh) giant Gogmagog. In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth-century Historia Regum Britanniae (“History of the Kings of Britain”), Gogmagog is the leader of the giants who attacks the Trojan settlers of Britain (don’t ask; many early western medieval civilizations like to claim Trojan descent). The Trojans eventually slaughter them all except for Gogmagog, who is kept alive to wrestle with the Trojan hero Corineus. Gogmagog loses. There are versions of this particular story where Gogmagog gets separated into Gog and Magog, leading to some confusion and overlap between the two initially disparate narrative strains.

You may be able to see a pattern here: Gog and Magog are almost always representatives of a lurking existential and possibly monstrous threat to civilization. Over the course of history they have been identified with many specific peoples for various fear-mongering purposes. Perhaps one of the more well-known and virulent versions of the Gog and Magog story is related in Sir John Mandeville’s fourteenth-century The Book of Marvels and Travels, where he claims (and he is by no means the first person to do so) that the people locked in Gog and Magog are the ten Lost Tribes of Israel: Alexander prayed to God for a miracle to seal them away, and God responded by locking together the mountains (104-105 in the Oxford World Classics version, if you’re interested). Mandeville’s antisemitism is staggering: he asserts that these people will serve the Antichrist once released from their imprisonment at the time of  the Apocalypse—a fox will burrow beneath the mountains and lead them out—and that Jews living among Christians in Europe continue to learn Hebrew so that they can speak with these tribes upon their return. He writes, “These Jews say that they know through their prophecies that the Jews who are within these Caspian Mountains will emerge and Christians will be subject to them as they have been subject to Christians” (105). This “prophecy”, to Mandeville’s mind, justifies keeping Jewish populations cordoned off and oppressed within medieval “Christendom.” 

Sound familiar? It’s similar to the attitude of the Marleyans towards the Eldians in Attack on Titan. They keep them in containment zones and justify their cruelties by claiming that “Subjects of Ymir” are devils who are seeking the destruction of humankind. For the Marleyans, an apocalyptic threat hangs over the island of Paradis. If they didn’t need Eldians to make more mindless titans, they would perhaps wipe them out (although, they sometimes tell Eldians that their mercy is a sign of innate Marleyan superiority). 

Gross saying horrible things in chapter 87. His reference to Grisha and the Restorationists being “rats” for trying to contact Paradis puts me in mind of Mandeville’s story about a fox. This speech also smacks of modern antisemitic rhetoric. Gross is just the worst, isn’t he? :(

Given all of this evidence, it seems to me that Attack on Titan has taken some of the elements of the Gog and Magog legends and refocalized them through the lens of the people within the Walls. The Eldians in Paradis have the capability of turning into titans, which are cannibal giants, but this is much more of a curse upon them than a boon. Their exile, while still miraculous and seemingly absolute, is self-imposed for reasons that are still unclear. The outside world hates and mistrusts them, fearing the power of the titans locked with the Walls, but the people on the inside are ignorant of their history; in fact, much like the stories of Gog and Magog, the transmission of history in Attack on Titan is a muddied process where pieces get removed, added, or altered as time wears on. There are lots of discussions of devils (from Bertolt calling the Eldians within the Walls “children of the devil” to more innocuous references like Jean’s comment “The 104th has the devil’s luck” when they return to Wall Rose with Eren in tow), but the people within the Walls are always our first point of sympathy. What would it be like, Attack on Titan asks, to be the people locked away and wake up to discover the rest of the world despises you, associates you with the apocalypse, and seeks your destruction? Terrifying, to put it mildly.

Hange ruminating on the state of the world in chapter 89.

I can’t offer any real predictions on where this story will go from here based on this source analysis. In most of the legends, as stated above, Gog and Magog are defeated by God at the apocalypse. Considering how Isayama has crafted the story so that we are sympathetic to the plight of the people of the Walls, I cannot imagine such an ending could be deemed “justice,” at least for the reader (the First King might be a different matter … ). 

I think Isayama takes inspiration from a wide range of places, but this is one that I hadn’t seen discussed before and had not really occurred to me until the full breadth of the outside world was revealed in the most recent chapters, so I thought I would put it out there :) I am by no means an expert on the Gog and Magog stories and this has pretty much exhausted my personal knowledge on the subject, so if anyone would like to add or correct something, please do so!

