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D. M. Hayes
Roger II of Sicily
Family, Faith, and Empire in the Medieval Mediterranean World

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221 p., 18 b/w ill., 4 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58140-8
Languages: English
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Retail price: EUR 75,00 excl. tax
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This volume enhances our understanding of the various strategies used by early Norman rulers of Sicily and Southern Italy – but above all Roger II of Sicily - to establish authority and cultivate identity in the Mediterranean world.

Roger II (c. 1095-1154), Sicily’s first king, was an anomaly for his time. An ambitious new ruler who lacked the distinguished lineage so prized by the nobility, and a leader of an extraordinarily diverse population on the fringes of Europe, he occupied a unique space in the continent’s charged political landscape. This interdisciplinary study examines the strategies that Roger used to legitimize his authority, including his relationships with contemporary rulers, the familial connections that he established through no less than three marriages, and his devotion to the Church and Saint Nicholas of Myra/Bari. Yet while Roger and his family made the most of their geographic and cultural contexts, it is convincingly argued here that they nonetheless retained a strong western focus, and that behind the diverse mélange of Norman Sicily were very occidental interests.

Drawing together sources of political, social, and religious history from locations as disparate as Spain and the Byzantine Empire, as well as evidence from the magnificent churches and elaborate mosaics constructed during his reign, this volume offers a fascinating portrait of a figure whose rule was characterized both by great potential and devastating tragedy. Indeed, had Roger been able to accomplish his ambitious agenda, the history of the medieval Mediterranean world would have unfolded very differently.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



Part I. Social Strategies: The Marriage Ties of Roger II

Chapter 1. The Appeal of Alfonso VI of León-Castile’s Legacy

Chapter 2. Opportunities in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and in the Principality of Antioch

Part II. Spiritual Strategies: St Nicholas of Myra

Chapter 3. The Saint’s Cult in Norman Bari, c.1071 – c.1111

Chapter 4. The Devotion of Roger II

Part III. Cultural Strategies: The Royal Mosaic in Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio

Chapter 5. French Connections: The Significance of the Fleurs-de-Lis

Chapter 6. The Message of the Antiquated Loros


Brief Glossary



Interest Classification:
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Political & institutional history
Social & economic history
Cultural & intellectual history
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
Italian Peninsula
Medieval History (400-1500) : subperiods
Late Middle Ages (c.1300-1500)

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