The Normans of Italy

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The Normans of Italy

Post by Varasd on Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:00 pm


THE NORMANS OF ITALY

While many northmen are trying to conquer Britannia, others settling on the Iberian Peninsula, the great migration from the Scandinavian Peninsula is yet to stop.

The Drengot family, who are known across Europe as mercenary leaders, have decided to settle with their families and soldiers in Italy. Osmond Drengot, leader of the Normans, along with his son, Gilbert Drengot, has led a series of quick and devastating attacks against the petty lords of Southern Italy.

In matter of weeks, what seemed like a typical series of northmen's raids, has turned out to be a conquest. Between Calabria and the Papal state, the new Norman state was born. The Normans have been cautious, however, not the slightest threat was shown towards Calabria or the Papal State. As the seat of their power, the Drengot family has chosen the city of Naples.

The new rulers of South Italy are a strange folk - the majority of them are pagans, however, they are as if they lost faith in their old gods. Not practicing the old ways, yet not embracing Christianity either, a people without spirituality.

What is the faith of this newborn nation? Will they stand as their own, or are they going to become vassals of a foreign force? Are they going to follow Rome, or they will join the Empire of Greeks and Romans?


OOC info:

Normans in Italy: http://i.imgur.com/yF99n1P.png

Characters:

Osmond Drengot, Ruler of Italian Normandy (Azaq)
Gilbert Drengot, Heir of Italian Normandy (Azaq)

Viviano Caminati, subjugated Count of Salerno (Varasd)
William of Hauteville - Marshall of Osmond Drengot (Azaq)


Last edited by Varasd on Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Azaq on Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:40 pm

The Normans

Osmond stood at the edge of the Neapolitan coast, overseeing the construction of a new castle worthy of the new would-be king. Of course, technically, he was not a king. This would very soon have to change.

Bordered by Christian realms on all sides, he and his people - who had already long ago abandoned the Norse gods - knew it would only be a matter of time before they would have to convert. The question was, to which church? Osmond and his son Gilbert prepared for letters to be sent out to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, asking for them to send a theologian of some sorts to his court, so that he may examine the beliefs of both churches and determine to which one to convert to. He made his letters no secret, quite the opposite in fact, in order to prevent a preemptive attack on his realm by anxious and zealous Christian realms.

As he let the word spread, so too did he cast off the pigeons to the Pope in Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople. And as he did so, he turned to one of his servants.

"Fetch me the Italian, the one from Salerno, whats-his-name...? Ah, right, Viviano! Bring him to me, I wish to speak to him."

He then turned to his marshal.

"William, how many troops can we muster? We must be prepared in case of attack."

"About 8,000 or more, no less."

Osmond shook his head.

"That may not be enough."

William nodded.

"I'll see what I can do to try and muster more, though I doubt there will be much more we will be able to do."

Osmond turned back to his castle, currently under construction, his son piping up.

"Father, do you think we can hold off an attack if one should come?"

Osmond did not answer, but he hoped it would not have to come to that.
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Kingdom of Calabria on Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:35 am

The letter came to the newly crowned King Matteo Russo. His late father's body was not even cold and already his leadership was being tested.  He could not be weak in the face of this intrusion.  He could not be seen as weak either.  

"We must act quickly, yet calmly," he said to himself as he paced his library.  "This Osmond must be dealt with."

He began making arrangements to travel to Napoli, where, rumor had it, every man woman and child had been turned into a bloodthirsty knight.  The thought was all over San Donato and it was scaring his people.  After all, Calabria, and San Donato in particular, had had dealings with the Lombards in the past.  Matteo had not known them to be easily won over.  There had to be a good explanation for this sudden Norman Conquest. It had not even been ten years yet that he and his fellow Dukes of Calabria brokered peace and economic ties with his northern neighbors. Then, finally, after years of discussions, and under the direction of his late father Archduke Saverio II, the Dukes had laid claim to the very lands now occupied by the Normans. King Matteo needed answers, and this was not a matter to finish by letter. He needed to speak with Count Caminati of Salerno before continuing north on to Napoli. "Guido," he addressed his manservant. It was still very odd to think of Guido as anything but his father's. Maybe in time he could release Guido from his service. Everything was still very new. He continued, "Send word to Caminati that the new Calabrese King is en route."

