Byzantine period & Normans (1081 –1267)
During the Byzantine period Corfu was part of the “Thema” of Kefalonia, which included the Ionian Islands. The areas were divided in “Themata”. A general, who had absolute power and also was depended by the Emperor, administrated each “Thema”. During the 12th century the areas were divided in smaller pieces named “Oria” and “Episkepsis”. Perhaps the name of the village Episkepsi in Corfu came from that period. In 1032 The island was devastated by the Saracenes of Africa, who conquered the seaside of Illyria and burned Corfu. General Nikiforos defeated them, in order to protect his areas.
The geographical position, the fertile land and the acropolis of Corfu were the attraction for Robert Guiscard, the Norman king of Southern Italy. In 1081, Guiscard conquered the acropolis of the island. The Emperor Nikiforos sent military and nautical forces with the aid of the Venetians, to alienate and displace the Normans. In 1147 AC, Rogiro, the heir of Guiscard, conquered Corfu. Emperor Manuel II tried to liberate the island from the Normans; after a long fight on the walls of the town, the Normans were forced to pull out of the island.
Generally, since 1166 to 1267 AC, a big number of battles have followed between Byzantines, Normans and Venetians in order to conserve the island.