them in both theaters..
Many of us would be startled if we are told that in the 9th century, an Arab fleet based in Sicily sailed up the Tiber and occupied and sacked Rome and the Vatican for days together till they were defeated and expelled by the papal militia along with the armies of the Holy Roman empire and Frankish contingents. This attack was brief, mercifully very brief, but the Arabs could reach Rome - a feat that even Hannibal could not achieve! To be precise the Arab attack took place on August 28, in the year 846 CE when the Arabs arrived at the mouth of the river Tiber and sailed into Rome.
The Arabs did not succeed in entering the fortified inner city of Rome that was defended by the Romans, but the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul, in today’s Vatican that lay outside the fortified boundaries of Rome, were violated by the Arabs. The Pope Leo IV had to briefly flee Rome and appeal for help from the neighboring kingdoms.
After the Muslim occupation of Sicily, the Christian resistance began immediately to recapture the island. The Franks tried to take back the island in the 9th century, but failed. By the 11th century, the baton of resistance to the Saracens was taken up by the Normans. The Normans undertook an attempt to liberate Sicily by sending in an expeditionary assault in 1068 with just sixty knights. But with their shock tactics, they gave a stunning blow to the Arab chieftain Ayub ibn Temim at the Battle of Misilmeri (then called by the Arabs Menzil el Emir), outside Palermo.
In response to the Papal plea for help, an army started the descent by land from Civitavecchia in direction of Rome. Another army began the march from Portus and Ostia.
Uselessly Saxons, Longobards, Frisians and Franks defended St. Peter up to the last man. The Arabs brought away all the treasures of St. Peter, they tore the silver leaves of the doors, the gold foils of the floor of the confession, devastated the bronzy crypt of the apostle, took the gold cross that stood on the grave of Peter. They laid waste all the churches of the district Suburb.
The marquis Guy of Spoleto, arrived to help Rome, and with small band of bravehearts succeeded in defeating the Arabs who withdrew partly towards Civitavecchia and partly towards Fondi, following the Appian Way.
During their retreat, the Arabs' in flight, inflicted ruin and devastation in all the Roman countryside. At Gaeta, the Longobard army clashed again with the Arabs. Guy of Spoleto found himself in serious difficulties, but the Byzantine troops of Cesarius, son of Sergius, magister militum in Naples, arrived in time. But in November of 846 a storm provoked numerous damages to the ships of the Arabs, some of which were shipwrecked on the coast.
Taking advantage of this Arab retreat, the Pope Leo IV, in consequence of the attack against St. Peter, in 848 undertook the construction of the Civitas Leonina to protect the Vatican hill. The enclosing walls were completed in June 27 in the year 852 CE.
The fortress of Palermo whose name derived from the Arab Balarm - defines its origins as an Arab city. Palermo, when it was an Arab emirate for five hundred years, was described as "the city of the 300 mosques, very few of which survive today, with most of them having been converted into Churches by the Franks who liberated Palermo.
The Arabs to the assault of the coasts and the Italian islands (813)
The Arab attack on Italy began in 813 when they attacked and occupied Centumcellae (Civitavecchia) by surprise. Ischia and Lampedusa were also devastated and occupied. The Arabs also attacked Sardinia and Corsica in the same year.
The Arabs attack on Ancona (848)
In 848 the Arabs ransacked Ancona.
The Arabs defeated in the naval battle of Ostia (849)
But in 849 it was rumored of the organization of a great Arabic fleet that would have attacked Rome from Sardinia. In response to this rumor, a league was constituted among the maritime cities of the South: Amalfi, Gaeta and Naples gathered their fleets to the mouth of the river Tiber near Ostia.
When the Arabic ships appeared on the horizon the Italian fleet, led by Cesarius, attacked. The Arabs were defeated. The survivors were made prisoners and enslaved. These Arab slaves were conscripted to contribute with their work to the reconstruction of what they had destroyed three years before! And so justice prevailed.
