The Normans in the Mediterranean


Robert, duke of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily


    After being officially recognised as the duke of Apulia and Calabria in Melfi, in 1059, Robert Guiscard proceeded to systematically conquer Mezzogiorno, in particular Calabria, and reopened on his own account, expeditions to Sicily where he assigned his brother, Roger. After thirty years of war, Roger, known as ‘the Grand Count’, seized Sicily from the Muslims.

Having annexed the remaining Byzantine territories and holding nearly all of southern Italy, Robert then organised an expedition to the Balkans. Did he only want to push back the Byzantine menace or was he dreaming of an imperial destiny ? He died in 1085, in Cephalonia, during this final military campaign.


The Lombard principalities
The Muslim Sicily
The Byzantine possessions and the ‘proto-crusade’
Robert Guiscard and Gregory VII

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