Bayeux Tapestry

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The Bayeux Tapestry (French: Tapisserie de Bayeux, IPA: [tapisʁi də bajø]) is a 0.5 by 68.38 metres (1.6 by 224.3 ft) long embroidered cloth — not an actual tapestry — which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England as well as the events of the invasion itself. The tapestry is annotated in Latin. It is exhibited in a special museum in Bayeux, Normandy called Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, with a Victorian-era replica at the Museum of Reading in Reading, England.



The earliest known written reference to the tapestry is a 1476 inventory of Bayeux Cathedral, but its origins have been the subject of much speculation and controversy.

French legend maintained the tapestry was commissioned and created by Queen Matilda, William the Conqueror's wife, and her ladies-in-waiting. Indeed, in France it is occasionally known as "La Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde" (Tapestry of Queen Matilda). However, scholarly analysis in the 20th century shows it probably was commissioned by William's half brother, Bishop Odo. The reasons for the Odo commission theory include: 1) three of the bishop's followers mentioned in Domesday Book appear on the tapestry; 2) it was found in Bayeux Cathedral, built by Odo; and 3) it may have been commissioned at the same time as the cathedral's construction in the 1070s, possibly completed by 1077 in time for display on the cathedral's dedication.

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