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The Norman Conquest of Southern Italy and Sicily
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The Norman Conquest of Southern Italy and Sicily

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  33 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The Normans originally came to Italy and Sicily in the 11th and 12th centuries looking for adventure or a livelihood, but once there, found opportunity for fame and fortune. The story of the Norman conquest in Italy and Sicily is indeed one of knights and adventurers, great battles and lowly pillage, opportunism and statesmanship, and crusade and coexistence. This rich and ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published December 23rd 2002 by McFarland & Company (first published January 1st 2002)
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Whilst William the Bastard, later known as the Conqueror, was preparing to oust King Harold in England in the 1060s, other Normans were busy carving their way into southern Italy and were also working towards the conquest of Sicily. The two prominent Norman families in Italy were the Dregnot of Aversa and the de Hauteville of Apulia. It seems that the Norman presence in Italy was a spinoff of William the Conqueror's earlier activities in Normandy when he redistributed fiefdoms after a rebellion ...more
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, kindle
If you study the history of the Middle Ages, it doesn't take long to realize the Normans were involved in a lot more than England and northern France. However, while I'd become aware of the Norman state in southern Italy, a lot of my reading didn't get into the origins of this state beyond 'Normans showed up and gradually took over'. Gordon Brown's book matches exactly with its title, and was thus exactly what I've been wanting.

After an in medias res introduction around the Battle of Civitate (I
Aug 17, 2014 rated it liked it
When someone says Norman Conquest, you generally think 1066 Battle of Hastings in England. But, get this there was another more gradual conquest of Southern Italy and Sicily by a surfeit of sons of Tancred of Hauteville from Normandy. The son Robert became an Italian nobleman (Duke of Apulia). The Norman's main city was Aversa outside Naples and also Melfi It was ruled by Robert's brother William Ironarm. William was succeeded by his brother Drogo and other brother Humphrey around 1044. Normans ...more
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mediterranean
I have often wondered how in the world Scandinavians managed to establish dynasties in Italy in the Middle Ages. The Normans are the ones who first took Sicily from Dar al-Islam, yet under Roger II The Wise, took Sicily into one of its most cosmopolitan golden ages.

This book was hard to put down. The author stayed on point throughout the book, although sometimes the barrage of royal names was a little much. He adeptly traced the evolution of a band of Scandinavian mercenaries into one of the mos
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: someone who wishes to begin learning about medieval Italian history
Shelves: academicserious
This is a readable and lucid overview of eleventh and twelfth century southern Italian and Sicilian history written by a non-specialist. With one exception involving the death of Robert Guiscard, the author does a great job of tying together a profusion of events happening simultaneously across the regions of focus (as well as in Byzantium and northern Europe) into chronological and thematic consistency, while also offering interesting biographical details about the many important players from t ...more
Matthew Dambro
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent introduction to the Norman conquest of Southern Italy in the Eleventh Century. Brown is not an academic historian but a diplomat with experience in Italian affairs. The volume is clearly written and annotated appropriately. It is an amazing story of one family of Viking (Norman) freebooters, the Hautevilles, carving out an empire in what is now called the Mezzogiorno. The locale is close to my heart. My father's family lives in that region; Pescichi on the Gargano peninsula. It is less ...more
If you ever wondered where the rich, powerful and (comparatively) tolerant Norman Kingdom of Sicily came from, this is the book for you. This book follows the Normans in Italy, from the mercenaries who sided with Italian rebels against the Byzantine Empire, though wars for and against the Pope (and the Holy Roman Emperor - as well as amongst themselves), through the conquest of Muslim Sicily, the invasion of Illyria and eventually the First Crusade and the Pope's recognition of the Kingdom of Si ...more
The Norman invasion is not something I have ever considered looking into before reading this book. However, after reading I have found myself much more interested in Italian history. This book provides a thoroughly researched perspective on the Norman conquest of Italy and shows how modern Sicilian and Italian culture came to be as they are. It is a dramatic story focused on a family’s conquest of Italy and Sicily and their challenge of the famous Byzantine empire and the catholic church.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Informative but dry.
Gaetano Amato
Feb 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Very easy read - author must have been in a rush to catch the next train to France.
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