Apulia, called Puglia in Italian, is a region located in the southeastern part of Italy. It constitutes the “heel” of the Italian “boot”.
Apulia | 3rd century BC to the 9th century AD
Roman Period | 3rd century BC – 5th century AD
Apulia was part of the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. It played a strategic role in the Roman military and economic structure. The region saw the construction of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure during Roman rule.
Byzantine Rule | 5th – 8th centuries
As the Western Roman Empire declined, Apulia came under the influence of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines maintained control over the region, contributing to its economic and cultural development. Cities like Otranto and Bari became important Byzantine centers, and numerous churches and monuments from this period still exist.
Lombard and Saracen Invasions | 6th – 8th centuries
In the sixth century, the Lombards, a Germanic people, invaded the Italian Peninsula and established the Duchy of Benevento, which included parts of Apulia. The eighth century saw incursions by the Saracens (Arab Muslims) along the southern coasts of Italy, including Apulia. These invasions brought about periods of conflict and instability.
Creation of the Theme of Longobardia | 9th century
In the ninth century, during the Byzantine Empire’s efforts to counter the Saracen threat, the Theme of Longobardia was established. This Byzantine administrative division encompassed parts of southern Italy, including Apulia. Bari, under the leadership of Byzantine strategos (military governor) and later catepan (military governor of a theme), became a key stronghold.
Claris et Laris | 1268