The Bayeux Tapestry is actually a cloth full of embroidery. The piece is 70 metres in length and 50 centimetres tall. This embroidered cloth gives us knowledge about the events that led up to the conquest of Normandy in England. The tapestry includes on it fifty scenes which are embroidered on linen through the use of colourful woollen yarns. It was probably made in England and not in Bayeux by Bishop Odo. It was in 1729 that the tapestry had been rediscovered by researchers who saw it on display in the Bayeux Cathedral. It has now been displayed in the Bayeux Museum in Normandy, France. The Bayeux Tapestry was woven a little while after the Battle of Hastings in order to commemorate the defeat of the Duke of Normandy by the English forces. The Bayeux tapestry is concerned with the Duke of Normandy, William and Earl of Wessex and the later King of England, Harold. The Battle of Normandy had been decided in high spheres of political power, mainly under Stalin’s request1. Stalin wanted to free the USSR from German rule by compelling Adolf Hitler to gather his armed forces on another area2. The D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy had included Allied and Axis soldiers and their every move and action were closely watched by correspondents of the first war3. The main political leaders in the Battle were Winston Churchill; the British Army official, Adolf Hitler; the German ruler, de Gaulle; a Lieutenant in France, Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the American President and Joseph Stalin, the leader of the USSR. The others included were the French soldiers, and American, British, Canadian and German general staff4.
The Bayeux Tapestry is a unique source in history as it provides the narrative of a war in a way that no other sources has revealed. It starts by “describing the journey of Harold to Normandy and he’s return to England and becoming the King, after the death of King Edward the Confessor”5. Towards the end, it describes “William’s expedition, the surpassing of the Channel and the Battle of Hastings”6. The Tapestry reveals original events which are not given by any other source in history. It specifically describes the weapons and other elements and the military as well as civil architecture. The Bayeux Tapestry can be called not only a historical document but also a beautiful piece of art7. The Bayeux Tapestry has been re-embroidered in films and media. The cinematic adaptation of such historical artefact as the Tapestry gives us a hint that it can always be recreated in the modern despite the fact that it cannot be as descriptive and exact as that of the original work8.
7. “The Bayeux Tapestry can be called not only a historical document but also a beautiful piece of art”. The Bayeux Museum. A Historical Document.
8. Ibid, 391.
Quoted in The Bayeux Museum, A Historical Document
Dimbleby, David. “The Bayeux Tapestry: The Seven Ages of Britain”. BBC One. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/medieval-world/latin-western-europe/romanesque1/v/bayeux-tapestry
France. “Bayeux Museum”. http://www.tapestry-bayeux.com/en/accueil_en.html