Canterbury Tales
King Arthur
Test Review

1066 Sound Board

Westminster Abbey

King Edward the Confessor

Edgar Ætheling

Harold Godwinson

William the Conqueror

Harald Hardrada



Middle Ages Notes - These are the notes we took in class. The notes I read from are included under each slide.


In 1066, King Edward the Confessor (named so because he built Westminster Abbey) died leaving no heirs. There were several pretenders to the throne, four of them stand out the most:

Harold Godwinson - brother-in-law to Edward, head advisor, and claimed that King Edward said on his death bed that he should be the next king

William, Duke of Normandy, A.K.A William the Conqueror, A.K.A Big Willy - distant cousin to King Edward, noble birth, and claimed that King Edward sent Godwinson to Normandy years earlier to proclaim him as the next king of England. Supposedly Godwinson swore on the bones of a holy saint that he would help William to be king. The church backs William and excommunicates Godwinson. Normandy is in France, but the Normans were more like Frenchified Vikings than sissy Frenchmen.

Harald Hardrada - King of Norway. Said he should be king because the previous king of England (King Hardicanute) promised the previous King of Sweden (Magnus) the English throne upon his death. Since Magnus was occupied with other matters at the time of Hardicanute's death, King Edward took his place as king of England. Eventually Magnus dies and Hardrada takes his place as king of Norway. Hardrada claims that since Magnus should have been king of England and he is Magnus's successor, then he should be king of England. If you couldn't follow that, then just remember that Hardrada has 240 ships full of very big, very mean vikings with very large battle axes that say that he should be king.

Edgar Ætheling - Only 13 or 14 years old at the time. He was proclaimed as the heir to the throne by King Edward. Being so young, he could not stop the others from taking his spot. He had little support so he was never actually crowned.


The Witan chooses Godwinson to be king. Hardrada "sneaks" his 240 ships out to invade England and take it by force. William gets his forces ready to invade but is halted by a storm in the English Channel. Godwinson races his forces across England picking up serfs along the way (to act as arrow fodder) and meets Hardrada's forces before the Norwegians are ready. Despite easily taking some coastal towns upon first arrival, Haradrada is not ready for Godwinson's forces to arrive. Hardrada is killed in the battle. Of the 240 ships, 24 go home. This is in September.

Meanwhile, William is marching up and down the coast with holy relics and prayers, when - lo and behold! - the storm clears. William lands and sets his force up near Hastings. Godwinson marches his men south to meet this threat. They are tired and hurting. The two forces spend a great deal of time insulting each other and then they fought. William defeated the English and Godwinson died on the battlefield. How he died in in question. Earliest accounts say that he led a charge into Willima's line and was hacked to pieces. Later and more popular accounts say he took an arrow to the eye. This is in October.

The Witan then name Ætheling as king again in order to thumb their noses at William, but they do not crown him (no use in ticking off the "the Conqueror" too much!).

Shortly after (Nov. 10th, 1066), the pagans in England, to show their disatisfaction to the English, took the bishop of Mecklenburg, Johannes Skotus, and sacrificed him to Radegast, a Slavic god of crops, fertility, and hospitality (and creator of beer). They took the head of the bishop to a temple of Radegast.

Ætheling steps down when William is crowned on Christmas day, 1066. The day that William is crowned king, the English cheered to show support for their new king. This frightened the Norman guards so much (misunderstanding the cheers) that they began burning the houses nearby. The people then ran out of the coronation to either help put out the fires or to loot in the chaos.

William changed taxation by taxing people on what they actually have. He had everyone inventoried to do this fairly. Ætheling runs away to Scotland.

As William aged, he got very fat. Upon his death, he was so fat that he could barely fit into the sepulcher. In the days for preparation of his burial, he grew so bloated from bacterial gases that on his funeral he could not fit in it. One priest began pushing on his belly to make him fit until he finally "popped" and released a very putrid smell that made people scramble to leave the church.

This whole story is recorded in a tapestry, which is kind of like a very old comic book on cloth. Here is a section of it. You can see Halley's comet in it.



Eyewitness to History tells all about the events of 1066

History House about William's smelly end

The Bayeux Tapestry


A Day in the Life of a Peasant

King Edward II, Part I: The Gay Blade

Medieval Warfare

Health Care in the Middle Ages


The Children's Crusade

Spelling, Schmelling

King Edward II, Part II: The She Wolf of France


Are you an artist? This will add up to 10 points on your Get some cloth measuring 8" by 30". Pick a part from the Bayeux Tapestry (from this web site: The Bayeux Tapestry). Recreate that scene as close as you can. You can use paint, markers, sewing, whatever. I will hang it up in the classroom. If we get enough, we'll eventually have the entire tapestry hanging on the wall.



