Normans in the Mediterranean
In addition to England, Ireland, and Scotland, the Normans also established a presence in the Mediterranean. They travelled to the Mezzogiorno in the early 1000s, and were known for being warriors. An attack by the Saracen on the port of Salerno forced the Normans to fight, and they fought so bravely that they were offered a chance to stay in the region by Prince Guaimar IV. However, the Normans turned down this offer, but would tell those at home of the offer that was made by the prince. The warriors were asked by Melus of Bari if they could help in the battle against the Byzantines, and they agreed.
Of the Normans who travelled to the Mediterranean, some of the most powerful were the members of the Tancred of Hauteville family, as well as the Drengots. Some of them were given lands, and a good example of this is Rainulf Drengot, who was given Aversa. In addition to this, the Hauteville family was given royal status when Prince Guaimar IV declared them Duke of Apulia and Calabria. Once the Normans had established their presence in the region, they would go on to capture the regions of both Malta and Sicily. They had a number of decisive victories against the Saracens with Robert Guiscard, but their power in Sicily would eventually fall because of marriage with the Hohenstaufens.
Just as in Ireland, the Normans left remnants of their rule in the Mediterranean. A number of castles can still be seen, and some of them are the Iron Arm's fortress and the cathedral at Cefalu. These architectural masterpieces give a distinctive look to the region which is different from countries in the surrounding area. The administrative system that had been developed by the Normans was used by both the Lombards and Byzantines. The rule of the Normans was known for being a tolerant period for religious freedom, and Jews, Christians, and Moslems existed peacefully with the Norman rulers during this time.
The word Italo-Norman is used to describe the descendants of Normans who were born in Mediterranean regions such as Sicily. While many of these people continued to practice the customs of Normans when it came to war, they also had a number of characteristics that were associated with Italy. In addition to this, they were influenced by the Greeks and Arabs as well. When the Normans first came to Italy, they were pilgrims. However, they were used by the Lombard Lords to help them fight against the Byzantines. The Normans would go on to establish states, and they continued to capture various territories in the region. The Italo-Norman warriors were used heavily by the Armenians and the Byzantine rulers.
Some would even offer their services to the Pope of Rome while others would travel to Spain to become members of the Reconquista. In addition to this, the Italo-Normans played an important role in the Crusades. The Italo-Normans played an important role in the history of the Mediterranean, and they gained a lot of influence in this area.
Original Authors: Stephen Palmer
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 23/07/2008