Bayeux Tapestry. Harold swearing allegiance to William on sacred relics. Detail.
11th c French Anglo-Norman Textiles
(1066 - 1154)
Linen & wool
Bayeux. Normandy. France.
Bayeux. Centre Guillaume le Conquerant.
This detail illustrates the importance of oaths and allegiance in feudal society, for it shows the young Saxon, Harold of England, who had come to Normandy for a visit. William was the illegitimate son of Duke Robert of Normandy, and it is thought that his cousin, Edward the Confessor of England, had named William his heir.
Harold encountered some problems during his visit to Normandy. William helped him, and proceeded to persuade Harold to take an oath of allegiance supporting his claim to the throne. Harold is shown swearing on not one but two holy relics, so his oath was doubly binding.
ANGLO-NORMAN | Bayeux Tapestry. Harold swearing allegiance to William on sacred relics. Detail | c. 1080 | French | Anglo-Norman