Written by Geoffery Chaucer in Middle English. This fact is important because it stregthened the English language. During Chaucer's time, the literature language breakdown goes as follows:
French - literature written for the ellite (Romances like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight)
Latin - for scholars of medicine, the bible, and science
English - for the common man

The Canterbury Tales is a frame story. A Frame Story is a story that has other, unrelated stories in in. The frame story for The Canterbury Tales is several pilgrims are on their way to Canterbury to visit the shrine to Thomas a Beckett. On the way, to pass the time, they play a tale game. The game consists of each pilgrim telling two stories on the way to Canterbury and two stories on the way back. The one with the best story will get dinner paid for by the others. Chaucer dies before finishing the book.

Here is a list of the pilgrims and a little about each.

  • Knight - Click for larger image He is a worthy an ideal knight, very chilvarious. He is also humble. He is coming straight from a crusade so his shirt is still stained from his armor. This guy is one of the perfect characters. He never says anything bad about anyone and is only with this group of losers to render thanks to God.
  • Squire - The knight's son. He is learned in courtship, poetry, singing, jousting, dancing, and pleasing the ladies. He sleeps little (read between the lines). For those of you who can't read between the lines, he is a player. He make Zeus look celibate. He is a good guy at heart, though. He will even risk face in order to please his father.
  • Yeoman - The knight's servant. Very good at hunting (looks like Robin Hood). Wears St. Christopher medal.
  • Nun - Pioress, very high church position. As a nun she is to keep apart from the world (but she doesn't). She is obsessed with table manners, although she is forbidden, she wears jewelry (one is a golden brooch with 'love conquers all' inscribed), very pretty and vain, clothes are expensive (not the nun dress), owns dogs (to mimic the rich). She uses St. Loy as her oath (he was killed for not taking an oath).
  • Monk - Monks take a vow of celebricy, poverty, and obedience. He has a love knot, expensive clothes and a fine horse, and breaks rules such as leaving the monestary, hunts, and wears fur.
  • Friar - Click for larger image Friars are supposed to beg and own nothing. They hear confessional and help the poor and sick. This friar enjoys life. He finds husbands for several young women (read between the lines). He has a white neck (which means a lecherous person). He finds husbands for the ladies to conceal their pregnancy by him! His name is Hubert, which is a common name for a bad Friar in literature.
  • Merchant - He is very fashionable. He exchanges money on the black market. No one knows he is in debt.
  • Oxford Cleric - Studying for the priesthood (professional student), Thin and has a thin horse. His clothes are threadbare because he spends all his money on books. Rarely speaks (when he does, it is important).
  • Serjeant at Law - Serves the king (similar job as D.A. and Supreme Court Justice). Keeps his techniques to himself (a little on the shady side).
  • Franklin - A sanguine man (meaning a reddish color - people in this time thought red people had too much blood meaning a happy person). He loves to eat. At a time when tables were portable, his was always set. "Eat drink and be merry and then pay the consequences." This guy was a lot like Chaucer. St. Julian is his patron St.
  • Haberdasher, Dyer, Carpenter, Weaver, Carpet Maker - They all wear the same clothes. They are middle class but try to act like rich people (they all have knives for eating - Ohhh! Ahhhhh!).Nobody cares about these losers.
  • Cook - Click for larger image Can cook anything. His specialty is a white sauce. He has an oozing ulcer (read between the lines). Makes you hungry for a good batch of blanchmange, eh? The sad thing is that nobody in the group seems to be able to put the oozing sore together with the white sauce!
  • Skipper - A privateer. Very unfashionably dressed. He is prone to steal from his cargo. He is not moral. Makes people walk the plank and he smuggles on the side. He is you basic bad good guy. As a privateer, he hunts pirates for the government; however, he keeps most of the spoils that he takes from the pirates. It is very possible that the story he tells was originally meant to be the story for the Wife of Bath.
  • Doctor - Knows medecine and astrology. He eats very healthily. Has not read the Bible. He has a deal with the apothecary so he prescribes drugs with gold. He studies on little clay dolls so as to not have to get too close to diseased people. He is very particular about his eating habits.
  • Wife of Bath - Click to see larger imageShe is somewhat deaf. Very proud. She dresses in red, large hat, new shoes. Her face is red (quick to anger, quick to recover), gap toothed (during this time, this meant interested in love and something very dirty). She had five husbands. This is a fiesty woman and I see a mental image of that ugly woman who played Juliet's personal servant in the old movie that you all watched in ninth grade. She starts to tell about herself before she tells her tale and she goes so long that people interrupt her. Her name is Allison, which is, coincidently, the same name as the loose woman in the Miller's tale.
  • Parson - A small town priest. Really cares for his parishoners. He will pay the tithes for his parishoners when they cannot. He practices what he preaches.
  • Plowman - The parson's brother. He hires his services out to others. He is an ideal christian. He loves his neighbor as himslef and if his neighbor couldn't pay for his services, he would do it for free.
  • Miller - click for larger imageHe grinds and prices grain (but he often cheated people). Big, brawny, and muscular. No one can out wrestle him and he can break down doors with his head. He has a wart with red hair sprouting from it on his nose. He has wide nostrils and a big mouth (signifies an animal-like nature). He has a red beard and red hair (an angry person). He wears white and blue (typical depiction of the Virgin Mary). He plays the bagpipes. People bring in their grain and he grinds it for them. He would steal part of the grain and when they weighed it, he would put his thumb on the scale to make it seem heavier. His tale is by far the funniest, but it is also the dirtiest, the main subject being about the dangers of trying to french kiss in the dark.
  • Manciple - Teaches law and is very clever. He has tricked thrity lawyers.
  • Reeve - Click for larger image Old, choleric, and thin (means he is cranky and cunning). He knows exactly when to plant. He knows his business and nobody can find fault with his records. He used to be a carpenter and takes great offense to the miller's tale about a carpenter.He tries to tell a dirty funny tale about a miller, but it just doesn't work. Nobody likes him.
  • Summoner - click for larger imageHis job is to get people (summon them) to go to the ecclesiastical court (run by the church) for breaking church laws (not tithing, adultery, telling a lie, etc.). Loves garlic, leeks, onions, and red wine. He is sick and has black scabby brows and a fiery red face. His eyes are swollen shut. He has a major case of acne. When he gets drunk, he speaks in latin. He lets people go free for a quart of wine. He commits sexual crimes secretly (some even suspect children are involved). He blackmails those that bribe him. There is some hints that his sexual misconduct involves little children.
  • Pardoner - click for larger imageRides with the summoner (possible involvement). He sells indulgences and false relics. He has yellow waxy hair. Small goat-like voice and bulging eyes. He rides a gelding. There is more than a connection between him and the Summoner. He loudly sings to the Summoner, "Come hither, Love, to me!" His choice of horse means (symbolically) that he may be homosexual or castrated.
  • Chaucer - As a character, he is blind to most of the inferences made about each character. He constantly apologizes for the stories, but claims he must portray them as they are told.
  • Host - A large merry man who is henpecked by his wife. He comes up with the tale game. He will judge and the winner gets a dinner paid for by the others. Winning story based on morals and amusement.






