History Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What is the Bayeux Tapestry?

Expert Answers info

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

The Bayeux Tapestry is a very large piece of embroidered cloth.  The embroidery on the cloth depicts the events that led up to the Norman Conquest of England and part of the conquest itself.  The tapestry ends with its depiction of the Battle of Hastings, which was the major battle of the Norman Conquest.

In 1066, Normans led by a man now known as William the Conqueror, who was the Duke of Normandy at the time, invaded England.  They met King Harold of England’s forces in battle at Hastings in October of that year and defeated Harold very decisively. From that time, William was effectively the ruler of England.

The Bayeux Tapestry is a tapestry with embroidered pictures that depict these events.  It was created in England, most likely in the 1070s, and the artwork is done in English/Anglo-Saxon style. The tapestry is extremely large. It is not very tall, being only about 20 inches high, but it is around 230 feet long.  The tapestry is one of the greatest examples of Anglo-Saxon art as well as a contemporary depiction of the events of the Norman Conquest.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

kaseygallagher18 | Student

The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth tapestry that shows the narrative of the Norman Invasion at the end of the Anglo-Saxon era in 1066.  While the creator of the Tapestry is anonymous and the exact date of the sewing is unknown, it has helped scholars understand the progression and development of the British culture from invasion to the settling of the Medieval era.  

The Tapestry shows scholars the development of technology of the time period, the battle tactics, and cultural information that comes from these cultures.  Since little information has survived from the Angles, Saxons, Vikings, and other nomadic tribes during this era, this Tapestry allows us insight to where our current English language stemmed from, Old English.

Many believe that the tapestry is not 100% valid since it is sewn from the perception of the victor of the Battle of Hastings.  Throughout the piece there are many contradicting images (very common in Anglo-Saxon cultures...Pagan vs. Christianity) that make it very peculiar for scholars to study, but also could be frustrating with not having a clear depiction to allow us to explore the historical basis of this interesting society.  

See image for other characteristics.

This image has been Flagged as inappropriate Click to unflag
Image (1 of 1)