Guaimar IV of Salerno
Guaimar IV was Prince of Salerno (1027–1052), Duke of Amalfi (1039–1052), Duke of Gaeta (1040–1041), and Prince of Capua (1038–1047) in Southern Italy over the period from 1027 to 1052. He was an important figure in the final phase of Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 authority in the Mezzogiorno
The Midday is a wide definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the southern half of the Italian state, encompassing the southern section of the continental Italian Peninsula and the two major islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to a large number of minor islands...

 and the commencement of Norman power
Norman conquest of southern Italy
The Norman conquest of southern Italy spanned the late eleventh and much of the twelfth centuries, involving many battles and many independent players conquering territories of their own...

. He was, according to Amatus of Montecassino
Amatus of Montecassino
Amatus of Montecassino , a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Montecassino is one of three Italo-Norman chroniclers, the others being William of Apulia and Goffredo Malaterra...

, "more courageous than his father, more generous and more courteous; indeed he possessed all the qualities a layman should have—except that he took an excessive delight in women."

Early conquests

He was born around the year 1013, the eldest son of Guaimar III of Salerno
Guaimar III of Salerno
Guaimar III was duke of Salerno from around 994 to his death. His date of death is sometimes given as 1030 or 1031, but the most reliable sources consistently indicate 1027. Under his reign, Salerno entered an era of great splendour...

 by Gaitelgrima
Gaitelgrima is a Lombard feminine name. There are several notable Gaitelgrimas in history. The identities of these four women are often confused because they were all closely related to each other and to two men: Guaimar III of Salerno and his son, Guaimar IV, whose enumeration is often altered...

, daughter of Duke Pandulf II of Benevento
Pandulf II of Benevento
Pandulf II the Old was the prince of Benevento from 981 and prince of Capua from 1008 or 1009 to his death, the son of Landulf III who was co-prince between 959 and 968...

. His elder half-brother, the son of Porpora of Tabellaria, John (III) reigned as co-prince from 1015. When he died in 1018, Guaimar was made co-prince. In 1022, the Emperor Henry II campaigned in southern Italy against the Greeks and sent Pilgrim, Archbishop of Cologne
Pilgrim, Archbishop of Cologne
Pilgrim was the archbishop of Cologne and archchancellor of Italy in the Holy Roman Empire, a dignity he obtained for all his successors....

, to attack Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV was the Prince of Capua on three separate occasions.From February 1016 to 1022 he ruled in association with his cousin Pandulf II. In 1018, the Byzantine catapan Boiannes destroyed the Lombard army of Melus of Bari and his Norman allies at Cannae...

, nicknamed the "Wolf of the Abruzzi", and Guaimar of Salerno. Pandulf was captured and Guaimar submitted, sending the younger Guaimar as a hostage. The emperor remanded him to Pope Benedict VIII
Pope Benedict VIII
Pope Benedict VIII , born Theophylactus, Pope from 1012 to 1024, of the noble family of the counts of Tusculum , descended from Theophylact, Count of Tusculum like his predecessor Pope Benedict VI .Benedict VIII was opposed by an antipope, Gregory...

 and he was released. The younger Guaimar succeeded his father in Salerno in 1027 (at the age of fourteen or sixteen, possibly under the regency
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of his mother during his brief minority). He embarked then on a lifelong quest to control the whole of the southern third of the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...


In 1036, he received word that his uncle and erstwhile ally, Pandulf of Capua, had attempted to rape his niece, the daughter of his wife's sister and the Duke of Sorrento. He then received the homage of the defecting Rainulf Drengot
Rainulf Drengot
Rainulf Drengot was a Norman adventurer and the first count of Aversa .When one of Rainulf's numerous brothers, Osmond, was exiled by Richard I of Normandy for the murder of one of his kin, Rainulf, Osmond, and their brothers Gilbert Buatère, Asclettin , and Raulf went on a pilgrimage to the...

