History Files

Please help the History Files

Contributed: 175

Target: 400

Totals slider

The History Files still needs your help. As a non-profit site, it is only able to support such a vast and ever-growing collection of information with your help, and this year your help is needed more than ever. Please make a donation so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. Your help really is appreciated.

European Kingdoms

Italian Peninsula



Sicily was apparently first settled by the Sicani people, while later arrivals, the Siculi, gave the island their name thanks to the Greeks who recorded their existence. The island was fought over for a long time between the North African city state of Carthage and the Greek colony of Syracuse which existed on the east of the island. Later it was conquered by Rome, and was temporarily a stronghold of the Vandali in the fifth century. Following recapture by the Eastern Roman empire, the island was hotly contested by the Islamic empire before it became a stronghold of the Norman counts of Apulia. Thereafter, the island passed between the major European powers, eventually being subsumed by a unified Italian kingdom in the mid-eighteenth century.

Byzantine Sicily
AD 535 - 827

A resurgent Eastern Roman empire conquered Sicily, and much of the Mediterranean coastline, in the sixth century, ruling its Italian holdings from Ravenna. But the empire's control of Italy was never complete, and it had to face continual attacks from the Lombards who had become dominant in the north and much of central Italy. The remaining Eastern Roman influence in the south was gradually whittled away after the sudden rise of the Islamic empire, although it took until 827 for the Muslims to seize control of Sicily. Details about the Roman administration of the island seem to be scanty, as they are with all their Western Mediterranean holdings, with not even a complete list of local military governors (strategoi) being available.

(Additional information from The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor, Byzantine and Near Eastern History, AD 284-813, Cyril Mango & Roger Scott, 1997, and from Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit, Volume 1, Ralph-Johannes Lilie, Claudia Ludwig, Thomas Pratsch, & Ilse Rochow.)


Sicily is recaptured for the empire by the Eastern Romans during the campaigns of General Belisarius which ultimately result in the creation of the exarchate of Ravenna in mainland Italy.

Adriatic coast
Following the collapse of the Western Roman empire, Sicily became an important stronghold in the fight to hold back the tide of Islam that was sweeping northwards

535 - ?


Unknown first Eastern Roman praetor of Sicily.


In response to the rebellion of John of Conza, the exarchate of Ravenna creates the duchy of Naples, the sixth such division of Eastern Roman territories in Italy. A dux or duke is brought into Italy to command Naples, and he reports directly to the strategos of Sicily. The new duchy is similar in size and territory to the modern province of Naples.


The island undergoes its first invasion by the Islamic empire. The forces of Caliph Uthman attack the Eastern Roman defences but soon withdraw. This is probably due to a weak supply chain, but it may also be due to advancing Roman forces from Ravenna. Frustrated by his attempts to remove Pope Martin from office under the orders of Emperor Constans II, Exarch Olympus switches his allegiance. Now supporting the pope, he declares himself emperor. In the same year he marches into Sicily, although who he is about to fight, the Roman strategos or the Arabs, is not clear. Instead he is struck down by disease and dies.


Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II is highly interested in affairs in southern Italy, which causes him to move his capital to Syracuse on Sicily. He appoints a native of Naples, one Basil, as the new dux, the military commander of the city. This is not the first dux to be appointed, but it seems to be the first about whom anything concrete is known, the previous incumbents being foreigners who had been forced to answer directly to the strategos of Sicily. Now Naples is its own master.


Sicily becomes an Eastern Roman military-civilian province (a thema, a theme in English) from the late seventh century, encompassing the island of Sicily and the region of Calabria on the Italian mainland.


The Islamic Wali of Ifriqiyya and the Maghreb, Hasan ibn al-Nu'man, captures Carthage in 695 and the Eastern Roman administration retreats, possibly to Caralis on Sardinia. This gives the Arabs a firm base from which to launch more sustained attacks on Sicily. The island of Pantelleria, located midway between Sicily and modern Tunisia, is captured by Arabs but internal discord prevents an attack on Sicily from being organised. Much of the eighth century is characterised by Arab naval attacks on Roman fleets in the Mediterranean, all of which keep Sicily safe.


Ubeidallah ibn al-Habhab al-Maousili, the Islamic Wali of Ifriqiyya and the Maghreb launches an invasion of Sicily which results in him seizing Syracuse. He readies his forces to take the rest of the island but a Berber revolt in Ifriqiyya forces him to abandon the idea.

