Image Analysis: Was Harold II killed by an arrow in the eye?

The Bayeux Tapestry presents us with the well known image of a man, possibly Harold, being killed by an arrow striking him in the eye. Is that really what the image is showing though? Can you trust the source and have you considered all angles when analysing it? Was Harold really killed by an arrow in the eye?

With a few hidden surprises in the image and the long history of the Bayeux Tapestry itself it is possible to question a range of things about this source. From a pupils perspective, it is just one source. It is made by people who probably weren’t present and is a piece of propaganda.

In the image below there are a series of hotspots. They relate to clues about the death of Harold II. Click on the relevant part of the image to see a clue, or a question, at the bottom of the interactivity.

This activity works well alongside other source analysis tasks. For the Battle of Hastings and the death of Harold, there are a limited number of written accounts. These are found in many school textbooks so are not replicated here. A text based explanation of the issues surrounding the Bayeux Tapestry can be found here.

The story of the Norman Invasion and Conquest is covered in our Workbook on the Normans. This is aimed at Year 7 pupils. Some GCSE courses include the Normans. You can find narrative history about the invasion and changes here.

Related content

William the ConquerorThe Battle of HastingsNorman InvasionChurch in Norman EnglandLiteracy Aid: The NormansBayeux Tapestry WorksheetNorman Conquest Activities Book

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