𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐰𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲? The academic study of history, at GCSE, A level and beyond encourages pupils to question the sources of our historical knowledge and to challenge traditional assumptions.
𝟏𝟎𝟔𝟔: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭 Traditionally, history textbooks have shown Harold, the English King, struck in the eye by an arrow fired by one of William of Normandy’s archers.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐨 𝐰𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭? The Bayeux Tapestry shows an image of Harold holding the arrow that had pierced his eye. However, the Bayeux Tapestry was commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother in the 1070s. As Sir Winston Churchill later said, “History is written by the victors.”
𝐃𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐝𝐝 𝐮𝐩? After the battle, Harold’s mother, Githa offered Harold’s weight in gold for the return of his body for burial. William the Conqueror refused her offer?
𝐀𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞? A poem written shortly after the battle tells of a group of Norman knights who vowed to fight their way through to Harold’s standard. The poem tells of the knights hacking Harold to pieces. What credence should be given to this evidence? Is a poem a valid source? Does this account present the Norman knights as calculating and brutal? Would the Normans have preferred the story of an arrow guided by God’s hand, into Harold’s eye, to justify William’s claim to the throne?
𝐄𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐮𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐬 Assessing the accuracy and validity of historical study is a key element in historical study. If your child requires assistance developing his or her history skills, Minerva Tuition has experienced teachers available to help.
𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐝𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝, 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐕𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞 𝐖𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐧:
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