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conquests by patronizing churches and monasteries and exercising the authority of theocratic rulers over the ecclesiastical business of their domains.

Count Roger I took a more active and involved role in the Church than his older brother Duke Robert Guiscard did, for, as Norwich points out, "whereas the Guiscard had remained to the end of his life the adventurer and soldier of fortune he had always been, Roger had developed into a mature and responsible statesman."49 A comparison between the final days of the two brothers supports this analysis: while Robert died on the island of Cephalonia on campaign against the Greeks, Roger died in the capital of his county, Mileto in Calabria.50 Both men, however, did indeed show a marked interest in the affairs of the Church, almost as if they felt it was their duty. Their behavior with respect to the Church in Sicily and Southern Italy is a fascinating illustration of their versatility: they had a talent for departing from their reputation for brigandage in order to enhance their success. They were extremely cunning in the way they would employ violence at one moment for the purpose of conquest, while at the next moment they would tout their Christian zeal for the purpose of winning the admiration and respect of their subjects, and thus consolidating their conquests.

One way in which the Normans expanded their sway over their possessions in Italy and Sicily was by founding and endowing monasteries and making donations and improvements to churches. Even though Robert Guiscard was famed for his violence, which compelled Pope Leo IX to lead a Holy War against him and Pope Gregory VII to excommunicate him three times, nevertheless his reputation as a benefactor of the Church matched his reputation as a destructive warrior. He founded the monasteries of Santa

 

49. Norwich 269f.
50. Ibid. 245, 278.
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