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Robert Guiscard

Robert Guiscard

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Robert d'Hauteville, known as Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 Viscardus and Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 Viscart, often rendered the Resourceful, the Cunning, the Wily, the Fox, or the Weasel (c. 1015 – 17 July 1085) was a Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 adventurer conspicuous in the conquest of southern Italy and Sicily
Norman conquest of southern Italy
The Norman conquest of southern Italy spanned the late eleventh and much of the twelfth centuries, involving many battles and many independent players conquering territories of their own...

. Robert was from the noble Maison d'Hautville of the Hauteville family
Hauteville family
The family of the Hauteville was a petty baronial Norman family from the Cotentin which rose to prominence in Europe, Asia, and Africa through its conquests in the Mediterranean, especially Southern Italy and Sicily...

, he went on to become Count (1057-1059) and then Duke (1059-1085) of Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

 and Calabria
Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

 after his half-brother Humphrey
Humphrey of Hauteville
Humphrey of Hauteville , surnamed Abagelard, was the Count of Apulia and Calabria from 1051 to his death.Humphrey was probably the youngest son of Tancred of Hauteville by his first wife Muriel. Some sources make Geoffrey and Serlo his younger brothers...

's death.

Background


From 999 to 1042 the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 in Italy were mainly mercenaries, serving at various times the Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and a number of Lombard
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 nobles. Then Sergius IV of Naples
Sergius IV of Naples
Sergius IV was Duke of Naples from 1002 to 1036. He was one of the prime catalysts in the growth of Norman power in the Mezzogiorno in the first half of the eleventh century...

, by installing the leader Rainulf Drengot
Rainulf Drengot
Rainulf Drengot was a Norman adventurer and the first count of Aversa .When one of Rainulf's numerous brothers, Osmond, was exiled by Richard I of Normandy for the murder of one of his kin, Rainulf, Osmond, and their brothers Gilbert Buatère, Asclettin , and Raulf went on a pilgrimage to the...

 in the fortress of Aversa
Aversa
Aversa is a town and comune in the Province of Caserta in Campania southern Italy, about 15 kilometres north of Naples. It is the centre of an agricultural district, the agro aversano, producing wine and cheese...

 in 1029, gave them their first base, allowing them to begin an organized conquest of the land.

In 1035 there arrived William Iron-Arm
William Iron Arm
William Iron Arm was a Norman adventurer, founder of the fortunes of the Hauteville family. One of twelve sons of Tancred of Hauteville, he journeyed to the Mezzogiorno with his younger brother Drogo in the first half of the eleventh century , in response to requests for help made by fellow...

 and Drogo
Drogo of Hauteville
Drogo of Hauteville succeeded his brother, William Iron Arm, with whom he arrived in southern Italy c. 1035, as the leader of the Normans of Apulia....

, the two eldest sons of Tancred of Hauteville
Tancred of Hauteville
Tancred of Hauteville was an 11th-century Norman petty lord about whom little is known. His historical importance comes entirely from the accomplishments of his sons and later descendants...

, a petty noble of the Cotentin in Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

. The two joined in the revolt of the Lombards against Byzantine control of Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

. By 1040 the Byzantines had lost most of that province. In 1042 Melfi
Melfi
Melfi is a town and comune in the Vulture area of the province of Potenza, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata.-Geography:On a hill at the foot of Mount Vulture, Melfi is the most important town in Basilicata's Vulture, both as a tourist resort and economic centre.-Early history:Inhabited...

 was chosen as the Norman capital, and in September of that year the Normans elected as their count William Iron-Arm, who was succeeded in turn by his brothers Drogo, Comes Normannorum totius Apuliæ e Calabriæ ("the Count of all Normans in Apulia and Calabria"), and Humphrey
Humphrey of Hauteville
Humphrey of Hauteville , surnamed Abagelard, was the Count of Apulia and Calabria from 1051 to his death.Humphrey was probably the youngest son of Tancred of Hauteville by his first wife Muriel. Some sources make Geoffrey and Serlo his younger brothers...

, who arrived about 1044.

