REVIEW: The Normans: A History of Conquest by Trevor Rowley

The Normans_cover

There are countless books on the Norman Invasion and the long reaching effects it had throughout England. Trevor Rowley’s new book The Normans: A History of Conquest not only explores the Norman Conquest of England but also the vast influence the Normans had on all of Europe and the Holy Lands.

The Norman influence in England and Europe was extensive. Starting in the early tenth century and fading away in the mid-thirteenth century. In that time the Norman Dynasty conquered nations, transformed political systems and revolutionized the medieval military.

Rowley covers the history of viking invasions into northern France, leading to the creation of Normandy. Viking warrior Rollo attacked Chartres in 911 and was defeated by King Charles. Tired of the viking invasions, Charles persuaded Rollo to stay in France and guard the coast from other marauding vikings. Rollo converted to Christianity, took the title Count of Rouen and established the Duchy of Normandy.

After the early history of Normandy and its growth Rowley examines the rise of William the Conqueror, his claim to the English throne and the events leading to the invasion. In the book Rowley explores the political climate in England prior to the invasion and how the throne became contested.

Rowley doesn’t leave it at the conquest of England. He examines the relationship between England and Normandy after the Normans gain control of England as well as social life in Norman England.

Rowley spends a good part of the book looking at the Norman influence in England and how it changed the English culture. England isn’t the only area the Normans conquered and Rowley explores the other regions too.

The Normans were in Italy years before William the Conqueror invaded England. As early as the 990’s Normans were in southern Italy and Sicily fighting the Saracens. The conquest of Italy and Sicily took longer than conquering England. Rowley lays out the Norman experience in Italy, Sicily and their role defending the Byzantine Emperor.

Rowley dedicates one chapter to the Norman campaign to capture Sicily for the Christians. It’s an aspect of the Norman Dynasty that is usually overlooked. Including the history is a great addition to the book and offers a fuller picture of the Norman influence in Europe.

Most history of Normans focus on Normandy and the conquest of England. Rowley offers a thorough history of the Norman Dynasty from its creation and encompasses all their conquests across Europe.

Using archaeological and historical evidence Rowley is able to discover how the Normans conquered and dominate England, Italy and the Levant. The book also includes numerous pictures of the castles and churches which the Normans controlled.

The Normans: A History of Conquest is a comprehensive book on the history of the Norman Dynasty. I’d recommend The Normans: A History of Conquest to a medieval history new-comer or a seasoned historian. It has something for everyone.

Medieval Archives gives The Normans: A History of Conquest 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Disclaimer: Medieval Archives received a complimentary copy of The Normans: A History of Conquest for review purposes

You can buy The Normans: A History of Conquest now wherever books are sold or on the following websites. Add it to your library today.

About the author

Trevor Rowley

Trevor Rowley has combined his career in higher education with a lifelong love of landscape history and archaeology. His publications include Villages in the Landscape, The High Middle Ages and Norman England, published by British academic presses. The Normans is his first book to be published in America.

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