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Before the Normans

Southern Italy in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries

By Barbara M. Kreutz

Publication Year: 2011

Histories of medieval Europe have typically ignored southern Italy, looking south only in the Norman period. Yet Southern Italy in the ninth and tenth centuries was a complex and vibrant world that deserves to be better understood. In Before the Normans, Barbara M. Kreutz writes the first modern study in English of the land, political structures, and cultures of southern Italy in the two centuries before the Norman conquests. This was a pan-Meditteranean society, where the Roman past and Lombard-Germanic culture met Byzantine and Islamic civilization, creating a rich and unusual mix.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-xi

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pp. xiii-xiv

... has been many years on the way, and I have incurred many debts to many people. The list must certainly begin with the late Robert L. Reynolds of the University of Wisconsin, who long ago (despairing of luring me to Genoa) suggested a dissertation involving Norman southern Italy. An exceptional man, Robert Reynolds left his mark on all his students, and this study owes a great deal to him-not least his insistence that ...


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pp. xix-xxi

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pp. xxiii-xxxi

... has been largely ignored by most historians of medieval Europe. Since the region was both prominent and prosperous in antiquity, one might have expected more curiosity. In fact, however, most non-Italian historians have abandoned Italy altogether after the sixth century and the arrival of the Lombards, not to return (so to speak) until the eleventh or ...

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1. The Beginnings

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pp. 1-17

... the lower half of the Italian peninsula, the portion lying below Rome, first became a separate and distinct geopolitical region in 774, with the Carolingian conquest of northern Italy.1 It is true that it was not politically unified until the late eleventh century, under the Normans. From 774 on, however, southern Italy mostly pursued its own separate destiny, and indeed, as the Kingdom of Naples, it continued to do ...

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2. The First Arab Impact

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pp. 18-35

... of the ninth century, southern Italy, almost entirely free of any Byzantine presence and seemingly more or less forgotten by the Carolingians, began to slide within the orbit of Islam. The real role of the Arabs in south Italian history has had little attention. General histories of medieval Europe, hurrying on from Charlemagne to the twelfth ...

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3. A Carolingian Crusade

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pp. 36-54

... settled by the Divisio and the Lombards' Arab mercenaries dispersed, Louis, in 849, must have gone back north with a genuine sense of accomplishment. A more stable southern Italy should offer less temptation to the Arabs. He had, however, done little more than shift the locus of the threat and only temporarily at that. There was still a hostile Arab presence in ...

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4. Firming the Elements

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pp. 55-74

... ambivalence toward the Arabs than the 870S. Events illustrating this began with a seemingly minor incident in Salerno, probably in the spring of 87I-just after Louis had taken Bari. According to the Chronicon Salernitanum, Prince Guaifer was striding through the city of Salerno, heading back to his palace from the local baths, when as he passed through the forum an Arab hailed him, saying he much ...

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5. Amalfi in Context

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pp. 75-93

... southern Italy's autonomous states had achieved political equilibrium. From this point on, we can therefore devote less attention to political events; the chief issue becomes the use to which those states put their new found stability. To investigate this, a good place to begin is Amalfi, for Amalfi's connections with the ...

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6. Salerno's Southern Italy in the Tenth Century

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pp. 94-115

... southern Italy in the tenth century must still have seemed a gray world, merely one more troubled frontier zone. Yet in at least some segments of the region, the tenth century brought bright prospects. One excellent example is the Lombard principality of Salerno. Through most of the century, Capua and Benevento would be far better known ...

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7. The Late Tenth Century and South Italian Structures

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pp. 116-136

... the particular (Amalfi and Salerno) to the general and to consider the south Italian scene as a whole as the tenth century drew to a close. This chapter will focus chiefly on the structures of the society, its institutions and patterns of behavior. Although evidence is far more profuse for some areas than others, it is possible to reach at least a ...

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8. Campania and Its Culture in the Tenth Century

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pp. 137-149

... the term "structures" was used to characterize the institutions and demographic characteristics of south Italian society in the tenth century. The focus of this chapter is culture, particularly in that portion of southern Italy not under Byzantine control. This means primarily Campania, and the emphasis is not only on intellectual or aesthetic ...

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9. Epilogue: The Eleventh Century and After

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pp. 150-158

... of the eleventh century the Normans held virtually all of southern Italy. It had happened very quickly; and since Sicily was speedily taken too, and the Crusades provided additional distraction, it is no wonder that few, then or now, have looked back. Pre-Norman southern Italy seemed forgotten in the rush of events. ...


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pp. 159-208

Appendix: The Southern Lombard Rulers, 758-IOOO

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pp. 209-210


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pp. 211-222


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pp. 223-228

E-ISBN-13: 9780812205435
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812215878

Page Count: 268
Publication Year: 2011