The Medieval Soldier, Vesey Norman

The Medieval Soldier, Vesey Norman

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The Medieval Soldier, Vesey Norman

The Medieval Soldier, Vesey Norman

The book looks at the development of the medieval warrior, starting with the barbarian war bands that overthrew the Roman Empire, and ending with the Military Orders and crusaders. This is an ambitious work, looking at tactics, arms, armour, recruitment and command, pay and even transport.

The main problem with this book is that it was first published forty years ago. At the time it was a solid piece of work, well based on documentary and artistic evidence. Vesey Norman was already an acknowledged expert of medieval arms and armour in 1971, and went on to serve as Master of the Royal Armoury from 1977 to 1988 (with a residence in the Tower of London), and his level of expertise shows throughout the text.

In the four decades that have passed since it was written a vast amount of research has been carried out (some of it by Norman himself) - new documents unearthed, old documents rediscovered or better understood, new artworks have been found or noticed - and as a result our understanding of many of the topics covered here have changed. In some cases this has only changed minor details - the date that a type of sword or armour was first seen, or the discovery of a new type of equipment, but in the later periods whole new schools of thought have risen (and in some case sunk again!) since this book was written.

This is still a useful book, but it is now best seen as a starting point for further reading, providing a solid base for a look at more recent discoveries.

Part I: The Beginnings of Feudalism
1 - The Lombards
2 - The Franks
3 - The Vikings
4 - The Saxons

Part II: Feudalism and Chivalry
5 - Feudalism
6 - Organisation
7 - Chivalry and Knighting
8 - The Military Orders
9 - The Crusades
10 - Crusading Campaigns
11 - Arms and Armour of the Crusaders
12 - Crusader Ships
Conclusion: The Decline of Feudalism and Chivalry

Author: Vesey Norman
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 288
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2010 edition of 1971 original

The medieval soldier

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The English name "Normans" comes from the French words Normans/Normanz, plural of Normant, [14] modern French normand, which is itself borrowed from Old Low Franconian Nortmann "Northman" [15] or directly from Old Norse Norðmaðr, Latinized variously as Nortmannus, Normannus, or Nordmannus (recorded in Medieval Latin, 9th century) to mean "Norseman, Viking". [16]

The 11th century Benedictine monk and historian, Goffredo Malaterra, characterised the Normans thus:

Specially marked by cunning, despising their own inheritance in the hope of winning a greater, eager after both gain and dominion, given to imitation of all kinds, holding a certain mean between lavishness and greediness, that is, perhaps uniting, as they certainly did, these two seemingly opposite qualities. Their chief men were specially lavish through their desire of good report. They were, moreover, a race skillful in flattery, given to the study of eloquence, so that the very boys were orators, a race altogether unbridled unless held firmly down by the yoke of justice. They were enduring of toil, hunger, and cold whenever fortune laid it on them, given to hunting and hawking, delighting in the pleasure of horses, and of all the weapons and garb of war. [17]

In the course of the 10th century, the initially destructive incursions of Norse war bands going upstream into the rivers of France penetrated further into interior Europe, and evolved into more permanent encampments that included local French women and personal property. [18] From 885 to 886, Odo of Paris (Eudes de Paris) succeeded in defending Paris against Viking raiders (one of the leaders was Sigfred) with his fighting skills, fortification of Paris and tactical shrewdness. [19] In 911, Robert I of France, brother of Odo, again defeated another band of Viking warriors in Chartres with his well-trained horsemen. This victory paved the way for Rollo's baptism and settlement in Normandy [20] The Duchy of Normandy, which began in 911 as a fiefdom, was established by the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III (Charles the Simple) (879–929, ruled 893–929) of West Francia and the famed Viking ruler Rollo also known as Gaange Rolf (c. 846-c. 929), from Scandinavia, and was situated in the former Frankish kingdom of Neustria. [21] The treaty offered Rollo and his men the French coastal lands along the English Channel between the river Epte and the Atlantic Ocean coast in exchange for their protection against further Viking incursions. [21] As well as promising to protect the area of Rouen from Viking invasion, Rollo swore not to invade further Frankish lands himself, accepted baptism and conversion to Christianity and swore fealty to King Charles III. Robert I of France stood as godfather during Rollo's baptism. [22] He became the first Duke of Normandy and Count of Rouen. [23] The area corresponded to the northern part of present-day Upper Normandy down to the river Seine, but the Duchy would eventually extend west beyond the Seine. [4] The territory was roughly equivalent to the old province of Rouen, and reproduced the old Roman Empire's administrative structure of Gallia Lugdunensis II (part of the former Gallia Lugdunensis in Gaul).

Before Rollo's arrival, Normandy's populations did not differ from Picardy or the Île-de-France, which were considered "Frankish". Earlier Viking settlers had begun arriving in the 880s, but were divided between colonies in the east (Roumois and Pays de Caux) around the low Seine valley and in the west in the Cotentin Peninsula, and were separated by traditional pagii, where the population remained about the same with almost no foreign settlers. Rollo's contingents from Scandinavia who raided and ultimately settled Normandy and parts of the European Atlantic coast included Danes, Norwegians, Norse–Gaels, Orkney Vikings, possibly Swedes, and Anglo-Danes from the English Danelaw territory which earlier came under Norse control in the late 9th century.

