ITALY, Salerno. Ruggero II.
|CNG 84, Lot: 1753. Estimate $300.
Sold for $430. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
As Count of Calabria and Sicilia, 1112-1127. Æ Follaro (23mm, 9.01 g, 6h). Messina mint. Ruggero enthroned facing holding cross; (retrograde R)/II to right / Facing bust of Christ Pantocrator; CE to left, (retrograde S)/(retrograde S)V to right. CNI XVIII -; Travaini, Monetazione
type 174; MEC 14, 154-61. Good VF, brown patina. Exceptional for issue.
The son of Ruggero Bosso (Ruggero I), Ruggero II was appointed Count of Sicilia, following the death of his brother, Simone, in 1105. Upon attaining his majority in 1112, when he was declared Count of Calabria and Sicilia, Ruggero began consolidating the territories already under his nominal control and began expanding his authority beyond. In 1122, Ruggero’s cousin, Guglielmo, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, renounce his Sicilian claims, as well as a portion of Calabria on behalf of Ruggero, who, would subjugate Guglielmo’s rebellious vassal, Giordano di Ariano. When Guglielmo died childless in 1127, Ruggero declared the dukedom as his. He also asserted his claim to the Principality of Capua, a territory which had nominally been under Norman control for some time, but which had been allowed to exercise a measure of autonomy, owing to the weakness of its Norman overlords. Worried by the rising power of Ruggero, Pope Honorius II proposed a coalition to check him, but, when it failed to do so, the pope in 1128, invested Ruggero as Duke of Apulia. When Honorius died in 1130, Ruggero threw his support behind Pietro Pierleoni, who became Antipope Anacletus II. In return for that support, Anacletus promulgated a bull on 27 September 1130 declaring Ruggero King of Sicilia.
For the next decade, Ruggero waged war against a coalition organized by Bernard of Clairvaux, who supported Anacletus’ papal opponent, Innocent II, and led by Louis VI of France, Henry I of England, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Lothair III, all intent on removing Ruggero from the throne. Hoping to take advantage of this situation, the territories of southern Italy rebelled. When the rebels gained the support of the coalition forces, as well as the Byzantine emperor, John II Comnenus, Ruggero, after a severe defeat at the Battle of Rignano in 1137, seemed close to losing all. In 1138, however, things began to turn around with Ruggero’s successful recapture of the Principality of Capua. Following the death of Anacletus that same year, Ruggero hoped to gain the support of Innocent II. The pope refused, sending instead an army to invade Sicilia. At Galluccio, however, Innocent and his forces were ambushed and captured. In the subsequent treaty of Mignano, the pope, in return for his freedom, restored Ruggero’s titles as King of Sicilia and Duke of Apulia and Calabria. For the next fifteen years, until his death in 1154, Ruggero worked on consolidating his kingdom. In 1140, he created the Assizes of Ariano, which established a large Sicilian bureaucracy and attempted to maintain the feudal system under strict royal control. Ruggero also drew around him various Muslim, Greek, and European individuals of distinction, who served in various administrative and military positions, including admiral of the powerful Sicilian fleet. As a result, Sicilia experienced under Ruggero a period of intellectual and cultural expression which combined Muslim and Norman elements. During the Second Crusade (1147-1148), Ruggero used the opportunity to revive Norman attacks against the Byzantine Empire. While these were somewhat successful, their effects were short-lived.