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depose him and appoint a new Pope. But it is difficult to conclude that the Normans were deeply moved by the prospect of being "soldiers of Christ," for in order to do so one must reconcile their chivalric Christian warrior image with their reputation for brigandage and piracy.

The reason for the arrival of the Normans in Italy is unclear, but various traditions relate that the local population asked for their assistance while the Normans were passing through on pilgrimage. Amatus of Monte Cassino claims that a group of Normans stopped in Salerno on their way back from visiting the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and that during their sojourn a group of Saracen raiders arrived and demanded tribute from the Salernitans.

Et li pelegrin de Normendie vindrent la, non porent soustenir tant injure de la seignorie de li Sarrazin, ne que li chrestiens en fussent subject a li Sarrazin.

And the Norman pilgrims saw this, they could not stand such injustice of the lordship of the Saracens, nor that the Christians were subjected to the Saracens.32

The Normans then drove off the Saracens, and the overjoyed Salernitans invited them to stay and help protect them against future raids by the heathen. The pilgrims, however, preferred to return home, but they promised to pass the word in Normandy that there were many opportunities for employment in Italy available to brave Norman knights.

This incident may well have taken place, but the Normans' primary reason for going to Italy was probably not to save the Christian population from the Muslim menace. The fact that a new feudal aristocracy was on the rise in Normandy in the early eleventh century, resulting in the uprooting of many families from their land, more plausibly explains the Normans' southward migration. Because Italy was war-torn and practically in a state of anarchy, it was a good place for the displaced knights to profit


32. Aime 1.17.
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