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European Kingdoms

Italian Peninsula


Giudici of Gallura (Sardinia)
AD c.1070 - 1288

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, Gallura, and Logudoro, and their administration became increasingly independent during the ninth century. Gallura occupied a slice of the island covering the north-eastern corner, being neighboured to the west by Logudoro and to the south by Cagliari. All details about the giudici until the beginning of the twelfth century are hotly disputed by scholars.

(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).)

c.1020 - c.1040


The earliest-known giudice of Gallura. Client of Pisa?


Manfred is the earliest-known of the giudici of Gallura, although they have presumably been in office since about 697, and independent since the mid-ninth century. Gallura follows Arborea in emerging from historical obscurity by just a few short years. These earliest historical giudice of Gallura may be clients of the republic of Pisa, which is very powerful at this time.

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

c.1040 - c.1065


Defeated by Arborea and imprisoned. Client of Pisa?


The earliest-known giudice of Cagliari emerges into history, approximately a generation after Arborea. They have presumably been in office since about 697, and independent of the Eastern Roman empire since the mid-ninth century.


Gallura's early historical phase is less clear than with Arborea or Cagliari. Manfred and Baldo are very briefly mentioned, and Baldo's end is at the hands of Arborea. His replacement is uncertain, either being Constantine I or Saltero. However, Saltero (or at least 'a' Saltero), could also precede Manfred. Constantine is thought to be a member of the Gherardeschi family of Pisa, and therefore a Pisan ruler by default.

c.1065 - c.1080

Constantine I

Client of Pisa?


Constantine is a supporter of Pisa's influence in Sardinia which, as part of the Gregorian Reforms and the introduction of Western monasticism, is also being welcomed in Cagliari.



Can alternatively be placed before Manfred. Died without heir.


While the earlier rulers of Gallura are hazy figures in historical terms, the next one, Torchitorio, is much more solid. He is responsible for building a new church in his capital at Civita (modern Olbia), which is consecrated as St Simplicius, and also supports the Western monasticism being introduced into the island.

c.1080 - c.1100

Torchitorio de Zori


Torchitorio's friendship with the church comes to an end, possibly as a result of his support of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. The German emperor and the Pope are strongly contesting for supremacy in Italy, and Torchitorio's excommunication is part of the fall-out, thanks to Dagobert, archbishop of Pisa. His successor, Ittocorre, renews Gallura's loyalty to Pisa.



Son. Usurped, possibly before even taking power.

c.1100 - 1116

Ittocorre / Ottocore de Gunale

Possibly the brother of Padulesa, wife of Torchitorio.


After holding the office of giudice, Ittocorre appears on a subsequent charter with the rank of donnu, the next most senior subsidiary office, suggesting that he has either abdicated his post or that he held it for a pre-agreed term and has now relinquished it.

The bay of Arborea on Sardinia
The island of Sardinia has always been a mixture of paradise-like beaches and tough mountainous inland country, and the living can be poor and hardy

1116 - c.1133

Constantine II

c.1133 - 1146

Comita Spanu


1130 - 1133

Together with Constantine of Arborea and Gonario II of Logudoro, Comita swears fealty to the archbishop of Pisa. Three years later Pope Innocent II divides Sardinia between the two sees of Genoa (newly created) and Pisa. Naturally this creates a further excuse for warfare between the two great rivals, but on the island, only Comita of Gallura supports the Genoese.

1146 - c.1170

Constantine III

Son of Ittocorre? Abdicated to become a monk.

c.1170 - 1203

Barisone II

Son. Mother was Elena de Lacon, dau of Comita III of Arborea.


Before his death, Barisone III 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. Elena eventually selects Lambert Visconti as her husband, whose family are already powerful in Pisa and who are shortly to become very powerful in Milan.

1203 - 1218



1207 - 1225

Lambert Visconti

Husband and co-ruler. A Pisan who dominated Elena. Died.


Elena's death has left her husband, Lambert Visconti, in control of Gallura. Now he is able to marry Benedetta of Cagliari and dominate there too, making him one of the most powerful men on Sardinia.

1225 - 1238

Ubaldo II Visconti

Son. Numbering started by his uncle in Cagliari.


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


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


Ubaldo extends his power over Sardinia still further following his marriage to Adelasia, daughter of Barisone III of Logudoro. When her father dies, she inherits his office and Ubaldo is perfectly placed to dominate both her and Logudoro.

Basilica of San Simplicio
The Basilica of San Simplicio was built in the very late eleventh century by Torchitorio de Zori, in his capital city of Olbia (both its Roman and modern name, while in the Middle Ages it was known as Civita)


Ubaldo's will specifies that his cousin, John (son of Ubaldo I of Cagliari), is to be his successor. Although this occurs, John is nothing more that a titular giudice. The true power is seized and held by Enzo of Logudoro, the second husband of Ubaldo's widow, Adelasia, although perhaps only briefly before John asserts himself.

1238 - 1275

John Visconti

Cousin. Titular giudice under Enzo of Logudoro (briefly?).


William of Cagliari has been following his predecessor's policy of favouring Genoa over Pisa. Pisa's allies in the region now invade. The Gherardeschi of Pisa, William of Capraia, regent of Arborea, and John Visconti conquer Castro Castle and destroy Santa Igia. William is deposed and Cagliari is permanently divided between the victors.

1275 - 1298

Ugolino 'Nino' Visconti

Son. Deposed in 1288 but remained titular giudice.

1288 - 1298

Spending much of his time in Pisa, Nino Visconti begins a power-sharing arrangement with his uncle who lives in the same city, Ugolino della Gherardesca. The pair fall out and the senior Ugolino attempts to have Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini expel Nino. Instead they are both expelled, and a Pisan army is sent to take control of Gallura, making sure Nino is never again able to return there.

1298 - 1308

Joanna Visconti

Daughter. Titular giudice only. Died 1339.

1298 - 1308

With the death of Nino Visconti, his daughter Joanna inherits the title. Despite attempts to assert her rights to control Gallura, she is unsuccessful, and she eventually sells her title to her relatives, the Visconti family of Milan (presumably in 1308). They later sell them on to Aragon, which is eventually able to conquer the entire island. Arborea is now the only remaining giudice on Sardinia.

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