The Bayeux Tapestry depicts some 600 characters.
Some 600 different characters are depicted in the central panel of the Bayeux Tapestry, including three women and three children. Most characters are not identified, but fifteen key characters are, and have their names written in Latin.
|Harold, Earl of wessex, then King of England||27||21|
|William, Duke of Normandy||23||19|
|Edward, King of England||05||04|
|Guy of Ponthieu||05||03|
|Odo, Bishop of Bayeux||04||02|
|Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury||02 ?||01|
|Conan, Duke of Brittany||02||02|
|Robert, Count of Mortain||02 ?||01|
|Eustache de Boulogne ?||01||01|
To help with the identification of characters, the artis has added significant features, such as crowns for kings. Edward wears the same crown on his deathbed, which is conventional in medieval iconography. In the same way, William can be recognised on the battle field by the staff he is holding. The artis has clearly distinguished the English from the Continentals; The first wear a moustache and long hair, the others wear their hair short.
Aside these identified figures, most of the depicted characters are soldiers, dressed in civilian clothes or military uniforms. They generally carry spears, sword or shields. A few craftsmen - woodcutters and carpenters - are working on the construction of boats. Many servants go about their tasks. A number of clerics can also be distinguished by their tonsure and sometimes their ornaments.
The three women depicted in the Tapestry are Aelfgyva (maybe one of William's daughters, engaged to Harold), Edith (sister of Harold and wife of Edward) and an English aristocrat whose house is being burned down; Only three children are represented : two altar boys, present at Eward's burial and the son of the aristocrat evicted by the Normans.
Pierre Bouet and François Neveux
International experts on the Bayeux tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry by Pierre Bouet and François Neveux
Hardback due out in October 2013, éditions Ouest France