Arduin of Ivrea
|Arduin of Ivrea|
Arduin of Ivrea in a 19th century engraving
|King of Italy|
|Reign||15 February 1002–1014|
|Coronation||14 May 1004, in San Michele Maggiore|
Pombia, Kingdom of Italy
14 December 1015 (aged 59–60)
|Burial||Abbey of Fruttuaria|
|Father||Dado of Pombia|
Arduino was born in 955 in Pombia during a period in which the Kingdom of Italy was struggling to maintain its independence from the ambitions of the Holy Roman Empire. Italy was conquered in 961 by Emperor Otto I, and the Italian King Berengario II was deposed. Arduino, who was only a boy when this happened, later became Marchese of Ivrea from 990-999, and in 991 became Count of the Sacred Palace of Lateran in Rome. In 1002, after the death of Emperor Otto III, the Italian nobles elected Arduino the King of Italy in the Basilica of San Michele Maggiore in Pavia, becoming the first Italian king since the deposition of Berengario 41 years earlier. He was initially supported by the Archbishop of Milan.
The new German king Henry II opposed Arduino and sent imperial troops to invade Italy in 1002, but his troops were unable to defeat Arduino's forces. Henry II then invaded Pavia with a large army in 1004 and proclaimed himself King of Italy, forcing Arduino to flee. The people of Pavia revolted against the German king. In response, Henry massacred the inhabitants and burned Pavia to the ground. For ten years, between 1004–1014, Arduino defended his crown. Henry II invaded Italy again in 1014 and was proclaimed Emperor in Rome, despite the opposition of the Roman nobles who supported Arduino. King Arduino was finally forced to relinquish his crown in 1014 and died soon after at Fruttuaria Abbey, ending the independence of the Kingdom of Italy. There would not be another native King of Italy until Italian Reunification in 1861.
In the year 961 the Emperor Otto I deposed the king of Italy Berengario II, and took the title for himself, unifying the crowns of Italy and Germany. But did not erased the influence of the Anscarids dinasty over northern Italy, as the March of Ivrea was inherited by Berengar's third son Conrad.
In the subsequent years, the political situaton in Northern Italy was marked by the struggle between the Bishops (that, at that time, were high ranking nobles, appointed by the Emperor himself to rule the largest feuds, and that owed their fortune to their personal relationship with him) and the secondi milites, the minor nobles, whose only source of livelihood were small, rural, feuds, and that were threatened by the expansionism of the bishops.
Arduin was born around 955 in Pombia and named after his maternal grandfather, Arduin Glaber. His father, Dado, Count of Pombia, was a nephew of King Berengar II. Arduin married Bertha, who is often said to be the daughter of Otbert II, Margrave of Milan. They had three sons: Arduin (sometimes called Ardicino), Otto and Guibert. From them descended the later counts of Ivrea and in turn those of Agliè, Brosso, Castellamonte, Front and Rivarolo.
In 990, Arduin succeeded his kinsman Conrad in the March of Ivrea. Conrad was a son of Berengar II and married to a daughter of Arduin Glaber. It is unclear if Arduin was appointed to Ivrea by the king–emperor Otto III or if he succeeded as Conrad's heir. The March of Ivrea, since its restructuring under Berengar II in 950, consisted of the counties of Burgaria, Ivrea, Lomello, Ossola, Pombia, Stazzona and Vercelli and the dioceses of Ivrea, Novara, Vercelli and Vigevano, plus part of those of Pavia and Milan. Arduin became Count of the Sacred Palace of Lateran in Rome in 991.
During his rule as Margrave of Ivrea, Arduin backed the claims of the monastic orders and of the secondi milites a policy that inevitably led to a conflict versus the imperial appointed bishops. The hostility turned into open conflict in the year 997, when the Emperor Otto III granted to Pietro, Bishop of Vercelli, the feud of Caresana. Arduin did not recognise the donation. There were riots in the city of Vercelli, between the secondi milites and the bishop's followers, during which the bishop was killed, Arduin intervened in the city, formally to restore order, and, during the clashes, the chatedral which contained the remains of the bishop, was burned.
The bishop-count Warmund of Ivrea condemned Arduin for the killing of Pietro, excommunicated him, and obtained by the Emperor the immunity of the city of Ivrea, and of the land for three miles outside the walls, from Arduin's rule.
In the year 1000 Arduin was in Rome, to explain his position to the newly appointed Pope Sylvester II, but the Pope, at the presence of the Emperor Otto III, and probably of Warmund and Leone, successor of Pietro as the bishop of Vercelli, confirmed the excommunication and condemend Arduin to abdicate to his title in favor of his son. Arduin did not accept the sentence, returned in his lands, and, instead of abdicating, expelled Warmund from Ivrea, rapidly conquered the cities of Vercelli and Novara, while his followers took control of Como and several cities of the Piedmont.
At that point the clash with the Emperor seemed inevitable, but Otto III died near Rome on 23 January 1002, without leaving direct descendants. On 15 February, in Pavia, a diet of feudal lords and secondi milites acclaimed Arduin King of Italy. According to the chronicler Arnulf of Milan. Arduin was "elected by the Lombards in Pavia and was called ‘caesar’ [emperor] by all". He then made the rounds of the kingdom with the Archbishop of Milan publicly at his side. However, while Arduin had the loyalty of the minor nobles, that of the bigger landlords, more tied to the imperial power, and instigated by the bishops, led by Frederick, Archbishop of Ravenna, was much more questionable.
In Germany Henry II was acclaimed king on 7 june 1002, and he did not recognize the coronation of Arduin. At first Henry sent Duke Otto I of Carinthia, whom he set over the March of Verona, to face Arduin, but the king of Italy defeated him along the Brenta river, in a pitched battle at Fabrica in spring 1003.
It was only the beginning. Henry invaded Italy with a large force that left Germany in March 1004 and arrived at Trento on 9 April 1004. He met Arduin outside Verona, where Arduin was disappointed by a poor showing from his erstwhile supporters. Henry then entered Pavia, ancient capital of Italy, had himself crowned king on 14 May in San Michele between the disapproval of the crowd, and then burned the city that had given shelter to Arduin. This had its effect: "all of Italy was horrified by this and likewise extremely fearful. As confidence in Arduin waned from this time on, Henry's power prevailed everywhere."
At that point, Henry was satisfied by this formal recognition, and did not want to push his forces further against Arduin, that had withdrawn in his stronghold of the Orco Valley, and returned in Germany in the early summer 1004. The valley was sieged until the winter 1004-1005 by the imperial forces, but then the siege was lifted, and Arduin rapidly regained the control of all of his previous possessions.
Arduin's rule lasted until 1014, when Henry descended in Italy again, to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome by Pope Benedict VIII. Already in Rome, and then during the way back to Germany there were several skirmishes between Henry's army and Arduin's followers, but at that point the old king, probably sick and tired, after having secured the possession of the main part of the March of Ivrea for his son (the march was dissolved, but Arduin II was appointed Count of Ivrea), renounced to all of his titles and retired to the Benedectine Abbey of Fruttuaria that he had founded in 1003, where he died on 14 December 1015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arduin of Italy.|
- Arnaldi 1962.
- Liber gestorum recentium I.14
- Arnulf, I.16
- Arnaldi, Girolamo (1962). "Arduino, re d'Italia". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. 4. Rome: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana.
Title last held byOtto III
|King of Italy
| Succeeded by|
|Margrave of Ivrea
|Holy Roman Emperor (Unorthodoxy)