This book is an introductory account of the kingdom of Sicily established in 1130 by Roger II, a 'Norman' king, and ruled by Roger, his own son and grandsons until 1194 when the kingdom was conquered by his son-in-law, Henry VI of Hohenstaufen. The period covered does, however, extend from Charles of Anjou, a period roughly as long and as coherent as the 'Norman' monarchy of England between 1066 and 1204. Roger II's difficulties in creating an enduring kingdom needed continuous military effort. Even when these efforts were no longer required, the monarchy had still to learn how to function in lands where traditions of local government were strong. Yet when the monarchy itself faltered, the kingdom did not fall apart. Frederick II, the grandson of Roger II, showed that it could be revived and that his sons could maintain it. The ways in which the monarchy made itself indispensable cannot be traced in detail, but pointers to its success can be seen. The kingdom did not spring full-armed at birth - it took time and experience to hammer it into shape. When at last it looked capable of assuming the leadership of all Italy, its enemies combined to prevent it from doing so with the most profound consequences for Italy, the papacy and the west.
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