The Normans in the Mediterranean
The Norman domination of southern Italy lasted less than two centuries (1030-1190). In this relatively brief period of time, the men from Normandy managed to mark their mark on the area : not only politically, with the foundation of a kingdom destined to survive in an area that changed very little geographically until the unification of Italy in 1860, but also socially and culturally. In other words, they were able, on the one hand, to import (and, at times, impose) their own language, culture and social order, and, on the other, to carry out a continuous osmosis with different ethnic groups in the region (Latins, Lombards, Greeks, Arabs), thus creating a hybrid society that had its own special characteristics.
From the point of view of the institutions (creation of the duchy of Apulia; the county of Sicily, the kingdom of Sicily), the administration of the land (Frankish feudalism), relations with the papacy and the reorganization of the Church, the domination of the Hautevilles played a decisive role in the history of southern Italy, and gave rise to a new organization of the region (the relationship between the urban and rural worlds). And the cultural eclecticism of the Norman - the fusion that was, generally speaking, peaceful of the pre-existing cultures with the one they brought from their homeland - generated a remarkable output of works, in which the masterpieces of 'Norman' art, especially the architectural ones, still stand out today.
Dir. by E. D'Angelo
Centro Europeo di Studi Normanni, Ariano Irpino