Rollo, the leader of Vikings, mastered diplomacy as key to power. He showed loyalty to King Charles the Great. Moreover, he undertook to protect the empire against other Vikings. Rollo also adopted Christianity. The king granted the northern land of France to Rollo in return for his concessions. It was the inception of Normandy. Rouen was made its capital.
Normandy Gaining Power
Normandy was turned into a huge military camp. Over two Norman generations, the territory of Normandy sprawled to double its original area. It became one of the most powerful French principalities.
The Norman minority reigned over the French majority. In turn, the Normans got assimilated into the French identity. Inter-ethnic marriages accomplished that process. The Scandinavian language almost totally disappeared over a couple of generations.
Robberies and violence vanished from the strategy to build wealth. Economy management was an important lesson taken by the Normans from the French. They were rapidly growing into an autonomous and self-sufficient state stemming from conquered lands. Effective government, social hierarchy and ownership to land underlay the new medieval state.
Order and stability ousted anarchy and terror. The gang of Scandinavian pirates grew into a political force on the continent. However the military nature of Vikings’ Normandy revealed itself in suppressed upheavals of those who disobeyed the authorities.
In late 10 th century, Norman peasants excited a riot against the aristocracy. The earl sent a squadron of knights who captured the peasant insurgents, chopped off their legs and arms and left them to die.
The Normans adopted Christianity, pursuant to the accord with Charles the Great. Subsequently, they did not settle for that. They conceived their own religion, and it was largely a synergy with pagan culture. Actually, the Normans built temples and monasteries. They developed and imposed the Christianity-based faith.
The Mont-Saint-Michel monastery shows the condensed essence of the Normans’ commitment to spirituality. It was a major attraction for numerous pilgrims, the place of worship. Now it is an incarnation of medieval beauty.