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European Kingdoms

Italian Peninsula

 

 

 

Independent Duchy of Benevento
AD 590 - 774

Founded as Maleventum, one of the major settlements of the Samnites, Benevento remained under Roman control as Beneventum from about 274 BC. The city is situated in central southern Italy, on the Via Appia and immediately east of Capua. It flourished under Roman rule, and was considered to be of strategic importance during the the Second Punic War against Carthage. Two of the most important battles of the war were fought nearby; Beneventum in 214 BC, and a raid on the camp of Carthaginian General Hanno which led to his defeat in 212 BC. The city was sacked and its walls razed by Baduila, king of the Ostrogoths in 545 during the war against the Eastern Roman forces of General Belisarius. Byzantine authority over much of Italy was briefly restored until the advent of the Lombard kingdom.

In 570-571, a Lombard chief by the name of Zottone ventured south from Spoleto and founded his own independent duchy at Benevento. Benevento formed a strong Lombard state in central Italy, to the south of the Byzantine exarchate of Ravenna, but it was tied less closely to the Lombard kingdom than was Spoleto, its neighbour and rival to the north. Its territory stretched north-eastwards from the city to the coast, covering much of the modern region of Molise and the northern parts of Puglia. The Beneventan Lombards and their Italian subjects were sometimes known as the 'people of the Samnites' by early medieval authors such as Paul the Deacon, as they governed territory that had been occupied by the Samnite tribe in ancient times.

570 - 571

A Lombard military commander by the name of Zottone leads his troops into Campania in August 570. He faces defensive fighting by Eastern Roman forces, but these are continually defeated and pushed back. Zottone seizes the city of Benevento and makes it his base of operations.

571 - 591

Zottone / Zotto

Lombard chief. Created the duchy.

575/576

Following the Lombard seizure of the region of Spoleto in 570, the Lombard military commander, Faroald, seizes Nursia and Spoleto to establish his own independent duchy. By this time, Benevento has become Zottone's capital, and he is besieging Naples to the south, in an attempt to expand his new territory to cover all of southern Italy. The siege fails and is lifted in 581.

Arch of Trajan
The Arch of Trajan, built in AD 114 by the Senate and people of Rome, marked the entrance of the Via Traiana into the city of Beneventum

589 - 590

Having lived an almost fully independent existence in the south since his arrival, Zottone submits to the authority of the Lombard King Autharis in the north. The kingdom rarely exerts any influence this far south thanks to the Eastern Roman corridor which links Ravenna to Rome and cuts off the southern Lombard territories from the kingdom in the north. In, or by, 590, the duchy is formally established under Zottone. Upon his death in 591, King Agilulf appoints Arechi as his successor, another Lombard noble who may also be a relative of Zottone.

591 - 641

Arechi I / Arichis I

Related to the dukes of Friuli, and possibly to Zottone.

The details of Arechi's reign seem to be fairly obscure, but he conquers Capua and Venafro in the Campania and also areas of the Basilicata and Calabria. Like his predecessor he besieges Naples, but again this attempt to conquer the south fails. However, Arechi does succeed in taking Salerno by the late 620s.

641 - 642

Aione I / Aiulf I

Son. Mentally unstable. Died 646 while brothers provided regency.

642 - 647

Radoaldo

Adoptive brother and regent until 646.

646

Despite his mental illness and the regency being provided by his adoptive brothers (the biological sons of Gisulf II of Friuli), Aione leads the forces of Benevento against Slavic raiders who attack Siponto on the Adriatic coast. During the clearance operation, his horse falls into the defensive pit that has been dug around the Slavic camp and Aione is surrounded and killed.

647 - 662

Grimoaldo I

Brother. Co-regent until 646. King of the Lombards (662-671).

661 - 662

Not content with holding half of the divided Lombard kingdom, King Godepert almost immediately starts a war against his brother in order that he might gain the rest. He invites Duke Grimoald to assist him, but the duke instead assassinates him and takes control of his territory. With a year he has forced the other king, Bertharit, to flee and is now king of a once-more united Lombard throne. His son is promoted to duke in Benevento in his stead and for this period, the duchy and the kingdom are closely united.

