Il Bayeux Tapestry e la conquista Normanna: una storia raccontata con un ricamo

Ask any Englishman the date of the Battle of Hastings and he will answer you 1066.

Why is this date so important? It marks the last time a foreign army landed on the British coast.

Let’s start from the beginning!

In the 11th century AD in England there were the Anglo-Saxons, Germanic tribes under Edward the Confessor. He loved Normandy a lot and chose as his successor on the British throne a Norman man, William the Conqueror.

Who was this man?

William was born in in 1028, and was the son of a young woman, Herleve, a tanner’s daughter and Robert, the Devil, Duke of Normandy. The couple was not married, but the duke wanted William to become his successor and heir.

When his father died in 1035, little William became a duke at about seven years old. He was tall and well built with red hair and a firm regular jaw.

The other noblemen did not accept him because his parents were not married and a civil war started.

William  became an experienced soldier, loyal, brilliant and brave but also cruel.

Finally he won. Edward the Confessor went to stay in Normandy and named William his successor to the English crown.

Little later William married Matilda of Flanders against the king of France’s (Henry I)  will. So Henry I moved an attack, but was defeated. William and his wife could finally enjoy a period of peace and founded 20 monasteries.
It was in this period that the English earl Harold of Wessex landed on the coasts of Normandy because of a storm. William took him as a prisoner and promised him freedom under two conditions: first he had to help William to get the throne in England, second he had to marry William’s daughter. Harold of course accepted these conditions, but once free, he ignored them. 
In 1066 Harold became king of England after Edward the Confessor’s death.

William was furious and claimed the English throne. So he prepared an army and made plans to invade the country. His men worked hard to prepare a fleet  to carry not only soldiers in full armour, but horses and three prefabricated castles of wood.

foreign: from another country (straniero)
landed: arrived on a land (sbarcò)
tanner: conciatore 
heir: successor (erede)
jaw: mandibola
brave: courageous (coraggioso)
crown: corona
defeated: won (sconfitto)
enjoy: benefit from 
storm: tempest
freedom: liberty (libertà)
throne: trono 
free: libero
claimed: reclamò 
fleet: group of sheep (flotta)
armour: protective covering (armatura)