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European Kingdoms

Italian Peninsula


Giudici of Cagliari (Sardinia)
AD c.1060 - 1258

Records of Sardinian history are vague during the preceding Eastern Roman period. Imperial control was already weakening in the eighth century, but the loss of Sicily in 827 seems to have cut Sardinia adrift from central control altogether. The imperial legates evolved into independent governors, with the title 'legate' being replaced by princepes ('princes') in the late ninth century and the less grand 'judges' in the tenth century. In its Latin form, 'iudices' was pronounced in the Sardinian dialect as 'giudici', and the position was essentially the same as that of a petty king.

The system of legates governing the island seems to have been established as a direct result of the Byzantine loss of Carthage in 697. Constantinople was determined not to allow one man to control an entire province in the way that the fairly hapless Gregory the Patrician had with Carthage. Four legates were established, at Arborea, Cagliari (also known as Cagliaritano or Pluminos), Gallura, and Logudoro, and their administration became increasingly independent during the ninth century. Cagliari, one of the largest and strongest, consisted approximately of the southern third of the island, being neighboured to the north-west by Arborea, and to the north-east by Logudoro and Gallura. All details about the giudici until the beginning of the twelfth century are hotly disputed by scholars.

A fifth giudicato briefly existed on the east of the island. Named Agugliastra, it was a small territory squeezed between Gallura and Cagliari, with a capital at Ogliastra. It seems to have existed in the tenth century, a period in which no records survive from Sardinia, and may have persisted into the eleventh century before being absorbed into Cagliari. Today it forms the modern province of Ogliastra.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from Byzantine Sardinia between West and East - Features of a Regional Culture, Salvatore Cosentino (via Academia.edu), from Overview of Sardinia History (500-1500), Laura Galoppini, and A Revision of Sardinian History between the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries, Corrado Zedda (both from A Companion to Sardinian History, 500-1500, Michalle Hobart (Ed), Leiden: Brill, 2017), and from La storia di Sardegna, F C Casula (Sassari, 1994, in Italian).)

1015 - 1016

Mujahid al-Muwaffaq

Islamic conqueror of areas of southern Sardinia. 'King of Denia'.


Gonario of Torres is the earliest-known of the giudici of Arborea, emerging at a time when an Islamic invasion of southern sections of the Island takes place. It is possible that Cagliari is conquered briefly by this invasion, but little detail is known.

Map of Sardinia AD 1000
This map shows the approximate boundaries of each of the four giudicati of Sardinia at the time at which they first appeared into history, circa AD 1000

? - 1058

Salusio I / Marianus I

Earliest-known giudice of Cagliari.


Salusio is the earliest-known of the giudici of Cagliari, approximately a generation after Arborea's giudici emerge from historical obscurity. They have presumably been in office since about 697, and independent of the Eastern Roman empire since the mid-ninth century. Cagliari often vies for supremacy on Sardinia, and is regularly allied to Pisa. Salusio's real name is Marianus, but he belongs to the clan of Salusio de Lacon so in honour of that he (and most of his successors) adopts the name of the clan when he gains power.

1058 - 1089

Torchitorio I / Orzocorre


Orzocorre belongs to the second major clan of Cagliari, the Torchitorio de Ugunale, so in honour of that he (and most of his successors) adopts the name of the clan. The two clans alternate in holding office. It seems that the names of the giudici of Cagliari may only become known from this mid-eleventh century period due to the influence of Pisa, the Gregorian Reforms, and the introduction of Western monasticism. It is Orzocorre who supports the newly-arrived monks of Monte Cassino in Benevento, and with them comes improvements to Sardinia's economic life.

1089 - 1102

Salusio II / Constantine I

Son. Took 'Salusio' name to unite the clans.


With the death of Salusio, his brother Torbeno may lay claim to his office, and may even rule the giudicato for a very short period. He is son ousted by the rightful ruler, his own nephew, Marianus II, with help from Pisa. The two bury their differences and Torbeno is associated with the ruling office until the death of Marianus.



Brother. Possible giudice for a brief period. Died after 1130.

1102 - 1130

Torchitorio II / Marianus II


1130 - 1163

Salusio III / Constantine II


1163 - 1188

Torchitorio III / Peter

Son of Gonario II of Logudoro. Deposed and arrested.

1163 - 1164

Barisone II of Arborea claims Cagliari as his own, probably through his mother, Elena de Orrubu, who would seem to be Constantine's daughter. He seizes Cagliari from Constantine's son-in-law and successor, Peter, and holds onto it for about a year. In 1164, Peter and the giudice of Logudoro unite with the Pisans (their traditional allies) to recapture Cagliari and then invade Arborea, and Barisone is forced to seek refuge in Cabras Castle.