"Yes, sir," nodded Guido.

"And listen close. You must send the swiftest strongest girl for the job," Matteo advised.

"A girl, Your Majesty? But why," asked Guido.

"Because nobody expects a girl messenger. Northmen, most of all. She won't be stopped; especially if she's dressed as a missionary," explained Matteo. Guido smiled and hurried out of the library.

And how did this mass migration of violent adventurers pass by two of his islands unnoticed? The Guidices were probably too busy fighting each other again.  "Disgraceful," he thought.  "God, You are my shield."

He sent instruction to the Dukes of Basilicata and Puglia.  He informed them of his plan to treat with Osmond, and if things did not go well, to be prepared for attacks from Norman Territories.  Fortifications must be bolstered, knights must be trained, grain must be stored, blades sharpened, God prayed to.


Last edited by Kingdom of Calabria on Sat Apr 02, 2016 2:59 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : osmond lives in naples, not salerno. and then i got creative.)
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Varasd on Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:26 pm

Viviano Caminati
Naples


The Count entered the hall of Osmond Drengot, in silence. He bowed in front of his new Lord, though clearly, he was not yet accepting towards him. However, the loyalty of the Count could be bought, and in return of a honourable place next to Lord Osmond in his court, he would be willing to serve.

For now, that was only an option.

"You've called for me, M'Lord?" He asked, clearly aware of the situation the Norman invaders were in.
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Azaq on Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:20 pm

Varasd wrote:Viviano Caminati
Naples


The Count entered the hall of Osmond Drengot, in silence. He bowed in front of his new Lord, though clearly, he was not yet accepting towards him. However, the loyalty of the Count could be bought, and in return of a honourable place next to Lord Osmond in his court, he would be willing to serve.

For now, that was only an option.

"You've called for me, M'Lord?" He asked, clearly aware of the situation the Norman invaders were in.

Osmond Drengot

Osmond and Gilbert looked at Viviano for a moment, and then to each other, before Osmond spoke.

"The Old Gods are dead, and they have been for a long time. They may have never even lived to begin with. But whatever it is that drives your people - the Christian faithful - it is very much alive. There is a power behind your church, even when divided, that gives you influence and strength in the face of... 'heathenry'. Perhaps this God of yours - this Jewish God who died once for all man and came back again - perhaps he is true, and perhaps he is merciful. That will have to be determined.

But first, your status must be determined. Salerno is yours, and it's people yours. They trust you as their liege, and thus it would be best to keep you as their liege. Salerno will remain yours so long as the House of Drengot remains in power. To this, I charge you with lordship over it - and it's surrounding regions - so long as you maintain your loyalty to my House. The lands will be yours and yours to rule as you see fit so long none of it's laws conflict with ours. Your status will be relatively autonomous, though you will have to supply men of arms should war come. In addition, I invite you a spot on my council as Chancellor. Lastly, if you wish, I will grant you the city of Amalfi - as well as the lands between it and Salerno - to include in your lordship.

Soon the Christian cross will fly on my banners, I am sure of it, and when it does I shall seek a crown. Should that crown come to me, you will no longer be a mere lord, but a duke. The Duke of Salerno and Amalfi.

What say you?"

Osmond and his son both waited patiently for a reply.
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Varasd on Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:34 pm

Viviano Caminati

Count Viviano was clearly suprised. He let out a sigh of relief before speaking, finally.

"Yes, my Lord. I gladly accept your generous offer. I swear loyalty to you and your house, and will protect your throne from threat. " Count Viviano kneeled down, and repeated an oath in latin.

"You have my sword."

