Fight for the Investitures and Organization of the New Italian Forces Part II
However, a dense interweaving of various events, singular chronological coincidences, which make the investiture struggle, the definitive conquest of the south by the Normans, the rapid emergence of city autonomies, almost a single story. In 1075, the year of the synodal prohibition on the laity to make investitures, the year of the threat of excommunication against Henry IV, Amalfi, to escape Gisulfo di Salerno who was besieging it, is given to Guiscardo. Not long ago Guiscardo, reconciled with the Normans of Capua, aided by Neapolitan and Amalfi ships, morally supported by the King of Germany, besieged Salerno (May ’76) and first forced the city to surrender, then the fortress, where Gisulfo II took he is a refugee. Another Lombard principality that falls, after a few decades of ephemeral light that was sunset, after bitter resistance in which the population also participated. In the same year 1076, papal excommunication of Henry and, during the winter, Canossa. Fortunes of Guiscardo and humiliations of the empire proceed together, even if, at that moment, a certain solidarity tightens them in front of Pope Gregory. But there is no doubt that the Norman benefited from this turning of the pope to the things of the North. In November 1077, Landolfo VI of Benevento dies without children. And immediately the Guiscardo is under Benevento. The resistance is admirable. Gregory VII then promoted an anti-Norman league, which had some initial success, also because Guiscardo had to attend to the affairs of Calabria. But his vassals continued to corrode the territory of Benevento. Until, in 1080, a new break between the pope and the emperor and a new excommunication; insurrection of the German bishops against Gregory for the sake of independence; council of Brescia with the presence of the king and excommunication and deposition of Gregory and election of the antipope Giberto archbishop of Ravenna. And then Gregory VII and the Norman lord reconciled and allied themselves with the treaty of Ceprano, for which he renewed the previous commitments towards the Church, he recognized the lands he already had and the Benevento principality to Guiscard, keeping the city for himself. End of southern Longobardia.
According to PICKTRUE, another blow to what was left of Lombard in law, in customs, in traditions, in the strength of certain social groups: although in the south these elements of Lombard life still had a great deal of resistance. In the same years the conquest of Sicily took place; 1091, the last bastion, Noto fell. By now the island is safe possession in the hands of Ruggiero and his descendants: perhaps more than Puglia and Calabria, in the hands of Guiscardo and his descendants. Land of infidels, Sicily had also been a land of conquest, in the true sense of the word. You didn’t have to reckon or compromise with anyone. Religion was a powerful weapon, in support of other weapons, in the hands of the conquerors. Where in the mainland, the Normans had had and still had to do with the ancient comrades who became powerful counts and feudatories; they were not sure either of the Byzantines, who still had some roots in the south, or of the popes, swaying between solidarity and conflict; nor of the cities themselves, Lombard, Apulian, Calabrian, Campania, directly dependent on Guiscardo or granted to others. They have all sworn obedience and fidelity; but they all have, also, their degree of autonomy, which the lord has, for his part, sworn: they are bound to him, he to them. In these early times, every moment, a tug: and the cities break the halter. In 1073 Trani, in 1079 Bari, in 1083 Troy and Canne: all reassigned. The longed-for expulsion of the Byzantines isolated them from the new lord. Roberto died in 1085, other insurrections of cities and local lords: almost a principle of dissolution of the Duchy of Puglia. Faced with a local situation like this, it happens that the Holy See is often tempted to side with the rebels: as it will do later. But the general situation advised it, after the peace of 1080, to maintain good relations with the Normans. They were the strongest force in the south. They were, on the scene of the South, the protagonists. And this allowed the Normans to play their game freely, to look after the affairs of the south, and at the same time give help to the popes, in their own interest as well as against Henry IV and Henry V and against their antipopes. Nor was it free aid. Pasquale II invested Norman William, son of Roberto, from Puglia, Calabria, Sicily. Callisto II confirmed. It was also of great benefit to the Normans that the empire was so seriously involved with its Germans, with the Pope, with the Italian cities. The imperial interventions in the south came to an end, after Henry III. The empire of the East was disappearing from the south, and, for over a century, that of the West.
Instead this same situation was, in the north and in the center, favorable to the cities. Here, they are the protagonists or, at least, important supporting actors: as in Tuscia. The struggle for the investitures found them part in the dispute, and they entered the heart of the struggle, they too were, and often more than others, the reform party or the imperial party, and today one tomorrow the other party. The cities saw their bishops now struck by the pope, now by the emperor, which meant tearing ties between bishops and cities, a stimulus and opportunity for citizens to go on their own.