The Bayeux Tapestry The story of the Norman conquest 1066
An old version of a modern thing ―The Bayeux Tapestry is a very old version of what we are apt to think of as a modern thing. It is a strip-cartoon, one of the earliest and certainly the greatest that is known to us and it was made within a few years of the tremendous historical event it records: the Norman invasion of England, which took place just nine centuries ago.‖Source: Denny, Norman and Josephine Filmer-Sankey. The Bayeux Tapestry. New York: Atheneum, 1966.
Look at your mapThis tapestry depicts the Norman conquest of Britain and more specifically,The Battle of Hastings in 1066.What do you think I mean by the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066?Where is Normandy?Where is Britain?Where is Hastings (where the battle was fought)Where is Bayeux (where the tapestry winds up)
The Characters Edward the Confessor, King of Britain (i.e., THE DEAD KING)
The Characters Harold, Earl of Wessex Edward’s brother in law (THE VILLAIN) (a renowned warrior, great and powerful, he’s always depicted as dignified, holding a hawk)
The CharactersWilliam, Duke of NormandyAnother great and powerful warrior
The Story ―We are dealing with a very old story buried deep in the past. And if you are to understand the story you must carry your imagination back into the past – to that remote medieval world in which chivalry and barbarism were so strangely mingled.‖ Chivalry: having to do with the behavior and conduct of knights Barbarism: a brutal, savage actSource: Denny, Norman and Josephine Filmer-Sankey. The Bayeux Tapestry. New York: Atheneum, 1966.
The Tapestry Not really a tapestry at all…. a tapestry would have been made on a loom like this: Rather, it was a piece of embroidery (needlework)… stitched in woolen threads. ―The designer may have drawn them first….on the linen strip, which he then handed over to the craftsmen (or women) who did the embroidering. It is an immense work. The strip of linen is two hundred and thirty feet long and twenty inches wide.‖Sources:Denny, Norman and Josephine Filmer-Sankey. The Bayeux Tapestry. New York: Atheneum, 1966.Illustration of a tapestry loom. ―Tapestry.‖ Wikipedia. 03 January 2011.
The Story ―Englands king, Edward the Confessor, was about to die without an heir. The big question: Who would succeed him — Harold, an English nobleman and the kings brother-in-law, or William, duke of Normandy and the kings cousin? Edward chose William and sent Harold to Normandy to give William the news.‖Sources: Steves, Rick. “Bayeux’s Tapestry: Why It Matters.” RickSteves.com. 03 January 2012.
The Story ―On the journey, Harold was captured. To win his release, he promised he would be loyal to William and not contest the decision. To test his loyalty, William sent Harold to battle for him in Brittany. Harold was successful, and William knighted him. To further test his loyalty, William had Harold swear on the relics of the Bayeux cathedral that when Edward died, he would allow William to ascend the throne.‖ [But..] ―Harold returned to England, Edward died...and Harold grabbed the throne.‖Sources: Steves, Rick. “Bayeux’s Tapestry: Why It Matters.” RickSteves.com. 03 January 2012.
The Story ―William, known as William the Bastard, sailed with his army across the channel and invaded England to claim the throne he reasoned was rightfully his. Harold met him in southern England at the town of Hastings, where their forces fought a fierce 14-hour battle (graphically depicted in the tapestry, complete with rolling heads).Sources: Steves, Rick. “Bayeux’s Tapestry: Why It Matters.” RickSteves.com. 03 January 2012.
The Story ―Harold was killed when a sharp arrow put his eye out (ignoring every mothers warnings), and his Saxon forces were routed. William — now "the Conqueror" — marched to London, claimed his throne, and became king of England as well as duke of Normandy.Sources: Steves, Rick. “Bayeux’s Tapestry: Why It Matters.” RickSteves.com. 03 January 2012.