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European Kingdoms

Italian Peninsula

 

 

 

Independent Duchy of Spoleto
c.AD 570 - 1228

The city of Spoleto had been under Roman control since 241 BC and the end of the First Punic War against Carthage. Located just eighty kilometres (fifty miles) to the north of Rome itself, it subsequently fell under the authority of the Byzantine exarchate of Ravenna, but only briefly. During the sixth century, Byzantine authority in Italy suffered badly in the face of sustained attacks by the Germanic Lombards, and Spoleto quickly emerged as an independent duchy, founded as such just two years after the Lombard kingdom itself and not generally subject to its overall authority.

Spoleto has a fairly obscure history. It shared three of its rulers with the Lombard kingdom and, as such, was tied more closely to the kingdom than was its rival duchy, the more important Benevento, which bordered it to the south. Its territory took in the southern half of the modern region of Marche and most of Abruzzo. It also included the city of Reate (modern Rieti), a former major settlement of the ancient Sabini tribe which lies immediately to the north-east of Rome itself.

c.570 - 591

Faroald I / Faruald I

Lombard chief. Independent from 575/576.

575/576

Following the Lombard seizure of the region of Spoleto in 570, Faroald seizes Nursia and Spoleto to establish his own independent duchy. His fellow Lombard chief, Zottone, goes even further south to found Benevento.

591 - 600/1

Ariulf

590s

Ariulf captures Camerino, where it is later claimed that he has seen St Sabinus, the martyr of Spoleto, who helps him to victory. The Lombard chief converts to Roman Christianity as a result. Upon his death, the two sons of Faroald fight to see who will become the next ruler, with Theodelap emerging victorious. He rules apparently entirely independently of the Lombard kingdom.

Lombard infantry and cavalry
An artist's impression of mixed Lombard infantry and cavalry in action

600/1 - c.650

Theodelap / Theudelapius

Son of Faroald.

c.650 - c.665

Atto / Attone

c.665

In return for helping Grimoald to usurp the Lombard throne and reunite a divided kingdom, Count Transamund of Capua is granted the duchy of Spoleto.

c.665 - 703

Transamund I / Thrasimund I

Count of Capua. Granted duchy by Grimoald of the Lombards.

703 - 724

Faroald II / Faruald II

Son. Deposed by his son after despoiling Classis.

703 - 724

Wachilap

Brother and joint ruler.

724 - 739

Transamund II / Thrasimund II

Son of Faroald II. Died c.745.

726 - 728

The Lombards take control of the exarchate of Ravenna. Byzantine imperial authority is no longer recognised, although it only takes two years for the exarchate to be recovered.

738 - 740

Transamund rebels against Liutprand, king of the Lombards and forms an alliance with Pope Gregory III. The pope provides him with shelter while a substitute duke holds power in Spoleto in 739. Transamund kills Hilderic in 740 and regains his duchy, before being captured by Liutprand and sent forcibly to a monastery. The duchy is conferred upon Agiprand.

739 - 740

Hilderic / Ilderic

Killed by Transamund II.

740 - 742

Transamund II / Thrasimund II

Restored. Forced to enter a monastery.

742 - 744

Agiprand

Duke of Clusium. Deposed by Transamund II.

744 - c.745

Being sent to a monastery does not prevent Transamund from regaining the duchy for a second time, but his rule is short-lived. Hereafter, the links forged by Liutprand effectively bind Spoleto closer to the Lombard kingdom, with three subsequent dukes also ruling the Lombards at different points in their careers.

744 - c.745

Transamund II / Thrasimund II

Restored for a second time.

c.745 - 751

Lupus

752

Unnolf / Unulf

752 - 756

Aistulf of Friuli

Duke of Friuli. King of the Lombards (749-756).

752

The exarchate of Ravenna is recaptured by the Lombards, permanently ending Byzantine influence in Italy.

754

Rome is delivered from Lombard attack by Pepin III, king of the Franks. This fulfils his role as the ordained protector of the church following Pope Stephen's visit to Paris, during which he had re-consecrated the Frankish king. The ex-Byzantine exarchate of Ravenna is transferred to the pope in the form of the Papal States, along Spoleto's western border.

755 - 756

The exarchate is briefly re-captured by the resurgent Lombards in 755, but the following year the Carolingian Franks recapture the territory. The ex-Byzantine exarchate is handed back to Rome as the Papal States and northern Italy becomes part of the Carolingian empire.

