The Normans

The Normans is term that derives from "Norsemen", Normans were originally the descendants of the Vikings who arrived on continental Europe during the Viking Age. During the 10th century, Vikings raids gave way to permanent Viking settlements in what was later the Duchy of Normandy.

Over time, these settlements evolved unique cultural blend of their own and came to be identified as Normans. Normans invaded England in the 11th century and permanently became a part of the English landscape, mingling with the previous Anglo-Saxon settlers of Britain.

Domesday Book Overview

Discover William the conqueror and the Domesday Book Read more about the Domesday Book Overview >>

Famous Norman Battles

The Normans were a formidable fighting force which helped them win some famous Battles such as the Battle of Civitate and The Battle of Hastings Read more about the Famous Norman Battles >>

Famous Norman People

Discover Famous Norman People such as William the Conqueror and Odo, Earl of Kent who was an important advisor to William the Conqueror Read more about the Famous Norman People >>

Hastings 1066

Hastings 1066

The Normans led by the Duke of Normandy invaded and defeated the Anglo Saxons in the Battle of Hastings in 1066 Read more about the Hastings 1066 >>

Norman Architecture

The Normans were very skilled builders especially when it came to Castles, the Normans initially built motte and bailey castles and later sophisticated Stone Castles Read more about the Norman Architecture >>

Norman Art

The Normans were very talented designers who were particularly skilled in Stonework, Architecture and Metalwork, they were prolific Castle builders Read more about the Norman Art >>

Norman Castles

The Normans were prolific Castle builders, they used a network of castles in their conquests over other lands Read more about the Norman Castles >>

Norman Clothing

Norman Clothing was rather plain and boring in early Norman times and only began to be more elaborate after the Norman Conquest of England Read more about the Norman Clothing >>

Norman Conquest of England

The Normans from France conquered England under the leadership of William the Conqueror in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings Read more about the Norman Conquest of England >>

Norman Kings

One of the most famous of all the Famous Norman Kings and Kings of the Middle Ages was William the Conqueror, Read more about the Norman Kings >>

Norman People

Norman People were descended from the Vikings who had raided the Northern parts of France, Some of the Vikings settled in France and married Local Frankish People Read more about the Norman People >>

Norman Settlements in Ireland

Norman Settlements in Ireland sprang up after the Norman invasion and Norman families were able to carve out small kingdoms for themselves in the country. Read more about the Norman Settlements in Ireland >>

Norman Timeline

The Norman Timeline gives the key dates of the Normans such as their Settlement in Normandy and Influence and Norman Control over England Read more about the Norman Timeline >>

Norman Warfare

The Normans developed their own unique style of warfare and borrowed the best Warfare Tactics from other great Armies Read more about the Norman Warfare >>

Norman Weapons

Norman Weapons were various long spears for foot soldiers and the Cavalry, for Close Combat the Normans used a double-Edged Sword. Read more about the Norman Weapons >>

Normans Byzantine Empire

The Normans in the Byzantine Empire helped provide well trained and revered mercenaries for the Byzantine campaigns, serving the Byzantine Military Read more about the Normans Byzantine Empire >>

Sicily under the Normans

The Normans invaded and took control of the Italian City of Sicily. The Normans established a Kingdom in Sicily, but the Kingdom declined and Norman rule came to an end Read more about the Sicily under the Normans >>

The Norman Conquests of Europe

The Norman's were descendants of Vikings, Fighting was in their DNA, this helped them in their Conquests of England and other European nations Read more about the The Norman Conquests of Europe >>

The Normans in Normandy

The Vikings invaded Normandy and eventually settled in the area, during this time they integrated with the local Frank population and a new Norman identity was formed. Read more about the The Normans in Normandy >>

Who was William the Conqueror?

Find out who William the Conqueror was, also known as William I, the Duke of Normandy, and William the Bastard! Read more about the Who was William the Conqueror? >>


Normans History

The region of Normandy along the frontiers of medieval France was among the earliest continental regions raided by the Vikings. The raids began in the 10th century and over time, Viking settlements began cropping up in the area.

Finally, an agreement came about between King Charles III of West Francia (part of the Carolingian Empire) and Viking leader Rollo. According to the treaty, Charles offered Rollo and his people the area of Normandy in return for their protection against any further Viking attacks from outside.

Rollo agree and the Vikings settled down, first in Upper Normandy during the early part of the 10th century.