, formerly a vassal of Pandulf. Thus, Guaimar won the support of the Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 in the Mezzogiorno. In 1037, Guaimar made the politically savvy request of arbitration to both the Holy Roman
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 and Byzantine emperors over the issue of Pandulf's unfitness to rule. Emperor Conrad II accepted the invitation and traveled south in Spring 1038. He demanded hostages from Pandulf. However, the hostages escaped and Capua was promptly besieged. Having taken that principality, he gave it to Guaimar (May), who asked for a title of nobility for his new Norman vassal. This was granted and Rainulf officially became "Count of Aversa" and a vassal of Salerno.

Guaimar set out to take possession of his new principality immediately. On 15 August, he conquered Rocca Vandra and gave it to the abbey of Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome, Italy, c. to the west of the town of Cassino and altitude. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. It was the site of Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944...

. Meanwhile, the Normans of Aversa pacified the valley of the Sangro. After Pandulf fled to Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, Guaimar turned his attention to Amalfi
Amalfi is a town and comune in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania, Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno, c. 35 km southeast of Naples. It lies at the mouth of a deep ravine, at the foot of Monte Cerreto , surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery...

. In April 1039, in support of the deposed and blinded Manso II
Manso II of Amalfi
Manso II the Blind was the duke of Amalfi on three separate occasions: from 1028 to 1029, from 1034 to 1038, and from 1043 to 1052. He was the second son of Sergius II and Maria, sister of Pandulf IV of Capua. His whole ducal career consisted of wars with his brother, John II, over the throne. The...

, Guaimar forced the abdication and exile of John II
John II of Amalfi
John II was the duke of Amalfi from 1029 to 1069 with multiple interruptions. He was the son of Sergius II and Maria, sister of Pandulf IV of Capua. He was the last significant duke of Amalfi before the Norman conquest of 1073....

 and his mother, Maria, a sister of Pandulf. Guaimar installed himself as duke. Then in July, he conquered Sorrento
Sorrento, Italy
Sorrento is a small town in Campania, southern Italy, with some 16,500 inhabitants. It is a popular tourist destination which can be reached easily from Naples and Pompeii, as it lies at the south-eastern end of the Circumvesuviana rail line...

, which had been conquered by Pandulf in 1034. He gave it to his brother Guy
Guy, Duke of Sorrento
Guy was the duke of Sorrento from 1035, the brother of Guaimar IV of Salerno, father-in-law of William Iron Arm and William of the Principate, and brother-in-law of Humphrey of Hauteville. He was the son of Guaimar III and Gaitelgrima. Guy's place in history is secured primarily through his...

 with the title of duke. He also received the homage of the Duke of Naples, John V
John V of Naples
John V was the son and successor of Sergius IV as Duke of Naples from 1034 until his death.In 1034 Pandulf IV of Capua instigated a revolt in Sorrento and annexed it to Capua. In the same year, Sergius IV's sister died and her husband, Rainulf Drengot, returned to Pandulf's allegiance...

, who had brought the request for mediation to Constantinople in 1037.

In the north, he brought Comino
Comino is an island of the Maltese archipelago between the islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea, measuring in area. Named after the cumin seed that once flourished in the Maltese islands, Comino is noted for its tranquility and isolation. It has a permanent population of only four...

, Aquino
Aquino is a town and comune in the province of Frosinone, in the Lazio region of Italy, 12 km northwest of Cassino.-History:The ancient Aquinum was a municipium in the time of Cicero, and made a colony by the Triumviri...

, Traetto (May 1039), Venafro
Venafro is a comune in the province of Isernia, region of Molise, Italy. It has a population of around 12,000, having expanded quickly in the post-war period.-Geography:...

 (October 1040), Pontecorvo
Pontecorvo is a town and comune in the province of Frosinone, Lazio, Italy. Its population is 13,400.- History :The village lies under Rocca Guglielma, a medieval fortification perched on an inaccessible spur...