Class Readings

Prologue on a Page

The Wife of Bath's Tale

The Pardoner's Tale

The Miller's Tale



Canterbury Cathedral
(where the pilgrims are going)

Thomas a Beckett's Shrine

A cross to show Beckett's murder

A page from The Canterbury Tales

Another illuminated page from The Canterbury Tales

This movie has several allusions to The Canterbury Tales. It even has Chaucer as a major character. There is some pretty good extra credit to be had by completing this extra credit assignment.

Main figures in the King Arthur legend:
King Arthur
Sir Lancelot
Morgan Le Fay
Uther Pendragon
Sir Percival
Lady of the Lake (Nimue or Vivienne)
Sir Ector
Sir Kay
Sir Uriens
Sir Leondegrance

Click on the pictures below to see them larger:

Arthur in Avalon by Sir Edward Burne-Jones The Lamentation of King Arthur by William Bell Scott Mort d'Arthur by John Mulcaster Carrick

The Taking of Excalibur by John Duncan How an Angel Rowed Sir Galahad Across Dern Mere by Sir Joseph Noel Paton Queen Guinever's Maying by John Collier

E x c a l i b u r

Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh

We will view this movie in class. It is a pretty good version of the myths. Since the myths contradict each other, it is impossible to protray the one "true" Arthurian story. This movie does, however, try to blend the more famous myths together into one story. You can watch the trailer by clicking the picture. Here are some things to make sure you get from the movie as you watch it:

* Why is Merlin willing to help Uther Pendragon in his quest to attain Ygraine?
* How do we first know that Morgana (also known as Morgan le Fay) has extranormal powers?
* Where does the sword come from? How does it get driven into the stone?
* Who is for Arthur when he pulls the sword from the stone?

NOTE - Merlin says,
"You will be the land and the land will be you;
If you fail, the land will perish;
As you thrive, the land will blossom."
This is heavy symbolism and foreshadowing for the movie. Take some time to make sure you understand the king's relationship to nature and the actual land of England.

* What is the dragon?
* Who knights Arthur?
* What is Arthur's weakness (found in the fight between Lancelot and him)?
* Of what does Merlin warn Arthur before he marries Guinevere?
* Who is the young man who follows Lancelot to Camelot?
* Of what crime is Lancelot and Guinevere are accused?
* Why doesn't Arthur champion Guinevere?

