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Before the Normans: Southern Italy in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries.

Barbara M. Kreutz, Before the Normans: Southern Italy in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries (Philadelph University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991). xxi + 228 pp. ISBN 0-8122-3101-5. $27.95. This is a scholarly but accessible account of the history of southern Italy in a period that is generally ignored. But, as Barbara Kreutz amply demonstrates, it is an area of history very well worth of second look. Southern Italy may not have |achieved' the strong centralized monarchy that attracts scholars to Norman and Hohenstaufen Sicily, but it was in many ways all the more interesting for this: it was a world where Byzantine, Arab, Frankish and native south Itahan political ambitions and cultural influences met; and it produced the great monasteries of Monte Cassino and San Vincenzo, the written culture associated with |Beneventan' script, the medical school of Salerno, and the great tenth- and eleventh-century trading town of Amalfi. These developments deserve a good book in English, based firmly in the sources but taking account of recent scholarship in Italian, and they get it in Kreutz's book, which should achieve its stated aim of drawing the student's gaze south of Rome.
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Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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