Battle of Rignano
The Battle of Rignano was the second great defeat of the career 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...
and, like the first, the Battle of Nocera
Battle of Nocera
The Battle of Nocera or Scafati was the first major battle of Roger II of Sicily and one of two of his major defeats at the hands of Count Ranulf of Alife.-Background:...
, it too came at the hands of Ranulf II, Count of Alife
Ranulf II, Count of Alife
Ranulf II was the count of Alife and Caiazzo, and for a contested period, Duke of Apulia. He was a member of the Norman Drengot clan which ruled Aversa and Capua for most of the century between 1050 and 1150. As the third Ranulf in his family he is sometimes called Ranulf III...
. The prime difference was the position of the two combatants.
At Nocera on 24 July 1132, Ranulf was allied with Robert II of Capua
Robert II of Capua
Robert II was the count of Aversa and the prince of Capua from 1127 until his death .He was the only son and successor of Jordan II of Capua...
and Sergius VII of Naples
Sergius VII of Naples
Sergius VII was the thirty-ninth and last duke of Naples. He succeeded his father John VI on the Neapolitan throne in 1120 or 1123 at a time when Roger II of Sicily was rising rapidly in power...
and he was a mere rebel, fighting the king of Sicily. On 30 October 1137, Ranulf was the recently-appointed duke of Apulia, with a contingent of 800 German troops on loan from the Emperor Lothair II, and his adversaries were not only Roger, but his erstwhile ally Sergius.
In 1134, Roger had appointed his eldest legitimate son, Roger
Roger III, Duke of Apulia
Roger III was the Norman duke of Apulia from 1135. He was the eldest son of King Roger II of Sicily and Elvira of Castile....
, duke of Apulia. Ranulf's creation as such in 1137 by the emperor and Pope Innocent II
Pope Innocent II
Pope Innocent II , born Gregorio Papareschi, was pope from 1130 to 1143, and was probably one of the clergy in personal attendance on the antipope Clement III .-Early years:...
was in direct opposition to not only King Roger, but the young Duke Roger as well. Ranulf had raised an army of 800 knights of his own to augment his German forces and had infantry in proportion. He did not want a battle, but Roger and his son, with the newly-submitted Sergius, marched against him. King Roger decided to attack at Rignano
Rignano Garganico is a town and comune of the province of Foggia in the Apulia region of southern Italy.-Geography:Apricena, Foggia, San Marco in Lamis, San Severo and San Giovanni Rotondo are neighbouring towns....
, the Balcone delle Puglie, where Monte Gargano
Gargano is a historical and geographical Italian sub-region situated in Apulia, consisting of a wide isolated mountain massif made of highland and several peaks and forming the backbone of the Gargano Promontory projecting into the Adriatic Sea. The high point is Monte Calvo at . Most of the upland...
drops off steeply over the Apulia plain.
The armies joined battle with the young Roger attacking successfully. He pushed Ranulf's army back along the road to Siponto
Siponto was an ancient port town of Apulia in southern Italy. The town was abandoned after earthquakes in the 13th century; today the area is administered as a frazione of the comune of Manfredonia, in the province of Foggia...
. The king joined the fray at that time and his charge was, for reasons unknown, completely repulsed. He fled and soon the royal army was in full retreat. Though both Rogers survived to make it to Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....
, Sergius lay dead on the field and Ranulf's claim to the duchy was vindicated.
The battle had, like Nocera, little lasting effect because the cities of Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...
did not revolt as expected, but Ranulf was safe in Apulia until his death two years later.
Interestingly for a defeat, the Battle of Rignano had one positive effect for Roger: since Duke Sergius died heirless and the Neapolitan aristocracy could not reach agreement as to who to support for the succession, Roger could establish direct control over the Duchy of Naples
Duchy of Naples
The Duchy of Naples began as a Byzantine province that was constituted in the seventh century, in the reduced coastal lands that the Lombards had not conquered during their invasion of Italy in the sixth century...
, nominating his son Alfonso
Alfonso of Hauteville
Alfonso of Hauteville , third son of Roger II of Sicily and Elvira of Castile, was the prince of Capua from 1135 to his death.He was named after his maternal grandfather, Alfonso VI of Castile...
as the new duke.
- Falco of BeneventoFalco of BeneventoFalco of Benevento was an Italian twelfth-century historian, notary and scribe in the papal palace in Benevento, his native city, where he was born to high-standing parents.He is an important chronicler for the years between 1102 and 1139 in the Mezzogiorno...
. Chronicon Beneventanum.
- Norwich, John JuliusJohn Julius NorwichJohn Julius Cooper, 2nd Viscount Norwich CVO — known as John Julius Norwich — is an English historian, travel writer and television personality.-Early life:...
. The Kingdom in the Sun, 1130–1194. London: Longman, 1970.