The Liber ad honorem Augusti sive de rebus Siculis (Book in honour of the Emperor, or on Sicilian affairs), also called Carmen de motibus Siculis, (Poem on the Sicilian revolt) is an illustrated narrative epic in Latin elegiac couplets, written in Palermo in 1196 by Peter of Eboli (in Latin, Petrus de Ebulo). The presentation copy, ordered by chancellor Konrad of Querfurt, is now MS. 120 II of the Berne Municipal Library.
It tells the story of Tancred of Lecce's attempt to take control of Sicily, an attempt thwarted by the successful military campaign of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. Composed in honour of Henry VI and intended for presentation to him, it is often mocking and extremely biased, but, once allowance has been made for this, it is a useful and detailed historical source. It contains much information about Constance of Sicily, the wife of Henry VI, and the birth of her son Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.
At every page opening a column of Latin text is faced by a full page illustration with brief captions. This beautiful volume gives a rich picture of 12th century life in Italy and Sicily. The fierce caricatures of Tancred, who is depicted as almost ape-like in stature and features, match the propagandistic bias of the text.
Folio 95r. Virgil, Ovid, LucanSome scans are by Mariano Pastore
Folio 96r. The facts in the life of Roger II. / Birth of Constance d'Hautville. / Henry VI and Constance married. / Their departure for Germany.
Folio 97r. Illness and death of William II. People and magnates of Palermo weeping
Folio 98r. Mourning for William II of Sicily
Folio 99r. The people and the soldiers of the Kingdom cheering respectively for Tancred and the Count of Andria, candidates to the throne of Sicily.
Folio 100r. Matteo d'Ajello tries to induce Gualtiero d'Offamil to support Tancred of Lecce.
Folio 101r. Greek, Saracen, Latin & Jewish Notaries. Messengers of Tancred de Hauteville
Folio 102r. Triumphal entry of King Tancred into Palermo
Folio 103r. Allusions to the future fall and deformity of Tancred.
Folio 104r. The Count of Andria in jail.
Folio 105r. Henry VI went to Rome to be crowned by Pope Celestine III.
Folio 106r. Messengers of the Emperor / Messengers from Germany
Folio 107r. Frederick Barbarossa on the 3rd Crusade / his death in Salef / Henry VI arrives in Sicily
Folio 108r. The abbot of Montecassino Roffredo meets the emperor. Surrender of Rocca d'Arce. The emperor accompanied to Capua by the Archbishop.
Folio 109r. Henry VI besieging Naples (1191) / Count Richard of Acerra wounded by an arrow.
Folio 110r. Dressing of the wound of Count Richard of Acerra / Tancred fights Bohemian Knights / Ambassadors from Salerno before the royal couple
Folio 111r. Entrance of Constance d'Hautville into Salerno. / Fighting between the forces of Salerno, Tancred and the Empire in the castle, and those on the other hill called Tuoro
Folio 112r. Visit of the Archdeacon of Salerno to the sick Emperor in Naples.
Folio 113r. Public discourse of Count Richard of Acerra and the Archbishop of Salerno because the Neapolitans will not leave the city. Neapolitan women.
Folio 114r. Departure of the ill Henry VI for Germany
Folio 115r. Salerni uprising against the Empress Constance.
Folio 116r. The people of Salerno attack the palace wherein dwells Empress Constance. The Empress talks to the Salerni.
Folio 117r. Assault by the Salerni on the Terracina Palace, Salerno. / The Empress Constance prays.
Folio 118r. The Empress Constance in prayer. / Constance prisoner of Elia di Gisualdo
Folio 119r. Departure of the captive Empress Constance d'Hautville for Messina.
Folio 120r. Empress Constance Arriving in Messina. / Empress Constance talks with Tancred.
Folio 121r. Tancred saddened thinking about the future. / Count Richard of Acerra advances on Capua.
Folio 122r. Speech by Conrad von Lutzelhard besieged in Capua, his soldiers and Capuans.
Folio 123r. Episode of the assault on Capua by Count Richard of Acerra. / The burial of the bodies after the battle.
Folio 124r. The Empress Constance conducted as prisoner to Palermo. / Constance in conversation with the Queen Sibyl.
Folio 125r. Message exchanges between Tancred and Queen Sibyl about the prisoner - Empress Constance.
Folio 126r. Empress Constance imprisoned in the Castle of the Saviour in Naples at the behest of Matthew of Ajello.
Folio 127r. Matthew of Ajello embraces his two wives. / Matthew of Ajello bathes his feet in the blood of a child to treat gout.
Folio 128r. The Empress Constance released at the intersession of Pope Celestine III. / Constance leaves for Germany.
Folio 129r. Arrest, defence and forgiveness of Richard the Lionheart, back from the Crusades.
Folio 130r. Storming of S. Germano by Diepold von Schweinspeunt
Folio 131r. The army and the fleet of the Emperor Henry VI to conquer the kingdom of Sicily.
Folio 132r. Salerno attacked by the imperial troops
Folio 133r. Diepold von Schweinspeunt. / Escape of Guido di Castelvecchio, who had tried to seize the prey made by Diepold von Schweinspeunt in his raids
Folio 134r. Castles of Sicily. / The Emperor Henry VI in Favara receives ambassadors of Palermo. / Sadness of Queen Sibyl. / Entrance of the Emperor into Palermo.
Folio 135r. Queen Sibyl while praying to the Apostles Peter and Paul.
Folio 136r. Henry VI. / Conspiracy of Sibylla of Acerra against Henry VI in favour of William III's son Tancred
Folio 137r. Denunciation of the conspiracy, capture and imprisonment of the conspirators.
Folio 138r. The Empress Constance, when leaving for Sicily, entrusts the little Frederick Roger (the future Frederick II) to the Duchess of Spoleto.
Folio 139r. Dedication image. The poet, accompanied by Chancellor Konrad von Querfurt, hands over the work to the Emperor Henry VI
Folio 140r. Peter of Eboli invokes Wisdom.
Folio 141r. Picture alluding to the peace that occurred under the Emperor Henry VI.
Folio 142r. The chancellor receiving tribute from Arabs. Markward von Annweiler stands on the right.
Folio 143r. Six paintings from the Old Testament that adorn the Sicilian Palace / Frederick I and his sons Henry and Phillip / Frederick I orders the cutting down of forests in Hungary on his crusade
Folio 144r. A notary and people.
Folio 145r. Under a large arch Chancellor Conrad talking to the nobles of the kingdom to his right, behind him two armed men with swords in hand.
Folio 146r. Henry enthroned among the seven virtues and the triumph over Tancred, who lies under the wheel of Fortuna
Folio 147r. Henry VI on the throne flanked by Marcovaldo of Anweiler to his right, Chancellor Konrad of Querfurt to his left & Heinrich von Kalden below him
Illustrations from Islamic Sicily or Italy:|
Hunter on an 11th century ivory drinking horn
Detail of carved ivory horn or 'oliphant' from Sicily
Frieze over the door of the Church of San Bernadetto, Brindisi, late 11th Century
Ivory casket, Fatimid Sicily or Southern Italy, 11th-12th Centuries
Morgan Casket, Southern Italy, 11th-12th century
Islamic Sicilian Ivory Casket with Horsemen, 12th century
Sicilian ivory pyxis, 12th century
12th century Arabic & Frankish costume in the Painted Wooden Ceiling of the Palatine Chapel; or download this site as a 16.6MB zip
Sicilian Ivory Casket with Hunters, Cappella Palatina, Palermo, 12th or 13th Century
Islamic Sicilian Ivory Casket with Horsemen, Veroli, Italy, c.1200-1225