Other times, other customs? : analysing the 'Gesta Roberti Wiscardi'
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This thesis approaches the Gesta Roberti Wiscardi as a means of gaining an insight into the cultural values of its author and intended audience. A detailed study is made of the various role models within the poem: the ideal soldier, the good lord, the role of women in society, and the perception of priests and the papacy. In addition to this the text is used to establish racial stereotypes for the following groups of peoples: the Germans, Sicilians, Seljuqs, Greeks, Italians, Venetians and Normans. The significance of the characterisation of individuals who are portrayed in a manner inconsistent with their racial stereotype is also examined. The thesis re-examines the evidence in the text and in other document sources concerning the author of the poem and establishes a viable identification. A new interpretation of the role of the two patrons. Urban II and Roger Borsa, is also discussed. The question of the consistency of style in William of Apulia's poem is also addressed and set in the context of the subject matter and intent of the work. Finally a discussion is made of the evidence for the use of William as a source by three subsequent historians: Robert of Torigni, Suger of St Denis and Anna Comnena. This thesis draws attention to further use of the Gesta by Robert than previously realised and for the first time forwards a concrete case for its use by the latter two authors.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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