Normans in the East
The presence of Normans in the east can be attributed to their presence in Italy. It was from this country that they made their presence felt in the Byzantine Empire, and they would even spread as far as Armenia. They fought a number of different groups, and some of these were the Seljuk Turks and the Bulgars. The presence of the Normans in the Mediterranean was primarily due to encouragement from the Lombards to assist them in fighting the Byzantines. Norman mercenaries were heavily involved in the conflict of George Maniaches that occurred between 1038 and 1040.
In addition to serving as mercenaries, a number of Normans were promoted to the position of generals. One of the most prominent is Herve, who was given the status of general during the 1050s. By this time, the Normans had moved as far east as Georgia. Many of these Norman warriors served Isaac Commenus, the Duke of Antioch. The Normans would fight in a number of battles against the Turks during this time, and there was even an attempt to create a Norman state in Asia Minor by Roussel de Bailleul. Even though this move was supported by the populations who lived there, this plan was not carried out due to Alexius Commenus, a general of the Byzantines.
Between the years 1073 and 1074, 8,000 to 20,000 of the soldiers who were led by Philaretus Brachamius were of Norman distinction. They would go on to build a castle that they named Afranji, which translates into "Franks."
Original Authors: Stephen Palmer
Edit Update Authors: RPN
Updated On: 11/04/2007