Bayeux Tapestry Scene 57

King Harold’s Death and the Importance of Technology

No one is entirely sure if the Battle of Hastings in October 1066 was fought at Hastings, but we know two things for sure: that the Anglo-Saxon king of England Harold II  (Harold Godwinson) was defeated by William, Duke of Normandy, and that Harold was killed with an arrow that struck him above his right eye.

Harold did not die at once, but he was in great pain and couldn’t move. As the force of the Norman attack gathered momentum over an unusually long day of fighting by medieval standards, Harold was hacked to death, at first by an unnamed Norman knight who smashed his leg at the thigh bone, then by others.

This momentous event in Norman history is also the tale of the reemergence of an advanced technology that was able to incapacitate Harold at a crucial moment in the battle.

In the remarkable Bayeux Tapestry, 70 meters long, Harold’s death is depicted. We can see the arrow striking him in the head:

Death of King Harold showing an arrow in his eye, Bayeux Tapestry, Bayeux, Normandy, France. Image: Creative Commons

In a follow-on frame, we see him on the ground being struck with a sword by a knight. A further image shows him dead. The tapestry says “HAROLD REX INTERFECTUS EST” (King Harold is killed).

Read the full article at AsiaTimes.

Stephen Bryen is a Senior Fellow at Yorktown Institute.

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