Roger II

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Roger II,

c.1095–1154, count (1101–30) and first king (1130–54) of Sicily, son and successor of Roger IRoger I
(Roger Guiscard), c.1031–1101, Norman conqueror of Sicily; son of Tancred de Hauteville (see Normans). He went to Italy in 1058 to join his brother, Robert Guiscard, in conquering Apulia and Calabria from the Byzantines.
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. He conquered (1127) Apulia and Salerno and sided with the antipope Anacletus II against Pope Innocent IIInnocent II,
d. 1143, pope (1130–43), a Roman named Gregorio Papareschi; successor of Honorius II. He was created cardinal by Paschal II. On the death of Honorius II, a faction of the cardinals elected him pope.
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. In 1130, Anacletus crowned Roger king. Innocent rallied Holy Roman Emperor Lothair IILothair II,
also called Lothair III,
1075–1137, Holy Roman emperor (1133–37) and German king (1125–37); successor of Holy Roman Emperor Henry V.
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 and other allies against Roger but was defeated in 1139. Naples and Capua recognized Roger's sovereignty; Innocent was obliged to invest him with the lands that, for the next seven centuries, were to constitute the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. Roger also conquered the coast of Africa from Tunis to Tripoli. He established a strong central administration and attempted to fuse the disparate ethnic groups in his kingdom. Prosperity returned to Sicily, and Roger's brilliant court at Palermo was a center of the arts, letters, and sciences. Roger was succeeded by his son, William I.


See E. Curtis, Roger of Sicily (1912, repr. 1973); J. J. Norwich, Kingdom in the Sun (1970).

Roger II


Born circa 1095; died Feb. 26, 1154, in Palermo. First king of Sicily; crowned in 1130.

A Norman, Roger was a son of the Sicilian count Roger I and a nephew of Robert Guiscard. After a long struggle with the papacy and the Norman barons, who were supported by the cities, he unified under his rule all the holdings of the Normans in Sicily and southern Italy. In 1139, Pope Innocent II was forced to recognize him as king. Striving for domination over the Mediterranean, Roger conquered Tripoli and Tunis by the end of the 1140’s. In the period 1147–48 he captured the island of Corfu from Byzantium and laid waste to Corinth and Thebes. Roger’s legislative acts (the Assizes of Ariano) formed the constitutional basis of the nascent centralized feudal state.