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5. Norman Palermo: The Capital of a Kingdom or the Dream Scene of an Empire?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is designed to situate the famous creations of 12th-century Palermo in their ideological and political context. What was revealed at the majority of Roger II, with the transfer, in 1112, of the capital from Messina to Palermo, was a decision that was at once the outcome of an earlier development, whose details remain obscure for want of sources, and the inauguration of a new era for the Hauteville. The elements of which court life consisted throughout the 12th century formed part of a Mediterranean koiné: royal ceremonial synthesising a wide range of different contributions, the presence of eunuchs, patronage extended to learned Arabo-Muslims passing through the court, the existence of a royal textiles workshop reworking Islamic and Byzantine designs, Islamic and Byzantine architectural and artistic inspirations.

Keywords: Arabo-Muslims; Byzantine designs; Mediterranean koiné; Messina; Palermo; Roger II



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