The Lombard Principality of Salerno was a South Italian state, formed in 851 out of the Principality of Benevento after a decade-long civil war. It was centred on the port city of Salerno. Although it owed allegiance at its foundation to the Carolingian emperor, it was de facto independent throughout its history and alternated its allegiance between the Carolingians and their successors in the West and the Byzantine emperors in the east.
In 839, the prince of Benevento, Sicard, died. Immediately, his chief army officer, Radelchis, seized power in Benevento and imprisoned Sicard's heir and brother, Siconulf, in Taranto. Amalfitan merchants rescued Siconulf from prison, and he was proclaimed prince in Salerno. A civil war erupted in the Italian Mezzogiorno. In 847, the Emperor Lothair I had Guy I of Spoleto and Sergius I of Naples mediate a division of the great Lombard principality. In 849, Louis, King of Italy, the Radelgisi et Siginulfi principum Divisio Ducatus Beneventani, divided the principality into two sections: one with its capital at Salerno and another with the original Benevento.
Salerno consisted of Taranto, Cassano, Cosenza, Paestum, Conza, Potenza, Sarno, Cimitile (Nola), Capua, Teano, and Sora. It was a maritime power with numerous seaports, including Salerno itself, and controlled mostly the western half of the old duchy.
The principality did not enjoy stability in its early years. In 851, Siconulf died and his son Sico was still a child. He was deposed and replaced by his regent, Peter, in 853, and Peter was succeeded that year by his son Adhemar. Adhemar's stormy princeship ended violently: a revolt deposed him, and Guaifer, the scion of a local family of note, the Dauferidi, had him blinded and imprisoned. Guaifer succeeded him in the princely office with the support of the people.
Guaifer stabilised the principality during his long reign of nineteen years. His successors reigned for similarly lengthy periods, and in a short time Salerno surpassed Benevento in greatness. During his reign, Capua made itself independent. Salerno was still technically a vassal of the Western emperor, but it was practically independent. The prince even allied himself with the Saracens. In 880, Guaifer was removed in a precedent-setting act by his son: Guaimar I forced him into a monastery and took up the reins of government. The chronicles of his reign describe him in despotic terms, and he does not seem to have been popular. He did reverse the alliance with the Saracens in favour of closer ties to the emperor, then Charles the Bald. In 887, however, he broke with the West and paid homage to the Byzantine Emperor, receiving the title of patricius . In 900 or 901, his son, Guaimar II, forced him into his own monastic foundation of San Massimo and began his reign.
Guaimar II raised Salerno to greatness. He was a more religious prince than his father, who had been pious by the standards of the time. He introduced the Cluniac reforms to Salerno. He was also more inclined to war with the Moslems and took part in the famous Battle of the Garigliano in 915. In this he was the ally of the Byzantines, as he was throughout his reign, with the exception of a brief period in the 920s. He increased his prestige and influence through marriage alliances with the Beneventans and Capuans, and even entered into successful schemes against the Byzantine Campania, where he gained much ground. Guaimar further worked to stabilise his dynasty by altering the pattern of succession. He appointed his son Gisulf I as co-prince in 943, and Gisulf succeeded in 946.
The succession was not uncontested from without. The allied forces of John III of Naples and Landulf II of Benevento invaded, but an alliance with the Amalfitans saved Gisulf's reign. Gisulf like his father remained with the Greeks, even warring with the pope. He concluded a treaty with the latter and came to the defence of Pandulf Ironhead, the prince of Benevento and Capua. Though his neighbours constantly seemed to be opposing him, the Ironhead reinstalled him after an insurrection of 974, which had been supported by his brother and the neighbouring Greek cities. Gisulf did not have any children at his death, and Salerno passed into the wider realm of the Ironhead, who bestowed it on his son Pandulf II.
From 978, the year of Prince Gisulf's death, to 983, when the Salernitans reinstated a dynasty of their choosing, the principality was under the rule of "foreigners": either of the Capuan princely house or the dukes of Amalfi. The Amalfitans took advantage of the Ironhead's death in 981 to seize it from Pandulf II, and Manso I of Amalfi was made prince. He was unpopular, and a Spoletan, John, son of Lambert, was elected after the expulsion of the Amalfitans. Discordant relations prevailed with Amalfi until the end of the principality a century later.
