The Norman Campaigns in the Balkans, 1081-1108

The Norman Campaigns in the Balkans, 1081-1108

Georgios Theotokis


Boydell Press



First full-length analysis of Norman military organisation in the Balkans: events, strategy, and tactics.
The Norman expansion in eleventh-century Europe was a movement of enormous historical importance, which saw men and women from the duchy of Normandy settling in England, Italy, Sicily and the Middle East. The Norman establishment in the South is particularly interesting, because it represents the story of a few hundred mercenaries who managed to establish a principality in the Mediterranean that would later develop in to the Kingdom of Sicily.
In this book the author examines the clash of two different "military cultures" - the Normans and the Byzantines - in one theatre of war - the Balkans. It is the first study to date of the military organization of the Norman and Byzantine states in the Mediterranean, and of their overall strategies and their military tactics in the battlefield. It is also the first to examine the way in which each military culture reacted and adapted to the strategies and tactics of its enemies in Italy and the Balkans. The author closely follows the campaigns conducted by the Normans in the Byzantine provinces of Illyria and Macedonia and their battles against Imperial armies commanded by the Byzantine Emperor. He also examines the ways in which the Italian-Norman and Byzantine military systems differed, and their relative efficiencies.

Dr Georgios Theotokis is Assistant Professor of European History at Fatih University, Istanbul.


3 line illustrations
278 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Warfare in History
Hardback, 9781843839217, July 2014
Paperback, 9781783271399, July 2016
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Primary sources and the problems of military history
Norman military institutions in southern Italy in the eleventh century
The Byzantine army of the tenth and eleventh centuries
The Byzantine naval forces in the tenth and eleventh centuries: organization and tactics
The establishment of the Normans in southern Italy and Sicily
Robert Guiscard's invasion of Illyria: From the landing in Corfu to the victory at Dyrrachium
The Norman advances in the Balkans and the end of the dream
Bohemond of Taranto and the First Crusade
The Count's campaign of 1107 and the Treaty of Devol


The author is to be praised for his careful and detailed reading of the sources and for giving us such insightful observations about the various military campaigns involving the Normans on the Balkans. MEDIAEVISTIK

The Norman Campaigns in the Balkans is a useful introduction to and study of the Byzantine-Norman wars of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. . . . The study of the Byzantine attitude to war and the application of their numerous manuals in this period is a particular strength of this volume, as are the detailed and rich campaign narratives. COMITATUS

The rich detail of the text rewards the careful reader.... (It) is a sound addition to the literature on the topic. MEDIEVAL WARFARE

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