Kingdom of Naples
gigatos | February 16, 2022
Kingdom of Naples (in Latin: Regnum Neapolitanum) is the name with which is known, in modern historiography, the ancient state that existed from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century and extended to the entire southern Italian mainland.
Its official name was Regnum Siciliae citra Pharum, which means “Kingdom of Sicily on this side of the Lighthouse”, referring to the Lighthouse of Messina, and was opposed to the contemporary Regnum Siciliae ultra Pharum, that is “Kingdom of Sicily beyond the Lighthouse”, which extended over the whole island of Sicily. In Norman times, the entire Kingdom of Sicily was organized into two macro-areas: the first, which included the territories of Sicily and Calabria, was the Kingdom of Sicily proper; the second, which included the remaining peninsular territories, was the Duchy of Apulia and the Principality of Capua, when the territory was an integral part of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily.
This last State was instituted in 1130, with the conferral to Ruggero II of Altavilla of the title of Rex Siciliae from the antipope Anacleto II, title confirmed in 1139 from pope Innocenzo II. The new State insisted so on all the territories of the Mezzogiorno, attesting itself like the widest of the ancient Italian States; its normative order was definitively formalized since the Assizes of Ariano of 1140-1142. Afterwards, with the stipulation of the Peace of Caltabellotta of 1302, followed the formal division of the kingdom in two: Regnum Siciliae citra Pharum (known in the historiography as Kingdom of Naples) and Regnum Siciliae ultra Pharum (also known, for a short period, as Kingdom of Trinacria and known in the historiography as Kingdom of Sicily). Therefore this treaty can be considered the conventional founding act of the political entity known today as the Kingdom of Naples.
The kingdom, as a sovereign state, saw a great intellectual, economic and civil flourishing both under the various Angevin dynasties (1282-1442), and following the Aragonese conquest of Alfonso I (at that time, the capital, Naples, was famous for the splendor of its court and the patronage of its sovereigns. In 1504 the united Spain defeated France in the context of the wars of Italy, and the kingdom of Naples was since then dynastically linked to the Hispanic monarchy, together with that of Sicily, until 1707: both were governed as two distinct viceroyships but with the words ultra et citra Pharum and with the consequent historiographic and territorial distinction between the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of Sicily. Following the peace of Utrecht the Neapolitan kingdom passed to be administered, for a short period (1713-1734), by the Habsburg monarchy of Austria. Although the two kingdoms, reunited again, obtained independence with Charles of Bourbon already in 1735, the final legal unification of both kingdoms took place only in December 1816, with the foundation of the sovereign state of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
The territory of the Kingdom of Naples, initially, corresponded to the sum of those of the current Italian regions of Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria and also included some areas of today”s southern and eastern Lazio belonging until 1927 to Campania, or to the ancient province of Terra di Lavoro (Gaeta and Sora districts), and Abruzzo.
The territorial unity of the South: Ruggero II and the Norman dynasty
The island of Sicily and all of southern Italy south of the Tronto and Liri were the territories that formed the Kingdom of Sicily, formed in fact in 1127-1128 when the Count of Sicily, Roger II of Altavilla, unified under his rule the different Norman fiefdoms of southern Italy (Duchy of Puglia and Calabria) with capital Palermo.
With the title of King of Sicily he was acclaimed by the first session of the Sicilian parliament and subsequently crowned by the antipope Anacleto II since 1130; subsequently legitimated, in 1139, by pope Innocenzo II. At the end of the twelfth century, following the defeat of Frederick Barbarossa, the Papal States had started with Pope Innocent III a policy of expansionism of temporal power; Pope Innocent IV, in line with his predecessor, claimed the feudal rights of the State of the Church on the Kingdom of Sicily, since the royal titles on the State had been assigned to the Normans (Roger II) by Innocent II.
Swabian dynasty period
However, when Henry VI, son of Barbarossa, married Constance of Altavilla, the last heir of the Kingdom of Sicily, the territory of the kingdom passed under the Swabian crown, becoming a strategic center of the imperial policy of the Hohenstaufen in Italy, in particular with Frederick II.