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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Azaq on Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:31 pm

Varasd wrote:Viviano Caminati

Count Viviano was clearly suprised. He let out a sigh of relief before speaking, finally.

"Yes, my Lord. I gladly accept your generous offer. I swear loyalty to you and your house, and will protect your throne from threat. " Count Viviano kneeled down, and repeated an oath in latin.

"You have my sword."


Osmond Drengot

Osmond nodded in agreement.

"Very well then, I, Duke - soon to be King - Osmond Drengot of Naples, dub thee Lord - soon to be Duke - Viviano Caminati of Salerno and Amalfi and Chancellor of Naples. You are dismissed for now, Chancellor."
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by House of Judah on Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:28 pm

Rav Abramo

“Please, Iacopo, I know you are worried but there is no reason to panic.”

“Forgive me, Ravi, but I cannot be as sanguine as you are. These Normans are a new breed. They are hard men, with no allegiance to any who would protect our people. Now they reach out to the two Christian churches. If they align with Roma and the blessed Judean Pope, we may yet be protected, but there is no agreement between Gerusalemme and Constantinopli. If the Normans turn East instead of North, we could lose everything. We could lose our home. May I lose my right hand if I ever forget Yerushalayim, but Napoli is my home. Is there any here who would say otherwise? Would our brothers in Amalfi?”

“Iacopo speaks truthfully, Ravi. These changing tides could spell doom for the Jewish communities.”

“And I said that there is no reason to panic, not no reason for concern. We will act, but carefully and measuredly. We must make the Normans understand that we are a resource to them, one which they can rely on. And one day, they will find us indispensable. Then it won’t matter if they align with Rome or Constantinople. Our position will be secure. I will lead a delegation of the leading Jews of Napoli to the court of Gilbert the Norman and make him hear our plea.



Rav Abramo, Chief Rabbi of Napoli, strode with confidence to the gate of the Norman castle. With him were a dozen of the most prominent Neapolitan Jews. Few mirrored the rabbi’s confidence. Other expressions betrayed everything from wonder to trepidation. Two carefully kept their faces blank. The rabbi stepped forward as the clear leader of the group.

“Buongiorno, Signores,” he said to the guard. “We Jews of Napoli have come to greet his beneficence, Osmond Drengot, who has brought Norman order to these troubled, unordered Italian lands.”
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Kingdom of Calabria on Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:39 am

King Matteo Russo
Salerno


It took two days for the King to arrive in Salerno, and he planned it that way. Of course he could have rode faster, drove his horses harder, traveled lighter. But speed was not the point. He needed to make sure he left a lasting, and positive impression. After all, this was the first foray into foreign territory he had made since becoming crowned. "Father, why have you burdened me so," he asked to God. Or maybe he was asking his progenitor. In either case, he was nervous.

Matteo turned to his brother, the Viceroy of the Sicilian Federation, Giovanni, "Did I mean to make a statement, or just hide my nerves behind pageantry?" He smiled, and in an attempt to make it seem genuine, he let out a slight laugh.

Giovanni was five years Matteo's junior and had learned enough of the elders idiosyncrasies to understand that this was not quite a time for jest. So, to rest Matteo's worries, he made a show of looking around at what was deemed "pageantry". There was the King, newly crowned and unsure of his duties as king. Next, was Guido Narducci, his father's manservant, given to Matteo upon his coronation. Giovanni was almost positive that even without Saverio's instruction, or a crown granted, Guido would have continued to serve the eldest Russo in whatever capacity he could. He was loyal. After that came the Archbishop of Calabria Gasparru Melis. The title had been created by the Basilian Reforms, which seemed to coincide with Calabria's recent reach into the Mediterranean. He was the most respected bishop in all of Sardegna, and a natural fit for the role. Like Matteo, this would be his first taste of internationality after assuming an important role in Calabria.

