A Companion to Medieval Palermo

The History of a Mediterranean City from 600 to 1500


Editor: Anneliese Nef
The Companion to Medieval Palermo offers a panorama of the history of Medieval Palermo from the sixth to the fifteenth century. Often described by contrast with the communal reality of Medieval Italy as submitted to a royal (external) authority, the city is here given back its density and creativity.
Important themes such as artistic and literary productions, religious changes or political autonomy are thus explored anew. Some fields recently investigated are the object of particular scrutiny: the history of the Jews, Byzantine or Islamic Palermo are among them.
Contributors are Annliese Nef, Vivien Prigent, Alessandra Bagnera, Mirella Cassarino, Rosi Di Liberto, Elena Pezzini, Henri Bresc, Igor Mineo, Laura Sciascia, Gian Luca Borghese, Sulamith Brodbeck, Benoît Grévin, Giuseppe Mandalà, and Fabrizio Titone.
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Biographical Note

Annliese Nef is Maître de Conférences at the University Paris 1-Panthéon and a member of the Institut Universitaire de France. She has published on Norman Sicily ( Conquérir et gouverner la Sicile islamique aux XIe et XIIe siècles, BEFAR, 2011) and works currently on Islamic Sicily.

Review Quote

"This collection of essays by historians, philologists and, to a lesser extent, archaeologists and architects allows us to retrace and decipher this complexity [of Palermo] through the periods of Byzantine, Islamic, Norman, Suebian, Angevin and Aragonese domination and makes the most recent thinking and interpretations of the history of this Mediterranean city accessible in English. Alongside relatively well known aspects of the historiography of Palermo… the editor has endeavoured to give prominent to the city’s cultural and religious history for which there are no recent syntheses."
Alessandra Molinari, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Medieval Archeology, Vol. 59 (2015)

Table of contents

List of Figures ... ix
Acknowledgements ... xiii
Abbreviations ... xv
List of Contributors ... xvii

The Medieval History of Palermo in a New Light ... 1
Annliese Nef

From an Empire to another Empire (VIth–XIth)
1.. Palermo in the Eastern Roman Empire ... 11
Vivien Prigent
2.. Islamic Palermo and the dār al-islām: Politics, Society and the Economy (from the mid-9th to the mid-11th Century) ... 39
Annliese Nef
3.. From a Small Town to a Capital: The Urban Evolution of Islamic Palermo (9th–mid-11th Century) ... 61
Alessandra Bagnera
4.. Palermo Experienced, Palermo Imagined. Arabic and Islamic Culture between the 9th and the 12th Century ... 89
Mirella Cassarino

The Hauteville’s experiment (XIth–XIIth)
5.. Norman Palermo: The Capital of a Kingdom or the Dream Scene of an Empire? ... 133
Annliese Nef
6.. Norman Palermo: Architecture between the 11th and 12th Century ... 139
Rosi Di Liberto
7. Palermo in the 12th Century: Transformations in forma urbis ... 195
Elena Pezzini

Palermo and the Mediterranean at the end of the Middle Ages
8. Palermo in the 14th–15th Century: Urban Economy and Trade ... 235
Henri Bresc
9. Palermo in the 14th–15th Century: The Urban Society ... 269
E. Igor Mineo

Transversal approaches
10. Palermo as a Stage for, and a Mirror of, Political Developments from the 12th to the 15th Century ... 299
Laura Sciascia
11. The City of Foreigners: Palermo and the Mediterranean from the 11th to the 15th Century ... 325
Gian Luca Borghese
12. Religious Palermo: A Panorama between the 12th and the 15th Centuries ... 349
Henri Bresc
13. Monreale from Its Origin to the End of the Middle Ages ... 383
Sulamith Brodbeck
14. Linguistic Cultures and Textual Production in Palermo, from the End of the 11th to the End of the 15th Century ... 413
Benoit Grevin
15. The Jews of Palermo from Late Antiquity to the Expulsion (598–1492–93) ... 437
Giuseppe Mandala

Conclusive perspectives
16. Citizens and Freedom in Medieval Sicily ... 489
Fabrizio Titone

Indicative Bibliography ... 525
Index ... 529


All interested in the history of Medieval Sicily, the Medieval Mediterranean, Byzantium and Medieval Islam and the Normans; in particular those who are interested in urban history and minorities history.


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