The Palatine Chapel in Palermo (Cappella Palatina)(video)

The Palatine Chapel in Palermo (Cappella Palatina)
Commenced by Roger II and consecrated in 1140.

The wooden ceiling of star-shaped panels, carved and painted by 12th century craftsmen from Maghreb.

The Chapel is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Palatine Chapel is the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Kingdom of Sicily situated on the first floor at the center of the Norman Palace in Palermo. The chapel is a great symbol of multi-cultural cooperation. Craftsmen of three different religious traditions worked alongside each other.

The magnificent wooden ceiling. Nave, north side.

The madonna below Christ Pantocrator is an addition from the 18th century. Originally there was a window there. The Palatine Chapel, consecrated on Palm Sunday, 28 April, 1140, is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The mosaics in the Palatine Chapel were probably made by the same craftsmen that made the mosaics in the Martorana and the central apse of the Cathedral in Cefalù. The wooden ceiling of star-shaped panels, carved and painted by 12th century craftsmen from Maghreb.

A sculptural detail of the Paschal Candelabrum in Cappella Palatina. The Palatine Chapel is part of the Norman Palace (Palazzo dei Normanni)

Originally there were 50 windows (later blocked) designed to illuminate at all times of the day the stories told on the wall. The texts in the chapel are written in Greek, Arabic and Latin. The term “Normans” (“men from the North”) applied first to the people of Scandinavia in general, and afterwards (Northmannus, Normannus, Normand) it is the name of the Viking colonists from Scandinavia who settled themselves in Gaul and founded Normandy.

A sculptural detail of the Paschal Candelabrum.

The Normans’ adopted a new religion (became Christians), a new language, a new system of law and society, new thoughts and feelings on all matters. From their new home in northern France they set forth on new errands of conquest, chiefly in the British Islands and in southern Italy and Sicily.
If Britain and Sicily were the greatest fields of their enterprise, they were however very far from being the only fields. The same spirit of enterprise which brought the Northmen into Gaul seems to carry the Normans into every corner of the world.

The conquest of England was made directly from Normandy, by the reigning duke, in a comparatively short time, while the conquest of Sicily grew out of the earlier and far more gradual conquest of Apulia and Calabria by private men, making their own fortunes and gathering round them followers from all quarters. They fought simply for their own hands, and took what they could by the right of the stronger. They started with no such claim as Duke William put forth to justify his invasion of England; their only show of legal right was the papal grant of conquests that were already made. The conquest of Apulia, won bit by bit in many years of what we can only call freebooting, was not a national Norman enterprise like the conquest of England, and the settlement to which it led could not be a national Norman settlement in the same sense.

Palermo and province: videos

Palermo gallery

Destination Palermo and Monreale

The Sicilian enterprise had in some respects another character. By the time it began the freebooters had grown into princes. Sicily was won by a duke of Apulia and a count of Sicily. Warfare in Sicily brought in higher motives and objects. Althought this was before the Crusades, the strife with the Muslims at once brought in the crusading element. Duke William was undisputed master of England at the end of five years; it took Count Roger thirty years to make himself undisputed master of Sicily.

The one claimed an existing kingdom, and obtained full possession of it in a comparatively short time; the other formed for himself a dominion bit by bit, which rose to the rank of a kingdom.

About the Author:


Leave a Comment!

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *