Saturday, 21 February 2015

Democracy in 10th century England


As I sat upon my throne, in the Great Hall, pondering on the inherent absurdity of the  bitter sweet existence, which we call life, I was suddenly aroused from my reverie by the appearance of a lowly thegn. He approached my throne with ill-considered demeanour and gait. "King Flaxen, I approach you as a lowly thegn but would speak to you as a man. Are men not made the same and have the same loves and aspirations?" NO.

I thought anew. As king, my thoughts and aspirations are not of a thegn. Thegns do not know the love of a thousand wenches and have not sent a thousand men to their doom (or Valhalla) on the matter of whim or honour.

And so the thegn apprised me of things I didn't care about. He waxed much about the concept of Democracy. Apparently, a thousand years ago, a civilisation, long gone, decided that the best government should be elected by the 'best' men in the city. Women and slaves never entered the ballot box. So far, I could see nothing which would cause consternation. The city with this notion fell to the sword by a people who practised  Democracy, not at all. However, they practised war better than their neighbours.

So, he told me, that men deserve to choose who rules and influences their fate. Apparently there are several kings to choose from. All the thegns line up and throw a bone into cauldrons. Then someone who is not considered partisan counts the bones. The king with the most knuckle bones is King! But king for four years only. Thereafter, it starts anew.  Interesting, no doubt.

I reminded the impudent thegn that I ruled the kingdom because my father did. And that is democracy, in an instant. 


  1. And how much better the world would be were things still run this way.

    1. Just the musings and amusement of a daft old sod, Kath.

  2. Did the thegn in question suffer from Congenital Hyperinsulinism? I think we should be told...