Book review: Decoding the Bayeux Tapestry

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08 August 2019
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The mists of time tend to obscure facts, and never more so than in the case of battles and conquests, where the accounts are largely written by the victors.

Author: Arthur K Wright

Reviewed by: Duncan Evans

 

Buy your copy here.

 

The mists of time tend to obscure facts, and never more so than in the case of battles and conquests, where the accounts are largely written by the victors. In the case of the Bayeux Tapestry, which is 950 years old, you have something that was created to curry favour with the victorious Norman Conquest, so just how truthful is it really? That’s one of the objectives of this glossy, well produced book, which examines the illustrations in the, to this point, largely ignored margins. By analysing these, the main story is expanded and elaborated on, but everything has to be taken with a pinch of historical salt.

 

The first surprise is that the Bayeux Tapestry is neither a tapestry (it’s an embroidery) nor comes from Bayeux (it was found there). While it’s all very academic at points, and the author's delivery is lacking, it’s certainly an interesting and fresh look at a pivotal event in English history.

 

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• Frontline Books

 

• ISBN 978-1-5267-4110-3

 

• 182 pages • Hardback • £25

 

 

As reviewed in The Armourer September 2019

 

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