Early years



Robert Guiscard was the sixth son of Tancred of Hauteville
Tancred of Hauteville
Tancred of Hauteville was an 11th-century Norman petty lord about whom little is known. His historical importance comes entirely from the accomplishments of his sons and later descendants...

 and eldest by his second wife Fressenda. According to the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 historian Anna Comnena, he left Normandy with only five mounted riders and thirty followers on foot. Upon arriving in Langobardia
Langobardia
Longobardia , was a Byzantine term for the territories controlled by the Lombards in Italy. In the 9th-10th centuries, it was also the name of a Byzantine military-civilian province known as the Theme of Longobardia located in southeastern Italy.-History:The term was traditionally used for the...

 in 1047, he became the chief of a roving robber-band. Anna Comnena also leaves a physical description of Guiscard:
Lands were scarce in Apulia at the time and the roving Guiscard could not expect any grant from Drogo, then reigning, for Humphrey had just received his own county of Lavello
Lavello
Lavello is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the region of Basilicata of southern Italy; it is located in the Vulture traditional region, in the middle Ofanto valley.-History:...

. Guiscard soon joined Prince Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV was the Prince of Capua on three separate occasions.From February 1016 to 1022 he ruled in association with his cousin Pandulf II. In 1018, the Byzantine catapan Boiannes destroyed the Lombard army of Melus of Bari and his Norman allies at Cannae...

 in his ceaseless wars with Prince Guaimar IV of Salerno
Guaimar IV of Salerno
Guaimar IV was Prince of Salerno , Duke of Amalfi , Duke of Gaeta , and Prince of Capua in Southern Italy over the period from 1027 to 1052. He was an important figure in the final phase of Byzantine authority in the Mezzogiorno and the commencement of Norman power...

 (1048). The next year, however, Guiscard left Pandulf, according to Amatus of Montecassino
Amatus of Montecassino
Amatus of Montecassino , a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Montecassino is one of three Italo-Norman chroniclers, the others being William of Apulia and Goffredo Malaterra...

 because Pandulf reneged on a promise of a castle and his daughter's hand. Guiscard returned to his brother Drogo and asked to be granted a fief. Drogo, who had just finished campaigning in Calabria, gave Guiscard command of the fortress of Scribla. Dissatisfied with this position, Guiscard moved to the castle of San Marco Argentano
San Marco Argentano
San Marco Argentano is a town and comune in the province of Cosenza in the Calabria region of southern Italy.Main sights include the Norman tower, several churches and an abbey....

 (after which he later named the first Norman castle in Sicily, at the site of ancient Aluntium). During his time in Calabria, Guiscard married his first wife, Alberada of Buonalbergo
Alberada of Buonalbergo
Alberada of Buonalbergo was the first wife of Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia , whom she married in 1051 or 1052, when he was still just a robber baron in Calabria....

, the aunt of Lord Girard of Buonalbergo
Girard of Buonalbergo
Girard, lord of Buonalbergo, was a Norman chieftain in the middle of the eleventh century in the Mezzogiorno. He was in the service of the prince of Benevento....

.

Guiscard soon rose to distinction. The Lombards turned against their erstwhile allies and Pope Leo IX
Pope Leo IX
Pope Saint Leo IX , born Bruno of Eguisheim-Dagsburg, was Pope from February 12, 1049 to his death. He was a German aristocrat and as well as being Pope was a powerful secular ruler of central Italy. He is regarded as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, with the feast day of April 19...

 determined to expel the Norman freebooter
Freebooter
Freebooter may refer to:* Marine freebooters, or pirates.* Filibuster , a group of individuals who engage in unauthorized warfare against foreign countries.* Rapparee, the Irish usage.* Meadowbrook Freebooters, American polo team...

s. His army was defeated, however, at the Battle of Civitate sul Fortore
Battle of Civitate
The Battle of Civitate was fought on 18 June 1053 in Southern Italy, between the Normans, led by the Count of Apulia Humphrey of Hauteville, and a Swabian-Italian-Lombard army, organised by Pope Leo IX and led on the battlefield by Gerard, Duke of Lorraine, and Rudolf, Prince of Benevento...

 (1053) by the Normans, united under Humphrey. Humphrey commanded the centre against the pope's Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

n troops. Early in the battle Count Richard of Aversa, commanding the right van, put the Lombards to flight and chased them down, then returned to help rout the Swabians. Guiscard had come all the way from Calabria to command the left. His troops were held in reserve until, seeing Humphrey's forces ineffectually charging the pope's centre, he called up his father-in-law's reinforcements and joined the fray, distinguishing himself personally, even being dismounted and remounting again three separate times according to William of Apulia
William of Apulia
William of Apulia was a chronicler of the Normans, writing in the 1090s. His Latin epic, Gesta Roberti Wiscardi , written in hexameters, is one of the principal contemporary sources for the Norman conquest of southern Italy, especially the career of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia . It was composed...

