Universe Guide

Was Halley`s Comet seen at the Battle of Hastings?

The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was a pivotal point in the history of Great Britain and in fact the World given how much Britain influenced for better or for worst the world. Although, not a history site, let me quickly explain the setting.

The story might seem like something from Game of Thrones but this story was real and written nearly 1000 years ago. Also, there are no dragons in the tale, sorry about that.

Edward, the Confessor died without appointing a successor to the throne. Edward didn't have any heirs to hand the throne to. He had promised the throne to a number of people.

Battle of Stamford Bridge

The throne was handed to Harold but other people who felt that they should have the thrown decided to make a military claim for the throne.

The first attempt taking the throne by force was by King Harald Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson but were defeated by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Tostig was incidentally Harolds brother but brotherly love means nothing when your fighting for the Crown of England.

Battle of Hastings

Bouyed up by the win, the next challenge came from William, Duke of Normandy, France. William had a larger and better prepared army. The battle would take place in an area to the north of Hastings on the southern coast. Hastings was the largest town near the battle site hence the name. The actual battle took place in an area which is now called Battle. Unlike the previous battle, Harold would loose the battle to William.

It would be the last time any successful invasion of mainland Britain would occur. During the Second World War, the Nazis did occupy the Channel Island but they are not classed as mainland.

It is said that Harold was killed by an arrow to his eye. It is based on the Bayeux Tapestry which shows Harold with an arrow in his eye. Also in the Tapestry there is what looks that a comet, more specifically Halley's Comet was in the sky at the time of the battle.

Halley's Comet

The Comet is named after the discoverer or the person who predicts when it will come back. British Astronomer, Sir Edmund Halley noticed the comet when he saw it that it was the same one that had appeared 76 years previous and predicted it to reappear 76 years in the future. When the prediction was proved right, the comet was named after him.

If you take 1986 which is when it last appeared and keep removing 76, you might find that you don't get to 1066. This can be explained by the fact, its not exactly every 76 years.

Bayeux Tapestry showing Harold and Halleys Comet

Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry is a record of what happened at the Battle of Hastings. In one section as shown above, the Comet is clearly visible above King Harold as people look skywards.

The Bayeux Tapestry is so called because it is held at the Bayeux Cathedral in northern France. The tapestry is nearly 70 metres long by half a metre high. It was belived that it was made in Kent in England but it ended up in Bayeux and has remained there ever since.

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