Dressing for Succession in Norman Italy: The Mantle of King Roger II

Clare Vernon

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The subject of this article is the mantle of the kings of Sicily, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Made in Palermo in the 1130s, it is often known as the mantle of Roger II. Following his coronation in 1130, King Roger II saw the need to ensure the succession of his sons. As part of his strategy to consolidate dynastic succession, Roger invested his sons with important titles in the mainland regions of the kingdom. This article has two parts: the first discusses the materials used to make the mantle, the journeys they took to reach Sicily and the diplomatic and commercial relationships necessary to acquire them. The second part argues that the mantle may have been made for the investiture ceremonies of the king’s sons and examines how the materials and their exoticism shaped the ceremonial meaning of the garment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAl-Masāq Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean
Early online date9 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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