756 - 757

Ratchis / Rachis of Friuli

Brother. King of the Lombards (744-749). Abdicated.

756 - 757

Having abdicated the Lombard throne after his misconceived siege of Perugia, Ratchis attempts to reclaim the throne after the death of Aistulf. He is defeated by Daufer and retires to a cloister.

757 - 758

Alboin

Deposed by Daufer.

758 - 759

Daufer / Desiderius of Brescia

King of the Lombards (756-774).

759 - 761

Gisulf

Vassal of the Lombards.

761 - 762/3

Gisulf is a vassal of Daufer of Brescia who is appointed by him to govern Spoleto in his name. When Gisulf dies, there is an interim period of about a year or eighteen months until Daufer appoints a replacement.

Daufer of the Lombards
Daufer, or Desiderius, achieved the final conquest of Ravenna only to lose the entire Lombard kingdom to the Carolingian Franks

762/3 - 773

Theodicius

Vassal of the Lombards.

774 - 788

Hildeprand

Frankish vassal (from 776).

776

The duchy falls to the Franks under Charlemagne and is mostly subsumed by them, retaining little independent identity or control.

789 - 822

Winiges / Winichis

Frankish vassal, and possibly a Frank himself.

c.790 - 791

Claimed both by the Carolingian Franks of Italy and Byzantium, the principality of Benevento 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, Duke Grimoaldo of Benevento also resists them successfully, probably in the following year, and maintains the independence of his principality.

822 - 824

Suppone I / Suppo I

Frankish vassal and nobleman.

824

Adelard / Adalhard

Frankish vassal. Died after 5 months.

824 - 836

Mauring / Moringus

Son of Suppone. Frankish vassal.

836 - 841

Berengar

Frankish vassal.

840 - 855

Louis I wills the Frankish empire to his sons, but tries to ensure that the eldest gains the biggest share, in order to avoid the fragmentation of territory that so weakened the Merovingians. Lothar receives Francia Media (the Rhine corridor including the kingdom of Burgundy, and Italy). Spoleto is resurrected by the disintegrating empire as a dependent margraviate in 842, in order to help secure Italy against Saracen attacks.

842 - 860

Guy I / Guido I

First Frankish-dependent margrave.

855

Upon Lothar's death, Francia Media is divided between his three sons. Louis II receives Italy and the imperial crown. Native vassals remain in place in Spoleto, governing in the Frankish emperor's name.

860

Guy's death sees the duchy divided in two, with Lambert gaining Spoleto, and his brother, Guy II, gaining Camerino, which is raised to a duchy. The pair continue the fight against the Saracens, but Lambert is also guilty of massacring Byzantine subjects, and is deposed in 871, restored in 876, and subsequently excommunicated by Pope John VIII.

860 - 871

Lambert I

Son. Deposed.

860 - 882

Guy II / Guido II / Vito

Brother. Duke of Camerino.

871 - 874

Suppone II / Suppo II

875 - 879

Lambert I

Restored, and ruling jointly with Guido II.

876 - 882

Guy II / Guido II

Brother. Ruling jointly, first with Lambert I and then with Guy III.

880 - 894

Guy III / Guido III / Wido

HRE (889-894).

883

Upon the death of Guy II, the duchy of Spoleto is reunited, with the new title of the duchy of Spoleto and Camerino.

888 - 889

Berengar of Friuli is challenged by his chief rival in Italy, Guy of Spoleto, both of whom aspire to control the two halves of the former Frankish Empire. Guy has failed in his attempt to gain overlordship of the Western Franks, and now wants the Eastern Frankish throne. They engage in battle near Brescia and Berengar emerges as marginal victor, albeit with casualties large enough to force him to sue for a peace that lasts until 889. With the truce having expired, Guy attacks Berengar at the Battle of the Trebbia, and this time is successful, taking the Italian throne.

894 - 898

Lambert II

Son. HRE (894-896). Shared the rule of Spoleto with Guy IV.

895

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.

895 - 898

Guy IV / Guido IV

Co-ruler. Prince of Benevento (895). Margrave of Camerino (889).

897

Perhaps acting under pressure from Guy IV of the powerful Roman Spoleto family, Pope Stephen convenes the Cadaver Synod, in which the corpse of Pope Fromosus is disinterred.

