Welcome to my blog!

News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. I hope you find it helpful and entertaining.

Friday, 14 June 2013

In Pursuit of the Robber Baron

One of my favourite medieval characters is Robert Guiscard, a Norman knight who journeyed to Southern Italy to make his fortune.




It was a bit tough at the outset, although much tougher on the locals, as he made a living as a robber baron in Calabria. But by 1057 he had become Duke of Apulia and two years later Duke of Calabria. In 1081 he launched a hugely ambitious invasion of Byzantium via modern day Albania. He defeated the Emperor Alexios at Durrazzo (Dures) and conquered most of Greece, although he didn't have the resources to hold it.

This is also one of my favourite wargame armies and GDWS did a display game of the Battle of Durrazzo in 2005. I have also travelled over large parts of his route in the Balkans.

As a result I was delighted to pick up a copy in Wigtown of Finch Allibone's travelogue of her own journey in pursuit of the Guiscard. She started from his birthplace in Coutances, through Italy and on to the Balkans. She tells Guiscard's story together with her own visits to the sites of interest on the way. An entertaining read if you can find a copy.

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