Presentation on theme: "THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY The Bayeux Tapestry is actually an embroidery measuring over 230 feet long and 20 inches wide. It describes the Norman invasion of."— Presentation transcript:
THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY The Bayeux Tapestry is actually an embroidery measuring over 230 feet long and 20 inches wide. It describes the Norman invasion of England and the events that led up to it. The tapestry contains hundreds of images divided into scenes each describing a particular event. The tapestry would probably have been displayed in a church for public view.
History is written by the victors and the Tapestry is a Norman document. In a time when the vast majority of the population was illiterate, the Tapestry’s images were designed to tell the story of t he conquest of England from the Norman perspective. It focuses on the story of William, making no mention of Hardrada of Norway nor of Harold’s victory at Stamford Bridge
Harold talks to King Edward. The King is shown as frail and ill, although he was in fact perfectly healthy at this time.
Edward died on the 5th January 1066. The Tapestry reverses the scenes of his death and his burial. Here we see his funeral procession to Westminster Abbey. Edward had been too ill to attend its consecration on 28th December 1065. In the upper chamber King Edward is in his bed talking to his faithful followers, including Harold and his wife. The dying king addresses Harold who kneels in front of him. It is here that Edward supposedly anointed Harold as his successor giving legitimacy to Harold’s claim to the crown. Below he is shown dead with a priest in attendance performing the last rites. The Latin inscription reads “And here he died.”
FUNERAL PROCESSION Edward’s body, wrapped in linen, is carried to the church for burial. The funeral procession ends at Westminster Abbey which was completed shortly before his death. He was awarded the distinction “the Confessor” for his effort. Newness of Abbey shown by workman affixing the weather vane atop the roof to the left. God’s blessing upon the consecrated structure is represented by the hand appearing from the clouds above.
HAROLD IS CROWNED KING OF ENGLAND Harold is crowned King of England on 6th January 1066 Edward’s funeral was that very morning. The new king sits on a throne with nobles to the left and Archbishop Stigand to the right. At the far side people cheer him. On the far right Halley's comet appears; people think it is an evil omen and are terrified. News of the comet is brought to Harold; beneath him a ghostly fleet of ships appears in the lower border- a hint of the Norman invasion to come.
On the far right Halley's comet appears; people think it is an evil omen and are terrified. An attendant rushes to tell Harold of the celestial happening as he sits upon his throne The comet appears at the upper left Empty long boats appear below the scene, a hint of the Norman invasion to come. The tapestry implies that the appearance of the comet expresses God’s wrath at Harold for breaking his oath to William and assuming the throne. Retribution will be found in the invasion fleet.
News of Edward's death and Harold’s coronation is carried across the channel to William, Duke of Normandy. William is furious - he claimed that the throne of England should be his and saw Harold as a usurper. William decides to attack England and organises a fleet of warships. To his left sits Bishop Odo of Bayeux, his half-brother, making his first appearance in the tapestry.
William's men prepare for the invasion. Woodmen fell trees and shape them into planks. The planks are used for building boats which men drag down to the sea.
Food and drink are taken to the boats. So are weapons: coats of chain mail, helmets, swords and lances.
William leads his army to the boats; they embark and set sail.
This scene shows William’s ship as t he fleet approaches Pevensy on the English shore. A cross adorns the top of the ships mast. Below the cross, a lantern guides the way for the rest of the fleet. Shields line the ship’s gunwales, reminiscent of the practice of the Norman’s Viking ancestors. A dragon’s head sits on the ship’s prow and a bugler blows his horn at the ship’s stern. A ship laden with horses sails along side William’s craft. The fleet lands on September 28 and the invasion army makes its way to Hastings.
The Normans seem to be getting the upper hand as the battle continues. Many more soldiers die, one appears to be having his head cut off. On the right is the best known scene in the Tapestry: the Normans killing King Harold. But how is Harold killed? He seems to be shown twice: first plucking an arrow from his eye, and then being hacked down by a Norman knight. The tapestry is difficult to interpret here, but the second figure is probably Harold being killed.
King Harold tries to pull an arrow from his right eye. Several arrows are lodged in his shield showing he was in the thick of the battle. To the right, a Norman knight cuts down the wounded King assuring his death. At the bottom of the scene the victorious Normans claim the spoils of war as they strip the chain mail from bodies while collecting shields and swords from the dead. The inscription reads “Here King Harold was killed.”
William ruled England until his death in 1087. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recalls the Norman King in its entry for that year: “But amongst other things is not to be forgotten that good peace that he made in this land; so that a man of any account might go over his kingdom unhurt with his bosom full of gold. No man durst slay another, had he never so much evil done to the other. He truly reigned over England; and by his capacity so thoroughly surveyed it, that there was not a hide of land in England that he wist not who had it, or what it was worth, and afterwards set it down in his book.”