William II being crowned by Christ

In the mosaic cycle of the Monreale Cathedral, the representation of the sovereign, who commissioned the complex, occurs twice: above the wall of the royal throne and on the wall of the archiepiscopal throne. The first mosaic shows the king of Sicily dressed in the classical dalmatic robe, standing and gazing deeply as he is about to be crowned by Christ, surrounded by two angels carrying the sceptre and the orb and cross. Christ, at the right of the king, is seated on a golden throne studded with gems. He has a stern and proud face and utters the biblical expression “my hand will help him”, while holding firmly in his hands a volume with the same words as the Pantocrator “I am the light of the world; Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”. This scene plays an important political role in highlighting the concept that the power of the Norman rulers descended directly from God. The actual coronation of William II took place in 1166 in Palermo and the hands that crowned him were not those of Christ but of Romualdo Guarna, Archbishop of Salerno. A similar scene with Roger II as the protagonist can be found in the church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio in Palermo, known as Martorana.