755 - 756

The exarchate of Ravenna is briefly re-captured by the resurgent Lombards, but the following year the Carolingian Franks recapture the territory. The ex-Eastern Roman exarchate is handed back to Rome as the Papal States and northern Italy becomes part of the Carolingian empire. Sicily as a Byzantine possession is now more isolated.

fl 766


Eastern Roman strategos of Sicily. Blinded and exiled in 766.


Details of Antiochus are very sparse save for his involvement in a conspiracy in this year against Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine V. Theophanes the Confessor records that Antiochos and eighteen other military governors (strategoi) and senior officials are led by brothers Strategios and Constantine Podopagouros in a plot against the emperor. Once it is uncovered, the conspirators are paraded and humiliated at Constantinople's Hippodrome on 25 August 766. Strategios and Constantine are subsequently beheaded at the Kynegion and the others are blinded and exiled.

c. 760s/770s?


Eastern Roman strategos of Sicily.

781 - 782


Eastern Roman strategos of Sicily. Second term. Rebelled.

781 - 782

Elpidius is appointed strategos of Sicily by Empress Irene in February 781. Theophanes the Confessor records that he has already served as the governor of Sicily in the past, although a precise date is not known. Almost immediately he is suspected of being involved in a plot to remove her from the throne, replacing her with Nicephorus (later Nicephorus I). He is ordered to return to Constantinople but refuses with the support of the Eastern Roman military and people on Sicily. The result is that his wife and children are publicly flogged and then imprisoned.

Either towards the end of the year, or early in 782, Irene sends a large fleet which defeats Elpidius' own weak military forces in several battles. Elpidius, along with Dux Nikephoros (his second-in-command, who probably governs Calabria), flees to North Africa with the remnants of the island's treasury. The Abbasids welcome him and quietly support his self-proclamation as emperor. He survives at least until 802, when the accession of Emperor Nicephorus I heralds a more aggressive anti-Islamic policy.

c.796 - c.797/8

St Nicetas / Nicetas Monomachus

Eastern Roman strategos of Sicily.


The career of Strategos Nicetas may either be an amalgam of several individuals, or he is recorded with different variations of his name which could lead to some later confusion about his identity. Both Saint Nicetas the Patrician and the Eastern Roman eunuch general, Nicetas Monomachus, converge as strategos of Sicily in this decade, making it likely that they are one and the same person.


The patrikios (patrician) and strategos (military governor) of Sicily is Nicetas. In this year he sends an embassy to Charlemagne of the Franks, following the king's submission of the Avars and confirmation of his control over vast areas of Central Europe.

fl 799


Eastern Roman strategos of Sicily by 799.

? - 826

Constantine Soudas

Eastern Roman strategos of Sicily killed by Euphemius.


Tourmarches Euphemius, commander of the Byzantine fleet of Sicily, forces a nun to marry him. Emperor Michael II orders Strategos Constantine Soudas to seize Euphemius and remove his nose in punishment. Given no choice, Euphemius revolts, killing Constantine and occupying Syracuse in the process. Subsequently he is driven off the island and takes refuge with Ziyadat Allah I in Tunis. He offers Sicily to the emir in exchange for safety and a position as a general.

Venus Castle, Erice
Once again the Byzantine empire was betrayed by one of its own commanders, Euphemius, mirroring its loss of Carthage in 695, and Sicily was similarly lost

fl 820s


Eastern Roman strategos of Sicily by mid/late 820s.

827 - 828

Ziyadat Allah promises to put Euphemius in command of Sicily in return for annual tribute. He sends an invasion force that is aided by Euphemius' own fleet. The Aghlabids win the first battle (with the defenders presumably led by Strategos Photeinos) and lay siege to Syracuse for a year. A large Eastern Roman force sent from Palermo which is assisted by a fleet from Venice under the personal command of the doge, Giustiniano Partecipazio, is defeated. Sicily is in the hands of the Arabs as part of the Islamic empire. This loss virtually ends Roman domination of the Western Mediterranean although Calabria is retained.

