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

I: The Norman Kingdom of Sicily and the Crusades,   pp. 2-43 PDF (56.8 KB)

Page 42

program of Mediterranean expansion in three directions, towards North Africa,
Constantinople, and the Near East. As regards North Africa, Henry fell heir
to the agreement between William II and the "king of Africa" (emir
of Tunis), received the tribute, and continued in good commercial relations
with him. To settle his account, both inherited and personal, with the emperor
in Constantinople, Henry wrested from the weak Alexius III Angelus the concession
of a high annual tribute. Finally, for his ambitious plans in the Near East
he proclaimed, prepared, and launched a crusade, the first German expedition
to start from Italian bases.53 The crusade began under good auspices, for
even before it got under way, king Leon II of Cilician Armenia and king Aimery
of Cyprus (the later titular king of Jerusalem) asked to receive their crowns
and lands at the hands of Henry or his representative. But death cut short
all these hopes, and it was Henry's son Frederick II who was destined to
be the first king of Sicily to wear the crown of Jerusalem, although by then
not much more than prestige would be attached to The traditional Norman-Sicilian
policy would inspire and direct later kings of Sicily, the Hohenstaufen Manfred
and the Angevin Charles. But the great days of Sicilian prominence in the
politics and commerce of the Mediterranean had come to an end with the death
of William II. 
 53 See below, chapter III, pp. 116-122. 
 54 See below, chapter XII, pp. 442-462. 

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