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Re: two Sicilies

Yes, indeedy, they were quite civilized.  A good description in "Crusades"
by Terry Jones and Alan Ereira.
Listen to this:

    "Baghdad had once been the largest and most civilized city in the world.
Before the Turkish invasions it had enjoyed free hospitals, public baths, a
postal service, a water supply, a sewage system, as well as several
banks--with branches in China.  Under the rule of Caliph Harun al-Rashid
three hundred years earlier, it had ruled over an Islamic empire that
included North Africa, Palestine, Syria and Iraq, and beyond Persia and
Afghanistan, and to Azerbaijan and the southern shores of the Caspian Sea.
    In those days Islamic culture had opened itself up to the influence of
other civilizations.  Ever since the days of Caliph al-Mamun d. 833) Moslems
had had the benefit of permanent endowments to support their cultural life,
rather than the chance largesse of rulers.  Al-Mamun had established
colleges of translators who made the wealth of knowledge contained in Greek,
Syriac, Persian and Sanskrit writing available in Arabic.  He established
the great Hall of Science with it library and astronomical laboratory in
    Further north, in the city of Harran, a school of science had grown up
which was centuries ahead of the West.  By the time the Crusaders first
achieved sword-contact with the Islamic world, one Harran scientist,
Albatanius, had already correctly calculated the distance from the Earth to
the Moon, while another, Jabir bin Hayyan, had suggested that if the atom
could be divided it might release enough power to destroy a city the size of
    Arab medicine was also highly developed.  To practice medicine required
a knowledge of surgery, anatomy and circulation of the blood (400 years
before Harvey).  There were specialists in eye surgery, breast tumors,
epilepsy, preventive medicine and perhaps most important of all--hygiene.
Arab doctors even used anesthetic.  A sponge was soaked in a mixture of
hashish, opium, darnel and belladonna, and then left to dry in the sun.
When it was needed, the sponge would be re-moistened and placed in the
nostrils of the patient, who was --perhaps not surprisingly--plunged into a
deep sleep."

    So who were the uncouth invading hoards??--the Crusaders.  And it was
from their observation of Saladin that they learned the ways of an honorable
knight and brought the pattern of chivalry back to the West.  Unfortunately
the Muslims had learned the treacherous ways of the west and used their
tactics from then on very effectively against future Crusaders.
----- Original Message -----
From: Gordon Holmes <lafleur@home.com>
To: <sinclair@mids.org>
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 1999 9:00 PM
Subject: Re: two Sicilies

> I doubt this has anything to do with anything but the Muslims were
> pretty civilized and sometimes we were in haste driving the heritic out.
> My main thrill though, is the fact that names like "The Weasel" were in
> use in Sicily even That far back..Gord..  :) (Da Family..)
> Spirit One Email wrote:
> >
> > Sinclair,
> > You wrote:
> > Niven often speaks of Sinclair guarding the
> > approaches to great cities and productive areas. In the Norman Kingdom
> > the two Scillys the King is quoted by a Muslim historian say of Sinclair
> > "These are my immortals, they are feared at the very gates of Hell"
> >
> > Dictionary says: "Two Sicilies  a former kingdom including Naples (with
> > lower Italy) and Sicily; united with the kingdom of Italy in 1861"
> > Oh, just came across another interesting definition in "Medieval Warfare
> > Maurice Keen:
> > This word was in the last message:
> > MAGNATES= "is a catch-all term; it includes great secular officials like
> > counts, great ecclesiastics like bishops and the abbots of royal abbeys
> > (although prelates were not supposed to fight in person, they were
> > to lead contingents of troops).  It aslo includes wealthy nobles who did
> > hold secular or ecclesiastical office.  Sucyh men undoubtedly acted as
> > leaders, as Nithard's account of Fontenoy shows, and where narrative
> > accounts mention casualties it is men of this type that they name.
> > importance for the cohesion of armies cannot be overestimated; the
> > contribution they and their own followings made to armies is, as more
> > difficult to assess."
> >
> > Now about the Normans in Apulia  according to the Medieval Warfare book:
> > 20th century authors sometimes agree that the powerful mounted Norman
> > knights swept all before them but this view has been challenged.  "Their
> > normal technique was to seize a castle and use it as a base from which
> > terrorize the surrounding district into submission, as Robert of
> > known as Guiscard, 'the Weasel', did from San Marco Argentano in
> > According to Amatus of Montecassino, another Norman, Richard of Aversa,
> > 'carried off everything he could and gave it away (to his men) keeping
> > little....in this way the land about was plundered and the number of his
> > knights multiplied'.
> >     Decades of this kind of brigandage made the Normans thoroughly
> > and Pope Leo IX organized a coalition of Byzantines and Lombards against
> > them.  This forced the various Norman bands to unite their forces and
> > managed to bring the Pope's army, which included a contingent of Swabian
> > tgroops to battle at Civitate on 17 June 1053 (so our WIlliam Warlenc
> > not loose his Norman title until 1054-55.  But he could have been in
> > where he received his nickname and then returned to Normandy with a
> > reputation to challenge Duke William).
> >     At Civitate, it has been said, 'the old world of Germanic infantry
> > tactics went down before the new chivalry of heavy cavalry.'  But
> > to William of Apulia's "Deeds of Robert of Guiscard", once the pope's
> > Lombards had ridden away in flight, the 700 Swabian foot soldiers who
> > remained put up a prolonged and stout resistance against several
> > Normans.  If anything Civitate demonstrates the stgrength in battle of
> > infantry even when hugely outnumbered.  Leo IX was taken prisoner and
> > to recognize the Norman acquitiions.  But the few lordships they had
> > obtained by this date were hardly impressive.  As yet, apart perhaps
> > Humphrey of Hauteville's Melfi, they controlled none of the major
> >     Only after 1059 did the Normans make spectacular gains, and for this
> > there were two principal reasons.  The first was the growing pressure of
> > Seljuk Turks on Anatolia.  As late as 1038 Constantinople had shown real
> > interest in the West, sending an expedition to recover Sicily, Messina
> > Syracuse.  But with the push of the Turks in Anatolia, the Byzantine
> > priority was to the East."   And the second reason was the continuity
> > cooperation of the brothers Robert Guiscard in Italy and Roger in
> >
> >     So these early Normans in Apulia used the same plundering tactics of
> > their Viking ancestors and as our Rollo did.  Just determinly wearing
> > and exhausting the defenders, year after year.   Anna Comena, sister of
> > Constantinople's emperor said of Robert Guisard, "That Norman braggart
> > Robert, notorious for his power-lust, of obscure origin, over-bearing,
> > thoroughly villainous, a brave fighter and very cunning, wonderfully
> > and utterly determined."   This was actually  praise coming from the
> > Byzantines who were among the world's great connivers for that is how
> > were able to hold out so many centuries against the hoards from the
> > And when Robert was almost at the gates of Constantinople one day with
> > armies, it was the revolt that the emperor was able to foment back in
> > that drew Robert back there and saved Constantinople once again.
> >
> > So, Sinclair, the Muslim historian, actually names the SInclairs as
> > enemies and warriors in the two Sicilies. Sounds like there were more
> > one of them there.  But who were they.  William Warlenc and sons or
> > William the Seemly???   I wish we had more access to the history of this
> > region.  I am guessing that William Warlenc would have been born about
> > What would you guess?
> >
> > [ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
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