History ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2021


In the wake of the Norman conquest of Sicily in the second half of the eleventh century, the Mediterranean island housed a diverse collection of Greek, Latin, and Muslim communities. Norman kings chose Palermo to become the seat of Latin-Christian Sicilian government for its productivity and strategic location and included the island into the complex world of self-fashioning politics and exchange. For Sicilian and ‘foreign’ Muslims alike, the imperious pose Roger II and his successors held created a precarious balancing act between the real and imagined worlds of Sicily. The content of this thesis is primarily concerned with the impact of skilled Muslim artisans on the landscape and prestige economy of Sicily. It seeks to demonstrate how ideology colored the interactions of Christian and Muslim communities in Sicily with hues of skewed systems of power and dependency. The appropriation and use of Muslim images and their artisanal products typifies the performance of religiopolitical imperial posturing in Sicily characteristic of Roger’s reign and the lives of his successors. The dīwān records, travelogues, and biographies produced during the reign of Roger and his successors illuminate the role of Muslim silk weavers and other artisans in the development of the Norman Sicilian administrations Mediterranean Empire.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Sarah Davis-Secord

Second Committee Member

Dr. Michael Ryan

Third Committee Member

Dr. Justine Andrews




Sicily, Muslim, Roger II, Mediterranean, Silk, Gardens, Orchard, Norman, Aghlabid

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