Lordships of Southern Italy

Rural Societies, Aristocratic Powers and Monarchy in the 12th and 13th Centuries

Sandro Carocci
Translated by Lucinda Byatt
Collana: Viella History, Art and Humanities Collection, 5
Pubblicazione: Giugno 2018
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pp. 622, 15,5x23 cm, hardback
ISBN: 9788867287734
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What was the real nature of medieval lordship in southern Italy? What can this region and its history bring to the great European debates on feudalism and aristocratic powers, their structures and evolution, and their social and economic impact? What contribution can the Kingdom of Sicily make to studies of the relationships between sovereigns, nobilities and peasant societies? And can the study of seigneurial powers and rural societies reshape the old arguments regarding the economic backwardness of the Mezzogiorno (the South of Italy) and the central role of its monarchy?

This book offers the first systematic analysis of lordship in southern Italy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, under the Norman, Staufen and early Angevin kings. It offers new interpretations of the powers of the nobility, and of rural societies and royal policy. It reveals the complexity of interactions between the king, nobles and peasants, and how they occurred and were expressed through laws and violence, feudal relations and economic investments, debates on freedom and serfdom, and the exploitation of people and natural resources. In these interactions a leading role is played by peasant societies – with previously unsuspected levels of dynamism – to set against that of the kings, who were determined to curb aristocratic powers, and of the nobles who were obliged to adapt their lordship in response to powerful rural societies and crown policies. What emerges is a hitherto unseen Mezzogiorno, vital and complex, whose study allows a deeper understanding not only of the affairs of the South but of many other regions of Europe.

  • Foreword to the English Edition
  • 1. Introduction
    • 1. The paradox of the southern Italian lordship
    • 2. The myth of the monarchy
    • 3. Negative imagery: baronage and villeinage
    • 4. The obsession with backwardness
    • 5. Dualism
    • 6. Studies of southern Italy: feudalism and aristocracies
    • 7. Studies of southern Italy: monasteries, villeins, recent developments
    • 8. Problems of method and chronology
    • 9. Framing the problem
  • 2. Before the Normans
    • 1. Political geography
    • 2. Lombard uncertainties
    • 3. Montecassino, S. Vincenzo al Volturno and incastellamento studies
    • 4. Towards a more complex geography
  • 3. The Normans: Change and Continuity
    • 1. The age of Robert Guiscard
    • 2. Plunder and lordship
    • 3. Dominatores castri
    • 4. Uncertain evidence
    • 5. The fears of subordinates
    • 6. Rights of conquest and the costs of protection
    • 7. Continuity and change
    • 8. Continuity through change
    • 9. Regional and chronological differences: Sicily
    • 10. Regional and chronological differences: the mainland regions
    • 11. Settlement questions
    • 12. The marginality of the ecclesiastical lordship
    • 13. The extent of change
  • 4. Monarchy and Feudalism
    • 1. The royal administration
    • 2. The monarchical revolution
    • 3. Feudal and non-feudal relations
    • 4. Feudal revisions
    • 5. Was Roger II a feudal king?
    • 6. A few clarifications
    • 7. The Catalogus baronum
    • 8. A feudal project 

