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Normans,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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. (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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.