Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Much Bigger Story

For those who have roots to that Island first called Albion, the terms 1066 and Hastings will forever be connected to the Normans.  Having those roots, it did take me a little while to realize that the Normans had a much bigger story.

The following book by Christopher Gravett and David Nicolle opened my eyes to a broader picture of the Norman culture and history.  These Normans played a role not only in British history, but a wider European history as well.

Their states (dynasties) they established in France, Italy, Sicily and Syria came to be important in world history.  A history of the Normans and the military foundations that they forged, came to play a major role in many aspects of western European history.  This book helps provide a context to realizing the larger role that the Normans played in the pages of history.   From Viking days of the 9th and 10th century, to the last Norman stronghold in northern Syria (Antioch), their role is discussed.  Stone castles seemed to be a remaining legacy.

Lots of pictures, maps, and historic accounts make this book a good read for those who want a much bigger picture.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Normans and Plantagenets

The writers of history are usually on the winning side.  Following the year 1066, there does not seem to be many books titled "The Saxons and the Anglo-Saxon Defeat"!  The following book presents many of the writers of contemporary Latin Christendom following this year of 1066.

"...biased interpretations based upon unhistorical prejudices." is present as a reason for this text in the very first paragraph.  The text is organized into chapters:

                                                                                           I   The Emergent West
                                                                                           II   Normandy
                                                                                           III  England
                                                                                           IV  England, Normandy and Scandinavia
                                                                                           V   The Norman Conquest of England
                                                                                           VI Norman England.

Each page flows with detailed reference to the opinions express during the historical period discussed.  First published in 1969 by R. Allen Brown, it was reprinted in 1994 in hardback and paperback by The Boydell Press.  It is an interesting read for those of us who like to discover the primary documents and their authors. [You have a large number of references to filter through!]