Yet again I am confronted by the vast gaps in my knowledge of history (despite having half-heartedly studied the subject at college…)
Name some famous vikings, can you?
I came up with Erik the Red, and that was about it. Perhaps you’ll do better? If not, you can Google it, as I did, and found this page, which more or less confirmed what we learnt at primary school – raiders from the north, long ships, Iceland, etc.
And then… today’s episode of our FREE thirty-part Summer Series on the Medieval period in the Italian peninsula covers the Norman invasion of, wait for it, Sicily!
What THOSE Normans? The ones from Normandy in France? William the Conqueror, who defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066?
The very same, though not William. Some of his cousins, also seeking their fortunes. According to our writer, the Normans were known as Normans due to them being ‘men from the north’, fierce ship-borne warriors from the chillier parts of Europe.
You got it. William the Conqueror was a viking! Nah, I thought, that’s got to be wrong…
So I looked it up and it turns out to be correct – though by that time the vikings had settled down and become good French-speaking Christians (or some Latin dialect more likely.)
Anyway, these very same Normans/Vikings were the next wave of fortune seekers to arrive in what is now Italy.
Read all about it in today’s free episode:
The earlier parts of the story can be found on our History page, here. Scroll down past the Romans to find them.
A mercoledì, allora.