The sword and the cross
The Normans (or Northmen) forged an empire that lasted four hundred years. Though principally known for their seat of power in Normandy, they originated from Viking stock and at the height of their supremacy had made their influence felt throughout Europe and into the Middle East. This was a martial people and its leaders took and held power with a cunning, ruthless and often cruel efficiency whilst at the same time contributing to the culture of their time. They played a pivotal role in the wars of the Crusades but the Norman Empire, constantly in a state of expansion, also found itself in armed conflict with many of the kingdoms of Europe including open battle with the Pope of Rome himself and, of course, in the invasion of Britain under Duke William. The very success of the Normans ultimately contributed to their obscurity since they integrated well with those they conquered. Nevertheless, they left an indelible mark on history and that remains evident to this day in our culture, language and architecture. This is the remarkable history of the rise and decline of the warriors with the iconic helmets and kite shaped shields who forged an empire with steel and blood. Available in softcover and hardcover with dust jacket.