From ArticleWorld

The Normans were a mixture of France's native people and Viking invaders. During the second half of the 9th century, the Vikings started to occupy the north of France, now known as Normandy. They adopted Christianity and had their own culture separate from both their Scandinavian ancestors and their French neighbors. The Normans spoke the Gallo-Romance language, and later occupied wide territories throughout Europe.


Normans and Normandy

Normandy had no natural frontiers and a population consisting mostly of Gallo-Romans, few Germanic People, and Viking settlers. The invasion of Norse war bands during the 10th century into the rivers of Gaul became permanent encampments with women and chattel. In Normandy they adopted the French feudal doctrines, in Normandy and England. The Norman warriors were different from the French aristocracy, with family traces back to Carolingian times. Knighthood held little social status, and many knights were poor, hungry for land.

Normans in England

Young conquerors like William II, Duke of Normandy "William the Bastard", led adventurous wars and became the King of England from 1066 to 1087. The invading Normans became the new ruling class instead of the Anglo-Saxons. There was an initial period of rebellion, but later the two populations merged and intermarried. Languages and traditions were also combined. Normans identified themselves as Anglo-Normans. During the Hundred Years war, the Anglo-Norman and the Anglo-Saxon languages merged into the Middle English, while the Anglo-Normans were identifying themselves as English.

Normans in Scotland

Edgar Atheling was one of the claimants of the English throne who opposed William of Normandy, who later fled to Scotland. The Scottish King Malcolm Canmore, married Edgar's sister and opposed William I. In 1072, William invaded Scotland and Malcolm surrendered. Normans built castles and founding families in Scotland, providing future kings such as Robert the Bruce. The Norman feudal system was also applied to parts of Scotland.

Normans in Ireland

Normans had a deep effect on the Irish history and culture. Though, during the 12th century the Normans were a distant culture, they quickly subsumed into Ireland. They settled mostly in east of Ireland, and also built beautiful settlements and castles such as Dublin Castle. Both cultures merged and intermixed, taking from each other's culture and language.

Normans in Italy, Sicily, and the Mediterranean

Some adventurous groups of Normans built successful settlements far to the south of Normandy. Some settled in southern Italy at Capua and Aversa, while others conquered Calabria and Apulia. From these bases, more organized were able to seize Malta and Sicily. Regions ruled by Normans included Naples in Italy, Thessaloniki in Greece and Palermo in Sicily.