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projected heroic and chivalric ideals upon their Norman protagonists. But they also must have been writing exactly what the Normans wanted to believe about themselves, and what the Normans wanted the Pope and all other Christians to believe about them. Hence we can conclude that the Normans revered and actively cultivated their "crusader" image. This form of propaganda must have stirred genuine religious feelings in the Norman knights and boosted their morale. The Normans' crusader image elevated their status and made their campaigns seem like just wars and their victories like triumphs for Latin Christendom, not just successful acts of piracy and brigandage.

The same zeal pervaded the Normans' adventures in the Balkans in 1081. Now they were fighting not against Muslims but Christians, although the Latins perceived the Greeks as heretics as a result of the schism of 1054. This time Pope Gregory VII himself declared his Norman vassals to be soldiers of Christ and sent them off with his benediction.47 Anna Comnena, the Emperor Alexius I Comnenus's daughter, includes a description of the Normans in her history of her father's reign, the Alexiad, which she wrote around 1148. Anna makes them out to be just as pious and reverent as they are in Amatus's and Malaterra's descriptions. The night before they went to battle with Alexius at Dyrrachium, she writes that Robert led his soldiers to pray: "With all his forces he arrived at the sanctuary built long ago by the sea in honour of the martyr Theodorus. All that night the Normans, in an attempt to propitiate the Deity, were partaking of the holy and divine mysteries."48 Anna truly hated the Normans for the devastation they inflicted upon her father's Empire, so it is certain that she did not give this account in order to


47. Douglas, The Norman Achievement, 102.
48. Anna Comnena, The Alexiad, trans. E. R. A. Sewter (Baltimore: Penguin, 1969), 4.6 (page 146).
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