The Normans in the Mediterranean


The Norman kingdom between East and West


    William I was affiliated to the kingdom in Palermo from Easter 1151, after the ceremony of unction by his father (d. 26 February 1154). William (known as ‘the Bad’) succeeded to the throne at the age of 34 without meeting any opposition.

William inherited the qualities of the Hautevilles, strongly impregnated with the charms of the East, he was a giant whose strength, courage and erudition were known, but whose weaknesses were deplored: greed, cruelty, arrogance, touchy, independence, idleness and lustful desires.

His reign was characterized by a revival of the conflict between the crown and the nobility always seeking to extend its rights when a ruler seems to have less calibre than his predecessor. Furthermore, William annoyed them by entrusting the most important offices to men, albeit competent, of humble origin. The harsh repressive measures put in place after the rebellion of 1161 served to accentuate the disorders and revolts making this period very difficult for the throne.

The following reign, that of William II (1166-1189) was in difficulty during the period of his ‘French’ government throughout his childhood, but a quieter period ensued when he acceded to the throne at adulthood. Even though the consequences were not clearly seen at this time, the most important event of his reign was his marriage in 1184, allying him with the Hohenstaufens, laying the seeds for the handing over of the Norman kingdom to the Swabian dynasty.


William I’s foreign policy
The conflict between the crown and the nobility
The regency of Queen Margaret : Stephen of Perche in Palermo
William II : the familiares regis
The two empires
England of the Plantagenets

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