Tag Archives: Bishop Odo

Pic of the Weekend: Hastings & Halley’s Comet

Ancient people from Roman through Medieval times believed that the appearance of a comet was a bad omen foretelling significant events, like the death of a king or Julius Caesar, the Black Death, or the invasion of England. In 1066 when King Edward the Confessor of England died and Harold Godwinson was crowned king, William of Normandy invaded England claiming the throne for himself. Halley’s Comet appeared for a week in April of 1066 – a few months after King Edward’s death and before the invasion.

The Bayeaux Tapestry is a 230 foot long embroidered strip of linen that illustrates the events of 1066 through the Battle of Hastings in which King Harold was killed and William of Normandy gained the crown of England for himself. The tapestry was produced in the 1070s probably in England for Bishop Odo, a soldier-priest/bishop and William’s half-brother.  The panel above represents the appearance of Halley’s Comet (center top). On the left side of the panel, note the reaction of the medieval people. A standard translation of the text above their heads would be “look in wonder/awe/ amazement at the star (stella).” A colloquial translation would be  “check it out” or “awesome.”

Tomorrow, another pic.  Rita Bay

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The Bayeaux Tapestry

The Bayeaux tapestry which is really embroidered linen, not tapestry, chronicles the events that led to the crowning of William of Normandy as king of England. It is probably commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother, and made in England in the 1070s. It is 230 feet long with fifty scenes with Latin titles indicating the action depicted.

After the Conquest, Odo became Earl of Kent and, when William was absent in Normandy, regent of England. There are 626 human figures, 190 horses or mules, 35 hounds or dogs, 506 other various animals, 37 ships, 33 buildings and 37 trees or groups of trees. Eight strips of linen were used the strips would presumably be stitched together when completed. There are five main colors, terracotta red, blue-green, sage-green, buff and blue. Less frequently used are dark green, yellow, and dark blue (almost black).  The end of the tapestry in which King William was crowned is missing.  For many years the tapestry was kept in the Bayeaux Cathedral which was Bishop Odo’s church. It was abused during the French Revolution period when it was used to cover munitions. It was salvaged and stored in a home. It’s now housed its own museum. Pic: The Bayeaux Tapestry at the Bayeaux Museum

Tomorrow, Pic of the Weekend       Rita Bay

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