|Molise in the norman period|
In the Norman period the current territory of Molise was divided into two counties: the inland county (Contea di Molise, 1055) and the coastal one (Contea di Loritello, 1061), whose boundaries have not yet been clearly identified. The difficulty originates from the fact that the estates of the various Norman lords did not constitute compact political units but had an irregular “leopard-skin” pattern. In the years when the central power and feudal ties became stronger, new administrative units called comestabulia were added to the pre-existing divisions, though it should be remembered that boundaries changed rapidly with time.
Loritello County included the estates that lay between the river Trigno and a portion of the Capitanata lands (Bovino, Montilari, Dragonara), though the boundaries were rather unstable. In 1061, Godfrey D’Altavilla, first Earl of the family that later ruled Loritello (now called Rotello), occupied part of the Chieti Mark and, from 1064, Robert I pushed further north and became lord of the Abbey of Saint Clement in Casauria.
Molise County corresponded more or less to the present Province of Isernia. Its territory was important because it controlled the Matese mountain passes. The Serracapriola estate marked the eastern boundary between the two counties.
With Frederick II of Swabia the two counties lost their identity : Molise county was administered as part of the “Terra di Lavoro” (Work Land) after the great revolt of 1223-1226, while the coastal county was annexed by Capitanata.
The historical development of fortification architecture
The Normans of Molise
The norman families