William "Iron Arm" of Apulia

William "Iron Arm" of Apulia




Curtis, Edmund (1912) Roger of Sicily and the Normans in Lower Italy 1016-1154. London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, pp. 40, 42, 43, 45.

"The tidings from Aversa, of fame and fortune awaiting the brave, so tempting to young men of high spirit and of the poorest prospects, led the sons of Tancred to join in the great Norman enterprise. William and Drogo first found their way to the south and sold their swords ot Pandulf of Capua...

Two great battles marked Maniaces' campaign. Abdallah was twice overthrown, once at Rametta, once at Troina, his great hosts scattered by charges of the Greek troops in which William Tancredson gained his name of 'Iron Arm' for his courage and strength. But quarrels broke out between the commander and his troops; the Normans and Norsemen, dissatisfied over the question of pay and plunder, went back to Apulia, and Maniaces' recall left Sicily to the Moslems again.    Their acquaintance with the Greeks gave the Normans little respect for their soldierly qualities. William of Apulia describes Arduin as elaborating to the Normans at Aversa the story of his own wrongs and the effeminacy of the contemptible Byzantines. Why should so desirable land as Apulia be left to a race so feeble? - such was his argument, appealing at once to the Norman selfconceit and the Norman cupidity* [*Guill. Ap., bk. i., p. 255 'Appul� multimod� cum terra sit utilitatis Foemeneis gr�cis cur permittatur haberi?' Arduin, who was a Lombard by nation, had apparently been whipped]...

Fresh from their triumphs the Norman conquerors met on the hill of Melfi (1042) to discuss with envoys of their paymaster Gaimar the division of the land which, from Monte Gargano to Monopoli, they claimed as theirs by the right of the sword. Twelve counts were chosen to govern them; the country was divided among the twelve: thus Rainulf recieved Monte Gargano; Drogo, Venosa; William, Ascoli; while the fortified hill of Melfi was chosen as the common capital of the Apulian Normans. The eldest son of Tancred was later (February, 1043) elected Count of Apulia, with power to make or propose new baronies as the land was further conquered. Upon Gaimar the Normans conferred the empty title of Duke of Apulia and Calabria; he was to give his name to the land grants of the new Count, and might exact military service; on his part he gave William his niece, daughter of the Count of Sorrento, in marriage, and the son of Tancred, like Rainulf, thus entered into a blood-bond with the ancient Lombard dynasts. At the end of 1045 William died. His brother Drogo claimed his place; Gaimar recognised him as Count and gave him also a daughter to wife."
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