Roger de Flor
Roger de Flor known as Ruggero/Ruggiero da Fiore or Rutger von Blum or Ruggero Flores, was an Italian military adventurer and condottiere active in Aragonese Sicily and the Byzantine Empire. He held the title Count of Malta, he was born in Brindisi in the Kingdom of Sicily, the second son of an Italian noblewoman of Brindisi and a German falconer named Richard von Blum in the service of Emperor Frederick II. Richard von Blum was killed fighting at the Battle of Tagliacozzo in 1268. At eight years old Roger de Flor was sent to sea in a galley belonging to the Knights Templars, he became captain of a galley. After rescuing wealthy survivors during the siege of Acre by the Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil in 1291, he went to Cyprus. Following some intrigues and personal disputes he was accused of robbery and denounced to the pope as a thief and an apostate; this resulted in his relegation from the order. Roger fled to Genoa, where he borrowed a considerable sum from Ticino Doria, purchased a new vessel and began a career in piracy.
The struggle between the Aragonese kings of Aragon and the French kings of Naples for the possession of Sicily was at this time going on and Roger, by one of the most experienced military commanders of his time, was called to the service of Frederick, king of Sicily, who gave him the rank of vice-admiral. When the Peace of Caltabellotta brought the war to an end in 1302, Frederick was unwilling and unable to keep a mercenary army and was anxious to free the island from troops, whom he had no longer the means of paying. Given the political and military situation, Roger found an opportunity to make his services useful in the east in fighting against the Ottoman Turks, who were ravaging the Byzantine Empire. Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus of the Byzantine Empire was facing siege by the Ottoman Turks, an Islamic tribe approaching the capital of his empire after defeating his armies and ransacking most of his domains. Looking for assistance from the European kingdoms he made Roger an offer of service along with the Almogavar army under his command.
In September 1302 Roger with his fleet and army, now known as the Catalan Company, 6,500 strong, arrived at Constantinople. He was adopted into the imperial family, was married to the emperor's niece Maria Asenina, was made grand duke and commander-in-chief of the army and the fleet. Facing strong opposition from the powerful Genoese, some weeks passed lost in dissipation and bloody quarrels against the Genoese who were intent on keeping him out of the circles of power and his men were sent into Asia, beat the Turks back as far as Armenia and Iran. After these successful encounters with the Turks they went into winter quarters at Cyzicus. In May 1304 they again took the field, defeated the Turks at Germe along with Byzantine forces under Hranislav and rendered the important service of relieving Philadelphia invested and reduced to extremities by the Turks. Given his position of unchallenged military power, he was accused of serving his own interest instead of those of the emperor because he was determined to found in the East a principality for himself.
He sent his treasures to Magnesia. He laid siege to the town, but his attacks were repulsed, he was compelled to retire. Being recalled to Europe, he settled his troops in Gallipoli and other towns, visited Constantinople to demand pay for the Almogavars. Roger was created Caesar in December 1304. In April 1305, he was assassinated in Adrianople by Andronikos' son Michael; the Company avenged itself, plundering from Macedonia to Thrace in what has been called the "Catalan Vengeance". The early history of the Catalan Company was chronicled by Ramon Muntaner, a member of the company, in his Crònica; the life of Roger de Flor inspired the fictional character of Tirant lo Blanc, an epic romance written by Joanot Martorell, published in Valencia in 1490. It is one of the best known medieval works of literature in the Catalan language, played an important role in the evolution of the Western novel thanks to its influence on Miguel de Cervantes. Roger de Flor is one of the main characters of The Horsemen of Death, a historical novel by Estonian writer Karl Ristikivi.
