What Was Harold’s Claim To The Throne Military Strength – The authors do not work for, consult with, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that may benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant links beyond their academic employment.
We may not know exactly how King Harold of England died at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 – was he felled by swords or was it a fatal arrow? – but he definitely died, despite the pleasant rumors later that he ran away and became a resident. But what if it was Duke William’s lifeless body stretched out on English soil, not Harold’s? History would obviously have been very different – but not in the way that might seem obvious.
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What Was Harold’s Claim To The Throne Military Strength
Harold’s ascension to the English throne as Harold II took place just months before he met his end. But his coronation in January 1066 was the result of years of careful planning that placed him in a high position on the death of King Edward the Confessor, even though he was not related by blood.
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Yet the new king had not yet begun to enjoy the fruits of his plans when he was faced with an enemy attack: the experienced Viking warrior Harald Hardrada arrived in the north, accompanied by Harold’s rebellious brother Tostig. No sooner had Harold won a stunning victory at Stamford Bridge, which left both Hardrada and Tostig dead, than news reached the English king of a second attack, this time in the south, by the Norman Duke William “the Bastard”. Harold fled from Yorkshire to Sussex to meet the challenge and the armies clashed in what is known today as the Battle.
William’s defeat, and death, was certainly the logical result of his attack. After all, Hastings was an unusually long and difficult battle. Our sources give the impression of two evenly matched armies, each composed of several thousand soldiers, and a day-long battle that resulted in heavy casualties on both sides.
Historians have made much of the Normans’ military advantages – particularly their use of cavalry tactics – but Harold was an experienced man commanding strong troops in battle. And unlike William, he could expect reinforcements if he could make it until evening, as more Saxon troops arrived from Yorkshire.
The Norman king, on the other hand, was at the end of a very long and uncertain supply chain, isolated in a hostile environment. Anything short of a blow at Hastings would have been fatal to his plans, and perhaps to himself.
Why Is Harold Godwinson A Hero Of The Bayeux Tapestry?
If Harold had survived and won, perhaps he would be celebrated today as one of the most powerful kings of England, in line with Richard Lionheart and Edward I, and indeed Æthelstan – perhaps we would pay more attention to the previous English kings without the break provided by the victory. He would have defeated powerful enemies in battles fought on opposite sides of the country within weeks of each other: quite a feat. Yes, we may be talking about King Harold the Great, and perhaps even the great line of Godwinsons.
And so we might know little about England if Harold had ruled. After all, the greatest archival record of 11th-century England, the Domesday Book, was a book of conquest, designed to record the achievements of the conqueror, and preserved as a powerful symbol of that conquest. Without the Domesday Book, which has no serious parallel in continental evidence for this date, many English villages and towns would have disappeared into obscurity for another century or more.
So Harold’s England would be less visible to historians. If, indeed, England had survived being ruled at all. One of the most striking features of pre-Conquest England was its deep political divisions. It was these divisions that paved the way for Harald Hardrada’s invasion of the north, joined by powerful English rebels including Tostig – and it was the division that created the conditions for William’s invasion, ultimately, a byproduct of the rivalry between Harold’s family. and King Edward the Singer.
King Harold II after Hastings would become rich, but he would face dangerous enemies and rivals – not least Edgar the Younger. Edgar’s family claim to the throne – he was the grandson of the previous king, Edmund II Ironside, and therefore a direct descendant of Alfred the Great – was much stronger than Harold’s. There would be more problems to come after Hastings.
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Another virtue of real history is that it reminds us that things could have been different: it challenges our assumptions and prejudices. Now, the triumph of medieval England seems obvious, but at the time of the conquest, ancient France was tearing itself apart in what is known as the Feudal Revolution.
A similar fate awaited the English king after the brief victory of 1066: civil war, disintegration, and abdication. King William, in contrast, had a blank slate and could start (almost) from scratch, creating a new aristocracy that owed everything to him. So it is not a small thing of William’s Norman Conquest that maybe it helped to save the country that also fell on its knees.Harold Rex Interfectus Est: “King Harold is killed”. Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings and the death of Harold.
It was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-Frach army of William, Duke of Normandy, and the brilliant army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, starting the Norman Conquest of the gland. It took place about 7 mi (11 km) north-west of Hastings, near the former town of Battle, East Sussex, and was a decisive Norman victory.
The origin of the battle was the death of the childless King Edward the Covenanter in January 1066, which set off a succession struggle between the various claimants to his throne. Harold was crowned king shortly after Edward’s death, but faced attacks from William, Tostig’s brother, and the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada (Harold III of Norway). Hardrada and Tostig defeated a hastily assembled Glishm army at the Battle of Fulford on 20 September 1066, and were defeated by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge five days later. The deaths of Tostig and Hardrada at Stamford Bridge left William as Harold’s greatest opponent. While Harold and his forces were recuperating, William landed his invasion forces in the southern part of the valley at Pevsey on 28 September 1066 and established a beachhead for his conquest of the kingdom. Harold was forced to move south quickly, gathering troops as he went.
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Exact numbers for the battle are unknown as modern estimates vary greatly. The composition of the troops is more clear: the army was composed almost entirely of infantry and had few archers, while only about half of the attacking army was infantry, the rest being equally divided between cavalry and archers. Harold appears to be trying to surprise William, but scouts find his army and report their arrival to William, who marches from Hastings to the battlefield to confront Harold. The battle started around 9:00 in the morning until the evening. Early attempts by the invaders to break the war had little effect. Therefore, the Normans resorted to the trick of pretending to run in panic and turn their pursuers. Harold’s death, probably near battle, led to the retreat and defeat of most of his army. After many marches and skirmishes, William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066.
Rebellions and opposition to William’s rule continued, but Hastings effectively saw the climax of William’s conquest play out. Casualty figures are hard to come by, but some historians estimate that 2,000 attackers died and as many as twice that number. William founded a monastery on the site of the battle, the high altar of the abbey church is thought to have been placed on the spot where Harold died.
In 911, the Carolingian ruler Charles the Simple allowed a group of Vikings to settle in Normandy under their leader Rollo.
Their son Edward the Confessor spent many years in exile in Normandy, and succeeded to the glorious throne in 1042.
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This led to the establishment of a strong Norman interest in brilliant politics, as Edward drew heavily on his previous support from his hosts, bringing in Norman officials, soldiers, and clergy and appointing them to positions of authority, especially in the Church. Edward was childless and at odds with Godwin, Earl of Wessex, and his sons, and may have dared Duke William of Normandy to seek the throne.
Edward’s successor was the Earl of Wessex, Harold Godwinson, the richest and most powerful of the gentry and the son of Godwin, Edward’s former opponent. Harold was elected king by the Witagemot of England and crowned by Ealdred, Archbishop of York, although Norman propaganda claimed that the ceremony was performed by Stigand, the illegitimately elected Archbishop of Canterbury.
Immediately Harold was opposed by two powerful neighboring rulers. Duke William said he had
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