Page:The Normans in European History.djvu/245

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

THE NORMAN KINGDOM OF SICILY

231

and modified by the Byzantine emperors. The royal power is everywhere exalted, often in phrases where the king is substituted for the emperor of the Roman original, and the law of treason is applied in detail to the protection of royal documents, royal coins, and royal officers. Even to question the king's ordinances or decisions is on a par with sacrilege.

The test of such phrases was the possession of adequate military and financial resources. Of the strength of King Roger's army his long and successful wars offer sufficient evidence; the great register of his military fiefs, the so-called Catalogue of the Barons, indicates that the feudal service could be increased when necessity demanded, while contingents of Saracen troops were as valuable to him as they had been to his father. Much the same can be said of his navy, for the safety of the Sicilian kingdom and its position in Mediterranean politics depended in large measure upon sea power, and Roger's fleet has a distinguished record in his Italian and African campaigns. Army and navy and civil service, however, rested ultimately upon the royal treasury, and among its contemporaries the Sicilian kingdom enjoyed a deserved reputation for great wealth. Its resources consisted partly in the products of the soil, such as the grain and cotton and peltry which were exported from Sicily itself; partly in manufactures, as in the case of the silk industry which King Roger developed in Palermo; and partly in the unrivalled facilities for trade