Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands referred to as Regione Siciliana. Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian Peninsula, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Messina, its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, one of the most active in the world 3,329 m high. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate; the earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and, for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the Early Middle Ages by the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantine Empire, the Emirate of Sicily; the Norman conquest of southern Italy led to the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily, subsequently ruled by the Hohenstaufen, the Capetian House of Anjou and the House of Habsburg.
It was unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand, a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification, a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region on 15th May 1946, 18 days before the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946. Albeit, much of the autonomy still remains unapplied financial autonomy, because the autonomy-activating laws have been deferred to be approved by the parithetic committee, since 1946. Sicily has a rich and unique culture with regard to the arts, literature and architecture, it is home to important archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte. Sicily has a triangular shape, earning it the name Trinacria. To the east, it is separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina, about 3 km wide in the north, about 16 km wide in the southern part.
The northern and southern coasts are each about 280 km long measured as a straight line, while the eastern coast measures around 180 km. The total area of the island is 25,711 km2, while the Autonomous Region of Sicily has an area of 27,708 km2; the terrain of inland Sicily is hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible. Along the northern coast, the mountain ranges of Madonie, 2,000 m, Nebrodi, 1,800 m, Peloritani, 1,300 m, are an extension of the mainland Apennines; the cone of Mount Etna dominates the eastern coast. In the southeast lie the lower Hyblaean Mountains, 1,000 m; the mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta districts were part of a leading sulphur-producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s. Sicily and its surrounding small islands have some active volcanoes. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still casts black ash over the island with its ever-present eruptions, it stands 3,329 metres high, though this varies with summit eruptions.
It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 with a basal circumference of 140 km; this makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. In Greek mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under the mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky. Mount Etna is regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily; the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the northeast of mainland Sicily form a volcanic complex, include Stromboli. The three volcanoes of Vulcano and Lipari are currently active, although the latter is dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, part of the larger Empedocles volcano, last erupted in 1831, it is located between the island of Pantelleria. The autonomous region includes several neighbouring islands: the Aegadian Islands, the Aeolian Islands and Lampedusa; the island is drained by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island.
The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata. To the east, the Alcantara flows through the province of Messina and enters the sea at Giardini Naxos, the Simeto, which flows into the Ionian Sea south of Catania. Other important rivers on the island are the Platani in the southwest. Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers with changeable intermediate seasons. On the coasts the south-western, the climate is affected by the African currents and summers can be scorching. Sicily is seen as an island of warm winters but above all along the Tyrrhenian coast and in the inland areas, winters can be cold, with typical continental climate. Snow falls in abundance above 900–1000 metres, but stronger cold waves can carry it in the hills and in coastal cities on the northern coast of the island; the interi
Theodahad known as Thiudahad was king of the Ostrogoths from 534 to 536 and a nephew of Theodoric the Great through his mother Amalafrida. He is the son of Amalafrida's first husband because her second marriage was about 500 AD, his sister was Amalaberga. He was an elderly man at the time of his succession. Massimiliano Vitiello states the name "Theodahad" is a compound of'people' and'conflict', he arrested his first cousin Amalaswintha, former regent of the Ostrogoths from 526 to October 534, while they co-ruled as queen and king of the Ostrogoths, imprisoned her in the spring of 535 on an island in Lake Bolsena. When Amalaswintha was assassinated while in the custody of those Theodahad entrusted to guard her, his enemies claimed he acquiesced to her murder, yet her assassination would isolate him from her power base, thus was unlikely to have been planned by him. Political instability within the Ostrogothic kingdom served as a pretext to Byzantine general Belisarius to intervene in Sicily and Italy, at the service of the Emperor Justinian, causing the Gothic Wars.
