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Adelisa Salernitana is a Norman/Lombard woman in the court of King Roger II of Sicily, serving Roger's queen, Elvira.
As a visitor in the Current Middle Ages in the East Kingdom, she can be found playing music with the Bhakaili Branslers, spinning, knitting, dancing, exploring the shared cultures of the Mediterranean basin, cooking, and talking the ears off of anyone who will listen about Sicily.
Formerly of the duchy of Salerno, Adelisa is the daughter of one of many landless knights who followed Roger's uncle, Robert d'Hauteville, to Italy. Her father, also named Robert, married into a minor noble Lombard family. Adelisa is a widow. Her husband, a minor Norman knight named Godfrey, had served in King Roger's army on the mainland, helping the king put down rebellious Norman and Lombard lords, and was unfortunately killed in battle. For his service and her continued service to Queen Elvira, she was granted a very small farmhold near Mezzojuso that is actually administered by the Monastery of Saint John the Hermit in Palermo, and will revert back to the monastery if she remarries or upon her death. She also earns money, along with other court ladies, by spinning silk for the royal tiraz (textile works). In the sumptuously Arabicized court of King Roger, Adelisa is often found in the rich fashions of Muslim women, including makeup and perfume. She has learned to dance from the Muslim servant girls, and plays percussion, mostly frame drum, in gatherings of the women. She also sews for Queen Elvira and her children, helps make vestments and linens for the royal chapel, and is trying to perfect the odd art of knitting, knowledge of which has come from a Coptic girl from the Fatimid court who has come to Palermo as a servant.
Offices & Positions
- Mistress of Arts and Sciences, Shire of Buckland Cross, 2005
- Cook, Persephone's Return to the Underworld, Shire of Buckland Cross, 11/21/2005
- Autocrat and head cook, Al Hafla, Shire of Buckland Cross 1/17/2009
- Dayboard cook and chief bread baker, Buckland Cross Baronial Investiture, 12/15/2018
- Co-autocrat and co-cook, The Return of Al-Hafla, Barony of Buckland Cross, 3/9/2019
Projects & Publications
- "Muslims in Sicily," June 2008;
- "The Emir of Catania's Chicken Dish," Mudthaw, 3/29/2008;
- Choreography for "In hoc anni circulo," Artisan's Challenge, Hartshorn-dale, November 2010;
- Silk spinning and the St. Denis cap, Artisan's Challenge, Hartshorn-dale, November 2011;
- Sicilian tunic (display only), Artisan's Challenge, Hartshorn-dale, November 2011;
- Choreography for "Lama bada yatathanna" for the Andalusian Project, Bhakail Yule, December 2011;
- Silk spinning and the St. Denis Cap (updated), Mudthaw, March 2012;
- Qanura of rabbit versus Sicilian sweet and sour rabbit, Mudthaw, March 2012.
- Pelican robe for Sayyidda Jamilia al-Suba al-Hadid, March 2016
- Award of Arms, 07/24/2004
- Companion of Terpsichore, 03/29/2008
- Order of the Maunche, under Edward and Thyra, 01/2013
My current research on Norman and Muslim Sicily can be found at my blog: http://siquillya.wordpress.com and at https://independent.academia.edu/ChristianeTruelove
My original paper on medieval Sicilian food can also be found at Medievalists.net: http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/food-in-medieval-sicily/