Roger de Flor

Roger de Flor

Roger de Flor (1267 – April 30, 1305), also known as Rutger von Blum, was a military adventurer active in Sicily, Italy and the Byzantine Empire. He held the title Count of Malta for a year.


He was born in Brindisi, Italy, and was the second son of a German falconer named Richard von Blum ("Blume" means flower in German) in the service of the Hohenstaufen rulers of southern Italy.

At eight years old he was sent to sea in a galley belonging to the Knights Templars. He entered the order and became captain of a galley. After rescuing wealthy survivors during the siege of Acre by the Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil in 1291 to Cyprus, following some intrigues and personal disputes he was accused of robbery and denounced to the pope as a thief and an apostate. This resulted in his relegation from the order. Roger fled to Genoa, where he borrowed a considerable sum from Ticino Doria, purchased a new vessel and began to play the pirate.

The struggle between the kings of Aragon and the French kings of Naples for the possession of Sicily was at this time going on; and Roger by then one of the most experienced military commanders of his time, was called to the service of Frederick, king of Sicily, who gave him the rank of vice-admiral. When the treaty of Caltabellotta brought the war to an end in 1302. Frederick was unwilling and unable to keep a mercenary army and was anxious to free the island from troops (called "Almogàvers"), whom he had no longer the means of paying. Given the current political and military situation, Roger found an opportunity to make his services useful in the east in fighting against the Ottoman Turks, who were ravaging the Byzantine Empire.

The emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus of the Byzantine Empire was facing siege by the Ottoman Turks, an Islamic tribe approaching the capital of his empire after defeating his armies and ransacking most of his domains. Looking for assistance from the European kingdoms he made Roger an offer of service along with the Almogavar army under his command. In September 1303 Roger with his fleet and army, now known as the Catalan Company, arrived at Constantinople. He was adopted into the imperial family, was married to the emperor's niece Maria Asenina (daughter of Ivan Asen III of Bulgaria) [ [ Пламен Павлов - Бунтари и авантюристи в средновековна България ] ] , and was made grand duke ("megas doux") and commander-in-chief of the army and the fleet.

Facing strong opposition from the powerful Genoese, some weeks past lost in dissipation, intrigues, and bloody quarrels against the Genoese who were intended in keeping him out of the loops of power, Roger and his men were sent into Asia, reportedly beat the Turks back as far as Armenia and Iran. After these successful encounters with the Turks they went into winter quarters at Cyzicus. In May 1304 they again took the field, and rendered the important service of relieving Philadelphia, then invested and reduced to extremities by the Turks. Given his position of unchallenged military power he was accused of serving his own interest instead of those the emperor because he was determined to found in the East a principality for himself. He sent his treasures to Magnesia, but the people slew his Catalans and seized the treasures. He then formed the siege of the town, but his attacks were repulsed, and he was compelled to retire.

Being recalled to Europe, he settled his troops in Gallipoli and other towns, and visited Constantinople to demand pay for the "Almogàvers". Dissatisfied with the small sum granted by the emperor, he plundered the country and carried on intrigues both with and against the emperor, receiving reinforcements all the while from all parts of southern Europe. Roger was created Caesar in April 1305, but shortly afterwards the young emperor Michael Palaeologus, not daring to attack the fierce and now augmented bands of adventurers, invited Roger to Adrianople, and there contrived his assassination and the massacre of his Catalan cavalry (April 30, 1305) by his Alan troops. His death was avenged by his men in a fierce and prolonged war against the Greeks.


The early history of the Catalan Company was chronicled by Ramon Muntaner, a member of the company, in his "Crònica".

The life of Roger de Flor inspired the fictional character of "Tirant lo Blanc," an epic romance written by Joanot Martorell, published in Valencia in 1490. It is one of the best known medieval works of literature in the Catalan language, and played an important role in the evolution of the Western novel thanks to its influence on Miguel de Cervantes.


*Moncada, Francisco de, "Catalan Chronicle".
*Ernest Marcos Hierro, "Almogàvers: la història", L'esfera dels llibres, Barcelona 2005.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Roger de flor — Rutger von Blum, connu sous le nom de Roger de Flor (Brindes, Italie, 1266 Andrinople, Empire byzantin, 1305) est un chevalier d’origine allemande et le chef des Almogavres. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Notes 3 Bibliographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Roger de Flor — (* 1266 in Brindisi; † 4. April 1305 in Adrianopel; eigentlich Rutger von Blum, auch Roger Florus) war ein militärischer Abenteurer, der in Italien, Sizilien und dem Byzantinischen Reich kämpfte. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1.1 Templerorden …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Roger de Flor — Roger Blum, conocido como Roger de Flor (Brindisi, Italia, c. 1266 Adrianópolis, Imperio Bizantino, 1305). Caballero y aventurero de origen alemán. Comandante de los almogávares. Su padre era un oficial de cetrería del emperador Federico II y de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Roger de Flor —   [rɔʒed flɔːr, französisch], ursprünglich Roger Blum oder Blume, Söldnerführer deutscher Herkunft, * um 1260/68, ✝ (ermordet) bei Adrianopel (heute Edirne) 30. 4. 1305; Sohn eines ehemaligen Falkners Kaiser Friedrichs II.; stand zuletzt im… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Roger de Flor — Rutger von Blum, connu sous le nom de Roger de Flor (Brindes, Italie, 1266 Andrinople, Empire byzantin, 1305) est un chevalier d’origine allemande et le chef des Almogavres. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Notes 3 Bibliographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Roger de Flor —    See Catalan Grand Company …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

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