Emirates of Sicily

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Abu l-QasimEmir of Sicily and Malta, (r. 969-982).

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Online: 03-06-2018.


In 947, the Fatimid caliph al-Mansur Billah sent al-Hasan ibn Ali al-Kalbi to subdue a revolt on Sicily, where he would go on to establish his own ruling dynasty, the Kalbids. Al-Hasan was succeeded by his son, Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Kalbi, in 954. In 969 Ahmad was recalled to North Africa to assist in subduing a revolt by Berber tribesmen. Briefly in 969, one of Ahmad's freed slaves, Ya'is, was appointed governor of Sicily. The next year Abu'l-Qasim, Ahmad's brother, was elevated to governor.

During the spring of 976, Abu'l-Qasim launched a raiding expedition on Byzantine Italy. His first target was the city of Messina, which he found deserted upon arrival. He soon moved on to Apulia, taking tribute from Cosenza before sending his brother to raid the surrounding countryside. He soon crossed the straits back to Sicily. During the summer of the same year, Abu'l-Qasim crossed back to mainland Italy, where he quickly forced tribute out of St. Agatha and took and razed Taranto. He then sent one army to Otranto while he besieged Gravina, before retiring to Muslim lands for the year, bringing home hundreds of captives as slaves.

In May 982, Abu'l-Qasim returned to Italy hoping to confront the advancing German emperor Otto II. Around Rossano Calabro, Abu'l-Qasim spotted the German army and realized that he had hugely underestimated its size. He attempted to retreat back to Sicily, but Otto caught up with him around Capo Colonna. In the Battle of Stilo, the outnumbered Kalbid force was able to surround and defeat the German forces with an unexpectedly strong cavalry charge; Otto himself only escaped by swimming to a Greek merchant ship, butAbu'l-Qasim was killed in the melee.



1. Abu l-Qasim, Emir of Sicily and Malta, (r. 969-982).


2. Al-Hasan al-Kalbi, (911-954), Emir of Sicily and Malta r. 947-954.

3. Princess N of Byzantine Empire.

4. Ali a-Kalbi, General under the Fatimids of Tunis and Sicily, (d. 938 Agrigento, Sicily).

5. Princess Richilda of Cordova.

6. Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos, Byzantine Emperor, r. 913-959.

7. Princess Helena Lekapene of Byzantine Empire, (910-961).

8-9. N.

10. Abdullah, 7th Emir of Cordova, r. 888-912.

11. Princess Onneca Fortunez of Pamplona, (848-890).

12. Leo VI, Byzantine Emperor., r. 886-912.

13. Zoe Karbonopsina.

14. Romanos I Kekapenos, Byzantine Emperor, r. 920-944.

15. Theodora.




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