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in Sicily during the year 827. They had been called in by a a traitor named Euphemius, a turmarch in the Sicilian theme, who rebelled against the emperor Michael the Amorian. Euphemius Euphemius had carried off a nun from a convent, rebels in and the emperor had ordered the strategos of oici y, 27. Sicily to punish him by cutting off his nose. But the soldier, instead of submitting, slew the governor, induced his troops to rebel, and seized Syracuse. His rising was put down by a fleet sent from Constantinople, but Euphemius himself escaped by sea, and took refuge with Ziadet-Allah, one of the Aglabite monarchs who ruled in northern Africa since that land had shaken off its allegiance to the Caliph at Bagdad.
The Moor consented to lend Euphemius his aid, not in order to replace him on the Sicilian throne, but in the hope of winning Sicily for Islam, and adding it to his own dominions. He proclaimed the holy war, and named as general Ased-ibnForat, an aged doctor of law, who was worshipped as a saint by all Africa. The preaching of Ased gathered a multitude of fanatical adventurers—Arabs, Berbers, and Moors—to join the regular troops whom his master placed under his orders. Taking Euphemius with them, in the hope that the Sicilians ,, , . would rise in his behalf, the Saracens landed at
Euphemius '. .
calls in the Mazara, on the south coast of the island early in Moors. june g27_ The natives execrated the traitor,
and refused to join him, but when the strategos Photinus led the army of Sicily against the invaders he was completely defeated. The fanatical fury of the Mussulmans swept all before it; we are told that the aged Ased himself charged in the front rank in spite of his seventy years, and slew so many Christians that the clotted blood glued his lance to his hand. The army of Sicily was almost exterminated, and its commander fled to Calabria, and died there.
The Mussulmans then seized Girgenti and marched to besiege Syracuse. But before its walls, while they camped in the marshes of the Anapo, they were smitten by the same deadly marsh-fever which has struck down so many other besiegers of that ancient city. Ased died of the pestilence, and his army fled from their plague-stricken camp, and fell back on Castrogiovanni (Enna), to which they laid siege. Here the traitor Euphemius fell—as he well deserved—himself the victim of treachery. He was tampering with the officers of the garrison, to induce them to surrender the place, when two brothers, who pretended to listen to his offer, enticed him to „, „„
1 'The Moors re
meet them under the walls, and promptly cut off peiied from
his head when he came to the secret interview. SyracuseThe siege of Enna was soon afterwards raised by a force sent from Constantinople, and the Mussulmans fell back on the fort of Mineo, where they were beleaguered by the Byzantines.
But just as victory seemed about to crown the East Roman banners, the whole aspect of the war was suddenly changed by the arrival of two new Saracen hosts. A force despatched by Ziadet-Allah to aid his first army fell upon Palermo and took it. A second force, composed of Moors of Spain, a band of exiles driven out of their own land by civil war, landed on the south coast, relieved their besieged co-religionists at Mineo, and defeated the strategos of Sicily in the open field.
For some time the emperor Theophilus, who had just succeeded his father Michael on the Byzantine throne, continued to send succour to Sicily. But in 832 he became involved in a desperate war with the caliph Motassem, which distracted all his attention to the East. This war in Asia proved the ruin of Sicily. The African Moors kept pouring in fresh fanatical hordes, and gradually subdued all the cities of the western half of the island. For a moment it seemed likely that Sicily would be permanently divided between The M Greek and African, just as it had been twelve conquer East hundred years before, in the days of Dionysius Slelly. and Hiero n. But at last the stubborn defence of the Byzantines was broken down by two fatal blows, the fall of Messina in 842, and that of Enna, the strongest post in the centre of the island, seventeen years later, in 859. This drove the East
PERIOD I. 2 F
Romans back to the eastern coast, where they retained no more than the sea-girt city of Syracuse and the strong towns about the roots of Mount Etna—Taormina, Catania, and Rametta. The Moslems, masters of the bulk of the island, were now at leisure to turn their arms farther afield, and to cross the Straits of Messina to invade the mainland.
