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designation for the Northmen, or NorsemenNorsemen,
name given to the Scandinavian Vikings who raided and settled on the coasts of the European continent in the 9th and 10th cent. They are also referred to as Northmen or Normans.
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, who conquered Normandy in the 10th cent. and adopted Christianity and the customs and language of France. Abandoning piracy and raiding, they adopted regular commerce and gave much impetus to European trade. They soon lost all connection with their original Scandinavian homeland, but they retained their craving for adventure, expansion, and enrichment. In 1066 the Norman ConquestNorman Conquest,
period in English history following the defeat (1066) of King Harold of England by William, duke of Normandy, who became William I of England. The conquest was formerly thought to have brought about broad changes in all phases of English life.
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 of England made the duke of Normandy king of England as William IWilliam I
or William the Conqueror,
1027?–1087, king of England (1066–87). Earnest and resourceful, William was not only one of the greatest of English monarchs but a pivotal figure in European history as well.
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 (William the Conqueror). The Norman nobility displaced the Anglo-Saxon nobility of England. The Normans readily adapted to the feudalism of N France and are believed either to have introduced feudalism to England or to have strengthened a pre-existing feudal system there.

Early in the 11th cent. bands of Norman adventurers appeared in S Italy, where at first they aided the local nobles in their rebellion against Byzantine rule. A steady stream of land-hungry Norman nobles, under the pretext of expelling the Greeks, proceeded to take over the land. Most remarkable among these adventurers were the numerous sons of Tancred de Hauteville. One of these, William Iron Arm, became lord of ApuliaApulia
, Ital. Puglia, region (1991 pop. 4,031,885), 7,469 sq mi (19,345 sq km), S Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its southern portion, a peninsula, forms the heel of the Italian "boot.
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 in 1043; he was succeeded by his brother Drogo and by another brother, Humphrey, who defeated (1053) Pope Leo IXLeo IX, Saint,
1002–54, pope (1049–54), a German named Bruno of Toul, b. Alsace; successor of Damasus II. A relative of Holy Roman Emperor Henry III, he was educated at Toul and was made bishop there in 1027.
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 when the pope attempted to enforce papal rights in S Italy. In 1059, Humphrey's brother and successor Robert GuiscardRobert Guiscard
, c.1015–1085, Norman conqueror of S Italy, a son of Tancred de Hauteville (see Normans). Robert joined (c.1046) his brothers in S Italy and fought with them to expel the Byzantines.
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 was invested by Pope Nicholas IINicholas II
(c.1010–61), pope (1058–61), a Roman named Gerard, b. Lorraine, France; successor to Pope Stephen IX. A strong proponent of papal reform, he issued (1059) the Papal Election Decree in an effort to minimize political interference in papal elections.
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 with duchies of Apulia and Calabria and the island of Sicily, which was yet to be conquered. He completed the Norman conquest of S Italy; another brother, Roger IRoger I
(Roger Guiscard), c.1031–1101, Norman conqueror of Sicily; son of Tancred de Hauteville (see Normans). He went to Italy in 1058 to join his brother, Robert Guiscard, in conquering Apulia and Calabria from the Byzantines.
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, conquered Sicily, and in 1130 Roger's son, Roger IIRoger II,
c.1095–1154, count (1101–30) and first king (1130–54) of Sicily, son and successor of Roger I. He conquered (1127) Apulia and Salerno and sided with the antipope Anacletus II against Pope Innocent II. In 1130, Anacletus crowned Roger king.
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, set up the kingdom of SicilySicily
, Ital. Sicilia, region (1991 pop. 4,966,386), 9,925 sq mi (25,706 sq km), S Italy, mainly situated on the island of Sicily, which is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west and south, by the Ionian Sea on the east, and by the Tyrrhenian Sea on the north, and
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, which included the island and the Norman possessions in S Italy.

The Normans soon adopted Italian speech and customs. Their ambitious plans against the Byzantine Empire were a factor in bringing about the CrusadesCrusades
, series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. First Crusade

In the 7th cent., Jerusalem was taken by the caliph Umar.
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, in which they at first played an important part. The medieval Normans were notable for the great authority given their dukes; for their enthusiasm for conquest; and for their economic and social penetration of conquered areas. Wherever the Normans went, Norman architectureNorman architecture,
term applied to the buildings erected by the Normans in all lands that fell under their dominion. It is used not only in England and N France, but also in S Italy (Apulia) and in Sicily.
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 left its traces.


See E. Curtis, Roger of Sicily and the Normans in Lower Italy (1912); C. H. Haskins, The Normans in European History (1915, repr. 1966) and Norman Institutions (1918, repr. 1960); J. J. C. Norwich, The Normans in the South, 1016–1130 (1967) and The Kingdom in the Sun, 1130–1194 (1970); E. Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power (1988).



the name by which the peoples of Scandinavia were known in Western Europe in the period of their extensive expansion from the end of the eighth century to the mid-11th. In Scandinavia itself the participants in the campaigns were called Vikings; in ancient Rus’ they were called Varangians.

References in classic literature ?
the third Norman king who ruled our land) there lived a monk called Geoffrey of Monmouth.
She notes that there is little information for how outlawry might have functioned at the lower social levels in this period, but suggests that the Norman kings probably carried on much as their Saxon predecessors might have done.
History plays a huge part - Norman Kings & Queens, gladiators.
Williams, a cabinet adviser in John Major's government and an honorary fellow of the University of Wales, points out the first two Norman kings of England did not speak English.
They then move to Anglo-Saxon and Norman law and their blending under the Norman kings.
The Welsh had forced him to build the wall to keep the English in because they were not civilised enough to be trusted on other people's property He implied that an "English" King had built a castle in Prestatyn in 1157 but did not say that it was one of the Norman Kings - who turned all the English into serfs in 1066.
Bruzelius provides, in addition, helpful diagrams, including genealogical tables of the house of Anjou and the Norman kings, as well as five appendices that include documents relating to the choir of San Lorenzo Maggiore, a list of sites, and drawings of column base profiles.
Evidence of life in Honley during the reign of William the Conqueror and the Norman Kings is difficult to find.
covers the period of Scandinavian invasion and settlement; 'An epoch of new dynasties' embraces the establishment of an urbanising Late Saxon nation-state, and its takeover by Danish and Norman kings between the later tenth and eleventh centuries; 'Feudal modes' (the twelfth to mid thirteenth centuries) and 'Material culture and social display' (to the beginning of the fifteenth century) chart the contexts of the relative decline and resurgence in importance of small artefacts; 'The wars and the poesies' completes the survey.
For the Norman kings, with territory on both sides of the channel, to be in two places at one time would have been useful as well.
Cunningham contended that Geoffrey Keating, by establishing Norman kings as legitimate successors of their Gaelic counterparts, installed a legitimacy for a Catholic Stuart kingdom.
Hayward's three other historical studies are also biographical in nature, treating Henry IV, England's Norman kings, and the early years of the reign of Elizabeth.