The Swabian sovereign, in the dual position of Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily, was one of the protagonists of European medieval history: he was mainly concerned with the Kingdom of Sicily, delegating to the Germanic princes part of his powers in the territories beyond the Alps. The main ambition of the king was to create a cohesive and efficient state: the feudal nobility and the city had to answer only to the king, in a highly centralized state governed by a capillary bureaucratic and administrative apparatus, which found its highest expression in the constitutions of Melfi.
During the reign of Frederick II, the new trade routes in the direction of Tuscany, Provence and ultimately Europe, were always more advantageous and profitable than those of the southern Mediterranean, where trade was often hindered by the interference of the Saracens and the inconstancy of several Islamic kingdoms. Frederick II founded in Naples the Studium, the oldest state university in Europe, designed to train the minds of the ruling class of the kingdom.
At the death of Frederick (1250), his son Manfredi assumed the regency of the kingdom. A widespread dissatisfaction and resistance of the baronial classes and citizen to the new sovereign finally resulted in a violent uprising against the impositions coming from the royal court. In this the rebels found the support of Pope Innocent IV, eager to extend its authority in the south. Both the feudal lords and the class, typically urban, composed of bureaucrats, notaries and officials, wanted more independence and greater breathing space from the monarchical centralism, so Manfredi tried a mediation. The new king faced the conflicts with a strong policy of administrative decentralization that tended to integrate in the management of the territory, as well as the baronial classes, even the city.
While not yielding to the demands of autonomy coming from the urban environment, the new king valued much more than his father the function of the cities as administrative poles, also encouraging the urbanization of the barons; this led to the emergence, next to the oldest baronial nobility, of a new urban bureaucratic class, which, in view of social promotion, invested part of its earnings in the purchase of extensive landed estates. Such changes in the composition of the urban ruling class also induced new relations between the cities and the crown, heralding the profound transformations of the subsequent Angevin age.
Manfred also continued to legitimize the Ghibelline policies, directly controlling the “Apostolica Legazia di Sicilia”, a political-juridical body in which the administration of the dioceses and the ecclesiastical patrimony was directly managed by the sovereign, hereditary and without papal mediation. During these years, Pope Innocent IV supported a series of revolts in Campania and Apulia that led to the direct intervention of the Emperor Conrad IV, Manfred”s elder half-brother, who finally brought the Kingdom back under imperial jurisdiction. Conrad IV was succeeded by his son Corradino of Swabia and, until the latter was still a minor, the government of Sicily and the Apostolic Legation was taken by Manfredi: he, excommunicated several times for contrasts with the papacy, came to proclaim himself king of Sicily.
When Innocent IV died, the new pope of French origin, Urban IV, claiming feudal rights over the Kingdom of Sicily and fearing the possibility of a final union of the kingdom to the Holy Roman Empire, called in Italy Charles of Anjou, Count of Anjou, Maine and Provence, and brother of the King of France, Louis IX: in 1266 the Bishop of Rome appointed him rex Siciliae. The new king from France then left to conquer the kingdom, defeating first Manfred in the battle of Benevento, and then Corradino of Swabia in Tagliacozzo, August 23, 1268.
The Hohenstaufen, whose male line had died out with Corradino, were eliminated from the Italian political scene while the Angevins secured the crown of the Kingdom of Sicily. The defeat of Corradino, however, was the premise of important developments, because the Sicilian cities, which had welcomed Charles of Anjou benevolently after the battle of Benevento, had again switched to supporting the Ghibelline side. The anti-Angevin turn on the island, motivated by the excessive fiscal pressure of the new government, did not have immediate political consequences, but was the first step towards the subsequent war of the Vespers.
The great financial speculation that the war had involved (the Angevins were indebted to the Guelph bankers of Florence), led to a series of new taxes and levies throughout the kingdom, which were added to those that the king imposed when he had to finance a series of military campaigns in the East, in the hope of subjecting the remains of the ancient Byzantine empire to his rule.
