Apulia in Medieval Scandinavian Literature
Medieval Scandinavian sources often mention Apulia together with Byzantium, where Western and Eastern Scandinavians met. The Varangian mercenaries hired in Byzantium had a key role in spreading the cult of St Nicholas, thus creating a bond between Southern Italy and Western Europe, especially those areas that professed a “Scandinavian” heritage. The number of travellers from the North decreased in the late Middle Ages. As first-hand information became scantier, Apulia was mainly known in Scandinavia through continental courtly literature: within this genre, vague reminiscences of Frederick II’s dominion gradually evolved into fantastic depictions of Apulia.