. Honored for his actions at Civitate, Guiscard succeeded Humphrey as count of Apulia in 1057, over his elder half-brother Geoffrey
Geoffrey of Hauteville
Geoffrey of Hauteville was a Norman military leader, the second youngest son of Tancred of Hauteville by his first wife Muriella. He joined his brothers in the Mezzogiorno around 1053, arriving with his half-brothers Mauger and William...

. In company with Roger
Roger I of Sicily
Roger I , called Bosso and the Great Count, was the Norman Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was the last great leader of the Norman conquest of southern Italy.-Conquest of Calabria and Sicily:...

, his youngest brother, Guiscard carried on the conquest of Apulia and Calabria, while Richard conquered the principality of Capua
Principality of Capua
The Principality of Capua was a Lombard state in Southern Italy, usually de facto independent, but under the varying suzerainty of Western and Eastern Roman Empires. It was originally a gastaldate, then a county, within the principality of Salerno....

.

Rule


Soon after his succession, probably in 1058, Guiscard separated from his wife Alberada because they were related within the prohibited degrees. Shortly after, he married Sichelgaita, the sister of Gisulf II of Salerno
Gisulf II of Salerno
Gisulf II was the last Lombard prince of Salerno ....

, Guaimar's successor. In return for giving him his sister's hand, Gisulf demanded of Guiscard that he destroy two castles of his brother William
William of the Principate
William of Hauteville was one of the younger sons of Tancred of Hauteville by his second wife Fressenda. He is usually called Willermus instead of Wilelmus in Latin annals and so is often called Guillerm instead of Guillaume in French...

, count of the Principate
Principate
The Principate is the first period of the Roman Empire, extending from the beginning of the reign of Caesar Augustus to the Crisis of the Third Century, after which it was replaced with the Dominate. The Principate is characterized by a concerted effort on the part of the Emperors to preserve the...

, which had encroached on Gisulf's territory.

The reformist Papacy, at odds with the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 (the Investiture Controversy
Investiture Controversy
The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was the most significant conflict between Church and state in medieval Europe. In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of Popes challenged the authority of European monarchies over control of appointments, or investitures, of church officials such...

) and the Roman nobility itself, resolved to recognize the Normans and secure them as allies. Therefore at the Council of Melfi
Melfi
Melfi is a town and comune in the Vulture area of the province of Potenza, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata.-Geography:On a hill at the foot of Mount Vulture, Melfi is the most important town in Basilicata's Vulture, both as a tourist resort and economic centre.-Early history:Inhabited...

, on 23 August 1059, Pope Nicholas II
Pope Nicholas II
Pope Nicholas II , born Gérard de Bourgogne, Pope from 1059 to July 1061, was at the time of his election the Bishop of Florence.-Antipope Benedict X:...

 invested Guiscard as duke of Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, and Richard of Aversa as prince of Capua. Guiscard, now "by the Grace of God and St Peter duke of Apulia and Calabria and, if either aid me, future lord of Sicily", agreed to hold his titles and lands by annual rent of the Holy See and to maintain its cause. In the next twenty years he undertook a series of conquests, winning his Sicilian dukedom.

Subjection of Calabria


At the time of the opening of the Melfitan council in June, Guiscard had been leading an army in Calabria, the first strong attempt to subjugate that very Byzantine province since the Iron-Arm's campaigns with Guaimar. After attending the synod for his investiture, he returned to Calabria, where his army was besieging Cariati
Cariati
Cariati is a town and comune in the province of Cosenza in the Calabria region of southern Italy.-Notes and references:...