But in consequence of these attacks of the Arabs, the Christian population abandoned Ostia, and withdrew to Portus where there created some fortifications to ward off further Arab attacks. Portus survived as a Christian Corsican colony thanks to these fortifications.
The Arabs attack Canosa (856)
In 856 the Arabs attacked and destroyed the Cathedral of Canosa in Puglia.
The Arabs assault against Ascoli (861)
In 861 the Arabs occupied Ascoli in Marche, they destroyed all the Churches and slaughtered the children, while they carried off the adults as slaves. The women were forced into Harems of the Arabs as sex slaves.
The Arabs besiege Salerno (872)
In 872 the emperor Ludovicus II attacked and freed Salerno from the Arabs who had been besieging the fortified town for six months.
The Arabs in Latium and in Umbria (876)
Despite these reverses at the hands of the Franks and Italians, the Arabs regrouped and again attacked Rome in 876. Before reaching the city, the Arabs ransacked the surrounding villages, the farmers slaughtered, the villages and churches knocked down. The Roman countryside was turned by the marauding Muslim Arabs into an lifeless desert.
In response to this carnage, John VIII fitted out a fleet and led it to the victory against the Arabs at Circeo. 18 vessels were captured and 600 Christian slaves were freed from Muslim captivity. But inspite of this defeat, the Arabs regrouped and continued to devastate Latium both along the coast and in the hinterlands. In these attacks they overran and destroyed the significant town of Subiaco for the second time.
The Arab invaders arrived at around Tivoli which defended itself by resisting the Arab assault on the castle of Saracinesco. A reporter Benedict of Saint Andrea of the Soratte wrote: "regnaverunt Agareni in romano regno". “Narni, Nepi, Orte, the countries of the Tiburtino, the valley of the Sacco, the lands of Tuscia, the Argentario mountain fell into the hands of the infidels.”
In 1127, Roger II the son of Count Roger, led a second invasion of Malta; having overrun the Island he placed it under a more secure Norman domination under the charge of a Norman governor. He also garrisoned with Norman soldiers the three castles then on the islands. From about this period the Maltese moved back gradually into the European orbit to which they had belonged for a period of five hundred years prior to the Arab interlude.
After the Norman liberation, there were no Muslims left in Sicily, Malta, Sardina and other surrounding islands that had been under Muslim occupation. All the Muslims were reconverted to Christianity. This ensured that the population forgot about the Islamic interlude. The Normans acted as an exorcist to exorcize the influence of Islam on the population and returned the lands to Christendom.
The Arabs in Campania (881)
In 881 the Bishop of Naples Athanasius played traitor when to compete with against Rome and against Byzantium he entered into an alliances with the infidel Arabs. As part of this nefarious alliance, the Arabs established at the feet of Vesuvius and at Agropoli, near Paestum.
Another traitor, Docibile, the duke of Gaeta, enemy of the Pope, granted the Arabs the right to settle near Itri, then on the right bank of Garigliano near Minturno. The Arabs built a castle, from which they conducted repeated raids on the countryside. They attacked the monasteries of Montecassino and St.Vincenzo and set them on fire.
The Arabs at Farfa (890)
In 890 the Arabic troops set siege to the Abbey of Farfa, in Sabina. The Abbot Peter resisted for six months then he was forced to surrender due to lack of food supplies for his flock. In consequence the Arabs slaughtered the inhabitants who had surrendered in good faith. The Arabs occupied Farfa and made it their base in Sabina.
The Arabs defeated and expelled from Latium and Garigliano in the year 916 CE
Mercifully, in the 10th century the Kingdom of Italy was reconstituted. In December of 915 CE Berengarius was crowned by the pope John X. And in April in the spring of 916 the struggle against the Arabs acquired a new impulse.
Berengarius put at disposal the Tuscan troops of the marquis Adalbertus and those Umbrian of the marquis Albericus of Spoleto. The Byzantine emperor Constantine sent his own fleet to the orders of the strategist Nicolaus Picingli. Landulf, prince of Capua and Benevento, Gaimar, prince of Salerno, and the dukes of Gaeta and Naples entered the alliance. Pope John X personally put himself to the head of the land troops.