662 - 687

Romoaldo I

Son. Gained the duchy upon his father's gaining of the throne.

687 - 689

Grimoaldo II

Son.

689 - 706

Gisulf I

Brother.

c.705

Gisulf marches on the cities of Arce, Arpino, and Sora, and after taking them ventures as far as Horrea, plundering and burning along the way. With the Campanian region lying devastated behind him, and his forces encamped near Rome, he is persuaded through the receipt of gifts by Pope John VI to withdraw in peace.

706 - 731

Rimoaldo II the Younger

Son.

717

Rimoaldo is frequently in conflict with Spoleto and Naples during his reign. That also brings him into conflict with Rome. After capturing the castle of Cumae from John I of Naples and ignoring pleas from Pope Gregory II to return it in lieu of compensation, the Pope funds an expedition by Naples to recapture the castle. Rimoaldo's men are soundly defeated and expelled from Cuma.

731

Gisulf II

Son. An infant, deposed but allowed to live by Andelais.

731 - 732

Andelais / Audelais

Usurper. Deposed by Liutprand of Lombardy.

732

King Liutprand of Lombardy enters Benevento and removes both Andelais and the usurped infant, Gisulf II, from the throne and its succession. Instead he places his own nominee, Gregory, on the ducal seat.

732 - 739

Gregory

Nephew of Liutprand of Lombardy.

739 - 742

Godescalco

Gained throne without the approval of Liutprand. Assassinated.

742

Liutprand of Lombardy decides to deal with Godescalco, the unapproved duke of Benevento. The duke is already preparing to flee by ship when Liutprand enters Benevento, but the people rise up and slay Godescalco, apparently remaining faithful to their former duke, Rimoaldo II, and his familial succession. Rimoaldo's son is restored to his inheritance after having been raised in the safety of the Lombardic royal palace at Pavia.

742 - 751

Gisulf II

Restored.

751 - 758

Liutprand

A minor at accession. Deposed and fled.

751 - 756

Scauniperga

Regent and mother.

758

Arechi II becomes duke after deposing the young Liutprand, who had commended the duchy to the Carolingian King Pepin the Short. Arechi's marriage to Adelperga is notable as she is the daughter of Daufer, the last king of the Lombards. This makes any children by her direct descendants of the Lombardic kings, conferring an air of authority upon them and ensuring that the line endures.

758 - 774

Arechi II / Arichis II

Elevated to prince.

774

With the collapse of the kingdom of the Lombards, parts of its territory are transferred to Papal control. The rest is annexed to the Frankish empire. In the south, Benevento remains independent and Duke Arechi claims that he is the successor to the Lombard kings, raising himself to the status of prince.

Principality of Benevento
AD 774 - 1077

In 774, the Frankish King Charlemagne entered Italy and broke the power of the Lombards and their king, Daufer. He himself assumed the title 'king of the Lombards', and the last king was imprisoned. In Benevento, Duke Arechi II was married to Adelperga, daughter of Daufer, making their offspring direct descendants of the Lombardic kings. Arechi saw himself as the natural successor to the kings, and announced as much in 774 when he claimed Benevento was now a principality. He also tried to claim the kingship, but had no support, and no chance of being crowned in the traditional location at Pavia, which was now firmly under Frankish control.

774 - 788

Arechi II / Arichis II

First prince.

774

Charlemagne enters Benevento with a Frankish army and support from his son, Louis the Pious. He forces Arechi to submit to him with promises of loyalty, and leaves. The promises are not kept, of course, and Benevento remains effectively independent, with its dukes now elevated to princes.

Roman Beneventum
By the eighth century, Roman Beneventum had become early medieval Benevento, which was acclaimed as the new Pavia following the fall of the Lombard kingdom

787

The looming threat of attack by the Franks from the north is now realised. Charlemagne advances into southern Italy and besieges Capua, an important town in Benevento's territory. Arechi temporarily abandons Benevento itself and retreats to his new capital at Salerno, on the Tyrrhenian coast, but he is pressured into accepting Frankish suzerainty anyway. From this point, Benevento begins to issue silver coinage alongside its traditional gold coins, using a design that is very similar to that of Frankish coins, revealing an acceptance of Frankish culture (however unwillingly). Charlemagne's name and title also begin to appear alongside Arechi's own name on charters.

