Battle of Milazzo (888)

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Battle of Milazzo
Part of the Muslim conquest of Sicily
Byzantine-Arab naval struggle.svg
Map of the Arab–Byzantine naval conflict in the Mediterranean, 7th–11th centuries
Date October 888
off Milazzo, northeastern Sicily
Result Aghlabid victory
Byzantine Empire Aghlabids
Commanders and leaders
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
variously 5,000–7,000 (12,000?) dead unknown

The Battle of Milazzo was a naval battle fought in 888 between the Byzantine and Aghlabid fleets off northeastern Sicily. The battle was a major Aghlabid victory. It is sometimes known as the Second Battle of Milazzo, counting the Battle of Stelai as the First Battle of Milazzo.[1]


In 888, the Aghlabids mounted a new expedition aimed at Byzantine Calabria, with ships from Sicily as well as Ifriqiya. Off Milazzo, the fleet met a Byzantine squadron of the Imperial Fleet of Constantinople. The ensuing battle is not mentioned by any Byzantine source, but only by Ibn Idhari's al-Bayan al-Mughrib as well as the Cambridge Chronicle. Both agree that it was a crushing Aghlabid victory—their first in open sea combat: reportedly 5,000 Byzantines drowned, and 7,000 in total (or 7,000 more, depending on the translation from the Arabic) were killed.[2]


In the aftermath of this debacle, the Byzantines abandoned many strongholds they had held in the Val Demone, and the remainder, left without hope of Byzantine aid, concluded a truce with the Aghlabid governor of Sicily.[3] Even the garrison and populace of Rhegion are said to have temporarily abandoned their city for fear of Aghlabid attacks.[2]


  1. ^ Eickhoff 1966, pp. 237, 243.
  2. ^ a b Eickhoff 1966, p. 243.
  3. ^ Eickhoff 1966, pp. 243, 244.


  • Eickhoff, Ekkehard (1966). Seekrieg und Seepolitik zwischen Islam und Abendland: das Mittelmeer unter byzantinischer und arabischer Hegemonie (650-1040) (in German). De Gruyter.
  • Pryor, John H.; Jeffreys, Elizabeth M. (2006). The Age of the ΔΡΟΜΩΝ: The Byzantine Navy ca. 500–1204. Leiden, The Netherlands and Boston, Massachusetts: Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-15197-0.

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