From: Cologne, Germany
As I understand it, "Normans" is indeed a derivative form of "Norsemen" or "Northmen". I'd guess it was the Frankish/Gaulish pronunciation for them(?).
The term "Norman" is the genus (umm right english term? ) designation that describes 2 groups:
1) North-Teutons ("Nordgermanen") who undertook raids towards the south (even into Italy, afaik), and
2) romanized Normans who spread from a region in Northern France (Normandy - coastal areas, as the rest of France was populated by the Gauls).
In mid-age, the term Normans was then used as synonym for all ethnic groups from Skandinavia. Another term used was "pagani" (pagan) or "piratae" (pirates). Franconian annals mention a land Normannia, which doesn't refer to Norway, but to Denmark.
Around 800 A.D., the Franconians called the Tribes, which had settled in a large strip from North-Germany to North-Scandinavia, "Nordmani". To the Franconians, the Normans were the northernmost populace they knew.
It's hard to distinguish between Vikings, Normans and say Danish raiders, as even Normans undertook raids on Scandinavian "empires" or "countries", which of course weren't real coherent countries or kingdoms like those that developed later on.
The vast majority of the Normans used to do mixed farming, but some of them were able and experienced pirates/raiders. The old Nordic term "viking" didn't just describe North-Germanic raiders, but also Western-slavonian and Estonian raiders, and the term may have also been widely used when referring to any Nordic or Norman pirate raider in mid-age literature, later on.
Still, the Normans were not a cohesive ethnic group, but a bunch of several groups that even waged war against each other.
In the 12th century, the Normans controlled England (except for Wales) up North to a line from Carlisle to Newcastle Upon Tyne - Ashington, the entire Normandy, all of South Italy (up to Sabaudia - cough, Mussolini's model city), including Sicily.
In the 9th century, they had landed in Frisia (North German coast, probably the Frisian Isles too), the Southern coast of Spain, and North Africa (Morocco). Some old Roman sources stated that they even used Eastern European stream courses to get to the Eastern Mediterranean (~ late 3rd century afaik).
Whatever, I learned in school that the era of the "Vikings" is usually set from 793 A.D. (raid on Lindisfarne, England) to 1066, even though their raids and wars had petered out a couple of years earlier. A few smaller raids then had been undertaken until 1209, against the Isle of Man, Dublin and the Orkneys.
< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 3/16/2010 11:53:09 PM >
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
8th of August, 2006