Islamic Sicily
AD 827 - 965

In 827, after nearly two centuries of trying, Eastern Roman Sicily was occupied by the Aghlabids on behalf of the Islamic empire. Despite attempts by the Byzantines to wrest back control when the Muslims were suffering from repeated bouts of plague, Palermo was seized by 831 and converted into the Muslim capital of Sicily. It was renamed, imaginatively, al-Madinah ('The City'). Syracuse held out for longer, finally falling in 878, and Taormina fell in 902.

The very last Byzantine stronghold survived until 965, by which time communications between Constantinople and Sardinia had already been severed, leaving that island isolated and pushing Rome out of the Western Mediterranean. Several Byzantine expeditions to rescue territory were mounted but they met with little real success. Again, little of the island's history in this period seems to be known, and again, there does not seem to be a list of governors or rulers available.

841 - 843

Aghlabid ruler Muhammad I captures Bari and Taranto (temporarily) in 841 and Apulia and Messina in 843.


An Aghlabid fleet sails up the River Tiber and attacks Rome. The residents at the foreign schools - Franks, Saxons, Lombards and Frisians - help defend the fortifications, but further Saracen raids are to come.


A further Aghlabid incursion threatens Rome and other Italian coastal cities, so the pope organises the creation of a defensive league. The league, under the command of Caesar, son of Sergius I of Naples, sails out to meet the Saracen fleet at the Battle of Ostia. A storm divides the participants halfway through the fight and the Italians return safely to port while the Saracens are scattered. Their remnants are easily picked off or captured afterwards and the successful defence of Italy is celebrated.

Zowan Gate near Carthage
Having captured Carthage (and what became the ruins of the Zowan Gate near Carthage), Islam began to push northwards to attack Italy and Spain


Sicily falls out of Aghlabid control, submitting to the Abbasids directly and being governed by the Fatamids between 910-965 (using the local Kalbids as governors). During this period of transition, the Eastern Romans are able to reclaim the eastern section of the island, refusing to be budged for some considerable time.


As the latest in a series of conflicts with the Saracens, the forces of the new Eastern Roman strategos of Bari, one Nicolaus Picingli, assemble alongside those of various other southern Italian princes in the Christian League. It includes Landulf I of Benevento, John I and Docibilis II of Gaeta, Gregory IV and John II of Naples, Pope John X, Guaimar II of Salerno, and Alberic I of Spoleto. The allied Byzantine-Lombard army fights and defeats the Fatamids at the Battle of Garigliano, a drawn-out combination of fights and a siege. The Saracens find themselves in a worsening situation and eventually attempt to flee, only to be captured and killed. It is a militarily significant victory in the fight against Islamic advances in Italy.


The Fatamid caliph, Ismail al Mansur, suppresses a revolt on Sicily, and he subsequently appoints Hassan al-Kalbi to the position of emir of the island. The emir goes on to found the Kalbid dynasty, which eventually rules Sicily virtually independent of outside control.

Emirate of Sicily (Kalbids)
AD 965 - 1072

The Kalbid dynasty of emirs which governed Sicily was founded by Hassan al-Kalbi, who had been appointed to the post by the Fatamid caliph, Ismail al Mansur, in 948. Hassan was able to control the Eastern Roman presence in eastern Sicily and launch raids into southern Italy that continued for a century. However, a new force was by then making its presence felt in southern Italy, and from 1035 the semi-independent Kalbids (or Kalbis) gradually lost territory to the Normans of Apulia.

Palermo, the Fatamid capital of Sicily, with its numerous mosques, was a flourishing centre of Islamic sciences in the eighth century, and it played an important part in the transmission of Islamic culture into medieval Europe. Under the Kalbids, Sicilians enjoyed the benefits of land reforms which encouraged the growth of smallholdings at the expense of the great estates, and improved irrigation systems which increased harvests. For the most part, the island's population remained Romanised Catholic Christians, although the east was still dominated by Greek-speaking people, a partial survival (perhaps) of the Iron Age Greek colonies there, but also of the days of Byzantine rule and the surviving Byzantine strongholds in the east. All Christians under Islamic rule became subservient unless they converted to Islam, which of course many did, if only for a quiet life.

(Additional information from the Historical Dictionary of the Ismailis, Farhad Daftary, and from External Link: Sicilian People: The Arabs, Vincenzo Salerno.)

948 - 953

Hassan al-Kalbi

Founder of the Kalbid rulers of Sicily.