The descendants of Vikings replaced the Norse religion and Old Norse language with Catholicism (Christianity) and the Langue d'oil of the local people, descending from the Latin of the Romans. The Norman language (Norman French) was forged by the adoption of the indigenous langue d'oïl branch of Romance by a Norse-speaking ruling class, and it developed into the French regional languages that survive today. [4]

The Normans thereafter adopted the growing feudal doctrines of the rest of France, and worked them into a functional hierarchical system in both Normandy and in Norman dominated England. [8] The new Norman rulers were culturally and ethnically distinct from the old French aristocracy, most of whom traced their lineage to the Franks of the Carolingian dynasty from the days of Charlemagne in the 9th century. Most Norman knights remained poor and land-hungry, and by the time of the expedition and invasion of England in 1066, Normandy had been exporting fighting horsemen for more than a generation. Many Normans of Italy, France and England eventually served as avid Crusaders soldiers under the Italo-Norman prince Bohemund I of Antioch and the Anglo-Norman king Richard the Lion-Heart, one of the more famous and illustrious Kings of England.

Italy Edit

Opportunistic bands of Normans successfully established a foothold in southern Italy. Probably as the result of returning pilgrims' stories, the Normans entered southern Italy as warriors in 1017 at the latest. In 999, according to Amatus of Montecassino, Norman pilgrims returning from Jerusalem called in at the port of Salerno when a Saracen attack occurred. The Normans fought so valiantly that Prince Guaimar III begged them to stay, but they refused and instead offered to tell others back home of the Prince's request. William of Apulia tells that, in 1016, Norman pilgrims to the shrine of the Archangel Michael at Monte Gargano were met by Melus of Bari, a Lombard nobleman and rebel, who persuaded them to return with more warriors to help throw off the Byzantine rule, which they did.

The two most prominent Norman families to arrive in the Mediterranean were descendants of Tancred of Hauteville and the Drengot family. A group of Normans with at least five brothers from the Drengot family fought the Byzantines in Apulia under the command of Melo di Bari. Between 1016 and 1024, in a fragmented political context, the County of Ariano was founded by another group of Norman knights headed by Gilbert Buatère and hired by Melo di Bari. Defeated at Cannae, Melo di Bari escaped to Bamberg, Germany, where he died in 1022. The County, which replaced the pre-existing chamberlainship, is considered to be the first political body established by the Normans in the South of Italy. [24] Then Rainulf Drengot, from the same family, received the county of Aversa from Duke Sergius IV of Naples in 1030.

The Hauteville family achieved princely rank by proclaiming Prince Guaimar IV of Salerno "Duke of Apulia and Calabria". He promptly awarded their elected leader, William Iron Arm, with the title of count in his capital of Melfi. The Drengot family thereafter attained the principality of Capua, and Emperor Henry III legally ennobled the Hauteville leader, Drogo, as "dux et magister Italiae comesque Normannorum totius Apuliae et Calabriae" ("Duke and Master of Italy and Count of the Normans of all Apulia and Calabria") in 1047. [25] [ citation needed ]

From these bases, the Normans eventually captured Sicily and Malta from the Saracens, under the leadership of the famous Robert Guiscard, a Hauteville, and his younger brother Roger the Great Count. Roger's son, Roger II of Sicily, was crowned king in 1130 (exactly one century after Rainulf was "crowned" count) by Antipope Anacletus II. The Kingdom of Sicily lasted until 1194, when it was transferred to the House of Hohenstaufen through marriage. [26] The Normans left their legacy in many castles, such as William Iron Arm's citadel at Squillace, and cathedrals, such as Roger II's Cappella Palatina at Palermo, which dot the landscape and give a distinct architectural flavor to accompany its unique history.

Institutionally, the Normans combined the administrative machinery of the Byzantines, Arabs, and Lombards with their own conceptions of feudal law and order to forge a unique government. Under this state, there was great religious freedom, and alongside the Norman nobles existed a meritocratic bureaucracy of Jews, Muslims and Christians, both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. The Kingdom of Sicily thus became characterized by Norman, Byzantine, Greek, Arab, Lombard and "native" Sicilian populations living in harmony, and its Norman rulers fostered plans of establishing an empire that would have encompassed Fatimid Egypt as well as the crusader states in the Levant. [27] [28] [29] One of the great geographical treatises of the Middle Ages, the "Tabula Rogeriana", was written by the Andalusian al-Idrisi for King Roger II of Sicily, and entitled "Kitab Rudjdjar" ("The Book of Roger"). [30]

The Iberian Peninsula Edit

The Normans began appearing in the military confrontations between Christians and Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula since the early eleventh century. The first Norman who appears in the narrative sources was Roger I of Tosny who according to Ademar of Chabannes and the later Chronicle of St Pierre le Vif went to aid the Barcelonese in a series of raids against the Andalusi Muslims circa 1018. [31] Later in the eleventh century, other Norman adventurers such as Robert Crispin and Walter Giffard participated in the probably papal organised siege of Barbastro of 1064. Even after the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the Normans continued to participate in ventures in the peninsula. After the Frankish conquest of the Holy Land during the First Crusade, the Normans began to be encouraged to participate in ventures of conquest in the North East of the peninsula. The most significant example of this was the incursion of Rotrou II of Perche and Robert Burdet in the 1120s in the Ebro frontier. By 1129 Robert Burdet had been granted a semi-independent principality in the city of Tarragona by the then Archbishop of this see, Oleguer Bonestruga. Several other of Rotrou's Norman followers were rewarded with lands in the Ebro valley by King Alfonso I of Aragon for their services. [32]

