William of Apulia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the rulers of Apulia named William, see William Iron Arm and William II, Duke of Apulia.

William of Apulia was a chronicler of the Normans, writing in the 1090s. His Latin epic, Gesta Roberti Wiscardi ("The Deeds of Robert Guiscard"), written in hexameters, is one of the principal contemporary sources for the Norman conquest of southern Italy, especially the career of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia (1059–1085).

Background[edit]

Little is known about William's life before he wrote his history of the Normans. Unlike the other two principal chroniclers of the Normans in Italy (Amatus of Montecassino and Geoffrey Malaterra), William was probably a layman, based on the relative lack of religious references in his work.[1] It is also quite possible that William was a Lombard, rather than a Norman, as his treatment of Lombard characters in his history is very sympathetic when compared to his contemporary Norman counterparts.[2]

The coinage of Roger Borsa, to whom William dedicated his work and of whose court William was probably a member.

The Gesta Roberti Wiscardi[edit]

William's poem Gesta Roberti Wiscardi was probably composed sometime between 1097 and 1099, as he notes the fighting of the crusaders in Anatolia during 1097, but not the fall of Jerusalem in 1099.[3] The poem was dedicated to Duke Roger Borsa son of duke Robert Guiscard, implying that he was a member of the former's court. More than the works of his two fellow chroniclers of the Normans, Amatus of Montecassino and Geoffrey Malaterra, William's work is a tribute to Robert Guiscard, which may indicate that Roger commissioned it to strengthen his claim to his father's titles.[4]

Editions[edit]

  • William of Apulia, trans. Graham A. Loud, The Deeds of Robert Guiscard, Books One, Two, Three, Four, and Five (Word Documents)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wolf, Kenneth Baxter (1995). Making History: The Normans and their Historians in Eleventh-Century Italy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 124–5. 
  2. ^ Wolf, Kenneth Baxter (1995). Making History: The Normans and their Historians in Eleventh-Century Italy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 126–8. 
  3. ^ Wolf, Kenneth Baxter (1995). Making History: The Normans and their Historians in Eleventh-Century Italy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 123. 
  4. ^ Wolf, Kenneth Baxter (1995). Making History: The Normans and their Historians in Eleventh-Century Italy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 124.