Terra Sancti Benedicti
The Terra Sancti Benedicti ("Land of Saint Benedict") was the secular territory, or seignory, of the powerful Abbey of Montecassino, the chief monastery of the Mezzogiorno and one of the first Western monasteries: founded by Benedict of Nursia himself, hence the name of its possessions.
The secular holdings had their origin in the donation of Gisulf II of Benevento in 744. The Terra was not large, it formed a basically contiguous zone around the hill of Montecassino, but it was valuable land and the site of many battles in many wars. It was immediately subject to the Holy See and constituted its own state. In 1057, Pope Victor II declared that the abbot of Montecassino had preeminence over and above all other abbots.
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