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The end of Lombard rule in northern Italy was signalled when the Pope invited the Carolingian Franks to intervene in Italian affairs.When the Frankish kings assumed control over the Italian kingdom, the nobles who accompanied them established themselves as a powerful new element in the Italian aristocracy whose influence was to outlive the rule of their royal masters.Geographical proximity enabled the central authority of the Lombard kingdom to maintain greater control, although the frequent rebellions by the Lombard nobility against King Agilulf during the last decade of the 6th century demonstrate that this was not straightforward.The only Lombard dukedom in the north which controlled extensive territory was Friulia, which dated from the period immediately after the Lombard migration.In southern Italy, the Lombard duchies, notably Benevento and Naples, had three main adversaries: the Byzantines whose colonies survived in the southern part of the Italian peninsula until well into the 11th century; the north African Muslims who conquered Sicily, Messina and Siracusa in the mid-9th century and raided the western coastal cities throughout the period; and from the 11th century onwards the Normans.Geographical distance from the northern Italian kingdom's administrative centres of Pavia and Ravenna also enabled the southern principalities to evolve on autonomous lines.I am grateful to Paolo Rossi's work in helping to establish the geographical allocation of these counties The present-day Italian region of Emilia Romagna is located south of Lombardia and Veneto, and north of Toscana and Marche, in the central part of northern Italy.

Other medieval counties identified in the region are Aucia, Cervia (Ficocle), Cesena, Comacchio, Correggio, Forl, Forlimpopoli, Imola, Modigliana, Rimini, Sarsina and Valle Lamone, but no information has yet been located on their counts.His descendants amassed numerous properties in Tuscany, including the cities of Ferrara, Mantua and Lucca, and were installed as Marchesi of Tuscany from 1127.The heiress of these vast properties was Countess Matilda, the most powerful Italian noble of her time and the strong supporter of the papacy in the investiture struggle with Emperor Heinrich IV in the late 11th century.The succession of short-lived reigns in the Lombard kingdom after the death of King Liutprand in 744 suggests a weakening of central authority in northern Italy.However, it was the Carolingian Franks, not the local Lombard nobility, who were able to leverage this situation to their advantage.