County of Apulia and Calabria

County of Apulia and Calabria
Contea di Puglia e Calabria
Coat of arms
Motto: Servire Nescit
The Duchy in the political context of Italy and the Balkans in 1084.
Status Vassal state of the Papacy
Capital Melfi (1043–1077)
Salerno (1077–1130)
Common languages Norman, Neapolitan-Sicilian, Greek (minority)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Demonym Normans (generally), Apulians, Calabrians
Government Feudal absolute monarchy
William I
Robert I
William II
Historical era Middle Ages
 Lombard lords elect William of Hauteville as Count
 Emperor Henry III recognize the County
 Battle of Civitate; Pope Leo IX recognize the County
 Treaty of Melfi; the County becomes a Duchy
 Death of the childless William II
 Coronation of Roger; Duchy annexed to Sicily
Currency Follis (common)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Byzantine Empire
Principality of Salerno
Duchy of Benevento
Emirate of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
Today part of  Italy

The County of Apulia and Calabria, later the Duchy of Apulia and Calabria, was a Norman country founded by William of Hauteville in 1042 in the territories of Gargano, Capitanata, Apulia, Campania, and Vulture. It became a duchy when Robert Guiscard was raised to the rank of duke by Pope Nicholas II in 1059.

The duchy was disestablished in 1130 when the last duke of Apulia and Calabria, Roger II of Sicily became King of Sicily. The title of duke was thereafter used intermittently as a title for the heir apparent to the Kingdom of Sicily.


William I of Hauteville, who returned in September 1042 in Melfi, was recognized by all the Normans as supreme leader. He turned to Guaimar IV, Lombard, Prince of Salerno, and Rainulf Drengot, Count of Aversa, and offered both an alliance. With the unification of the two Norman families, Altavilla and Drengot, Guaimar offered official recognition of the conquests and at the end of the year, an assembly of Lombards and Norman barons at Melfi met with Rainulf and William, which ended at the beginning of the following year (1043). In this meeting, Guaimar V of Salerno ensured the Hauteville dominance over Melfi. William of Hauteville formed the second core of his possessions and differentiated himself from Rainulf I of Aversa, head of the territories of Campania. All the barons present offered a tribute as a vassal to Guaimar, which recognized William I of Hauteville as the first of the title of Count of Apulia. To tie it to himself, he offered to marry her niece Guide, daughter of Guy, Duke of Sorrento. Guaimar reconfirmed the title of count to Rainulf as well, which created the County of Puglia.

William stated that the first capital of the county, and home of the Crown would be Melfi, a city that would remain outside the partition. It would remain capital for forty years before being moved to Salerno: the center of the city was divided into twelve districts, each of them with a palace and a count with control over that area of town.

List of counts and dukes

William is usually considered the first count of Apulia and Calabria. In 1047, the Emperor Henry III took away Guaimar's ducal title. He christened William's brother and successor Drogo Dux et Magister Italiae comesque Normannorum totius Apuliae et Calabriae and made him a direct vassal of the emperor.


In 1127 the duchy passed to the count of Sicily. It was thereafter used intermittently as a title for the heir apparent.

The title was left vacant after the death of Roger IV. It may have been revived for a short-lived son of William II:

It was revived by King Tancred for his eldest son in 1189:

See also


    • Chalandon, Ferdinand. Histoire de la domination normande en Italie et en Sicile. Paris: 1907.
    • Houben, Hubert (translated by Graham A. Loud and Diane Milburn). Roger II of Sicily: Ruler between East and West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
    • Matthew, Donald. The Norman Kingdom of Sicily. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
    • Norwich, John Julius. The Normans in the South 10161130. London: Longman, 1967.
    • Norwich, John Julius. The Kingdom in the Sun 11301194. London: Longman, 1970.
    • Takayama, Hiroshi. The Administration of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. BRILL, 1993.

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