Roger de Flor is the title and the main character of a historical novel by the late Greek writer and publisher Kostas Kyriazis. Spanish poet Mariano Capdepón composed a play dealing with the last days of his life; the composer Ruperto Chapí used this text for his opera Roger de Flor. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Flor, Roger di". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. Francisco de Moncada, Catalan Chronicle. Ernest Marcos Hierro, Almogàvers: la història, L'esfera dels llibres, Barcelona 2005. Burns, R. Ignatius. "The Catalan Company and the European Powers, 1305-1311". Speculum. Vol. 29
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was or desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years, the Messinian salinity crisis, before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago. It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km2, representing 0.7 % of the global ocean surface, but its connection to the Atlantic via the Strait of Gibraltar-the narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa- is only 14 km wide. In oceanography, it is sometimes called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea or the European Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere.
The Mediterranean Sea has an average depth of 1,500 m and the deepest recorded point is 5,267 m in the Calypso Deep in the Ionian Sea. The sea is bordered on the north by Europe, the east by Asia, in the south by Africa, it is located between latitudes 30° and 46° N and longitudes 6° W and 36° E. Its west-east length, from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Gulf of Iskenderun, on the southwestern coast of Turkey, is 4,000 km; the sea's average north-south length, from Croatia's southern shore to Libya, is 800 km. The sea was an important route for merchants and travellers of ancient times that allowed for trade and cultural exchange between emergent peoples of the region; the history of the Mediterranean region is crucial to understanding the origins and development of many modern societies. The countries surrounding the Mediterranean in clockwise order are Spain, Monaco, Slovenia, Croatia and Herzegovina, Albania, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. In addition, the Gaza Strip and the British Overseas Territories of Gibraltar and Akrotiri and Dhekelia have coastlines on the sea.
The Ancient Greeks called the Mediterranean ἡ θάλασσα or sometimes ἡ μεγάλη θάλασσα, ἡ ἡμέτερα θάλασσα, or ἡ θάλασσα ἡ καθ'ἡμᾶς. The Romans called it Mare Mare Internum and, starting with the Roman Empire, Mare Nostrum; the term Mare Mediterrāneum appears later: Solinus used it in the 3rd century, but the earliest extant witness to it is in the 6th century, in Isidore of Seville. It means'in the middle of land, inland' in Latin, a compound of medius, -āneus; the Latin word is a calque of Greek μεσόγειος, from μέσος and γήινος, from γῆ. The original meaning may have been'the sea in the middle of the earth', rather than'the sea enclosed by land'; the Carthaginians called it the "Syrian Sea". In ancient Syrian texts, Phoenician epics and in the Hebrew Bible, it was known as the "Great Sea" or as "The Sea". Another name was the "Sea of the Philistines", from the people inhabiting a large portion of its shores near the Israelites. In Modern Hebrew, it is called HaYam HaTikhon'the Middle Sea'. In Modern Arabic, it is known as al-Baḥr al-Mutawassiṭ'the Middle Sea'.
In Islamic and older Arabic literature, it was Baḥr al-Rūm'the Sea of the Romans' or'the Roman Sea'. At first, that name referred to only the Eastern Mediterranean, but it was extended to the whole Mediterranean. Other Arabic names were Baḥr al-šām'the Sea of Syria' and Baḥr al-Maghrib'the Sea of the West'. In Turkish, it is the Akdeniz'the White Sea'; the origin of the name is not clear, as it is not known in earlier Greek, Byzantine or Islamic sources. It may be to contrast with the Black Sea. In Persian, the name was translated as Baḥr-i Safīd, used in Ottoman Turkish, it is the origin of the colloquial Greek phrase Άσπρη Θάλασσα. Johann Knobloch claims that in Classical Antiquity, cultures in the Levant used colours to refer to the cardinal points: black referred to the north, yellow or blue to east, red to south, white to west; this would explain both the Turkish Akdeniz and the Arab nomenclature described above. Several ancient civilizations were located around the Mediterranean shores and were influenced by their proximity to the sea.
