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27 Jul

Kingdom of Sicily (11th – 13th c.)

The Normans captured Sicily from the Arabs who ruled the island from 902 in the 11th century. The Kingdom of Sicily encompassing the island of Sicily, the whole Mezzogiorno region of southern Italy, and the islands of Malta and Gozo was established by Roger II, Count of Sicily who crowned himself King of Sicily in 1130.

Medieval depiction of Roger II riding a horse

Medieval depiction of Roger II riding a horse

Roger II (1130-1154) spent his early reign struggling for confirmation of his title, defending his kingdom against the foreign invasions and quelling rebellions of his premier vassals Grimoald of Bari, Robert II of Capua, Ranulf II of Alife, Sergius of Naples and others. Roger II managed to consolidate his power by 1140 and later conquered the coast of Africa from Tunis to Tripoli.

Roger II was succeeded by his son William I the Bad (1154-1166) who suppressed the rebellions of the barons. His heir and successor William II (1166-1189) died childless and the Sicilian crown was assumed by his cousin Tancred of Lecce (1189-1194) on his death in 1166. The Sicilian throne was also claimed by Constance of Sicily, Tancred’s aunt and wife of Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI. The latter launched a campaign and deposed Tancred’s infant son and successor William III (1194). Thus the Sicilian crown passed to the Hohenstaufen Dynasty.

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