The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

The Malta Historic Cities Festival: ‘The Arrival of King Roger II in Mdina in 1127’

Malta Independent Saturday, 7 October 2006, 00:00 Last update: about 7 years ago

Tomorrow, Mdina is set to go back in time when a full re-enactment of the arrival in Mdina of King Roger II will take place. The event, which will no doubt be an exciting and action-packed occasion, is part of the Malta Historic Cities festival and will commence at 2.30pm.

Following Count Roger’s brief attack on Malta and Gozo in 1091, the Maltese returned to their normal way of life while the old Arab rulers retained their governorship of the Maltese islands. It seems that they were only nominally obliged to acknowledge their subjugation to the kingdom of the Hautevilles who ruled in Palermo.

In 1127, Roger II, son of Count Roger who was, to all intents and purposes, King of Sicily, set sail for Malta to quell any Arab dissent and to establish once and for all a Norman style of government on the island.

The Arab leaders immediately agreed to King Roger’s demands and settled for a new government led by the Norman overlords who were subject directly to the King in Palermo. Of course, not everyone wanted to accept this state of affairs and several skirmishes broke out – as will be observed during the re-enactment.

The people were allowed to retain their faith – whether they were Arabs, Jews, Byzantines or Christians. Life went on as it was, even when, through marriage, the kingdom of the Hautevilles in Sicily passed to that of the Hauhenstaufen. The situation seemed to have remained unchanged for some 100 years, until Frederick II decided to bring Arab administration and influence in Malta to an end once and for all and established a totally Latin style of government in 1224.

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