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

(The Normans in Sicily #1-2)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  281 ratings  ·  17 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 1970)
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Start your review of The Normans in Sicily: The Normans in the South 1016-1130 and the Kingdom in the Sun 1130-1194
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 the afore mentioned cattle thieves, mercenaries and adventurers, eventually acquiring lands and titles because they were good at fighting. This was a Norman hab
Charles Kerns
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loc-europe, history
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
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Norwich writes of three chapters in the epic of the Norman domination of South Italy: (1) the 1043 assembly of pioneer Norman barons at Melfi when the early arrivees "divided their conquered territories into the twelve counties of Apulia" (p. 321); (2) when Robert Guiscard had received his three duchies from Pope Nicholas II; and (3) when Robert's younger step-brother, Roger, gathered his vassals ("all the bishops, abbots and counts of Apulia and Calabria to a solemn Court at Melfi" (p. 320) to ...more
Eileen Iciek
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In the early years of the 11th century a number of landless Norman knights made their way south into Italy working as mercenaries, at least that's what they told the nobility who hired them. In fact, the Normans were always working for their own benefit and over the years managed to supplant all the rulers of southern Italy and Sicily - a lengthy list including Lombards, Byzantine Greeks, the German emperor, and the Saracen rulers of Sicily. These dynamic and colorful adventurers had an incredib ...more
Czarny Pies
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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!).
Richard Hakes
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not his best but it was one of his early books. dDeals with a bit of history that is not well know in Brittan, what else the Norman's were doing about 1066 besides conquering southern Italy and Scicily. Read the book and wonder if there was ever any doubt. The Norman's were the big boys. Delivered in a dead pan mater of fact way make it hard sometimes to scale the importance of events, interesting all the same.
Anthony Cronin
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you like history and as a bonus are planning to visit Sicilly, this is a mustread. A wonderful narrative style that draws you in to one of the key periods that shapes the island even today. Your visits to Monreale and other Norman castles and citadels will be enriched by this details filled but easily digestible masterpiece.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it
It's a great insight to the little known history (to me) of southern Italy. But, as any medieval history it is dense. All in all Norwich makes the ride easy and sometimes funny!
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jeremy Hobbs
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
The de Hauteville family has to be one of the most interesting of this period. I knew basically nothing of them or Sicily for that matter.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: historia
La historia de como un puñado de mercenarios normandos se abrieron camino en la convulsa Italia medieval, enfrentándose a papas y emperadores, hasta fundar el reino de Sicilia, de cómo éste se convirtió en uno de los grandes poderes de la época, y su decadencia y pérdida de independencia.

Una historia con un comienzo fascinante, pero que pierde ritmo una vez que los antiguos mercenarios se hacen con el control del sur de Italia. La conquista de la isla de Sicilia acaba haciéndose pesada, y aunqu
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-ages, history
Loved the book and would have given it a five but the font is tiny. Took me forever to read and had multiple headaches.
Tony George
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
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.
Richard De Liberty
rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2011
Helen Mingin
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2013
Adam Walker
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Oct 29, 2011
John Isles
rated it it was amazing
Mar 09, 2018
Paul Hasbrouck
rated it it was ok
Sep 27, 2013
Tess Frazier
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Jul 02, 2012
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Jun 13, 2009
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Nov 30, 2012
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Jul 19, 2012
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Aug 13, 2007
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Dec 15, 2013
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Oct 06, 2013
David Churbuck
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May 04, 2012
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John Julius Norwich was born in the United Kingdom and served in the Royal Navy before receiving a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. After graduation, he joined the H. M. Foreign Service and served in Belgrade, Beirut, and as a member of British delegation to the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. In 1954, he inherited the title of Viscount Norwich. In 1964, he resigned from the ...more

Other books in the series

The Normans in Sicily (3 books)
  • The Normans in the South, 1016-1130
  • The Kingdom in the Sun, 1130 - 1194

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