Personal Appearance

by wjw on July 11, 2023

Here we see Roger II of Sicily being crowned by none other than Jesus Himself. Usually it’s a bishop or pope doing the investing, but in this case Roger outranked both, at least in Sicily, so he went straight to the Savior.

His father Roger I— who wasn’t a king, but gets a number anyway, I guess because he was really cool or something— started life as a Norman knight, Roger de Hauteville. When he offered to lead a crusade to replace the Moorish emir of Sicily, he persuaded the pope to make him Apostolic Legate, which made him the head of the Latin church in Sicily, and he spent part of his career founding bishoprics and appointing bishops and building churches and such. Roger’s religious policy was tolerant, which was a good idea considering Sicily was composed mainly of Greek Christians, Muslims, and a healthy admixture of Jews. He even built Greek monasteries. The city Muslims were left to their own devices, but the country Muslims were enserfed. Most of Roger’s infantry were Muslim.

Roger I was made Count of Sicily, but Roger II got to be a king of Sicily, Malta, and all of Italy south of Rome, thus being the founder of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilys.

This mosaic, along with a dazzling array of others, is to be found in the Duomo in Palermo.

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