With the rising popularity of the sea route to the Holy Land, Norman and Anglo-Norman crusaders also started to be encouraged locally by Iberian prelates to participate in the Portuguese incursions into the western areas of the Peninsula. The first of these incursions occurred when a fleet of these Crusaders was invited by the Portuguese king Afonso I Henriques to conquer the city of Lisbon in 1142. [33] Although this Siege of Lisbon (1142) was a failure it created a precedent for their involvement in Portugal. So in 1147 when another group of Norman and other groups of crusaders from Northern Europe arrived in Porto on their way to join the crusading forces of the Second Crusade, the Bishop of Porto and later the Afonso Henriques according to De expugnatione Lyxbonensi convinced them to help with the siege of Lisbon. This time the city was captured and according to the arrangement agreed with the Portuguese monarch many of them settled in the newly sacked city. [34] The following year the remainder of the crusading fleet that included a substantial number of Anglo-Normans was invited by the count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer IV to participate in the siege of Tortosa (1148). Then again the Normans were rewarded with lands in the newly conquered frontier city. [35]

North Africa Edit

Between 1135 and 1160, the Norman kingdom of Sicily conquered and kept as vassals several cities on the Ifriqiya coast, corresponding to Tunisia and parts of Algeria and Libya today. They were lost to the Almohads.

Byzantium Edit

Soon after the Normans began to enter Italy, they entered the Byzantine Empire and then Armenia, fighting against the Pechenegs, the Bulgarians, and especially the Seljuk Turks. Norman mercenaries were first encouraged to come to the south by the Lombards to act against the Byzantines, but they soon fought in Byzantine service in Sicily. They were prominent alongside Varangian and Lombard contingents in the Sicilian campaign of George Maniaces in 1038–40. There is debate whether the Normans in Greek service actually were from Norman Italy, and it now seems likely only a few came from there. It is also unknown how many of the "Franks", as the Byzantines called them, were Normans and not other Frenchmen.

One of the first Norman mercenaries to serve as a Byzantine general was Hervé in the 1050s. By then, however, there were already Norman mercenaries serving as far away as Trebizond and Georgia. They were based at Malatya and Edessa, under the Byzantine duke of Antioch, Isaac Komnenos. In the 1060s, Robert Crispin led the Normans of Edessa against the Turks. Roussel de Bailleul even tried to carve out an independent state in Asia Minor with support from the local population, but he was stopped by the Byzantine general Alexius Komnenos.

Some Normans joined Turkish forces to aid in the destruction of the Armenian vassal-states of Sassoun and Taron in far eastern Anatolia. Later, many took up service with the Armenian state further south in Cilicia and the Taurus Mountains. A Norman named Oursel led a force of "Franks" into the upper Euphrates valley in northern Syria. From 1073 to 1074, 8,000 of the 20,000 troops of the Armenian general Philaretus Brachamius were Normans—formerly of Oursel—led by Raimbaud. They even lent their ethnicity to the name of their castle: Afranji, meaning "Franks". The known trade between Amalfi and Antioch and between Bari and Tarsus may be related to the presence of Italo-Normans in those cities while Amalfi and Bari were under Norman rule in Italy.

Several families of Byzantine Greece were of Norman mercenary origin during the period of the Comnenian Restoration, when Byzantine emperors were seeking out western European warriors. The Raoulii were descended from an Italo-Norman named Raoul, the Petraliphae were descended from a Pierre d'Aulps, and that group of Albanian clans known as the Maniakates were descended from Normans who served under George Maniaces in the Sicilian expedition of 1038.

Robert Guiscard, another Norman adventurer previously elevated to the dignity of count of Apulia as the result of his military successes, ultimately drove the Byzantines out of southern Italy. Having obtained the consent of Pope Gregory VII and acting as his vassal, Robert continued his campaign conquering the Balkan peninsula as a foothold for western feudal lords and the Catholic Church. After allying himself with Croatia and the Catholic cities of Dalmatia, in 1081 he led an army of 30,000 men in 300 ships landing on the southern shores of Albania, capturing Valona, Kanina, Jericho (Orikumi), and reaching Butrint after numerous pillages. They joined the fleet that had previously conquered Corfu and attacked Dyrrachium from land and sea, devastating everything along the way. Under these harsh circumstances, the locals accepted the call of Emperor Alexius I Comnenus to join forces with the Byzantines against the Normans. The Albanian forces could not take part in the ensuing battle because it had started before their arrival. Immediately before the battle, the Venetian fleet had secured a victory in the coast surrounding the city. Forced to retreat, Alexius ceded the city of Dyrrachium to the Count of the Tent (or Byzantine provincial administrators) mobilizing from Arbanon (i.e., ἐξ Ἀρβάνων ὁρμωμένω Κομισκόρτη the term Κομισκόρτη is short for κόμης της κόρτης meaning "Count of the Tent"). [36] The city's garrison resisted until February 1082, when Dyrrachium was betrayed to the Normans by the Venetian and Amalfitan merchants who had settled there. The Normans were now free to penetrate into the hinterland they took Ioannina and some minor cities in southwestern Macedonia and Thessaly before appearing at the gates of Thessalonica. Dissension among the high ranks coerced the Normans to retreat to Italy. They lost Dyrrachium, Valona, and Butrint in 1085, after the death of Robert.

A few years after the First Crusade, in 1107, the Normans under the command of Bohemond, Robert's son, landed in Valona and besieged Dyrrachium using the most sophisticated military equipment of the time, but to no avail. Meanwhile, they occupied Petrela, the citadel of Mili at the banks of the river Deabolis, Gllavenica (Ballsh), Kanina and Jericho. This time, the Albanians sided with the Normans, dissatisfied by the heavy taxes the Byzantines had imposed upon them. With their help, the Normans secured the Arbanon passes and opened their way to Dibra. The lack of supplies, disease and Byzantine resistance forced Bohemond to retreat from his campaign and sign a peace treaty with the Byzantines in the city of Deabolis.