John established his own dynasty, which was to usher in Salerno's final period of greatness as an independent Lombard entity. He tried to increase control of the church in his region, but failed. He followed the principle of co-regency of sons, to stabilise the succession. His son, Guaimar III, had to deal with Saracen attacks, but was aided by the Norman mercenaries he had helped to recruit to the south. He moved away from Byzantium throughout his reign and supported the Lombard rebels of Melus of Bari. He also supported his neighbour, Pandulf IV of Capua, despite the latter's unpopularity. Under Guaimar III, the Schola Medica Salernitana first began to flourish, and he was capable of striking Opulenta Salernitanum on his coins as a sign of the trading wealth of his city. Guaimar IV brought Salerno to its greatest heights, but it did not survive him.
He, too, used the Normans for mutual gain. He can be considered chiefly responsible for the rise of the Hautevilles in the Mezzogiorno. He opposed Pandulf of Capua, unlike his father, and he united his principality with that one for the first time since Pandulf Ironhead. In 1038, he sought the arbitration of both emperors over matters concerning Pandulf, but only the Holy Roman Emperor, Conrad II, responded, and Salerno became fully Western in allegiance. Conrad made Guaimar a powerful prince, and he extended his authority militarily over the coastal city-states of Gaeta, Naples, and Amalfi. He opened up the Campania, Apulia, and Calabria to conquest, but his successes were reversed by Conrad's son, Henry III, who in 1047 removed Guaimar from Capua and restructured the nature of his suzerain-vassal relationships to limit his power. In 1052, Guaimar was assassinated, and his son and successor, Gisulf II, showed none of his political acumen.
Under Gisulf, Salerno declined. He made useless war on Amalfi and on his Norman neighbours, finally on Robert Guiscard, the duke of Apulia, himself. Though Salerno remained wealthy and opulent to the end of his reign, he misused this wealth during the siege of 1077 and lost his city and his principality to the Guiscard. With Gisulf's defeat, Salerno ceased to be the capital of a large principality, and its once vast domain was completely merged into the Duchy of Apulia and Calabria, the peninsular possession of the Hauteville family. Salerno did continue as the most important city of southern Italy until the end of Hauteville rule in 1194 before being revenged for its former rebellion against Hohenstaufen dynasty in 1191, during which its populace handed over the entrusted Empress Constance to Tancred, King of Sicily, leading to her effective captivity until May 1192.
The Schola Medica Salernitana of Guaimar III survived until Napoleonic times, and it is considered the world's first university of medicine.
The Duchy of Benevento was the southernmost Lombard duchy in the Italian peninsula, centered on Benevento, a city in Southern Italy. Lombard dukes ruled Benevento from 571 to 1077, when it was conquered by the Normans for 4 years before being given to the Pope. Being cut off from the rest of the Lombard possessions by the papal Duchy of Rome, Benevento was practically independent from the start. Only during the reigns of Grimoald, King of the Lombards and the kings from Liutprand on was the duchy closely tied to the kingdom. After the fall of the kingdom, however, alone of Lombard territories it remained as a rump state, and maintained its de facto independence for nearly three hundred years, though it was divided after 849.
Guaimar IV was Prince of Salerno (1027–1052), Duke of Amalfi (1039–1052), Duke of Gaeta (1040–1041), and Prince of Capua (1038–1047) in Southern Italy over the period from 1027 to 1052. He was an important figure in the final phase of Byzantine authority in the Mezzogiorno and the commencement of Norman power. He was, according to Amatus of Montecassino, "more courageous than his father, more generous and more courteous; indeed he possessed all the qualities a layman should have—except that he took an excessive delight in women."
Pandulf I Ironhead was the Prince of Benevento and Capua from 943 until his death. He was made Duke of Spoleto and Camerino in 967 and succeeded as Prince of Salerno in 977 or 978. He was an important nobleman in the fight with the Byzantines and Saracens for control of the Mezzogiorno in the centuries after the collapse of Lombard and Carolingian authority on the Italian Peninsula. He established himself over almost the whole of the southern half of Italia before his death in March 981.
Guaimar III was the Lombard prince of Salerno from around 994 to his death. Under his reign, Salerno entered an era of great splendour. Opulenta Salernum was the inscription on his coins. He made Amalfi, Gaeta and Sorrento his vassals and annexed much of Byzantine Apulia and Calabria.
Gisulf II was the last Lombard prince of Salerno (1052–1077).
