University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years
(1969)

II: Conflict in the Mediterranean before the First Crusade,   pp. [30]-[79] PDF (10.8 MB)


Page 50

 50 A HISTORY OFTHE CRUSADES I 
the Amalfitans not oniy refused to return the 10,000 mancusi already paid
to them, but they formed an alliance with the Saracens. A proposal for combined
action by Salerno, Benevento, and the Byzantine forces, which had already
gained control over Calabria, also was nullified by the petty rivalry between:
the two cities over Capua after the ' death of its duke jn 879. The cities
and duchies of southern Italy refused to form a common anti- Saracen front
under papal auspices ;5 they cooperated with the Byzantines and aligned themselves
with the Saracens in accordance with their individual ambitions and needs.
As a result of this policy, the abbeys of San Vincenzo on the Volturno and
the more famous Monte Cassino were burned and destroyed around 883, the abbey
of Farfa was besieged in 890, and Subiaco was also destroyed. The Arabs entrenched
themselves firmly and comfortably along the Garigliano river at Trajetto
and, more closely to Rome, at Ciciliano and Saracinesco; from these bases
they plundered at will. Finally, pope John X succeeded in organizing a successful
campaign against them. He won over the Byzantines, some of the south Italian
princes, and even cities like Naples, Gaeta, Capua, and Salerno. At the Garigliano
river, in 915, this alliance — and pope John was on the field defeated
the last remaining Arab force on the Italian mainland; even in this battle
the princely leaders of Naples and Gaeta connived to help the enemy escape.
It was of no use; the Saracens were hunted down; and the period of Arab occupation
in Italy was over.6 
 In the final period of these relations, the chief, although not the exclusive,
activity came from the northern cities of the peninsula. Like those of the
south, they at first suffered from Arab attacks, but unlike those of the
south they never formed alliances with them and very quickly took the offensive
against them. To Genoa and Pisa falls the honor of having done most to clear
the western Mediterranean of the Arab menace. 
 From Sicily and from Africa the Arabs harassed the southern cities after
the events of 915. Taking Reggio in 918, the Arabs overran Calabria and sold
many inhabitants into slavery in Sicily 
 ~ On the policy of pope John VIII (872—882) against the Arabs, cf.
Fred E. Engreen, "Pope John the Eighth and the Arabs," Speculum, XX (i~4~),
318—330. 
 6 In this survey there is no place for an analysis of the revisionist attacks
upon Pirenne's views on the lack of western Mediterranean commerce during
this period. His latest statements are found in Mohammed and Charlemagne,
pp. i66, 172f., 179, 181—185. The arguments of the revisionists are
best presented by Robert S. Lopez, "Mohammed and Charlemagne: 
a Revision," Speculum, XVIII (i~~), 14—38, and Daniel C. Dennett, "Pirenne
and Muhammed," ibid., XXIII (1948), 165—190. Both refer to the arguments
of Sabbe and Ganshof. Cf. also Abbé J. Lestocjuoy, "The Tenth' Century,"
Economic History Review, XVII (' 947), 
1—14. 


Go up to Top of Page