Death Erections And Bayeux
A reader writes:
Regarding your reader's corrective comment about the nature of the "porn" on the tapestry: I am not a historian, much less a historian of the period and location involved here. Nor have I actually seen the tapestry in person. Still, his characterization of the depictions of erections on dead corpses as simply an act of criticism by the female creators of the tapestry strikes me as possibly raw conjecture. There is a more obvious explanation, which is that the tapestry is depicting some part of the reality of a battle field. It is a well known fact that violent deaths are often associated with priapism.
An erect penis on a battle field is full of symbolism to both men and women, war mongers and war haters; as much or more so to a people that was unaware of the medical causes. It is equally possible to me that it was meant as a tribute to the masculinity of the soldiers. Perhaps mockery or criticism was part of the intention of the tapestry's creators, but it seems that we are far distant from the event to know what motivated the creators of the tapestry to portray a battle in such a way.