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859 Battle of Castrogiovanni ★ ★ ★ ★
Outcome: The Arabs captured the city, the strongest Byzantine fortress in Sicily 24 January 859
War  &  Enemy: Enemy:
Arabs (Abbasids)
Muslim conquest of Sicily
Battle Type:
Fort Capture
The Battlefield Castrogiovanni Location:
Modern Enna, at the center of Sicily
Modern Country:
  The Byzantines(emperor:  Michael III the Drunkard) The Enemies
Commander: Theodotus Emir Abbas ibn Fadhl,
Forces: Unknown Unknown
Background story: In 851, the excellent emir of Sicily Al-Aghlab Abu Ibrahim, died. He was succeeded by Abbas ibn Fadhl, the ferocious victor of Butera, Sicily (where 10,000 Byzantines were killed in 845). He started a campaign of ravages against the lands still in Byzantine hands, capturing Butera, Gagliano, Cefalù and, most of all, Castrogiovanni (winter 859).
The Battle:
With the fall of Palermo in 831, the key to the Byzantine defense of central Sicily became the heavily fortified city of Castrogiovanni (modern Enna), which was held in the final months by a force under Theodotus. Following several failed assaults, the city was eventually stormed by the forces of Emir Abbas ibn Fadl. All the Christian survivors from that fortress were executed; children and women were sold as slaves in Palermo. The Arabs now had the "navel of Sicily" and the Byzantines little else but Syracuse .
Aftermath: The fall of the most important fortress in the island pushed the emperor to send a large army in 859-860 under Constantine Kontomytes, but this, as well as the fleet which had carried it, was defeated by Abbas.