Fight for the Investitures and Organization of the New Italian Forces Part IV
There was certainly a memory, kept awake by the diocese and the committee, of an ancient larger municipal territory, and a certain awareness of the city’s right over it. Now, this memory and this awareness, together with the new unitary interests created by the movement of so many lords and vassals from the countryside to the city, prompt the effort of the municipalities to dictate the law on the countryside. It was the countryside, formerly a unit of public law, reduced to fragments. milites or “cattani” or “lombardi”, etc., nestled in their castles: all, with tax and judicial exemptions; with toll, ripatico, market, etc. rights, with various jurisdictions. And now, more and more, also rural communities and communities of castles, those made only of peasants, these of castellani and peasants, distinctly organized but then forming units, both represented at the assembly of “neighbors” by their own consuls. New fact, also this municipal organization of the countryside. New and fundamentally spontaneous: although it too sprouts on ancient, Roman or pre-Roman, Christian and church, Germanic and feudal traditions and customs. The cities are now thrown into this fragmented peasant world, after the suburbs have been absorbed. Thus begins to reconstitute that ancient link between the urban center and the territory, that from the ninth to the eleventh century, with their progressive legal and social differentiation, had broken up. The cities, contracted within the walls in the barbaric period, took on a new impetus that brought them back to the limits of the ancient Roman province and made the whole countryside their own districtus . Hence also fights between cities or municipalities, as well as and after that between cities and lords.
This new political order of the cities also occurred while the kingdom, in the person of the kings and emperors of Franconia, made great efforts to sustain itself in the face of the popes and the centrifugal tendencies of the episcopate, made more vigorous by the reform. And it is known that, in those very agitated years, Henry IV, either who felt unsafe in the Po Valley or wanted to give more prestige to the kingdom, tried, after taking Rome, to establish a royal seat there too, with a central bank, administrators, care of churches and roads and bridges. After Greek Italy has been shattered, indeed just when part of it was beginning to recompose itself into a new unity, it was the turn of Lombard Italy, of Italy as a king. The forces of dissolution are now no longer the great feudal organisms, but the cities: which, as they undermine the kingdom’s foundations, so do the marches. The marches of Verona, that of Liguria, that of Ivrea, that of Turin dissolve; even more and first of all, that of Tuscany, where not only the powerful autonomy of cities such as Pisa and Lucca and then Florence and Siena contributed, but also the extinction of the Canossa family, at a time when it was no longer possible to replace to one house another. And it was, even while the question of investitures was always open, the beginning of new complications, due to the very rich Matildina inheritance, made up of allodial and feudal goods, scattered from the Mincio to the Ombrone, claimed both by the emperor, as emperor and a relative of the Canossa family, as well as of the popes, by virtue of another of those donations of uncertain genuineness and extent that were filling the archives of the Holy See.
According to RRRJEWELRY, the course of things therefore turned very differently for the north and center of Italy and for the South. There were really a few decades in which even in the South, the old political forces disappeared – Greek dominion and Lombard principalities -, the new strength of the Normans, the cities, which were equally on the rise there, and the feudatars, which had formed a little, were still unsteady. due to the spontaneous evolution of the indigenous landed possession, partly due to Norman influence, they held the field with a certain energy and endangered the ducal power. Some encouragement also came to them from Rome, despite the feudal dependence of the Normans on the Holy See. Indeed, with Honorius II (1124-30), the papacy, which now felt safer on the northern side, seemed to go back to the times of Leo IX. The young Duke William II died in 1127, last direct descendant of Roberto. The succession was uncertain; the rights of Count Ruggiero di Sicilia, son of the first Ruggiero conqueror of the island, are not clear; cities and barons in turmoil. On this fire, Honorius blew. Could the Norman building collapse? That the south should take the face of the north, be it also a municipal Italy and a feudal Italy? This was not; and perhaps it could not be, for reasons intrinsic to the life of the South. But it was not, and this is certain, because the Norman princes diverted the history of the South even more from that road on which all Italian life, with greater or lesser decision, was taking with the 10th and 11th centuries. Here is Ruggiero conqueror of Sicily. Here, with its main role, Sicily. It, taken from the infidels by force, it was truly in the full dominion of the Normans, it constituted its solid base. So, when the south of Italy is disputed between cities, lords, and the pope, Ruggiero can undertake a series of campaigns to collect the inheritance of the joint dead. This was a tough undertaking for Ruggiero. He asks the pope for the investiture but is excommunicated. Indeed, the pope took some of those cities (Otranto) as his protection. It is now clear this papal policy in favor of southern city autonomies, destined to culminate during the struggles against Frederick II: which was then political against any strong central power. Faced with the state, the church, as it claimed its “freedoms”, so too exalted the “municipal and freedoms.” This policy was effective in some countries, such as England, in helping the birth of parliaments and the constitutional regime; in others, as in the south, it had it in making the life of the kingdom restless and unsteady, without preventing the kingdom from being constituted. Because Ruggiero, after the first failures, supplied himself with weapons and men in Sicily, triumphed. With the agreements concluded on 22 August 1128, Ruggiero also obtained from Honorius the investiture of the Duchy of Puglia and Calabria. After that, the cities and lords gave way. And in September 1129, the general curia in Melfi.