|Victorian interpretation of the Normans' national dress, 1000–1100|
Saturday, October 17, 2015
The Normans, History Documentary - Men from the North (2010) Full Documentary, The Normans
The Normans (French: Normands; Latin: Nortmanni) were the people who in the 10th and 11th centuries gave their name to Normandy, a region in France. They were originally Viking raiders and pirates from Denmark, Norway and Iceland, who under their leader Rollo agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia. Through generations of assimilation and mixing with the native Frankish and Roman-Gaulish populations, the Northmen's descendants ("Norman" comes from "Norseman") would gradually merge with the Carolingian-based cultures of West Francia. The distinct cultural and ethnic identity of the Normans emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and it continued to evolve over the succeeding centuries.
The Norman dynasty had a major political, cultural and military impact on medieval Europe and even the Near East. The Normans were famed for their martial spirit and eventually for their Christian piety, becoming exponents of the Catholic orthodoxy into which they assimilated.
They adopted the Gallo-Romance language of the Frankish land they settled, their dialect becoming known as Norman, Normaund or Norman French, an important literary language. The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French crown, was a great fief of medieval France, and under Richard I of Normandy was forged into a cohesive and formidable principality in feudal tenure. The Normans are noted both for their culture, such as their unique Romanesque architecture and musical traditions, and for their significant military accomplishments and innovations. Norman adventurers founded the Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II after conquering southern Italy on the Saracens and Byzantines, and an expedition on behalf of their duke, William the Conqueror, led to the Norman conquest of England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Norman cultural and military influence spread from these new European centres to the Crusader states of the Near East, where their prince Bohemond I founded the Principality of Antioch in the Levant, to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, to the coasts of north Africa and the Canary Islands.
The legacy of the Normans persists today through the regional dialects of France, England and Sicily, as well as the various cultural, judicial and political arrangements they introduced in their conquered territories, the long endurance of which contrasts with the developments in many continental areas of Europe.