Witiges ordered him killed, succeeded him as king. He was notable for his dedicated adoration for Neoplatonic philosophy and poetry over martial prowess, his focus on erudition instead of bellicosity, in a time when Italy was consumed by turmoil both foreign and domestic, is claimed to be a reason for his downfall. For a more positive view of his defence of Italy against Belisarius, see Lillington-Martin. Thiudahad appears by L. Sprague de Camp. Theodahad in Medieval Lands
Justinian I, traditionally known as Justinian the Great and Saint Justinian the Great in the Eastern Orthodox Church, was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the historical Roman Empire. Justinian's rule constitutes a distinct epoch in the history of the Later Roman empire, his reign is marked by the ambitious but only realized renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire"; because of his restoration activities, Justinian has sometimes been known as the "last Roman" in mid 20th century historiography. This ambition was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the defunct Western Roman Empire, his general, swiftly conquered the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa. Subsequently, Belisarius and other generals conquered the Ostrogothic kingdom, restoring Dalmatia, Sicily and Rome to the empire after more than half a century of rule by the Ostrogoths; the prefect Liberius reclaimed the south of the Iberian peninsula, establishing the province of Spania.
These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire's annual revenue by over a million solidi. During his reign, Justinian subdued the Tzani, a people on the east coast of the Black Sea that had never been under Roman rule before, he engaged the Sasanian Empire in the east during Kavad I's reign, again during Khosrow I's. A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, still the basis of civil law in many modern states, his reign marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, his building program yielded such masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia. Justinian was born in Tauresium, around 482. A native speaker of Latin, he came from a peasant family believed to have been of Illyro-Roman or Thraco-Roman origins; the cognomen Iustinianus, which he took is indicative of adoption by his uncle Justin. During his reign, he founded Justiniana Prima not far from his birthplace, which today is in South East Serbia.
His mother was the sister of Justin. Justin, in the imperial guard before he became emperor, adopted Justinian, brought him to Constantinople, ensured the boy's education; as a result, Justinian was well educated in jurisprudence and Roman history. Justinian served for some time with the Excubitors but the details of his early career are unknown. Chronicler John Malalas, who lived during the reign of Justinian, tells of his appearance that he was short, fair skinned, curly haired, round faced and handsome. Another contemporary chronicler, compares Justinian's appearance to that of tyrannical Emperor Domitian, although this is slander; when Emperor Anastasius died in 518, Justin was proclaimed the new emperor, with significant help from Justinian. During Justin's reign, Justinian was the emperor's close confidant. Justinian showed much ambition, it has been thought that he was functioning as virtual regent long before Justin made him associate emperor on 1 April 527, although there is no conclusive evidence of this.
As Justin became senile near the end of his reign, Justinian became the de facto ruler. Justinian was appointed consul in 521 and commander of the army of the east. Upon Justin's death on 1 August 527, Justinian became the sole sovereign; as a ruler, Justinian showed great energy. He was known as "the emperor" on account of his work habits, he seems to have been amiable and easy to approach. Around 525, he married Theodora, in Constantinople, she was by some twenty years his junior. In earlier times, Justinian could not have married her owing to her class, but his uncle, Emperor Justin I, had passed a law allowing intermarriage between social classes. Theodora would become influential in the politics of the Empire, emperors would follow Justinian's precedent in marrying outside the aristocratic class; the marriage caused a scandal, but Theodora would prove to be a shrewd judge of character and Justinian's greatest supporter. Other talented individuals included his legal adviser. Justinian's rule was not universally popular.
Justinian recovered. Theodora died in 548 at a young age of cancer. Justinian, who had always had a keen interest in theological matters and participated in debates on Christian doctrine, became more devoted to religion during the years of his life; when he died on 14 November 565, he left no children, though his wife Theodora had given birth to a stillborn son several years into his reign. He was succeeded by Justin II, the son of his sister Vigilantia and married to Sophia, the niece of Empress Theodora. Justinian's body was entombed in a specially built mausoleum in the Church of the
King of Italy
King of Italy was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The first to take the title was Odoacer, a "barbarian" military leader, in the late 5th century, followed by the Ostrogothic kings up to the mid-6th century. With the Frankish conquest of Italy in the 8th century, the Carolingians assumed the title, maintained by subsequent Holy Roman Emperors throughout the Middle Ages; the last Emperor to claim the title was Charles V in the 16th century. During this period, the holders of the title were crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. A Kingdom of Italy was restored from 1805 to 1814 with Napoleon as its only king, centered in Northern Italy, it was not until the Italian unification in the 1860s that a Kingdom of Italy covering the entire peninsula was restored. From 1861 the House of Savoy held the title of King of Italy until the last king, Umberto II, was exiled in 1946 when Italy became a republic. After the deposition of the last Western Emperor in 476, Heruli leader Odoacer was appointed Dux Italiae by the reigning Byzantine Emperor Zeno.
