So what did the Normans do for us? Their greatest strength, it seems, was their sense of timing. As Green writes: “They were arch-opportunists in an age of opportunism.” Their real skill lay in self-promotion — clever marketers of their own ersatz image. The Normans employed a coterie of hagiographers who fostered the belief that “they were born of a warrior race whose victories showed that they were favoured by God”. Good publicists are worth their weight in gold.