898 - 922

Alberic I / Alberico

Duke of Camerino (897). Killed by the Romans.

904

This is a period in which powerful women of the nobility play politics and influence papal rule in Rome. Consul Theophylact, count of Tusculum, and his wife, Senatrix Theodora, are the parents of Marozia. She is reputedly the concubine of Pope Sergius and gives birth to a son (the later Pope John XI). She also succeeds her father in being the power behind the papal 'throne'. Through Marozia's marriage to Alberic I of Spoleto, the family is able to continue the numbering started here with their son, Alberic II (932-954).

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.

923 - 928

Boniface I

Non-dynastic ruler.

924 - 928

Peter

Non-dynastic ruler.

928 - 933

?

Non-dynastic ruler, name unknown.

933 - 936

Theobald

Non-dynastic ruler.

936 - 940

Anscar

Of Ivrea.

940 - 943

Sarlione

Non-dynastic ruler.

943 - 946

Hubert / Humbert

Illegitimate son of Germanic Roman Emperor Hugh of Arles.

946 - 953

Boniface II

c.949

Berengar II, king of the Italian Franks, and Germanic Roman Emperor, takes control of Spoleto from its margrave. After his accession as Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I later adjoins part of its territory to the Papal States, and he and later emperors hold Spoleto as a gift to be handed out when necessary.

953 - 959

Theobald II

959 - 967

Thrasimund III

967

Spoleto and Benevento are united by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, albeit briefly. Following the death of Padulf, he detaches Spoleto again.

967 - 981

Pandulf / Padolfo Ironhead

Prince of Benevento (943-981).

981

Landulf

Prince Landulf IV of Benevento (943-981).

981

The joint principality of Spoleto and Benevento is partitioned amongst the sons of Pandulf, 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.

982 - 989

Thrasimund IV

Duke of Camerino.

989

Spoleto is granted to Hugo, margrave of Tuscany, with occasional local rulers in place under Tuscany's control, until the duke of Tuscany takes direct control again in 1010.

998 - 999

Ademar / Adhemar

Prince of Capua (1000).

999 - 1003

Ademar's brief rule over Spoleto ends and Tuscany takes direct control again. Ademar is also theoretical overlord of Naples during the enforced absence of its duke.

1003 - 1010

Romanus

1010 - c.1020

Rainier

Duke of Tuscany (1014-1027). Died 1027.

c.1020

Spoleto is temporarily removed from Tuscany's control with the accession of Hugo II.

c.1020 - 1035

Hugo II

1036 - 1043

Hugo III

1043 - 1056

Spoleto now becomes a constituent part of Tuscany, with no local control over its affairs.

1056 - 1057

The papacy takes a turn at governing Spoleto as part of the Papal States, during the term of office of Pope Victor II.

Monteleone di Spoleto
On top of the ruins of the ancient city of Brufa, which lie about twenty kilometres south-east of the town of Spoleto itself, the Lombards built Monteleone di Spoleto

1057 - 1070

Godfrey (II)

Duke of Lower Lorraine.

1070 - 1082

Following Godfrey's long reign, Spoleto once again becomes a constituent part of Tuscany, with no local control over its affairs.

1082 - 1086

Rainier II

1086 - 1093

Tuscany takes control of Spoleto once more, until Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV appoints his new ally as ruler of the duchy, Werner of Urslingen.

1093 - 1119

Werner II of Urslingen

Margrave of Ancona.

1119 - 1171

Tuscany again assumes direct control of Spoleto.

1172 - 1183

Ridelulf

1183 - 1190

Conrad of Urslingen

1190 - 1195

Pandulf II

1195 - 1198

Conrad of Urslingen

Restored.

1198 - 1222

Upon the death of Conrad of Urslingen, the papacy resumes control of Spoleto, this time for a longer period, under the powerful and influential Pope Innocent III.

1222 - 1228

Berthold or Rainald of Urslingen

Opinion is divided on which of these ruled.

1228 - 1860

Following the brief interruption of Berthold's rule (or that of Rainald of Urslingen, son of Conrad), Spoleto is drawn back within the Papal States, which retain it until the invasion of Italy by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his subsequent reorganisation of the Italian political make-up in 1808. France retains Spoleto until the final fall of the empire in 1815, at which time it is returned to the Papal States, but the creation of a single, united kingdom of Italy in 1860 sweeps away the Papal States themselves, and Spoleto becomes part of modern Italy.