The History of Sicily

King William I

Roger II was succeeded by his fourth son (three older sons died before their maturity), William I (1131-1166), who two hundred years later was dubbed William the Bad, a title he did not deserve. During the first year of his reign, Robert of Loritello (d. 1182), his cousin, brought a group of southern Italian noblemen into an alliance with the Byzantine emperor and the Papacy to drive William and the Sicilians from southern Italy. William personally led his army against the alliance. Upon realizing the strength of the combined Sicilian navy and army, Robert and the other barons fled, leaving the Greeks to face the Sicilians alone.

After defeating them, William sailed up the boot of Italy to seek revenge on the traitorous nobles. In 1156, Pope Hadrian IV (1100-1159), the only Englishman ever to have worn the Papal crown, met with William at Benevento and agreed to recognize him as King of Sicily and almost all of southern Italy. Many of the rebellious barons were executed or imprisoned, and William razed the city of Bari in Apulia.


Norman Bell Tower, Erice