The Normans in Italy (1050-1194)

The Norman conquests in the central Mediterranean ended Muslim political power in Sicily, formed a single kingdom in 1130, and divided Christian Europe from Muslim Africa. The Norman Sicilian kingship that emerged was like no other in Europe: an absolutist, sacral monarchy that conspicuously made use of the Byzantine, Islamic and Latinate arts as well as the kingdom’s three languages – Latin, Greek and Arabic –in inscriptions and chancery documents. In this module you will gain a detailed knowledge of the history of Sicily and the south Italian peninsula through the medium of Arabic, Latin and Greek narrative sources and charters. These will be studied in translation. Many have never been published. You will trace the region's complex transition to a unified kingdom after the Norman Conquest, focusing in particular on the subsequent development of authority and society on the island of Sicily in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. You will be engaging with the formative history of the Latin West, as well as the political, religious, economic and social dynamics of the Byzantine and Islamic worlds. The module will provide a detailed introduction to the Norman kingdom for those wishing to delve deeper into one of the most spectacular and unusual kingdoms of pre-modern Europe.