The advent of Charles I on the throne, who became King thanks to the Papal investiture and by right of conquest, did not mark a real break with the government of the sovereigns of the Swabian dynasty, but it took place in a framework of substantial stability of the monarchical institutions and in particular of the fiscal system. The strengthening of the governmental apparatus previously implemented by Frederick II offered in fact to the Angevin dynasty a solid state structure on which to base its power. The first king of Angevin origin preserved without discontinuity the elective magistracies of the royal apparatus and in the central administration integrated already existing structures with institutions traditionally operating in the French monarchy.
The inheritance of the organization of Frederick”s state, reused by Charles I, however, again proposed the problem of the joint opposition of the cities and the feudal nobility: the same forces that during the reign of Manfred had supported the French dynasty against the Swabians. The Angevin sovereign, despite the urgings of the Pope, ruled with strong absolutism, heedless of the claims of the nobility and the urban class, which never consulted if not for the increase in taxation due to the war against Corradino.
With the death of Corradino, at the hands of the Angevins, the Swabian rights on the throne of Sicily passed to one of the daughters of Manfredi: Constance of Hohenstaufen, who on 15 July 1262 had married the King of Aragon Peter III. The Ghibelline party of Sicily that had previously organized itself around the Swabian Hohenstaufen, strongly dissatisfied with the sovereignty of the Angevin dynasty on the island, sought the support of Constance and the Aragonese to organize the revolt against the established power.
Thus began the revolt of the Vespro. This has long been considered the expression of a spontaneous popular rebellion against the weight of taxation and the tyrannical government “of the bad lordship Angevin,” as defined by Dante Alighieri, but this interpretation has now left room for a more careful evaluation of the complexity of events and the multiplicity of actors in the field.
A central role must undoubtedly be attributed to the initiative of the aristocracy strengthened in the Swabian period, more decisively rooted in Sicily, which felt its own positions of power threatened by the choices of the new sovereign: the preference given by the Angiò to Naples, their very close ties with the Pope and the Florentine merchants, the tendency to entrust important government functions to men coming from the peninsular Mezzogiorno.
Among these opponents were distinguished by the aristocratic families who had emigrated after the execution of the young Corradino, and who had had to renounce their rights and property, but who enjoyed the support of the Ghibelline cities of central and northern Italy. Moreover, with the loss of centrality of Sicily, also the productive and commercial forces, which had in principle supported the Angevin expedition, found themselves in clear opposition to the growing hegemony of the peninsular Mezzogiorno.
Moreover, we should not underestimate the interference of external agents such as the Aragonese monarchy, in that period in great contrast with the French-Angevin block, the Ghibelline cities, and even the Byzantine Empire, strongly worried by the expansionist projects of Charles, who had already snatched Corfu and Durazzo by now parts of the Kingdom of Sicily.
The Wars of the Vespers
The popular anti-Angevin uprising began in Palermo on March 31, 1282 and spread throughout Sicily. Peter III of Aragon landed in Trapani in August 1282 and defeated the army of Charles of Anjou during the Siege of Messina, which lasted 5 months from May to September 1282. The Sicilian Parliament crowned Peter and his wife Constance, daughter of Manfred; in fact, from that moment there were two sovereigns with the title of “king of Sicily”: the Aragonese, by investiture of the Sicilian Parliament, and the Angevin, by papal investiture.
On September 26, 1282, Charles of Anjou finally escaped from the field of arms in Calabria. A few months later, the reigning Pope Martin IV excommunicated Peter III. However, it was no longer possible for Charles to return to the Sicilian archipelago and the Angevin royal seat was itinerant between Capua and Apulia for several years, until with the successor of Charles I, Charles II of Anjou, Naples was finally chosen as the new seat of the monarchy and central institutions on the continent. With Charles II, the dynasty had its permanent seat in the Maschio Angioino.