788

Arechi's death and that of his eldest son, Rimoaldo, means that Charlemagne entrusts the duchy to his other son, Grimoaldo. Grimoaldo has been a hostage at the Frankish court since his father accepted Frankish suzerainty, but he is now released in return for an oath of loyalty. Returning home, Grimoaldo does not keep that promise, and the recently introduced Frankish influences quickly disappear.

788 - 806

Grimoaldo III

Son.

c.790 - 791

Claimed both by the Carolingian Franks of Italy and Byzantium, the principality is now attacked by the latter. Byzantine troops under the command of Adelchis, son of the last king of Lombardy, land on the coast around 790, but are almost immediately faced by a coalition of troops from Benevento, Spoleto and the Franks. The attack is successfully repelled, and the Franks think that they have retained nominal control over the region. However, Grimoaldo also resists them successfully, probably in the following year, and maintains the independence of his principality (although some sources claim that Frankish domination is renewed in 792).

806 - 817

Grimoaldo IV

Son of Ermenrih. Assassinated by nobles vying for the throne.

817 - 832

Sicone

Former official for Aurenza (Aceruntia) in Potenza province.

During the course of his comparatively long reign, Sicone grants the ancient fortress of Capua to Landulf I as gastald (a form of urban governor or administrator). Landulf is the first of a long line of counts and princes of Capua, on the Tyrrhenian coast of central Italy.

832 - 839

Sicardo / Sico I

Son. Assassinated by Radelchis. (Sico II was in Salerno.)

836

Naples is largely a military city full of troops who are prepared to fight to defend their territory. The city's outlying countryside has already been lost to the Lombards, and now the Lombards of Benevento besiege the city itself. Determined to defend Naples, help is requested of the Saracens, presumably the Aghlabids, and the siege is duly broken.

839 - 851

Radelchis I

Spent much of his reign at war with Sicardo's brother.

841 - 849

With the murder of Sicardo, the new prince of Benevento, Radelchis I, finds himself at war with Sicardo's brother, Siconulf. Freed from Radelchis' own jail by his supporters from the cities of Salerno and Amalfi, he counters the introduction of Islamic troops by his rival by bringing in his own Saracen fighters. The war continues for ten years, with the mercenaries ravaging the countryside in the process. It takes direct intervention by Louis II, king of Italy, to end it. He formalises the division of Benevento between the principality itself and the city of Salerno, in Campania in south-western Italy. This city will form the capital of a new principality which also gains the cities of Capua, Cassano Irpino, Cimitile (Nola), Conza, Paestum, Sarno, Sora, Taranto, and Teano.

851 - 854

Radelgar

Son. His own son, Gaideri, is an infant in 854 and is replaced.

854 - 878

Adelchis

Brother. Assassinated.

860

Adelchis is forced to play the traditional game of fending off the hostile intentions of both south and north, this time in the form of Aghlabid Islamic invaders in the south and the Franks of Italy in the north. In 860 he is defeated by the Muslims at Bari and is forced to agree a truce. Subsequently, this forces him to call on the aid of the Frankish Emperor Louis II of Italy. The emperor attempts to gain greater influence in Benevento, but Adelchis is able to fend him off as well as defeating a fresh Muslim invasion.

878 - 881

Gaideri / Guaifer / Waifer

Son of Radelgar.

881 - 884

Radelchis II

Deposed by Aione.

883 - 884

The Byzantine empire is enjoying a resurgence of fortune in southern Italy. Under Nicephorus Phocas the Elder, the Byzantine forces slowly reconquer Calabria from 883, with attacks being concentrated on territory around Benevento. Following the deposing of Radelchis, his successor, Aione, responds by capturing Bari, although he loses it again within a year.

884 - 890

Aione II / Aiulf II

Brother.

890 - 891

Orso / Ursus

Son. Deposed.

