This blog, written by Thomas E. Rutledge, focuses primarily on business entity law in Kentucky. Postings on contract law, contractual and statutory construction, and the entity law of other jurisdictions appear as well. There may as well be some random discussions of classical, medieval and renaissance history.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
The Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
Today marks the 949th anniversary of the
Battle of Hastings.
1066 has already been a tumultuous year
in England. On January 5, Edward the Confessor died, leaving the English throne
to Harold Gowinson. William of Normandy, also known as William the Bastard,
claimed that he had been designated as Edward’s successor and that Harold had
once promised him that he, Harold, disclaimed any right to the throne, leaving
it instead to William. In addition, Harold Hardrada asserted a claim to the English
Sometime in September, Harold Hardrada
had landed his troops in the north of England. After fast marching his troops
north, the army of Harold Gowinson met the invading army of Harold Hardrada at
the Battle of Stamford Bridge (See my posting). The invading army was defeated.
Learning of William’s invasion in the south, Harold had to turn his army around
and fast march it south in order to respond to this new threat. That forced
march was some 240 miles each way.
The Battle of Hastings was largely a
stalemate with the trend in favor of the English defenders when, perhaps
apocryphally, Harold was struck in the eye with an arrow. Regardless, it is
clear that Harold fell, that the battle went to William, and that by Christmas
William was accepting the homage of various English nobles.
The famous arrow in the eye as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry may be a
later invention. It is not mentioned in the earliest accounts of the battle. In
addition, in medieval iconography, an arrow in the eye is the punishment afforded
a perjurer. Having gone against his oath to leave the throne to William, some
might have felt it poetic justice, even if not based in reality.