|The Normans in the Mediterranean|
|The rise of Robert Guiscard|
From the middle of the 11th century, and in a little less than four decades, the hitherto anarchic organisation of Mezzogiorno was considerably modified. Its unification, if not under a single authority, at least under the control of the Normans, was essentially the work of a man of exceptional destiny, Robert de Hauteville, the son of a poor knight, from the Cotentin in Normandy. A mercenary in Campania, a brigand in Calabria, then the count of Melfi, duke of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily and, finally, nearly emperor.
His story is that of a tireless warrior and of an extremely wise man, hence his nickname of Guiscard (Viscardus) the cunning which perfectly reflects his qualities and stands as his sole name on his epitaph.