2018 Psi Phi Society–Summer Session

Yesterday was the meeting of the Psi Phi (ψφ) Society– Summer Session…..before I go any further I need to clear up a misconception…..this group has NOTHING to do with the genre of SciFi….we are a discussion group that meets at least 4 times a year……

There are 10 members of this group and we need at least 5 members to be present….we meet at at local steakhouse for a meal, some drinks and a lively discussion…..the subject is chosen by each attending member to bring a topic they would like to see discussed we put the subjects on strips of paper and put them in a stainless steel bed pan and the owner of the steakhouse draws the subject to be discussed.

There were 7 members in attendance….and so it began.

I am sure the question on everyone’s lips is…..what steak did I eat?

I had my usual 8oz filet with a baked potato with lots of butter and sour cream with a small salad with blue cheese dressing and a nice Pinot Noir…..

After an after dinner drink we got down to choosing the subject…..and the winner was…..1066 England and the invasion of the Normans.

Why was the Battle of Hasting not more bloody?  I mean according to accounts the battle lasted about a day…….

First, a list of the 10 toughest Vikings for background….this will give a little background…….

There’s a good reason the sight of a Viking longship struck fear in the hearts of coastal villagers: the Vikings were bad news for everyone. When they weren’t raiding, pillaging, and demanding tribute not to raid and pillage, Vikings even fought with each other. There are so many badass Vikings that it’s tough to narrow it down, but these ten who made their peers soil their breeches.


Just about anybody that has taken a history class knows the date of the Norman invasion of the British Isles as 1066…the two forces met at Hastings and clashed killing King Harold II of Britain….giving William the Duke of Normandy the crown.

King Harold II of England is defeated by the Norman forces of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, fought on Senlac Hill, seven miles from Hastings, England. At the end of the bloody, all-day battle, Harold was killed–shot in the eye with an arrow, according to legend–and his forces were destroyed. He was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.


The point I made was that the raids in Northern Britain by Vikings in 1066 weakened the forces of King Harold to the point that it was a rout by the Norman invaders……my reason for this thought…..

The last great Viking king, Harald Hardrada, rose from modest beginnings to serve in the prestigious Varangian Guard for the Byzantine Emperor and eventually become king of Norway. His invasion of Britain in 1066 CE did not result in winning the crown, as he had hoped, but significantly weakened the Anglo-Saxon forces under Harold Godwinson to the point where William the Conqueror’s victory was almost assured at the Battle of Hastings.

The Norman Conquest of Britain in 1066 CE sent immigrants fleeing from their land to all parts of the western world, influenced the language and culture of the British Isles, and essentially set the course for the development of the west from that point forward. That conquest was made possible by the Viking invasion which preceded it, and the culture of the British Isles had developed from 793 – c. 1066 CE in response to Viking raids, assimilation, culture, and law. The world today, in fact, would be unrecognizable without the Vikings raids. Although they began as an easy means to wealth and personal glory, the Viking raids on Britain would come to define the culture not only of that region but of the western world.


WE all agreed that the battle took place and the Normans won…but of course there was a hearty round of ‘what ifs’…

Since most everybody agreed that the battle was won and the reason the Saxons lost we moved on…..

Our History professor brought up something he read about the Vikings……just how did they navigate on the open sea?  There have been numerous theories……

In the 10th century, some Vikings piled into boats and shoved off the shore of what is now Norway. They eventually ended up in Greenland, more than 1,000 miles away. How they found their way there? No one is exactly sure.

It was a long voyage through the dicey water of the North Atlantic—three weeks if all went well—with land rarely in sight. Their boats were sturdy, made from planks called strakes held together with iron rivets, but a swift and steady vessel was no guarantee of safe passage. “The Vikings were superb boatbuilders, but that great skill would count for nothing if they could not navigate properly,” says Stephen Harding, a biochemistry professor at the University of Nottingham and author of Science and the Vikings. “If a boat got lost at sea, that would almost certainly prove fatal.”


This made for some interesting theories and discussions that went into the early morning.

All in all a great meeting, a great meal and some good company….we all enjoy our outings with friends and colleagues…..we also set the date (tentatively) for the next meeting of the Psi Phi Society…… 24 October 2018……..

Anyone have any thoughts on the subjects we talked about?  Please feel free to let me know and I will share them with the other members……

Have a good day and be well, be safe…..chuq

4 thoughts on “2018 Psi Phi Society–Summer Session

  1. 1066 is a year so crucial to Britain, I have studied it at some length.
    The Normans had horses, and the Saxons only fought on foot, but this only helped in the later rout, and was not crucial to the outcome. The main reason the Saxons lost was because they had just marched south following their defeat of a Danish/Norwegian invading army at Stamford Bridge, in Yorkshire. That was on the 25th of September. Hastings took place on the 14th of October, giving Harold’s army 19 days to travel the 280 miles, after a hard battle.This meant the large force had to march some 15 miles a day, with all their equipment and supplies, many arriving not long before the battle started. In fact, it is likely that he did not get news of the invasion until the 30th or later, leaving a lot less time to go south, and a harder, faster march would have been necessary.
    The Normans also had more discipline, as the Saxons had a tendency to break their shield wall and attack, if they thought they were winning. Once they did this, Norman cavalry came into play with some effect. Armies in the 11th century were also dependent on wanting to fight for a live warrior king, so once Harold was felled by the arrow, it is likely that some of his troops left the field.
    Harold was also outnumbered by the Normans, who had more than 10,000 troops, where estimates suggest the Saxons numbered less that 7000, after their casualties at Stamford Bridge. That’s a significant difference, given the weapons of the time. It was a battle the Normans were always going to win.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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