It provided routes for trade and war, as well as food for numerous communities throughout the ages. Due to the shared climate and access to the sea, c
Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos Latinized as Andronicus II Palaeologus, reigned as Byzantine Emperor from 1282 to 1328. Andronikos' reign was marked by the beginning of the decline of the Byzantine Empire. During his reign, the Turks conquered most of the Western Anatolian territories of the Empire and, during the last years of his reign, he had to fight his grandson Andronikos in the First Palaiologan Civil War; the civil war ended in Andronikos II's forced abdication in 1328 after which he retired to a monastery. Andronikos II was born Andronikos Doukas Angelos Komnenos Palaiologos at Nicaea, he was the eldest surviving son of Michael VIII Palaiologos and Theodora Palaiologina, grandniece of John III Doukas Vatatzes. Andronikos was acclaimed co-emperor in 1261, after his father Michael VIII recovered Constantinople from the Latin Empire, but he was not crowned until 1272. Sole emperor from 1282, Andronikos II repudiated his father's unpopular Church union with the Papacy, which he had been forced to support while his father was still alive, but he was unable to resolve the related schism within the Orthodox clergy until 1310.
Andronikos II was plagued by economic difficulties. During his reign the value of the Byzantine hyperpyron depreciated precipitously, while the state treasury accumulated less than one seventh the revenue that it had previously. Seeking to increase revenue and reduce expenses, Andronikos II raised taxes, reduced tax exemptions, dismantled the Byzantine fleet in 1285, thereby making the Empire dependent on the rival republics of Venice and Genoa. In 1291, he hired 50–60 Genoese ships, but the Byzantine weakness resulting from the lack of a navy became painfully apparent in the two wars with Venice in 1296–1302 and 1306–10. In 1320, he tried to resurrect the navy by constructing 20 galleys, but failed. Andronikos II Palaiologos sought to resolve some of the problems facing the Byzantine Empire through diplomacy. After the death of his first wife Anne of Hungary, he married Yolanda of Montferrat, putting an end to the Montferrat claim to the Kingdom of Thessalonica. Andronikos II attempted to marry off his son and co-emperor Michael IX Palaiologos to the Latin Empress Catherine I of Courtenay, thus seeking to eliminate Western agitation for a restoration of the Latin Empire.
Another marriage alliance attempted to resolve the potential conflict with Serbia in Macedonia, as Andronikos II married off his five-year-old daughter Simonis to King Stefan Milutin in 1298. In spite of the resolution of problems in Europe, Andronikos II was faced with the collapse of the Byzantine frontier in Asia Minor, despite the successful, but short, governorships of Alexios Philanthropenos and John Tarchaneiotes; the successful military victories in Asia Minor by Alexios Philanthropenos and John Tarchaneiotes against the Turks were dependent on a considerable military contingent of Cretan escapees, or exiles from Venetian-occupied Crete, headed by Hortatzis, whom Michael VIII had repatriated to Byzantium through a treaty agreement with the Venetians ratified in 1277. Andronikos II had resettled those Cretans in the region of Meander river, the southeastern Asia Minor frontier of Byzantium with the Turks. After the failure of the co-emperor Michael IX to stem the Turkish advance in Asia Minor in 1302 and the disastrous Battle of Bapheus, the Byzantine government hired the Catalan Company of Almogavars led by Roger de Flor to clear Byzantine Asia Minor of the enemy.
In spite of some successes, the Catalans were unable to secure lasting gains. Being more ruthless and savage than the enemy they intended to subdue they quarreled with Michael IX, openly turned on their Byzantine employers after the murder of Roger de Flor in 1305. There they conquered the Duchy of Thebes; the Turks continued to penetrate the Byzantine possessions, Prusa fell in 1326. By the end of Andronikos II's reign, much of Bithynia was in the hands of the Ottoman Turks of Osman I and his son and heir Orhan. Karasids conquered Mysia-region with Paleokastron after 1296, Germiyan conquered Simav in 1328, Saruhan captured Magnesia in 1313, Aydinids captured Smyrna in 1310; the Empire's problems were exploited by Theodore Svetoslav of Bulgaria, who defeated Michael IX and conquered much of northeastern Thrace in c. 1305–07. The conflict ended with yet another dynastic marriage, between Michael IX's daughter Theodora and the Bulgarian emperor; the dissolute behavior of Michael IX's son Andronikos III Palaiologos led to a rift in the family, after Michael IX's death in 1320, Andronikos II disowned his grandson, prompting a civil war that raged, with interruptions, until 1328.