. After Guiscard's arrival, Cariati submitted and, before winter was out, Rossano
Rossano
Rossano is a town and comune in Southern Italy, in the province of Cosenza . The city is situated on an eminence c. 3. km from the Gulf of Taranto. The town is known for its marble and alabaster quarries....

 and Gerace
Gerace
Gerace is a town and comune in the province of Reggio Calabria, Calabria, Italy.Gerace is located some 10 km inland from Locri, yet the latter town and the Sea can be seen from Gerace's perch atop a 500 m vertical rock...

 also. Only Reggio
Reggio Calabria
Reggio di Calabria , commonly known as Reggio Calabria or Reggio, is the biggest city and the most populated comune of Calabria, southern Italy, and is the capital of the Province of Reggio Calabria and seat of the Council of Calabrian government.Reggio is located on the "toe" of the Italian...

 was left in Byzantine hands when Guiscard returned to Apulia. In Apulia, he worked to remove the Byzantine garrisons from Taranto
Taranto
Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base....

 and Brindisi
Brindisi
Brindisi is a city in the Apulia region of Italy, the capital of the province of Brindisi, off the coast of the Adriatic Sea.Historically, the city has played an important role in commerce and culture, due to its position on the Italian Peninsula and its natural port on the Adriatic Sea. The city...

, before, largely in preparation for his planned Sicilian expedition, he returned again to Calabria, where Roger was waiting with siege engine
Siege engine
A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Some have been operated close to the fortifications, while others have been used to attack from a distance. From antiquity, siege engines were constructed largely of wood and...

s.

The fall of Reggio, after a long and arduous siege, and the subsequent capitulation of Scilla, an island citadel to which the Reggian garrison had fled, opened up the way to Sicily. Roger first led a tiny force to attack Messina
Messina, Italy
Messina is the third largest city on the island of Sicily, Italy and the capital of the province of Messina. It has a population of about 250,000 inhabitants in the city proper and about 650,000 in the province...

 but was repulsed easily by the Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

 garrison. The large invading force which could have been expected did not materialise, for Guiscard was recalled by a new Byzantine army, sent by Constantine X
Constantine X
Constantine X Doukas was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 1059 to 1067.-Reign:Constantine Doukas was the son of Andronikos Doukas, a Paphlagonian nobleman who may have served as governor of the theme of Moesia...

, ravaging Apulia. In January 1061, Melfi itself was under siege and Roger too was recalled. But the full weight of Guiscard's forces forced the Byzantines to retreat and by May Apulia was calm.

Sicilian campaigns


Invading Sicily with Roger, the brothers captured Messina (1061) with comparable ease: Roger's men landed unsighted during the night and surprised the Saracen army in the morning. The Guiscard's troops landed unopposed and found Messina abandoned. Guiscard immediately fortified Messina and allied himself with Ibn at-Timnah, one of the rival emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

s of Sicily, against Ibn al-Hawas, another emir. The armies of Guiscard, his brother, and his Moslem friend marched into central Sicily by way of Rometta
Rometta
Rometta is a comune in the Province of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 180 km east of Palermo and about 12 km west of Messina...

, which had remained loyal to al-Timnah. They passed through Frazzanò
Frazzanò
Frazzanò is a comune in the Province of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 120 km east of Palermo and about 70 km west of Messina...

 and the pianura di Maniace, where George Maniakes
George Maniaces
George Maniakes was a prominent Byzantine Greek general during the 11th century, he was the catepan of Italy in 1042. He is known as Gyrgir in Scandinavian sagas....

 and the first Hautevilles distinguished themselves twenty-one years prior. Guiscard assaulted the town of Centuripe
Centuripe
Centuripe is a town and comune in the province of Enna . The city is located 61 km from Enna, in the hill country between the Rivers Dittaìno and Salso.The economy is mostly based on agriculture...

, but their resistance was strong, and he moved on. Paternò
Paternò
Paternò is a town and comune in the Province of Catania, Sicily, southern Italy.-History:The site of Paternò was settled before 3500 BCE. Its inhabitants were probably the Sicani, although it was located in mainly Sicel territory; its initial name was Inessa. The modern name derives form the Greek...

 fell and he brought his army to Enna
Enna
Enna is a city and comune located roughly at the center of Sicily, southern Italy, in the province of Enna, towering above the surrounding countryside...

 (then Castrogiovanni), a formidable fortress. The Saracens sallied forth and were defeated, but Enna itself did not fall. Guiscard turned back, leaving a fortress at San Marco d'Alunzio, named after his first stronghold in Calabria. He returned to Apulia with Sichelgaita for Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

.

