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in 1087.31 The alliance between the Normans and the Papacy seems to have been strongest at this point, when a legacy of Papal service and vassalage had been established. Having quelled opposition in Southern Italy, the Normans were happy to undertake the honorable duty of defending the Supreme Pontiff, probably because of the distinction and heroic image such a responsibility conveyed. Both the Normans and the Papacy enjoyed mutual benefits from this alliance, since it furnished the Papacy with security and the Normans with the same prestige the Holy Roman Emperors had enjoyed when they had been the official Papal protectors. Indeed, it was an alliance the Papacy could not do without, since the Normans' military protection had become such an indispensable asset against the German King's aggression; the Normans, meanwhile, gained respectability and unquestioned authority to supplement their military strength.

The Papacy was in very many ways just like any other player in the secular politics of Medieval Europe: it had its own territory to look after and independence to protect. Evidence of this is apparent in the Papacy's relationship with the Normans. Neither the Papacy nor the Norman leaders shied away from making war on each other, and the Papacy repeatedly found itself in the position of granting concessions to the Normans in order to protect its own safety; moreover, the Popes had clearly political motives for forging an alliance with the Normans, since they wanted to ward off Henry IV's attempts at ousting them from the Papal throne. It is tempting, then, to liken this relationship to those between all the other Medieval European feudal powers.

But the fact that the Normans so consistently sought out and made use of grandiloquent Papal blessings and confirmations of their political rights proves that they, their subjects, and their competitors placed great value in Papal support. The way the


31. Douglas, The Norman Achievement, 135
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