Normans treated Popes as secular rulers was separate from the way they treated Popes as religious authorities. The Normans prove by their actions that they were in persistent need of protection from the Papacy as a religious institution, even though they had no trouble in subjugating their enemies and subjecting other secular magnates to their authority. In this period, when men were beginning to travel immense distances for the purpose of recovering the Holy Land for Christendom, it is impossible to underestimate the importance of religion. Rulers yearned to number the support of the Church among their resources as much as they yearned for a strong military and rich treasury. Medieval European society was marked by almost perpetual warfare, and rulers' authority was constantly challenged from every angle; thus it was natural for them to solicit whatever aid holy men could offer, and to employ non-military means of maintaining their subjects' obedience and loyalty whenever possible. The Normans were no exception; and since even the Papacy was vulnerable to challenges and attacks (not least from the Normans themselves), it was natural for it to look to strong secular rulers like the Normans for political and military aid.
The Normans in the South as "Crusaders"
The evidence clearly indicates that the Normans who made their careers in the central Mediterranean, especially Duke Robert Guiscard of Apulia and his brother Count Roger I of Sicily, fostered their image as proto-crusaders throughout their campaigns against the Sicilian Muslims and the Byzantines. They also, as described above, took on the chivalric role of protectors of the Papacy, and as such safeguarded Papal elections and defended Pope Gregory VII against King Henry IV of Germany, who attempted to