This very ingenious video is a modern animation of a very old story–nearly 1000 years old, in fact. It’s based on the Bayeaux tapestry, a 230-foot long medieval comic strip that illustrates in pictures the story of Norman king William the Conqueror’s invasion and conquest of England at the Battle of Hastings. The climactic event of the tapestry is the battle, which occurred October 14, 1066.

I first saw this animation on YouTube a couple of years ago and I really liked it. Not only does it make the Bayeaux Tapestry move and live, but it’s a wonderful and engaging way to teach a subject most people find dry as dust–medieval history.

For such a pivotal event in history, we actually know a lot less than we should about the Battle of Hastings. All of what historians know about it comes from (I think) four sources, one of which is this tapestry. Having worked with historical sources from much more recent eras–and seen how wrong or skewed they can sometimes be–I’m a little skeptical about what we think we know about this event! But, alas, as there are no other extant sources to put the battle in context, we’re stuck with what has managed to survive these last thousand years.

You have to admit the animation is very cool!