The Normans in the Mediterranean


Craft industry and trades


    Southern Italy remained more or less on the fringe of the upward trend of craft and other industries already occurring in the 11th and 12th centuries in certain regions and towns of northern Italy, and the Norman conquerors brought with them no particular innovations in this field. Drawn from the warring aristocracy, and more interested in overseeing their country domains than in getting involved in the world of trade and commerce, the Normans basically left these activities to the native populations which they controlled or to groups of merchants and craftsmen drawn by the expansion of the ports and the bigger cities.

Social life in the south thus continued within an overall framework that evolved in step with the general increase of activity and the new organization of the Norman kingdom. However, sectors like textile and ceramic production present original features and advances specific to the Norman period, also heralded by a flurry of activity in the luxury craft industries and royal workshops that welcomed eastern influences.

Craft industry and urban society
Ceramics and pottery
Gold and silver work : the royal workshops
Ivory : a traditionnal craft in the Mediterranean

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