|Bari - Capital of the Byzantine Catapanate of Italy|
Byzantine Southern Italy
The Roman domination of southern Italy began in the third century BC and lasted until the fall of the Western Empire in 476 AD. A period of Roman control lasting over 700 years.
Italy was ruled under the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths for a rather short 60 years period until 553 AD with the re-conquest of Italy by armies sent by the Eastern Emperor Justinian.
The Eastern Empire continued to rule all or part of Italy for more than 500 years until the last Byzantine outpost of Bari fell in April, 1071. In all, Republican and Imperial control of southern Italy lasted about 1,200 years.
|The Roman Republic conquest of Italy. By the 3rd century BC Rome had |
gained control of all of Italy and kept control for another 700 years.
|Eastern Roman Army Re-enactors|
The Catapanate of Italy
The Catepanate (or Catapanate) of Italy was a military-civilian province of the Eastern Roman Empire, comprising roughly the southern third of mainland Italy south of Naples.
The province was ruled by a Katepano "[the one] placed at the top", or " the topmost"). The term was a senior Byzantine military rank and office. The word was Latinized as capetanus/catepan, and its meaning seems to have merged with that of the Italian "capitaneus" (which derives from the Latin word "caput", meaning head).
This hybridized term gave rise to the English language term captain and its equivalents in other languages (Capitan, Kapitan, Kapitän, El Capitan, Il Capitano, Kapudan Pasha etc.)
The Italian region of Capitanata derives its name from the Catepanate.
Amalfi and Naples were north of the Catepanate, but they maintained allegiance to Constantinople through the catepan.
In 871, the Byzantines re-conquered the short lives Emirate of Bari from the Muslim Saracens.
Along with the already existing military theme of Calabria, the region of Apulia, around Bari, formed a new theme of Longobardia.
The title of katepanō meant "the uppermost" in Greek. This elevation was deemed militarily necessary after the final loss of nearby Sicily, a previously Byzantine possession, to the Arabs.
The Norman Conquest
Some Norman adventurers, on pilgrimage to Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano, lent their swords in 1017 to the Lombard cities of Apulia against the Byzantines.
From 1016 to 1030 the Normans were pure mercenaries, serving either Byzantine or Lombard, and then Duke Sergius IV of Naples. Installing their leader Ranulf Drengot in the fortress of Aversa in 1030, gave them their first foot hold and they began an organized conquest of the land from the Byzantines.
In 1030 there arrived William and Drogo, the two eldest sons of Tancred of Hauteville, a petty noble of Coutances in Normandy. The two joined in the organized attempt to wrest Apulia from the Byzantines, who had lost most of that province by 1040.
Bari was captured by the Normans in April 1071, and Byzantine authority was finally terminated in Italy, five centuries after the conquests of Justinian I. The Byzantines returned briefly to besiege Bari in 1156.
The title Catapan of Apulia and Campania was revived briefly in 1166 for Gilbert, Count of Gravina, the cousin of the queen regent Margaret of Navarre. In 1167, with his authority as catapan, Gilbert forced German troops out of the Campania and compelled Frederick Barbarossa to raise the siege of Ancona.
|The Castle of Sant'Aniceto|
The castle was a major Byzantine fortification in Rhegion (Reggio Calabria), the capital of the military theme of Calabria.
The Byzantine castle of Motta Sant'Aniceto was built in the 11th century. In the background, the Etna volcano. The Byzantine troops in the castle were looking directly at the now Muslim conquered island of Sicily. The Arabs were constantly attacking Byzantine troops in southern Italy.
(Military Theme of Calabria)
|Bari and its fortress.|
Catepans - Military Governors
|A wider view of the Eastern Roman Empire at about 1025 AD|
including the Catepanate of Italy.
(Norman conquest of Italy) (Roman Republic) (Catepanate of Italy)