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The Normans in Sicily: The Normans in the South 1016-1130 and the Kingdom in the Sun 1130-1194

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  164 ratings  ·  9 reviews
This omnibus volume is made up of John Julius Norwich's first two works of history published 20 years ago - The Normans in the South and The Kingdom in the Sun. The books tell the story of the dazzling Norman kingdom of Sicily founded in the 11th century by an enterprising band of adventurers from Normandy under Robert Guiscard. The state they founded was outstanding in me ...more
Paperback, 816 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Penguin Global (first published 1967)
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Entertaining narrative history of how wandering Norman knights transformed themselves from mercenaries and cattle thieves into powerful lords and the rulers of Southern Italy and Sicily eventually forming a powerful Kingdom in 1130.

The Normans in the South Tells how simple, warlike, Norman pilgrims sent themselves up in southern Italy as cattle thieves, mercenaries and adventurers, eventually acquiring lands and titles because they were good at fighting. This was a Norman habit for a couple of h
This is detailed history of the 1100s in Sicily! It's beautifully written and makes one love history just for the sake of it (as well as being important to compare to what's going on today!).
Czarny Pies
Aug 30, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the Crusades or Norman history
Recommended to Czarny by: Evelyn Waugh
Shelves: european-history
This is a wonderfully written narrative history of the Norman kingdoms in Sicily. It is an absolutely essentially book for any one who is interested in Crusades as it places the wars conducted by the Normans in the Middle East in the proper historical context of the broader Norman drive to expand and acquire new territories.

Remember this book can never be superseded. The author has read all the relevant source documents. Nothing is hidden in the archives awaiting an eventual release. Any new boo
Charles Kerns
Nasty, brutish and tall--that was the Normans. They were the original "men who came to dinner" but in their case, thugs who came to dinner fits better. They were descendants of the Vikings but, if we are to believe the author, traded their boats for horses and headed south to make their fortune. They arrived in Italy by chance after a pilgrimage and took over. Then conquered Sicily and a part of north Africa. They even tried for Constantinople.

They took the best and squabbled (that means had war
Tony George
Norwich's history of a kingdom we mostly never learned about; the Normans in southern Italy, Sicily & the Levant. A great history well told of Europe's most multi-cultural Middle Age kingdom.
Everyone talks about the Normans in Britain - all old William's fault - fewer talk about the Norman Kingdoms in Palestine and Cyprus and fewer still remember that between the Greek and Roman remains and those of the Arabs and the destructions by Mount Etna, there was a relatively brief but brilliant flowering of Norman culture on Europe's most African island. And of course the fusions that happened there came back north to influence Norman life as far away as Durham. JJN again has the knack of t ...more
I read this a while ago and really enjoyed it. I can't remember how I came across it but it introduced me to an area of history I knew absolutely nothing about - I didn't know the Normans ever went to Italy. I found it fascinating.
Norwich is an excellent historian and a natural born story-teller. This book is 3 inches thick, but Norwich kept my interest all the way through.
Loved the book and would have given it a five but the font is tiny. Took me forever to read and had multiple headaches.
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Norwich is the only child of the Conservative politician and diplomat Duff Cooper and of Lady Diana Cooper, a celebrated beauty and society figure. Through his father, he is descended from King William IV and his mistress Dorothea Jordan.

He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, Canada (as a wartime evacuee), at Eton College, and at the University of Strasbourg. He served in the Royal Navy
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