Re: Re: Normans and Vikings

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#19113

anonymous
Participant

I always thought it was very interesting the way history treats the Normans as “Vikings apart”. Remember, of course, that at the same time the Bastard was making his designs on the Crown of England, his fellow Normans were also sailing off to Sicily, southern Italy, and the Holy Lands for conquest where they'd set up kingdoms all over the world.I think it was more circumstance than some innate quality of the Normans which impressed such rapid acculturation, though. For one thing, the first Normans were presented with an "offer they couldn't refuse" - one of the most powerful duchies in Francia in exchange for conversion to Christianity and Frankish ways. With that wealth and prestige also came education - Christian education - which would further distance young Normans from their Viking past.On the other hand, when William became King of England, his fellow Normans and descendant kings felt no compulsion to learn the English language or consider themselves in any way "English". They were merely extending their wealth and prestige from an established powerbase, centralized in northern France. At the end of the day, the best parties were in France, and French was the royal, noble language to speak for hundreds of years. Really, the Norman-descended kings only bothered to learn English once they were kicked out of France entirely and faced with no other choice.Then you have a counter-example, the Sicilio-Normans of Robert Guiscard. Though they were the same French-Christian stock, they assimilated into Italian fashions and language much quicker than the Anglo-Normans had. I argue this is because, like the original Viking Normans before them, these were rulers who found themselves with a new powerbase, removed entirely from their original homeland.With your point about the Danelaw, as Teuchter mentioned the Danelaw fell under the rule of the King of Denmark. Thus, like the Anglo-Normans, the leaders in the Danelaw were simply an extension of an existing powerbase.edit: One thing I can't help but wonder, though, is this: did the Norman penchant for sailing off and conquering have a direct link to their Viking past? Were Norman-conquerors smiling, thinking of old Scandinavian ancestors? Or, were they simply an opportunistic displaced people looking for areas to expand?

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