What Is the Bayeux Tapestry?

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The Bayeux Tapestry

What is it?
A band of white linen 70m long and 49.5cm wide, embroidered with yarn, that depicts the events that led to William of Normandy’s conquest of England and his victory at the Battle of Hastings.

What was the Battle of Hastings?
A battle fought in south Sussex in October 1066 that determined the successful outcome of the invasion. Harold, then-new King of England, had legitimately succeeded King Edward the Confessor, but William felt the crown was rightfully his because of promises made to him by both Edward and Harold.

Authenticity
This has never been questioned –
* Style is consistent with other 11th-century Anglo-Saxon needlework * First referred to in 1476 – displayed once a year at Bayeux cathedral * Halley’s comet appears; astronomers have confirmed this. This detail would not have been known by someone who was not closely connected to the event.

Origin (Commission and Creation)
Bishop Odo, by general consensus, for the following reasons: 1. His inclusion in scenes in which he may be considered dispensable 2. The tapestry’s close association with Bayeux cathedral, his ecclesiastical seat. 3. Three minor Norman knights, recorded in the Doomsday book as holding Kentish land from him, are named General consensus is that it was manufactured in England. Evidence for this includes: 1. Stylistic similarity with other Anglo-Saxon art

2. International reputation of English needlework at the time 3. Influence of English language – written in Latin with English syntax; English folk names appear, eg. Ælfgyva

Age
Potentially 946 years old. Was made between 1067 and 1082 if Bishop Odo was the commissioner – he fell out of favour with William in 1083.

Bias
It is generally agreed that there is a strong Norman bias. The evidence for this includes: 1. The small amount of attention paid to Edward’s legitimising of Harold and death 2. That a common alternative title, William the...
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