Book Series Transcultural Medieval Studies, vol. 3

Maritime Exchange and the Making of Norman Worlds

Philippa Byrne, Caitlin Ellis (eds)

  • Pages: x + 230 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:17 b/w, 12 col., 3 maps b/w, 3 maps color
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60217-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60218-9
  • E-book
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Dr Philippa Byrne is Assistant Professor in Medieval History at Trinity College Dublin. Her research focuses on legal and theological culture in the central Middle Ages and intellectual exchange between northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Dr Caitlin Ellis is Associate Professor in Nordic Medieval History at the University of Oslo. Her research interests span the Viking and Norman worlds, centring on maritime networks, expressions of power and cross-cultural interactions.


Between c. 1000 and c. 1200 AD, emigrants from Normandy travelled long distances from their homeland, spreading their political influence to the shores of the North Sea, the Irish Sea, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Baltic. Their willingness to cross the seas gave Normans access to new territories and new ideas, extending their authority and reputation far beyond northern France. But how and why were these Norman groups able to develop such power? The chapters collected here engage directly with this question by examining the sites and processes that underpinned this expansion. The contributors ask what different Norman groups took from the societies around them, and what they rejected; they consider how non-Norman powers — in Ireland, England, the Fatimid Caliphate, Byzantium, the Holy Land, and Rus' — responded to, and were shaped by, their interactions with Normans in contested zones; and they examine how Normans understood and imagined their own relationship with the sea as a place of exchange, a zone of uncertain control, and an ambiguous kind of border. Drawing together material culture and written evidence, this far-reaching volume offers a fully-developed discussion of how, and in what ways, these Norman worlds and societies could be said to be ‘transcultural’, and in doing so, makes a compelling case that attention to movement and maritime exchange must be central to our understanding of the extension of Norman influence in this period.


List of Illustrations


Introduction: Normans at Sea, or a Transcultural Maritime Approach to the Middle Ages

Philippa Byrne and Caitlin Ellis

1. Ad Pevensae: Pevensey Castle and the Norman Conquest
Mark Bowden and Allan Brodie

2. The Great Tower: Searching for its Origins in the Norman Diaspora of the Medieval Roman East
Andrew Blackler

3. Movement, Transmission, and the North Sea World in Orderic Vitalis’s Historia ecclesiastica
Carolyn Cargile

4. St Olaf and St Mary's York: A Norwegian Saint King and a Norman Abbey
Daniel Talbot

5. The Norman World of John de Courcy
Claire Collins

6. Norman Sicily and the Fatimid Royal Correspondence, 1137
Mahir Shaab Abdusalam

7. ‘Northmen’ and Rus in Light of Numismatic Evidence
Alexandra Vukovich

Epilogue: Some Reflections
David Bates