Adelaide del Vasto
Adelaide del Vasto (c. 1075 – April 16, 1118) was the third wife of Roger I of Sicily
Roger I of Sicily
Roger I , called Bosso and the Great Count, was the Norman Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was the last great leader of the Norman conquest of southern Italy.-Conquest of Calabria and Sicily:...

 and mother of Roger II of Sicily
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

, as well as Queen consort
Queen consort
A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

 of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 due to her later marriage to Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem, formerly Baldwin I of Edessa, born Baldwin of Boulogne , 1058? – 2 April 1118, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade, who became the first Count of Edessa and then the second ruler and first titled King of Jerusalem...

, as his third wife.


She was the daughter of Manfred del Vasto (brother of Boniface del Vasto, marquess of Western Liguria, and Anselm del Vasto). Her father's family was a branch of the Aleramici, sharing a common descent from Aleramo of Montferrat
Aleramo of Montferrat
Aleram was the marquess of Montferrat and Liguria in Northern Italy until his death. He was son of William I of Montferrat and is mentioned in documents for the first time in 933 when he received a fief near Vercelli by Hugh of Italy...

 with the Marquesses of Montferrat. Her brothers founded the lines of the Marquesses of Saluzzo, of Busca
Busca is a comune in the Province of Cuneo in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 60 km southwest of Turin and about 15 km northwest of Cuneo...

, of Lancia
Lancia Automobiles S.p.A. is an Italian automobile manufacturer founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia and which became part of the Fiat Group in 1969. The company has a long history of producing distinctive cars and also has a strong rally heritage. Some modern Lancias are seen as presenting a more...

, of Ceva
Ceva, the ancient Ceba, is a small Italian town in the province of Cuneo, region of Piedmont, 49 km east of Cuneo. It lies on the right bank of the Tanaro on a wedge of land between that river and the Cevetta stream.-History:...

, and of Savona
Savona is a seaport and comune in the northern Italian region of Liguria, capital of the Province of Savona, in the Riviera di Ponente on the Mediterranean Sea....


Her paternal grandparents were Teto II del Vasto, and his wife Berta, daughter of margrave Odalrico of Turin.

Countess consort of Sicily

She married Roger I in 1089, as his third wife, while her sister married Roger's illegitimate son Jordan
Jordan of Hauteville
Jordan of Hauteville was the eldest son and bastard of Roger I of Sicily. A fighter, he took part, from an early age, in the conquests of his father in Sicily....

. Roger I died in 1101, and Adelaide ruled as regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 for her young sons Simon and Roger II. During her tenure, the emir Christodulus
Christodulus , probably either a Moslem convert or a Greek Orthodox, was the first emir of Palermo . His rise occurred after the death of Count Simon of Sicily in 1105 and he held the position of emir by 1107, during the regency of Adelaide del Vasto for her son, King Roger II of...

 rose to preeminence at the court and Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 was settled as the capital of the realm.

Either through her influence or under her regency, her brother Henry del Vasto
Henry del Vasto
Henry del Vasto was a son of Manfred del Vasto, margrave of Western Liguria, and brother of Adelaide, countess of Sicily and Jerusalem ....

 was granted Paternò
Paternò is a town and comune in the Province of Catania, Sicily, southern Italy.-History:The site of Paternò was settled before 3500 BCE. Its inhabitants were probably the Sicani, although it was located in mainly Sicel territory; its initial name was Inessa. The modern name derives form the Greek...

 and Butera
Butera is an Italian town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta, in the southwestern part of the island of Sicily. It is bounded by the comuni of Gela, Licata, Mazzarino, Ravanusa and Riesi. It has population of 5,063 and is far from Caltanissetta, the province's capital....

. Henry (Enrico) was married to Flandina daughter of Count Roger I. of Calabria and Sicily.

Queen consort of Jerusalem

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, after the death of Baldwin's first wife Godehilde during the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

, Baldwin married an Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

n noblewoman traditionally known as Arda
Arda of Armenia
Arda was the wife of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem. She was the first Queen consort of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, as Baldwin's brother and predecessor Godfrey of Bouillon was unmarried....

. Arda was useful in an alliance with the Armenians while Baldwin was Count of Edessa
County of Edessa
The County of Edessa was one of the Crusader states in the 12th century, based around Edessa, a city with an ancient history and an early tradition of Christianity....

, but when he became King of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 in 1100 he seemed to have little use for an Armenian wife, and Arda was forced into a convent around 1105.

In 1112 a new marriage was sought for the king. Arnulf of Chocques
Arnulf of Chocques
Arnulf Malecorne of Chocques was a leader among the clergy during the First Crusade, and was Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1099 and from 1112 to 1118....

, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is the title possessed by the Latin Rite Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem. The Archdiocese of Jerusalem has jurisdiction for all Latin Rite Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Cyprus...

, suggested that Baldwin marry Adelaide, as Roger II was now old enough to rule Sicily alone. Baldwin sent ambassadors to Sicily, and somewhat hastily agreed to any terms which Adelaide might have; Adelaide demanded that their son, should they have one, inherit Jerusalem, and if they had no children, the kingdom would pass to her own son Roger II. Adelaide brought with her an enormous amount of badly needed money, as well as some Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 archers and a thousand other Sicilian soldiers.

Adelaide was already well into middle age and no new heir was immediately forthcoming. The king was blamed for a bigamous marriage (as Arda was still alive) and the Patriarch Arnulf was deposed. Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II , born Ranierius, was Pope from August 13, 1099, until his death. A monk of the Cluniac order, he was created cardinal priest of the Titulus S...

 agreed to reinstate him in 1116, provided that he annul the marriage between Baldwin and Adelaide. Baldwin agreed, after falling ill and assuming that renouncing his sin of bigamy would cure him. In 1117 the annulment was performed at Acre, and Adelaide sailed back to Sicily.

Adelaide died on April 16, 1118 and was buried in Patti. Roger II was outraged at the treatment of his mother and never forgave the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Almost thirty years later, Roger still refused to give assistance to the Crusader states during the Second Crusade
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...



  • Geoffrey Malaterra, "The Deeds of Count Roger of Calabria and Sicily and of his Brother Duke Robert Guiscard", (Goffredo Malaterra, fl. 1097, "De rebus gestis Rogerii ...." English translation by Kenneth Baxter Wolf, University of Michigan Press, 2005, ISBN 0-472-11459-X, Chapter 4.14. p. 189 - 190
  • Bernard Hamilton, "Women in the Crusader States: The Queens of Jerusalem", in Medieval Women, edited by Derek Baker. Ecclesiastical History Society, 1978.
  • Pasquale Hamel, Adelaide del Vasto, Regina di Gerusalemme. Palermo: Sellerio Editore, 1997.
  • Alan V. Murray, The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: A Dynastic History, 1099-1125. Prosopographica and Genealogica, 2000.

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