953 - 969

Ahmed I ibn Hasan al-Muizziyya

964 - 965

Fresh from their sweeping victory on Crete in 961, the Eastern Romans now launch an attack on Kalbid Sicily. Rus mercenary units participate in the campaign which aims to capture at least part of Sicily but which is unsuccessful.




969 - 970

Ahmed I ibn Hasan al-Muizziyya

970 - 982

Abu l-Qasim


The Kalbids, raiding into south-western Italy, are confronted by an army led by Holy Roman Emperor Otto II. The Kalbid forces prove their power at this time by defeating their opponents in battle near Crotone in Calabria. Otto I, duke of Swabia, is amongst the defeated nobles, and he also escapes a subsequent Arab ambush. The duke is selected to take the news of the defeat back to Germany but dies en route.

Chapel of San Cataldo, Palermo
The chapel of San Cataldo in Palermo was built by the Saracen rulers of Sicily, and it operated as a mosque before its conversion into a Christian chapel

982 - 983

Jabir ibn 'Ali

983 - 986

Jafar I ibn Muhammad


Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad

986 - 998

Yusuf al-Kalbi

The emirate began to decline.

998 - 1019

Jafar II

1017 - 1037

Ahmed II al-Akhal

Killed by Abd-Allah Abu Hafs in 1037.


The Hauteville brothers arrive in Italy from Normandy and soon found the county of Apulia. This coincides with a period of Kalbid rule that is becoming increasingly subject to internal division as factions vie for control. These factions ally themselves with the Eastern Romans and the Zirid governors of Fatamid Ifriqiyya, and in the meantime the counts of Apulia begin to capture their territory.

1035 - 1040

Abd-Allah Abu Hafs


1040 - 1053

Hasan al-Samsam / Hasan II

Ruled a highly fragmented emirate for much of his reign. Died.


The Kalbids begin to disintegrate as a dynasty, paving the way for the Norman conquest of Sicily from 1061, and the island's permanent incorporation into Christendom. Under Hasan al-Samsam, the island breaks up into four minor states, or qadits. The four qadits are made up of one that incorporates Marsala, Mazara, Sciacca, and Trapani; one consisting of Castrogiovanni, Castronuovo, and Girgenti; another made up of of Catania and Palermo; and the fourth consisting of Syracuse. Hasan al-Samsam exercises very little real power during the remainder of his lifetime.

1053 - 1062/72

(Muhammed ibn Ibrahim) Ibn ath-Thumna

Emir virtually in name only.


There are still three qadits on the Islamic portion of Sicily when Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia, and Roger Guiscard invade. With fresh-found blessing from Pope Nicholas II as the best way of ridding Sicily of the Muslims (and curbing Constantinople's influence in Italy), the brothers create a bridgehead by capturing Messina, on the north-eastern tip of the island.

Battle of Cerami
Roger Guiscard defeated 35,000 Saracens at the Battle of Cerami in 1063 as part of his conquest of Sicily, depicted in this oil on canvas of about 1860 by Prosper Lafaye

1065 - 1068

The four qadits of Sicily have largely been rebuilt into a single emirate by Ayyub ibn Tamim, the son of the Zirid emir of Ifriqiyya (regional governors of the Fatamids). He departs in 1068, leaving behind an island that remains divided between Arabs and Eastern Roman, with the Arab section sub-divided into two qadits: Syracuse, which is under the control of Ibn Abbad (known as Benavert to the Christians), and Qas'r Ianni (modern Enna), under one Hammud.


Roger Guiscard captures Palermo on Sicily in 1072, supported by a formidable uprising of the island's Christian population. The Kalbid emirate is quashed, paving the way for the creation of the Norman county of Sicily. Only a pocket of Islamic resistance remains under the command of Benavert, although the city of Qas'r Ianni also holds out until 1086, when its emir, Hamud, retires gracefully and converts to Christianity.

1071/72 - 1086

Ibn Abbad / Benavert

Sole surviving Arab leader of any real importance.


Opposed by the powerful nascent county of Sicily, Benavert is the last emir with a claim to meaningful control of any part of the island. With his removal, only a minor claimant remains in the form of Yusuf Ibn Abdallah, and when he in turn is removed in 1091, Sicily is entirely under Christian control.

