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Sicily's Queens 1061-1266
Sicily's Queens 1061-1266

Sicily's Queens 1061-1266

The Countesses and Queens of the Norman-Swabian Era

Sicilian Medieval Studies


520 Pages, x

Formats: EPUB

EPUB, $19.00 (US $19.00) (CA $22.00)

Publication Date: April 2020

ISBN 9781943639304

Rights: WOR

Trinacria Editions LLC (Apr 2020)


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Eighteen women. Eighteen stories. Each one unique. Some never told before.They are the semi-forgotten women of European medieval history. This is the first compendium of scholarly biographies of the countesses and queens of the Kingdom of Sicily during the Hauteville and Hohenstaufen reigns, based on original research in medieval charters, chronicles and letters, augmented by extensive on-site research at castles, cathedrals and towns across Europe.This abridged edition of the author's Queens of Sicily 1061-1266 brings to the reader the entire narrative text of that 740-page print book published in 2019, with a bibliography, timeline, 26 genealogical tables, 15 maps, several photographs of things like pages from medieval manuscripts and places mentioned in the text, and 5 appendices. It does not include the 700 endnotes. The bibliography lists original (medieval) sources to support the facts presented in the text but not the hundreds of secondary works (such as articles) listed in the print edition.The result of years of research in several countries, Queens of Sicily 1061-1266 was the first collection of biographies of these women ever published in any language in a single publication. Until it arrived in 2019, anybody seeking information about all of these women had to consult various sources.The biographies follow a lengthy introduction and a brief survey of Sicilian history. Each chapter is dedicated to a countess or queen: Judith of Evreux, Eremburga of Mortain, Adelaide del Vasto, Elvira of Castile, Sibylla of Burgundy, Beatrice of Rethel, Margaret of Navarre, Joanna of England, Sibylla of Acerra, Irene of Constantinople, Constance of Sicily, Constance of Aragon, Yolanda of Jerusalem, Isabella of England, Bianca Lancia, Elisabeth of Bavaria, Beatrice of Savoy, Helena of Epirus.This book is about the lives of medieval women, but to place the Kingdom of Sicily, which survived for seven centuries, into a wider historical context an appendix profiles the last queen, Maria Sophia of Bavaria, who lived until 1925, with a previously-unpublished interview of a niece who knew her. Maria Sophia was born into the same dynasty as Elisabeth of Bavaria, who became Queen of Sicily in 1250.Another appendix includes the author's translation (from the original Medieval Sicilian) of the Contrasto of Cielo of Alcamo, the longest poem of the Sicilian School that flourished under Frederick II. It is possible that one or two of these queens heard this poem recited or sung at court. Other appendices focus on the only crown of a Sicilian queen to survive from this era (worn by Constance of Aragon and shown on the book's cover), a gold pendant worn by Queen Margaret given to her by Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the ceremonial rite of coronation known to some of these queens.This book is very complete and its publication was long overdue. Some of these women's stories are exciting, even inspiring. They show these countesses and queens as wives, mothers, leaders, soldiers, crusaders and administrators. These women were anything but weak or docile. Judith withstood a winter siege in a makeshift fort and then led a company of knights to occupy a town in the rugged Sicilian mountains. As regent for her young son, Margaret was the most powerful woman in Europe and the Mediterranean, governing a kingdom of some two million subjects while facing the incessant insurrections instigated by unruly barons and conniving clergy. She sometimes jailed enemies without so much as a second thought. Joanna went on crusade with her brother, Richard Lionheart, whose death in France she later avenged by having his killer tortured to death. Constance of Sicily commanded troops in a campaign to take back the crown usurped by a zealous kinsman.Not only is this work highly detailed and useful as a reference, it's very readable, without the verbose academese of many books of this kind (most of its academic jargon was re

Author Biography

Jacqueline Alio is one of Sicily’s leading medievalists, and the author of several monographs about Sicily’s early queens. She wrote the first biography of Margaret of Navarre, the first compendium of biographies of the Sicilian queens of the Norman and Swabian eras, and a study of queenship in the Kingdom of Sicily during that period. Other books include the first English translation of a medieval chronicle written during the reign of Frederick II, a guide for educators teaching Sicilian Studies, a guide to the Norman-Arab sites around Palermo, a history of multicultural Sicily, a book on historical Sicilian women and a guide to Sicilian cuisine. At 740 pages, her Queens of Sicily 1061-1266 is the longest book written in English by a historian based in Sicily. In addition to the Ferraris Chronicle, completed in 1228 by a monk near Naples who knew Frederick II, Jacqueline Alio has translated other medieval texts for publication, including poetry composed in Sicilian by Frederick himself. She has lectured classes of university students and groups from organizations such as YPO.