Most successful Sicilian General/Admiral/Warrior?

Jul 2013
1,026
America
The island has produced some top level talent historically ranging from:

- Dionysius
- Agathocles
- Jahwar as-Siqilli
- Bohemond of Antioch
- Roger of Lauria
- Roger de Flor
- George of Antioch

Who is it, and why?

Keep in mind, your suggestion is not limited to this list either.
 
Oct 2018
2,057
Sydney
Among ancient generals at least I would favour Dionysios, since his empire was a bit larger and considerably more long-lasting than that of Agathokles. But I will give Agathokles credit for being the first to bring his war with Carthage to the African city's doorstep.
 
Jul 2013
1,026
America
Among ancient generals at least I would favour Dionysios, since his empire was a bit larger and considerably more long-lasting than that of Agathokles. But I will give Agathokles credit for being the first to bring his war with Carthage to the African city's doorstep.
Fair enough. What about medieval and early modern generals?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,578
Italy, Lago Maggiore
From Medieval times, the first Norman "amiratus amiratorum" comes to mind. In Sicily there are historical representations of him [he's George of Antioch], for example in Palermo, in Martorana's Church.
 
Jul 2013
1,026
America
From Medieval times, the first Norman "amiratus amiratorum" comes to mind. In Sicily there are historical representations of him [he's George of Antioch], for example in Palermo, in Martorana's Church.
Why him per se? What do you think made him such an effective commander?

And did Amiraths amiratorums ever have command on land? Or was it solely a naval position?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,578
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Why him per se? What do you think made him such an effective commander?

And did Amiraths amiratorums ever have command on land? Or was it solely a naval position?
Imagine that there is even a reenacting group in Sicily about his time, the "Croce Normanna di Ruggero II". That period has remained in the mind of the Sicilians and so the personages surrounding Ruggero have remained as well. Then the Sicilian culture has had a wide influence on Southern Italy and so ...

Anyway, a part the reasons of the transmission of his legend, we have to consider that the Normans admired naval leaders [they came by sea as conquerors and this was part of their cultural identity]. The career of Giorgio at the beginning was more diplomatic than military. Ruggero gave him a intermediate position of command in the Navy, just because of his geographic and linguistic knowledge. But he showed to be better than his own commander, Cristodulo.

To make it brief his particular approach to the military matters [btw, historians are not that sure that the title was limited to the command of sea forces] was that the brain valued more than the muscles. An example for all: in 1142 Ruggiero ordered to Giorgio to subjugate Mehedia. Not an easy task. Giorgio had a fleet of 25 "war woods". Clearly aided by a good work of intelligence he knew that in the port of Mehedia there was something very precious for the Sultan: a vessel, called Half World, full of precious things. Giorgio didn't waste time in proper military activities against enemy forces ... he launched the entire fleet in an attack to the port to get that vessel. He was able to get it and this forced the Sultan to find an agreement [substantially he was going to be vassal of Ruggero].

But I repeat, he was "lucky" [historically lucky] to link his name to the one of Ruggero II. So that his successes were also due to the power of Ruggero's domain.
 
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Jul 2013
1,026
America
Imagine that there is even a reenacting group in Sicily about his time, the "Croce Normanna di Ruggero II". That period has remained in the mind of the Sicilians and so the personages surrounding Ruggero have remained as well. Then the Sicilian culture has had a wide influence on Southern Italy and so ...

Anyway, a part the reasons of the transmission of his legend, we have to consider that the Normans admired naval leaders [they came by sea as conquerors and this was part of their cultural identity]. The career of Giorgio at the beginning was more diplomatic than military. Ruggero gave him a intermediate position of command in the Navy, just because of his geographic and linguistic knowledge. But he showed to be better than his own commander, Cristodulo.

To make it brief his particular approach to the military matters [btw, historians are not that sure that the title was limited to the command of sea forces] was that the brain valued more than the muscles. An example for all: in 1142 Ruggiero ordered to Giorgio to subjugate Mehedia. Not an easy task. Giorgio had a fleet of 25 "war woods". Clearly aided by a good work of intelligence he knew that in the port of Mehedia there was something very precious for the Sultan: a vessel, called Half World, full of precious things. Giorgio didn't waste time in proper military activities against enemy forces ... he launched the entire fleet in an attack to the port to get that vessel. He was able to get it and this forced the Sultan to find an agreement [substantially he was going to be vassal of Ruggero].

But I repeat, he was "lucky" [historically lucky] to link his name to the one of Ruggero II. So that his successes were also due to the power of Ruggero's domain.
Great post. And thank you for the contribution, I really appreciate it.

Anyway, as far as John goes, do we know anything about his prowess in battle? Like what was his military reputation like?

from him thereafter how would future admirals be selected? What were their backgrounds like?

Were most Native Sicilian Greeks, or did Normans resume the position as well?