The Normans in the Mediterranean
in The Normans in Europe
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The first presence of Normans in Italy was signalled in 999, when a group of Norman pilgrims came to the support of the local population in Salerno who were being attacked by Saracens. The fertility of Campania, the area on the Mediterranean coast around Naples, with its vineyards, fruit trees, springs and plains, was an important aspect of the Normans' wish to settle permanently. The settlement of Normans in southern Italy was thus a very gradual process of military support for local princes and a slow emancipation of soldiers who grew from subordinates to become local lords themselves. The crusading movement offered a reason why people from north-western Europe went to the Mediterranean and spent some time in Italy. Graham Loud and Lucien Musset have pointed out that the peak of political expulsions coincided with periods of political instability in Normandy.

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