How did King Harold die at the Battle of Hastings? Was it, as tradition holds, by an arrow through the eye? Or could have been some other way?
The traditional view is that Harold was killed by an arrow that struck his face or eye. The scene is part of the Bayeux Tapestry, and is found in chronicle accounts as early as 1080.
But Dennis points to other works, such as Bishop Guy of Amiens’ Song of the Battle of Hastings, written one year after the battle, and a 12th century work by a historian named Wace, which state that during the critical part of the battle, William assembled several knights and charged at the Anglo-Saxon king. When they reached Harold, they hacked him to death.
Dennis explains that the story of the arrow in the eye may actually have been deliberate propaganda put out by King William’s court: “For Duke William, it was a convenient way for the king to have met his end. If Harold had been killed by a fateful arrow, his death could be directly attributed to the will of God.”