Readers Letters
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Letter 14

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recently read a book on the Battle of Hastings, and fortunately
found your website, which I used as a very effective supplement to
the book. I wish to offer my sincere compliments on your website -
what must have been a labor of love to develop over your two years. I
certainly share at least some of your enthusiasm and intrigue for the

I find it interesting to note that, in the book "1066: The Year of
Conquest", Howarth postulates that King Harold may have been
greatly influenced by the Papal banner that William brought to
England and fought under. That Harold may have: believed that
William was fighting to uphold the will of God (in the medieval way of
thinking), hurried the battle lest word spread throughout his army
who might then refuse to fight and demoralized, played out but
accepted God's verdict through William in the ensuing battle. (Of
course Harold wasn't present at or informed of the "hearing" in Rome
and William coerced the Pope's blessing to help him gain troops.) It
would seem that this explanation answers many questions. I think it
also adds even more tragedy to the outcome. I would be interested
in your opinion on this interpretation.

William's conquest had great ramifications on England and
presumably Europe, however Howarth's book and your material
didn't really cover this.

I have consistently been intrigued with the situational and arbitrary
nature of major historic events. The Battle of Hastings is yet another
good example, and at so many points. How would history have been
affected if Harold had dealt with Tostig earlier, waited longer for
William's arrival, or, in Howarth's interpretation, not succumed to the
"the Papal banner effect"? (My favorite situational effect on history is
the Russian sniper's bullet that randomly hit Sweden's Charles XII
heel the night before battle. Charles lead the charge in a stretcher,
was defeated in the Battle of Poltava and Peter the Great and his
Russia began its European ascendancy. One arbitrary bullet.)

Again kudos for your accomplishment.

Rick A. Johnson
Kirkland, WA USA
Dear Rick,

Thank you for your comments on my Battle of Hastings 1066 web
I must admit that I have not read Howarth's book. I will comment
however, on what he says about the Papal banner and its possible
effect on Harold. Without a shadow of a doubt, It would be a shock
to Harold that William had Papal support. I am sure he would have
been more worried about his men seeing it and how they would
react and the audacity of William to even attempting to aquire it..
Remember that when Harold was held prisoner in Normandy, he
became very close to William. Harold knew to what levels William
would stoop to claim the throne of England. By using his contacts
and friends and by promises he would later find hard to keep, he
acquired Papal support and army. As I have stated, Harold had as
much right to be king as I do now. His major love was Wessex and
he was damned sure no Norman Invasion force was about take
away his home and Kingship - Pope or no Pope. I would like to right
more on this facet in the future.

I am still fighting this battle by email at the moment.


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copyright Glen Ray Crack - Battle - East Sussex - United Kingdom
Submitted 10th January 1998
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