The Longobards of Rieti, led by Agiprandus, advanced towards Sabina and liberated it. The troops of Sutri and Nepi defeated the Arabs near Baccano on the Cassian Way. Pope John X carried off another victory between Tivoli and Vicovaro. The Arabs were forced to withdraw to their fortress at Garigliano.
In June 916 CE, another attack was launched against the Arabs. For three months the Arabs resisted waiting for reinforcements from Sicily. When the reinforcements were intercepted and defeated the Arabs occupying the besieged fortress at Garigliano escaped from the fortress when the Italians stormed into it. The fleeing Arabs tried to flee into the mountains, but they were overtaken and defeated by the Italian troops. Italy had convincingly defeated the assault of the Arabs on Italy. But Sicily was still prisoner of the infidels. The attack and occupation of Sicily is one painful but less known chapter in Italian history.
The Turks launched two attacks against the island in 1547, and again in 1551 and again in 1565 till they were finally routed decisively at the naval battle of Lepanto in 1571. The Turks had a policy of ravaging the Maltese countryside to terrorize the peasantry, while they ignored the fortified towns. They turned their attention to the island of Gozo and carried away the entire Christian population into slavery, the children being brought up as Muslims who were to be thrown into battle as suicide warriors named Janissaries (from Jan = life and Nisar = given away).
The Arab occupation of Sicily
The Arab attack on Sicily in the 7th century initially was confined to the coastal zone and the smaller islands off the coast. But gradually the Arabs established their based at Palermo and from there proceeded to attack and occupy the entire island of Sicily.
But before this could happen, Sicily resisted for many decades and forced the armies of the invaders to retreat albeit temporarily. But the Sicilians finally had to surrender and accept Muslim rule over their homeland. Once the Arabs overran Sicily they set about the Islamification of Sicily through the destruction of churches and ertection of Mosques over the sites, they changed the composition of the population with the hundreds of thousand of Muslim immigrants who destroyed a civilization that had lasted from the 8th century before Christ had contributed to the creation of the identity of the West.
After the rampage in Sicily, the Arabs used it as a base to attack Italy (they overran Ponza, Gaeta, Ancona, Ascoli, and Civitavecchia) and eventually they also occupied Salerno, Naples, Bari, Brindisi, Taranto. Finally they resolutely headed for Rome to strike to the heart the Christianity.
The infidels profaned St. Peter but the Aurelian walls resisted to the assault and Rome within its fortified walls was safe.
To resist the initial attacks Pope John X, himself formed an army of Italians of various origin (Romans, Greeks, Longobards, Franks, etc.), speaking different languages but united by faith and culture. This army eventually defeated and drove from Lazio and Campania, the Arabs, who after their brief attack and occupation of Rome had constituted a Muslim state near the Garigliano.
The Arabs conquer Sicily after a sustained and bloodied assault (827-965)
In 805 the Byzantine governor of Sicily stipulated an essay with the Aghlabidi rulers of Tunisia. In 813 the Byzantine governor of Sicily signed a decennial truce with the Arabs.
But resistance to the Muslims began almost immediately. In 827 the Byzantine admiral Euphemius who had earlier surrendered to the Muslims, rebelled and killed the Muslim governor of Sicily. He conquered Syracuse and proclaimed himself emperor independent of Byzantium. But when the troops faithful to Byzantium, led by the Armenian general Palata, resumed the control. Euphemius fled to Africa.
In 1571, Don John of Austria commanding the fleet of the Holy League, met the Ottoman Turks in the waters at the mouth of the Gulf of Patros. Don John of Austria met his fleet off Messina and saw that he had 300 ships, great and small, under his command. The Pope himself had outfitted twelve galleys and the depth of his war chest had paid for many more. The next largest contingent was that of Venice.
Although they were no longer the dominating power of yesteryear, the Venetians could still assemble a fleet of more than a hundred vessels beneath the winged Lion of St. Mark’s standard. The Venetians provided the technological cutting edge that was to win the battle.