, and Sora
Sora, Italy
Sora is a city and comune of Lazio, Italy, in the province of Frosinone. It is built in a plain on the banks of the Liri. This part of the valley is the seat of some important manufactures, especially of paper-mills....

 under his rule. In June 1040, he took Gaeta
Gaeta is a city and comune in the province of Latina, in Lazio, central Italy. Set on a promontory stretching towards the Gulf of Gaeta, it is 120 km from Rome and 80 km from Naples....

, which had been conquered by Pandulf in 1032. After October 1041, Guaimar ceases to appear in the acts of Gaeta and it seems he was replaced by a popular usurper related to the old dynasty, Leo
Leo I of Gaeta
Leo I, called the Usurper, was the usurping consul and duke of Gaeta on two quite separate occasions. He was the son of one Docibilis, a relative of the Docibilian dynasty, probably a son of Duke Gregory....

. By December 1042, however, Gaeta was in the hands of Rainulf, holding it from Guaimar.

Hauteville alliance

Soon after, he became involved with the Hautevilles
Tancred of Hauteville
Tancred of Hauteville was an 11th-century Norman petty lord about whom little is known. His historical importance comes entirely from the accomplishments of his sons and later descendants...

. The Byzantines, who had not responded to Guaimar's earlier request for help, were preparing an expedition under the great general Giorgio Maniace
George Maniaces
George Maniakes was a prominent Byzantine Greek general during the 11th century, he was the catepan of Italy in 1042. He is known as Gyrgir in Scandinavian sagas....

. Guaimar sent, at their request, a cohort of Lombard and Norman warriors, the first of which was one William
William Iron Arm
William Iron Arm was a Norman adventurer, founder of the fortunes of the Hauteville family. One of twelve sons of Tancred of Hauteville, he journeyed to the Mezzogiorno with his younger brother Drogo in the first half of the eleventh century , in response to requests for help made by fellow...

, who, in Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, won the epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

 "Iron Arm". In 1038, the Normans and Lombards returned in a rebellious state and quickly invaded Greek Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

. In this, Guaimar supported them and, in 1042, they elected William Iron Arm as count and sought the approval of Guaimar, whom they acclaimed, in full opposition to any Byzantine claims, Duke of Apulia and Calabria (1043). Guaimar, in accordance with good feudal theory, granted them Melfi
Melfi is a town and comune in the Vulture area of the province of Potenza, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata.-Geography:On a hill at the foot of Mount Vulture, Melfi is the most important town in Basilicata's Vulture, both as a tourist resort and economic centre.-Early history:Inhabited...

 and the republican model on which it was set up. The feudal grounding was not so good in law, however. Guaimar was only duke by acclamation of the men he appointed as vassals and it was by the authority of the ducal title that he installed them in Melfi. This would cause him trouble later.

In 1044, he and the Iron Arm began to take Calabria and built a large castle at Squillace
Squillace is an ancient seaside town and comune, in the Province of Catanzaro, part of Calabria, southern Italy, facing the Gulf of Squillace....

. In his later years, he had trouble retaining his possessions in the face of the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 and the Normans. Rainulf Drengot, who still held Aversa, originally from the Duke of Naples, died in 1045 and his county passed, against all protestation from Guaimar, to his nephew Asclettin. Later in that same year, Guaimar opposed the succession of Asclettin's cousin Rainulf Trincanocte
Rainulf Trincanocte
Rainulf II, called Trincanocte, was the fourth Count of Aversa , the cousin and nephew respectively of his immediate predecessor Asclettin and Rainulf Drengot, the founder of their family's fortunes in the Mezzogiorno...