Counts of Sicily (Hauteville)
AD 1071/2 - 1154

In the eleventh century Pope Nicholas II calculated the best way of ridding Sicily of Muslim control and also curbing Constantinople's influence in Italy. In order to achieve this, effectively he hired Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia and Calabria, and his brother Roger to invade the island in 1061 (sometimes reported as 1060). Their task was to terminate the Kalbid emirate of Sicily and claim the entire island on behalf of Christendom (but Catholic rather than Orthodox Christendom). Born in Normandy, Robert and Roger were two of the many sons of Tancred of Hauteville, three of whom had already served as dukes of Apulia. Roger had been in southern Italy since 1057 when his brother acceded to the duchy, and was present on the first military mission against Sicily's Muslim emirate in 1061.

This initial invasion created a bridgehead by capturing Messina, on the north-eastern tip of the island, the first part of it to be permanently held by the Christians. A period of conquest followed which lasted for nineteen years. In 1071, Robert captured Bari, the last Eastern Roman city in Italy, whilst Roger took Palermo in 1072. The Kalbid emirate there was quashed in the same year, paving the way for the creation of the county of Sicily by Robert when he granted the younger Roger with the title of count. Robert retained half of Palermo, plus Messina and the Val Demone, although these were handed over to Roger in packets (in 1085 and 1091) in thanks for support against rebellions on the mainland. Noto would be the last Muslim stronghold to fall in 1091.

(Additional information from the World Heritage Encyclopaedia, from The Normans in the South 1016-1130, John Julius Norwich, 1967, from The Deeds Done by King Roger of Sicily, Alexander of Telese, from Roger II of Sicily: Ruler between East and West, Hubert Houben (Graham A Loud & Diane Milburn, Trans, 2002), from The Normans, Marjorie Chibnall (Wiley & Sons, 2006).

1071/2 - 1101

Roger I Bosso de Hauteville

Brother of Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia.


The conquest of Sicily is completed with the removal of local emir, Yusuf Ibn Abdallah. He is deposed peacefully, and with due deference for Arab custom, with the result that Butera and Noto, on the southern tip of Sicily, are firmly in Christian hands. Much of Malta is captured in the same year, with the island's Christian population welcoming the Normans as liberators. The generally Eastern Roman Orthodox tradition on the island is gradually replaced by that of Latin Catholicism due to Lombard and Norman immigration.

Norman-Sicilian tombstone 1148
Occupation by Byzantine Greeks, Islamic Moors, and Christian Italians left Sicily with a rich cultural vein which is reflected in this tombstone of a Norman-Sicilian woman in 1148, inscribed in Latin (left), Greek (right), Hebrew (top), and Arabic (bottom)

1101 - 1105

Simon de Hauteville

Son. Died aged 12.

1101 - 1112

Adelaide del Vasto

Mother and regent.

1105 - 1130

Roger II de Hauteville

Son. Acceded aged 9. Apulia & Calabria (1127). King (1130).


William II, duke of Apulia, dies at the age of nineteen, unmarried, not having produced an heir, and not being very effective in his role as duke. As agreed between the pair in 1121, the ducal title passes to his cousin, Roger II, who now governs Sicily, Apulia, and Calabria, significantly increasing his power and influence.


Pope Anacletus is elected by a select number of cardinals the day following the death of Honorius II. His election is disputed and Innocent is selected instead. However, the latter is forced to flee north of the Alps, and for a time Anacletus is accepted as the official pope, supported by Roger II. Innocent eventually gains popular support in Europe but is only able to claim his office when Anacletus dies in 1138. By this time Roger has already been crowned king of Sicily, uniting Apulia and Calabria with the county of Sicily to form a single Norman kingdom.

Norman Kingdom of Naples & Sicily
AD 1130 - 1268

The accession of Roger II to the title of duke of Apulia in 1127 brought both that and the county of Sicily under his control. His coronation at Palermo in 1130 formally united them along with the island of Malta as a Norman kingdom. However, that coronation was authorised by the disputed Pope Anacletus, so that the supporters of the other claimant Innocent II, immediately launched themselves into a ten year-long war against Roger. Rebellions within the kingdom also had to be dealt with, but Roger coped admirably, the wars only serving to strengthen his position. Gaining Naples in 1137 increased the size of the kingdom and its power, and it was re-titled to reflect this.