And lastly, but not quite curiously, was the Count of Sicani County, William de Guet. An interesting choice for such a high profile meeting, but one that could save the entire Italian Peninsula from outright war. Count William de Guet was himself a Norman. His father, Pierre de Guet, had emigrated to Sicily during one of the first early waves of Norman explorers. He kept his faith to himself, married a Catholic, and now his son William was the Count in Palermo.

Giovannii turned back to Matteo, "Nay, brother. Not too much pageantry; after all, we're riding stallions, not war-steed or show horses. We fly the Calabrese flag, because we do not wish to hide. We are a small, yet important party, come to figure things out. We will leave a lasting impression. Your plan is straightforward, honest, and once we speak with Count Caminati we'll have a better understanding what we should be met with in Napoli."

At long last they came upon the residence of the Count. Guido dismounted, and spoke to the guard, "Sir, grant us entry to speak with His Grace the Count. I will assume you have received advanced word of our arrive, and the pertinent nature of our business here."
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Varasd on Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:57 am

Count Viviano Caminati

The Count was curious about the Calabrian envoy coming to him, so he let them in, and stay, in his court at Salerno.

"Greetings, greetings, good neighbours!

How may the Count of Salerno and Amalfi, the Chancellor of Naples, be at your service?
" Viviano used all his titles newly gained from the Drengot family openly and deliberately, to show the Calabrians how high the bid currently is.
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Azaq on Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:51 am

House of Judah wrote:Rav Abramo

“Please, Iacopo, I know you are worried but there is no reason to panic.”

“Forgive me, Ravi, but I cannot be as sanguine as you are.  These Normans are a new breed.  They are hard men, with no allegiance to any who would protect our people.  Now they reach out to the two Christian churches.  If they align with Roma and the blessed Judean Pope, we may yet be protected, but there is no agreement between Gerusalemme and Constantinopli.  If the Normans turn East instead of North, we could lose everything.  We could lose our home.  May I lose my right hand if I ever forget Yerushalayim, but Napoli is my home.  Is there any here who would say otherwise?  Would our brothers in Amalfi?”

“Iacopo speaks truthfully, Ravi.  These changing tides could spell doom for the Jewish communities.”

“And I said that there is no reason to panic, not no reason for concern.  We will act, but carefully and measuredly.  We must make the Normans understand that we are a resource to them, one which they can rely on.  And one day, they will find us indispensable.  Then it won’t matter if they align with Rome or Constantinople.  Our position will be secure.  I will lead a delegation of the leading Jews of Napoli to the court of Gilbert the Norman and make him hear our plea.



Rav Abramo, Chief Rabbi of Napoli, strode with confidence to the gate of the Norman castle.  With him were a dozen of the most prominent Neapolitan Jews.  Few mirrored the rabbi’s confidence.  Other expressions betrayed everything from wonder to trepidation.  Two carefully kept their faces blank.  The rabbi stepped forward as the clear leader of the group.

“Buongiorno, Signores,” he said to the guard.  “We Jews of Napoli have come to greet his beneficence, Osmond Drengot, who has brought Norman order to these troubled, unordered Italian lands.”

One of the guards laughed at the Jews, poking fun at them. The other was clearly uninterested in his compatriot's behavior, but was a bit irritated by the Jews' presence. He raised an eyebrow at the Jews' words.

"Save your tongue for your wife's genitals, Jew. Go and speak to Osmond."

The other guard continued to crack jokes about the Jews, causing his compatriot - who was frustrated with his comrade's childish behavior - to hit him with his pike. The guards merely stared at each other in angry silence.
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Kingdom of Calabria on Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:23 am

The Calabrese Envoy
Court of Count Caminati


Giovanni could not stifle his amazement. He chuckled, none too quietly, at the Count's ego. "Sir, if you have become that much of a snake, please, ditch the charred and prostrate yourself."

