Richard I of Capua
Richard I Drengot was a count of Aversa
Aversa is a town and comune in the Province of Caserta in Campania southern Italy, about 15 kilometres north of Naples. It is the centre of an agricultural district, the agro aversano, producing wine and cheese...

 (1049–1078) and prince of Capua (1058–1078).

He was the son of Asclettin
Asclettin of Acerenza
Asclettin was the first count of Acerenza, one of the twelve leaders of the Norman mercenaries of Guaimar IV of Salerno who conquered much of Apulia between 1038 and 1042. In the latter year, the division of the conquests twelvefold was made and Asclettin received his portion.Asclettin arrived in...

, count of Acerenza
Acerenza is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata.-History:With its strategic position 800 m above sea-level, Acerenza has been sacked by a series of invaders....

, younger brother of Asclettin, count of Aversa, and nephew of 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...

, the Norman
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...

 adventurer who had first travelled to southern Italy in 1017 and progressed to set up the first Norman state in the region (1030). Richard arrived in the Mezzogiorno shortly after Rainulf's death in 1046 with a coterie of forty knights.

His first years in the south were not remarkable. He was considered a threat by the reigning count in Aversa, 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...

, and he took up service with Humphrey of Hauteville
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...

, brother of Drogo of Hauteville
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....

, count of Apulia, and then Sarule of Genzano. His plundering and pillaging with the latter caused Trincanocte to grant him his brother Asclettin's lands, but he incited Drogo to throw him in prison and there he languished until, on Trincanocte's death, the infant Count 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...

 needed a competent regent
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...

. The suzerain of Aversa and Apulia, Prince Guaimar IV of Salerno
Guaimar IV of Salerno
Guaimar IV was Prince of Salerno , Duke of Amalfi , Duke of Gaeta , and Prince of Capua in Southern Italy over the period from 1027 to 1052. He was an important figure in the final phase of Byzantine authority in the Mezzogiorno and the commencement of Norman power...

, procured Richard's release and he was set up as Herman's guardian in 1048. Soon, Herman disappears from the records and Richard is titling himself count.

He was present, in 1053, at the Battle of Civitate
Battle of Civitate
The Battle of Civitate was fought on 18 June 1053 in Southern Italy, between the Normans, led by the Count of Apulia Humphrey of Hauteville, and a Swabian-Italian-Lombard army, organised by Pope Leo IX and led on the battlefield by Gerard, Duke of Lorraine, and Rudolf, Prince of Benevento...

, where he commanded the right wing against the Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 of the papal army. He charged first that day and routed the Lombard contingent, pursuing them a long distance before turning back to assist Humphrey and 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...

, turning the tide in favour of the Normans.

Richard was constantly seeking territorial aggrandisement through war against his Lombard neighbours, Pandulf VI of Capua
Pandulf VI of Capua
Pandulf VI was the successor of Pandulf IV as Prince of Capua from his death in 1050 to his own seven years later. He was the son of Pandulf IV and Maria. He co-ruled with his father in the Duchy of Gaeta as early as 1032–1038.He was a weak ruler under whom the principality declined in...

 and Guaimar's son and successor, Gisulf II of Salerno
Gisulf II of Salerno
Gisulf II was the last Lombard prince of Salerno ....

. He pushed back the borders of the latter until there was little left of the once great principality but the city of Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

 itself and when the weak prince of Capua died in 1057, he immediately besieged Capua
Capua is a city and comune in the province of Caserta, Campania, southern Italy, situated 25 km north of Naples, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. Ancient Capua was situated where Santa Maria Capua Vetere is now...

 and took the princely title (1058) from Pandulf's brother, Landulf VIII
Landulf VIII of Capua
Landulf VIII was the last Lombard prince of Capua from 1057, when his brother Pandulf VI died, to the conquest of the city in 1058 by Count Richard of Aversa. Landulf was first associated with the rule along with his brother in 1047, when their father, the infamous Pandulf IV, was reinstated as...

, but left the keys to the city in Lombard hands for at least four years more, until 12 May 1062. He betrothed his daughter to the son of Atenulf I
Atenulf I of Gaeta
Atenulf I was the Lombard count of Aquino who rose to become Duke of Gaeta in Southern Italy during the chaotic middle of the eleventh century....

, Duke of Gaeta, but when the boy died before the marriage took place, he demanded the morgengab
Dower or morning gift was a provision accorded by law to a wife for her support in the event that she should survive her husband...

 anyway. The duke refused and consequently Richard besieged and took 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...

, one of the few feudatories of Gaeta remaining. Desiderius of Benevento, the abbot of Montecassino, convinced Richard to extort only 400 sou
Sou may refer to:* Sou , a type of food pastry* Sou , a film by Theodore Ushev for Shorts in Motion: The Art of Seduction* Solidus #France, French slang for coins...

from the duke (1058), however.

In February 1059, Hildebrand, the future Pope Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII
Pope St. Gregory VII , born Hildebrand of Sovana , was Pope from April 22, 1073, until his death. One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor affirming the primacy of the papal...

, then only a high-ranking member of the Papal Curia, travelled to Capua to enlist his aid on behalf of the reforming Pope Nicholas II
Pope Nicholas II
Pope Nicholas II , born Gérard de Bourgogne, Pope from 1059 to July 1061, was at the time of his election the Bishop of Florence.-Antipope Benedict X:...

 against the antipope
An antipope is a person who opposes a legitimately elected or sitting Pope and makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th century, antipopes were typically those supported by a...

