King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry

June 2005
26 black and white, 27 line illustrations
214 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Pubns Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies
Boydell Press

King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry

Edited by Gale R. Owen-Crocker

Paperback out of stock

Essays on the brief but tumultuous reign of Harold II, and one of our most important sources of knowledge of the time - the Bayeux Tapestry.
Harold II is chiefly remembered today, perhaps unfairly, for the brevity of his reign and his death at the Battle of Hastings. The papers collected here seek to shed new light on the man and his milieu before and after that climax. They explore the long career and the dynastic network behind Harold Godwinesson's accession on the death of King Edward the Confessor in January 1066, looking in particular at the important questions as to whether Harold's kingship was opportunist or long-planned; a usurpation or a legitimate succession in terms of his Anglo-Scandinavian kinships? They also examine the posthumous legends that Harold survived Hastings and lived on as a religious recluse. The essays in the second part of the volume focus on the Bayeux Tapestry, bringing out the small details which would have resonated significantly for contemporary audiences, both Norman and English, to suggest how they judged Harold and the other players in the succession drama of 1066. Other aspects of the Tapestry are also covered: the possible patron and locations the Tapestry was produced for; where and how it was designed; and the various sources - artistic and real - employed by the artist.

Contributors: H.E.J. Cowdrey, Nicholas J. Higham, Ian Howard, Gillian Fellows-Jensen, Stephen Matthews, S.L. Keefer, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, Chris Henige, Catherine Karkov, Shirley Ann Brown, C.R. Hart, Michael Lewis. GALE OWEN-CROCKER is Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at the University of Manchester.

Table of Contents

King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry: a Critical Introduction - H E J Cowdrey
Harold Godwinesson: the Construction of Kingship - Nicholas J. Higham
Harold II: a Throne-worthy King - Ian Howard
The Myth of Harold II's Survival in the Scandinavian Sources - Gillian Fellows-Jensen
The Content and Construction of the Vita Haroldi - Stephen Matthews
Body Language: a Graphic Commentary by the Horses of the Bayeux Tapestry - S L Keefer
Brothers, Rivals and the Geometry of the Bayeux Tapestry - Gale R. Owen-Crocker
Putting the Bayeux Tapestry in its Place - Chris Henige
Gendering the Battle? Male and Female in the Bayeux Tapestry - Catherine E. Karkov
Cognate Imagery: the Bear, Harold and the Bayeux Tapestry - Shirley Ann Brown
The Cicero-Aratea and the Bayeux Tapestry - C R Hart
The Bayeux Tapestry and Eleventh-Century Material Culture - Michael Lewis


Gives a thorough sampling of current thinking on a range of relevant issues. THE YEAR'S WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIES
A useful collection of papers [and] a welcome contribution to the range of scholarship on the Bayeux Tapestry and a much-needed assessment of Harold's brief reign in its own right. MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGY

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