From the “regnum Langobardiae” to the “regnum italicum” and its Vain Effort for Unity in the Peninsula Part 2

All this shows how important the Lombard kingdom had in the imperial system created by Charlemagne: an almost central importance, despite being weak militarily, dominated by a growing civil disorder, often neglected by its prince, involved in the serious dynastic disputes of which France it was bloody theater. Also visible, in the successive divisions of the empire, is the progressive identification of that kingdom – as of the other parts of the empire itself – with its own king, equipped with broad powers and high tasks; and its joint going with the empire in the same person. The one who has to govern Italy also tended to take the imperial crown in Rome. Also the Verdun pact (843) assigned to Lothair, already crowned emperor, Italy, together with other transalpine lands, on the right of the Rhine. Then Lothair assigned to his son Ludovico the task of looking after Italy: and Ludovico, having come to Italy and to Rome in 844, was solemnly crowned king there; then, in 850, associated with the empire and crowned in Rome by Pope Leo IV. From then on he paid attention almost exclusively to the things of the peninsula.

In him we can almost see a revived king of the Lombards; although no longer so much as the king of a nation still badly rooted in the country and badly merged with the other inhabitants and subjects, as the king of a people now, in the great mass, one and framed in its own territory. It is not without significance that, precisely with Lothair and Ludovico, the denomination of  Regnum Langobardiae  yields almost totally to that of  Regnum Italiae  or  Italicum , which previously appeared only sporadically. However, the word  Italici  or  Talienser is also more invaluable, to indicate all the inhabitants and subjects of the kingdom. The new word “kingdom of Italy” is likely to betray the intention of truncating any secret desire for Lombard restoration on the part of the great ducal families. But perhaps it also expresses the greater fusion determined, at least in the middle and lower classes, by the Frankish conquest, with the subsequent reinvigoration of the most numerous and civil elements originating in the country (men, ideas, culture, words, etc.); it also expresses the prince’s intention to extend the effective authority of the kingdom over the whole peninsula to which the literary tradition extended the name of Italy. And in fact, Ludovico is not only present in Rome with his  missus and he is very attached to the archbishop of Ravenna, whose autonomy tendencies he favors in the face of the pope, but also carries out tenacious action in the south, between the Lombards and the Greeks.

In the south, Muslim danger was spreading more and more every day. According to MEDICINELEARNERS.COM, the Byzantine defense was insufficient. The Lombards of Benevento, with their disagreements, rather called for them not to drive away the Saracen bands. The Neapolitans perhaps sent their auxiliaries to the army of the infidels who besieged and conquered Messina in 843. And Messina fell, it was easier to multiply the assaults and raids along the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts. The gravity of the danger was truly felt then. Reaction of Naples, Gaeta and Amalfi, who joined their forces. The new history of Italian cities begins with these war exploits, with these politico-military initiatives. Here, then, urged by these cities, by the Greek empire, by Salerno, by the pope, who saw Rome itself threatened; here is also Ludovico II. His first feat was in 849, when the Franks and Lombards repelled the infidels as far as the Apulian coasts, and the ships of the Campania league, commanded by Cesario son of Sergio, destroyed a large fleet of Muslims who came to attack Rome. Then new expeditions by Ludovico, in 852, in ’60, in ’66-71; now to fight rebel vassals, now to make the decisive effort against the Saracens. And on February 2, 871, Bari finally fell, and little more remained to the Saracens. In all these years, Ludovico gave a certain vigor to the royal authority and drew cities and small dynasts into his own orbit; he confirmed his protection on the monasteries of S. Vincenzo al Volturno and on Montecassino. He negotiated with Byzantium for a definitive settlement which was to place all southern Italy in the hands of the king and emperor. But it was a brittle building, held up by negative and extrinsic reasons, above all by the Saracen danger. Therefore, with the Saracens now vanquished, the first reason for this precarious submission and harmony was lacking. There, the Saracens were not wanted; but not even a king who wanted to be a real king. There was the same invincible spirit of independence among the local aristocracy, which had already animated the dukes against the king of Pavia; and that no less invincible feeling of aversion to the Frankish kings, which was that of all the Lombard people after 774. It can be said that in the south the struggle decided that year continues in the Po valley. found in the south Adelchi, son of Desiderio, in the attempts of restoration between the eighth and the century. IX. And now, on the return trip from Bari, Ludovico was attacked in his palace in Benevento, forced to surrender and taken prisoner by the prince, also Adelchi. Lodovico was able, however, to free himself, to return again to the south; he waited, yes, to fight Adelchi and the rebel dukes of Spoleto and Camerino, but also to fight the Saracens who had returned to the rescue and had laid siege to Salerno. Ludovico understood well that the reason before being of the kingdom, in the South, the first source of his credit, was the struggle against the infidels. But Adelchi resisted. He had help from the Neapolitans and their duke and perhaps from the other dukes. He solicited the support of Byzantium and a Greek fleet arrived in Otranto, took Bari. And from Bari, the Byzantines, tenacious, methodical, slowly began the reconquest. The building of Louis and the Frankish dynasty collapsed. Drawing, inherited from the Lombard dynasty, of a conquest that reached the Ionian Sea and made every duke of the city of Campania, every Lombard duke or prince no more than a vassal or an imperial official, remained unfulfilled. Ludovico died in 875, without returning to the South. The successor, Carlo il Calvo, saw the borders of his kingdom only in Garigliano and Sangro. Beyond these borders, the Saracens began to hammer again, from Taranto. The cities of the coast immediately found a way to reach an understanding with the infidels, both to have peace and to participate in looting and prey. And they had a real alliance with Naples, Amalfi, Gaeta, to which Adelchi also had to join, unable to resist the Saracens.

Italy 2