"Easy, brother," Matteo said, as he placed his hand on Giovanni's forearm. Turning his eyes back to Viviano, "Caminati. For years your family and my family have been in contact to secure economic ties and a lasting peace. And as you know, because it was with your help, the security and stability of Calabria has laid claim to these lands. What I'd like to know, is how these Normans could conquer half of Italy so swiftly. Good Count, by the titles which you bestow upon yourself I can plainly see that you have been in contact with the Northmen. What have they given you? Land? Nobility? Or just the promise of such things?" He paused, as to let the words sink in. "Now, I do not begrudge you for attempting to keep your people safe. But the people respond better, and willingly, to security and stablity, rather than fancy sounding titles. What I have come for? Why am I here? Viviano, I am a king. More than that I am a king now. I can offer you and your people the saftey and stability that you will never find with the Normans. They are mercenaries. They are godless."
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Varasd on Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:53 am

Viviano Caminati

Count Viviano ordered servants to bring in fresh food and delicious wine for the guests, and after everything was done, he sat down to a table with Matteo and Giovanni, sending all the servants away. He made sure that nobody could listen.

How did they come so swiftly, you ask? They were already here. Point me to a noble who never hired mercenaries to save his own people from death in battle!
Then, it happened suddenly. Before anyone would notice, they have banded together, and held our lands before we could even call our men to arms.
Before you point your fingers anywhere, Giovanni, where was Calabria to defend her allies? Nowhere.

I have chosen the way to protect my family and my people. Soon, the Normanns will convert to the True Faith, and once Rome accepts their presence, will you be able to dominate this region?

They have secured my place as the Count of Salerno, and have given me lordship over Amalfi as well. I have become their Chancellor, too.

The thing is, Matteo, that the normans are here now. Let's face it, without my help, you will have a hard time trying to conquer their lands. If you would gather all your armies, you would leave your holdings in Carthage and Montenegro empty. Are you willing to take that chance?

Make no mistake, though. I am willing to help. However, it comes as a price, for what I am risking by helping you is great.

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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Kingdom of Calabria on Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:35 am

The Count's Court in Salerno

Giovanni scowled.  "Point you two a noble who has never hired a mercenary?  You're speaking with two of them.  Where was Calabria?  Defending your lands from those heretic Bogomils!  Do not speak to me of defense, Count.  Many Sicilian Sons died during the minor skirmishes in the Balkans and your words mock the glory with which they fell."

"I'm sure the Count meant no harm, brother," Matteo said, trying to sound assured.  "Although I'm sure, had he known the extent to which Italians of all regions have sacrificed in the name of God, he may have more carefully chosen his words."

Giovanni rolled his eyes.  The food looked delicious, but he was in no mood to accept anything given freely by the Count.  It was apparent now, more than ever before, that nothing this man did was free.  Everything had it's price.  

On the other hand Matteo was just plain not hungry, but he had learned from his father that to refuse to eat was sometimes seen as a sign of aggression and he could not chance that.  He needed this to work.  Matteo took a sip of the wine and breathed through his nose as he swallowed.  "Good wine, Count.  Giovanni, remind me, when we get back to San Donato we must begin importing this wine."  He next picked up a warm roll from the terra cotta bowl.  Between his fingers the brown crust gave way slightly.  He broke the bread in two.  "What is this," he asked as he inhaled deeply the aroma wafting from the soft crumb in little tendrils of steam.  "Mmm. Rye."  Matteo picked up a knife, and began buttering both halves.  "Listen to me very carefully, Caminati.  There is one course of action, and that is my course of action.  You may find that self-centered.  You may find that to be ill-advised.  So be it.  It is not up to me what you believe.  But, it is up to me that I attempt to convert the Normans to Catholicism.  Otherwise they may convert to Orthodoxy.  And while I have no issue with Orthodoxy itself, I do have an issue with a violent Orthodox nation bordering both myself and the Papacy.  For your own sake, man, it would be wise for you to abandon your Norman Masters and aide us in this endeavor.  You say you are the Norman's Chancellor? Come with us to Naples.  Treat with Osmond with us, not against us."  He finally finished buttering.  He looked up from his plate and made eye contact with the Count.  "You say you have a price, and that is fine.  Every man has his price.  But you have not asked me how much am I willing to pay.  I can offer you nothing more than the Normans have already offered.  You are the Count of these lands, and the Count you shall stay, despite my better judgement.  Anything more than that you must take up with The Father Above."  

