The Journal of Southeastern European Studies
King of Sicily Roger II's Attack on Byzantine and The Byzantine-Norman Wars (1147-1149)Ebru Altan
In the middle of the 12th century, the Normans of Southern Italy, who were on the rise with King Roger II (1130-1154), began to pose a great threat to Byzantium again. During the Second Crusade (1147-1149), Roger had the opportunity to attack Byzantium (1147) and invaded Corfu and he plundered the richest cities of Greece, Thebes and Corinth. Emperor Manuel Komnenos (1143-1180) was able to deal with this issue only after the Crusader armies passed through Anatolia. After a yearlong siege Corfu was taken from the Normans with the support of a Venetian fleet in 1149. Following this, the plans of a Byzantine-German alliance to launch an expedition to Southern Italy were disrupted as a result of Roger II's political in-trigues. In this article the Byzantine-Norman wars, which began when Roger II attacked By-zantium from the Balkans in 1147 and invaded Corfu, were discussed and evaluated.
Sicilya Kralı II. Roger’nin Bizans’a Taarruzu ve Bizans-Norman Savaşları (1147-1149)Ebru Altan
XII. yüzyılın ortalarında Sicilya Kralı II. Roger (1130-1154) ile birlikte yeniden yükselişe geçen Güney İtalya Normanları Bizans açısından tekrar büyük bir tehdit oluşturmaya başlamışlardı. II. Roger, İkinci Haçlı Seferi (1147-1149) sırasında Bizans’a karşı saldırıya geçme fırsatı (1147) bularak Korfu’yu işgal edip bölgenin en zengin şehirlerinden Thebai ve Korint-hos’u yağmaladı. İmparator Manuel Komnenos (1143-1180) ise ancak Haçlı ordularının Anadolu’dan geçmesinden sonra bu meseleyle ilgilenme fırsatı buldu. Bir yıl süren zorlu bir ku-şatmanın ardından 1149 yılında Korfu, Venedik donanmasının da desteğiyle Normanlardan geri alındı. Bunu müteakiben Bizans-Alman ittifakının Güney İtalya’ya sefer düzenleme plânları Roger’nin siyasî entrikaları neticesinde akamete uğradı. Bu makalede Sicilya Kralı II. Roger’nin 1147 yılında Balkanlardan Bizans’a saldırıp Korfu’yu işgal etmesi üzerine başlayan Bizans-Norman savaşları ele alınıp değerlendirilmiştir.
During the Byzantine Norman wars that started in the middle of the eleventh century, the Byzantine Empire lost its lands in Southern Italy and had to wage a difficult struggle in the Balkans (1081-1085). Following this, a new period of struggle started in Byzantine-Norman relations during the reign of Roger II (1130-1154). Having united Sicily and Apulia under his rule, he was crowned as a king in Palermo and became one of the most powerful rulers of Europe by eliminating all his rivals and consolidating his position. This situation, which changed the balance of power in the Mediterranean, brought Byzantium and Germany closer to each other. Emperor Manuel Komnenos maintained and made the alliance with Germany against the Sicilian king even stronger during the reign of his father Ioannes. However, the start of the Second Crusade caused the corruption of all plans of Byzantium. King Conrad III of Germany’s participation in this Crusade left Manuel alone against Roger in the West. Moreover, as Byzantium was busy with the Crusaders, Roger would not miss the opportunity to act against the emperor.
Indeed, while Manuel Komnenos was trying to pass the French Crusader army in front of Istanbul to Anatolia as quickly as possible, the Sicilian king attacked Byzantium in the autumn of 1147. Having sailed from Brindisi and Otranto the Norman fleet easily conquered Corfu (Kerkyra), a fortified and strategic location, and began a long-lasting raid of plunder. Thebes and Corinth, the center of the Byzantine silk-weaving industry and one of the richest cities in the Balkans, were plundered. The captured Byzantine silk weavers were taken to Palermo. After the Crusader armies passed through Anatolia, Emperor Manuel took action to avenge Roger’s attack on Byzantium. While the Byzantine navy and forces were preparing for the battle, Venice, whose commercial concessions were increased, also agreed to help the emperor. Byzantine and Venetian navies besieged Corfu in the autumn of 1148. Enduring a year of difficult siege, the Corfu garrison finally had to surrender when famine broke out in the fortress. An agreement was reached on the condition that those in the castle were allowed to leave freely with their weapons and movable property (1149). Following this, the joint invasion of the Byzantine-German alliance against the Kingdom of Sicily was broken off by Roger’s political maneuvers. After the death of Konrad (1152) the Byzantine-German alliance gave way to competition.