Christian Europe—Normans and Crusaders

845 to 1100
Siege of Paris to First Crusade

Era Summary       Characters       Timeline       Reading Assignments      

Characters—Normans and Crusaders

Character/Date Short Biography

Dukes of Normandy

Rollo the Viking
d. 931
Viking Leader who was granted the Dukedom of Normandy if he became Christian.
Richard the Fearless
Grandson of Rollo the Viking who introduced Feudalism into Normandy and increased influence of Duchy.
Robert the Magnificent
Duke of Normandy and Father of William the Conqueror.
William the Conqueror
Claimed the crown of England and won it at the Battle of Hastings. Ruled forcefully but justly.
Emma of Normandy
Norman princess, wife first of Aethelred, then of Canute. Mother of Edward the Confessor.
Robert Curthose
Eldest son of William the Conqueror, querreled with Father but succeeded him in Normandy. Leader of First Crusade.

Normans of Italy

Robert Guiscard
Norman mercenary who conquered Southern Italy and Sicily from the Greeks and Saracens.
Roger of Sicily
Formed the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, a great sea power of southern Italy for 7 centuries.

Frank leaders

Hugh Capet
Noble who became a king of France after the death of the last Carolingian King.
Robert II of France
Second of the Capet Kings of France. Married to Constance, a woman of great intrigue and mischief.
Philip II Augustus
King of France who expanded his realm by retaking Normandy and Anjou from the Plantagenets.
Charles the Simple
French King who conceded the Dukedom of Normandy to Rollo the Viking.
Odo of Paris
Ruled briefly as king of France after Charles the Fat was deposed. Gained renown for fighting vikings, but died without issue.
Archbishop Hatto
Scheming minister of Arnulf, and regent for Louis the Child. Secured vacant throne for Conrad I.

Crusader Kings

Peter the Hermit
Monk who helped instigate the First Crusade, by preaching against the Moslems of Jerusalem.
Baldwin III
Fifth of the Latin Kings of Jerusalem.
Baldwin I
Leader of the first Crusade, served as Count of Edessa, the first Crusader state, and then 'king' of Jerusalem.
Bohemond I
Norman Prince of Italy who led the first Crusade became ruler of Antioch crusader state.
Godfrey of Bouillon
Leader of the First Crusade. Reconquered Jerusalem for the Christians.
Leader of the first Crusade who eventually became regent of Antioch and Galilee.

Timeline—Normans and Crusaders

AD YearEvent

Vikings and Dukes of Normandy

845 Paris is besieged by Ragnar Lodbrok. Seige is lifted when Charles the Bald pays a ransom.
858 Chartres is besieged by Northmen, and burned.
885 Vikings, lead by Rollo the Viking, besiege the City of Paris. Odo of Paris resists
911 Rollo besieges Chartres, negotiates with Charles the Simple. Made Duke of Normandy; pays homage to king of Franks.
942-996 Richard the Fearless, grandson of Rollo, expands Norman territory, donates to Church, builds alliances, rulse for fifty years.
1027-35 Robert the Magnificent, becomes Duke of Normandy after his brother's 'sudden' death.
1035-87 William the Conqueror reigns in Normandy for over fifty years, becomes strongest baron in Northern Europe.
1066 William the Conqueror, defeats Saxons at the Battle of Hastings, becomes king of England.
1087-1106 Reign of Robert Curthose , son of William the Conqueror, as Duke of Normandy.

Frankish Leaders during Viking age

875 Charles the Bald crowned Holy Roman Emperor, but is defeated by German cousin and dies 'suddenly'.
879 Grandsons of Charles the Bald succeed him as joint kings of West Francia.
888 Charles the Simple, crowned HRE in 881, briefly reunites Frankish Empire, but dies without an heir.
888-898 Odo of Paris serves as the first Robertian king of France.
898 Charles the Simple is declared king of West Francia on the death of Odo.
910 Monastery at Cluny is established. Influential in Gregorian Reforms of the Church.
987 Death of Last Carolingian king. Hugh Capet chosen as successor.
996 Robert II, succeeds his father as king of West Franconia. Rules for 35 years.

Normans in Italy

999 First Normans arrive in Italy to serve as mercenary soldiers for Byzantine wars against Lombards.
1042 Norman mercenary William of Hauteville conquers Byzantine territory in Italy, rules as Count of Calabria.
1053 Normans begin conquest of Lombard territory in Southern Italy.
1054 Schism with Eastern Church, due in part to Norman aggression in Italy.
1059 After losing a critical battle to the Normans, Pope Nicholas II agress to recognize Robert Guiscard as Duke of Calabria, and Normans agree to protect Papal interests.
1061 Guiscard and brother Roger of Sicily begin conquest of Sicily, held by Moslems for 200 years.
1077 Robert Guiscard adds Naples to his territories in Southern Italy.
1080 Christians in Sicily and Southern Italy forced to switch allegience from Byzantine to Roman Church.
1091 Roger of Sicily completes conquest of Sicily, attempts to conquer Moslem-held Malta.
1130 Roger II made first 'King of Sicily' with territory encompassing all of southern Italy.

Normans Heroes of the First Crusade

1095 Pope Urban II calls for a Crusade at the Council of Clermont. First Crusade was led primarily by Norman princes.
1098 Baldwin I founds the Crusader kingdom of Edess, later governed by his cousin Baldwin II, lasts unil 1148.
1098 Bohemond I , son of Robert Guiscard, founds Principality of Antioch, lasts until 1268.
1099 Godfrey of Bouillon founds Kingdom of Jerusalem, lasts until 1291.

Recommended Reading—Normans and Crusaders

Book Title
Selected Chapters (# chapters)

Core Reading Assignments

Guerber - The Story of Old France   Strassburg Oath to More Crusades (10)
Marshall - The Story of Europe   Coming of the Northmen to Norman Kingdom of Sicily (4)
Marshall - The Story of Europe   Beginning of the Crusades to The Fall of Constantinople (4)

Supplemental Recommendations

Macgregor - The Story of France   The Vikings to Peter the Hermit (6)
Harding - The Story of the Middle Ages   The Deeds of the Northmen to Later Crusades (4)
Lansing - Barbarian and Noble   Vikings from the North to Rollo the Viking (3)
Yonge - The Little Duke    entire book
Wilmot-Buxton - The Story of the Crusades    entire book
Tappan - In the Days of William the Conqueror    entire book

Easy Reading Selections

Macgregor - Stories of the Vikings    entire book
Hall - Viking Tales    entire book
Johnson - Our Little Viking Cousin of Long Ago    entire book
Stein - Our Little Norman Cousin of Long Ago    entire book
Kelman - Stories from the Crusades    entire book
Stein - Our Little Crusader Cousin of Long Ago    entire book