The conflict precipitated Bulgarian involvement, Michael Asen III of Bulgaria attempted to capture Andronikos II under the guise of sending him military support. In 1328 Andronikos III entered Constantinople in triumph and Andronikos II was forced to abdicate. Andronikos II died as a monk at Constantinople in 1332. On 8 November 1273 Andronikos II married as his first wife Anna of Hungary, daughter of Stephen V of Hungary and Elizabeth the Cuman, with whom he had two sons: Michael IX Palaiologos. Constantine Palaiologos, despotes. Constantine was forced to become a monk by his nephew Andronikos III Palaiologos. Anna died in 1281, in 1284 Andronikos married Yolanda, a daughter of William VII of Montferrat, with whom he had: John Palaiologos (c. 1286–13
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct French House of Capet, part of the Capetian dynasty. It is one of three separate royal houses referred to meaning "from Anjou" in France. Founded by Charles I of Naples, the youngest son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century; the War of the Sicilian Vespers forced him out of the island of Sicily, leaving him with the southern half of the Italian Peninsula — the Kingdom of Naples. The house and its various branches would go on to influence much of the history of Southern and Central Europe during the Middle Ages, until becoming defunct in 1435; the House ruled the counties of Anjou, Touraine and Forcalquier, the principalities of Achaea and Taranto, the kingdoms of Sicily, Hungary, Croatia and Poland. A younger son of House of Capet king Louis VIII of France the Lion, Charles was first given a noble title by his brother Louis IX of France who succeeded to the French throne in 1226.
Charles was named Count of Maine. Charles married the heiress of the County of Provence named Beatrice of Provence, she was a member of the House of Barcelona. After fighting in the Seventh Crusade, Charles was offered by Pope Clement IV the Kingdom of Sicily — which at the time included not only the island of Sicily but the southern half of the Italian Peninsula; the reason for Charles being offered the kingdom was because of a conflict between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, the latter of whom were represented by the ruling House of Hohenstaufen. It was at the Battle of Benevento that the Guelph Capetians gained the Sicilian kingdom from the Ghibelline Swabians, this was cemented after victory at Tagliacozzo. In keeping with the political landscape of the period, Charles is described by scholars as shrewd and ambitious, he signed the Treaty of Viterbo in 1267 with Baldwin II of Courtenay and William II of Villehardouin, the political alliance gave many of the rights of the Latin Empire to Charles and a marriage alliance for his daughter Beatrice of Sicily.
The Byzantines had taken back the city of Constantinople in 1261 and this was a plan to take it back from Michael VIII Palaiologos. It recognised Charles' possession of Corfu and cities in the Balkans such as Durazzo, as well as giving him suzerainty over the Principality of Achaea and sovereignty of the Aegean islands aside from those held by the Republic of Venice. For a while Charles was preoccupied helping his French brother in the unsuccessful Eighth Crusade on Tunis. After this he once again focused on Constantinople, but his fleet was wrecked in a freak storm off the coast of Trapani. With the elevation of Pope Gregory X, there was a truce between Charles and Michael in the form of the Council of Lyons, as Christians focused on improving ecumenical relations, with hopes of regaining the Kingdom of Jerusalem back from the Muslims. Charles had solidified his rule over Durazzo by 1272, creating a small Kingdom of Albania for himself, out of Despotate of Epirus territory. Charles was driven out of Sicily in 1282, but his successors ruled Naples until 1435.
