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La Chiesa dell Ammiraglio

(aka La Martorana)


Sister mosaiced church - La Capella Palatina


The Normans and the Hohenstaufen Kings of Sicily and Southern Italy 1000 - 1266


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The main reason why Roger II could devote his energies to so many non affairs of state, was that he had an extremely capable military commander - Ammiraglio (Admiral) Giorgio di Antiochia - at his side.  Shades of the relationship six hundred years earlier between the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and his General - Belisarius, and four hundred years later still between the Ottoman Sultans Mehmet and Suleiman and their Admiral - Barborossa.


However, the reason why Ammiraglio Giorgio is remembered today is the church he bankrolled - appropriately known as La Chiesa dell Ammiraglio (also La Martorana, but that's another story).  Built around 1143, the mosaics were probably done by the same craftsmen who had worked wonders in the Capella Palatina.  








The good Admiral prostrates himself before the Virgin Mary


La Martonara (1143) is on the left, and on the right is the rarely open Church of San Cataldo which was built around 1154 by Maio (or Maione) of Bari, who was the "Emir" or Prime Minister of King William I "The Bad."  If there is a custodian around the entrance to La M, see if he can be persuaded to lend you the key of San C.



Roger II is crowned by Jesus on the cover of Marjorie Chibnall's book "The Normans" (mosaic in La Martorana).


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