Bayeux Tapestry

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Richard
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby Richard » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:56 pm

There are plenty of examples of hugely important clashes whose exact co-ordinates are the subject of dispute.
The Battle of Bosworth, which proved decisive in bringing the Tudors to the English throne, has been claimed by a number of sites. The exact location of the Battle of Stow on the Wold - the last major skirmish of the English Civil War - has also been widely contested.
And archaeologists have long argued over the whereabouts of significant Roman-era events like the Battle of Mons Graupius, as well as the later Battle of Dun Nechtain, fought in 685 between Picts and Northumbrians...

Cynric the cynical
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby Cynric the cynical » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:32 am

Seahermit said
With respect, I would however dispute your assertion that we cannot, a thousand years afterwards, pin down time and place for past events.


Sorry, I expressed myself badly there! I was of course referring to the documentary evidence rather than the archaeological. When "Herst" could be anywhere between where the Abbey is situated and the Church in Crowhurst or Pevensey, according to some, could mean anywhere along say 5 miles of coastline, you kinda get the feeling that the battles could have occurred, sort of, over there in that direction.

I'm not sure of the method of land distribution in England under the Saxons either. Even many centuries later, counties had stray bits and pieces, usually in the neighbouring counties. Here in Norway, farms were not contiguous in medieval times. Is the later stray bits and pieces of counties a legacy of a similar system in England?

Language changes over the years too. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ( D-version) records that William came upon Harold by "surprise" before Harold's people were marshalled. Yet numerous early sources state or show the Huscarls in their shieldwall before the Normans attacked. So is the ASC (D-v) wrong or has the meaning of the word "surprised" slightly shifted in the intervening 1000 years? [ I rather would like the phrase "at short notice" used instead]

This is why I put more faith in the pictorial Bayeux Tapestry and less in the written or translated reports.I suppose you could look on the Bayeux Tapestry as a piece of art and then reflect on what it is "saying" to you. As I'm on the very shallow end of the autism scale, I could be "hearing" the Tapestry all wrong and I won't find anything on my selected second battlefield.

I hope that explains where I'm coming from.

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Richard
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby Richard » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:40 am

seahermit said the following:

"With respect, I would however dispute your assertion that we cannot, a thousand years afterwards, pin down time and place for past events."

seahermit, get off your high-horse and stop being so pompous.

Richard III was found in 2012 buried under a car park in Leicester, for goodness sake.

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Richard
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby Richard » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:50 pm

The 'Bayeux Tapestry' is not a very reliable source of information on the actual Battle?
But the tapestry is a rich source of information on many aspects of Anglo-Norman life, society, culture and history.
Academics interested in early medieval ship-building, sailing and carpentry have learnt much from the sections dealing with the construction and voyage of William’s invasion fleet.
Military historians have studied the arms and armour shown in the tapestry and analysed the battle scenes to learn more about military techniques and practice at the time. Architectural experts have also been able to interrogate the tapestry for information about building types and materials in the 11th-century from the portrayals of the various structures shown in the story.
So the tapestry is a rich source of information on many aspects of Anglo-Norman life, society, culture and history.
We do not know, what Edward the Confessor and Harold are discussing in the first scene of the story. Nothing is said other than ‘King Edward’ above the frame, so we are entirely in the dark about the meeting and must infer from other sources as to what the designers are trying to tell us. That is a problem that persists throughout the tapestry, where we are constantly invited to infer what is happening from the pictures, rather than being told what is happening with words.
This may be because it was common knowledge at the time that Harold had reneged on his alleged promise to allow William to become King and that this story needed no further explanation.
A power struggle broke out and the Crown of England was soon fought over by both the Norwegians and the Normans, nonetheless The Bayeux tapestry faithfully depicts Edward on his deathbed, offering the English crown to Harold, and this event is reflected in most of the chronicles of the time.

Cynric the cynical
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby Cynric the cynical » Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:16 am

...That is a problem that persists throughout the tapestry, where we are constantly invited to infer what is happening from the pictures, rather than being told what is happening with words ... Perhaps the audience couldn't read?

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seahermit
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby seahermit » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:14 pm

No, Richard III was not buried under a car park. He was buried in the corner of some field. Somebody put a car park there later. Just getting it right and indulging my pomposity ..

"A problem that persists throughout the tapestry" .. what problem and to whom? Is there anything clearer than a picture for, as Cynric said, the illiterate observer? "The Bayeux Tapestry is not a very reliable source of information" .. are there any other sources which are more reliable? The problem is not the tapestry but, as with all scholastic research, with interpretation.