This House of Anjou included the branches of Anjou-Hungary, which ruled Hungary and Poland, Anjou-Taranto, which ruled the remnants of the Latin Empire and Anjou-Durazzo, which ruled Naples and Hungary. The senior line of the House of Anjou-Durazzo became extinct in the male line with the death of King Ladislaus of Naples in 1414, extinct with the death of his sister Joanna II in 1435. During Middle Ages, there were the House of Capet. Charles I, founder of the House of Anjou-Sicily, with his first wife, Beatrice of Provence fathered his eldest son, Charles II of Naples. In 1270, Charles II married Mary of Hungary, daughter of Stephen V of Hungary and Elizabeth the Cuman, they had fourteen children which provided the House of Anjou-Sicily with a secure position in Naples. The childless Ladislaus IV of Hungary, was succeeded by Andrew III as King of Hungary, he was the son of Stephen the Posthumous, considered by Stephen's much older half-brothers a bastard son of infidelity. For this reason, after the death of Ladislaus IV. some of the Árpád dynasty's cognates sought the family as extinct.
In Naples, Charles Martel of Anjou, the eldest son of Mary of Hungary announced his claim to the Hungarian crown, backed by his mother, the pope. He started to style himself king of Hungary, but he never managed to gain enough support from the Hungarian magnates to realize his claim. With Andrew III's childless death, the "last golden branch" of the tree of King Saint Stephen's family ended; the Hungarian diet was determined to keep the blood of Saint Stephen on the throne in the maternal line at least. In the upcoming years, a civil war followed between various claimants to the throne. After the short period of rule of Wenceslaus of Bohemia, Otto of Bavaria the civil war ended with Charles Robert's victory, the son of Charles Martel of Anjou, but he was forced to continue fighting against the powerful Hungarian l
The Catalan Company or the Great Catalan Company was a company of mercenaries led by Roger de Flor in the early 14th century and hired by the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos to combat the increasing power of the Turks. It was formed by almogavar veterans of the War of the Sicilian Vespers, who had remained unemployed after the signing in 1302 of the Peace of Caltabellotta between the Crown of Aragon and the French dynasty of the Angevins. Leaderless for most of their early history, during that period the Catalan Company still faced and defeated armies of Turks, Balkan mountain folk, Genoese archers and cavalry, Thracian and Asiatic Byzantines, a representative array of French chivalry. In doing so they captured large amounts of land and ruling most of Greece throughout much of the 14th century; the Great Catalan Company departed from Messina with 36 ships transporting about 8,000 men. The exact figures are a matter of dispute, for although the numbers provided by Ramon Muntaner are trusted by historians Francisco de Moncada and George Paquimeres, the contemporary Byzantine historian Nicephorus Gregoras gives a total number of only 1,000 men.
After a brief stop at Monemvasia, the company arrived at Constantinople in January 1303, where it was received by the Emperor and housed in the district of Blachernae. The Emperor arranged the wedding of Roger de Flor to his niece, the 15 year old princess Maria Asanina, daughter of the Tsar of Bulgaria Ivan Asen III and Irene Palaiologina. De Flor was named Megas Doux; the arrival of this new mercenary contingent upset the balance of power that supported the Byzantine Empire. It irritated the Genoese, who saw the arrival of the Catalan Company as an intrusion by the House of Aragon into the area of influence of the Republic of Genoa i.e. the Eastern Mediterranean and the Byzantine Empire. Armed conflict was not long in breaking out, with 3,000 Genoese killed in what was called the Genoese massacre in September 1303. Following these incidents and the recent defeat of the Byzantines in the Battle of Bafeus, the emperor ordered Roger de Flor to move his almogavars as soon as possible to the battle front in Anatolia in modern-day Turkey.
