Sicily’s Imperial Heritage
DOI link for Sicily’s Imperial Heritage
Sicily’s Imperial Heritage book
This chapter looks at gradual hybridization of political cultures in the different parts of Henry's empire during his short reign. This is particularly evident with regard to the treatment of political opponents, namely captives. Violence as part of political culture is no easy matter to detect in the sources. Cruelty and violence are often found in medieval history, in an age that is still repeatedly called the Dark Ages. Recent studies point to a development in the twelfth century in particular in which violence and cruelty went through a basic process of change and recovery. Ritualized forms of submission were the standard case, rather than the implementation of royal rigour by violence, terror, and cruelty. Henry's rule in the South in many sources, and in modern historiography as well, is characterized by excessive cruelty. However, many contemporary texts still reveal an attitude of awe about his implementation of cruelty.