, but again was overridden. These quarrels led the once-loyal Aversa to return its allegiance to Pandulf, lately returned from exile in Constantinople. War with Pandulf continued from 1042 to 1047. Guaimar secured his own position, however, by recognising William's brother Drogo
Drogo of Hauteville
Drogo of Hauteville succeeded his brother, William Iron Arm, with whom he arrived in southern Italy c. 1035, as the leader of the Normans of Apulia....

 shortly after William's death in 1046 and by giving him his sister Gaitelgrima
Gaitelgrima is a Lombard feminine name. There are several notable Gaitelgrimas in history. The identities of these four women are often confused because they were all closely related to each other and to two men: Guaimar III of Salerno and his son, Guaimar IV, whose enumeration is often altered...

 in marriage.

Later reversals

In 1047, however, Guaimar's life's work was undone. In that year Emperor Henry III came to demand homage from the dukes of the south. He returned Capua to Pandulf and took Aversa and Melfi directly under his suzerainty. Finally, he deprived Guaimar of his title over Apulia and Calabria, bringing to an end that troublesome feudal oddity. The emperor also besieged Benevento, where Empress Agnes was being held while the gates were shut to him. At that point, Daufer, the future Pope Victor III
Pope Victor III
Pope Blessed Victor III , born Daufer , Latinised Dauferius, was the Pope as the successor of Pope Gregory VII, yet his pontificate is far less impressive in history than his time as Desiderius, the great Abbot of Monte Cassino.-Early life and abbacy:He was born in 1026 or 1027 of a non-regnant...

, brother of Pandulf III of Benevento
Pandulf III of Benevento
Pandulf III was the prince of Benevento in the Mezzogiorno in medieval Italy, first as co-ruler with his father, Landulf V, and grandfather, Pandulf II, from 1012 or thereabouts to 1014, when the elder Pandulf died. He co-ruled with his father until his death in 1033...

, fled the city and sought the protection of Guaimar, who gave him refuge in La Trinità della Cava
La Trinità della Cava
La Trinità della Cava is a Benedictine abbey located near Cava de' Tirreni, in the province of Salerno, southern Italy. It stands in a gorge of the Finestre Hills.-History:...

. Daufer's nephew Landulf
Landulf VI of Benevento
Landulf VI was the last prince of Benevento. Unlike his predecessors, he never had a chance to rule alone and independent. The principality lost its independence in 1051, at which point Landulf was only co-ruling with his father, Pandulf III.Landulf was the eldest son of Pandulf and he was first...

 personally traveled to Salerno to meet with Guaimar and negotiate the return of Daufer. Daufer was returned with the promise that his choice of a monastic vocation would be respected.

In 1048, Pandulf, once again prince of Capua, was at war with Guaimar. On the death in that year of Rainulf II of Aversa (Rainulf Trincanocte), his succeeding son Herman
Herman, Count of Aversa
Herman was the son of Rainulf Trincanocte, count of Aversa , whom he succeeded. He was only an infant then and he was put under the regency of his father's cousin Richard. Within two years, he had disappeared from the scene and Richard was count...

, an infant, required a regent. The first appointment, Bellebouche, was a failure. Richard Drengot
Richard I of Capua
Richard I Drengot was a count of Aversa and prince of Capua .He was the son of Asclettin, count of Acerenza, younger brother of Asclettin, count of Aversa, and nephew of Rainulf Drengot, the Norman adventurer who had first travelled to southern Italy in 1017 and progressed to set up the first...

, a cousin of Herman's, was then in a Melfitan prison for making war on Drogo. Guaimar soon procured his release and personally brought him to Aversa, where he was installed as regent, and later as count in his own right. Thus, Guaimar recaptured the allegiance of Aversa.