He returned in 1064, but bypassed Enna taking straight for Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

. However, his campsite was infested with tarantula
Tarantula
Tarantulas comprise a group of often hairy and often very large arachnids belonging to the family Theraphosidae, of which approximately 900 species have been identified. Some members of the same Suborder may also be called "tarantulas" in the common parlance. This article will restrict itself to...

s and had to be abandoned. The campaign was unsuccessful this time, though a later campaign, in 1072, saw Palermo fall and for the rest of Sicily it was only then a matter of time. As a result of his Sicilian campaign he was referred to a "Black Shirt Robert" Throughout the campaign he wore elegant clothing with imported dyes which ran together resulting in a black clothing.

Against the Byzantines



Bari
Bari
Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy. It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas...

 was reduced (April 1071), and the Byzantine forces were finally ousted from southern Italy. The territory of Salerno was already Guiscard's; in December 1076 he took the city, expelling its Lombard prince Gisulf, whose sister Sichelgaita he had married. The Norman attacks on Benevento
Benevento
Benevento is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 m above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato...

, a papal fief, alarmed and angered Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII
Pope St. Gregory VII , born Hildebrand of Sovana , was Pope from April 22, 1073, until his death. One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor affirming the primacy of the papal...

, but pressed hard by the emperor, Henry IV
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV was King of the Romans from 1056 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century...

, he turned again to the Normans, and at Ceprano (June 1080) reinvested Guiscard, securing him also in the southern Abruzzi, but reserving Salerno
Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

.

Guiscard's last enterprise was his attack on the Byzantine Empire, a rallying ground for his rebel vassals, such as Henry, Count of Monte Sant'Angelo
Henry, Count of Monte Sant'Angelo
Henry was the Count of Monte Sant'Angelo, with his seat at Foggia, from November 1081.He was the second son of Robert, Count of Lucera, and Gaitelgrima, daughter of Guaimar IV of Salerno. The identity of his father is disputable...

. In this enterprise Guiscard crossed swords with his most redoubtable opponent, the only one worthy of himself, in a clash of swords that would become legendary in the years after. In this struggle he met his nemesis in the person of the greatest man of the age: Emperor Alexius. He contemplated seizing the throne of the Basileus and took up the cause of Michael VII
Michael VII
Michael VII Doukas or Ducas , nicknamed Parapinakēs , was Byzantine emperor from 1071 to 1078.- Life :...

, who had been deposed in 1078 and to whose son his daughter had been betrothed. He sailed with 16,000 men of which 1,300 were Norman knights against the empire in May 1081, and by February 1082 had occupied Corfu
Corfu
Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality. The...

 and Durazzo
Durrës
Durrës is the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about west of the capital Tirana. It is one of the most ancient and economically important cities of Albania. Durres is situated at one of the narrower points of the Adriatic Sea, opposite the Italian ports of Bari...

, defeating the Emperor Alexius in front of the latter (Battle of Dyrrhachium
Battle of Dyrrhachium (1081)
The Battle of Dyrrhachium took place on October 18, 1081 between the Byzantine Empire, led by the Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, and the Normans of southern Italy under Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria...

, October 1081). He was, however, recalled to the aid of Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII
Pope St. Gregory VII , born Hildebrand of Sovana , was Pope from April 22, 1073, until his death. One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor affirming the primacy of the papal...

, besieged in Castel Sant'Angelo
Castel Sant'Angelo
The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as the Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family...

 by Henry IV
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV was King of the Romans from 1056 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century...

 (June 1083).

Marching north with 36,000 men he entered Rome and forced Henry to retire, but a short-lived rebellion or seditious tumult (émeute) of the citizens led to a three days' sack of the city
Sack of Rome (1084)
The Sack of Rome of May 1084 was a Norman sack, the result of the pope's call for aid from the duke of Apulia, Robert Guiscard.Pope Gregory VII was besieged in the Castel Sant'Angelo by the Emperor Henry IV in June 1083. He held out and called for aid from the Guiscard, who was then fighting the...

 (May 1084), after which Guiscard escorted the pope to Rome. His son Bohemund
Bohemund I of Antioch
Bohemond I , Prince of Taranto and Prince of Antioch, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade. The Crusade had no outright military leader, but instead was ruled by a committee of nobles...

