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In 800 Charlemagne returned to Rome to restore Pope Leo III (795-816) who had been driven out by a popular riot. On Christmas Day he was crowned emperor in St. Peter’s. The Holy Roman Empire, with its claim to be the heir of the Empire of Augustus, started its long history, but the paradox created by the fact that the Franks had encouraged the popes to have similar claims was to provide the central core of the battle between temporal and religious power. THE EMPIRE AND THE PAPACY (800 - 1216 AD) Charlemagne did not become the ruler of Italy. After his death his empire broke up and his heirs never succeeded in integrating Italy with the empire The Arabs were already in Sicily in 831, when they took Palermo, Syracuse fell in 878. They brought cotton, sugar cane, orange and lemon plants. Taxes were low






Palermo became an important trading post and a center of a rich, cosmopolitan civilization. Mosques were built while the Arabic style of architecture was visible throughout the city and still remains today to mark that period of sicilian civilization Moslems and Christian lived in peace The Holy Roman Empire gradually lost significance in Italy. The local agents of central government were disappearing, as was the sense of loyalty to the king/emperor felt by his emissaries (counts and bishops) The end of royal power in Italy is symbolized by the burning of the royal palace in Pavia, in 1024


The south had always maintained a certain degree of independence: Naples was an independent city already in the ninth century The maritime city of Amalfi, and its sisters Gaeta and Naples, became major trading republics in the Western Mediterranean They traded with the Eastern Mediterranean, and had Jewish minorities. Salerno (XI) was famous for its medical school. The decline of the maritime states of Southern Italy coincided with the invasion of the Normans. Genoa and Pisa, maritime republics in the Northern and Central part of Italy, had also became too strong.




First arrived as mercenaries in Souther Italy (XI), the Normans had fought indiscriminately for the Lombards against the Byzantines and for the Byzantines against the Arabs. The Normans were Christians and would never ally themselves with the Moslems. They settled in Sicily after 1030. Robert the Guiscard was their most successful knight, who became the Duke of Puglia and Calabria and defeated the army of Alexius Comnenus (Byzantine Emperor) at Durazzo, in 1081. Guiscard took his title as a vassal to the pope, enabling the Papacy to claim sovereignity over Southern Italy


The Normans displayed a strange mixture of Realpolitik and religious piety. When Popo Leo IX resisted their aggressions in Southern Italy, they made war on him, and defeated him at Civitate in 1053. They then accepted the papal blessing devoutly, and released him. They were thus perfectly suited to become the spear-head of the reform movement initiated by Hildebrand (1020-85), who became Pope Gregory VII Gregory VII believed that the pope and the priesthood had to assert their authority - the pope by appointing his bishops, and the priests by observing rules of celibacy. The great medieval confrontation known as the “Investiture Contest,” the dispute over the investiture of the bishops, became a struggle for power between church and state.


In Germany a strong man, Emperor Henry IV, asserted his powers over the church by investing the Archbishop of Milan. The Pope excommunicated him. In turn, Henry deposed the pope. Later, and under pressure from the Saxon nobility, Henry, waited in the clothes of a penitent for three days in the snow outside of the castle of Canossa, near Reggio Emilia, where the Pope was living under the protection of Matilda of Tuscany, his powerful ally. Henry subsequently invaded Italy, and in 1084 entered Rome, was crowned emperor by the antipope, Clement III. Gregory’s supporters, the Normans, retaliated by sacking Rome. Only after both Henry’s and Gregory’s deaths, Henry V conceded most of the papal claims on the investiture question


Frederick Barbarossa inaugurated something approaching the “Italian spirit”. He invaded Italy in 1154, two years after his election as emperor. In 1162 Frederick destroyed Milan, act which led to the formation of the Lombard League of Italian states (supported by the pope and the Republic of Venice). He entered Rome in 1166, while Pope Alexander III took refuge in the Colosseum. In 1176 he was defeated by the forces of the Lombard league in Legnano By the Peace of Constance, Frederick recognized the full authority of the cities of the Lombard League under his nominal suzerainty. A period of independence started for the Italian peninsula




VENICE AND ITS EMPIRE c. 600-1300 There is strong evidence of a first Venetian settlement in 568, organized by refugees from the Lombard invasion. The settlers accepted the soveregnty of the Eastern Emperor, but in the eighth century took part in a revolt against Emperor Leo III (717-41). Leo had ordered all religious icons to be destroyed. Pope Gregory II rejected the order and so did the peoples from Byzantine Italy, including the Venetians. The revolt prompted the Venetians to elect a DUX, duke or DOGE: Orso Ipato . (first DOGE recorded is Paoluccio Anafesto) By the time Charlemagne was emperor, Venice was undeniably an independent republic. She maintained cultural and economic limks with Constantinople. Doge Agnello repulsed the Franks who had attempted to place Venice under their dominion. He also supervised the move from the original settlement location of Malamocco to the Rialtine islands.


About 828 a Venetian merchant ship arrived from Egypt with what was said to be the remains of St. Mark. Agnello’s son, Giustiniano, realized the importance of the saint’s remains. The body was buried in the doge’s chapel, where the church of St. Mark’s was built (1063-93). The winged lion, symbol of the evangelist, will become the symbol of the Serenissima Pietro Orseolo II was one of Venice’ most successful diplomats. He finalized a deal with the Emperor Basil II by which Constantinople agreed to the import of Venetian goods with much lower tariffs than those demanded of other traders. For this favor Orseolo agreed to provide ships for the transportation of Byzantine troops when the emperor required it When Otto III arrived in Italy in 996, Orseolo reached an agreement by which Venice secured trading rights on the Italian mainland. The control of the Mediterranean was secured


Saint Mark’s Basilica. The third and surviving church of St. Mark was begun in 1063 by Doge Domenico Contarini. It was consacrated in 1094 under Doge Vitale Falier. With its cupolas and mosaics, it is a superb example of Byzantine art. In the façade there are evident Gothic elements, added by Lombard and Florentine artists in XIII THE CRUSADES In the first crusade, which moved primarily from France and Germany, the Venetians controlled the sea route to the Holy Lands, and Italian ships transported some of the armies Venice was reluctant to antagonize the Moslems - whether Arabs or Turks. Only after the French had occupied Jerusalem in 1097 did a large Venetian fleet set sail. In the event the Venetian clashed not with the infidel but against their commercial rivals, the Pisans.


1124 Conquest of Tyre from the Arabs. Venice has the nucleus for her overseas empire Accident in Costantinople. The Galata settlement (Genoese) was attacked and the Venetians were blamed , maybe unjustly, and imprisoned, their goods confiscated. Venice found this unacceptable and sought retaliation In 1201 Enrico Dandolo agreed to provide 55 galley-ships and a large army for the IV crusade. The entire cost of the fleet could not be paid to the Venetians, this debt constituted a barganing chip to be used to reach Dandolo’s own aim. The fleet reached Costantinople in 1203, and the Venetians conquered it and sacked it. The sack brought immense wealth and empire to the city of Venice


The Venetian Constitution had become more sophisticated over the years. The powers of the DOGE had been modified in 1172/3 by the creation of the MAGGIOR CONSIGLIO, an assembly of 480 Venetians, who were responsible for electing ministers to serve under the doge. The Doge was now elected not by the ARENGO, but by eleven electors (nominated by the Great Council) In 1297 the Great Council was limited to a close circle of the nobility and an oligarchy was thus created

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