The Angevin Administration
Although Angevin ambitions in Sicily were inhibited by numerous military defeats, Charles I aimed to consolidate its power in the continental part of the kingdom, grafting on the previous Guelph baronial policy part of the reforms that the old Swabian State was already implementing to strengthen the territorial unity of the South. From the first Lombard invasions, a large part of the kingdom”s economy, in the principality of Capua, in Abruzzo and in the county of Molise, was managed by the Benedictine monasteries (Casauria, San Vincenzo al Volturno, Montevergine, Montecassino), which in many cases had increased their privileges to the point of becoming true local seigniories, with territorial sovereignty and often in contrast with the neighboring lay feudal lords. The Norman invasion first, the struggles between the anti-pope Anacleto II, supported among others by the Benedictines, and Pope Innocent II, and finally the birth of the kingdom of Sicily undermined the foundations of the Benedictine feudal tradition.
After 1138, having defeated Anacleto II, Innocenzo II and the Norman dynasties stimulated in the southern Italy the Cistercian monasticism; many Benedictine monasteries were converted to the new rule that, limiting the accumulation of material goods to the necessary resources for the handicraft and agricultural production, precluded the possibility for the new cenobi to constitute patrimonies and feudal seigniories: the new order invested therefore the resources in agrarian reforms (reclamations, dissodamenti, grangìe), craftsmanship, mechanics and social assistance, with valetudinaria (hospitals), pharmacies and rural churches.
French monasticism then found the support of the old Norman feudal lords, who were thus able to actively counter the temporal ambitions of the local clergy: The policy of the new ruler Charles I. was based on this compromise; He founded by his own hand the Cistercian abbeys of Realvalle (Vallis Regalis) in Scafati and Santa Maria della Vittoria in Scurcola Marsicana, and favored the filiations of the historic abbeys of Sambucina (Calabria), Sagittario (Basilicata), Sterpeto (Terra di Bari), Ferraria (Principality of Capua), Arabona (Abruzzo) and Casamari (Papal State), while spreading the cult of the Assumption of Mary in the South. He also granted new counties and duchies to the French soldiers who supported his conquest of Naples.
The main monastic centers of economic production were thus freed from the administration of feudal possessions and the unity of the state, eradicated the Benedictine political authority, was now based on the ancient Norman baronies and the military structure dating back to Frederick II. Charles I in fact preserved the ancient federiciani justizierati, increasing the power of their respective presidents: each province had a justiziere that, in addition to being at the head of an important court, with two courts, was also the top of the management of local financial assets and administration of the treasury, derived from taxation of universitates (municipalities). Abruzzo was divided into Aprutium citra (many of the Swabian cities, such as Sulmona, Manfredonia and Melfi, lost their central role in the kingdom in favor of smaller cities or old decayed capitals such as Sansevero, Chieti and L”Aquila, while in the territories that had been Byzantine (Calabria, Apulia) consolidated the political structure started by the Norman conquest: the peripheral administration, which the Greeks entrusted to a capillary system of cities and dioceses, between the patrimonium publicum of the Byzantine officials and the p. ecclesiae of the bishops, from Cassanum to Gerace, from Barolum to Brundisium, was definitively replaced by the feudal order of the landed gentry. In the Mezzogiorno the seats of the justices (Salerno, Cosenza, Catanzaro, Reggio, Taranto, Bari, Sansevero, Chieti, L”Aquila and Capua) or of important archdioceses (Benevento and Acheruntia), as well as the new capital, remained the only inhabited centers endowed with political weight or financial, economic and cultural activities.
However, Charles lost, due to papal measures, the last regalia of the Neapolitan area, such as the right of the sovereign to appoint royal administrators in the dioceses with vacant seats: these privileges had survived the Gregorian reform in Southern Italy, which established that only the pontiff should have the power to appoint and depose bishops (libertas Ecclesiae).
On January 7, 1285 Charles I of Anjou died and was succeeded by Charles II. With the ascent to the throne of Naples of this sovereign, the royal policy had a turning point: from that moment, following the almost constant belligerence between the kingdoms of Sicily (Naples) and Trinacria (Sicily), the policy of the Angevin dynasty was mainly interested in obtaining a good consensus within the Kingdom. In fact, on the one hand the privileges of the feudal nobility were increased, indispensable to the cause of war, but on the other hand, as if to balance the implementation of feudal powers, the sovereigns granted new freedoms and autonomies to the cities, in different degrees according to the importance they held. These could now elect jurors, or judges with administrative functions and control and mayors, representatives of the population at the sovereign. In Naples and in other urban realities of the Mezzogiorno, there was a growing conflict between the nobility of the city and the popolo grasso to whom, later, King Robert granted the possibility to enter directly into the administration of the State.
