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1. Palermo in the Eastern Roman Empire

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Chapter Summary

Palermo became part of the Byzantine empire in 535, through the swift conquest of Sicily, then part of the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy, by the general Belisarius. Palermo, for its part, was furnished with a garrison, but the latter refused to hand over its weapons and took shelter behind the city's fortifications. Aside from its spectacular character, the conquest of Palermo by Belisarius, by placing the emphasis upon missile weapons, served to highlight the consequences of the lack of a genuine archery tradition among the Germanic warriors. They laid down their weapons, judging it impossible to resist a possible assault on the city walls by the remaining fighting crew. The siege of Palermo, very probably begun in August 830, lasted despite everything for a whole year, leading to a drastic reduction in the numbers of its inhabitants.

Keywords: Byzantine empire; Germanic warriors; Ostrogothic kingdom; Palermo; Sicily



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