Talk:Battle of Hastings
Very good. Except .... Godwinson usurped the throne, Edward the Confessor having left it to William, and Godwinson himself having sworn an oath on holy relics to uphold this transition to a more efficient Norman style of government.
And the Normans did not "crumble and retreat", they deliberately retreated to draw the Saxons down and massacre them. Godwinson's men were mostly the southern counties' fyrd, as the battle at Stamford Bridge had severely reduced his professional troops. The arrow in the eye story is based on one (Victorian romantic)interpretation of the Bayeux tapestry -- since his mistress, SwanNeck, had to go to Battle Abbey to confirm the badly-mutilated body was actually Godwinson's (i.e. that he had not fled the battle) it seems likelier that he was cut to pieces by William's household as he vainly rallied his man under the (pagan) dragon banner he was using. William was, fopr all his bastardy, a Christian, who was bringing Bishop Odo with him. --Simoncursitor 02:17, 25 Oct 2005 (CDT)
Yes, that is one interpretation of events -- but remember that interpretation is based on the Norman viewpoint, and history is written by the victor. Likely the first retreat of the battle wasn't deliberate, and the others mostly were.
Plus, I see Godwinsson as "usurper" is a bit of a stretch -- whatever Edward's wishes, the majority of the Anglo-Saxons acclaimed Harold, preferring one of their own proven war-leaders over a Norman foreigner.
Also, while Godwinsson's oaths over holy relics may or may not have occurred, a certain pragmatic approach to fealty may not have been out of period (or out of character) given that a kingdom was at stake.
--Paul Matisz 26 Oct 05