Transported there in the fleet commanded by the Catalan Admiral Ferran d'Aunés, Roger de Flor's troops disembarked at Cape Artake, near the ruins of ancient Cizicus. They soon achieved a great victory against the Karasid Turks in the so-called Battle of the Cyzicus in October 1303. Rather than a battle, it was a massacre: the almogavars made a surprise attack on the Oghuz Turkish camp located at Cape Artake, killing about 3,000 cavalry and 10,000 infantry and capturing many women and children. After this victory, Roger de Flor decided to postpone a planned march to the besieged town of Philadelphia and spent the winter on Cape Artake, a position that provided good defenses and an easy means of supply. During this period Ferran Jiménez de Arenós temporarily left the company after a disagreement with Roger de Flor, putting himself in the service of the Duke of Athens. Roger de Flor, on the other hand, took advantage of the lull to travel with his wife to Constantinople with four galleys, claim payment from the Emperor and discuss with him the next campaign.
Andronikos II paid Roger de Flor and entrusted him with the liberation of Philadelphia. On his return to Cizicus, Roger de Flor found that his undisciplined troops had spent twice or triple their pay and had been out plundering. Greek historians say that the region of Cizicus was devastated by the looting of the almogavars, to the point that the sister of the Emperor Andronikos had to go to the city to exhort Roger to move his troops to Philadelphia; the 1304 campaign began with a month's delay due to continuous disputes between the almogavars and their Alan allies, which caused 300 deaths in the forces of the latter. In early May, Roger de Flor began the campaign to raise the siege of Philadelphia with 6,000 almogavars and 1,000 Alans. Philadelphia at that time was suffering from a siege by Yakup bin Ali Şir, governor of the Germiyanids from the powerful emirate of Germiyan-oğhlu. After a few days, the almogavars arrived at the Byzantine city of Achyraus and descended by the valley of the River Kaikos until they arrived at the city of Germe, a Byzantine fortification that had fallen to the Turks.
The Turks who were there tried to flee as fast as possible, but their rearguard was massacred by the troops of Roger de Flor in what came to be called the Battle of Germe. After the victory in Germe, the Company resumed its march, passing through Chliara and Thyatira and entered the valley of the Hermos River. On their way, they stopped in various places, abusing the Byzantine governors for their lack of courage. Roger de Flor planned to hang some of them. Upon learning of the imminent arrival of the Great Company, Bey Yakup bin Ali Şir, head of the coalition of the Turkish troops from the emirates of Germiyan-oğhlu and Aydın-oğhlu, decided to lift the siege of Philadelphia and face the Company in a suitable location with his 8,000 cavalry and 12,000 infantry. Roger de Flor took command of the Company cavalry, dividing it into three contingents, while Corbarán of Alet did the same with the infantry; the Catalans achieved a great victory over th
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of the Italian peninsula and for a time the region of Ifriqiya from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of the southern peninsula; the island was divided into three regions: Val Demone and Val di Noto. In 1282, a revolt against Angevin rule, known as the Sicilian Vespers, threw off Charles of Anjou's rule of the island of Sicily; the Angevins managed to maintain control in the mainland part of the kingdom, which became a separate entity styled Kingdom of Sicily, although it is referred to as the Kingdom of Naples, after its capital. The island became a separate kingdom under the Crown of Aragon. After 1302 the island kingdom was sometimes called the Kingdom of Trinacria; the kingship was vested in another monarch such as the King of Aragon, the King of Spain, or the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1816 the island Kingdom of Sicily merged with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
In 1861 the Two Sicilies were amalgamated with Sardinia and several northern city-states and duchies to form the Kingdom of Italy. By the 11th century mainland southern Lombard and Byzantine powers were hiring Norman mercenaries, who were descendants of the Vikings. After taking Apulia and Calabria, Roger occupied Messina with an army of 700 knights. In 1068, Roger I of Sicily and his men defeated the Muslims at Misilmeri but the most crucial battle was the siege of Palermo, which led to Sicily being under Norman control by 1091; the Norman Kingdom was created on Christmas Day, 1130, by Roger II of Sicily, with the agreement of Pope Innocent II, who united the lands Roger had inherited from his father count Roger I of Sicily. These areas included the Maltese Archipelago, conquered from the Arabs of the Emirates of Sicily. Roger threw his support behind the Antipope Anacletus II, who enthroned him as King of Sicily on Christmas Day 1130. In 1136, the rival of Anacletus, Pope Innocent II, convinced Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor to attack the Kingdom of Sicily with help from the Byzantine Emperor John II Comnenus.
