The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






King of Italy

King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Up until 1861, no King of Italy ruled on the whole Italian peninsula.


Barbarian kings

See List of barbarian kings of Italy

After the deposition of Romulus Augustus in 476, Heruli leader Odoacer is appointed dux Italiae (ruler of Italy) by emperor Zeno. Later he entitles himself rex Italiae (king of Italy).

In 483, Ostrogothic leader Theodoric the Great defeats Odoacer, and starts Ostrogothic dynasty of kings of Italy. Ostrogothic rule ends with the death of Teias (552), when Italy returns to Byzantine Empire.

Frankish kings

Pippin of Italy, third son of Charlemagne, is crowned King of Italy by Pope Hadrian I in 781. He reigns on Northen Italy, while Central Italy becomes Papal States.

Between 888 and 961, there were usually several claimants to the throne of Italy, and on occasion even several living crowned Emperors.

Kings under the Holy Roman Empire

From 962 until 1806, the kingdom of Italy was subsumed into the Holy Roman Empire, and the emperors also claimed to be the kings of Italy. The one serious independent claimant during this period was Arduin. However, after the reign of Frederick Barbarossa (1152-1190), imperial authority in Italy - where existent at all - was always based on other titles.

Napoleonic era

During the Napoleonic period, a Kingdom of Italy was formed in Northern Italy.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte: 1805 - 1814 He was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in the Cathedral of Milan, May 26, 1805. His son held the title "King of Rome," but there was no "Kingdom of Rome"; rather, the title was bestowed on him as heir to Napoleon's throne, somewhat as the title Prince of Wales is traditionally awarded to the heir to the British throne. Rome was not part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, but rather was directly annexed to France during the latter part of Napoleon's reign.

House of Savoy

At the end of Italian unification process, Vittorio Emanuele II is crowned King of Italy.

Last updated: 05-06-2005 14:37:25