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964 Battle of Rometta ★ ★ ★ ★
Outcome: Victory of the Arabs who later captured the city 24-25 October 964
War  &  Enemy: Enemy:
Arabs (of Sicily)
Muslim conquest of Sicily
Battle Type:
Pitched Battle
The Battlefield Rometta Location:
Town of Rometta in Sicily 180 km east of Palermo and about 12 km west of Messina
Modern Country:
  The Byzantines(emperor:  Nikephoros II Phocas) The Enemies
Commander: General Niketas ibn Ammar
Forces: 30,000 Outnumbered
Losses: 10,000
Background story: In 964, the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phocas sent an expedition to Sicily under the command of General Niketas. The Byzantine army of 30.000 soldiers was sent to break the Arabic siege to Rometta and to regain Sicily to the Empire.
Rometta was the last Byzantine defense against the Arabic invasion of Sicily. For years, it represented a Christian bastion and a safe shelter for those people that – under the Muslim advance – tried to escape, crossing the strait of Messina, towards Calabria. Since 963, Rometta was under a very hard siege.
The Battle:
For two days, 24-25 October 964, a bloody battle took place in the area between the beach and the besieged citadel of Rometta.
The Byzantines fought against Arabs with impetus and with charges of cavalry. But the Arabic leader ibn Ammar incited his soldiers to fight till death, and the Saracens, although outnumbered, managed to push back the Christians. At the end of the battle, about 10000 Byzantine soldiers lied dead on the ground, while many were taken prisoners. The remaining Byzantine force evacuated the island
The siege of Rometta continued until the following May, when the people of Rometta, without the hope of other military help from Byzantium, weakened by hunger and by the continuous Saracen attacks, let women, children and old men go out of the besieged fortress. At dawn of May 5, 965, the Arabs, who had before repeatedly asked the soldiers of Rometta to surrender, launched the final general attack to the Castle of Rometta. The last defenders fell fighting, one after the other. Rometta was sacked and set on fire.
Noteworthy: It is narrated that on the battle field was found a sword belonged to the prophet Mohammed, a loot of a previous conflict.
Aftermath: The city of Rometta fell a few months later, on 5th May 965.