Two main armies, one led by Lothair, the other by Duke of Bavaria Henry the Proud, invaded Sicily. On the river Tronto, William of Loritello surrendered to Lothair and opened the gates of Termoli to him; this was followed by Count Hugh II of Molise. The two armies were united from where in 1137 they continued their campaign. Roger offered to give Apulia as a fief to the Empire, which Lothair refused after being pressured by Innocent. At the same period the army of Lothair revolted. Lothair, who had hoped for the complete conquest of Sicily, gave Capua and Apulia from the Kingdom of Sicily to Roger's enemies. Innocent protested. Lothair turned north, but died while crossing the Alps on 4 December 1137. At the Second Council of the Lateran in April 1139, Innocent excommunicated Roger for maintaining a schismatic attitude. On 22 March 1139, at Galluccio, Roger's son Roger III, Duke of Apulia ambushed the papal troops with a thousand knights and captured the pope. On 25 March 1139 Innocent was forced to acknowledge the kingship and possessions of Roger with the Treaty of Mignano.
Roger spent most of the decade, beginning with his coronation and ending with the Assizes of Ariano, enacting a series of laws with which Roger intended to centralise the government, fending off multiple invasions and quelling rebellions by his premier vassals: Grimoald of Bari, Robert II of Capua, Ranulf of Alife, Sergius VII of Naples and others. It was through his admiral George of Antioch that Roger proceeded to conquer the littoral of Ifriqiya from the Zirids, taking the unofficial title "King of Africa" and marking the foundation of the Norman Kingdom of Africa. At the same time Roger's fleet attacked the Byzantine Empire, making Sicily a leading maritime power in the Mediterranean Sea for a century. Roger's son and successor was William I of Sicily, known as "William the Bad", though his nickname derived from his lack of popularity with the chroniclers, who supported the baronial revolts which William suppressed. In the mid-1150s, William lost the majority of his African possessions to a series of revolts from local North African lords.
In 1160, the final Norman African stronghold of Mahdia was taken by Almohads. His reign ended in peace, but with his elder son Roger killed in previous revolts, his son, William II, was a minor; until the end of the boy's regency in 1172, the kingdom saw turmoil which brought the ruling family down. The reign of William II is remembered as two decades of continual peace and prosperity. For this more than anything, he is nicknamed "the Good", he died in 1189 without having heirs. William II had named his aunt Constance, the daughter of Roger II who married future Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor his heiress; as the noblemen did not want to be ruled by a German, Tancred of Lecce seized the throne under their support, but he had to contend with the revolt of his distant cousin Roger of Andria, a former contender, the invasion of King Henry of Germany on behalf of his wife. Roger was tricked into execution and Henry had to retreat after
Almogavars is the name of a class of soldier from many Christian Iberian kingdoms in the phases of the Reconquista, during the 13th and 14th centuries. Almogavars were clad, quick-moving frontiersmen and foot-soldiers, they hailed from the Kingdom of Aragon, the Principality of Catalonia, the Kingdom of Valencia, the Crown of Castile and the Kingdom of Portugal. At first these troops were formed by farmers and shepherds originating from the countryside and frontier mountain areas, they were employed as mercenaries in Italy, Latin Greece and the Levant. There are several theories as to where this name comes from: in Arabic المغاور al-mughāwir or as المخابر al-mukhābir, al-Mujawir, "Pilgrims, outer marches" and a third theory which holds that it comes from the adjective gabar, which translates as "prideful" or "haughty"; the names of their military ranks derive from Arabic. The term was first used in the 10th century in the territory of Al-Andalus, to refer to small armed groups of Saracens engaged in looting and surprise attacks.
