The ‘other’ Norman conquest saw a series of Norman bands move to the south of Italy, where they went from hired mercenaries to the rulers of the Kingdom of Sicily (which included the southern end of the Italian mainland), which at its peak dominated the central Mediterranean. During this period they created a kingdom that combined Normans, Italians, Sicilian Muslims and Byzantines, while at the same time fighting repeatedly against the Italians, Sicilian Muslims and Byzantines.
This book provides an overview of the Norman involvement in Italy. We start with a look at how they first appeared in the area, and how the various bands of Norman mercenaries ended up taking over southern Italy and Sicily. The chapter on organisation is split into two main sections – first looking at the Norman war bands that conquered the area, then the army of the Kingdom of Sicily. This was an impressively multi-national force, with troops from northern Europe, Italy, Greece and even North Africa. The section on armours and weaponry is split into three – Normans and similar, Muslims and Greeks – reflecting the three main strands in the Royal army. One interesting feature of this section is that the Normans appear to have slowly adopted more local equipment, in particular replacing their heavy armour with lighter equipment, even though that same heavy armour was often given credit for their victories.
As always this book is well illustrated, with a mix of Osprey’s own illustrations and photographs of contemporary artworks (in particular of carvings, surviving paintings and surviving equipment). The Norman kingdom in Sicily was far more multi-cultural and inclusive than it’s more famous English contemporary, and that is reflected in the wide variety of troop types covered here.
The Road to Power
Armour & Weapons
Author: Raffaele D’Amato and Andrea Salimbeti