October 18, 2021
The Normans ("men of the north") were a Scandinavian population settled in the Normandy region of France, which in the Middle Ages had a significant influence on the British Isles and the Mediterranean, among others. today it is known as Normandy. Under the leadership of the Viking chief Rollo (855-932), the Normans entered into an agreement with King Charles Simple (879-929) of France, under which they took over a small area downstream of the Seine in 911. The powers defined by the agreement are not known which was with the Normans since Richard II. Rollo later expanded the area to include the current Normandy. Similar treaties, on the basis of which the Vikings took possession of an important area downstream of the river, were made by many princes during the Viking Age: The Vikings were intended primarily to repel the raids of other Vikings. Normandy was a few such enduring Viking provinces. Already Rollo had converted to Christianity, at least in nominal terms, though in his will he still issued an order both to donate money to the Christian church and to prepare a human sacrifice. He was buried in Rouen, which was the location of the Norman court from the beginning. Rouen prospered e.g. with the trade in the looting of the Vikings. Later Norman rulers fully embraced Christianity and also the ancient Norwegians apparently changed to France within a generation or two. However, the Scandinavian language left some place names in Normandy (e.g., ending in -torp, -tot, -lund) as well as a few loanwords in the dialect, mainly in the maritime vocabulary. The Normans embraced the evolving provincial institution in France, from which they formed a logical whole that they also applied abroad in their conquests. By the turn of the 11th century, the Norman court had apparently also largely forgotten Scandinavian customs, although in the Bayeux wall hanging depicting the stages of Vilhelm the Conqueror (1028–1087), the Norman still has a so-called Viking-type hair fashion. Normandy remained fairly independent until the conquest of the Duchy by King Philip II Augustus of France (1165–1223) in 1204. However, the Normandy dukes always swore nominal allegiance to the King of France. Norman culture was particularly enterprising and adaptable, thanks to which it spread widely in Europe, e.g. England, Scotland, Ireland and, in the Mediterranean, southern Italy, Sicily and Malta.