The Normans in Normandy

After their settlement in the regions of Normandy, the Vikings under Rollo and their later descendants intermingled with the local Frankish population. In time, this resulted in a unique blend of culture which mixed elements of Old Norse mythology with Frankish Catholicism.

Norman Shields Infantry with Kite Shields

The Normans also developed a unique language of their own and adopted the feudal system that was coming into being in various parts of the Carolingian Empire. By the 11th century, Normandy was distinctly the land of the Normans. However, Norman knights continued serving mostly as mercenaries and didn’t attain a lot of affluence until the Norman conquest of England.

The Norman Conquest of England

The Danish Vikings had conquered portions of England in the 9th century and although they eventually lost hold of the country, their presence allowed Normans to wield some influence in the region. Later in the 11th century, while the Danes had been pushed off the Isles, William The Conqueror led a large Norman force to England and ascended to the throne after killing King Harold II at the fateful Battle of Hastings.

Battle-of-Hastings

Battle of Hastings

With this conquest, the Anglo-Saxon nobility in England was replaced by the Norman nobility. Initially, the Norman rulers of England continued to bend the knee to the King of France but later, England became an independent entity, and the new Norman nobility mingled with the local Anglo-Saxon population. The Normans in England soon expanded their realm to bring Ireland and Wales under their control.

King William The Conqueror Medieval KIngs

William The Conqueror

Normans in the Byzantine Empire

The Norman role in the Byzantine Empire significantly varied over the course of centuries. They began pouring out of Normandy and into Italy when encouraged by the Lombards. By the mid-11th century, Normans were serving as mercenaries and military leaders in the service of the Byzantine Empire.

Map of the Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Empire

They aided the Empire in the brief conquest of Sicily. Later, a group of Normans under Robert Guiscard drove Byzantines out of Italy and claimed the country’s throne, also winning the Pope’s favour.

In the second half of the 11th century, Guiscard and later his descendants launched multiple attacks on Byzantine Empire. Normans would later go on to conquer Sicily and rule it for some time on their own.

Norman Settlement in Ireland

After the Norman conquest of England in the early 11th century, the Norman nobility became well established in the country. In the second half of the 11th century, Norman invaders turned their attention to Ireland which they invaded in 1169. They settled down in the eastern parts of Ireland and in time, became intermingled with the local Irish population.

Cloughoughter Castle in Ireland

Cloughoughter Castle in Ireland

Normans built many medieval castles in Ireland and in time, became a permanent part of the country’s cultural landscape.

Norman-Knights

Norman Knights

Sicily under the Normans

In the latter half of the 11th century, the island of Sicily was under Muslim rule although it had a mostly Christian population. The campaign to reconquer Sicily from Arabs was launched by the Normans in 1061 and by 1071, the last Muslim strongholds on the island capitulated.

Norman ruler Robert Guiscard then established the County of Sicily and appointed his brother Roger at its head. Sicily remained under Norman rule until 1130 and the reign was noted for the peaceful approach of Normans toward Jewish and Muslim minorities on the island.

Norman Architecture

The Normans significantly impacted medieval architecture in England, Ireland, and Italy. In England and Ireland, Normans built the earliest post-Roman fortified castles and keep. This led to the trend of establishing large and fortified castles in medieval England.

A similar trend took place in Ireland. The Normans also introduced the notion of building keeps in Italy and England, something which impacted the later military developments of both regions. The architectural style of the Normans incorporates multiple influences including elements of architecture from Islamic and Byzantine architecture as well as building techniques of the Lombard.

Motte Bailey Medieval Castle

Norman Art

The Norman art distinctly borrowed features from other cultures. Among the most notable influences on Norman art were those of the Islamic world, the Byzantine Empire, and the Franks.

Norman-Art-in-Sicily

Norman Art in Sicily

Examples of extant Norman art are mostly architectural structures in England. In Italy, some artifacts dating back to the Norman times remain including a Byzantine crown and an Arab cloak, both used by the rulers in Palermo.

The Normans Summary

Normans were descendants of Vikings who settled down in the region of Normandy during the 10th century. The King of West Francia, Charles III, offered them settlements in return for their service in protecting the kingdom’s borders.

Medieval King Harthacnut

Over time, Vikings mingled with the local Frankish population and created their unique Norman culture. By the 11th century, Normans were travelling from Normandy to other regions.

They conquered England in the early 11th century, Ireland in the late 11th century, and permanently became entrenched in these regions. They also became the ruling dynasty in Italy and left a lasting impact on the culture of both continental Europe and the British Isles.