The further decline of Byzantine state-of-affairs paved the road to a third attack in 1185, when a large Norman army invaded Dyrrachium, owing to the betrayal of high Byzantine officials. Some time later, Dyrrachium—one of the most important naval bases of the Adriatic—fell again to Byzantine hands.

England Edit

The Normans were in contact with England from an early date. Not only were their original Viking brethren still ravaging the English coasts, they occupied most of the important ports opposite England across the English Channel. This relationship eventually produced closer ties of blood through the marriage of Emma, sister of Duke Richard II of Normandy, and King Ethelred II of England. Because of this, Ethelred fled to Normandy in 1013, when he was forced from his kingdom by Sweyn Forkbeard. His stay in Normandy (until 1016) influenced him and his sons by Emma, who stayed in Normandy after Cnut the Great's conquest of the isle.

When Edward the Confessor finally returned from his father's refuge in 1041, at the invitation of his half-brother Harthacnut, he brought with him a Norman-educated mind. He also brought many Norman counsellors and fighters, some of whom established an English cavalry force. This concept never really took root, but it is a typical example of Edward's attitude. He appointed Robert of Jumièges Archbishop of Canterbury and made Ralph the Timid Earl of Hereford. He invited his brother-in-law Eustace II, Count of Boulogne to his court in 1051, an event that resulted in the greatest of early conflicts between Saxon and Norman and ultimately resulted in the exile of Earl Godwin of Wessex.

On 14 October 1066, William the Conqueror gained a decisive victory at the Battle of Hastings, which led to the conquest of England three years later [37] this can be seen on the Bayeux tapestry. The invading Normans and their descendants largely replaced the Anglo-Saxons as the ruling class of England. The nobility of England were part of a single Norman culture and many had lands on both sides of the channel. Early Norman kings of England, as Dukes of Normandy, owed homage to the King of France for their land on the continent. They considered England to be their most important holding (it brought with it the title of King—an important status symbol).

Eventually, [ when? ] the Normans merged with the natives, combining languages and traditions, so much so that Marjorie Chibnall says "writers still referred to Normans and English but the terms no longer meant the same as in the immediate aftermath of 1066." [38] In the course of the Hundred Years' War, the Norman aristocracy often identified themselves as English. The Anglo-Norman language became distinct from the Latin language, something that was the subject of some humour by Geoffrey Chaucer. The Anglo-Norman language was eventually absorbed into the Anglo-Saxon language of their subjects (see Old English) and influenced it, helping (along with the Norse language of the earlier Anglo-Norse settlers and the Latin used by the church) in the development of Middle English, which, in turn, evolved into Modern English.

Ireland Edit

The Normans had a profound effect on Irish culture and history after their invasion at Bannow Bay in 1169. Initially, the Normans maintained a distinct culture and ethnicity. Yet, with time, they came to be subsumed into Irish culture to the point that it has been said that they became "more Irish than the Irish themselves". The Normans settled mostly in an area in the east of Ireland, later known as the Pale, and also built many fine castles and settlements, including Trim Castle and Dublin Castle. The cultures intermixed, borrowing from each other's language, culture and outlook. Norman surnames still exist today. Names such as French, (De) Roche, Devereux, D'Arcy, Treacy and Lacy are particularly common in the southeast of Ireland, especially in the southern part of Wexford County, where the first Norman settlements were established. Other Norman names, such as Furlong, predominate there. [ clarification needed ] Another common Norman-Irish name was Morell (Murrell), derived from the French Norman name Morel. Names beginning with Fitz- (from the Norman for "son") usually indicate Norman ancestry. Hiberno-Norman surnames with the prefix Fitz- include Fitzgerald, FitzGibbons (Gibbons) as well as Fitzmaurice. Families bearing such surnames as Barry (de Barra) and De Búrca (Burke) are also of Norman extraction.

Scotland Edit

One of the claimants of the English throne opposing William the Conqueror, Edgar Atheling, eventually fled to Scotland. King Malcolm III of Scotland married Edgar's sister Margaret, and came into opposition to William who had already disputed Scotland's southern borders. William invaded Scotland in 1072, riding as far as Abernethy where he met up with his fleet of ships. Malcolm submitted, paid homage to William and surrendered his son Duncan as a hostage, beginning a series of arguments as to whether the Scottish Crown owed allegiance to the King of England.

Normans went into Scotland, building castles and founding noble families that would provide some future kings, such as Robert the Bruce, as well as founding a considerable number of the Scottish clans. King David I of Scotland, whose elder brother Alexander I had married Sybilla of Normandy, was instrumental in introducing Normans and Norman culture to Scotland, part of the process some scholars call the "Davidian Revolution". Having spent time at the court of Henry I of England (married to David's sister Maud of Scotland), and needing them to wrestle the kingdom from his half-brother Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair, David had to reward many with lands. The process was continued under David's successors, most intensely of all under William the Lion. The Norman-derived feudal system was applied in varying degrees to most of Scotland. Scottish families of the names Bruce, Gray, Ramsay, Fraser, Rose, Ogilvie, Montgomery, Sinclair, Pollock, Burnard, Douglas and Gordon to name but a few, and including the later royal House of Stewart, can all be traced back to Norman ancestry.

