University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311
(1969)

I: The Norman Kingdom of Sicily and the Crusades,   pp. 2-43 PDF (16.9 MB)


Page 7

 Ch. I NORMAN KINGDOM OF SICILY AND THE CRUSADES 7 
If the old count's attitude had prevailed after his death in 1101, his widow
Adelaide would not have fallen into the trap when in 1113 wily politicians
invited her to marry king Baldwin I of Jerusalem.6 No one seems to have warned
her that the whole purpose of the project was to acquire her immense dowry,
and eventually the wealth of her son, in order to put the poverty-stricken
kingdom on a sounder financial footing. Three years later, when Adelaide's
dowry was exhausted and the marriage had proved barren, she was repudiated
on the pretext that Baldwin's previous divorce, and therefore his marriage
with Adelaide, had been illegal. Baldwin's vassals did not wish Jerusalem
to become a dependency of the county of Sicily or to be ruled by an absentee
prince. The queen returned to Sicily humiliated, and died shortly thereafter.
Her son Roger II, who according to the marriage contract should have inherited
Jerusalem, naturally conceived an "eternal hatred" of the kingdom
and its people. 
 The failure to acquire Jerusalem was more than compensated for elsewhere:
in Africa eventually, but more immediately on the Italian mainland. In August
I 127 duke William of Apulia, son of Roger Borsa and last male successor
of Robert Guiscard in the direct line, died, whereupon Roger II crossed the
strait of Messina with an army and marched on Apulia to claim it as his "heritage".
In one victorious battle after another he forced pope Honorius II and the
barons and cities of Apulia and Calabria to submit and to recognize him.
Soon the contested papal election of 1130 gave Roger a splendid opportunity.
One of the two competing popes, the schismatic Pierleone, Anacletus II, turned
to Roger for assistance against his rival, Innocent II, who was supported
by Bernard of Clairvaux and, through Bernard's influence, by the kings and
most of the princes and churches of the west. In return for a pledge of support,
Anacletus granted Roger in hereditary right the title and dignity of king
of Sicily and of Calabria and Apulia (often summed up as "Italy").
On Christmas day 1130, in the presence of the magnates of his lands and with
the pomp befitting a ruler of Sicily, Roger was crowned by a representative
of Anacletus in the cathedral of Palermo, the city "which in the days
of old had been 
6 William of Tyre, Historia, XI, 29 (RHC, 0cc., I), pp. 505-506 For the sources
on Adelaide's marriage, see H. Hagenmeyer's notes to Fulcher of Chartres,
Historia Hierosolymitana (Heidelberg, 1913), pp. 576-577. Compare R. Röhricht,
Geschichte des Konigreichs Jerusalem (Innsbruck, 1898), pp. 103, 113, 118;
Runciman, Crusades, II, 102-105; and volume I of the present work, chapter
XII, pp. 406-407; also E. Pontieri, "La Madre di re Ruggero, Adelaide
del Vasto, contessa di Sicilia, regina di Gerusalemme," Atti del Convegno
di studi ruggeriani, II, 422-432. 


Go up to Top of Page