Frederick II and the little Isles ‘Li Galli' of Amalfi
from: from Romolo ERCOLINO, The Siren Isles. Li Galli, Nicola Longobardi editore, Castellammare di Stabia (Napoli) 1997, p. 38-39.
Italian translation of this article on StoriaLibera
The Swabian Period
With the death of William II in 1190, the Norman dynasty became extinct. In 1194 Henry IV was crowned King of Sicily and, on his death, the throne was handed over to his three-yearold son, Frederick II [...]
In 1197, the Dukedom of Amalfi became part of the dominion of Frederick II who, with a royal decree dated 1225, donated the three islets of "li Galli" to the Benedictine monastery of St. Mary of Positano. Here we quote the decree and the translation carried out, for the first time, by our eminent fellow citizen, Professor Giuseppe Vespoli, always remembered with gratitude and filial affection:
"Federicus semper Augustus rex Siciliae etc. Regnantis pietas, regis reverentia omnibus de jure compellitur, sed tribuere favorem manusque universis tenetur benigne porrigere largitatis, sed illis personis, et locis debet potius charitatis perfectae plenitudinis impartiri, quae Domino dicata sunt penitus subiecta ex tanto ipsis respondere ipsique beneficiis ampliatur quanto in illis propitius pro largientibus preces domino supplices porriguntur. Inde est quod nos divinae charitatis intuitu remedio animarum fidelium quondam parentum nostrarum bona memoria. Nec non ad nostrae salutis et exaltationis aumentum de innata nobis gratia concedimus praesenti privilegio perpetuo et firmamus Venerabili Monasterio S. Mariae de Positano tres insulettas in mari, vel tres sirenas quae dicuntur Gallus cum piscationibus ad usum et utilitates ipsius Ecclesiae cum justis tenimentis et pertinentiis ... Monasterio a Maestate nostra per privilegia sunt olim clementer indulta.
In super etiam de gratia nostra concedimus et possessiones ipsi Monasterio firmamus, omnia castella, tenimenta, possessiones, a quocumque alio dono vel Principum praedecessores nostros aut oblationae alicuius pubblicae vel privatae personae, nec non alio titulo ad ipsum Monasterium habere dignoscitur aut in posterum potuerit rationabiliter adepisci cum omnibus pertinentiis... Praesens privilegium scribere inde fieri, et praesente Maestatis sigillo iussimus muniri.
Anno mense et indictione subtis datum apud Fogiam, Anno Domini 1225, 25 Augusti".
(Frederick, ever Augustus, King of Sicily, etc. Sovereign piety and kingly dignity oblige us by law in every way, but impel us to grant favour and help for all and to benignly give a sign of generosity, which is to be imparted to those people and places that are symbols of perfect charity, since they, devoted to the Lord, are perfect subjects and we must take care of them. Our benefit to them will be all the greater, the more supplications are raised by them to the Lord for their benefactors, and insofar as these are addressed to God with much piety by single believers. Therefore we operate under the stimulus of divine charity to help pious souls lighten the souls of our departed parents. Thenceforth, we, in support of our salvation and for a happy government, by our inborn magnanimity, grant with the present document perpetual privilege and donate to the venerable Monastery of St. Mary in Positano the three islets, namely the three Sirens that are called Galli, with fishing rights for the benefit and utility of the same church, with all purposes granted to said Monastery by privilege of Our Majesty.
Furthermore, again by Our Grace we grant possession of all hamlets, property, possessions from our predeceasing princes given as gifts, or obtained in donation from whichever public or private person with whatever title; these are confirmed to said Monastery which for the future will have full right to maintain them. We command that the present privilege be written and stipulated and sealed in our presence.
Year, month and indiction, signed in Foggia. A.D. 1225, 25th August).
On the death of Frederick (in Ferentino on December 13, 1250), who had been defined by Matteo Paris as "Stupor Mundi et Immutator Mirabilis" (wonder of the world and marvellous innovator) and by Nietzsche as ... "the first European to my liking," the empire was handed over to his son Conrad IV and the regency of Italy went to his bastard Manfred.
Pope Innocent IV prepared the annexation of the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily to the Papal State in the hope that Papal sovereignty would be accepted without opposition.
Things went differently; the struggle between empire and papacy continued until 1264, when Pope Urban IV, desperate because of the absence of a prince capable of opposing Manfred, asked for help and protection from Louis IX of France, to whom he offered the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily in return. Louis, who had already urged Pope Innocent IV to reconcile with Frederick in order to allow the latter to join in the crusade he had organised, which then failed miserably, rejected the offer but allowed his brother Charles of Anjou to accept. The latter descended into Italy with a 30,000-man army and, after defeating the small army led by Manfred, who died in the fighting, was crowned King of Naples and Sicily (1264). Non riesco a connettermi