Wales Edit

Even before the Norman Conquest of England, the Normans had come into contact with Wales. Edward the Confessor had set up the aforementioned Ralph as Earl of Hereford and charged him with defending the Marches and warring with the Welsh. In these original ventures, the Normans failed to make any headway into Wales.

After the Conquest, however, the Marches came completely under the dominance of William's most trusted Norman barons, including Bernard de Neufmarché, Roger of Montgomery in Shropshire and Hugh Lupus in Cheshire. These Normans began a long period of slow conquest during which almost all of Wales was at some point subject to Norman interference. Norman words, such as baron (barwn), first entered Welsh at that time.

On crusade Edit

The legendary religious zeal of the Normans was exercised in religious wars long before the First Crusade carved out a Norman principality in Antioch. They were major foreign combatants in the Reconquista in Iberia. In 1018, Roger de Tosny travelled to the Iberian Peninsula to carve out a state for himself from Moorish lands, but failed. In 1064, during the War of Barbastro, William of Montreuil led the papal army and took a huge booty.

In 1096, Crusaders passing by the siege of Amalfi were joined by Bohemond of Taranto and his nephew Tancred with an army of Italo-Normans. Bohemond was the de facto leader of the Crusade during its passage through Asia Minor. After the successful Siege of Antioch in 1097, Bohemond began carving out an independent principality around that city. Tancred was instrumental in the conquest of Jerusalem and he worked for the expansion of the Crusader kingdom in Transjordan and the region of Galilee. [ citation needed ]

Anglo-Norman conquest of Cyprus Edit

The conquest of Cyprus by the Anglo-Norman forces of the Third Crusade opened a new chapter in the history of the island, which would be under Western European domination for the following 380 years. Although not part of a planned operation, the conquest had much more permanent results than initially expected.

In April 1191, Richard the Lion-hearted left Messina with a large fleet in order to reach Acre. [39] But a storm dispersed the fleet. After some searching, it was discovered that the boat carrying his sister and his fiancée Berengaria was anchored on the south coast of Cyprus, together with the wrecks of several other ships, including the treasure ship. Survivors of the wrecks had been taken prisoner by the island's despot Isaac Komnenos. [40] On 1 May 1191, Richard's fleet arrived in the port of Limassol on Cyprus. [40] He ordered Isaac to release the prisoners and the treasure. [40] Isaac refused, so Richard landed his troops and took Limassol. [41]

Various princes of the Holy Land arrived in Limassol at the same time, in particular Guy de Lusignan. All declared their support for Richard provided that he support Guy against his rival Conrad of Montferrat. [42] The local barons abandoned Isaac, who considered making peace with Richard, joining him on the crusade, and offering his daughter in marriage to the person named by Richard. [43] But Isaac changed his mind and tried to escape. Richard then proceeded to conquer the whole island, his troops being led by Guy de Lusignan. Isaac surrendered and was confined with silver chains, because Richard had promised that he would not place him in irons. By 1 June, Richard had conquered the whole island. His exploit was well publicized and contributed to his reputation he also derived significant financial gains from the conquest of the island. [44] Richard left for Acre on 5 June, with his allies. [44] Before his departure, he named two of his Norman generals, Richard de Camville and Robert de Thornham, as governors of Cyprus.

While in Limassol, Richard the Lion-Heart married Berengaria of Navarre, first-born daughter of King Sancho VI of Navarre. The wedding was held on 12 May 1191 at the Chapel of St. George and it was attended by Richard's sister Joan, whom he had brought from Sicily. The marriage was celebrated with great pomp and splendor. Among other grand ceremonies was a double coronation: Richard caused himself to be crowned King of Cyprus, and Berengaria Queen of England and Queen of Cyprus as well.

The rapid Anglo-Norman conquest proved more important than it seemed. The island occupied a key strategic position on the maritime lanes to the Holy Land, whose occupation by the Christians could not continue without support from the sea. [45] Shortly after the conquest, Cyprus was sold to the Knights Templar and it was subsequently acquired, in 1192, by Guy de Lusignan and became a stable feudal kingdom. [45] It was only in 1489 that the Venetians acquired full control of the island, which remained a Christian stronghold until the fall of Famagusta in 1571. [44]

Canary Islands Edit

Between 1402 and 1405, the expedition led by the Norman noble Jean de Bethencourt [46] and the Poitevine Gadifer de la Salle conquered the Canarian islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and El Hierro off the Atlantic coast of Africa. Their troops were gathered in Normandy, Gascony and were later reinforced by Castilian colonists.

Bethencourt took the title of King of the Canary Islands, as vassal to Henry III of Castile. In 1418, Jean's nephew Maciot de Bethencourt sold the rights to the islands to Enrique Pérez de Guzmán, 2nd Count de Niebla.

Norman law Edit

The customary law of Normandy was developed between the 10th and 13th centuries and survives today through the legal systems of Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Norman customary law was transcribed in two customaries in Latin by two judges for use by them and their colleagues: [47] These are the Très ancien coutumier (Very ancient customary), authored between 1200 and 1245 and the Grand coutumier de Normandie (Great customary of Normandy, originally Summa de legibus Normanniae in curia laïcali), authored between 1235 and 1245.

Architecture Edit

Norman architecture typically stands out as a new stage in the architectural history of the regions they subdued. They spread a unique Romanesque idiom to England, Italy and Ireland, and the encastellation of these regions with keeps in their north French style fundamentally altered the military landscape. Their style was characterised by rounded arches, particularly over windows and doorways, and massive proportions.

