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  • 2020_JohnAspinwall_HistoryPhD

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The Cronica Roberti Biscardi et fratrum ac Rogerii Comitis Mileti: A Twelfth-Century History of the Norman Conquest of Sicily

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2021
Number of pages265
Awarding Institution
Thesis sponsors
  • AHRC
Award date13/03/2020
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The Norman conquests in the central Mediterranean ended Muslim power in Sicily, formed a royal state in 1130, and fundamentally redefined the frontiers of Christian Europe and Muslim Africa. Within the past decades, the study of this formative period has been enriched by a plethora of new critical editions and translations of many south Italian sources. Such research has not only transformed scholarly understanding of the Norman period, but has proven influential on a new generation of medieval textual research. However, despite this, modern scholarship has almost entirely overlooked an anonymous chronicle of the Norman conquest composed about fifty years after the events in question, the Cronica Roberti Biscardi et fratrum ac Rogerii Comitis Mileti – also known as the Historia Sicula or the Anonymous Vaticanus. This present thesis
represents the first modern examination of the text and its manuscripts. In so doing, it shows how the Cronica not only offers fundamentally new evidence that redefines many long-held scholarly assumptions concerning the Norman conquests in Sicily, southern Italy and the medieval Mediterranean, but also gives new insights into process of narrative formation and transmission between the medieval and early-modern periods.