A Bloody Medieval Amazon
As described by near contemporaries: “Directly Sichelgaita, Robert’s wife (who was riding at his side and was a second Pallas, if not an Athene) saw these soldiers running away. She looked fiercely after them and in a very powerful voice called out to them in her own language an equivalent to Homer’s words “How far will ye flee? Stand and fight like men!” And when she saw that they continued to run, she grasped a long spear and at full gallop rushed after the fugitives; and on seeing this they recovered themselves and returned to the fight.” She was badly wounded in the fight, but held part of the battlefield until reinforcements arrived to turn the tide and win the hard-fought engagement.
Despite the victory, the plans to conquer Byzantium were discarded because of developments back in Italy, when a conflict broke out between the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1084, Sichelgaita and Guiscard resumed the attempted conquest of Byzantium. They won some initial victories, such as a ferocious naval battle against a combined Venetian-Byzantine fleet, which gained them the islands of Corfu and Cefalonia. Soon thereafter, however, Guiscard took ill and died in 1085, and the campaign in Greece fizzled out. Sichelgaita retired to Salerno, where she died five years later, in 1090.