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Guy of Spoleto (died 12 December 894), sometimes known by the Italian version of his name, Guido, or by the German version, Wido, was the Margrave of Camerino from 880 (as Guy I or Guy II) and then Duke of Spoleto and Camerino (as Guy III) from 883. He was crowned King of Italy in 889 and—at least on parchment—Holy Roman Emperor in 891.

Guy was the second son of Guy I of Spoleto and Itta, daughter of Sico of Benevento. Guy I was the son of Lambert I of Nantes and his second wife, Adelaide of Lombardy, who was a daughter of Charlemagne's eldest son, Pepin of Italy. In 842, the former Duchy of Spoleto, which had been donated to the Papacy by Charlemagne, was resurrected by the Franks to be held against Byzantine catapans to the south, as a Frankish border territory by a dependent margrave. Guy's elder brother, Lambert, willed Guy the march of Camerino. In 883, Guy inherited his nephew's share (Spoleto) and reunited the dukedom, henceforth as the "Duchy of Spoleto and Camerino" bearing the title of dux et marchio. He married Ageltrude, daughter of Adelchis of Benevento, who bore him a son named Lambert.

In 882, at a diet at Ravenna, the Emperor Charles the Fat dispossessed him of his fiefs for a felony, but he recovered them the next year and his titles. In 885, he fought the Saracens of the Garigliano.

After the deposition of Charles the Fat in 887, by virtue of being a relative of Archbishop Fulk of Rheims, he had hopes of being crowned king of France, and in fact travelled as far as Langres, where the bishop crowned him as such. But because of Odo's coronation that year (888), he turned and went back with designs on the crown of Italy and the emperorship.

Guy of Spoleto was opposed by Berengar of Friuli for the Iron Crown of Lombardy, but succeeded in having himself crowned King of Italy by Pope Stephen VI in 889 and then as Roman Emperor in May 891, when he had his son Lambert II crowned king. The following year (892), at Ravenna on 30 April, Guy forced Pope Formosus to crown Lambert as co-emperor.

The pope took the next opportunity to oppose Guy by supporting Arnulf of Carinthia for the Italian and imperial titles. In 893, Formosus invited Arnulf to come to Pavia to overthrow Guy and be crowned himself. Arnulf instead sent his son Zwentibold with an army to join Berengar, the deposed king, and march on Pavia. Their joint army surrounded Pavia, but Guy probably bribed them to leave him unmolested. The following year, they defeated Guy at Bergamo and took Pavia and Milan. Berengar was recognised as king and a vassal of Arnulf. Zwentibold returned to Germany. Guy retreated in order to regroup at a fortified place on the Taro and died there suddenly in late autumn, leaving his son under the tutelage of his wife. Both would contest the throne with Berengar and Arnulf.

Guy's power never extended over much hereditary lands, which offered stark illustration of the fact that the imperial title, with its pretensions of universal rule, had by the end of the ninth century become merely a token of the pope's favour, to be fought over by various Italian nobles. He did not even firmly control the north of Italy, battling other claimants over the throne for much of his reign. He did try to maintain the Carolingian tradition and issue capitularies as former emperors had. In 891, he demanded the traditional service in the army of all arimanni, whether they owned land or not.

Sources

  • di Carpegna Falconieri, Tommaso. Guido di Spoleto. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, LXI. Rome: 2003, pp. 354–361.
Emperor Guy
Died: 12 December 894
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Berengar I
King of Italy
889 – 894
With Lambert of Spoleto
891 – 894
disputed by:
Berengar I (889 – 894)
Succeeded by
Lambert
Vacant
Title last held by
Charles III
(Holy) Roman Emperor
891 – 894
Italian nobility
Preceded by
Guy II
Duke of Spoleto
883 – 894
Succeeded by
Lambert II
Preceded by
Lambert I
Margrave of Camerino
880 – 894
with Guy II of Spoleto (880 – 894)
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