In some ways, at least in the main cities of the kingdom, a situation was created that resembled the contrast that existed also in the communes and in the seigniories of central and northern Italy, but the peace of the king acted as a balancer and the figure of the sovereign as an arbiter, since the king”s authority was unquestionable. Thus, a game of balance between city and rural-feudal realities was configured and skillfully managed by the monarchy, which under the aegis of Robert of Anjou came to regulate and clearly delineate the spheres of influence of feudal nobility, city and royal domain.
In Sicily instead, at the death of Peter III, king of Aragon and Sicily, the dominion over the island was disputed by his two sons Alfonso III and James I of Sicily. The latter signed the Treaty of Anagni of June 12, 1295, ceding the feudal rights on Sicily to Pope Boniface VIII: the pontiff in exchange granted to James I Corsica and Sardinia, thus giving the sovereignty of Sicily to Charles II of Naples, heir to the title of rex Siciliae by Angevin.
Birth of the two kingdoms
The Treaty of Anagni, however, did not lead to a lasting peace; when James I left Sicily to govern Aragon, the throne of Palermo was entrusted to his brother Frederick III who led yet another rebellion for the independence of the island and was then crowned by Boniface VIII king of Sicily (to keep the royal title, for the first time recognized by the Holy See, signed with Charles of Valois, called by Martin IV to restore order in Sicily, the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302.
To the stipulation of the Peace of Caltabellotta followed the formal distinction of two Kingdoms of Sicily: Regnum Siciliae citra Pharum (Kingdom of Naples) and Regnum Siciliae ultra Pharum (Kingdom of Trinacria). It ended so definitively the long period of the wars of the Vespro. They were so formally distinct from the ancient Norman-Swabian Kingdom of Sicily, the Kingdom of Trinacria, under the control of the Aragonese with capital Palermo, and the Kingdom of Naples with capital Naples, under the control of the Angevins. Charles II at this point renounced to the reconquest of Palermo and began a series of legislative and territorial interventions to adapt Naples to the role of new capital of the State: he enlarged the city walls, reduced the tax burden and installed the Great Court of the Vicarage.
In 1309 the son of Charles II, Robert of Anjou, was crowned by Clement V king of Naples, but still with the title of rex Siciliae, as well as rex Hierosolymae.
With this sovereign, the Angevin-Napolitan dynasty reached its apogee. Robert of Anjou, called “the Wise” and “peacemaker of Italy”, strengthened the hegemony of the Kingdom of Naples, placing himself and his kingdom at the head of the Guelph League, opposing the imperial claims of Henry VII and Ludwig the Bavarian on the rest of the peninsula, succeeding even thanks to his astute and prudent policy to become lord of Genoa.
In 1313 resumed the war between the Angevins and the Aragonese; the following year, the Sicilian parliament, disregarding the agreement signed with the Peace of Caltabellotta, confirmed Frederick with the title of King of Sicily and no longer of Trinacria, and recognized as heir to the kingdom his son Peter. Although his troops came to occupy and sack Palermo, Trapani and Messina, the act was more punitive than concrete conquest, in fact, the Angevin king was unable to continue in a long war of attrition and was forced to give up.
Under his leadership, commercial activities intensified, lodges and guilds flourished, Naples became the most lively city of the late Middle Ages in Italy, thanks to the effect of mercantile activity around the new port, which became perhaps the busiest in the peninsula and attracted the location of small and large commercial enterprises, operating in the field of textiles and drapery, goldsmiths and spices. This was also due to the presence of Florentine, Genoese, Pisan and Venetian bankers, money changers and insurers, willing to take risks of not limited entity in order to ensure rapid and substantial profits in moving the economy of an increasingly cosmopolitan capital.
In addition, the sovereign, in his constant function as arbiter between the nobility and the popolo grasso, reduced the number of noble seats to limit their influence to the advantage of the populares.