In south Italy all the elements of disaster were ready and prepared. Sicard duke of Benevento, a ruffian and an oppressor, had been assassinated by his outraged subjects in 839. The Beneventans then proclaimed a certain count Radelchis as their prince. But the important towns of Capua and Salerno adhered to Siconulf, the brother of the deceased tyrant. A civil war broke out between these two pretenders, which was destined to last, with many variations of fortune, for no less than twelve years. In the second year of the struggle (840) Radelchis, hard pressed by his rival, had the unhappy inspiration of asking aid from the Moslems of Sicily. The chance was too good to be lost, and a Moorish army was landed at Bari, where it was received by the partisans of Radelchis, and allowed to take possession of the town. Then Siconulf, as mad as his enemy, answered evil with evil by sending to Crete to call in to his aid the Saracen pirates of Candia. They came, and the same sight was seen which
The Dukes of • . * j j i i * * i
Benevento call occurred six hundred years later, when the rival in the Moor emperors of Constantinople called in the Turks. 40' The auxiliaries of each prince sacked the towns
held by his rival, and generally ended by garrisoning them, and holdin: them on their own account. Apulia and Lucania were overr n by the Moors and Cretans, while, at the same moment, t' s Sicilian Saracens crossed the straits—Messina had just fallen—and swept all over the Byzantine possessions in Calabria. Between 843 and 851 the whole of Italy, from Reggio to the gates of Rome, was overrun by the Moslem marauders, and it seemed as if Christendom was to lose the southern part of the peninsula. Half its towns, Bari, Taranto, Reggio, Brindisi, even the castle of Misenum at the very gates of Naples, had now become Saracen fortresses. In 846 a great fleet from Africa appeared at Ostia, and the pirates overran the Roman Campagna, and even sacked the rich churches of St. Paul outside the Walls and St. Peter on the Vatican. But for the solid ramparts of Aurelian they would have entered the eternal city itself, and the town of Romulus and Gregory might have become a Moslem stronghold.
But already the man to whom, above all others, Italy was to owe her salvation, had crossed the Alps and taken up his life's task. Lewis, the eldest son of the unwise emperor Lothair, was appointed king of Italy by his father in 844, soon after the Partition of Verdun, and appeared in the next year before Sergius n., to be solemnly crowned at Rome. The Pope made the young Frankish prince swear to protect the Church and all its privileges, but when once crowned Lewis made Sergius and all the nobles of Rome do him homage, and when in 847 Sergius died, and Leo iv. followed him, the imperial right of confirmation was duly acknowledged.
Lewis and Leo, who lived in concord and amity, were the first to discomfit the Saracens, and give some hope of salvation to Italian Christendom. In 849 the African and Po e Leo's Sicilian Moslems sent a second and larger expe- victory at dition against Rome. Pope Leo took the field ostia'849' himself with the forces of the Roman and Latin counts and barons, while the fleets of Naples and Amalfi, under the consul Caesarius, guarded the harbour of Ostia. When the infidels appeared battle was joined at sea, but a tempest arose, and drove most of the African fleet ashore. Caught between the Neapolitan ships and the Pope's army, the Moors were crushed: the few who escaped death by the sea and the sword became the slaves of the Romans, and were set to labour on the wall which Leo built to protect the Vatican and St. Peter's—the new quarter of Rome, which got from him the name of the Leonine city. The great fresco of Raphael representing this victory has made pope Leo's triumph the one ninth century event in Italy which is well remembered by the world.
In the next year the emperor Lewis compelled the rival Beneventan dukes to come to terms. He marched into Samnium and threatened to attack Radelchis if he refused to make peace with his enemy Siconulf. Under this pressure a partition of the duchy was made: Radelchis kept the capital and the eastern half of the principality: Siconulf became 'prince of Salerno,' and ruled the Campanian and Lucanian . _. half. The conclusion of peace was celebrated
Lewis II. •
pacifies by the massacre of the Saracen auxiliaries of
south Italy. Radelchis, whom the duke quietly betrayed to the sword of Lewis, now that he had no further need for their aid (851).
But though the civil war in south Italy was ended, the situation was still perilous. The whole coast from Bari to Reggio was still in the hands of the Moslems, who were coalescing into a single state under Mofareg-ibn-Salem, the pirateking who governed Bari. He had taken the title of Sultan, and the majority of his countrymen had done homage to him. For eighteen years (853-71) he was the terror of south Italy, and might have founded a kingdom and a dynasty, if he had not been opposed by a warrior as active and obstinate as himself in the person of the emperor Lewis.
The young Frankish Caesar was already making his power felt in Italy as neither his sire nor his grandsire had done. Unlike most of his race, he concentrated his mind on one kingdom, and devoted himself to its defence. It resulted that he was an excellent ruler for Italy, but that he never gained such a footing beyond the Alps as he might have claimed in virtue of being the eldest heir of Charles the Great. Though a crowned emperor he never reigned at Aachen, or held a foot of land outside the peninsula, except the single county of ProBut in Italy his power was very real. He dealt most firmly; with the Papacy. When Benedict in. and Anastasius contested the Papal throne in 855, the emperor's legate held a court of inquiry in the Lateran and adjudged the former to be the true successor of St. Peter. Nicolas I., the next