Roger II

Roger II, c.1095–1154, count (1101–30) and first king (1130–54) of Sicily, son and successor of Roger I. He conquered (1127) Apulia and Salerno and sided with the antipope Anacletus II against Pope Innocent II. In 1130, Anacletus crowned Roger king. Innocent rallied Holy Roman Emperor Lothair II 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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