Giudicato of Cagliari

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Giudicato of Cagliari
Rennu de Caralis

1020–1258
 

Giudicato of Cagliari (rose in the map)
Capital Calari
Languages Sardinian, Latin
Religion Roman Catholic
Government Giudicato
Giudicato
 -  1089 – 1102 Constantine I of Cagliari
 -  1214–1232 Benedetta of Cagliari
 -  1256 – 1258 William III of Cagliari
History
 -  Established 1020
 -  Disestablished 1258

The Judicatus of Caralis or later Calaris (Italian: Giudicato di Cagliari) was one of the four Sardinian Judicati of the Middle Ages, kingdoms of Byzantine origins.

Until the beginning of the 8th century, Sardinia was a Byzantine province, but when the Arabs conquered Sicily, communications between Constantinople and its westernmost province became very difficult. In such a situation, a local wealthy family took the power in name of the emperor and began to transmit power inside their family. This semi-independent kingdom controlled the island until Mujāhid al-ʿĀmirī, a Spanish Muslim leader, attempted to conquer Sardinia in 1015 and so threaten Rome and Italian Peninsula. His attempt failed due to the intervention of the Genoese and Pisan fleets, but Sardinia political institutions were devastated and the ancient Judicatus was divided into four kingdoms, of which that of Cagliari considered itself the sole heir of the ancient unitary kingdom and of the Byzantine tradition.

The Judicatus of Cagliari covered the entire south and central east portion of the island and was composed of thirteen subdivisions called curatoriae. To its north and west lay Arborea and north and on the east lay Gallura and Logudoro. The region of Cagliari, due to its proximity to Sicily, had long been the first landing for conquering armies and the last outpost of retreating foreigners. First seizing the Sulcis region in the southeast, the Pisans then conquered Cagliari and rebuilt the town. Pisa had a keen interest in Sardinia because it was a perfect base for controlling the commercial routes between Italy and North Africa. During the period of Pisan-Genoese dominance, Cagliari remained steadfastly in the Pisan camp.

Origins and extent[edit]

The giudicato of Cagliari comprised a large area of the Campidano plain, the mineral-rich Sulcis region, and the mountainous Ogliastra.

Cagliari was historically one of the most important cities on Sardinia and remains the largest to this day.[1] The capital in turn of both the Vandal and Byzantine provinces of Sardinia, Cagliari became the eponymous capital of the Giudicato of Cagliari that evolved when imperial power receded in the West. Left to fend for themselves, the Byzantine officials of Sardinia maintained the forms and titles of the imperial administration. The iudicati ("judgeships"), bureaucratic subdivisions in the empire, developed into independent states with hereditary sovereigns still entitled Giudice (Latin iudice), by the tenth century. By then, the number of Giudicati had stabilized at four following the absorption of the Giudicato of Agugliastra which lay along the eastern coast of the island north of Cagliari, into the Giudicato of Cagliari sometime in the previous century.

The first Judges[edit]

Cathedral of San Pantaleo (Dolianova)

The first giudice well-known to history is Torchitorio I of the clan Lacon-Gunale. His birth name was Orzocco, Torchitorio being a dynastic name. The first ruling dynasty, the Lacon-Gunale, probably arose from the merger of two families, the Lacon and the Gunale (or Unale). Perhaps in honor of two members of these families (Salusio de Lacon and Torchitorio de Gunale) all rulers of Cagliari traditionally adopted a moniker added to their birth name, alternating between Salusio and Torchitorio.[2] Torchitorio I was judge at a time when Western monasticism was being introduced into Sardinia as part of the Gregorian reform of the Papacy. Cagliari, like the other giudicati, was placed under papal and Pisan authority. Torchitorio was a sponsor of the monks of Monte Cassino who were arriving on the island to bring economic, technological, and religious renewal. Torchitorio succeeded in having his son succeed him around 1089, when Constantine I appeared with the title of rex et iudex Caralitanus: "King and Judge of Cagliari."

Among the traditions of these early giudici was that of confirming one of one's predecessor's acts, usually donations of land or grants of privileges. Constantine II patronised the monasteries founded by monks from Saint-Victor in Marseille. However, surging Pisan religious houses came into conflict the Provençal monasteries, while the archbishop of Cagliari came into conflict with not only the archbishop of Pisa, but also Constantine. Nevertheless, the 1150s saw restoration and renovation of sacred art and edifices. Along with Gonario II of Torres and Comita I of Gallura, Constantine pledged fidelity to the archbishop of Pisa. All this suggests strong allegiance to the reformed papacy despite the still near-autonomous status of Cagliari at the time.

House of Massa and Pisan domination[edit]

Cathedral of S. Maria of Monserrat, Tratalias

Constantine II's daughter succeeded him with her husband Peter. The Pisans tried to remove him after her death and they sent Obert, Margrave of Massa, to conquer the giudicato. Obert set himself up as giudice and on his death, Pisa installed his son William I in his place.

William spent his reign (1188 – 1214) in constant wars with Arborea, Gallura, and Logudoro. He arrested and imprisoned the judge of Arborea, Peter I and ruled Arborea in his name. He tried to conquer Gallura, but was rebuffed by Lamberto Visconti. He was on fairly good terms with the Pisans throughout his career, but on his death, he left only daughters. Benedetta, his heiress, was married to Barisone III of Arborea and thus those two giudicati were united, to be torn apart on his death (1217). Cagliari slowly declined thereafter, as various factions fought for the control of Benedetta. Pisan domination became stronger than ever. In 1256, John tried to throw off the Pisan yolk and allied with the Republic of Genoa, but was assassinated by Pisan agents. John was succeeded by his son, but Pisa partitioned Cagliari in 1258 and the history of the giudicato came to a sudden close.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ However, there is some evidence that during the period of independence from external rule, the city was deserted because it was too exposed to attacks by Moorish pirates. Apparently many people left Cagliari and founded a new town (named Santa Igia) in an area close to the Santa Gilla swamp to the west of Cagliari, but distant from the sea.
  2. ^ Solmi A., Studi storici sulle istituzioni della Sardegna nel Medioevo, Cagliari 1917.

References[edit]

  • Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Rome, 1963 – Present.
  • Nowé, Laura Sannia. Dai "lumi" dalla patria Italiana: Cultura letteraria sarda. Mucchi Editore: Modena, 1996.
  • Casula, Francesco. "The History of Sardinia." Sardinia Tourist Board. 1989.
  • Solmi A., Studi storici sulle istituzioni della Sardegna nel Medioevo, Cagliari 1917.