Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Caen, Bayeux, Tapestry and William the Conqueror

Grave of William the Conqueror, St. Stephen's Abbey, Caen, France

Caen. Grave of William the Conqueror

William led the Norman invasion of England in 1066, and is buried at St. Stephen's Abby at Caen. See www.royal.gov.uk/output/page18 for chronology, William the Conqueror. He is another of history's unofficial children, greats, born out of wedlock, see that bit of trivia at Bogomilia, Shadow Children.

This site says he died at age 59, in 1087, after ruling Normandy for 21 years and England for 31 more. He led the Battle at Hastings that led to the Normanization of England. Those figures make him a ruler of Normandy at tyoung age 7?  Check sources.  See penelope.uchicago.edu/%7Egrout/encyclopaedia_romana/britannia/anglo-saxon/hastings/williamdeath. Maybe so. Have to check. This modest burial site does not match one so great. Then, he may not be here at all.

He came to an undignified end, see the visceral side of William's demise, a blow-by-blow, at penelope.uchicago.edu/%7Egrout/encyclopaedia_romana/britannia/anglo-saxon/hastings/williamdeath. ; and home.nycap.rr.com/useless/william_the_conqueror/index. Falling on his saddle horn, severe internal injuries leading to a great and fatal bloating.

William's Normans.

The Normans are apparently descendants of the Vikings, who marauded up and down the Seine so much that the French (whatever tribe it was) bought them off by giving the Vikings Normandy; and allowing their passage ongoing to maraud at Burgundy and not Paris.. So evolved the Normans. www.viking.no/e/france/contribution. See also www.scandinavica.com/culture/history/normandy; www.pbs.org/wnet/warriorchallenge/vikings/time for PBS on Warrior Challenge.

Modern Caen. William the Conqueror and his Queen, Matilda, resided here, but little remains of the original structures.  The city was heavily damaged in WWII, now reconstructed and restored city,  It is near Omaha Beach.  The Abbeys did survive. 

Bayeux. A town to the west of Caen, near the Normandy beaches. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux. To stay overnight there would be just another night. To go on and try to get a room at the little hotel right on Omaha Beach - far better. Plenty of local places at the beaches if that hotel is full.

The Bayeux Tapestry. Woven needlework mediaval work of art at Bayeux. The story of the Battle of Hastings, William's invasion from Normandy to England, including the arrow in King Harold's eye and the drowning soldiers in the Channel. Fabulous website showing the whole thing and its history is at hastings1066.com/. See also the full tale and pictures at www.bayeuxtapestry.org.uk/. Both are compelling, and a fine history review. A smaller site, but with the history of tapestry-making if you navigate for it, is at www.tapestry-art.com/catalogue/medieval/bayeux.


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