Crisis of Kingdom of Italy and Strengthening of Local Life Part 3
According to COLLEGESANDUNIVERSITIESINUSA, the same negative factors that had already led to ruin the Lombard kingdom continued to act. And others more: the new disturbance produced by the Frankish conquest; the territorial power of the popes; the new elements of aristocracy that came with the Carolingian dynasty, which brought back the predatory and hoarding spirit of the times of the invasions and never felt united with the kingdom of the Lombards; the restored direct electivity with related very frequent dynastic changes, which made it impossible to consolidate feelings and interests around one of them. The monarchical spirit of the upper classes ended to extinguish, to make way for that practical intolerance of the monarchy, to accept it by name but in fact reject it, which later characterized municipal Italy, more than any other country in Europe.
For over twenty years, King Ugo held up well in the saddle. He had great energy and cunning and ambition. He bravely faced the snares of the tycoons of the kingdom; on the contrary, he opposed to them a crowd of relatives and countrymen of his to whom he entrusted bishoprics, abbeys, important offices of the kingdom: what, putting them in the bad view of the Italians, forced them, isolated as they were in a foreign country, to be loyal to the king. He also hinted at an orientation towards the free alloderi and the lower classes of the feudal world, among whom lively animosity already fermented against the great and aspirations of inheritance of offices and benefits. Even over Tuscany, a land not very accessible to the kings of Italy, he was able to exercise a certain effective authority. In Rome, he solicited or accepted the hand of Marozia, for the third time wife and now almost mistress of the city, she and her son Pope John XI (932), with their dominion of Castel S. Angelo, the true strategic center of Rome. He also pushed his eye towards the south, you want him to resume Ludovico’s policy, you want to parry the incursions of the Saracens from there. But if all of Italy was treacherous terrain, even more was Rome, a city of popes, a city of aristocracy that had taken possession of the papacy and made itself strong against others’ ambitions for domination, a city of great memories, of intolerance towards every foreign lord, of survivors, indeed revived spirits of Romanity against the barbarians. The papacy itself had helped to maintain here some of the old feeling of superiority towards all. The literary tradition and the studies of Roman law also helped in this, which they were resuming everywhere and which also found their home in Rome. From here, the same year 932, the rebellion of the Romans against King Ugo, led by the son of Marozia himself, Alberico. Seeing that what was almost his maternal inheritance escaped from the hands of his mother’s last marriage with Ugo, Alberico raised the Roman people against his mother and John XI, who were imprisoned, forced Ugo and the “barbarians” of Provence and Burgundy to fleeing, then frustrated his every attempt to return, in view of the imperial crown, and only in 946 was reconciled with him, following his renunciation in Rome. Since then, Alberico held firmly this city, as prince and senator of Rome, master of civil matters and, at the same time, of the ecclesiastical: although the pope, with the sphere of spiritual activities, was recognized the nominal sovereignty of the state of the church. This was Alberico’s a little personal regime, a little class, a little monarchy, a little oligarchic republic. Of course, he relied on the Roman people and, more especially, on the nobility, flattering their pride and recalling the ancient glories of the city, as often since then the laity who have worked and spoken in Rome from a high seat or from the Italy have aimed at Rome. Rome hinted at wanting to regain its own history, centered on that aristocracy which, whatever its origin, had its roots in Roman soil. And now, with Alberico, Rome practically claimed for itself, in front of the kings of Italy and even the pontiff, the right to assign the imperial crown or not. All this took place at a time of serious crisis for papal or church Rome. It was struggling in the coils of those secular interests that the social development of the duchy created and the temporal dominion of the popes moved in reaction. For over a century, after Nicholas I and John VIII, the Roman pontificate descended from the seat already conquered and seemed to lose the awareness of itself and its tasks and its position in front of the state. The distant propaganda work ceased. The East detached itself definitively from Rome and the papacy, for which it had nothing but contempt. This also explains the Roman revolution and the dictatorship of Alberico.