The Battle of Hastings in 1066 is the one date forever seared on the British national psyche. It enabled the Norman Conquest that marked the end of Anglo-Saxon England. But there was much more to the Normans than the invading army Duke William shipped over from Normandy to the shores of Sussex. How a band of marauding warriors established some of the most powerful dominions in Europe – in Sicily and France, as well as England – is an improbably romantic idea. In exploring Norman culture in all its regions, Leonie V Hicks is able to place the Normans in the full context of early medieval society. Her wide ranging comparative perspective enables the Norman story to be told in full, so that the societies of Rollo, William, Robert (Guiscard) and Roger are given the focused attention they deserve. From Hastings to the martial exploits of Bohemond and Tancred on the First Crusade; from castles and keeps to Romanesque cathedrals; and from the founding of the Kingdom of Sicily (1130) to cross-cultural encounters with Byzantines and Muslims, this is a fresh and lively survey of one of the most popular topics in European history.
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