    • 9. Selection and registration
    • 10. Regalia and demesne
    • Appendix. Patrimonia and villani
  • 5. King and Lords
    • 1. Seigneurial pacts and languages of legitimation
    • 2. Mores, usus and consuetudines
    • 3. Royal controls during the Norman era: aristocratic marriages
    • 4. Royal controls in the Norman era: successions
    • 5. Hereditary practices
    • 6. Royal controls under the Normans: alienations, confiscations, assignments
    • 7. Lordship under control: legislation
    • 8. Lordship under control: a multiplicity of interventions
    • 9. Seigneurial justice and royal courts
    • 10. Collapse and recovery of royal power
    • 11. Staufen power
    • 12. From the Staufens to the Angevins
    • 13. Angevin continuities
    • 14. Angevin innovations
    • 15. Comparisons
    • 16. Invocatio nominis imperatoris
    • 17. Lordship and monarchy
    • Appendix. Demesne geography
  • 6. Nobility and Pre-eminence
    • 1. The militarization of pre-eminence and ethnic distinctions
    • 2. Corrections
    • 3. The vocabulary of pre-eminence during the Norman period (royal and notarial documentation)
    • 4. A brief look at twelfth-century chronicles
    • 5. Counts, barons and knights in the Norman period
    • 6. The material bases for knightly pre-eminence in the twelfth century
    • 7. Knights and nobles in the thirteenth century
    • Appendix. Feudal mathematics: the feudum militis
  • 7. Clientele and Submission
    • 1. Pontecorvo
    • 2. Montecalvo
    • 3. Milites and lords
    • 4. Domini of Sorrento
    • 5. The lordships of local notables
    • 6. Ecclesiarum homines
    • 7. The ius affidandi in Apulia
    • 8. Foreigners and recommendati
    • 9. The obligations of affidati and recommendati
    • 10. Kings and clienteles
    • 11. Questions of detail
    • 12. For whom the bell tolls
    • 13. In search of the origins of dependence
    • 14. Other causes
    • 15. How exceptional and representative was the Mezzogiorno?
  • 8. Villeins and Serfs
    • 1. The topic
    • 2. Problems of approach
    • 3. Slaves?
    • 4. Servile burdens
    • 5. Hereditary dependencies
    • 6. Liberty as a (partial) exemption: liberi and franci
    • 7. Terms and classifications
    • 8. The revocati
    • 9. Legislating on dependence
    • 10. The angararii
    • 11. Evolving forms of dependence
  • 9. Seigneurial Justices
    • 1. Lords who lose
    • 2. The justiciars
    • 3. A plurality of courts: churches and monasteries
    • 4. A plurality of courts: milites, iudices, notables
    • 5. The localism of curie and judges
    • 6. Justice by assembly
    • 7. Local societies, seigneurial justice, royal power
    • 8. Before the monarchy
    • 9. Staufen and Angevin developments
  • 10. Worlds of Exaction
    • 1. Parameters
    • 2. An unknown reality
    • 3. Common land (demani) in the early modern period
    • 4. Ius laborandi, colendi et seminandi
    • 5. Medieval clues
    • 6. Establishing the origins of common lands
    • 7. Aspects of an agrarian system
    • 8. Sicilian casali
    • 9. Uniformity and differentiation: privileged groups and others
    • 10. The multiple facets of exaction
    • 11. Angevin inquests
    • 12. Jurisdictional incomes
    • 13. Other jurisdictional revenues: pasture and banal rights
    • 14. Adiutoria and terraticum
    • 15. Conclusions
  • 11. Economy, Lordship, the Rural World
    • 1. Labour service and symbolic representations
    • 2. The number of corvées
    • 3. The geography and chronology of forced labour
    • 4. An evaluation of forced labour
    • 5. Regional differences
    • 6. Land exactions, personal exactions
    • 7. Was exaction territorial?
    • 8. Types of lordship and forms of exaction
    • 9. Lordship and production
    • 10. Forms of management
    • 11. Lordships with limited pervasiveness
    • 12. Resources for the local elite
  • 12. Rural Societies and Aristocratic Lordship
    • 1. The context
    • 2. Seigneurial classifications and the peasant world
    • 3. Factors of social stratification
    • 4. Notables and local societies
    • 5. Knights and notables
    • 6. Rural autonomy and patronage
    • 7. Polarizations and contrasts
    • 8. Eboli 1128
    • 9. Political action and community in the pre-monarchical age
    • 10. Institutional weakness
    • 11. Political action, rural communities and royal power in the Norman–Staufen period
    • 12. Political action, rural communities and royal power in the Angevin period
    • 13. Eboli as an example
  • 13. Conclusions
    • 1. Otherness and representativeness
    • 2. Seigneurial peculiarities
    • 3. King and lords
    • 4. Barons and notables
    • 5. L’Aquila
    • 6. Cities and the countryside
    • 7. The lordships of the Mezzogiorno: becoming “normal”
    • Bibliography
    • Index

First published in Italian as Signorie di Mezzogiorno. Società rurali, poteri aristocratici e monarchia (XII-XIII secolo), Rome 2014

Sandro Carocci

Sandro Carocci insegna Storia medievale presso l’Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”. Tra le sue pubblicazioni: Baroni di Roma. Dominazioni signorili e lignaggi aristocratici nel Duecento e nel primo Trecento (Roma 1993). Ha progettato e curato i volumi relativi al medioevo della Storia d’Europa e del Mediterraneo (Roma 2006-2007).
e-mail: carocci@lettere.uniroma2.it

Sandro Carocci is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. He has published, among other works, Baroni di Roma. Dominazioni signorili e lignaggi aristocratici nel Duecento e nel primo Trecento (ISIME, 1993), Il nepotismo nel medioevo. Papi, cardinali e famiglie nobili (Viella, 1996). With Isabella Lazzarini he has co-edited Social Mobility in Medieval Italy (1100-1500) (Viella, 2018).

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