This very large mound at Callan, Co Kilkenny, Ireland represents the remains of an Anglo-Norman motte castle. It was probably built in c. 1217 by Geoffrey FitzRobert. In 1307 it was described as ‘a castle, in which there is a hall constructed of wood covered with wooden shingles, a stone chamber, a kitchen and other wooden chambers, and in the haggard a great grange, a stable of stone and an ox house’.


A goblin is a legendary evil or mischievous creature. They are attributed with various (sometimes conflicting) abilities, temperaments and appearances depending on the story and country of origin. In some cases, goblins have been classified as constantly annoying little creatures somewhat related to the brownie or gnome. They are usually depicted as small, sometimes only a few inches tall, sometimes the size of a dwarf. They also often are said to possess various magical abilities. They are also very greedy and love money.


English goblin is first recorded in the 14th century and is probably from unattested Anglo-Norman gobelin,  similar to Old French gobelin, already attested around 1195 in Ambroise of Normandy's  Guerre sainte, and to Medieval latin gobelinus in Orderic Vitalis, before 1141,which was the name of a devil or a daemon haunting the country around Évreux, Normandy.

There is no consensus on the origin of goblin myths. Since goblins are similar to faeries and other spirits of Europe, it is possible that they share a similar origin. Many scholars believe that such creatures came out of an interest in Paganism and its mysticism, especially the belief in nature spirits and magic. Goblins could possibly come from the belief that, along with virtuous pagans, there were evil ones that became evil spirits

Goblins soon became a subject in works of literature, including the famous poem Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti:

“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”


  • Some accounts claim they are mostly invisible to the human eye, and thus act as phantoms. However, even in traditions where they are invisible, it is still widely known (although how remains mysterious) what they look like underneath their invisibility.
  • They are usually believed to be shorter than human beings; depending upon the source, they can either be stout or thin; their brow is fully covered with thick hair and their mouth is filled with yellowed, crooked teeth.
  • Goblins are often depicted as possessing a coarse, raspy sounding, and slightly high-pitched voice, speaking human languages along with their own, and possessing a cunning intellect.
  • In recent depictions, goblins have been portrayed as green in color, but this is only a modern tradition.
  • In some cultures, they are more tricksters, who steal horses to ride at night, hide small objects, tip over pails of milk, and alter signposts.
  • Some believe that goblins are more malevolent, weaving nightmares out of gossamer and inserting them into the ear of a sleeping human, stealing human women and children and hiding them away underground, or even stealing human babies and replacing them with ugly goblin babies (changelings).
  • A goblin smile is said to curdle blood and a laugh to sour milk and cause fruit to fall from trees.
  • Goblins are often believed to be nomadic, never staying too long in one place.


A follow up to this post - Priory Graveyard, Holywood, Northern Ireland.

Holywood’s rich ecclesiastical heritage is represented today by its most distinctive building, the Old Priory. The site is a monastery founded by St. Laiseran in the early 7th Century. The present ruins are 12th century Anglo-Norman Augustinian Abbey built by Thomas Whyte and much of these ruins remain. After the Black death (1348-1350) Niall O’Neill refurbished the church for the Franciscan Order. The Priory was dissolved on New Years Day, 1541, by Henry VIII with its lands passing into the hands of the O’Neill family and then to Sir James Hamilton, First Viscount Clandeboye. Hamilton laid out the town, with a maypole at the crossroads and most of the early buildings are clustered round the Priory. The tower dates from the 1800’s when this was the site of the town’s Parish Church. The graveyard has some interesting “residents” including members of the Praeger family, the Dunvilles of whiskey fame and Sir Joseph Larmor the world famous mathematician.


Clonmacnoise Castle, County Offaly, Ireland

During the period of 1170-1220 the Anglo-Normans began the colonization of Ireland, building Motte and Bailey Castles throughout the island. The wooden castle that stood on the top of the motte at Clonmacnoise was destroyed by fire and later in 1214 the Justiciar of Ireland, Henry of London, built a stone castle on the motte. This was to guard the bridge across the River Shannon.

The castle was destroyed during the Gaelic Resurgence in the late 13th to early 14th century. Originally it had three stories but very little remains of the castle today. The ruins are very dangerous, delicately balanced in a bizarre but fascinating position on the edge of the mound.

For @silancio by special request: H. J. Granger.

