The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry

Book - 2005
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For more than nine hundred years the Bayeux Tapestry—one of the world's greatest historical documents and artistic achievements—has preserved the story of one of history's greatest dramas: the Norman Conquest of England, culminating in the death of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Historians have held for centuries that the majestic tapestry—almost 300 feet in length—trumpets the glory of William the Conqueror and the victorious Normans. But is this true? In1066,Andrew Bridgeford reveals a very different story that reinterprets and recasts the most decisive year in English history. Reading the tapestry as if it were a written text, examining each scene with fresh eyes, Bridgeford discovers a wealth of new information subversively and ingeniously encoded in the threads, which appears to undermine the Norman point of view while presenting a secret tale undetected for centuries—an account of the final years of Anglo-Saxon England quite different from the Norman version of events. In the midst of it all is a mysterious French nobleman—Count Eustace II of Boulogne, descended from Charlemagne—whose own claim to the English throne rivaled Duke William's. While building his case, Bridgeford brings to life the turbulent eleventh century in western Europe, a world of ambitious warrior bishops, court dwarfs, ruthless knights, and powerful women.1066offers readers a rare surprise—a book that reconsiders a long-accepted masterpiece and chain of events—and sheds new light on a pivotal chapter in English history. "A gripping yarn . . . An exciting account of the tapestry's busy drama and engaging realism."—The Daily Telegraph "A highly readable and haunting book."—Daily Mail "Bridgeford marshals the battalions of his argument with analytical force, lucidity, and panache."—The Sunday Times(London)   "The Bayeux Tapestry, in the French town of Bayeux, draws half a million visitors a year. For more than 900 years it has been kept—and sometimes concealed—in several places around the town. The story of the Norman invasion of England in 1066 is set out in this masterpiece, recounting the Battle of Hastings, culminating in a victory for William the Conqueror and the death of King Harold. Although barely half a metre wide, the tapestry is about 70 metres long, embroidered on a plain linen background in wools of red, yellow, gray, green, and blue. Here are men feasting on birds, drinking from ivory horns, hunting, going to church, and loading provisions onto a ship. Bridgeford posits 'the quest of [his] book is to unravel the millennial mysteries of the work, to investigate the true origin and meaning of it, to understand more about the characters who are named in it, and to gain a new insight into some of the darkest events of the Norman Conquest.' The result is a fascinating study."—Booklist "Definitely not the Norman version. The Battle of Hastings, in 1066, when the last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold, was defeated by William the Conqueror, is one of the world's most commented-upon battles, partly because its effects (the fusion of French and Anglo-Saxon into English, for example) ramify to this day—and partly because it was illustrated by the near-contemporary Bayeux Tapestry, a masterpiece of Medieval art. What is there new to add to the library of references? Bridgeford attempts to overturn at least two old verities about the battle. According to the author, 'close observation of the Bayeux Tapestry reveals that it is not a work of Norman propaganda that popular myth would have us believe, but a covert, subtle, and substantial record of the English version of events.' He makes a very strong case by comparing real Norman propaganda, wh
Publisher: New York : Walker & Company, 2005
ISBN: 9780802777423
Characteristics: [xiv], 354 p., [16] p. of plates : col. ill., 1 map ; 23 cm


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Apr 14, 2017

Absolutely Fascinating!
A must read!
Very helpful for a report!

Feb 18, 2015

1066: The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry --- by --- Andrew Bridgeford. The tapestry is unlike any other. It reads like a document in embroidered pictures that depict a pivotal moment in, at least, the history of Britain. In considerable detail, it tells the tale of the Norman Invasion of Britain in 1066. Bridgeford’ book, which, incidentally, contains a colour-photograph pictorial representation of the entire tapestry (which, incidentally, in my opinion is far too small to be interpreted in many of the finer details) tells the tale of the invasion as depicted on the tapestry. But it does so in the historical context; it provides the detail of who the figures are (only 4 on the entire tapestry are identified by name) who were they; what was their relationship to one another; why was the tapestry produced; who is responsible for its creation; where, when and why was the tapestry produced; what were the unusual circumstances that allowed such a remarkable work to survive, largely unscathed, through such a long stretch of turbulent history. Indeed, Bridgeford tells the tale of a most remarkable artifact. And he does so in a remarkably accessible manner. We so often expect that books on esoteric and “old” subjects must be remote and difficult to follow. This is certainly not the case with 1066. Indeed, in parts, it almost reads like historical action fiction set at the beginning of the previous millennium. I give this book a firm thumbs-up.


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