, for a time master of Thessaly, had now lost the Byzantine conquests. Guiscard, returning with 150 ships to restore them, occupied Corfu and Kefalonia
Kefalonia
The island of Cephalonia, also known as Kefalonia, Cephallenia, Cephallonia, Kefallinia, or Kefallonia , is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece, with an area of . It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit...

 with the help of Ragusa and the Dalmatian cities (which were under the rule of Demetrius Zvonimir of Croatia), but died along with 500 Norman knights of fever in the latter on 17 July 1085, in his 70th year. He was buried in the Hauteville family
Hauteville family
The family of the Hauteville was a petty baronial Norman family from the Cotentin which rose to prominence in Europe, Asia, and Africa through its conquests in the Mediterranean, especially Southern Italy and Sicily...

 mausoleum of the Trinity Abbey (SS. Trinità) at Venosa
Venosa
Venosa is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata, in the Vulture area. It is bounded by the comuni of Barile, Ginestra, Lavello, Maschito, Montemilone, Palazzo San Gervasio, Rapolla and Spinazzola....

. The town of Fiscardo on Kefalonia is named after him.

Guiscard was succeeded by Roger Borsa
Roger Borsa
Roger Borsa was the Norman Duke of Apulia and effective ruler of southern Italy from 1085 until his death. He was the son of Robert Guiscard, the conqueror of southern Italy and Sicily; Roger was not as adept as his father, and most of his reign was spent in feudal anarchy.-Biography:Roger was the...

, his son by Sichelgaita; Bohemund, his son by an earlier Norman wife Alberada, being set aside. He left two younger sons: Guy, Duke of Amalfi
Guy, Duke of Amalfi
Guy of Hauteville was the second son of Robert Guiscard and his second wife, Sichelgaita. He was created duke of Amalfi sometime after the conquest of that city in 1073....

, and Robert Scalio
Robert Scalio
Robert of Hauteville , called Scalio, was the third and youngest son of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia, and his second wife Sikelgaita....

, neither of whom made any trouble for their elder brothers. At his death Guiscard was duke of Apulia and Calabria, prince of Salerno and suzerain of Sicily. His successes had been due not only to his great qualities but to the "entente" with the Papal See. He created and enforced a strong ducal power which, however, was met by many baronial revolts, one being in 1078, when he demanded from the Apulian vassals an "aid" on the betrothal of his daughter. In conquering such wide territories he had little time to organize them internally. In the history of the Norman kingdom of Italy Guiscard remains essentially the hero and founder, though his career ended in "something of a dead end," while his nephew Roger II
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

 is the statesman and organizer.

Religion


Robert Guiscard, through his conquest of Calabria and Sicily, was instrumental in bringing Latin Christianity to an area which historically followed the Byzantine rite
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

. Guiscard laid the foundation of a new cathedral in Salerno
Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

 and of a Norman monastery at Sant'Eufemia in Calabria. This latter monastery, famous for its choir, began as a community of eleven monks from Saint-Evroul in Normandy under the abbot Robert de Grantmesnil.

Though his relationship with the pope was rocky, Guiscard preferred to be on good terms with the papacy and he made a gesture of abandoning his first wife in response to church law. Though the popes were often fearful of his growing power, they preferred the strong and independent hand of a Catholic Norman to the rule of a Byzantine Greek. Guiscard received his investment with Sicily at the hands of Pope Nicholas II, who feared the opposition of the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 to the Papal reforms
Gregorian Reform
The Gregorian Reforms were a series of reforms initiated by Pope Gregory VII and the circle he formed in the papal curia, circa 1050–80, which dealt with the moral integrity and independence of the clergy...

 more. Guiscard supported the reforms, coming to the rescue of a besieged Pope Gregory VII, who had once excommunicated him for encroaching on the territory of the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

. After the Great Schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

 of 1054, the polarized religious atmosphere served to strengthen Guiscard's alliance with papal forces, resulting in a formidable papal-Norman opposition to the Eastern Empire.

In Literature


Such was Guiscard's martial and political success that Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

 recorded it in his Divine Comedy, placing his spirit in Heaven's sphere of Mars with history's greatest Christian warriors. In Inferno, Dante describes Guiscard's enemies as a field of mutilated shades stretching out to the horizon.