In England, the period of Norman architecture immediately succeeds that of the Anglo-Saxon and precedes the Early Gothic. In southern Italy, the Normans incorporated elements of Islamic, Lombard, and Byzantine building techniques into their own, initiating a unique style known as Norman-Arab architecture within the Kingdom of Sicily. [5]

Visual arts Edit

In the visual arts, the Normans did not have the rich and distinctive traditions of the cultures they conquered. However, in the early 11th century, the dukes began a programme of church reform, encouraging the Cluniac reform of monasteries and patronising intellectual pursuits, especially the proliferation of scriptoria and the reconstitution of a compilation of lost illuminated manuscripts. The church was utilised by the dukes as a unifying force for their disparate duchy. The chief monasteries taking part in this "renaissance" of Norman art and scholarship were Mont-Saint-Michel, Fécamp, Jumièges, Bec, Saint-Ouen, Saint-Evroul, and Saint-Wandrille. These centres were in contact with the so-called "Winchester school", which channeled a pure Carolingian artistic tradition to Normandy. In the final decade of the 11th and first of the 12th century, Normandy experienced a golden age of illustrated manuscripts, but it was brief and the major scriptoria of Normandy ceased to function after the midpoint of the century.

The French Wars of Religion in the 16th century and the French Revolution in the 18th successively destroyed much of what existed in the way of the architectural and artistic remnant of this Norman creativity. The former, with their violence, caused the wanton destruction of many Norman edifices the latter, with its assault on religion, caused the purposeful destruction of religious objects of any type, and its destabilisation of society resulted in rampant pillaging.

By far the most famous work of Norman art is the Bayeux Tapestry, which is not a tapestry but a work of embroidery. It was commissioned by Odo, the Bishop of Bayeux and first Earl of Kent, employing natives from Kent who were learned in the Nordic traditions imported in the previous half century by the Danish Vikings.

In Britain, Norman art primarily survives as stonework or metalwork, such as capitals and baptismal fonts. In southern Italy, however, Norman artwork survives plentifully in forms strongly influenced by its Greek, Lombard, and Arab forebears. Of the royal regalia preserved in Palermo, the crown is Byzantine in style and the coronation cloak is of Arab craftsmanship with Arabic inscriptions. Many churches preserve sculptured fonts, capitals, and more importantly mosaics, which were common in Norman Italy and drew heavily on the Greek heritage. Lombard Salerno was a centre of ivorywork in the 11th century and this continued under Norman domination. French Crusaders traveling to the Holy Land brought with them French artefacts with which to gift the churches at which they stopped in southern Italy amongst their Norman cousins. For this reason many south Italian churches preserve works from France alongside their native pieces.

Music Edit

Normandy was the site of several important developments in the history of classical music in the 11th century. Fécamp Abbey and Saint-Evroul Abbey were centres of musical production and education. At Fécamp, under two Italian abbots, William of Volpiano and John of Ravenna, the system of denoting notes by letters was developed and taught. It is still the most common form of pitch representation in English- and German-speaking countries today. Also at Fécamp, the staff, around which neumes were oriented, was first developed and taught in the 11th century. Under the German abbot Isembard, La Trinité-du-Mont became a centre of musical composition.

At Saint Evroul, a tradition of singing had developed and the choir achieved fame in Normandy. Under the Norman abbot Robert de Grantmesnil, several monks of Saint-Evroul fled to southern Italy, where they were patronised by Robert Guiscard and established a Latin monastery at Sant'Eufemia Lamezia. There they continued the tradition of singing.

Medieval Soldier (eBook, ePUB)

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The author outlines the development of the undisciplined barbarian war bands of the Dark Ages into the feudal armies of the early Middle Ages. It deals with the arms and equipments of the soldier, not only from surviving specimens but also from descriptions in contemporary medieval documents. Vesey Norman covers the slow development of tactics and the transition of the warrior from a personal follower of a war leader to the knight who served his feudal overlord as a heavily armored cavalryman in return for land. He details the attitude of the Church to warfare, the rise of chivalry and the …mehr

Norman & Medieval Times 1066 – 1485

King Edward the Confessor died on 5 January 1066 and Harold was crowned King on 6 January 1066. William the Conqueror landed at Pevensey with 400 large and 1000 small ships on 28th September 1066. This area of coast between Rye and Hastings and inland to include Brede (the Manor of Rameslie), was a good place to land as it already belonged to the Norman Abbey of Fécamp and was relatively safe for William.

Harold was in York fighting an invasion by Harold Hardrada of Norway and his own exiled younger brother Tostig. The ships from Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover, Sandwich and several smaller ports, were accompanying his army and were in the North Sea. After Harold’s successful battle against the Danes at Stamford Bridge outside York, on 24 September, he force-marched his troops south on hearing of William’s landing on 1 October. He sent his ships south also, to block off William’s escape route to Normandy. It was a monk of Fecamp who carried William’s challenge to Harold the reply resulted in the Battle of Hastings at Senlac Ridge on October 14 1066.

After his defeat of Harold, William then went through what he considered the Norman-owned lands of Rameslie to Romney where he proceeded to slaughter the populace. Two of his ships had accidentally landed too far East and the Romney people had dealt harshly with the crew. This served as a great warning to Dover, for the custodians of the Castle there handed it to him without a fight. William then went on to Canterbury and London where he was crowned King of England on Christmas Day 1066.

