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I am a time traveller. I want to change the result of the Battle of Hastings. To achieve this, I need to learn king Harold Godwinson's (and his baronets') trust. To do this, I decide to reveal that I am from the future.

To avoid being taken as a: liar, spy or madman I need to proof that my words are true.

I decide to not reveal anything from the (known to me) future, because:

  • I don't want to contaminate this timeline,
  • I am uncertain how changing the result of the Battle of Hastings will influence future.

For similar reasons, I won't explain anything that I will do to prove my truthfulness. I just need to do some demonstration -- using materials available and technology known in 11th century.

I do not poses any extraordinary powers. I am not even able to travel through time -- I've appeared shortly before the Battle of Hastings as an effect of a time-accident. I have knowledge and skills as nearly every, regular 21th century university graduate would have.

The nearest sun eclipse for this area will occur too late, so using Mark Twain's idea is not an option.

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    $\begingroup$ How do you want to change the battle? The way a medieval battle was planned out, this would be extremely difficult for someone who isn't a general from that time period. Your best bet in convincing a competent leader is convincing them of your competence. You can say that something was lost in your time line, but that's useless information without credibility in the matter at hand. You might make things worse. Being from the future is not even 1% as important as being a general skilled in the art of war of that particular time and place. Please be specific what you want to get to them $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jan 26 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ Did pre-Norman conquest English kings really have baronets? And I'm not exactly sure how you would go about changing the outcome of the Norman invasion; the Normans attacked in co-ordination with the Norwegians, so that the English had to fight two battles one after the other, at a distance 200 miles. Poor Harold did not really have the option to avoid any of the two battles, as both invading forces were intent of taking his kingdom from him. He won against the Norwegians at Stamford Bridge, ordered a forced march to the south, but was too late to stop William from landing and entrenching. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 26 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ Plus 11th century Englishman + you would lead to an almost completely mutually unintelligible interchange - check out Geoffrey Chaucer's language and then realize it was nearly 400 years more recent than the time you refer to. $\endgroup$ – BLT-Bub Jan 26 at 18:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Bitterdreggs. Chaucer wrote in Middle English, which is sort of kind of intelligible to an educated speaker of Modern English. Harold and his people were speaking Old English, which is an utterly foreign language, completely unintelligible without actually learning it. And ic cyðe eow, þæt ic wylle beon hold hlaford and unswicende to Godes gerihtum and to rihtre woroldlage, "and I make known to you, that I will be a civilised lord and uncheating to God's laws and to the worldly laws". $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 26 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ trejder, you have been on WB SE long enough to know time travel questions like this end as not possible. They won't understand the concept of people from the future. The future to them was prophecy & fortune telling, not time travel. Any accidental time traveller will barely survive the past. Want to change the past? Come well equipped, extensive logistics, a small army, & easy time travel. Otherwise, forget it. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 26 at 22:35
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Become a miracle healer.

Good medics were simply not found, so someone with a basic knowledge of modern medicine can easily build themselves a reputation with a handful of patients. Once the king hears about you, you will be summoned. From there, anything that comes out of your mouth will be seriously considered.

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    $\begingroup$ I think this is the best answer and one of those that I have expected. Given number of comments and closing the question, it seems that I don't know how to ask the question or most people here didn't understand my intentions. You did. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – trejder Feb 1 at 19:53
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I don’t think it’s a realistic possibility.

Having arrived “just before the battle” the king will be busy and in no mood to speak at length to some wandering unknown idiot ranting nonsense. Attempting to impress any of his lieutenants would similarly be counterproductive for similar reasons and even if some sort of demonstration was successful it would more likely generate surprise and fear, emotions that would not be welcomed immediately before battle.

In addition limiting the demonstrations to “materials available and technology known in 11th century” will almost certainly ensure that those demonstrations were not that impressive. Demonstrating some crude electrical motor or battery using some copper and loadstones would be seen as the work of a conjuror or worse still as works of the devil.

The only way to make this work would be to try a totally different tack. You would be better to say you had abandoned William and changed sides for (some believable reason) then describe exactly where William was going to land and what the disposition of his troops would be etc. The story would require a lot of work to make it believable and you had better be fluent in Norman French and Old English or you wouldn’t last long.

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  • $\begingroup$ Harold knew exactly where William was. Having defeated Norwegian king Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge, Harold had to order his seriously weakened army in a forced march to the south to confront William. When they arrived at Hastings they found that William had built field fortifications. Harold unsuccessfully attempted to enter into negotiations with William. The next day William led his forces out of the fortified position and the rest is a standard uncoordinated medieval battle. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 26 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ The battle was highly coordinated. William had fortifications to fall back on if he was defeated. Harold chose a good, defensible position and established a shield wall. William used archery and cavalry in an attempt to breach the wall, but was unable to do so until he used deception, feigning a retreat to lure Harold's forces out of formation and chasing the "retreating" Normans, who then turned on signal and shattered the disordered army. $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Jan 26 at 21:45
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To achieve this, I need to learn king Harold Godwinson's trust

Why? You want to change the battle outcome or to become BFF's forever?

You just need to kill Wilhelm before battle. Depending on chosen time-traveling theory you either succeed or your attempt was factual and you failed.

To try to assasinate you use XXI century computer games knowledge. You kill, take dead people clothes, blend in and attempt to get in stab/shot/throw distance from Wilhelm. Thank to that you don't need to speak XI century Old English. So there is no need for you to think how to say "I'm from future" in the "Her sƿutelað seo gecƿydrædnes ðe"

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