Norman Invasion Essay

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It might be said that the Viking raids did not stop when the Scandinavians stopped taking part in them. If it is recognized that the Normans were the descendants of the Vikings, in military characteristics and goals as well as genealogy, then one might recognize their military endeavors against England France Sicily and southern Italy as continuing Viking raids. It seems quite clear that when Charles the Simple gave the Viking chieftain Rollo the territory surrounding the lower seine river in 911 there were no pretenses that either he or his followers would become “French”. Soon the dukes of Normandy, as Rollo and his descendants became known, were doing homage to the French king and fighting with him in his battles, obligated it seems with a similar code as the kings other nobles. However new religious, linguistic, and familial ties never seemed to remove their military instincts nor their desire for further conquests and invasions. This situation came to head in the second half of the eleventh century, when two successful Norman invasions took place. The first was led by a Norman adventurer, Robert Guiscard, and his brothers against Sicily and southern Italy; the second was accomplished by the Norman duke, William, know at the time as “the Bastard” because of his illegitimate birth and later as “the Conqueror” for his subduing of England. The Normans first glimpsed Sicily and southern Italy in 1006 when a group of Norman pilgrims returning from the Holy Land hired themselves out as mercenaries in the wars fought there first between the Italians and the Byzantines and later against the Muslim Arabs, who tried to take advantage of those wars to conquer there regions. In doing so, they became quite wealthy, and when news of this... ... middle of paper ... ...England. At the battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September 1066 Harold defeated the Norwegians; Harald Hardrada was killed in the fighting. However, King Harold was not able to celebrate this victory, as word quickly reached him that, while he was in the north, William and the Normans had landed in the south. Evidence shows that William anticipated a lengthy campaign, but that would not be necessary. Harold, flushed with recent victory, chose instead to immediately face the Norman invaders in battle. Fighting between two armies took place on Senlac Hill, north of Hastings, on 14 October 1066. After what one historian has described as an “unusual battle” because of its uncommon length, William’s forces prevailed, killing Harold, his brothers, and many of their soldiers. Although there would still be some limited resistance, with this victory William conquered England.
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