Cinque Port Power

For the next 200 years, until 1247, our coast, including Rye, became one of the most important routeways to the ‘French’ parts of the kingdom–Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony. Winchelsea and Rye were the northern arm of the wine trade from Gascony. The Channel was an Anglo- Norman stretch of water.

The Cinque Ports rose to great power at this time. They were the key to any sea travel by the monarch– both to trade or to go to war, and ships from Rye and Winchelsea went to fight against Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain and the Low Countries. They also went ‘on Crusade’ against the Infidel– in Spain and in the Holy Land.

One third of the monarch’s ships came from the Cinque Ports. They were the professional nucleus of his navy.

The Violent Century

The 13th century was known as the ‘Violent Century’. It became impossible to keep these superb seamen of the Cinque Ports in check violence, quarrels, piracy and wrecking on the high seas have all been laid at their door! They occupied their ‘off duty’ time by preying on much traffic in the Channel and dealing in a lucrative ‘ransom’ business.

The loss of Normandy in 1204 made the problem worse, because the former allies were now enemies! The friendly ‘lake’ with the same monarch all round its shores now had opponents on each side. The Channel became a moat of defence, which the Cinque Ports defended. Many privileges were given to the Cinque Ports towns, including Rye, at this time, in return for their support.

Rye ships were in the fleet which destroyed Dieppe and French ships in the Seine.

Later in the same year they helped to defeat the French at the Battle of Damme. Some 200 French ships were captured.

The Cinque Ports Fleet (including Rye ships) relieved the siege of Dover Castle and defeated the French.

The French took Rye in January and left it occupied when the Dauphin escaped to France. Ryers recaptured it in March and the Cinque Ports fleet joined other English ships to finally defeat the French at a sea battle off Sandwich on 24th August. This remoed the threat of a French nvasion for several years.

Cinque Ports piracy was rife at this time and Rye’s ships had been taking a very full part. Portsmen seized and plundered French ships when not at war– and threw the crews overboard!

Henry III failed to defeat France. He ordered Portsmen to attack the French coast which they did very successfully until the French ports, unusually, united to retaliate.

Anglo-French truce.

Rye, which had been owned by the French/Norman Abbey of Fécamp, was taken back into English ownership by Henry III, for, as the French and English were at war, it was inconvenient, to say the least, to have part of England owned by the enemy. (Fécamp Abbey was given lands further away from the coast in compensation.)

King, Henry III, as part of the defence against these raids, gave permission for the building of a castle in Rye.This very building, Ypres Tower, is now one of the sites of the Rye Castle Museum!

The ‘Barons War’ involved many land and sea attacks and the Portsmen supported Simon de Montfort (Henry III’s brother-in-law) who had rebelled. Twenty-eight Portsmen, representatives from the towns, served in his Parliament – the very first one.

During Henry III’s reign the first known general Charter of the Cinque Ports was issued.

The Portsmen’s ships were worn out in the conflict and Simon de Montfort showed his approval of the Ports actions by levying a tax of 1/10th on the Church to pay for new ships to continue patrolling the Channel for him

In this year the first known detailed joint Charter was issued by the King to the seven Head Ports.

Portsmen joined the King on his Welsh expedition and captured Anglesey.

Portsmen joined the King on his Scottish expedition. Both these expeditions were difficult, as they were also keeping the Channel patrols, as well as fishing, and going on trading voyages and defending the Ports.

Portsmen defied the King in order to try and settle the problems in the Channel. The Irish, Dutch, and Gascon ships joined the Portsmen against the Normans, Genoese and Flemish in the Battle of Mahe, which the Portsmen won decisively.

The next 150 years saw war with France and the King appointed a Captain of the Ports, so that he could ensure control of them.

Gervaise Alard of Winchelsea was appointed Captain and Admiral of the Cinque Ports Fleet.

The King led a campaign against the French at Swyn and, within his Fleet, the Portsmen attacked the Yarmouth men, destroying 20 of their ships and killing many of their crews. The rival groups were kept apart after this!

Portsmen attacked Scotland with King Edward I and this war went on to the next century

The Ports’ ships conveyed King Edward II and his Court to France for his marriage to French Princess Isabella in Boulogne.

There was an inquiry into the Ports’ piracy against Flanders.

Scottish campaigns ended and France allied with Scotland. The balance of power for the Portsmen changed.

The Queen and her Court were carried to France by Portsmen. This actually led to civil war and the murder of King Edward II in 1327.

Rye received the first of a series of murage grants for the building of walls and a ditch with three large gates of which the Landgate is the only one left.

The Hundred Years War 1337-1453

As part of The Hundred Years War (1337-1453), many mutual raids involving burning and pillaging took place the danger of invasion was ever present and the Ports bore brunt of attack. The Portsmen could be relied upon to fight to the death and to massacre the crews of the French ‘quicker than it takes to eat a biscuit’. However, they could not be relied upon to make careful discrimination between friend or foe!

French Fleets improved dramatically and now the small ships of the Ports had to be joined by large ships from elsewhere to fight them. The Ports themselves were attacked by the French: Hastings, Rye, Folkestone, Winchelsea, Dover, Romney and Hythe.

The Portsmen assembled a small fleet of 21 small ships to retaliate, with 9 from the Thames. They beat off French ships attacking Rye and Hastings and chased them to Boulogne causing great damage. Seventy more English ships, with King Edward III, then arrived and the main French Fleet was defeated in the Battle of Sluys.

This action began a change in sea warfare tactics, from small raids to large sea battles. The small Ports’ ships with crews of 20/21 men and limited days of Sea Service, became only a part of larger forces in future.

