Every schoolchild knows that King Harold lost the Battle of Hastings because he and his army were exhausted after a long march. But now there is another theory. Research suggests that England's last Anglo-Saxon king, a battle-hardened warrior, had been clinically depressed for months before he lost to the Norman invader William in the autumn of 1066. Had he been treated for his illness, Britain, and the world, would be radically different.
Psychologists claim the king plunged into a depression after he was branded a heretic by Rome in March 1066. With no hope of salvation for his soul, say researchers, Harold started to exhibit the behaviour and mood changes associated with depression. "Harold suffered intense feelings of guilt and loss, mainly due to his sense that he was a heretic targeted in a holy war," says Dr Max Sugar, from Tulane University, New Orleans, who led the research. "This meant the loss of his soul and an afterlife. This would account for his inept leadership." An arrow in the eye probably didn't help.Reuse content