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Battle of Hastings
Transcript of Battle of Hastings
The Battle of Hastings took place in the Middle Ages on October 14, 1066 AD. It was one day battle on Senlac Hill. Around this time in 1066, several other battles took place as well, such as the Battle of Fulford, Yorkshire, and the Battle of Stamford Bridge. In fact, King Harold Godwinson fought at Stamford Bridge in the battle three days prior to Hastings.
The technology available at the time included....
Harold Godwinson's Side
William Duke of Normandy's Side
Why did the battle occur?
The technology and weaponry used by King Harold Godwinson's side included bow and arrows, swords and shields. Modern technology had not been invented yet, for the battle took place in the Middle Ages. However, Harold's technology easily was an adequate opponent for the Normans. Godwinson's cavalry consisted of skilled knights, who had tricked William into believing his army was retreating mid-battle. This caused William to, for a short period of time, be in a vulnerable position, as his back was turned to the fight.
The technology and weaponry used by William Duke of Normandy's side was as Harold's, consisting of knights on horseback and bow and arrows. Many argue that his cavalry's weaponry and force was much more advanced than that or the English, and furthermore why he won, but this proves not to be true. William was simply more prepared and skillful than Godwinson's army. The English cavalry fought just three days prior to Hastings at Stamford Bridge, and were simply fatigued from marching 241 miles to his next opponent.
The Battle of Hastings occurred between William Duke of Normandy and Harold Godwinson over the title of the English King. King Edward the Confessor died, and the throne was given to Harold Godwinson, a British nobleman and good friend of Edward and his wife, because he had had no children. William, Duke of Normandy and cousin of Edward, claimed Edward promised him the throne, and assumed he was to take the throne after Edward's death. The two met and William vowed to take the throne by force from Harold. Both wanted the throne, and both would fight to the death to have it. The Battle of Hastings, of which resulted of this dispute shortly after, was not a part of a larger war.
The Dispute Over Throne
Where did the Battle of Hastings occur?
The Battle of Hastings took place on Senlac Hill in Hastings, England in Europe. Harold Godwinson had a advantage due to the terrain, for he was fighting downhill. However, William I had set up on Senlac previously, and was prepared for battle despite his choice of position at the bottom of the hill. Cities near this location include the greater part of Hastings and London.
Who were the military leaders on each side?
The military leaders in the Battle of Hastings were Harold Godwinson, also known as King Harold II at the time, and William I, also known as the Duke of Normandy. They had little relation to each other before the dispute over the English throne. Sometime in 1051, William went to England and talked to his cousin who had, within his visit, claimed he would make William his heir. However, Norman historians insist that Harold Godwinson was promised to be the King when he visited Edward on his deathbed, since he was much more powerful and noble than Edward himself. When William found out that Harold had been appointed King, he immediately declared battle against Harold for the throne.
William and Harold
What strategies were used on both sides?
There were different strategies used on both sides during the Battle of Hastings. Harold's strategy was to position is Saxon army at the top of Senlac and build a shield wall of thousands of men top counter attack William's Norman cavalry. He planned to execute this strategy by simply holding his ground at the top of the hill and staying in the wall formation. As for William, he positioned himself at the bottom of the hill and split his infantry into three sections of Bretons and Flemish, in addition to a separate Norman cavalry. His plan was to ultimately break through his opponents wall. Despite the hard task at hand, the Norman cavalry and the rest of William's army was exceedingly confident going into battle.
Life or Death
Did each combatant's strategy succeed?
Godwinson Gradually Fails
Harold Godwinson's strategy of building a "shield wall" with him in the middle ultimately failed. Despite his hopeful and confident outlook on the battle, his weakness from prior battle and little alternate strategy failed him in the end. The Battle of Stamford Bridge took heavy casualties from the English, and they were not prepared for further battle, as they could not resort to all on horseback as at Stamford. In addition, not all of Harold's soldiers were trained and skillful as William's, which added to their disadvantage. Overall, Godwinson had a little chance of winning at Hastings even before an arrow was fired.
The Duke is Successful
William was successful in his strategy, even with his disadvantage being positioned at the bottom of Senlac Hill. He three groups of soldiers along with his Norman cavalry broke through Harold's wall of men with some struggle, but came out on top. William's first assault attempt failed, and killed his horse. However, he mounted another one and continued in combat. Even when the English army faked retreat and William was left vulnerable did his cavalry move forward and ultimately shot Harold Godwinson in the eye, winning the battle.
This is a fake article somebody made to describe the Battle of Hastings, and how a newspaper article might have been set up during 1066.
This is a diagram made by a student that shows what William and Harold's view on where they stood at the beginning of the Battle of Hastings.
This is a picture of Harold Godwinson's dead body being brought to William the Conquerer after the battle.
This is the famous painting of William I and Harold Godwinson in their dispute over who shall get to reign as English king.
This picture demonstrates the strategies of attack and force from each side in the Battle of Hastings.
This is a picture of Harold Godwinson wearing the English crown after his coronation subsequent to Edward's death.
This is a portrait of William I after winning the Battle of Hastings, along with his new title as "William the Conqueror".
This is a modern day remake presentation of Harold Godwinson's "shield wall" he used at the Battle of Hastings.
This is a painting of William I's Norman cavalry fighting at Hastings.
How did it end?
He Didn't See it Coming
William the Duke of Normandy won the Battle of Hastings by shooting Harold Godwinson through the eye, whom thereafter bled to death. Maybe if Godwinson had kept his shield wall intact, he would've won that day. The odds barely uneven. Harold's army was placed at the top of Senlac and not prepared nor skillful, and William's army had to fight uphill but had a well thought out strategy and skilled men on horseback. After the battle, William wished to be crowned as soon as possible. His coronation was on Christmas day in 1066, at the Westminster Abbey. The people inside the Abbey were so loud in shouting their acceptance that the troops placed outside believed a fight had broken out, and they started setting fire to the Saxon houses fearing their King was attacked. The Norman soldiers could not understand the language of the Saxons, nor could the Saxons understand the Normans. Hence, communication was a difficult task.
This is a painting of William the Conqueror being crowned on Christmas day, 1066, after defeating the English-Saxon army at the Battle of Hastings.