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The Re-Arrangement of the Nobility Under the Hauteville Monarchy: The Creation of the South Italian Counties

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Ex Historia
Volume8
Number of pages33
Pages (from-to)58-90
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The ruling class and the nobility had undoubtedly changed in almost a century since the Normans settled in the south; but despite the existence of new formal polities, the territory that would later form the kingdom of Sicily was still submerged in a quarrelling polyarchy in 1127. In the words of the royal apologist Alexander of Telese, ‘just as the great wickedness of the Lombards was formerly overcome by the violence of the Normans when they arrived, in the same way now it is certain that it was either given or permitted to Roger by Heaven to coerce the immense malice of these lands by his sword.’ It is in this complex political reality that the first step towards the counts’ new organisation took place. But, how did the counties in the middle of the twelfth century differ from the lordships held by the counts when the kingdom was founded? To what extent did the new monarchy employ the creation of counts and counties for either restructuring the organisation of the mainland or rewarding loyal territorial leaders? These are ambitious questions, and in the space available here I can at best offer a sketch, rather than a finished picture. One principal aspect of these questions is nevertheless considered: the changes to the comital class during Roger’s new monarchy.