The Bridge - Page 21

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was crowned king of Sicily in 1130 thus became the first ruler of the united kingdom of southern Italy.

For Byzantium the appearance of the Normans in the Mediterranean was a major shock. At a time particularly critical for the Empire, the concurrenappearance of the Turks on the eastern border and the Normands in the West had serious consequences. The conquering momentum of Robert Guiscard was not limited to the occupation of Italy; his aim was to conquer the Byzantine Empire and the first step towards the realization of this objective was the capture of Corfu and Epirus coasts."

Athanasia Zafeiropoulou our correspndent in Byzantium

Stefan Vojislav Proclaimed King of the serbs by the pope

Birth of a Nation

In the 990s, Jovan Vladimir rose as the most powerful Serbian noble, carving out a principality centered on the coast of modern Montenegro. This state became known as Duklja, after the ancient Roman town of Doclea. However, by 997, it had been conquered and made subject to Bulgaria again by tsar Samuel. When the Byzantines finally defeated the Bulgarians, they regained control over most of the Balkans for the first time in four centuries. Serbian lands were governed by a strategos presiding over the Theme of Sirmium. However, local Serbian princes continued to reign as suzerains to the Byzantines, maintaining total autonomy over their lands, such as the zhupanate of Rascia while only nominally being Byzantine vassals. Forts were maintained in Belgrade, Sirmium, Nis and Branicevo. These were, for the most part, in the hands of local nobility, which often revolted against Byzantine rule.

The principality of Duklja had arisen. Prince Stefan Vojislav created a powerful and influential state that took all Serbian lands from under the Byzantine rule. Byzantine attention was focused primarily on the coastal Serbs. Duklja is the first Serbian kingdom, Recently Prince Mihajlo received the king's crown from the Pope . But Fears of of Byzantine reprisals remain

Bishop of Lucca Named as Pope

The election of Pope Alexander is seen by commentators as a bold step. A tireless oppoonent of simony and advocate of clerical purity is seen as too much of a reformer by German Bishops who have threatened to block his appointment and install Honororius as pope . By force if neccesary