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The Rise Of The Norman Empire

1183 words - 5 pages

“Hold the wall!” shouted King Harold II as the Normans began to work their way past the Anglo-Saxon shield wall. The Anglo-Saxon empire reigned over London for its fair share of time before William the Duke of Normandy decided to take it from them. William was the son of Robert I and his wife was Matilda of Flanders. William was of Viking origin and he spoke French. King Harold II was ruler of London after King Harold I died. King Harold II was the last Anglo-Saxon King of England. In the year 1066 a great battle took place that would change the way London lived forever. This battle was called The Battle of Hastings.
The battle of Hastings was a very interesting battle, the outcome was not as expected. The Anglo-Saxon people had a very tough defense known as the Saxon Shield wall. This wall was nearly impenetrable because the soldiers would line up and create a wall of shields that made it impossible to break through.
The Norman Soldiers also had a major field disadvantage. The area on which they fought was called Senlac Hill. Senlac Hill had a large slope and at the top were the positioned Anglo-Saxon Soldiers. The Normans were at the bottom of the hill and had enough trouble as it is getting up that hill with their heavy chain mail armor, even without the fact that King Harold’s men were at the top pushing them down. At the beginning of the battle William’s forces summed up to about 7,000 and King Harold’s forces numbered to about 6,000.
Even though William had the playing field disadvantage he had a few things that King Harold did not. William had cavalry and a much fresher army. When the Battle of Hastings took place King Harold’s men had been marching for days and were very tired, at times they marched all day long to cover long distances.
The first person to be killed in the Battle of Hastings was William’s Jester. The jester was shot by an arrow after dancing and mocking King Harold’s army. The battle of Hastings had many casualties, but it is hard to tell exactly how many people were killed from each side, including King Harold II; who had been shot through the eye with an arrow sometime in the midst of battle.
The Battle itself was fought over the only road that connected Hastings to London and the victor of the battle would own that road. The coastline of Sussex was nearer than it was today and caused the major road that crossed through Hastings and London a major trade route. King Harold needed this road for sustaining his campaign and William wanted control of the only “proper” road to the Heart of England. The battle was not actually fought in the town of Hastings but rather fought roughly seven miles away from the town. “The reason they called the Battle, the Battle of Hastings was because back in the middle ages era battle was important. The people of 1066 agreed that battle was “wealthy.” The title Battle of Battle simply did not work so they named it to the nearest large city, which was Hastings.” (historylearningsite).
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