The viking William the Bastard, who after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 became known as William by the Conqueror, for reasons of political opportunity decided to marry his cousin Matilde of Flanders.
(The nearby Bayeux is home to the famous 'carpet of Bayeux': a linen cloth of almost 70 meters with embroidered with incredible vividness the story of the Battle of Hastings. It is one of the most important medieval documents that can be seen. A film that has gone through almost a thousand years of history to talk about the conquest of angling by Guglielmo. )
The legend says that when William asked the hand of Matilde she refused him because "... too good born to marry a bastard!" At which Guglielmo rode to Bruges and intercepted the neghitist on the church's churchyard, he mistranged him somehow by dragging her on the braids. Matilde's father should have - at this point - defied Guglielmo's duel, but his daughter was arguing that he would never marry anyone other than William.
Among the two, Pope Leo IX intruded forbidding the marriage on the basis of consanguinity (both descended from Rollone). But William also married his cousin in 1053.
In 1054 Pope Leo IX died and his successor, Niccolò II, granted the two to the pardon as long as they founded two abbeys. So in Caen were born the 2 abbeys: the Abbey of Men wanted by William and the Abbey of Women wanted by Matilde.
The two monasteries are now home to the town of Caen and the Normandy region, but before arriving at their current administrative quiet destination have experienced many hardships that have almost completely erased the character of medieval jewelry.
Revolutions and especially religious wars have led to almost complete destruction of the buildings' decorations.
In the Men's Abbey survives a two-tails mermaid who heroically resisted the attempts to remove it (was damaged at the bottom).
In the Ladies' Abbey miraculously survived exterior corbels, perhaps because without proper telephoto lens can hardly be observed in detail.
In these sculpted decorations, the tagiapietra expressed themselves with the utmost freedom, shaping dreams, tales, ideas and images far away from our feelings.
In the corbels you can find a siren in a sort of sarcophagus, men defecating, men with penis in the hands, pairs of lovers ...
The stonemasons were evidently animated by a great expressive enthusiasm and expressed a cultural context perhaps naive but certainly composite and charming.