Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Caroline Dunn

Committee Member

Dr. Kathryn Langenfeld

Committee Member

Dr. Michael Silvestri


Scholars have rigorously debated the extent to which the Normans remained a definitively identifiable group as they branched out from Normandy in endeavors of conquest and expansion. In the twentieth century, historians such as Charles Homer Haskins and David Douglas maintained the unity of Norman identity throughout the British Isles, southern Italy, and the crusader states. Other scholars like R. H. C. Davis argued that the Normans were merely extraordinary cultural assimilators and decried the notion of Norman unity, or Normanitas, as a myth propagated by chroniclers and historians dating back to the tenth century. Drawing upon recent scholarship, this thesis challenges the stark dichotomy of Norman unity/disunity posited by twentieth century historians. With the Norman identity debate in mind, this thesis yields a comparative examination of Norman identity, influence, and institutions in Scotland and southern Italy during the longue durée of the twelfth century. Through analyses of Norman martial identity and influence, administrative governance and state-making, and ethnicity and kinship, this thesis demonstrates how Norman identity, influence, and institutions were simultaneously evident and evolving in the peripheral areas of Europe, which Keith Stringer has styled the ‘Norman Edge.’ Thus, this analysis underscores that, although Norman identity indeed waned over time, Normanitas remained palpable on the peripheries of Europe until the final quarter of the twelfth century.



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