A reader writes:
The response you received about the Bayeux Tapestry from the "historian" strikes me as particularly ignorant.
My wife (art historian) and I (artist) had the incredible good fortune of finding ourselves in Bayeux, Normandy, France last year where we saw the actual tapestry. Briefly, the tapestry is a 70m long (230 ft) embroidered (stitched) cloth depicting the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. While we do not know the exact origins of the tapestry (who comissioned it) or where it was created (in France or England), there is absolutely no doubt that it is one-sided Norman (William the Conquerer) political propaganda. The Anglo-Saxon (King Harold) point of view is not portrayed at all.
There is also no doubt that the tapestry depicts a "continuous narrative". Anyone who has actually walked around the 230 ft tapestry can see the story unfold from one end to the other. This "both ends to the middle" nonsense causes me to believe this "scholar" has never seen the tapestry in person.
Lastly, there is no raunchy porn. "Porn" is a very loaded and misleading word and it is a particularly poor choice of word to describe the so-called "naughty bits" found in the tapestry. The tapestry contains many instances of humor as well as scenes depicting nudes in the margins. There are no scenes of sexual adventure or prostitution (as one would likely find in a war story). This is not Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights. The only nudes to be found in the tapestry are dead soldiers stripped of their chain mail. The only "naughtiness" one will find is an occasional erect penis on a dead soldier ... which is why, along with many other oddities, it is also believed that the tapestry was stitched by women ... who were ridiculing the men for their need to prove their manliness through warfare.