He offered one half of the buttered rye loaf to the Count.  "What say you?"
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Kingdom of Calabria on Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:38 am

Archbishop Gasparru Melis and Count William de Guet
At the gates of the Norman Castle, under construction in Napoli


Count de Guet: "Look at the size of this place. Your Grace, I beleive the Normans are preparing for war. It is their nature."

Archbishop Melis: "My son, we can only pray that Osmond will be baptized with The Word. Hopefully a patriarch of the Orthodoxy has not already wormed his way inside. It will be by the Grace of God that our King's plan to win the heart of the heathen will work. I have no doubt this will be tough."

The pair approached the two guards stationed at the main gate.

Archbishop Melis: "Good day, sirs. We have traveled from Calabria in hopes to converse with the Lord Osmond. We bring glad tidings and the Good Word!"
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Azaq on Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:26 pm

Kingdom of Calabria wrote:Archbishop Gasparru Melis and Count William de Guet
At the gates of the Norman Castle, under construction in Napoli


Count de Guet: "Look at the size of this place.  Your Grace, I beleive the Normans are preparing for war.  It is their nature."

Archbishop Melis: "My son, we can only pray that Osmond will be baptized with The Word.  Hopefully a patriarch of the Orthodoxy has not already wormed his way inside.  It will be by the Grace of God that our King's plan to win the heart of the heathen will work.  I have no doubt this will be tough."

The pair approached the two guards stationed at the main gate.

Archbishop Melis: "Good day, sirs.  We have traveled from Calabria in hopes to converse with the Lord Osmond.  We bring glad tidings and the Good Word!"

The guards looked at each other, confused.

"What is it you bring? 'Good Word'? What the devil is that?"
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Varasd on Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:52 pm

Viviano Caminati

The Count listened carefully, and finally, replied to Matteo, after a long sigh. He held up his palms towards him, as if innocent of all charges.

"Good Sire, if you can offer nothing more, I can not offer you anything more than what is already there.
However, I can offer you -nothing-. Now, this -nothing- might be more precious than how it sounds, if you catch my meaning. For doing -nothing- in some situations, can count more than doing -something-, when the time comes.
"
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by House of Judah on Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:53 am

Rav Abramo

“A splendid piece of advice for a man who has a wife,” thanked Rav Abramo. “Sadly mine is dead some four year past. Perhaps it is time I remarry. Maybe a nice Norman woman who would be keen to learn of how Jews can be such cunning linguists. In the meantime I thank you for your hospitality and your friend for his imagination. Come, my friends.” He motioned his compatriots forward and they proceeded into castle under construction.



“Good day, My Liege,” Rav Abramo said to the Norman lord upon entering his hall. “Myself and my fellows are here to represent the Jews of your realm. There is understandable concern for the shifts occurring here in their homeland and my people would like to find some assurance of their place in Napoli. Many of my people are prone to panic. Myself, I think that you will find us to be most useful denizens of your realm. And so I come before you to ask how we can best serve you, and thus serve our realm and our people.”
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Azaq on Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:25 am

House of Judah wrote:Rav Abramo

“A splendid piece of advice for a man who has a wife,” thanked Rav Abramo.  “Sadly mine is dead some four year past.  Perhaps it is time I remarry.  Maybe a nice Norman woman who would be keen to learn of how Jews can be such cunning linguists.  In the meantime I thank you for your hospitality and your friend for his imagination.  Come, my friends.”  He motioned his compatriots forward and they proceeded into castle under construction.



“Good day, My Liege,” Rav Abramo said to the Norman lord upon entering his hall.  “Myself and my fellows are here to represent the Jews of your realm.  There is understandable concern for the shifts occurring here in their homeland and my people would like to find some assurance of their place in Napoli.  Many of my people are prone to panic.  Myself, I think that you will find us to be most useful denizens of your realm.  And so I come before you to ask how we can best serve you, and thus serve our realm and our people.”

