The Man Behind the Bayeux Tapestry: Odo, William the Conquerors Half-Brother

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Lisa Hilton. Queens of the Conquest. The History of England George Burton Adams.

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Stitches in Time: A History of the Bayeux Tapestry

Frank Barlow. Henry V Penguin Monarchs. Anne Curry. The Picts. Benjamin Hudson. Jonathan Sumption. Andrew Bridgeford. Anne Boleyn. After allegedly defrauding both Crown and Church, however, Odo was disgraced and his plans to raise an unauthorised army for a campaign in Italy, possibly in order to gain the papacy, saw him imprisoned for five years.

He was released by the dying William in , but soon rebelled against the new king, his nephew William Rufus. Yet Odo was far from being a loutish philistine. Such a view has of course been proposed before, most famously by David Bernstein3 whom Bridgeford acknowledges , but no one has taken the Hidden History angle to the extreme that Bridgeford does. The quotation also shows the book's general tone, which I find rather off-putting. Moreover, the link between the clever Anglo-Saxon artist-designer and Eustace is tenuous.

While it is probable that Eustace is shown in the tapestry and not impossible that he is the work's patron, it is important to note that the embroidering of the name itself is rather problematic. Somewhat disconcertingly, several letters, including the letter E, are not present in the pre-restoration drawings of the tapestry ; indeed, as Bridgeford concedes, only two letters of the name are in fact secure, the final US.

To my knowledge Robert has not yet been nominated as a possibility in this scene. To sketch out my argument, I draw on the engaging article by Brian Levy8. Levy has observed numerous instances of triads which add thematic unity and balance to the visual epic. Thus, three kings, three thrones, three Breton castles, three of William's castles, as well. Significantly, each of the brothers is explicitly named in the embroidery.

A flawed document

William the future Conqueror and his two half- brothers, Odo and Robert of Mortain, are shown together as they confer at Hastings Wilson, plate 48 , and they may be shown together again when William orders the construction of the invasion fleet9 Wilson, plates Indeed, their deaths sandwich the dramatic appearance of Odo as he rallies the troops, of William as he lifts his visor to show that he is still alive, and, I propose, of Robert who points directly at William.

It seems more themati- cally satisfying to have both sets of brothers dueling to the end, all together at the turning point of the battle. This, too, is thema- tically satisfying since Mont Saint-Michel has already appeared earlier in the tapestry's version of the Norman Conquest. The Case for Saint-Florent ofSaumuru whose thrust is embodied in the title.

Bishop Odo of Bayeux

Beech is a model of condensation and lucidity, always laying out his arguments with utmost honesty and clarity. Beech's case can be summarized as follows : 1. Saint-Florent had more monastic dependencies in England and Normandy than virtually any other continental monastery ; 3. Saint-Florent had a close and favored relationship with William the Conqueror ; 4. Abbot William 1 18 was the son of Rivalion, lord of Doi who aided Duke William in the Breton campaign of ; 5. There are numerous artistic affinities between the Bayeux Tapestry and the Loire valley ; 6. Baudry of Bourgueil, who seems to have actually seen the Bayeux Tapestry, may have viewed it at Saint-Florent which was only twenty-three kilometers distant.

Beech will provide debate for tapestry scholars for many years, as they begin to think through his arguments, retrace his evidence, and follow up on his suggestions. I would like here merely to point out what I find to be.