 Granger Name Meaning:

“English and French: occupational name for a farm bailiff, responsible for overseeing the collection of rent in kind into the barns and storehouses of the lord of the manor. This official had the Anglo-Norman French title grainger, Old French grangier, from Late Latin granicarius, a derivative of granica ‘granary’.”

Princess Aethelflaed, of Mercia

Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, was born over 1100 years ago in dark-age England, an was the daughter of Alfred, the first king of England. She eventually ruled Mercia in the English Midlands from 911 until her death. She was the eldest daughter of Alfred the Great, an was born around 870 in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex. The name Æthelflæd is old English an means ‘noble beauty’ ~ an it is pronounced ‘ef-el-fled’. 

After the Battle of Edington in 878 the foundation of England was born, as the Wessex-controlled western half of Mercia came under the rule of Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians, who accepted Alfred’s overlordship. In the mid-880s, Alfred sealed the strategic alliance between the surviving English kingdoms by marrying Æthelflæd to Æthelred. Æthelred and Æthelflæd fortified Worcester against vikings raids several battle. 

After her husbands health declined early in the next decade, Æthelflæd was mainly responsible for the government of the Mercian kingdom. After Æthelred died in 911, Æthelflæd then ruled Mercia as Lady of the Mercians. The accession of a female ruler in Mercia is described by historians as “one of the most unique events in early early-medieval history”. 

Alfred had built a network of fortified boroughs and in the 910s King Edward and Æthelflæd embarked on a programme of extending them. In 917 she sent an army to capture Derby, the first of the Five Boroughs of the Danelaw to fall to the English, a victory described by historians as “her greatest triumph”. 

In 918 Leicester surrendered without a fight. Shortly afterwards the Viking leaders of York offered her their loyalty, but she died on 12 June 918 before she could take advantage of the offer, and a few months later Edward completed the conquest of Mercia. Æthelflæd was succeeded by her daughter Ælfwynn.

Historians agree that Æthelflæd was a great ruler who played an important part in the conquest of the Danelaw. She was praised by Anglo-Norman chroniclers such as William of Malmesbury, who described her as “a powerful accession, the delight of the kings subjects, the dread of his enemies, a woman of enlarged soul”. Like Queen Elizabeth I, she became a wonder to historians in later ages.

English actress Millie Brady plays her the historical tv-drama ‘The Last Kingdom’

“Want” and “Vacuum” (and more!)

The English word want derives from Middle English wanten meaning “to lack”.  It replaced will, which originally meant “to want”, after the later shifted in meaning to the future tense auxiliary.  Wanten in turn was a borrowing from Old Norse vanta, from Proto-Germanic *wanatōną, which was derived from a noun *wanô, “lack, deficiency” (also the root of the English word wane), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁weh₂- “leave, abandon, give out”.

This root, with various suffixes, produced several different Latin words.  The form *h₁uh₂-ko-, using the zero grade, produced the verb vacāre “to be empty”, which produced the adjective vacuus “empty”, the source of the noun vacuum.  The verb also produced the gerund vacans, root of the English “vacant”.

Another derivative was  *h₁weh₂-sto-, which produced the Latin vastus, source of English “vast”, as well as the English “waste”, through a circuitous route, being a borrowing from Anglo-Norman, and in turn from Old Franksih.  The direct route produced the obsolete westen.

Yet another derivative was *h₁weh₂-sno-, which produced the Latin vānus, ancestor, via French, of English vain.

salytierra  asked:

Hello! I have a question for you as an Irish Ambassador. What human names would be most acceptable for an Ireland character (female). A few that are old but popular today, maybe? And nice! (I've used Fionna a couple of times before, but idk if it's adequate) :'D thanks in advance <3

Ooooooh I love these kinds of questions!! ^^ I’m really big on researching names, their meanings, and their origins, so you’ve come to the right place! 

To briefly comment on the name you were using before, the correct spelling of it would be Fiona. It’s not a bad choice at all, it is pretty popular in Ireland! However the origins of the name are pretty muddy. ;w; The form “Fiona” is actually Scottish, it was invented by the Scottish poet James Macpherson in the 18th century. The name means “white, fair”. There is the Irish name “Fíona” which apparently derives its meaning from “vine” and is completely unrelated to “Fiona”?? The origins of this name are pretty strange and it certainly doesn’t help all the mess James Macpherson left behind, so… Fiona is a good name if you don’t question the name’s origins. ^^;

Other Irish names I could propose that are both old and are still pretty popular today:

Áine - means “radiance, brilliance”. It’s also a name that is carried by the Irish goddess of summer and wealth.

