Journal Article

Urban Government in Southern Italy c.1085–c.1127

Paul Oldfield

in The English Historical Review

Volume CXXII, issue 497, pages 579-608
Published in print June 2007 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online June 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehr/cem089
Urban Government in Southern Italy c.1085–c.1127

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The expansion of Roger II of Sicily's power on to the South Italian mainland from 1127, and his subsequent creation of the Kingdom of Sicily in 1130, represent a significant phase in the history of Southern Italy, and one which sparked over a decade of civil war. The urban communities of the mainland were heavily involved in the conflict. To understand why, and to engage with the wider debate which surrounds the extent to which the ‘Norman’ monarchy transformed urban government in the region, it is necessary to explore the nature of urban government in the era immediately preceding 1127. The period from 1085-1127 has received relatively little attention, yet significant developments took place within the region's urban communities, and in their methods of self-government. This paper explores these transitions by using a number of key case studies, and by extensively analyzing both the narrative and documentary sources available. It suggests that there was both continuity and change in urban life, and that a range of different models of urban government further developed on the South Italian mainland during the period 1085-1127; ranging from those which achieved a working compromise with the crumbling central authorities, to those which asserted innovative and autonomous forms of government. With this understanding, it is possible to place our interpretations of the important events after 1127 into a firmer framework.

Journal Article.  14882 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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