The first documented historical reference appeared in the chronicle "Akhbar muluk Al-Andalus" or "Chronicle of the Moor Rasis", the history of the kings of Al-Andalus, written between 887 and 955 by Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ar-Razi, known among Arabs by the name Al-Tarij and among Christians as the Moor Rasis. In his chronicle, the historian of Qurtuba describes the territories of Al-Andalus, upon arrival at the Ebro Valley, cites the existence of some troops called Almogavars present in the city of Saraqusta for the first time in history: And the city of Saraqusta was the chamber of the Almojarifes for a long time, was the choice of the warriors, and when they fought the city of Saraqusta, fought all the alcalles and Almogavars, they chose for them. The word Almogavar was used during the last centuries of the Reconquista, at the Granadan border, for designating the groups of Moorish bandits that launched attacks from the kingdom of Granada on the border towns of the kingdoms of Murcia and Valencia.
The Aragonese were the first Christians to adopt those strategies and fight like those groups of Saracens known as Almogavars, which led to them being known by the same name. Though there were no contemporary chronicles of the events of the 11th or 12th centuries, the first time that any Christian Almogavars are mentioned is in a testimony by Jerónimo Zurita in his Annals of Aragón, which places the Almogavars in the time of Alfonso I of Aragon reinforcing the fortress of El Castellar around 1105-1110 with visions of the conquest of Zaragoza: Taking Tahuste. Almogavar guards. From there he was passing captured the seat of Tahuste next to the banks of the Ebro, and soon after began to set people talking about war and training hard for it, they called them almogavars, in'el Castellar' who were on the frontier against the Moors of Zaragoza. Alfonso the Chaste, loyal to his friendship with the kingdom of Castile, went to besiege al-madinat Kunka in 1177, with a group of foot soldiers identified as Almogavars, to help the Castilian monarch.
Because of the Muslim invasion of the Iberian peninsula, the wars of the Reconquista and the military campaigns of Al Andalus, the Christian shepherds of the Pyrenean valleys were left unable to use the valleys in winter because they had been occupied. In order to continue to survive, these shepherds had to organize themselves into bands of outlaws and penetrate the enemy domain in search of what their people needed to survive. During these raids, which lasted only a few days, the Almogavars could live off the land and sleep way out in the open; the knowledge required to be able to perform in this struggle was gained in their former life as shepherds, since the majority of them had grown up among the wildest mountains, where the harshness of the climate made it so that the land did not provide many resources and they had to take full advantage of the few that were present. But after many generations of leading this new kind of life that they had been pushed into by the invaders, it seems clear that a genuine warrior spirit formed in these shepherd communities, so that they ended up not knowing how to live by any other means than making war.
In addition, it was much easier to make a living through attacks lasting a few days than by working hard for the whole year. This way of life went on being adopted by the inhabitants of the areas that bordered the Muslim territories as the Christian kingdoms advanced toward the south; the presence of Islamic Almogavars fighting alongside Catholic Almogavars is documented too. They were characterized as being infantry shock troops that fought on foot, with light arms and baggage with a pair of javelins, one short spear and a good knife, they dressed poorly, only in a short gown. In addition, they always used to carry a good piece of flint with them that they struck their weapons with before going into battle, which gave off enormous sparks, together with their terrible cries, terrorized their enemies. Endowed with great valor and ferocity, those from the Crown of Aragon entered into combat to the cry of "Awake iron!! Let's kill, let's kill", "for Saint George!" and "Aragon! Aragon!". This is the famous description of an Almogavar, written by Bernat Desclot in his c