The Pioneers

Roger King of Sicily (1095-1154)

Roger King of Sicily was the son of Robert Guiscard's brother who was also Roger, known as Roger the Great Count of Sicily and Adelaide of Savona. Robert Guiscard was reputed to be the greatest of the Norman rulers of Sicily.
Roger was born when his father was 64, and his father died shortly afterwards in 1101, leaving his widow and two small sons to rule his small but turbulent kingdom.
Countess Adelaide managed to retain power on the island but in 1105 her elder son, Simon died, leaving the young Roger as sole heir.

By 1112 when Roger was knighted, he and his mother had made Palermo their capital. Roger a member of the first generation of the Hauteville family to been born in their southern Italian domains.
The society of Sicily at that time was a mix of Arabic , Norman , Italian and Greek cultures,  this cosmopolitan upbringing was to sculpture his character and give him the determination and diverse wisdom needed to rule that kingdom.

Adelaide died in 1118, and the 23-year-old Roger, his county somewhat pacified by the participation of many Norman knights in the First Crusade and in subsequent service in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, began to consider the exploitation of Sicily's strategic position along the Mediterranean trade routes.

King Roger presided over a diverse court, whose administrators included men of many nationalities and faith, both Christian and Muslim.85

On the death of his cousin Duke William of Apulia in 1127, Roger claimed the mainland inheritance of his family as his own. In 1128 he was formally invested as Duke of Apulia by Pope Honorius II at Benevento.

By 1129 Roger had imposed his rule over the turbulent Norman barons of the mainland and had extracted from them a closely binding oath of personal loyalty to himself.

Roger enforced a law prohibiting the practice of medicine to anyone who had not graduated. This was done, in order that his subjects should not suffer harm. Many of his citizens had suffered, due to of the incompetence of untrained Physicians.
This was in essence, a medieval day Hammurabi code. 34

During the 12th century in 1139 Pope Innocent II had threatened with severe penalties, monks who carried out medicine and surgery “at the neglect of their sacred duties”

The relevant section reads:

"There are also those who, neglecting the care of souls, completely ignore their state in life, promise health in return for hateful money and make themselves healers of human bodies. And since an immodest eye manifests an immodest heart, religion ought to have nothing to do with those things of which virtue is ashamed to speak. Therefore, we forbid by apostolic authority this practice to continue, so that the monastic order and the order of canons may be preserved without stain in a state of life pleasing to God, in accord with their holy purpose. Furthermore, bishops, abbots and priors who consent to and fail to correct such an outrageous practice are to be deprived of their own honours and kept from the thresholds of the church."86





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