Christian Europe—Norman and Crusaders

845 to 1270
Viking's besiege Paris to Battle of Bouvines

Era Summary       Characters       Timeline       Reading Assignments      

Characters—Norman 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.
Robert Curthose
Eldest son of William the Conqueror, querreled with Father but succeeded him in Normandy. Leader of First Crusade.
Arthur of Brittany
Grandson of Henry II, and rightful king of England, murdered by his uncle John I. His murder led to the King of England's loss of Normandy.

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.

Last of the Carolingians

Charles the Bald
Grandson of Charlemagne who Inherited Kingdom of the West Franks. Dealt with Norse pirates who besieged Paris.
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.

Early Capet Kings

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.
Louis VI
Influential Capet King who centralized royal power and fought the Normans.
Louis VII
Led the disastrous 2nd Crusade with his queen Eleanor of Aquitaine (later divorced).
Philip II Augustus
King of France who expanded his realm by retaking Normandy and Anjou from the Plantagenets.

Clergy and Ministers

Archbishop Hatto
Scheming minister of Arnulf, and regent for Louis the Child. Secured vacant throne for Conrad I.
Peter Abelard
Eminent Priest and Teacher, famed for his ill-fated affair with Heloise.
Abbot Suger
Trusted Counsellor of Louis VI. Remodeled St. Denis Abbey in Paris in Gothic style and popularized Gothic Architecture. .
Peter the Hermit
Monk who helped instigate the First Crusade, by preaching against the Moslems of Jerusalem.
Bernard of Clairvaux
Monk who helped revive the original spirit of monasticism among the Cistercian Order.
Pope Sylvester II
First French Pope. Originally a noted scholar, Gerbert of Aurillac. Promoted use of decimal number system in Europe.
Pope Urban II
Second French Pope. Called for the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont.

Crusader Kings

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.
Raymond VII of Toulouse
Count of Toulouse who sided with the Albigensian heretics against the King of France.

Timeline—Norman and Crusaders

AD YearEvent

Last of the Carolingian Kings

843 Treaty of Verdun: Sons of Louis the Pious divide the Empire into three Parts.
875 Charles the Bald crowned Holy Roman Emperor, but then 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 declared king of Franks on death of Odo. Period of weak Franksih kings.
910 Monastery at Cluny is established (influential in Gregorian Reforms during 11th century).
987 Death of Last Carolingian king. Hugh Capet chosen as successor.
996-1031 Robert II, son of Hugh Capet succeeds his father as king of West Franconia.

Vikings and Dukes of Normandy

845 Paris besieged by Ragnar Lodbrok. Seige lifted when Charles the Bald pays 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, rules 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 Hastings, becomes king of England.
1087-1106 Reign of Robert Curthose , son of William the Conqueror, as Duke of Normandy.

Normans in Italy

999 Normans arrive in Italy to serve as mercenaries for Byzantine wars against Lombards.
1042 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 Battle of Civitate, Pope recognizes Robert Guiscard as Duke of Calabria, and Normans protect Papal interests.
1061 Guiscard and 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 S. Italy forced to switch allegiance from Constantinople to Roman.
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 led primarily by Norman princes.
1098 Baldwin I founds Crusader kingdom of Edessa, later governed by Baldwin II, lasts until 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.

Rise of the Capet Kings of France

1108-37 Louis VI (the Fat) first strong French king since Charlemagne, begins centralization of power.
1120 St Denis Abbey rebuilt in Gothic style by Abbot Suger , advisor to Louis VI and VII.
1137-80 Louis VII rules 43 years. Fifteen year marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine anulled without issue.
1147 Louis VII leads the disastrous 2nd Crusade.
1150 University of Paris Founded
1163 Begin construction of Notre Dame of Paris in Gothic style, under Bishop de Sully.
1180-1223 Philip Augustus ascends to throne, reigns for 43 years. Continues consolidation of power.
1189 Third Crusade led by Philip II Augustus and Richard I. Crusaders fail to recover Jerusalem.
1209-29 Albigensian Crusade called by Innocent III. After great loss of life, their protector, Raymond VII of Toulouse makes peace.
1214 Battle of Bouvines: Philip II victory over English-Flemish force, assuring French control over Brittany and Normandy.

Later Crusades

1202 Fourth Crusade launched; crusaders allied with Venice sack Constantinople.
1248 Louis IX leads 7th crusade to Egypt. Perishes on 8th Crusade in Tunisia.
1291 Kingdom of Jerusalem, the last Crusader kingdom falls to the Mamluks when the city of Acre was taken.

Recommended Reading—Norman and Crusaders

Book Title
Selected Chapters (# chapters)

Core Reading Assignments

Guerber - The Story of Old France   Normans Besiege Paris to The Battle of Bouvines (10)
Marshall - A History of France   Paris defies the Sea Kings to Battle of Bouvines (18)

Supplemental Recommendations

Macgregor - The Story of France   The Vikings to The Battle of Bouvines (10)
Marshall - The Story of Europe   Coming of the Northmen to Normans in Sicily (4)
Wilmot-Buxton - The Story of the Crusades    entire book
Yonge - The Little Duke    entire book
Tappan - In the Days of William the Conqueror    entire book

Easy Reading Selections

Finnemore - France: Peeps at History   Merovings and Carlovings to House of Capet (2)
Haaren - Famous Men of the Middle Ages   Rollo the Viking to William the Conqueror (2)
Evans - Old Time Tales   How Normandy Got its Name to Peter the Hermit (6)
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