Then Euphemius proposed to the Aghlabide emir of Kairuan, Ziyadat Allah I, to conquer Sicily and to make it tributary province. In exchange he asked to be recognized as governor with the title of emperor.
On June 17th 827, the Saracen general Asad ibn al-Furat with an army of 10,000 soldiers and 7000 cavalrymen disembarked at Mazara del Vallo. The general Theodorus stopped and defeated the Arab army before it reached Syracuse. So a new Arab army was sent to the help of the Arabs who decided to head for Palermo rather than Syracuse. On September 11th 831 Palermo fell. In 835 the Arabs took Pantelleria and in 843 Messina.
But Enna and Cefalù fought for years before being conquered, razed to the ground and burnt. Cefalù fell in 858. Enna fell in 859 through treason. Then it was the turn of Malta.
Syracuse was conquered only in 878. The Arabs massacred the entire Christian population. The Greek language was replaced by the Arabic. Christianity was replaced by the Islam. The bloodied sword of Islam dominated from Palermo, Sicily’s new capital. Sicily was lost for the next few centuries.
Syracuse never regained the role, that it had had for 1500 years, of being the primary city of Sicily. The glorious history of ancient Sicily finished in the bloody struggle with the Muslims.
But the Muslim occupation was never complete. Some hotbeds of resistance kept recurring. Taormina resisted up to 902, it was finnaly overrun and then was burnt and all its inhabitants killed. Rometta, on the mountains west of Messina, was the last to fall in 965.
An African Muslim army in 938-940 devastated wide zones of the southwest of Sicily, but at that point there was nothing more to be plundered.
In the cities that had opposed resistance all the residents were killed and the women and the boys reduced in slavery. The women and the most beautiful boys were sent to Africa for the pleasure of the conquerors and their co-religionists.
Sicily had been under Muslim occupation for nearly three centuries from 812 up to 1071. The population had been wholly converted to Islam, and there was not a single church left standing. They had either been reduced to rubble or burnt and had been converted into Mosques.
The inhabitants of the Sicilian cities that had surrendered without fighting could keep on practising the Christian religion but: - they had to bring identification marks on their suits and on their houses; - they had to pay more taxes (Jaziya); - they could not occupy positions that entailed authority over the Muslims; - they could not marry a Muslim (but a Muslim could marry a Christian); - they could not build new churches; - they could not ring Church bells; - they could not organize processions; - they could not read the Bible within the earshot of a Muslim; - they could not drink wine; - they had to get up when a Muslim entered the room; - they had to let the Muslims pass first in the public road; - they could not bear weapons; - they could not ride horses; - they could not saddle their mules; - they could not build great houses as those of the Muslims. The Christian women could not have access to the baths.
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Muslim Terrorism Count
Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them.
At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.
Islam, operating at the micro and macro levels, is unstoppable by individuals, hence: "It takes a nation to protect the nation". There is not enough time to fight all its attacks, nor to read them nor even to record them. So the members of 4F try to curate a representative subset of these events.
We hope that free nations will wake up to stop the threat, and force the separation of (Islamic) Church and State. This will also allow moderate Muslims to escape from their totalitarian political system.
The 4 Freedoms
These 4 freedoms are designed to close 4 vulnerabilities in Secular Democracy, by making them SP or Self-Protecting (see Hobbes's first law of nature). But Democracy also requires - in addition to the standard divisions of Executive, Legislature & Judiciary - a fourth body, Protector of the Open Society (POS), to monitor all its vulnerabilities (see also Popper). 1. SP Freedom of Speech Any speech is allowed - except that advocating the end of these freedoms 2. SP Freedom of Election Any party is allowed - except one advocating the end of these freedoms 3. SP Freedom from Voter Importation Immigration is allowed -except where that changes the political demography (this is electoral fraud) 4. SP Freedom from Debt
The Central Bank is allowed to create debt - except where that debt burden can pass across a generation (25 years).
An additional Freedom from Religion is deducible if the law is applied equally to everyone:
Religious and cultural activities are exempt from legal oversight except where they intrude into the public sphere (Res Publica)"