Front Page Titles (by Subject) 26.: The Normans - Judgments on History and Historians
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26.: The Normans - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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After one would have thought the Völkerwanderung long since completed and while Europe believed it had only one deadly enemy, Islam, a Germanic tribe which had remained primitive and was possessed of extreme strength arose to plunder the European world whose culture was then in the ascendant. They are pirates, but no ordinary ones; their leaders want to win glory and glamor at home by taking booty. Moreover, their habitat, the North Sea, requires the utmost in boldness, strength, and sacrificial spirit. Enormous sacrifices of human life had to be expected, and this presupposes a greater wealth of vigorous manpower than Scandinavia was able to support. One can scarcely picture these predatory fellowships under their jarls as powerful and astonishing enough; breeding and elemental strength must have presented an appearance full of wonder and awe. Everything that they encountered must have seemed withered next to them.
They were destined to do the following things: to form the mightiest, most independent dukedom in France; to construct England through one last invasion in such a way that this invasion really had to remain the last—they founded the definitive England; from Normandy, to wrest lower Italy and Sicily away from the Arabs, Byzantines, and Lombards, and to fortify this region in such a way that Arabs and Greeks had to give up all claim to it; to found the Norman state of Antioch; finally, to establish a dominion over Russia which continued even under the Mongol yoke and finally was able to shake off the latter.
Everywhere the Normans create viable states capable of keeping willfulness and sacrilege in check and of pursuing great goals.