NOTE - to understand the sword going through Merlin, you need to know what the dragon is, since Merlin is becoming the dragon at the time.

* Why is the land withering?
* What does Arthur send the knights to get?
* Who is successful in that quest?
* What has become of Lancelot?
* What has become of Guinevere?
* Who is Mordred?
* What happens to Morgana?
* What happens after the Lady of the Lake gets the sword?

Terms you shoudl have in your notes:

  • Avalon - the resting place of Arthur - he gets carried there in a ship piloted by three queens
  • The Dragon - all of England
  • The Once and Future King - Arthur's title meaning that he was once king and will be again when we need him most
  • Camelot - Arthur's castle
  • hubris - pride that leads to a character's downfall
  • archetypes - symbols that stay the same in all time periods and cultures

The two main songs in this movie are "Siegfried's Funeral March" from The Ring by Wagner (hear it here) and "O Fortuna" by Carl Orff (here it here).

Missed some of the movie? Well, try and catch up by watching it here (will cost $2.99 to watch on You Tube):

King Arthur Movies & Books

The greatest King Arthur film ever made, as long as you're not looking for accuracy and any annoying features like that! Click the poster to watch the movie trailer.

Watch the trailer
This movie goes after the idea that Arthurian legends may have been based on Artorius, a Roman soldier. Neat movie, but does not give much in the way of traditional Arthur stories. Click the picture to watch the movie trailer.

This movie is based on an older legend of King Arthur and shows a bit more of a darker side to him in response to Lancelot and Guinevere. Click the poster to watch the trailer.

Based pretty much on T. H. White's The Once and Future King, this covers Arthur (called Wart) life as a boy until he becomes king. The book is better than the movie, but the movie is a funny watch as well. As with all Disney cartoons, you can look for the "hidden Mickeys".

A TV series that takes a completely different approach. Here, Merlin is a young man trying to learn the craft while working as a servant to Prince Arthur. You can watch episodes of the show by clicking the picture.

The Knights of the Round Table:

Ablamor o’ the Marsh
Accolon o’ Gaul
Agravaine (betrayer of Launcelot)
Allardin o’ the Isles
Bagdemagus, King
Barant Les Apres (King of the Hundred Knights)
Belleus o’ the Pavilion
Bernlad De Hautdesert (magical Green Knight)
Bors de Ganis
Breunis Sans Pite
Brian o’ the Forest
Bruin le Noire
Cador o’ Cornwall
Carados, King of Scotland
Dagonet (Arthur’s Court Jester)
Dodinas le Savage
Ector de Maris


Edward the Knight Perilous
Felot o’ Langdue
Gareth of Orkney (Knight of Many Colors)
Garlon (Invisible Knight)
Gouvernail (Tristram’s Squire)
Helior le Preuse
Hervis de Revel
Hontzlake o’ Wentland
Hue the Knight Perilous
Kay (Arthur’s seneschal)
King Mark


Lucan de Butterlere
Mador de la Porte
Meliot de Logres
Miles o’ the Lands
Palomides the Saracen
King Pelles
King Pellimore(Knight of the Questing Beast)
Percard (Knight of the Black Lawns)
Perceval (the Grail Knight)
Perimones (Red Knight)
Persante of Inde (Blue Knight)
Pertelope (Green Knight)
Priamus the Saracen
Sagramour le Desirous
Trantrist o’ the White
Tristram of Lyoness
Uriens, King of Gore



This is a fairly humorous book by Mark Twain about a guy who falls asleep and wakes up in the time period of King Arthur. He uses his knowledge of science to usrup Merlin's position. Click to read Wikipedia's review.


A great story written by Peter David. King Arthur is the "Once and Future King," so what happens when he returns? In this case, he runs for office in America. Peter David has a good sense of the Arthurian legends and write a good comedy.

Do this small book report for Extra Credit

Test Review

The test will cover all notes taken for Old English and Middle Ages.

Beowulf Notes - Didn't take notes? Didn't take good notes? Wasn't here? You can get it all by clicking here.
Middle Ages notes - fill in the blank (check our presentation notes plus the notes on the events of 1066).
Canterbury Tales - There will be multiple choice on the two stories we read (The Wife of Bath's Tale, The Pardoner's Tale -or- The Miller's Tale) plus a chance for a short answer or two.
King Arthur - There will be matching on the main characters found in the King Arthur legend and mulitple choice on the movie Excalibur.

One of the extra credit possibilities on the test is to translate the charm of making used in the movie Excalibur. You can find it above the movie picture on this page. A hint is that it is Irish.


Extra Credit: What is the name of Arthur's court jester? E-mail me the answer for a 100 Classwork grade.



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