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Why Did William Of Normandy Win the Battle of Hastings?

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Introduction

Why Did William Of Normandy Win the Battle of Hastings? James Sweeney In my essay I will be assessing the key factors and series of events that led William of Normandy to triumph in the Battle of Hastings. On the other hand; why did Harold Godwinson lose; was it bad luck or bad tactics? I will also be answering key points such as: Who was better prepared for the battle? What advantages and disadvantages did each have? In 1066 Edward the Confessor; the king of England at the time- unexpectedly died on the 4th January - with no heir to the throne. Of course that sparked a huge problem and chaos erupted and all the powerful earls and lords claimed to be king. Eventually three candidates arose for the claim to the English throne they were: Harold Godwinson- the Earl of Wessex, Harald Hardraada of Norway and William Duke of Normandy. However, Edgar the Aetheling was the rightful heir to Edward the Confessor and should have been crowned King of England. Unfortunately he was only ten years old when Edward the Confessor died and couldn't manage to rule an entire country. Harold Gowinson's claim to the throne of England was: Harold was Edward the Confessor's brother-in-law, who had married Harold's sister, Edith. ...read more.

Middle

Slowly Harolds men were killed but the reason Harold won in the end was all down to good tactics. Harold knew that he would have to kill the Viking on the bridge but how? Very cleverly he sent a man in a barrel down the river with a hole in the top. Once the barrel was directly underneath the man with the axe the man inside rammed a sword up through his legs and right up into his body. Without hesitation Harold's army ran over the bridge and attacked. In the end Hardraada was killed with an arrow to his throat. Hardraada's army had come with 350 ships and only left with 24... I think Harold was weaker after the battle of Stamford Bridge because he had lost a lot of men and the ones that survived were exhausted if not injured. Also very irresponsibly in celebration of victory he allowed his men to get drunk which in due course led to his defeat at the battle of Hastings. William in the meantime had been preparing for the forthcoming battle and had been gathering a huge army and lots of weapons and horses. William tried everything he could think of to raise the spirits of his men, as a last and desperate attempt to lift morale he had the body of the patron Saint of St. ...read more.

Conclusion

Unlike Harold, William had cleverly assessed his opponent's tactics and Harold's tactics were the same as in previous battles so William had a huge advantage against Harold. At this stage William's army was tearing Harolds apart. Harold's exhausted army couldn't simply fight back strongly enough. Eventually Harold died when he was shot with an arrow that pierced his eye which ; then knocked off his horse and his body was well and truly hacked to pieces. He was also allegedly disembowelled. Once the Anglo-Saxon king had died; his remaining men immediately began to run in fear of their lives. In my opinion the main reason William won the battle was that his men were better prepared and had arguably the better weapons. Also Harold's men were still exhausted from the Battle of Stamford Bridge and the trek of marching from Stamford Bridge to Hastings. Finally after the battle many people had criticised Harold for not taking onboard the feedback from previous battles but regardless of that William had still had great tactics and was blessed with a bit of good luck. In the end William of Normandy was crowned king of England on Christmas Day 1066; although he still had many ongoing problems such as rebellions which would challenge his position as king of England. ...read more.

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