King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry

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Overview

"Harold II is chiefly remembered today 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.
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Meet the Author

Gale R. Owen-Crocker is Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at the University of Manchester.

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Table of Contents

1 King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry : a critical introduction 1
2 Harold Godwinesson : the construction of kingship 19
3 Horold II : a throne-worthy king 35
4 The myth of Harold II's survival in the Scandinavian sources 53
5 The content and construction of the Vita Haroldi 65
6 Body language : a graphic commentary by the horses of the Bayeux Tapestry 93
7 Brothers, rivals and the geometry of the Bayeux Tapestry 109
8 Putting the Bayeux Tapestry in its place 125
9 Gendering the battle? : male and female in the Bayeux Tapestry 139
10 Cognate imagery : the bear, Harold and the Bayeux Tapestry 149
11 The Cicero-Aratea and the Bayeux Tapestry 161
12 The Bayeux Tapestry and eleventh-century material culture 179
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