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1155 Expedition to Apulia ★ ★ ★ ★
Outcome: An initially victorious Byzantine campaign against Normans in South Italy 1155
War  &  Enemy: Enemy:
1st Byzantine-Sicilian War
Battle Type:
The Battlefield Apulia Location:
In Apulia, in the South of the Italian peninsula
Modern Country:
  The Byzantines(emperor:  Manuel I Komnenos) The Enemies
Commander: Michael Palaiologos King William I
Background story: In 1147 Emperor Manuel I Komnenos was faced with war by Roger II of Sicily, whose fleet had captured the island of Corfu and plundered Thebes and Corinth. Manuel recovered the lands in 1049 but the Normans remained a threat.
The death of Roger in February 1154, who was succeeded by William I -the Bad- , encouraged Manuel to take advantage of the multiple instabilities that existed in the Italian peninsula.
The Battle:
Manuel I Komnenos sent Michael Palaiologos and John Doukas, both of whom held the high imperial rank of sebastos, with Byzantine troops, 10 Byzantine ships, and a lot of gold to invade Apulia (1155). Manuel's expedition achieved astonishingly rapid progress as the whole of southern Italy rose up in rebellion against the Sicilian Crown. Manuel had also Papal support, since the Popes were never in good terms with the unpredictable Normans of Sicily.
The city of Bari, which had been the capital of the Byzantine Catepanate of Southern Italy for centuries before the arrival of the Normans, opened its gates to the Emperor's army, and the overjoyed citizens tore down the Norman citadel. After the fall of Bari, the cities of Trani, Giovinazzo, Andria, Taranto, and Brindisi were also captured, and William who arrived with his army (which included 2,000 knights) was heavily defeated.
Aftermath: The Byzantines set foot in Italy and Sicily, but they were defeated next year in Brindisi.