Roger II of Sicily

Roger II ( born December 22, 1095 Mileto, † February 26, 1154 in Palermo ) from the noble family of the Hauteville was since 1130 the King of Sicily. The second son I. Rogers from his third marriage was after the death of his brother in 1105, Count of Sicily, where his mother Adelheid later than 1113 which reigned for him. From this point on he developed into one of the most important rulers of medieval Europe.


From his Norman relatives in 1127 with the Duchy of Apulia ( 1127 ) and Taranto ( 1128 ) heir, he won all of Southern Italy to the papal possessions. With popes he had several disagreements. So he became a fief until August 22, 1128 by Pope Honorius II on a bridge in Benevento in a peace agreement with the Duchy of Apulia. Roger took advantage of the schism under Innocent II for his purposes from, allied himself with the anti-pope Anacletus II and settled Christmas 1130 rise in Palermo to the king of Sicily. The military conflict with Innocent led in 1139 to the capture of the Pope; Innocent had to acknowledge the kingship Rogers.

Roger II was considered to be well educated and cosmopolitan and has probably spoken not only Greek, but also Arabic. He built an efficient control over his possessions and promoted the sulfur mining, silk production and building a merchant marine to drive not only with Byzantium, but also with the Arab and North African cities of a profitable trade. At his court lived among others, the Arab cartographer Al- Idrisi, who created a silver map of the world for him.

With his legislative work of the Assizes of Ariano put Roger II, following the example of the Corpus iuris Civilis Emperor Justinian I of Byzantium, the basics of his reign in a kind of constitution down. Among the decisions contained therein can be found, inter alia, also evidence of an equality of subjects of different faiths.

Heavily involved in the Crusades, Roger II was soon able to acquire possessions in North Africa, what trade and tax revenues in addition favored. With the conquest of Tunis in 1146, he became the ruler of the central Mediterranean. Roger II was in his time as well as the richest rulers of Europe and entertained - with no role model for the west - a vast harem. Under him, Sicily experienced a until today never again reached heyday.

The Cappella Palatina, palace chapel of King Roger II in Palermo, shows the impact of the cultural policy of the Normans: Kufic inscriptions can be found next to biblical salvation stories, Arabic ornamentation and Byzantine mosaic art enter into a synthesis.


Roger II was married three times. From his first marriage with Elvira († 1135 ), daughter of Alfonso VI. of Castile, were born four sons. The three eldest, Roger, Tancred and Alfons died before their father. ( Born 1122) The youngest son William in 1151 he sat as co-regent a. He was William I also succeeded his father as King of Sicily.

The second marriage with Sibyl, a daughter of the Duke Hugh II of Burgundy remained childless. Sibylle died in 1150, a year after the wedding, on a miscarriage.

From his third marriage with Beatrix ( † 1185 ), daughter of Count Günther von Rethel, emerged as the only child of Constance, who was born after the death of Roger II. She married in 1186 Emperor Henry VI. , Bringing the Kingdom of Sicily went over to the Staufer. Roger II was buried in the Cathedral of Palermo, where his grandson, Emperor Frederick II, was buried later.