Osmond Drengot

Osmond and Gilbert looked at each other, surprised to find Jews before him, but even more surprised to find they wished to serve him.

"You wish to serve me, the realm, and the people?"

Osmond thought for a moment, before straightening up.

"Very well then, Jew. If you wish to serve, then tell me in what service would you provide the most use? That is the question I seek answered. Every man, woman, and child serves a use to the realm and it's people. So tell me Ravi, to what use are you and your fellow Jews to the realm and it's people?"

Osmond patiently awaited an answer, as Gilbert looked on in interest.
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Azaq

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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by House of Judah on Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:32 am

Rav Abramo

“What use is needed, My Liege? We Jews have become a very practical people since the Diaspora, a trait we have not lost since the Holy Land was reclaimed. We are a learned people, and so many of us are adept administrators and accountants. Musulman physicians, while skilled at their craft, are often distrusted by Christian lords; a Jew will boast the same skill and you can be completely assured of our loyalty. Jews are people of the word, experts in matters of law and as such make excellent magistrates, investigators. And despite the claims of some, we are not servants of the Hebrew King, we are beholden to no foreign influence and so can be counselors who will always strive to advise you as best they can in the way that shall serve you best. So, again I ask, My Liege, what use is needed?”
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Azaq on Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:29 pm

House of Judah wrote:Rav Abramo

“What use is needed, My Liege?  We Jews have become a very practical people since the Diaspora, a trait we have not lost since the Holy Land was reclaimed.  We are a learned people, and so many of us are adept administrators and accountants.  Musulman physicians, while skilled at their craft, are often distrusted by Christian lords; a Jew will boast the same skill and you can be completely assured of our loyalty.  Jews are people of the word, experts in matters of law and as such make excellent magistrates, investigators.  And despite the claims of some, we are not servants of the Hebrew King, we are beholden to no foreign influence and so can be counselors who will always strive to advise you as best they can in the way that shall serve you best.  So, again I ask, My Liege, what use is needed?”

Osmond Drengot

Osmond thought for a moment.

"Very well then. You claim to be administrators, accountants, physicians, magistrates, investigators? Then you shall be administrators, accountants, physicians, magistrates, and investigators. Bring forth the best among you at each of these jobs, and they will receive ducal funding."
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by House of Judah on Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:29 am

Bishop Donato Benza

It had been more than a decade since last Donato Benza had seen Napoli. He had left a hollowed city after plague had ravaged it and his family years ago. The cousins who had taken him in at their palazzo in Rome were hardly kindly towards him, keeping him purely out of the obligation of blood. He had found comfort and meaning and, more importantly, power in Mother Church.

And now he returned to this ancient city in hopes of turning their new Northmen masters towards Christ and the One True Church. He smoothed down his purple robes as the carriage rumbled down the robe and Francesca della Toscana, his dear departed cousin Eligio’s widow, smiled at him.

“Are you nervous, Donato?”

“Hardly. I merely do not enjoy carriage rides over ill kept roads. Rome’s ancient glory surely has receded, and there is only so much the Vicar of Christ can do to restore it, even if he had the energy for it.”

“Oh, my love, do you think ill of His Holiness?”

“I do not think ill of Basilius, but I do find his attentions wanting. There is not much I suppose that can be hoped from a Jew-blooded Christian.” Francesca laughed.

“I suppose not. Still, I think you could use a distraction,” she said as she laid her hand on Donato’s knee.

“And how would la Bella Donna della Toscana distract a man of the cloth?” asked Bishop Donato as a smile spread across the priest’s face.

“Perhaps he would like to take my confession,” the widow said as she slid to her knees within the carriage.

“And have you sinned, my child?”

