Historical figure Faroaldo II - Duca di Spoleto

Born in: 681  - Died in: 728
Faroaldo II was the second Lombard duke of Spoleto, he was the son of Trasamondo, Count of Capua, who was installed by King Grimoaldo in 663 as a dux in the Duchy of Spoleto; his mother, whose name is unknown, was the daughter of this important Lombard king. The parents, transferred by the king's will from the Duchy of Benevento to Spoleto, where they were not yet rooted, gave the son the name of the first Lombard duke of Spoleto to reconnect with the oldest traditions of the great duchy in central Italy.

The circumstances of his ascent to the duchy remain however enigmatic. Paolo Diacono reports that Farolado assumed the title at the death of his father Trasamondo, but then added: "Denique Wachilapus germanus fuit Transamundi and cum fratre his pariter eundem rexit ducatum". Due to the lack of other sources, it remains totally uncertain if his uncle died before Trasamondo disappeared or if he had been eliminated by his nephew at the beginning of his government.

Little is known about the administration of Faroaldo. His letter, already quoted, to Pope John VII and some other sources show how he constantly favored the monastery of Farfa, recently founded. The same pope, at the request of the duke, took this monastery in 705 under his own protection, a fact which suggests a close cooperation, at least for some aspects, between Rome and Spoleto. In the following Farfense tradition - that is, both in the Constructio monasterii Farfensis written in the mid-IX century by an unknown monk, and in the Chronicon Farfense composed at the beginning of the twelfth century by Gregorio di Catino - F. is remembered as the great protector of Farfa inspired from the Virgin Mary, under whose patronage the monastery was placed. In the Chronicon Farfense it is also said that the duke gave Farfa eleven curtes.

The good relations of Faroaldo with Rome, however, turned into open hostility at the latest towards 712-713; the reasons for this change are unknown. Then the duke occupied some possessions of the Church of Rome in Sabina, which were returned to the pope only after about thirty years, in 742, by King Liutprando. Above all, F. occupied in that period Classe, the important port of Ravenna. But he did not remain in possession of his conquest for a long time. Due to the pressure of Liutprand, who had recently ascended the Lombard throne, he was forced to return this port to the Byzantines. The king, who came to power after long years of harsh internal struggles, was concerned above all with having good relations with Byzantium and with Rome, so as not to endanger the consolidation of his kingdom with new conflicts. However, Liutprando put an end to his peace policy very soon. Under the strong impression that aroused the heavy crisis of the Eastern Roman Empire since 716, but especially in view of the siege of the Byzantium capital by the Arabs in the summer of 717, the king resumed the old expansionist policy, interrupted by the 680 peace treaty.

After about fifteen years Faroaldo lost his duchy. According to an unmistakable note by Paolo Diacono, his son Trasamondo (II) would have turned against him and made him incapacitated in power by forcing him to take the clerical habit. The date of his fall is finally established after the diplomatic studies of Brühl and Zielinski on the Longobard documents of Spoleto: the deposition of F. happened according to these scholars in 719-20. According to a news dating back to the sixteenth century, generally considered reliable, Faroaldo retired to the monastery he founded of S. Pietro in Valle near Ferentillo (province of Terni) in Umbria. Nothing is known of his life in this monastery, nor are the reasons that led his son to rebel. The assumption has repeatedly been made that the young duke, who was strongly opposed to the hegemonic policy of Liutprand in central Italy - and will eventually succumb to the hard struggle against it - the father had seemed too condescending towards the Longobard sovereign. This hypothesis, although not accredited by any source, nevertheless seems plausible; in fact, the fall of Faroaldo followed by a few months the great offensive led by Liutprando against Byzantium with the participation of Spoleto troops.

The few fragments that inform us, portray him as a determined duke, who cared about the monasteries of his duchy and who exploited in many ways the opportunities to widen the boundaries of his domination at the expense of Rome and Byzantium; a duke who struggled, often even successfully, not to jeopardize his position, marked by a high degree of autonomy, with an open confrontation with the powerful Liutprando.

Faroaldo II - Duca di Spoleto Visited places

Abbazia San Pietro in Valle

 Via dell'Abbazia, 22 - 5034 Ferentillo - Terni

The San Pietro in Valle Abbey is surrounded by the green woods, between the city of Spoleto and the Marmore waterfalls; a thousand-year-old abbey with a magnificent view of the valley, transformed... see

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Italy, Terni