The Germanic foederati, the Scirians and the Heruli, as well as a large segment of the Italic Roman army, proclaimed Odoacer Rex Italiae. In 493, the Ostrogothic king Theoderic the Great killed Odoacer, set up a new dynasty of kings of Italy. Ostrogothic rule ended when Italy was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in 552. In 568, the Lombards entered the peninsula and ventured to recreate a barbarian kingdom in opposition to the Empire, establishing their authority over much of Italy, except the Exarchate of Ravenna and the duchies of Rome, Venetia and the southernmost portions. In the 8th century, estrangement between the Italians and the Byzantines allowed the Lombards to capture the remaining Roman enclaves in northern Italy. However, in 774, they were defeated by the Franks under Charlemagne, who deposed their king and took up the title "king of the Lombards". After the death of Charles the Fat in 887, Italy fell into instability and a number of kings attempted to establish themselves as independent Italian monarchs.
During this period, known as the Feudal Anarchy, the title Rex Italicorum was introduced. After the breakup of the Frankish empire, Otto I added Italy to the Holy Roman Empire and continued the use of the title Rex Italicorum; the last to use this title was Henry II. Subsequent emperors used the title "King of Italy" until Charles V. At first they were crowned in Pavia Milan, Charles was crowned in Bologna. In 1805, Napoleon I was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy at the Milan Cathedral; the next year, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated his imperial title. From the deposition of Napoleon I until the Italian Unification, there was no Italian monarch claiming the overarching title; the Risorgimento established a dynasty, the House of Savoy, over the whole peninsula, uniting the kingdoms of Sardinia and the Two Sicilies to form the modern Kingdom of Italy. The monarchy was superseded by the Italian Republic, after a constitutional referendum was held on 2 June 1946, after World War II; the Italian monarchy formally ended on 12 June of that year, Umberto II left the country.
Odoacer vassal of the Eastern Roman Empire. Theoderic the Great Athalaric Theodahad Witiges Ildibad Eraric Totila Teia Alboin Cleph Rule of the dukes Authari Agilulf Adaloald Arioald Rothari Rodoald Aripert I Perctarit and Godepert Grimoald Perctarit, restored from exile Alahis, rebel Cunincpert Liutpert Raginpert Aripert II Ansprand Liutprand Hildeprand Ratchis Aistulf Desiderius Charlemagne Pippin Bernard Louis I Lothair I Louis II Charles II the Bald Carloman Charles the Fat After 887, Italy fell into instability, with many rulers claiming the kingship simultaneously: Berengar I vassal of the German King Arnulf of Carinthia, reduced to Friuli 889-894, deposed by Arnulf in 896. Guy of Spoleto opponent of Berengar, was deposed by Arnulf. Lambert of Spoleto subking of his father Guy before 894, reduced to Spoleto 894–895. Arnulf of Carinthia Ratold In 896, Arnulf and Ratold lost control of Italy, divided between Berengar and Lambert: Berengar I seized Lambert's portion upon the latter's death in 898.
Lambert of Italy Louis III of Provence opposed Berengar 900-902 and 905. Rudolph II of Burgundy defeated Berengar but fled Italy in 926. Hugh of Arles elected by Berengar's partisans in 925, resigned to Provence after 945. Lothair II Berengar II of Ivrea jointly with his son:Adalbert of Italy In 951 Otto I of Germany invaded Italy and was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. In 952, Berengar and Adalbert remained Kings until being deposed by Otto. Roger II used the title King of Sicily and Italy until at least 1135. Although his realm included the southern Italian mainland, he never exerted any control over the official Kingdom of Italy, none of his successors claimed the title King of Italy. Charles V was the last emperor to use the title; the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, formally end
Cunincpert was king of the Lombards from 688 to 700. He succeeded his father Perctarit, though he was associated with the throne from 680. Soon after his assumption of the sole kingship, Cunincpert was ousted by duke of Brescia. Alahis had rebelled during the reign of Perctarit, but it was Cunincpert who, according to Paul the Deacon in the Historia Langobardorum, had persuaded his father to show mercy. Perctarit is reported to have warned his son of the consequences, it was thus soon after Perctarit's death that Alahis forced Cunincpert to flee to Isola Comacina, an island in the middle of Lake Como. The only extant record of the rule of Alahis is contained in Book V of Paul the Deacon's Historia Langobardorum, his rule is portrayed as burdensome and tyrannical, antagonistic to the Catholic Church. Having lost the support of the Church and, crucially, of the'people', Cunincpert was able to return to Pavia and resume control. Alahis, however was able to acquire sufficient support to bring the matter to battle.