891 - 895

Orso is deposed after Benevento is captured by Sybbaticius, the Byzantine strategos of Calabria. Benevento is made the capital of the thema of Langobardia.

895 - 897

Sharing power in Spoleto with his brother, Guy IV conquers Benevento from the Byzantine empire and takes the title of prince for himself. He offers the regency of the conquered principality to Guaimar I of Salerno, his brother-in-law by his sister, Itta. Guaimar is captured en route to Benevento by Adelfer, the gastald of Avellino, and Guy is forced to besiege Avellino to secure his release. However, his control of Benevento is brief, with the native princes being restored in 897.

897 - 899

Radelchis II

Restored. Deposed by his cousin. Died 907.

900 - 910

Atenulf I the Great

Cousin. Prince of Capua (887-910).

910

Atenulf I declares the two principalities of Benevento and Capua to be inseparable. He also introduces the principle of co-rule between sons and brothers which is practiced by the principality from this point forwards. His own son, Landulf, has been associated with the co-rule of Benevento since 901 in a form of dry run for this concept.

910 - 943

Landulf I

Son. Prince Landulf III of Capua.

911 - 940

Atenulf II

Brother and co-ruler.

915

As the latest in a series of conflicts with the Saracens, the forces of the new Byzantine strategos of Bari, one Nicolaus Picingli, assemble alongside those of various other southern Italian princes in the Christian League. It includes Landulf I of Benevento, John I and Docibilis II of Gaeta, Gregory IV and John II of Naples, Pope John X, Guaimar II of Salerno, and Alberic I of Spoleto. The allied Byzantine-Lombard army fights and defeats the Fatamids at the Battle of Garigliano, a drawn-out combination of fights and a siege. The Saracens find themselves in a worsening situation and eventually attempt to flee, only to be captured and killed. It is a militarily significant victory in the fight against Islamic advances in Italy.

Saracens
Saracen raids into Italy had been a growing problem for a century, but the Battle of Garigliano turned the tide against the invaders

933 - 943

Atenulf III Carinola

Son of Landulf I.

943 - 961

Landulf II the Red

Brother. Prince Landulf IV of Capua.

943 - 959

Pandulf I / Pandolfo Ironhead

Son and co-ruler. Prince of Capua.

959 - 961

Landulf III

Brother and co-ruler.

961 - 981

Pandulf I / Padolfo Ironhead

Duke of Spoleto & Camerino (967-981). Prince of Salerno (977/8).

961 - 968

Landulf III

Brother and co-ruler.

c.962

The Saxon king, Otto I, subdues Italy and appropriates the title of Roman Emperor. The imperial crown is now vested in the name of what later becomes Germany.

967

Spoleto and Benevento are united by Roman Emperor Otto I, albeit briefly, with Pandulf I governing in both principality and duchy.

968 - 981

Landulf IV

Duke of Spoleto (981). In Capua alone from 981.

981

Pandulf's joint principality of Spoleto and Benevento is partitioned amongst his sons, who fight endlessly to gain supremacy. Landulf IV gains Benevento, Capua, and Spoleto, and Pandulf II receives Salerno. However, Roman Emperor Otto I intervenes and hands Spoleto to Thrasimund IV, duke of Camerino. Then Pandulf II is granted Benevento, leaving Landulf with just Capua.

981 - 1003

Pandulf II / Padolfo the Old

Son or nephew of Pandulf I. Prince of Capua (1008/09-1014).

987 - 1003

Landulf V

Son.

1003 - 1005

Three years after the Capuans had ousted Prince Adhemar, and invited Landulf, Pandulf's brother, to rule the principality in his stead, Adelfer, count of Avellino, leads a rebellion there. He manages to oust Pandulf and Landulf from Benevento, which remains under Adelfer's control for no more than two years. In 1005 Pandulf and Landulf can be found in Benevento again, although the fate of the rebellious count is unknown.

1003 - 1005?

Adelfer

Rebellious count of Avellino.

1005? - 1014

Pandulf II / Padolfo the Old

Restored.

1005? - 1033

Landulf V

Restored co-ruler.

