Synopsis of Chapter IV: From 476 AD to the Norman domination
Categories of Articles
The Pragmatic Sanction
The Dukedom of Teate
The Longobard invasion
The new administrative organization: Aprutium
Longobard place names
Politically, the Franks took the power after Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus) defeated the last Longobard king, Desiderius, at the battle of Susa, near Pazia, in 773 AD. The Dukedom of Spoleto soon accepted the new monarch, while the Dukedom of Benevento made war to the Franks. Charlemagne's son Pipinus was able to conquer Teate, so that the whole Abruzzo region came under the Franks.
With the Franks the feudal system was widely established, and soon great families emerged in Abruzzo, fisrt among them the Marsian counts, with their center in Celano, who claimed they descended directly from Bernardo I, king of Italy. The first Marsian counts were Berengarius and Adalbert, and their descendants Oderisius, Teodinus, Rainaldus, Trasmondus ruled over Abruzzo until 1143.
Meanwhile the crisis between Pope and Emperor came to a crucial strait, when Pope Gregory VII excommunicated emperor Henry IV. The Normans took advantage of the crisis and Robert of Loritello invaded the countdom of Teate, taking Trasmondo himself as prisoner, and receiving a huge ransom for his liberty. The lords of Chieti asked the Counts of Celano, who were fighting against the Normans at Capua, for help, but though the Marsians came with a strong army, Robert the Norman siged and destroyed Ortona, and divided the lands south of Teate with his brother Drogonis (nicknamed Tascione), keeping Lanciano and surrounding areas for himself.
The Pope excommunicated the Normans in vain, and another Norman leader, Hugh Mamouzet, who was one of the great villains in the history of Abruzzo: he occupied Casauria and Valva with great bloodshed among the monks and population. The Norman conquest was fast, but short; on his death Drogone repented and donated everything in his possessions to the various churches, abbots and monasteries that he had defeated, and his brother Robert confirmed the donations and added his own. Only Mamouzet remained of the Norman lords of Abruzzo: on his death, he left everything to Drogone's son, Guglielmo Tascione. Meanwhile another Norman dynasty had established their power: the counts of Manoppello, who purchased from Guglielmo San Clemente, Popoli and Valva.
The countdom of Apruzzo and Attone
The Kingdom of Sicily
It took some decades for the lesser Norman lords in Abruzzo to accept the supremacy of the King of Sicily. Then the Norman power began to decline, and the last Norman king designated Constance, wife of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, as heir and the kingdom passed successively to Frederick II, Conrad IV, Manfred, and Conradin of Hohenstaufen.
The Norman administration
Architecture, Sculpture and Painting
Other elements of Abruzzese sculpture of the period are carvings in the capitols of columns, in the lunettes and bas relief of tombs. In those times, when almost no one was able to read, the Gospel and religion were taught through the rich paintings on the walls of the churches; the earliest example of these were the frescoes in San Pietro ad Oratorium, near Capestrano (early 12th century) in an almost monochromatic ochre red, followed a little later by the highly allegorical frescoes in Santa Maria di Ronzano.
- Aprutium - Three letters by St. Gregory the Great (Pope from 590 to 604) mention for the fisrt time the words Aprutiense, Aprutium, Aprutio - From Hartmann, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, vol II, liber XIII, Berlin 1957
- San Clemente a Casauria - The five books of the Chronicon Casauriense follow the history of the monastery from its foundation in AD 871 by emperor Lotarius until 1182. Lotarius obtained from pope Adrian II the permission to transfer in the new monastery the relics of St. Clemens. The greatest splendor of the monastery was reached between 1155 and 1182, under Abbot Leonates, who entrusted monk John of Berardus to collect all the documents of the abbey, which were then written down by master Rusticus. The five passages reported, taken from the Chronicon Casauriensis, as reported in L.A.Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, Milano 1726) recollect the events of:
- The Foundation of San Clemente (columns 777 and following)
- The Translation of St. Clemens
- The body of St Clemens found again
- A miracle of St. Clemens
- Abbot Leonates