Cunincpert, with the men of Piedmont, defeated Alahis and the men of Venetia at the Battle of Coronate, on the Horn of the Adda, near Lodi, in 689. Alahis was slain in battle. Cunincpert suppressed other insurrections during his reign, including that of the usurper Duke Ansfrid of Friuli, he successfully settled the schism in the Italian church between Aquileia and Grado. He died in 700 and was succeeded by his young son Liutpert, the regent Ansprand, many rebels. Many wars took place during his reign, he is notably the first Lombard monarch to strike coins in his image
Alboin was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migrations by settling in Italy, the northern part of which Alboin conquered between 569 and 572, he had a lasting effect on the Pannonian Basin. The period of Alboin's reign as king in Pannonia following the death of his father, was one of confrontation and conflict between the Lombards and their main neighbors, the Gepids; the Gepids gained the upper hand, but in 567, thanks to his alliance with the Avars, Alboin inflicted a decisive defeat on his enemies, whose lands the Avars subsequently occupied. The increasing power of his new neighbours caused Alboin some unease however, he therefore decided to leave Pannonia for Italy, hoping to take advantage of the Byzantine Empire's reduced ability to defend its territory in the wake of the Gothic War. After gathering a large coalition of peoples, Alboin crossed the Julian Alps in 568, entering an undefended Italy, he took control of most of Venetia and Liguria.
In 569, unopposed, he took Milan. Pavia offered stiff resistance however, was taken only after a siege lasting three years. During that time Alboin turned his attention to Tuscany, but signs of factionalism among his supporters and Alboin's diminishing control over his army began to manifest themselves. Alboin was assassinated on June 572, in a coup d'état instigated by the Byzantines, it was organized by the king's foster brother, with the support of Alboin's wife, daughter of the Gepid king whom Alboin had killed some years earlier. The coup failed in the face of opposition from a majority of the Lombards, who elected Cleph as Alboin's successor, forcing Helmichis and Rosamund to flee to Ravenna under imperial protection. Alboin's death deprived the Lombards of the only leader who could have kept the newborn Germanic entity together, the last in the line of hero-kings who had led the Lombards through their migrations from the vale of the Elbe to Italy. For many centuries following his death Alboin's heroism and his success in battle were celebrated in Saxon and Bavarian epic poetry.
The Lombards under King Wacho had migrated towards the east into Pannonia, taking advantage of the difficulties facing the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy following the death of its founder, Theodoric, in 526. Wacho's death in about 540 brought his son Walthari to the throne, but, as the latter was still a minor, the kingdom was governed in his stead by Alboin's father, Audoin, of the Gausian clan. Seven years Walthari died, giving Audoin the opportunity to crown himself and overthrow the reigning Lethings. Alboin was born in the 530s in Pannonia, the son of Audoin and his wife, Rodelinda, she may have been the niece of King Theodoric and betrothed to Audoin through the mediation of Emperor Justinian. Like his father, Alboin was raised a pagan, although Audoin had at one point attempted to gain Byzantine support against his neighbours by professing himself a Christian. Alboin took as his first wife the Christian Chlothsind, daughter of the Frankish King Chlothar; this marriage, which took place soon after the death of the Frankish ruler Theudebald in 555, is thought to reflect Audoin's decision to distance himself from the Byzantines, traditional allies of the Lombards, lukewarm when it came to supporting Audoin against the Gepids.
