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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