Medieval History

“Was Count Eustace II of Boulogne the Patron of the Bayeux Tapestry?” 
1999 25(3) Journal of Medieval History, 155-185.  

 

In this article I drew attention (so far as I am aware, for the first time in Bayeux Tapestry studies) to the long overlooked conflict between Bishop Odo of Bayeux and Count Eustace II of Boulogne, a conflict which erupted into violence at Dover in 1067. The Tapestry shows Odo and Eustace as allies, on either side of the Duke William at Hastings. I argued that, rather than Odo being the Tapestry’s patron, as is the orthodox view, the Tapestry could have been a gift of reconciliation by Eustace to Odo, forming part of the process of Eustace’s known reconciliation with the Normans in the 1070s and in particular the presumed release of Eustace’s nepos (nephew or other close kinsman) who had been captured by Odo’s men in 1067. In my later book I identified more evidence showing how the Tapestry is pro-Eustace in its agenda, as well as expressing an English point of view, whoever was the patron, and that it is likely to relate to the reconciliation between Eustace and Odo in the first half of the 1070s.  My book concludes that the specific question of patronage is ultimately unanswerable.

 

“Camels, drums and the Song of Roland”
Medieval Life, 15 2001 26-28.

 

It is commonly said, particularly in textbooks on the history of Old French literature, that the battle of Zalaca (or Sagrajas) of 23 October 1086 provides a very firm terminus a quo for the Oxford version of the Chanson de Roland. In this article I sought to show that the evidence does not support this conclusion. 1086 is not a firm “earliest date” for the Oxford version, which may be earlier or later than that.