Norman and Anglo-Norman Participation in the Iberian Reconquista c.1018 – c.1248

 Norman and Anglo-Norman Participation in the Iberian Reconquista c.1018 – c.1248

By Lucas Villegas-Aristizabal

PhD thesis, University of Nottingham (2007)

Abstract: This thesis covers the Norman and Anglo-Norman contribution to the Iberian Reconquista from the early eleventh to the mid-thirteenth centuries. It explores the involvement of these groups as part of the changing ideas of Holy War and their transformation as result of the First Crusade. It shows that although the Reconquista was the result of important political and economic factors within the Iberian realms, the theological aura that the papacy started placing on this conflict was a powerful motivator increasing the interest of the Normans and later Anglo-Normans, especially when coincidental with the general call for crusade in western Europe that resulted in the large expeditions that are known to us as the crusades.

To cover these areas, this work is divided in four main sections: the first, Chapter II, pursues chronologically the careers of individual members of the Norman nobility such as Roger of Tosny, Robert Crispin and Robert Burdet as they became involved. It also addresses the influence that institutions like Cluny and the papacy might have had in the creation of the idea of the Reconquista in the minds of those involved. The second section, Chapter III explores the brief decline of the Norman interest in the peninsula as a result of the Norman conquest of England and the First Crusade. It also explores the revitalization of the Norman interest in the peninsular conflict with the careers of Rotrou of Perche and Robert Burdet. Chapter IV, addresses the large contribution of the Anglo-Normans as part of the Second Crusade and their motivations and the impact of their arrival on the Iberian realms. Chapter V explores the participation of the lower aristocracy and merchants from the mid-twelfth century onwards in the coastal actions on both the Atlantic and  Mediterranean coasts of Iberia, showing the impact that these actions had in the Reconquista. Finally, Chapter VI explores how the changing political circumstances in Iberia and the Anglo-Norman domains helped to increase awareness during the rise of the Angevin empire and the newly found diplomatic relations between the two regions. However, it also shows that although by the thirteenth century the Reconquista was perceived as a legitimate area of crusading, the political and economic circumstances on the peninsula as well as of the English Crown had important repercussions for the drastic decline in the number of participants.

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