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Italy, Muslims On Catholic Christian Soil

Italy being the geographical home of Catholicism, means that any stronghold of the Muslims was met with heavy barrage from its Christian neighbours. That is why it is a wonder, even a miracle, to see three Muslim States establish themselves strongly upon this peninsula.


In 835 and again in 837, the Duke of Naples was fighting against the Duke of Benevento and asked the Muslims in Sicily for help.

In the year 840, Taranto and Bari and only one year later the cities of Brindisi and Capua became part of the Islamic Empire.

The Muslims stayed in Benevento between 840-847 and again in 851-52.

Many sources show enough evidence for high civilisation in Bari with mosques, palaces, public works and a flourishing economy based on the slave trade, wine trade and trade in pottery.



However, the Catholic Christian neighbours would attack the emirate under pressure of the Church never at ease with a Muslim state in Italy’s midst. We explain the main differences between the Catholic and Orthodox Christians in another blog, Click Here: https://www.stefkeris.com/post/the-christian-world-and-its-great-schisms


The biggest enemy of the emirate was Emperor Louis II, who called upon the northern Italians to attack Bari in 865. His anger was fuelled even more after Emir Sawdan gave political asylum to rivals of Luis II and in 867 Louis besieged the Muslim towns of Matera and Oria. He burnt Matera because it resisted his conquest.


The Emirate of Taranto was the other Muslim pole in the south of Italy’s mainland which was briefly under Muslim rule in 839 and then continuously between the period of 846 and 880.

In 926, King Hugh of Italy called the Muslims to fight against his rivals in the north. The Muslims attacked Genoa and La Spezia a bit later (934/935), while the French city of Nice saw the Muslims in 942.


In the 10th century, again the Muslims were asked for help, this time by the Byzantines. The Sicilian Muslims were asked for support against the German emperor Otto II, who was beaten at Taranto in 982 in the battle at Crotone. This decisive battle for the Italians was won by the Muslims and this resulted in keeping the Germans out of the south of Italy! We have a blog about the Sicilian Muslims and their powerful influence, Click Here: https://www.stefkeris.com/post/islam-at-the-crossroads-emirate-of-sicily.

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