THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY (CIRCA 1070A.D.): CELEBRATING THE NORMAN CONQUEST OF ENGLAND IN 1066
Created: August 7, 1999
Updated: June 13, 2011
These Study Guides on War and Art were originally prepared for a course entitled "Responses to War: An Intellectual and Cultural History" given in the Department of History at The University of Adelaide between 1989 and 1999. Thanks to Carolyn Schriber who originally put the 35 images and their accompanying descriptions online as part of her medieval history website ORB <http://orb.rhodes.edu/schriber/bayeux_tapestry.html> (link now dead).
34. Harold is struck in the eye by an arrow and dies.
[See a larger version of this image 1495 px]
C.H. Gibbs-Smith, The Bayeux Tapestry (London: Phaidon, 1973).
Is this an example of Norman war propaganda?
A 203 feet long embroidery (in comic book style) made a dozen or so years after Battle of Hastings (1066) which confirmed the Norman Conquest of England by William the Conqueror. Made in England for William's half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. Pro-Norman depiction of events leading up to invasion: scene by scene snapshots of medieval life and war.
This version gives a better idea of the enormous length of the tapestry:
01 [1726 px] - Harold Godwinson confers with King Edward the Confessor and sets out on his journey.
02 [1735 px] - Harold and his men prepare for a sea voyage with a final prayer and meal. Then they board their ships, taking dogs and falcons with them.
2. Harold and his men prepare for a sea voyage with a final prayer and meal. Then they board their ships, taking dogs and falcons with them.
[See a larger version of this image 1735 px]
03 [1738 px] - Their landing on the coast of France is met by the hostile Guy of Ponthieu.
04 [1738 px] - Harold is taken prisoner.
05 [1738 px] - While Harold talks with Guy, William of Normandy prepares a rescue mission.
06 [1722 px] - William's men hurry to Beaurain.
07 [1741 px] - Guy surrenders his prisoner to William.
08 [1869 px] - Harold and William return to Normandy, where William's daughter Aelfgifu is betrothed to Harold.
09 [1594 px] - Harold and William celebrate their new relationship by fighting together against Conan of Brittany, but disaster nearly strikes at Mont. St. Michel.
10 [1729 px] - The battles continue at Dol and Rennes.
11 [1737 px] - At Dinan, the Duke of Brittany surrenders to William.
12 [1732 px] - During the victory celebration William knights Harold, and Harold takes a solemn oath to become the man of William.
13 [1726 px] - Harold returns to England.
14 [2070 px] - Edward the Confessor dies.
15 [1935 px] - Harold is crowned King of England. (Look for Haley's Comet.)
15. Harold is crowned King of England.
[See a larger version of this image 1935 px]
16 [1605 px] - Word of Harold's coronation travels to William.
17 [1657 px] - William orders the Normans to begin building a fleet.
18 [1941 px] - The ships take on their supplies.
19 [1260 px] - The horses board, and the ships set sail.
20 [1750 px] - The fleet sails under the protection of the pope (look for his banner) and lands at Pevensey.
20. The fleet sails under the protection of the pope and lands at Pevensey.
[See a larger version of this image 1750 px]
21 [1738 px] - The Normans disembark and ride to Hastings.
22 [1738 px] - The cooks prepare food.
22. The cooks prepare food.
[See a larger version of this image 1738 px]
23 [1744 px] - William and his lords celebrate at a banquet.
24 [1645 px] - The Normans build their camp and prepare for battle.
25 [1735 px] - The Norman army assembles.
26 [1738 px] - The Normans ride out to meet the Anglo-Saxons.
27 [1738 px] - Harold is warned of the advance, and William gives a pep talk to his men.
28 [1729 px] - The Normans attack on horseback.
29 [1642 px] - The Anglo-Saxons meet their attack on foot.
30 [1744 px] - Harold's brothers are killed in the battle.
31 [1744 px] - The battle rages.
31. The Battle rages.
[See a larger version of this image 1744 px]
32 [1723 px] - The Anglo-Saxons defend the top of a hill, and William must prove to his men that he is still in charge.
33 [1741 px] - Newly encouraged, the Normans attack viciously.
34 [1495 px] - Harold is struck in the eye by an arrow and dies.
35 [1486 px] - The Normans are victorious.