Under the Normans, the general population of Sicily declined somewhat. This was most notable in Palermo, which had enjoyed one of the largest populations in Europe under the Kalbids, but whose numbers dropped from around 200,000 in the eleventh century to less than 150,000 in the twelfth. By the mid-fourteenth century it was even worse - Palermo had a population of just fifty thousand or so. The duchy of Apulia survived as a recognisable entity, but one which was usually a lesser title. In the modern age, a branch of the House of Savoy, rulers of the former kingdom of Italy, continues to use the title. However, even now it is secondary to the title of duke of Savoy-Aosta.

(Additional information from the World Heritage Encyclopaedia, from The Normans in the South 1016-1130, John Julius Norwich, 1967, from The Deeds Done by King Roger of Sicily, Alexander of Telese, from Roger II of Sicily: Ruler between East and West, Hubert Houben (Graham A Loud & Diane Milburn, Trans, 2002), from The Normans, Marjorie Chibnall (Wiley & Sons, 2006), and from External Link: History Extra.)

1130 - 1154

Roger II de Hauteville

Formerly count of Sicily. Crowned king in 1130.


Naples has stood unconquered while all of the various Lombard and Greek states have been conquered. But now, Duke Sergius VII surrenders his city to Roger II, increasing the latter's power, and his kingdom, even more. The kingdom of Sicily now becomes the kingdom of Naples and Sicily.


Pope Innocent II excommunicates his ardent enemy, Roger II, and further conflict follows during which Benevento becomes an outlying possession of the Papal States. Most of this principality's lands fall under the control of Naples which is now governed by Roger through Sicily. Roger also regains the rebellious stronghold of Bari following its surrender.

1146 - 1160

Having built up a sizable navy, and from 1135 attacking the coast of Tunis in the Islamic Fatamid emirate of Ifriqiya to seize pockets of territory there, now Roger occupies Tunis itself. Tripoli is captured in 1146, and Cape Bona in 1148. However, Roger's successor loses these conquests, and they are never officially integrated into the kingdom.


The kingdom at this time is one of Europe's most vibrant and most powerful. As well as gathering a court of distinguished notables, Roger also commissions the world atlas by the Arabic geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi.

Muhammad al-Idrisi's world map
Arabic geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi's world atlas, as commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily, carries important contemporary notes for each of the regions it displays

1154 - 1166

William I the Bad


1166 - 1189

William II the Good

1190 - 1194



Tancred is unfortunate enough to be holding captive the dowager queen, Joanna. She is the sister of King Richard of England who just happens to be making his way from France to start the Third Crusade that will regain Jerusalem. Richard arrives with part of his forces and soon secures her release, but Tancred refuses to hand over her dowry or the treasure left to her by her late husband. Richard promptly captures the city of Messina, and Tancred hands over the money. Richard heads on to his next (unintended) stop on Cyprus.


William III

Last of the de Hautevilles.

1194 - 1197

Henry (VI)

HRE (1190-1197). Son-in-law of Roger II.

1197 - 1198

Philip Hohenstaufen, youngest brother of Emperor Henry VI and a former bishop of Würzburg, has already been made duke of Tuscany in 1195. In 1196 he had become duke of Swabia on the death of his brother Conrad, and now appears to be the guardian of Henry's son, the infant Frederick (II). In 1197, Philip sets out to fetch Frederick from Sicily for his coronation as king of the Germans when he hears of the emperor's death and returns at once to Germany.

Hostility to the kingship of a child is growing, and after Philip is selected as defender of the empire during Frederick's minority he consents to his own election as emperor. He is elected as the German king at Mühlhausen on 8 March 1198, and is crowned at Mainz on 8 September. A number of princes who are hostile to Philip, lead by Adolph, archbishop of Cologne, elect an anti-king in the person of Otto of Brunswick, second son of Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony. The subsequent war is largely a north-south affair as Philip has his power base in Swabia.

1197 - 1250

Frederick (II)

HRE (1215). Duke of Swabia (1212). King of Jerusalem (1225-28).

1212 - 1217


Son. Duke of Swabia (1216-1235). HRE (1220-1235).

1250 - 1254

Conrad (IV)

HRE (1250-1254).

1254 - 1266


Killed by Charles I of Anjou

1267 - 1268


Duke of Swabia (1254-1268). Killed by Charles I of Anjou.


