The frontier was once described as lands on the periphery of a culture. I argue that frontier spaces are a third space where hybridity can occur. Several of these areas existed in the medieval world with many centering around the Mediterranean and its surrounding lands. The Norman kingdom of Sicily is one such place. Utilizing three chronicles of the time, while looking through the lens of the frontier, something not done by other modern historical texts, a distinctiveness begins to become apparent. The geographic location, the island's past, and the eventual conquest by the Normans provide a base for hybridity to appear. The eventual kingdom came to have more than Christian subjects, they would have Muslim, Jewish and Byzantine Greeks as well. These communities entangling with one another eventually adopted ideas, languages, building styles, and more which is common in a frontier environment. They created something unique when compared to other Norman settlements such as Antioch, Edessa, or in Wales. When looking at the administration, propaganda, toleration and material culture of the kingdom and these settlements a uniqueness becomes clear. After usurping the former ruler and instilling their own administration the Normans had maintained the former structures of power; they had also utilized their subjects to help create a lasting legacy, one which is admired even today. The other settlements shared similarities, Antioch, for instance, was conquered the same way as Sicily. The Norman administration pushed for full integration, but the Christian subjects often still clashed showcasing a long-held unease with the other cultures in the kingdom. The administration also experienced their own cultural entanglement adopting Muslim thinking. The hybridity of cultures experienced in Sicily went unmatched by any other Norman settlement and would be the cause of their unique identity.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
De La Osa, Onyx, "The Uniqueness of a Kingdom: The Frontier Kingdom of Norman Sicily in Comparative Perspective" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 33.