E G. I quite agree that even the location of Herst has been hotly disputed, as far as I recall atleast two Hersts existed in that area. Could the name be related to "Hurst", of course a common Saxon word? (Does it mean wood? I may be quite wrong on that).

As Cynric inferred, meanings of language change, in fact everything changes, cultural habits, the lay of the land, agricultural distribution, the shape of the coastline. Makes it very difficult to push aside our 21st century perspective and "see" the history in its proper mediaeval context, at a time when life was lived in an utterly different way and in a landscape which we would struggle to recognise.

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ColinL
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby ColinL » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:02 pm

Hey guys, we can do without insults and just have friendly disagreements. History is written by the victors who can then interpret events to the liking of the then rulers.Most of the writers of history at the time were Normans, however there were also the Anglo Saxon Chronicles that spanned the period before and after the invasion. As it is a long time since I read Marc Morris's The Norman Conquest published in 2012 I cannot remember much of the coverage of the battle. The book was widely welcomed by academics as well researched from sources.

I recommend a read. I am not on commission!

If it is discovered that the battle was not actually fought at Battle, then the town will have to renamed. Has anyone any ideas?

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seahermit
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby seahermit » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:59 pm

Sorry, I'm not meaning to be insulting! Just winding up a bit maybe .. But seriously I'm not comfortable with woolly thinking and I think it is important here to be precise, atleast about facts which ARE known, there's enough uncertainty already around the story of the battle as told by, yes, the victors. Who can indeed narrate the version they wish posterity to swallow. I think it quite fascinating the way that modern scholarship is throwing much doubt on the accounts of the battle which have previously been accepted and handed down, in the lack of other evidence.

I admit that my knowledge of the battle is sketchy/rusty and I appreciate all the literary references quoted by people, definitely this is all worth reading thoroughly at some stage. I suppose there must have been countless books (reliable works of scholarship and other "popular" tomes!) written about the Conquest, where does one start? But I'll have a look at Marc Morris's book, thanks.

If the supposed battle location is shifted, maybe the town could be renamed "Not Battle" or possibly "Not-Quite-Battle"!

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Richard
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby Richard » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:16 pm

Does the exact location of the Hastings Battle even matter when the skeleton of a hugely important figure such as Richard III, never mind where his exact Battle site was, has only relatively recently been discovered lying under (of all things) a modern-day Car Park?
Yes it does because it shows that we are not at all in touch with our history (seen through a distant lens) and that it is only the unexpected discoveries that make us really sit up and take notice.
Only a dull or cynical mind would contradict the Richard III discovery as anything less than sensational.
So, using the Hastings Battle in the village Battle as a starting point, it is up to other minds to produce fresh evidence to the contrary and even then some will find fault and say that it was not a roundabout at the time when Harold was mortally wounded or at least incapacitated and later hacked to pieces...

Cynric the cynical
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Re: Bayeux Tapestry

Postby Cynric the cynical » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:12 am

Why can't we start with a blank sheet of paper, Richard? By starting with the Abbey as the de facto site of the battle you are already "loading the dice".

Don't worry, I understand the attachment to the Abbey in the popular mind and for any extraordinary claims there must be extraordinary evidence or proof.

If you think about it there are number of ongoing claims about the true location of the Battle. Let's list them:-

1. Battle Abbey
2. Time Team roundabout
3. Caldbec Hill
4. Crowhurst
5. My two sites - Firstly at the roundabout by the Fire Station in Battle (roughly), the second currently being investigated ( I'm not saying where**)
6. Another site by Beech Farm to the north of Battle
7. Another site closer to Netherfield ( that's as much as I know)

All sites bar 2 have no finds whatsoever at the present ( The axe at site 2 can not be dated to 1066. At site 6, the coin is of Edward the Confessor so can be anywhere from 1042 to 1066 and the late Saxon stirrup, well it's late Saxon but the Huscarls fought on foot). So effectively NO SITES HAVE POSITIVE ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROOF and therefore all sites must have equal standing and each proponent of a site must be accorded some sort of respect for daring to poke their head above the battlements.

Wow! I never realised that I'm thinking so far out of the box. I seem to be the only one proposing two engagements. Well, I think I'd better shut up and wait for any results.

** think of it in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle terms - I can tell you what's happening or I can tell you where it is. I've chosen to tell you what's happening.


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