1007

Landulf of Capua dies, so Pandulf the Old is able to combine that title with his and reunite the principalities, with another son, Pandulf II of Capua, ruling alongside him.

1013 - 1033

Pandulf III / Padolfo

Son. Duke of Capua (1020-1057).

1014

With the death of Pandulf the Old, Benevento suffers its second rebellion in a decade. The senior prince, Pandulf III and his co-ruler and father, Landulf V, are not dislodged from power, but the rebellion wins concessions for the people of Benevento to the detriment of princely power. Landulf's reign sees the decline of the principality, a process that has accelerated since the rebellion of 1003. He is forced to submit both to the Byzantine emperor, whose forces are resurgent in the south, and then Holy Roman Emperor Henry II, making nonsense of Benevento's continued claim to full independence.

1033 - 1053

Pandulf III / Padolfo

Sole ruler until 1038. Died 1059.

1038 - 1053

Landulf VI

Son. Died 1077.

1041

Yet another rebellion takes place, probably instigated by Landulf's brother, Atenulf, because he is not included in the co-regency along with his brother. The rebellion fails to dislodge the sitting princes, but Benevento is now a shadow of its former self, and its territory has shrunk noticeably.

1050 - 1053

Pope Leo IX goes on a pilgrimage to Monte Gargano in 1050, where he confirms the excommunication of Pandulf and Landulf following their refusal to allow Holy Roman Emperor Henry III into the city in 1047. The citizens of the city of Benevento turn on their princes and throw them out, handing the city to the pope in 1051. He remains the city's ruler until he is imprisoned following the Battle of Civitate on 18 June 1053. The victorious Normans of Apulia briefly take command of Benevento, placing Rodolf on the throne.

1053 - 1054

Rodolf

Vassal of Apulia.

1054

The citizens of Benevento invite Pandulf and Landulf back into the city, restoring them to the throne, where they apparently sit as vassals of the Pope. This subservience marks the start of Benevento's last days as a state in its own right.

1054 - 1059

Pandulf III

Restored. Papal vassal. Abdicated to a monastery. Died 1060.

1054 - 1077

Landulf VI

Restored. Papal vassal. Died.

1056 - 1074

Pandulf IV / Padolfo

Son. Papal vassal. Died in battle.

1063

Barisone I of the giudicato of Logudoro on Sardinia asks Desiderius of Benevento, abbot of Monte Cassino, to send twelve monks to establish a Benedictine abbey on Sardinia. However, the archdiocese of Pisa is determined to retain its religious monopoly over the island, so the monks are attacked at sea off the coast of the island of Giglio. Four of them are killed and the others return to Monte Cassino. Pope Alexander II excommunicates the Pisans for the assault, and in 1065 two more monks are sent. Barisone gives them Santa Maria di Bonarcado and Sant'Elia di Montesanto.

1071

Landulf VI is present at the consecration of the Abbey of Monte Cassino, situated at the top of a rocky promontory. The abbey replaces the previous monastery which had been founded on the site of the Temple of Apollo by St Benedict of Nursia, around 529. It had been the frequent target of sackings and destruction by the many armies that had fought their way across Italy in the centuries since Roman decline in the west.

Abbey of Monte Cassino
The Abbey of Monte Cassino was built on a high rocky hill along the Garigliano and Rapido rivers about 120 kilometres (eighty miles) south-east of Rome

1077 - 1081

The sole remaining Lombardic prince of Benevento, Landulf VI, dies, ending his line. The city of Benevento is ruled directly by the Normans of Apulia under Robert Guiscard, although the details of how he comes to secure it are obscure. It is probably handed over by the Pope when he is negotiating for Norman help in his own battles against the Holy Roman Emperor.

1081 - 1806

Robert Guiscard hands the city back to the Pope and it becomes an outlying possession of the Papal States. Most of the principality's lands falls under the control of Apulia and its descendant kingdom.

1806 - 1815

The French First Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte attaches Benevento to the kingdom of Naples. Following Napoleon's final defeat, the city is returned to Papal possession and subsequently forms part of a united Italy.