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Siege of Rometta
Part of the Arab–Byzantine wars and the Muslim conquest of Sicily
Byzantines and Arabs in Sicily Ioannis Skylitzes.jpg
Byzantines and Arabs in Sicily, from the Madrid Skylitzes
Date963 – May 965
LocationRometta, Sicily
Result Fatimid Victory
Rometta conquered by the Fatimids
Fatimid Dynasty
Simple Labarum2.svg Byzantine Empire
Commanders and leaders
al-Hasan ibn Ammar
Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Kalbi
al-Hasan ibn Ali al-Kalbi
Niketas Abalantes
Manuel Phokas
~ 40,000
Casualties and losses
Relatively light Heavy

The Siege of Rometta was a siege undertaken on the island of Sicily by the Kalbids under the Fatimid Dynasty in order to complete the Muslim conquest of Sicily. The city, at the time of the siege, was under the control of the Byzantine Empire.


The siege was led by the two Kalbid cousins al-Hasan ibn Ammar and Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Kalbi. Following the fall of Taormina in 962, the Kalbids moved north to Rometta. The next year, Ahmad began the siege. The city soon sent an envoy to the Byzantine emperor, Nikephoros II Phokas, requesting military aid and provisions. Nikephoros responded by equipping a fleet of around 40,000 men, many of whom were veterans from the Byzantine conquest of Crete, for battle in Sicily. The fleet was commanded by Niketas Abalantes, while the cavalry was commanded by Manuel Phokas.[1] In October, 964, the siege was reinforced by Berber troops led by the governor of Sicily, al-Hasan ibn Ali al-Kalbi.[2][3][4] On 25 October, the Byzantines and the Muslims engaged one another. The Byzantines were initially in control of the battle, however, the Muslims were soon able to rout them, supposedly killing more than a quarter of the force, including Manuel. The surviving Byzantines attempted to flee back to their fleet at Messina, but were ambushed upon departure in the Battle of the Straits and defeated. Without reinforcements, Rometta was unable to defend itself against the Kalbids and soon fell in May 965.[5][3] The population of the city was massacred with the survivors being sold into slavery, and the city was colonized by Muslims.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kaldellis 2017, p. 45.
  2. Halm 1996, pp. 405–406.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Brett 2001, p. 242.
  4. Metcalfe 2009, p. 55.
  5. PmbZ, al-Ḥasan b. ‘Ammār al-Kalbī (#22562).


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