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King of Sicily
Frederick II
Roger I
Stupor Mundi
William II of Sicily
Roger II
Constance of Sicily
Emperor Henry VI
Federico II di Svevia
Peter II of Sicily
Arab Norman
William I of Sicily
Chiesa di San Tommaso al Pantheon
San Tommaso al Pantheon
round church
Friedrich II
Gaetano Rapisardi

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Syracuse - San Tommaso al Pantheon

Syracuse - San Tommaso al Pantheon
Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island, has a long history, that starts around 8000 BC, but later there were Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greek and Roman periods. After the Roman Empire had fallen apart the Vandals tried to take over the island but failed. Finally, the Ostrogoths took possession.

Mid of the 6th century Sicily was conquered by troops of the Byzantine Empire. After the advent of Islam, Sicily got attacked by the Arab forces. Raids seeking loot continued until the mid-8th century.

A Muslim army was sent to the island in 827 but met with much resistance. So it took a century to conquer it and even later revolts constantly occurred

In 1038 the Byzantines invaded the island supported by Norman mercenaries, led by Roger. In 1072, after the siege of Palermo, most of Sicily was under Norman control. Roger´s son Roger II raised the status +of the island to a kingdom in 1130. During this period, the Kingdom of Sicily was prosperous and powerful,

The court of Roger II became melting out of culture from Europe and the Middle East. This attracted scholars, scientists, artists, and artisans. Muslims, Jews, Greeks, Lombards, and Normans cooperated and created some extraordinary buildings.

In 1186 the last descendant of Roger, Constance of Sicily married Emperor Henry VI, the second son of Barbarossa. So the crown of Sicily was passed on to the Hohenstaufen Dynasty. Frederick II, the only son of Constance, was crowned King of Sicily at the age of four in 1198. He became "Stupor Mundi", one of the greatest and most cultured men of the Middle Ages.


Syracuse, founded by Greek settlers in 734 BC, developed into the most powerful city on the island in the early times. Syracuse withstood the attacks of foreign conquerors over a long period, but in 212 BC it became a Roman city. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Syracuse came under the rule of the Vandals and then the Ostrogoths. Then for three centuries, Syracuse was part of the Byzantine Empire, before the Arabs conquered the city in 878. In 1038 Byzantine troops took over and the "Castello Maniace" was erected. Already in 1086 Roger I sieged Syracuse and conquered the city. In 1221 Emperor Frederick II took over and had the Castello Maniace rebuilt. He as well had the episcopal palace erected.

The round "Chiesa di San Tommaso al Pantheon" is the monument to the fallen soldiers of the First World War. The church was designed by Gaetano Rapisardi in 1919.

Alexander Prolygin has particularly liked this photo

 Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen club
Beautiful building; well captured.
20 months ago.

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