 Benedict X. Soon, Richard was besieging poor Bendedict in Galeria
Galeria is the name of a Roman gens, or family. Male members of the gens Galeria bore the nomen Galerius, female members Galeria.Galeria may refer to the following persons:* Galeria , a Roman actress during the 1st century BC....

 and, in 1059, Nicholas convened a synod at 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...

 where he confirmed Robert Guiscard as duke of Apulia, Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

, and 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,...

 and Richard as count of Aversa and prince of Capua. Richard swore allegiance to the papacy and respect for papal territory, completely transforming the political loyalties of the south of Italy and removing the few remaining independent Greek and Lombard princes and 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...

 from the picture.

In 1061 he, again at Hildebrand's request, militarily installed the reformers' papal candidate Alexander II
Pope Alexander II
Pope Alexander II , born Anselmo da Baggio, was Pope from 1061 to 1073.He was born in Milan. As bishop of Lucca he had been an energetic coadjutor with Hildebrand of Sovana in endeavouring to suppress simony, and to enforce the celibacy of the clergy...

 against the claims of an antipope, this time Honorius II
Antipope Honorius II
Honorius II , born Pietro Cadalus, was an antipope from 1061 to 1072. He was born at Verona and became bishop of Parma in 1046. He died at Parma in 1072....

. He was rapidly becoming a popemaker, though, in 1066, still bent on expanding in all directions his power, he marched on Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 itself, but was beaten back by the pope's Tuscan
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....


In 1062, Richard sent his son Jordan
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...

 to take Gaeta from Atenulf II
Atenulf II of Gaeta
Atenulf II was the duke of Gaeta for a brief two years under the regency of his mother, Maria. He was the son and successor of Atenulf I, who had been forced to recognise the suzerainty of the prince of Capua, Richard I, and his son Jordan in 1058.Atenulf I died on 2 February and on 1 June, Maria...

, but Atenulf was allowed to continue personal rule until 1064. Though, in that year, Richard and Jordan appropriated the ducal and consular titles of the Gaetan rulers. Richard quelled a later rebellion of Atenulf's and continued to expand his territory into the Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

, as far as Rome.

In 1071, when Robert Guiscard was away besieging Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, his chief barons, Abelard
Abelard of Hauteville
Abelard of Hauteville was the eldest son of Humphrey, count of Apulia and Calabria , and his Lombard wife, Gaitelgrima of Salerno, also known as Altrude...

 and Herman
Herman of Hauteville
Herman of Hauteville was the younger son of Humphrey, count of Apulia and Calabria , and his Lombard wife, Gaitelgrima of Salerno, also known as Altrude...

, sons of his brother Humphrey, Peter, lord of Trani
Trani is a seaport of Apulia, southern Italy, on the Adriatic Sea, in the new Province of Barletta-Andria-Trani , and 40 km by railway West-Northwest of Bari.- History :...

, and the lord of Giovinazzo
Giovinazzo is a port city situated on the Adriatic coast in the region of Apulia, southern Italy. Giovinazzo lies 18 km WNW of the provincial capital of Bari, and is adjacent to the city ofMolfetta.-History:...

 rebelled with the support of Richard of Capua and Gisulf of Salerno. Though Robert quickly dispelled all threats to his power from within, he took ill and could not make an expedition against Richard, who was soon confirmed in his possessions by and allied with the new pope, Gregory VII, Hildebrand.

In 1076, in response to the Emperor Henry IV's deposition of the pope, Robert and Richard each sent ambassadors to the other. They met midway and arranged a meeting of the two rulers at Montecassino later that year. An alliance was formed, and the pope, by excommunicating the emperor, having proven capable of taking care of himself, the two Norman leaders sat down to besiege Gisulf in Salerno. The siege was successful and Gisulf fled to Capua, where he tried to stir up Richard against Robert, who had kept Salerno, but to no avail. Richard began to besiege Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, still independent, with the aid of Robert's naval blockade. Then, on 3 March 1078, the pope excommunicated Robert and Richard and soon after Richard lay dying in Capua. He quickly reconciled with the church and died. His eldest son, the aforementioned Jordan, who had been invading ecclesiastic domains in the Abruzzi at the time, travelled to Rome to renew his fealty to the papacy and be confirmed in his father's titles and possessions. Naples remained untaken.

He left a younger son named Jonathan
Jonathan, Count of Carinola
Jonathan was the youngest son of Richard I of Capua. According to the Chronicon Amalfitanorum, however, he was a son of Jordan I, who was actually his brother, and married a sister of Roger I of Sicily, which may be accurate....



  • Norwich, John Julius
    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:...

    . The Normans in the South 1016-1130. London: Longmans, 1967.
  • Chalandon, Ferdinand
    Ferdinand Chalandon
    Ferdinand Chalandon was a French medievalist and Byzantinist.Chalandon’s work remains the most substantial study of the Normans in Italy and though the details of what he wrote a hundred years ago have in places been modified, it remains the single most important work available to historians.Being...

    . Histoire de la domination normande en Italie et en Sicile. Paris, 1907.

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