Conradin assembles a multinational army in Italy, determined to secure his own claim to Sicily in opposition to Charles I of Anjou. He is ably assisted by Frederick I of Baden, but the pair are defeated at Tagliacozzo, and both are soon arrested. The execution of Conradin, last of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, on 29 October 1268 triggers the gradual break-up of the duchy into a plethora of smaller states including margraviates, landgraviates, counties, bishoprics, abbacies, and the duchy of Teck. The kingdom of Naples and Sicily passes to the Angevins.

Conradin of Swabia and Friedrich of Baden awaiting sentence
This oil on canvas depicts Conradin awaiting sentence along with his ally, Frederick of Baden, as depicted by Johann Heinrich Tischbein, 1785

Aragon Kingdom of Sicily
AD 1282 - 1442

The French rulers of Sicily were massacred by the populace at Vespers on 30 March 1282, and Pedro III of Aragon was invited to take the throne while the Angevins continued to rule in Naples.

1282 - 1285

Peter I

Pedro III of Aragon (1276-1285).

1285 - 1296

James II

James II of Aragon (1291-1327).

1296 - 1337

Frederick I (II)

1309 - 1377

After residing at Poitiers for the first four years of his papacy, Pope Clement moves the papacy to an enclave in Avignon (now in France but at this time part of the lands of Frederick I), in a period known as the Babylonian Captivity.

1337 - 1342

Peter II

1342 - 1355


1355 - 1377

Frederick II (III) the Simple

1377 - 1401


1390 - 1409

Martin the Younger

Heir to Aragon. Died of malaria on Sardinia.

1408 - 1409

William III of Narbonne lands on Sardinia on 8 December 1408 to be crowned 'King of Arborea, Count of Goceano, and Viscount of Bas', but Martin I the Younger has already landed a force of his own (on 6 October), and the two meet at the Battle of Sanluri in 1409. The battle is a disaster for William, and he is forced to flee to France for assistance. Unfortunately, Martin dies of malaria a few days after the battle.

1409 - 1410

Martin the Older

Martin I the Humane of Aragon & Sicily (1395-1410).

1412 - 1416

Ferdinand I

King of Aragon & Sicily.

1416 - 1442

Alfonso I

Alfonso V of Aragon & Sicily.


The kingdom of Naples & Sicily is re-united under Alfonso V of Aragon.

Aragon Kingdom of Naples & Sicily
AD 1442 - 1501

The joint kingdom occasionally passed between and was temporarily divided for family members.

1442 - 1458

Alfonso I

Alfonso V of Aragon, King of Naples & Sicily.

1458 - 1494

Ferdinand (Ferrante) I

King of Naples.

1458 - 1479

John II

King of Aragon & Sicily.

1479 - 1516

Ferdinand II

King of Aragon & Sicily.

1494 - 1495

Alfonso II

King of Naples.

1479 - 1516

Ferdinand (Ferrantino) II

King of Naples.

1495 - 1496

An alliance is formed between Naples, the Pope, Milan, Venice, and the Emperor in order to defend Italy from Charles VIII of France. The conflict sees Naples occupied by the French.

1496 - 1501

Frederick IV (III)

King of Naples. Deposed by Ferdinand II of Aragon. Died 1504.


After uniting Spain, Ferdinand II of Aragon deposes his cousin in Naples and unites Sicily and Naples to the Spanish joint kingdom of Castile, Aragon, and Navarre. Local viceroys are given control of Sicily.


Germaine of Foix marries Ferdinand II, king of Aragon, Navarre and Sicily, and soon to be the regent of Castile, thereby bringing the lordship of Andorra under Spanish rule.


Admiral Turgut Reis, beylerbey of Algiers, sails with a large fleet of galleys under the command of Admiral Sinan Pasha to attack Venetian ports and then effect a landing on Sicily. The city of Augusta is bombarded in revenge for Sicily's invasion and destruction of Mahdia, and for the massacre of its inhabitants.


The Italian War of 1551-1559 ends with the signing of the Peace of Cateau Cambrésis between England, France and Spain. Emmanuel Philibert regains his duchy of Piedmont and Savoy in full as part of the war's ending and he departs his post in the Spanish Netherlands to take up his duties. Corsica is restored to Genoa, while Spain is confirmed in its direct control of Milan, Naples, Presidi, Sardinia, and Sicily.

