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The Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry is an incredible treasure trove of history of the events of the Norman invasion of England in 1066. It consists of one long strip of linen, 230 ft long and 20 in. wide, embroidered with color images divided into scenes, each describing a particular event. The scenes are joined into a linear sequence allowing the viewer to read the entire story starting with the first scene and progressing to the last.

In the year 1066, Harold of England, the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings was facing invasion from both the Norwegian forces to the North as well as the Norman threat from the South. On Sept 25, Harold defeated the Norwegian forces at Stamford Bridge near York, and quickly lead his army South to fight Duke William.

The armies would meet at Hastings in Southern England; Williamís Norman cavalry and spearmen were able to overcome the ranks of English axemen in a decisive victory, and Harold was killed. After the battle, William moved quickly towards London, and was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, 1066.

The Tapestry itself was created in Normandy, well after the events. It is believed that the Tapestry was commissioned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, Normandy, who was the half-brother of William the Conqueror. Although its creators had not likely witnessed any of the events, and the Tapestryís images present little idea of the horror and confusion of the fighting, they told the illiterate masses of the story of the conquest of England, and are still the most important visual source of information about the Battle of Hastings.

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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