A coin of Pisa's republic
Two sides of a silver coin issued by the republic of Pisa bearing the name of Frederick Barbarossa, Holy Roman emperor, struck between the mid-twelfth century and the early fourteenth


Further warfare between the Pisans and Genoans on Sardinia and their Sardinian allies results in the Pisans encouraging Obert, margrave of Massa to invade Cagliari on behalf of Pisa. This he does, aided by his son, William, and it is the latter who becomes giudice upon Peter's arrest and imprisonment.

1188 - 1214

Salusio IV / William I

Son of Obert, margrave of Massa.


The two claimants to Arborea, Peter and Hugh, agree the Treaty of Oristano, and Arborea is divided in two for each of them to rule for the remainder of their lives. Peter's supporter and early protector, William I of Cagliari, subsequently invades Arborea several times, grabbing territory and generally disrupting the rule of both Peter and Hugh.


Before his death, Barisone III of Gallura had secured his daughter's right to succeed him by commending his office to Pope Innocent III. Once she becomes giudice, Elena is the subject of offers of marriage and considerable disruption is caused on Sardinia as the various powers involved jockey for position. However, the pope is true to his duty and issues several reprimands to giudici, especially William I of Cagliari and Comita III of Logudoro.


Peter I of Arborea dies a prisoner in Pisa, having been captured by William I in 1198 after being forced to flee his domain to seek refuge with Hugh. Peter's son, Barisone III inherits his half of Arborea, and actually gets to rule it once he is freed from his own imprisonment to marry William's heiress, Benedetta.

1214 - 1232


Daughter. Married four times, with each husband dominating.

1214 - 1217

Torchitorio IV / Barisone III

Co-ruler. Also giudice in Arborea.


Torchitorio's death leaves Benedetta in a less-than-secure position. She quickly falls under the domination of Pisa and a sequence of nominal 'co-rulers', although in fact they are the dominant authority in Cagliari. Benedetta even marries three of them, but it is both Ubaldos of the Italian House of Visconti which is soon to dominate Milan that really rule Cagliari during their lifetimes.

1217 - 1230

Ubaldo I Visconti



The death of Elena of Gallura has left her husband, Lambert Visconti, in control of the giudicato. Now he marries Benedetta and dominates here too, making him one of the most powerful men on Sardinia.

1220 - 1225

Lamberto Visconti

Husband of Benedetta and co-ruler.

1227 - 1229

Henry of Capraia

Husband of Benedetta and co-ruler.


With the death of Ubaldo I, his nephew, Ubaldo II of Gallura, invades, ensuring the continued dominance of the Pisan Visconti there while Benedetta remains the titular ruler of the giudicato.

1230 - 1232

Ubaldo II Visconti

Co-ruler. Giudice of Gallura.

1230 - 1232

Rinaldo Glandi

Husband of Benedetta and co-ruler.


Upon the death of Benedetta, her infant son William inherits her title, but not her power. Cagliari is partitioned between Arborea, Gallura, the Gherardeschi family of Pisa, and Pisa itself, and William is giudice in name only.

Sardinia's red porphyry rocks
Cagliari's Tyrrhenian coastline included the modern region of Ogliastra, which contains the unique red porphyry rocks

1232 - 1250

Salusio V / William II

Son of Benedetta. Only months old at accession. Died 1254.

1232 - 1250?


Sister of Benedetta and regent.

1232 - 1250?

Marianus of Torres

Husband and co-regent.

1250 - 1256

Torchitorio V / John

Probable son of William II. Titular giudice only.


Despite ruling in name only at his accession, John begins to assert himself. He reclaims the royal palace and approaches Genoa in an attempt to cut down on the interference by Pisa. On 20 April 1256 he signs a pact with Genoa which, it emerges, effectively signs over Cagliari to them. John is killed in battle in the same year, and his cousin succeeds him, as per his will.

1256 - 1258

Salusio VI / William III

Cousin. Deposed.


William has been following his predecessor's policy of favouring Genoa over Pisa. In 1258, Pisa uses its influence on its allies in the region to get them to invade Cagliari. The Gherardeschi of Pisa, William of Capraia, regent of Arborea, and John Visconti, giudice of Gallura, conquer Castro Castle and destroy Santa Igia. William is deposed and Cagliari is permanently divided between the victors.

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