The Normans in the Mediterranean


Life in the towns


    During the Norman period, we do not find anything like the urban development occurring around the same time in northern Italy. As a rule, the Norman lords preferred their country domains and castles, and given the way the territory was organized, it is not always possible to establish a very clear hierarchy between the rural population centres and the towns as such. Often, the towns differed from the large country villages neither in their structure nor in their mode of administration, because only rarely in Norman times did they come in for measures granting them a degree of administrative autonomy. Nonetheless, the territory of the Norman kingdom was marked by the presence of large towns, mostly ports – Naples, Salerno, Bari, Palermo, Messina… – characterized by more pronouncedly commercial functions.


Towns of Southern Italy
Norman rule and the city gouvernment
Craftmen, merchants and clerics : the urban society
Urban landscape and town buildings

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