Aisling - means “dream, vision” or “visionary dream”. Hmm this one falls into a strange category because the word itself is pretty old but it only recently made the transition into being given as a name to girls in the 20th century? However the name has been used to refer to Ireland in an Irish poem, so I think it can be used. ^^    

Aoife - means “beauty” or “radiance”. The name was carried by a woman warrior character from the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.  

Brighid - (other forms include Brigid or Bríd) means "exalted one”. Oh this name, I certainly recommend it! It’s a name that was carried by a pre-Christian goddess and also by a pretty badass Irish saint! You may recognize the English form of this name, which is “Bridget”. This name was popular enough to go beyond Ireland and evolve into other forms of the name. 

Caitlín - possibly means “pure”. This name isn’t native to Ireland, it evolved from the Old French name “Kateline” which came from the English name “Catherine” which ultimately descended from the Ancient Greek name “Aikaterine”. 

Catríona -  this name is like Caitlín, except this one is thought to have directly evolved from “Catherine”.

Deirdre - Ooooh this is another name that I strongly recommend. The meaning of the name is unfortunately not known, but it is a very old name that was carried by arguably the most famous heroine of Irish mythology. Her story is pretty tragic but I suppose it’s her resolute personality that has left a noticeable impact. The name is associated with sorrow and sacrifice, even the character was known by her epithet “Deirdre of the Sorrows”. 

Fionnuala - means “fair-shouldered” but could be interpreted to mean “fair headed”. Although this name was very popular in medieval Ireland, I’m not entirely sure of its status today. (present yes, but popular?) I guess I’m just mentioning it because I happen to really like this name. ^^ It can also be shortened to “Nuala”. 

Gráinne -  meaning is not too certain but it could possibly mean “grain”. This name was also carried by a character from Irish mythology, this time from the Fenian Cycle!  

Máire -  a popular Irish name that evolved from the name “Mary”. This name could possibly mean either “beloved” or “bitter, rebellious”, depending on its origins.  

Máiréad - (other forms include Mairead or Mairéad) is believed to mean “pearl”. This name is the Irish variation of the English name “Margaret”. The name itself is of Persian origin.  

Méabh - means “she who intoxicates”. This name was famously carried by the Queen of Connacht, a character from the Ulster Cycle. This character is thought to be possibly an older character meant to be the representation of the kingdom of Connacht. (maybe even Ireland?) However all of this is speculation based on some aspects of the queen character. ;w; The English form of the name “Maeve” seems to be a bit more popular than the native spelling. 

Niamh - means “bright”. This is just a very pretty name and I highly recommend it! 

Nóra - means “honour”. Most likely derived from the Latin name “Honora”.   

Róisín - means “little rose”. This is a cute name and a historical figure named “Róisin Dubh” (black little rose) would later have her name used as a pseudonym for Ireland. (in a time where it was made illegal to utter the native name of Ireland) 

Síle - This name is popular but its origins are not well-known. Most sources will claim it was derived from the name “Cecilia” however a few sources claim that it can be translated to “Cecilia” but otherwise it has a native origin. I guess I would trust the sources claiming it came from Cecilia as I haven’t found much evidence of it being native.   

Siobhan - means “God is gracious”. Another personal favourite of mine, this name is derived from the Anglo-Norman name “Jehane” or “Jehanne”. It is cognate to the English name “Joan”. Ultimately the name is of Hebrew origin, the most famous name to derive from it being “John”. 

Sinéad - means “God forgave/God gratified”. Another name of Hebrew origin, it was introduced to Ireland by the French name “Jeanette” and is related to the English name “Janet”. 

Sorcha - means “bright, radiant”. I like that in Irish, we have the word “dorcha” which means “darkness” and the name “Sorcha” stands as the complete opposite of it. (also it’s an example of the d/s dichotomy in Irish, where words that start with a “d” will have a word with the complete opposite meaning start with a “s”.) 

Hope this was helpful!! I hope it’ll help you choose a name for your Ireland OC. ^^