was the hub of Roman Empire, both physically, as the center of the
road system, and psychologically, as the capital of the world. But when
Emperor Constantine the Great founded the city of Constantinople as the
Christian "new Rome" (326), ancient Rome was slowly declining. The
decline of Rome was the natural effect of immoderate greatness, as
Gibbon wrote. Also he remarked:" Instead of inquiring why the Roman
empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had
subsisted so long".
410 and 455 Rome was sacked by invading Germanic tribes, then occuped
by the Ostrogothic and Byzantine army. Lastly, in 593, Lombards laid
siege to Rome. In the meanwhile the influence of the Christian Church
began to make itself felt more consistently; the Roman Church also
began to assume political and administrative functions due to
repeated territorial acquisitions (St. Peter's Patrimony).
descended into Italy to support the pope against the Lombards: the
victory of Charlemagne over the Lombard Desiderius involved with it the
confirmation of the Church's temporal power. The Patrimony of St. Peter
was to become the future Papal States (800). The Christian Church
sought to continue the authority and prestige of Rome: il became the
spiritual capital of the new Europe, the seat of Papacy and the "Holy
City" of Christian pilgrims.
is also the capital city of Latium region, in Central Italy, on the
Tyrrhenian side of the peninsula. The history of Rome is inseparable
from its hinterland history. Even the language spoken by
Latin, derives from Latium. Though penalized by the extraordinary
centralizing influence exerted by Rome, the whole of Latium has a great
artistic and historical heritage .
and Latium went through a very difficult period during the 9
when Sicily fell entirely into Saracen hands as a consequence of Arab
expansion throughout the Mediterranean. In the South of Italy there
began to appear in this period the first independent city-states such
as Naples, Amalfi, Salerno and Gaeta. They became the base for Saracen
raids along the coasts or even into the interior of the Italian
peninsula. The whole of Latium as well as St. Peter's and St.
Paul's Basilicas in Rome were sacked by Saracens and their Italian
comrades. You can read some documents on this subject (including their
translation from Latin into Italian) in the new book "I
Saraceni nel Lazio (VIII-X secolo)".