The new Frankish alliance was important because of the Franks' known hostility to the Byzantine empire, providing the Lombards with more than one option. However, the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire interprets events and sources differently, believing that Alboin married Chlothsind when a king in or shortly before 561, the year of Chlothar's death. Alboin first distinguished himself on the battlefield in a clash with the Gepids. At the Battle of Asfeld, he killed Turismod, son of the Gepid king Thurisind, in a victory that resulted in the Emperor Justinian's intervention to maintain equilibrium between the rival regional powers. After the battle, according to a tradition reported by Paul the Deacon, to be granted the right to sit at his father's table, Alboin had to ask for the hospitality of a foreign king and have him donate his weapons, as was customary. For this initiation, he went to the court of Thurisind, where the Gepid king gave him Turismod's arms. Walter Goffart believes it is probable that in this narrative Paul was making use of an oral tradition, is sceptical that it can be dismissed as a typical topos of an epic poem.
Alboin came to the throne after the death of his father, sometime between 560 and 565. As was customary among the Lombards, Alboin took the crown after an election by the tribe's freemen, who traditionally selected the king from the dead sovereign's clan. Shortly afterwards, in 565, a new war erupted with the Gepids, now led by Thurisind's son; the cause of the conflict is uncertain. An account of the war by the Byzantine Theophylact Simocatta sentimentalises the reasons behind the conflict, claiming it originated with Alboin's vain courting and subsequent kidnapping of Cunimund's daughter Rosamund, that Alboin proceeded to marry; the tale is treated with scepticism by Walter Goffart, who observes that it conflicts with the Origo Gentis Langobardorum, where she was captured only after the death of her father. The Gepids obtained the support of
Authari was king of the Lombards from 584 to his death. He was considered as the first Lombard king to have adopted some level of "Roman-ness" and introduced policies that led to drastic changes in the treatment of the Romans and Christianity. Authari was the son of King of the Lombards; when the latter died in 574, the Lombard nobility refused to appoint a successor, resulting in a ten-years-long interregnum known as the Rule of the Dukes. In 574 and 575 the Lombards invaded Provence part of the kingdom of Burgundy of the Merovingian Guntram; the latter, in alliance with his nephew, the king of Austrasia Childebert II, replied by invading Northern Italy. The Austrasian army took Trent; the Byzantine emperor, Tiberius II, began to negotiate an alliance with the Franks, so the Lombards, fearful of a pincer movement, elected another king. In 584, they elected Duke Authari and ceded him the capital of Pavia as well as half of their ducal domains as a demesne, he spent his entire reign in wars with the Franks, the Byzantines, Lombard rebels.
His first major test was the quashing of the rebel duke Droctulf of Brescello, who had allied with the Romans and was ruling the Po valley. Having expelled him, he spent most of the rest of his six years on the throne fighting the exarch of Ravenna, Smaragdus, or the Merovingian kings. Guntram and Childebert were still not satisfied with their successes in Italy and they many times threatened invasion, following through on their threats twice; the memory of Theudebert I of Austrasia's campaigns in Italy, the urging of Childebert's warlike mother Brunhilda and the Byzantine emperor and exarch, as well as the wrongs done Guntram in the past undoubtedly fueled their quarrelsomeness. In 588, Authari defeated them handily, but in 590, the uncle and nephew led two armies across the Alps over Mont Cenis and the Brenner to Milan and Verona. Though Authari shut himself up in Pavia, the Franks accomplished little as the exarch's army did not meet them and they could not join up with each other. Pestilence turned them around and they left the Lombards much chastened, but hardly defeated.
Authari, when not controlled by foreign armies, expanded the Lombard dominion at the expense of Byzantium. He cut off communication between Padua and Ravenna. Faroald, duke of Spoleto, utterly devastated it. Authari swept through the peninsula all the way to Reggio, vowing to take Calabria — a vow never to be kept by any Lombard. Authari married Theodelinda, daughter of the Bavarian duke Garibald I, on 15 May 589 at Verona. A Catholic, she had great influence among the Lombards for her virtue. A detailed account of the courtship by the eighth-century historian Paul the Deacon revealed that the marriage was a political alliance designed to provide additional sanction to Authari's royal position. In addition, Theodelinda was chosen due to the long-standing ties between the Lombards and the Bavarians as well as their mutual hostility toward the Franks, she claimed descent from the ancient Lombard royal line. When Authari died in Pavia in 590 by poison, he was succeeded as king by Agilulf, duke of Turin, on the advice, sought by the dukes, of Theodelinda, who married the new king.
Jarnut, Jörg. Geschichte der Langobarden. Stuttgart