Molise in the norman period

The norman families

The Counts of Loritello enjoyed great autonomy and power, as attested by the documents regarding the period of regency of William II: he administered justice (justiciaria) with powers similar to those of the king. During the reign of William the Bad, Robert III of Basunvilla was granted complete immunity from control by royal officials. Robert, son of one of the sisters of Roger II and the Count of Conversano (who originated from Vassonville, a town near Dieppe, in Normandy), exercised power during a troubled time in the history of the kingdom. In his resolution to oppose the King’s policy Robert III claimed, on the basis of a forged will, that he was the legitimate heir to the throne. The King ordered the arrest of the rebel, who did not surrender and, having failed to obtain the hoped-for assistance of Frederick Barbarossa, tried to ally himself with the Comneno.
Robert escaped to Lombardy (1158) with another rebel, Andrew of Rupecanina, aided by Pope Adrian IV and protected once again by Frederick I. He returned to Italy after the Maione assassination (1161) to lead the revolt of the Sicilian lords against the King. At this point it was William the Bad who forced the Count of Loritello to escape once again to the court of Frederick of Germany, where he became the king’s faithful companion in his expeditions to conquer the Norman kingdom.

         The Norman Counts of Molise
        The Norman Counts of Loritello