Guiscard was the protagonist of Kleist's
Heinrich von Kleist
Bernd Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist was a poet, dramatist, novelist and short story writer. The Kleist Prize, a prestigious prize for German literature, is named after him.- Life :...

 verse drama Robert Guiskard, incomplete at the author's death (1811).

Literature
  • Heinrich von Kleist, Robert Guiskard, Herzog der Normänner. Studienausgabe, Stuttgart 2011.

Marriage and issue


Married in 1051 to Alberada of Buonalbergo
Alberada of Buonalbergo
Alberada of Buonalbergo was the first wife of Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia , whom she married in 1051 or 1052, when he was still just a robber baron in Calabria....

 (1032 – aft. June 1122) and had two children:
  • Bohemund
    Bohemund I of Antioch
    Bohemond I , Prince of Taranto and Prince of Antioch, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade. The Crusade had no outright military leader, but instead was ruled by a committee of nobles...

  • Emma
    Emma of Hauteville
    Emma of Hauteville was a daughter of Robert Guiscard and Alberada of Buonalbergo. According to Ralph of Caen, she married Odo the Good Marquis and had two sons: Tancred and William, both of whom participated in the First Crusade. Tancred became Prince of Galilee and William died in the Holy Land...

     (b. 1052 or after), married to Odo the Good Marquis
    Odo the Good Marquis
    Odo was a Norman nobleman of the First Crusade who ruled over an unknown region of France. He went on to marry Emma of Hauteville and sired two sons, one of whom went on to become Tancred, Prince of Galilee.-Early life:...



Married in 1058 or 1059 to Sichelgaita and had 8 children:
  • Matilda (also Mahalta, Maud, or Maude; 1059 – aft. 1085), married Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona
    Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona
    Ramon Berenguer II the Towhead or Cap de estopes was Count of Barcelona from 1076 until his death...

  • Roger Borsa
    Roger Borsa
    Roger Borsa was the Norman Duke of Apulia and effective ruler of southern Italy from 1085 until his death. He was the son of Robert Guiscard, the conqueror of southern Italy and Sicily; Roger was not as adept as his father, and most of his reign was spent in feudal anarchy.-Biography:Roger was the...

  • Mabile, married to William de Grantmesnil
  • Eria, married to Hugh V of Maine
    Hugh V of Maine
    Hugh V was the Count of Maine and titular count from 1069 until 1131. He was the son of Azzo d'Este and Gersendis .In 1069, the citizens of Le Mans and some of the Manceaux barons revolted against Norman control...

  • Robert Scalio
    Robert Scalio
    Robert of Hauteville , called Scalio, was the third and youngest son of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia, and his second wife Sikelgaita....

  • Guy, Duke of Amalfi
    Guy, Duke of Amalfi
    Guy of Hauteville was the second son of Robert Guiscard and his second wife, Sichelgaita. He was created duke of Amalfi sometime after the conquest of that city in 1073....

  • Sibylla, (married to Ebles de Ramerupt, 4th Count of Roucy
    Ebles II of Roucy
    Ebles II , also called Eble or Ebale, was the second Count of Roucy of the House of Montdidier. He was the son and successor of Hilduin IV of Montdidier and Alice , daughter of Ebles I of Roucy...

     and had 8 children)
  • Olympias (renamed Helena), betrothed to Konstantios Doukas, son of Michael VII
    Michael VII
    Michael VII Doukas or Ducas , nicknamed Parapinakēs , was Byzantine emperor from 1071 to 1078.- Life :...

     in August 1074, contract broken off in 1078

Sources


  • Chalandon, F. Histoire de la domination normande en Italie et en Sicile. (Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    , 1907).
  • von Heinemann, L. Geschichte der Normannen in Unteritalien (Leipzig
    Leipzig
    Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

    , 1894).
  • Loud, G. A. The Age of Robert Guiscard: Southern Italy and the Norman Conquest. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2000. ISBN 0-582-04529-0
  • Norwich, John Julius
    John Julius Norwich
    John Julius Cooper, 2nd Viscount Norwich CVO — known as John Julius Norwich — is an English historian, travel writer and television personality.-Early life:...

    . The Normans in the South 1016-1130. Longmans: London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    , 1967.
  • Medieval History Texts in Translation at Leeds University
  • Coin with Guiscard's effigy.
  • Foundation for Medieval Genealogy on Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia