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The Norman kingdom between East and West

William Iís internal policy : the conflict between the crown and the nobility

William I, (1154-1156) in parallel to his foreign policy, continued his fatherís domestic policy, but increased the power of the bureaucratic machinery and the sovereign at the expense of feudal rights.
This provoked the discontent of the barons, who were unwilling to accept the power conferred on the counsellors of humble origin. The most powerful of them was the Ďemir of emirsí, former counsellor of Roger II, Maio of Bari, whose principal fault according to the barons, was to choose his colleagues in keeping with their ability rather than their birthplace. Taking advantage of diplomatic setbacks, the barons rebelled by forming alliances with, in turn, the Eastern or Western emperors or with the Pope. In 1155 William was losing his grip on the mainland and even Sicily was confronted with this phenomenon. William finally succeeded in establishing order. In 1156, after driving out the Byzantines, he returned to Campania, eliminated Robert of Capua and laid siege to Pope Adrian IV in Benevento. The king then led a particularly harsh policy of repression, which, however, did not quieten his opponents.
In 1160, the too powerful Maio was assassinated as a result of an uprising, and on the 9 March 1161, William was captured and imprisoned in his palace. Faced with a hostile reaction from the clergy at this sacrilegious act, the people liberated the king, but during the uprising, his young son Roger placed on the throne by the rebellious barons had been killed. William pardoned the insurgents, but this sign of weakness incited a new rebellion. Because of the draconian punitive measures taken after these events, William earned the name of the ĎBadí.

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