“Oh yes, Father. I have sinned greatly. I have, with my sinful flesh, tempted a priest of Saint Peter’s church to betray his vows to be chaste.” Francesca leaned her head against Donato’s leg.

“Well, it is well known that women are inherently sinful and need a strong hand to keep them righteous,” Donato replied as he ran his hand over Francesca’s head. With a suddenness, he took a firm grip of her hair and pulled her hair back. He lowered his face close to hers. “I am sure I can find proper penance for your sins.”

The drivers of the carriage smiled at each other as they heard the bishop and his cousin’s widow begin a vigorous session of prayer.



The lead rider road out ahead of the procession from Rome. He came to the gates of the castle and called out to the guards.

“His Holiness, Basilius Primus, the Vicar of Christ, sends to his Norman neighbors a priest of the Living God, Bishop Donato Benza.”
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Byzantine_Bithynia on Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:16 am

News of the situation in Italy had come quick to Constantinople, but action came somewhat slower. With the Alans in the East focus had been placed elsewhere. However, as it became increasing clear it would be necessary, an Imperial envoy was finally prepared. They would represent both the Orthodox Faith and the Greco-Roman Empire.

Maxentius Traianus was the chosen representative. Maxentius had been a priest for many years, and is trusted by both the Council of Patriarchs and the Emperor. He set forth from Constantinople with a guard and all the normal necessities.

Upon arriving in Italy the group set out on horse and foot to the Normans. Upon their arrival a small group came ahead, with three riders. Two, Imperial soldiers, carried red Imperial banners. The final rider was a messenger, who carried a small, circular container. Upon reaching the castle walls the messenger called out.

"Greetings, Normans. I come from Constantinople, Capital of the Greco-Roman Empire and seat of the Council of Patriarchs. With me comes the Priest Maxentius Traianus, who has been chosen to be a representative of the Orthodox faith here in Magna-Graecia. We would humbly request you allow us in."
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by Azaq on Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:48 am

The guards were more respectful towards the Christian emissaries than the Jews, for unlike the Jews they had much more to fear from these Christian men, who represented far more powerful religions that were in greater abundance of numbers within Normandia. When the messengers sent ahead of Bishop Donato Benza arrived, the guards were quick to recognize and acknowledge him as an emissary of the Pope in Rome, arguably their most powerful neighbor. They nodded, and opened the gates for the procession.

The Drengots

At the same time, the Orthodox emissaries had already been welcomed into the city and were already at the castle gates. Once again, the guards were more professional and respectful toward the Christian men. They nodded, and opened the gates to the castle.

In the courtyard awaited Osmond's son, Gilbert, who greeted the Orthodox emissaries warmly.

"Greetings, gentlemen. I am Gilbert Drengot, son of Osmond Drengot, the ruler of these lands. We welcome you to Naples, my father is awaiting you inside."

He directed them to the inside of the keep, where his father waited.
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Re: The Normans of Italy

Post by House of Judah on Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:51 pm

Rav Abramo

The rabbi watched as the processions of Christians passed. The arrival of the Normans had thrown Napoli into chaos, and the arrival of rivaling missionaries would undoubtedly bring more.

“Ravi?”

“We knew this was coming Iacopo. Now we serve our new lord as he navigates the waters of his new faith, whatever it shall be.”



Bishop Donato Benza

The bishop tisked as the carriage passed through the streets of Napoli.

“Greeks. Schismatics. Heretics.”

“At ease, my love,” Francesca responded. “I am sure this Osmond Drengot will choose the true faith and not what the Greeks bring.”

“If he has any sense he shall,” Donato agreed. “Still, I may need to rely upon yours and your handmaidens’ skills.”

“Oh? And which skills would those be?”

“The breath of them?”

“And you would have me and my handmaidens play the Maddalena? How sinful.”

“All sins may be forgiven if they are in service to Christ and his church.”

“And our sins?”

“So that I might better tend his flock. All in service to the church.”

“How noble of us.” The carriage came to gate and the driver called for entry.
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Re: The Normans of Italy

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