Italy Lordships and Principalities – Viscount Primacy Part 1
In the last decades of the ‘300, the State of the Church is, due to the schism, back on the high seas and almost canceled, due to a very serious crisis, the kingdom of Naples, in the midst of the first struggles between the Sanseverino faction and the faction of the powerful Dukes of Andria, supported by a real military organization that was recruited in the country and outside; then, given the aspirations of the Angevins of France for the kingdom, between partisans of the Italian Angevins and the French Angevins, of the Italian pope and the French antipope. With that, the kingdom of Naples almost no longer exists as an Italian power. Even more alien to the events of the peninsula is the kingdom of Sicily, which has now become the prerogative of the nobility, which is then divided and discordant: ancient and original nobility on one side, recent and immigrant on the other, that is Latin and Catalan, Ventimiglia, Palizzi, Alagona, Chiaramonte, etc. There was also in Sicily, as in Naples, a womanish phase, which marked the absolute dominance of these families: precisely after the death of Frederick III (1377) who, leaving the young Maria heir, chose four vicarys to govern for her, the Count Francesco di Ventimiglia, Manfredo di Chiaramonte, Artale di Alagona, tutor, Count Guglielmo Perala. Between Catalan and Latin partiality, the young lady leaned on the latter, which then meant the preservation of the kingdom in its independence from Spain. The Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of Sicily were both subject to the high dominion of the Church: and naturally, these years and decades of internal impotence and external greed marked for both kingdoms new political interference by the Holy See. .
In short, the work of the Normans seemed almost undone. I mean the political work; since in the meantime certain progresses of Neapolitan and Sicilian society were undeniable, also due to the new order established with the Normans themselves and to the contacts with the most advanced and dynamic Italy of the municipalities and lordships. In fact, during the 14th century, a certain municipal life took place in the South, the juridical conditions of the lower classes were raised, a country legal and literary culture was developed, the country was opened to artistic and linguistic influences of Tuscany. Approximately, one seems to see in the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, with a few centuries of delay, the same event that Lombard Italy had passed through, with the same corrosion, from the inside, of the old barbaric kingdom and the reconstruction, from the inside , of a new and proper Italian life. Except that, in the south, neither this reconstruction from the inside is so rapid and rich and varied as in the north and in the center of the peninsula; nor does the kingdom disappear. It began by breaking in two, and again they became estranged from each other; then the two kingdoms almost dissolved as a state force, as an international credit, as the capacity to act strongly and hegemically in the peninsula; both passed from one foreign dynasty to the other and, finally, under a dynasty of Aragonese origin but on the way to naturalization; finally they reconstituted a certain unity and legal personality and independence. Where in the north, the old kingdom has died forever and the thoughts, the imaginations, the hopes of the Italians are led by the same political fragmentation of the region to gradually identify themselves, before elsewhere,
Under these conditions, the history of the peninsula ends by moving its centers: towards Tuscany and the Po Valley, where the formation of new territorial states, in a monarchical or republican form, is in full swing. There are still a myriad of free cities and little gentlemen. But we see them all more or less revolving around the major ones, Florence, Savoy, Visconti, now even Venice. These are now the protagonists on the peninsula scene. Around them are formed those leagues or sizes, which fill a good part of the fourteenth century, especially the second half, now with only cities, now with cities and lords together; now regional, now almost national for their breadth. The aims of the leagues are either to restrain this and that company of foreign mercenaries, ruinous for all; o take precautions against possible descents of French princes; or defend oneself from some too powerful Italian gentleman. Legally, you want to keep it status quo , to maintain everyone’s freedom. In fact, just like the vast organizations of the parties, so too the leagues concurred to wear down the smaller states, to the advantage of the others.
In the north-western region, according to TRANSPORTHINT.COM, the Savoy family had continued, in the 13th century, to expand on this side of the Alps, always however with the prevalence of the transalpine branch over the cisalpine branch, also as an Italian activity. The formation of an Angevin dominion in Piedmont, coeval with the conquest of the kingdom of Sicily, had on the one hand displeased, on the other promoted, the growth of the Savoy: because the Angevins gave new blows to the municipal life of the region and also provoked a certain unity. antiangioina who helped, together, the fortunes of the Marquises of Monferrato, and the fortunes of the Savoy. Then there was the collapse of the Monferrato: and the Savoy also benefited from this. Henry VII came, and the Savoy were given dignity and offices: including the appointment of Louis as senator of Rome in 1311, with the task of preparing the way for Henry towards the imperial coronation. Henry disappeared and the effort against the Angevins was resumed, in solidarity with the other lords of the region and with the Visconti who, from these events, are also drawn to Piedmont, which was also the Milanese and Lombard trade route to France. . And in 1339, a league of Savoy, Acaia, Monferrato, Saluzzo, Visconti against the Angevin lands resulted in the near ruin of this family and a great gain for the Savoy and Visconti family. Another coalition in 1345-46 led by Amedeo VI, the Green Count: and there were two victories over the Provençal militias and the division of new prey. He was able to the Angevins, who owned the passes of the Alps, to reconstitute their dominion again in ’55: and there was a new war. But now the Savoy-Visconti solidarity no longer held up and the political life of the Lombardy and Piedmontese regions was centered on the rivalry of the two powerful families. And the Italic league of 1372 between Chiesa, Naples and Angioini, Monferrato, Savoy, against Bernabò Visconti, was headed by the Green Count. In 1372, there was an invasion of the Visconti territory, victorious clashes, sacked cities, partial Angevin reconstitution, Savoy acquisitions in the Vercelli area. But the Viscontis had command units. And they saved themselves, they continued their ascent: only, having become difficult to widen to the west as a consistent region was becoming, they turned rather towards other directions, without losing sight of Piedmont, where they owned Asti.