The Normans are the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They descended from Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of mostly Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock. Their identity emerged initially in the first half of the tenth century, and gradually evolved over succeeding centuries. The name "Normans" derives from "Northmen" or "Norsemen", after the Vikings from Scandinavia who founded Normandy.
They played a major political, military, and cultural role in medieval Europe and even the Near East. They were famed for their martial spirit and Christian piety. They quickly adopted the Romance language of the land they settled in, their dialect becoming known as Norman, an important literary language. The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French crown, was one of the great large fiefs of medieval France. The Normans were famed for their military accomplishments and innovations across Europe. Norman adventurers established a kingdom in Sicily and southern Italy by conquest, and a Norman expedition on behalf of their duke led to the Norman Conquest of England. Norman influence spread from these new centers to the Crusader States in the Near East, to Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, and to Ireland.
The Normans were descendants of the feared Vikings that raided across Europe during the early Middle Ages. In 900, their Viking ancestors attacked the northern coast of France, and the French monarch ceded the northeastern French region of Normandy to a Viking chieftain that promised to defend the country from other Norsemen. The intrepid Vikings eventually adopted the Feudal System and settled down in their new land. But the Normans were too restless to enjoy the peace and security of Normandy for long. The adventuring spirit inherited from their Viking ancestors and their exceptional gallantry and strength in battle led the Normans to seek further conquest. Bold and fierce warriors in battle, Norman knights fought hard and absorbed Sicily. They would not remain content for long, however, as a Norman lives for battle.
In 1066, Duke William II of Normandy conquered England. The invading Normans and their descendants replaced the Anglo-Saxons as the ruling class of England, ending the Saxon kingdom.
Even after such magnificent conquests such as Italian Naples, England, Sicily, and many other territories, the Normans chose not to remain content without the thrill of battle, instead deciding to hire themselves out as mercenaries to foreign powers instead. Several countries immediately found use for them, as the knights of Normandy were known as far south as Africa and as far east as Turkey. Soon, these Norman mercenaries proved their worthiness in battle, cementing their reputation as truly formidable opponents. For centuries afterward, the brave Norman knights were known for their ferocity and strength, and the natural Norman belief that everything meaningless but the thrill of battle once the fight begins.
The following factions have utilized the Normans in their armies, either as mercenaries or due to Norman influence in their country:
- The Byzantine Empire: Norman knights are organized into corps of Latinkon to serve in the armies of Byzantium.
- The Moors: Norman knights serve as a Christian Guard in Arab Moorish armies, often protecting Muslim sultans from harm and serving as his personal bodyguards.
- Sicily: Due to the Norman presence in the kingdom of Sicily, Norman Knights play a large and often important role in any Sicilian army.
- Seljuk Turkey: Lance-wielding Norman knights serve alongside Cilician warriors in the Armenian Cavalry to fight for the Muslim Turkish Sultanate for profit.
Norman Missile UnitsEdit
The following Norman missile units are both only available to the Byzantine Empire in Medieval II Total War: Kingdoms:
- Byzantine Gunners: Norman mercenaries are chosen to form the only firearm unit in Byzantium. The Norman gunners are heavily armored and are equivalent to the Western European Hand Gunners.
- Greek Fire Throwers: Using a mixture of sulphur and petroleum that can burn even on water, Norman knights form this mercenary unit to wield these wooden tubes that spit forth a pillar of fire to burn up all of the Byzantines' enemies.