Click to: riverhouses.org/2020-bayeux
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, when William, Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold II and began the Norman Conquest of England. (Which is why all of us speak a language that is half Norman French rather than all Anglo-Saxon.) In memory of that momentous event, why not spend some time this week learning about the Bayeux Tapestry, one of the most famous artifacts of the Middle Ages and an object that every good homeschool student should recognize.
The Bayeux Tapestry is a linen embroidery more than 200 feet long, made in the 1070s and depicting the entire story of the Norman Conquest in a series of separate panels or scenes, almost like a modern graphic novel. You can visit the tapestry itself, online or in person, at its current home in Bayeux, France:
- ➢ The Bayeux Tapestry (Bayeux Museum, France)
That something so fragile has survived in such good condition for nearly 1000 years is itself remarkable. Here’s a sideways-scrollable image of the entire object, with transcriptions of the Latin captions that appear along its length:
- ➢ Scrollable Bayeux Tapestry with Latin Captions (Augsburg University of Applied Sciences)
One of the most well-known scenes in the tapestry features a group of people gazing up at a comet — Halley’s Comet, as we now call it, which did indeed make an appearance in the year 1066, and which proved to be an evil omen indeed for King Harold (albeit a good one for William the Conqueror).
For a great homeschool review of the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest, including a vivid enlargement of another dramatic scene in the Bayeux Tapestry — a famous one that every kid who loves gory pictures loves, showing King Harold getting shot through the head with an arrow — turn to pages 191–193 in your recommended River Houses history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books). 🏹
And if you have any connoisseurs of the needle arts in your homeschool, you’ll find that there are quite a few videos online that will teach you how to do the type of embroidery found on the Bayeux Tapestry, and there are also ready-made kits that will let you create replica panels. Here are a couple of examples:
What historico-artistic discoveries have you made in your homeschool this Cygnus Term? 😊
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