At a synod in Benevento
Benevento is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 m above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato...

 in July 1051, Pope Leo IX
Pope Leo IX
Pope Saint Leo IX , born Bruno of Eguisheim-Dagsburg, was Pope from February 12, 1049 to his death. He was a German aristocrat and as well as being Pope was a powerful secular ruler of central Italy. He is regarded as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, with the feast day of April 19...

 beseeched Guaimar and Drogo to stop the Norman incursions on church lands. Soon Drogo was assassinated, probably by a Byzantine conspiracy. The next year, on 3 June 1052, Guaimar too was assassinated in the harbour of his capital. The four assassins were the brothers of his wife Gemma. Guaimar's brother Pandulf of Capaccio was also killed, but Guy of Sorrento escaped while Guaimar's sister and niece were locked up. The brothers-in-law seized the city and elected Pandulf, eldest among them, prince.

Guy fled to the Normans and soon the four conspirators were besieged in Salerno by a large Norman force and Guy's Sorrentine army. The assassins' families soon fell into their enemies' hands and they negotiated their release by releasing Gisulf, Guaimar's son and heir, to Guy. Guy accepted their surrender soon after, promising not to harm them. The Normans, however, who maintained they were not bound by Guy's oath, massacred the four brothers and thirty-six others, one for each stab wound found in Guaimar's body. Thus the Normans showed their loyalty to Guaimar even after his death.

Guaimar's legacy includes his dominion, either by conquest or otherwise, over Salerno, Amalfi, Gaeta, Naples, Sorrento, Apulia, Calabria, and Capua at one time or another. He was the last great Lombard prince of the south, but perhaps he is best known for his character, which the Lord Norwich
John Julius Norwich
John Julius Cooper, 2nd Viscount Norwich CVO — known as John Julius Norwich — is an English historian, travel writer and television personality.-Early life:...

 sums up nicely: "...without once breaking a promise or betraying a trust. Up to the day he died his honour and good faith had never once been called in question."


Guaimar married Gemma, a daughter of the Capuan Count Laidulf. They were married before 1032. They had six sons, five of whom outlived them, and at least four daughters.

In 1037, Guaimar had made his eldest son John co-prince as John IV, but John died in 1039. Guaimar was succeeded by his second son Gisulf II
Gisulf II of Salerno
Gisulf II was the last Lombard prince of Salerno ....

 (co-prince since 1042), whom the Normans put under their protection. His third son was Landulf, Lord of Policastro. His fourth son Guy was an ally of Robert Guiscard
Robert Guiscard
Robert d'Hauteville, known as Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, from Latin Viscardus and Old French Viscart, often rendered the Resourceful, the Cunning, the Wily, the Fox, or the Weasel was a Norman adventurer conspicuous in the conquest of southern Italy and Sicily...

. His fifth son was John, Abbot of Curte. His youngest son, Guaimar, co-ruled with his brother Gisulf.

Guaimar's eldest daughter was Sichelgaita, who married Robert Guiscard. His younger daughter was Gaitelgrima
Gaitelgrima, daughter of Guaimar IV
Gaitelgrima was the daughter of Guaimar IV of Salerno and Gemma. She was married off by her brother Gisulf II of Salerno to Jordan I of Capua as was her sister, Sichelgaita, to Robert Guiscard....

, whom he married to Drogo after William's death. She brought with her a large dowry. She married twice more: to Robert, Count of Monte Sant'Angelo, and to a Count Alfred. Humphrey
Humphrey of Hauteville
Humphrey of Hauteville , surnamed Abagelard, was the Count of Apulia and Calabria from 1051 to his death.Humphrey was probably the youngest son of Tancred of Hauteville by his first wife Muriel. Some sources make Geoffrey and Serlo his younger brothers...

, Drogo's brother and successor, is said to have married a daughter of Guaimar's, often assumed to be the widow of his brother, but this is impossible. Also, Jordan I of Capua
Jordan I of Capua
Jordan I , count of Aversa and prince of Capua from 1078 to his death, was the eldest son and successor of Prince Richard I of Capua and Fressenda, a daughter of Tancred of Hauteville and his second wife, also named Fressenda, and the nephew of Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily...

is said to have married a woman named "Gatteclina", a sister of Sichelgaita.
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