For this second edition, Frank Barlow has written an entirely new and substantial historical introduction, incorporating the scholarly research of a generation. He has also provided a fresh translation and notes, as well as revising the Latin text of the edition by Catherine Morton and Hope Muntz. Excerpt The ninth centenary of the Norman conquest of England, celebrated in , triggered an explosion of historical commentaries on the invasion and the battle of Hastings. Most were popular in tone. But a few difficult technical problems received a scholarly airing; and one of these was the authorship and value of an anonymous poem on the Norman Campaign, Carmen de Hastingae proelio.

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Various criticisms were raised of the edition, especially by the knowledgeable and tenacious R. Davis, about the editing of the Latin text, about the translation, and about the overly-confident introduction3.

Indeed, Davis was convinced that the Carmen was merely a derivative source not even written by Guy of Amiens. The Latin text stands with only two or three changes, the translation into English is completely redone, new notes accompany the text and translation, and the introduction is given a more accomodating and judicious tone. Barlow wades through all the various facets of the debate which surround the text, and concludes - again, in a cautious fashion - that Guy Bishop of Amiens is most likely the author of the poem, that it was written as early as or possibly , and that the sole surviving manuscript was copied in c.

Thus, until decisive proof is adduced to the contrary, it is safe to rely on this poem as an early - the earliest - account of the Norman Conquest. In his long introduction, Barlow gives the reader a plausible account of the events of based on the Carmen, harmonized with the other major contemporary sources the Bayeux Tapestry, William of Jumieges, William of Poitiers, et al.

Barlow also discusses the scholarship surrounding the text, from the nineteenth century to the present. Moreover, Barlow provides a full account of the life, family, and career of Guy Bishop of Amiens. Finally, the book includes four illustrations and an index. One is glad to be living in times of abundance.


Carmen de Hastingae Proelio

As it now exists, the poem is lines long. The ironic application of classical and Carolingian language to William sows doubt about his faithfulness and piety two core political values for the Carolingians and the Capetians. There have, however, been challenges to this identification. The English dismount, leaving their horses in the rear, and brace themselves for the attack.



The Carmen is generally accepted as the earliest known written account of the invasion and focuses on the famous Battle of Hastings , although it also offers insights into navigation, urban administration and ecclesiastical influence. Bearing all the signs of hasty work, the Carmen was most likely composed within months of the coronation of William as king of England Christmas Day, —probably sometime in , possibly as early as Easter of that year, to be performed at the royal festivities in Normandy , where King William I presided. Some have suggested Hugh was the perpetrator of the mutilation of King Harold once he had been slain, although others suggest there was no mutilation as the severed leg was waved merely to signal an end to combat with the death of King Harold. Altogether, the Carmen is the most vivid of the original written accounts, and practically the only one to give a non-Norman point of view in detail.

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