Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Making History: The Normans and Their Historians in Eleventh-Century Italy

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Making History: The Normans and Their Historians in Eleventh-Century Italy

Article excerpt

Kenneth Baxter Wolf, Making History: The Normans and Their Historians in Eleventh-Century Italy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,1995). xiii + 193 pp. ISBN 0-8122-3298-4 L28.50.

That medieval historiographers often tell us more about their own age than about that of their subject-matter may be a truism, but it is one that has sometimes been overlooked by modern historians eager to quarry them for 'facts'. In this ambitious book Kenneth Baxter Wolf attempts to restore the balance. He tackles a complex field, that of the Norman kingdoms established in Italy during the eleventh century, and shows how the historians of the period viewed the Norman invaders, modifying their initial attitude of hostility to one of willingness to justify the Norman presence.

As he is not writing primarily for historians, Wolf first provides an overview of the events and a summary of the shifting political relations between the Normans and the local Italian powers. After this he shows how the events were presented by historians representing their different interests, papal and monastic. There is, however, a curious lack of comparative analysis of the historical texts in question, and there are other disappointments too. Wolf very convincingly presents the writing or commissioning of histories as one of the perceived appurtenances of kingship, like building churches or making good laws; but this idea, which deserves to be developed in depth, is sketched only briefly in the concluding chapter. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.