Duchy of Benevento

Duchy Of Benevento

Duchy of Benevento

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The Duchy and later Principality of Benevento was the southernmost Lombard duchy in medieval Italy, centred on Benevento, a city central in the Mezzogiorno. Owing to the Ducatus Romanus ("Duchy of Rome") of the popes, which cut it off from the rest of Lombard Italy, Benevento was from the first practically independent. Only during the reigns of Grimoald I of Benevento 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 against all comers for nearly three hundred years, though it was divided after 849.

Paul the Deacon refers to Benevento as the "Samnite duchy" after the ancient Italic inhabitants of the area which gave their name to the region Samnium.

Foundation of the duchy

The circumstances of the creation of the duchy are disputed. According to some scholars, Lombards were present in southern Italy well before the complete conquest of the Po Valley: the duchy by these accounts would have been founded in 571. The Lombards may have entered later, around 590. Whatever the case, the first duke was Zotto, a leader of a band of soldiers who descended the coast of Campania. Though at first independent, Zotto was eventually made to submit to the royal authority of the north. His successor was Arechis, his nephew, and the principle of hereditary...
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