Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Evolution of Norman Identity, 911-1154

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Evolution of Norman Identity, 911-1154

Article excerpt

Nick Webber, The Evolution of Norman Identity, 911-1154 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2005). 195 pp. ISBN 1-84383-119-8. £45.00/$90.00.

The subject of this monograph has exercised authors and historians since Dudo of Saint-Quentin in the early eleventh century, but the present work departs from earlier studies by employing sociological theories of identity formation. While not always applied consistently, in places this approach provides interesting insights into the intrinsic differences between internal and external views of group identities, with some significance for our understanding of the historical sources. The author examines the early history of Norman identity in three different contexts: in Normandy itself up to 1066; in the Mediterranean up to the death of Roger II of Sicily in 1154; and in the Anglo-Norman realm between 1066 and the accession of Henry II in 1154. In each case, internal and external views of the Normans are carefully distinguished. Webber makes some illuminating comparisons between the northern European and Mediterranean contexts for the evolution of Norman identities, and also distinguishes between their development in Sicily and on the Italian mainland, arguing that they proved far more resilient in Apulia than on Sicily itself. …

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