The mosaic of Christ crowning Roger II of Sicily in the church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, Palermo has long been recognized for its Byzantine influence. While acknowledging this debt, this article calls attention to a little-discussed western influence - the fleurs-de-lis on the king’s robe - and argues that although the mosaic borrowed heavily from Byzantine imperial iconography, the inclusion of lilies was meant to emphasize Roger’s French connections. This study discusses the growing significance of the flower among the Capetian kings (particularly Louis VII) and investigates the broader historical context that includes the rise of the French monarchy, the development of the French state, and the nature of French identity in the twelfth century to explain why Roger would have been interested in cultivating his connections to France. In so doing, the article attempts to realign Roger with his western roots, which at times have been overlooked in favor of the exotic elements of his kingdom.

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Medieval and Renaissance Studies

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Print ISSN: 0083-5897 Online ISSN: 2031-0234

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