added by archaeologs Major city of Sicily, on the northwest coast of the island, which has been continuously occupied for two and a half millennia. The Phoenicians established a port of the site by the 8th century BC, and from the 5th century BC the city was controlled by Carthage. The Romans captured Palermo in 254 BC. The city decayed under Roman rule but prospered after AD 535, when the Byzantine general Belisarius recovered it from the Ostrogoths. The island remained in Byzantine hands until the Islamic offensive in 831. Palermo was prosperous when it fell to the Norman adventurers Roger I and Robert Guiscard in 1072. The ensuing era of Norman rule (1072-1194) was Palermo's golden age, particularly after the founding of the Norman kingdom of Sicily in 1130 by Roger II. Palermo became the capital of this kingdom and has some notable buildings from the Norman and succeeding periods. It continues to be Sicily's chief port and center of government.