Rye ships ferried over men, horses and supplies for the Battle of Crecy.

The siege of Calais had 700 ships fighting, but only a quarter were Portsmen. The vital role of the Ports’ ships then became surprise raids, repelling and chasing pirates and raiding parties,

The Black Death: ‘‘That time fell great dethe of men in all the worlde wyde’. It is estimated that the epidemic killed one third of the European population, with devastating consequences. Whole villages on Romney Marsh disappeared, for example.

Edward III and the Black Prince fought the Spanish in Rye Bay with 50 ‘good ships and pinnaces’ against 40 much larger ones. Fourteen Spanish ships were sunk and the rest fled. The Queen watched from Udimore.

Seven French raids against Winchelsea. There were many tit for tat raids across the Channel, for example:

Rye was destroyed by the French five days after Richard II came to the throne. They sacked and burnt until only the four stone buildings of the Church, the Monastery, the Rye Castle and the Friars of the Sack were left standing within the town. The Church bells were stolen and citizens killed.

Rye and Winchelsea retaliated and burned French towns. They found the stolen church bells. One of them was not returned to the Church, but erected at the end of Watchbell Street, to be rung in warning if the town was attacked.

Bodiam Castle was built on the Rother as part of the coastal defences.

Rye men were involved in transporting King Richard II and his men to Ireland.

Rye men were involved in transporting the King and his men to Calais.

Rye ships and men went to Wales with Henry IV to help put down the rebellion of Owain Glyndower.

Henry V on his accession revived the Hundred Years War. Rye ships carried men, horses, supplies etc. to the English armies fighting on the Continent.

Rye ships ferried troops and supplies to Agincourt.

Portsmen, including Rye’s, were called out by Henry V to defend Calais. He had made piracy high treason.

Portsmen transported Henry V’s body back to England from France.

Tenterden became a Corporate Limb of Rye in the Cinque Ports after years of association.

The end of the Hundred Years War. England lost all its possessions in France, except Calais.

The Wars of the Roses

Rye’s ships continued to provide vital supplies to Calais.

The ‘Wars of the Roses’ began. Henry VI’s wife, Margaret of Anjou, gained the support of France (and Scotland) for the Red Rose side, and the possibility of invasion was present until Edward IV secured truces with both countries in 1463.

Edward’s sister Margaret married Charles of Burgundy, who was based in the Low Countries and much trade was secured – especially for cloth and wool. Large quantities went out through Rye. France looked enviously at this trade and there was an uneasy peace along the Channel coast.

The French again supported Margaret when she and Warwick (The Kingmaker, who had changed his allegiance to HenryVI) invaded and took back the throne . The ‘Readeption’ of Henry VI only lasted a few months, as Burgundy came out on the side of Edward IV of York, and he was back on the throne in 1471.

Edward IV assembled a huge army to invade France, estimated to be 30,000 to join the Duke of Burgundy, 10,000 to go to Normandy and 6,000 to Gascony, The English contingent actually got to France they were transported across our coast. The King eventually negotiated a Treaty and got a huge pension from the King of France – for not fighting!

VESEY, Godfrey (Norman Agmondisham)

VESEY, Godfrey (Norman Agmondisham). British, b. 1923. Genres: Philosophy. Career: Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Open University, Milton Keynes, since 1990 (Professor, 1969-90 Pro-Vice-Chancellor, 1975- 77 Acting Vice-Chancellor, 1980). Lecturer, then Reader in Philosophy, King's College, London, 1952-69 Visiting Professor, Carleton College, Minnesota and University of Oregon, 1966. Hon. Director, Royal Institute of Philosophy, 1965-79. Publications: (ed.) Body and Mind, 1964 The Embodied Mind, 1965 (ed.) The Human Agent, 1968 (ed.) Talk of God, 1969 (ed.) Knowledge and Necessity, 1970 Perception, 1970 (ed.) The Proper Study, 1971 (ed.) Reason and Reality, 1972 (ed.) Philosophy and the Arts, 1973 Personal Identity, 1974 (ed.) Understanding Wittgenstein, 1974 (ed.) Philosophy in the Open, 1974 (ed.) Impressions of Empiricism, 1976 (ed.) Communication and Understanding, 1977 (ed.) Human Values, 1978 (ed.) Idealism: Past and Present, 1982 (ed.) Philosophers Ancient and Modern, 1986 (with Antony Flew) Agency and Necessity, 1987 (ed.) The Philosophy in Christianity, 1990 (with Paul Foulkes) Collins Dictionary in Philosophy, 1990 Inner and Outer: Essays on a Philosophical Myth, 1991. Address: 73 Bushmead Ave, Bedford MK40 3QW, England.

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Knights Were Heavily Armed and Prone to Violence

These warriors were commanded by warlords and rewarded with land, or with license to plunder the villages where they did battle, looting, raping and burning as they went.

“In the early Middle Ages, church councils were praying to be delivered from knights,” Wollock says. “What develops as you get into the late 11th, 12th century is a sense that knights have to have a professional code if they’re going to be respected and respectable.”

There was never a firm consensus on what it meant to be a good knight. The most common values found in rules that commanders created for knights revolved around the practical needs of a military force: bravery in battle and loyalty to one’s lord and companions.

“You’ve got all these people who are very prone to violence, heavily armed,” says Kelly Gibson, a medieval historian at the University of Dallas and editor of Vengeance in Medieval Europe. “You’ve got to find some way to get them to get along.”

A maiden leads a knight in a suit of armor to a castle. 


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