1566 - 1568

Carlo d'Aragona Tagliavia

Viceroy of Sicily, Catalonia (1581-82). Governor of Milan (1583-92).

1568 - 1571

Francesco Ferdinando II d'Ávalos

Viceroy of Sicily. Former governor of Milan (1560-1563).

1571 - 1577

Carlo d'Aragona Tagliavia

Second term of office.

1641 - 1644

Juan Alfonso Enríquez de Cabrera

Viceroy of Sicily. Viceroy of Naples (1644-1646).

1647 - 1649

Gian Giacomo Teodoro Trivulzio

Viceroy of Aragon (1642), & Sardinia (1649). Gov of Milan (1656).

1662 - 1667

Francesco Caetani

Governor of Milan (1660-1662).

1668 - 1670

Francisco Fernández de la Cueva

Former viceroy of New Spain (1653-1660). Died 1676.

1670 - 1674

Claude Lamoral

Governor of Milan (1674-1678).

1696 - 1701

Pedro Manuel Colón de Portugal

Duke of Veragua. Viceroy of Valencia (1679) & Sardinia (1706).

1702 - 1715

Spain is involved in the War of Succession as Austria, Britain, and Portugal dispute the Bourbon accession. The conclusion of the war sees Spain giving up Milan, Naples, Sardinia, and the Spanish Netherlands (modern Belgium) to Austria, and Sicily to the duchy of Savoy (in 1713). The Papal States are forced to hand over the territories of Parma and Piacenza to Austria, a definite blow to the papacy's prestige. Philip, duke of Anjou, is recognised as the Bourbon King Philip V of Spain, but only on the condition that the Bourbon crowns of Spain and France can never be united under a single ruler.

1713 - 1720

Victor Amadeus II

King. Duke of Savoy (1675-1730). King of Sardinia (1720-1730).

1718 - 1718

Pedro Manuel Colón de Portugal

A Spanish Netherlands Belgian. Viceroy of Sardinia (1717).

1717 - 1720

King Philip V of Spain is unhappy with the arrangements set at the end of the War of Succession and occupies Sardinia and Sicily, triggering the War of the Quadruple Alliance. Austria, Britain, France, and Holland unite to defeat Spain, and peace is again declared with the Treaty of The Hague which is signed in 1720. As part of this treaty, the duchy of Savoy trades the important island of Sicily to Austria for the far less important Sardinia, which is closer to its own territory. So as not to lose out on the trade, the former dukes are promoted, and Savoy is merged with Sardinia to form a single kingdom of Sardinia.

War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought to avoid a shift in the balance of power in Europe with the proposed unification of the Bourbon kingdoms of Spain and France


Otto Ferdinand von Abensberg und Traun

Later Austrian governor of Milan (1736-1743).

1733 - 1735

The War of the Polish Succession gains Naples and Sicily for the Bourbons of Spain. The Spanish Philip V reunites his possessions as the kingdom of the Two Sicilies and gives them to a younger son under an agreement that the kingdom will not be reunited with Spain. In exchange, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI gains the duchy of Parma in addition to his existing Italian possessions.

Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
AD 1735 - 1805

The Sicilian Bourbons descended from Ferdinand, second son of Charles III of Spain, king of the Two Sicilies. With interruptions aside, they managed to keep the title until they were dispossessed in 1860.

1734 - 1759


King of Spain (1759-1788). Abdicated the Sicilies to his son.

1759 - 1805

Ferdinand IV (I)


1794 - 1795

The kingdom joins the First Coalition against republican France.


The Parthenopean Republic is declared in Naples in January, but the Bourbons are restored in June of the same year.


The Bourbons are deposed by Napoleon Bonaparte's French First Empire, and the emperor forms his own kingdom of Naples. Protected by the British Royal Navy, the Bourbons continue to rule from Sicily but without any power over Naples.

Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
AD 1805 - 1860

Naples was restored to the kingdom in 1815.

1805 - 1825

Ferdinand IV (I)

Ruled from Sicily 1806-1814. Restored to Naples (1815).

1825 - 1830

Francis I

1830 - 1859

Ferdinand V (II)

1859 - 1860

Francis II


Garibaldi defeats the Bourbons in his unification of Italy. The following year, Sicily and Naples are joined to Sardinia and Italy.

Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original king list page for the History Files.