“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

William the Conqueror, Domesday, Day of Judgment

After William the Conquerer won the Battle of Hastings in October 1066, it took him two more months to consolidate his control of England to become acclaimed King of England and crowned on December 25, 1066, in Westminster Abbey.

A sophisticated medieval form of government was handed over to the Normans and grew even stronger under William. The Normans centralised the autonomous shire system. (Sound familiar?)

The Domesday Book exemplifies the practical codification which enabled Norman assimilation of conquered territories through central control of a census. It was the first kingdom-wide census taken in Europe since the time of the Romans, and enabled more efficient taxation of the Norman's new realm. (Sound more familiar?) The process continues and grows with the internet. The great resource of the period, The Domesday Book, is now an online resource.

The holy grail of data: it's Domesday, online
William the Conqueror's great census is made available free on the internet

David Smith
The Observer, Sunday February 10 2008

'Not even one ox, nor one cow, nor one pig was left out.' But what William the Conqueror didn't have in the Domesday Book was an easy way of searching its reams of data. It has taken more than 900 years, but at last the internet has provided a solution.

An academic at Hull University has produced the world's first complete, freely available online version.

Professor John Palmer, whose work on the Domesday Book stretches back 25 years, has transformed its handwritten parchment pages into a database with searchable indexes, a detailed commentary and the ability to organise all its statistics in a tabulated format.

The Domesday Book, the oldest and most famous public record, was based on the 1086 great survey of England which investigated 'how the country was occupied, and with what sort of people... how much each had... and how much it was worth'. It covered 13,418 settlements south of the rivers Ribble and Tees.

As with the Last Judgment, all were called to account - hence the name, Domesday, Day of Judgment. There would be nothing like it in England again until the censuses of the 19th century.

But for nearly 1,000 years it has been inaccessible to most people and difficult to understand. There are costly CD-Rom translations, and the National Archives provides online searches, but Palmer set out to create a new format to bring the book into the digital age. Whereas the original has information listed under headings, Palmer has coded and tagged terms so they can be automatically retrieved and analysed. His software makes it possible to isolate certain variables and conduct several searches at once. The results can be displayed as a map, table or translated text, or as a combination of formats.

The three-year project was funded by a £250,000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Palmer, who worked on the project with his son, Matt, said: 'My interest in Domesday began in about 1980 as a teaching project. My son was getting interested in computing at the same time. It developed into a research


  1. I highly recommend the John Bolton Cpac speech over at c-span. It is titled "John Bolton Address at 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference (February 8, 2008)" You have to look for it, as there is no direct link. Listen to John Bolton's words about John McCain, and ask yourself who makes more sense, John Bolton, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh?

    Please let me know.

  2. Hucks looking better every day!
    Praise the Lord!

  3. I mean, you got your Hillary Clinton,
    Your Barry Obama,
    Your John McCain,
    Buck It, don't Fuck It!
    Gilchrist for DHS Secretary!

  4. Nah, no on thread response:
    screw it, none of you guys responded to my Kevin James posts, so if you don't mind becoming Mexico Norte, fuck you!

  5. I get Bloggers Dashboard from the link.

    Bolton wants to bomb Iran, last I read. Iran's going full bore on their project now. The book I've been reading had Pakistan selling stuff to everyone, and Mushy knew it. Crazy.

    I'll search for his speech tomorrow.

  6. Terror Threat From Pakistan Said to Expand

    A suspected bombing plot in Spain is indicative of an important threat coming from Pakistan, officials said.

    Gates Warns Europe on Afghan Danger

  7. rtsp://

  8. Meet the new Boss. Same as the other Boss.

    Get rid of the State Department and CIA. That would make the most sense.

    John McCain will do none of that. He will not move the US embassy to Israel's capital. He will continue to entertain, fund, support and supply Jihadis. Policy will remain the same.

  9. Re Doug's links--it's inhuman to say, but a few suicide bombs going off in Europe on a regular basis might be what the doctor ordered to wake the people up so they demand that their governments cut off any more immigration, and get rid of those that are there as much as possible.

    Pakistan was selling practically everything in the inventory, other than the bomb itself, and now they are exporting suicide people. Many of the Paki higher military had the - have the - idea that a crescent of nuclear armed islamic states is needed to counter NATO and the west. This may well end very unpleasantly.
    I've never understood why the great majority of American Jews always vote democratic. Must be the compassion factor but that doesn't make much sense as I don't think it is compassionate to get people hooked on big government. And the republicans are more supportive of Israel as a general rule.

  10. Hillary has been blubbering up again. After she loses she has a career choice there in Hollywood. Most actors have a hard time making the tears flow on cue, I've heard. It's a special talent. Can't you picture Hillary starring opposite Brad Pitt?

  11. Hollywood fiction or not, at least we know they're serious about ending the oil cartel's stranglehold on the economy and foreign policy.


    Channeling the Wrong Kennedy

    by Michael Tanner