Gaitelgrima is a Lombard feminine name. There are several notable Gaitelgrimas in history. The identities of these five women are often confused because they were all closely related to each other and to two men: Guaimar III of Salerno and his son, Guaimar IV; they were the princes of Salerno from about 983 to 1027 and from 1027 to 1052.
Pandulf II the Old was the prince of Benevento from 981 and prince of Capua from 1008 or 1009 to his death, the son of Landulf III who was co-prince between 959 and 968. Pandulf was first associated as co-prince in 977.
Sicard was the Prince of Benevento from 832. He was the last prince of a united Benevento which covered most of the Mezzogiorno. On his death, the principality descended into civil war which split it permanently. He was the son and successor of the Spoletan Sico.
Guaimar II was the Lombard prince of Salerno from 901, when his father retired to a monastery, to his death. His father was Guaimar I and his mother was Itta. He was associated with his father in the principality from 893. He was responsible for the rise of the principality: he restored the princely palace, built the palace church of San Pietro a campanile, and restored gold coinage.
Gisulf I was the eldest son of his father, Guaimar II, and his second wife Gaitelgrima. He was associated with his father as prince of Salerno in 943 and he succeeded him on his death in 952. He took to using the title Langobardorum gentis princeps: "prince of the people of the Lombards." He was originally under the regency of his mother and Prisco (Priscus), treasurer and count of the palace.
Manso I was the duke of Amalfi (966–1004) and prince of Salerno (981–983). He was the son of Duke Sergius I and the greatest independent ruler of Amalfi, which he controlled for nearly half a century. He is sometimes numbered Manso III.
Landulf II, called the Red, was the Lombard prince of Benevento and prince of Capua from 939 or 940, when his father, Landulf I, first associated him with the government. His mother was Gemma, daughter of Athanasius of Naples. He may have been associated as early as 933, when his elder brother, Atenulf III, was made co-regent. His uncle Atenulf II died in 940 and it is likely that Landulf served as a replacement. Landulf married Yvantia on an unknown date.
Landulf III was Prince of Capua and Benevento from 959 as co-prince with his father, Landulf II and brother Pandulf Ironhead, and from 961 only with his brother. His mother was Yvantia.
John II was the duke of Amalfi from 1029 to 1069 with multiple interruptions. He was the son of Sergius II and Maria, sister of Pandulf IV of Capua. He was the last significant duke of Amalfi before the Norman conquest of 1073.
The Principality of Capua was a Lombard state centred on Capua in Southern Italy, usually de facto independent, but under the varying suzerainty of Western and Eastern Roman Empires. It was originally a gastaldate, then a county, within the principality of Salerno.
The Norman conquest of southern Italy lasted from 999 to 1139, involving many battles and independent conquerors. In 1130, the territories in southern Italy united as the Kingdom of Sicily, which included the island of Sicily, the southern third of the Italian Peninsula, the archipelago of Malta, and parts of North Africa.
The Landulfids or Atenulfings were a noble family of Lombardic origin in the ninth through eleventh centuries. They were descended from Landulf I of Capua, whose own ancestry is unknown and who died in 843. The dynasty produced a line of princes which ruled most of southern Italy at one time or another and even one pope, Victor III.
Landulf of Conza, a Lombard nobleman, was briefly Prince of Benevento in 940 and then briefly Prince of Salerno in 973. The son of Atenulf II of Benevento, Landulf ruled on his father's death (940) as co-prince with his uncle, Landulf I, who soon sent him into exile. He initially took refuge at the court of Marinus II of Naples, from where he sought shelter in Salerno through his sister, Gaitelgrima, the second wife of Prince Guaimar II of Salerno. This he received and he was soon appointed gastald of Conza, while his sons—Landenulf, Landulf, Indulf, and Guaimar—were invested with land in Salerno. The Chronicon Salernitanum, which is the most important source for Landulf's life, names the counties of Marsi, Sarno, and Lauro as those of Guaimar, Indulf, and Landenulf, respectively, but does not name a county for Landulf.
Pandulf III was briefly the Prince of Salerno from around 3 to 10 June 1052. He was the eldest of four brothers of Gemma, wife of Prince Guaimar IV. He seized the throne in a coup d'état, when he and his brother assassinated Guaimar. He reigned for only a week before he was forced to step down and was promptly murdered.