In these years the city of Naples strengthened its political weight in the peninsula, also with the development of its humanistic vocation. Robert of Anjou was highly esteemed by the Italian intellectuals who were his contemporaries, such as Villani, Petrarch, Boccaccio and Simone Martini. Petrarch wanted to be interrogated by him in order to obtain the laurel and called him “the wisest king after Solomon”. On the contrary never enjoyed the sympathies of the pro-imperial Dante Alighieri who called him “King from sermon”.
The king gathered in Naples in a school, not precluded to the influences of Averroism, an important group of scholastic theologians. He entrusted Nicola Deoprepio of Reggio Calabria with the translation of the works of Aristotle and Galen for the library of Naples. From Calabria also came to the new capital Leonzio Pilato and the Basilian Barlaamo of Seminara, a famous theologian who faced in those years in Italy the doctrinal disputes that arose around the filioque and the Nicene creed: the monk was also in contact with Petrarch, of whom he was a teacher of Greek, and Boccaccio who knew him in Naples.
Important also from the artistic point of view was the opening of a Giotto school and the presence of Giotto in the city to fresco the Palatine Chapel in the Maschio Angioino and numerous noble palaces, also under Robert of Anjou spread the Gothic style throughout the Kingdom, in Naples the King built the Basilica of Santa Chiara, shrine of the Angevin dynasty. The Kingdom of Naples was distinguished in that period for a very original culture that combined elements of Italian and Mediterranean peculiarities of the courts of Central Europe, finding a synthesis between the cult of chivalrous values, Provençal poetry and artistic currents, poetry and customs typically Italian.
The peace between Angevins and Aragonese
King Robert designated as his heir his son Charles of Calabria but after the death of the latter, the king was forced to leave the throne to his young niece, Joan of Anjou daughter of Charles. Meanwhile a first peace agreement was reached between Angevins and Aragonese, called the “Peace of Catania” on November 8, 1347. But the war between Sicily and Naples would be closed only on August 20, 1372 after ninety years, with the Treaty of Avignon signed by Joan of Anjou and Frederick IV of Aragon with the consent of Pope Gregory XI. The treaty sanctioned the mutual recognition of the monarchies and their respective territories: Naples to the Angevins and Sicily to the Aragonese, extending the recognition of royal titles to their respective lines of succession.
Robert”s heir, Joan I of Naples, had married Andrew of Hungary, Duke of Calabria and brother of King Louis I of Hungary, both descendants of the Neapolitan Angevins (Charles II). As a result of a mysterious conspiracy Andrea was killed. To avenge his death, on November 3, 1347 the king of Hungary descended in Italy with the intention of ousting Joan I of Naples. Although the Hungarian king had demanded several times from the Holy See the deposition of Joan I, the papal government, then residing in Avignon and politically linked to the French dynasty, always confirmed the title of Joan despite the military expeditions that the king of Hungary undertook in Italy. The Queen of Naples, for her part, lacking a uterine lineage, adopted as her son and heir to the throne Charles of Durazzo (grandson of Louis I of Hungary), until Naples too was directly involved in the political and dynastic clashes that followed the Western Schism: a pro-French party and a local party directly opposed each other at court and in the city, the former siding with the antipope Clement VII and headed by Queen Joan I, the latter in favor of the Neapolitan pope Urban VI who found support from Charles of Durazzo and the Neapolitan aristocracy. Joan then deprived Charles of Durazzo of his succession rights in favor of Louis I of Anjou, brother of the King of France, crowned King of Naples (rex Siciliae) by Clement VII in 1381. He, at the death of Joan I (killed by order of the same Charles of Durazzo in the Castle of Muro Lucano in 1382), went down in Italy against Charles of Durazzo, and died there in 1384. Charles remained the only sovereign, and left Naples to his children Ladislao and Giovanna to go to Hungary to claim the throne: in the transalpine kingdom he was assassinated in a conspiracy.
Before the two heirs Ladislao and Giovanna reached maturity, the city of Campania fell into the hands of the son of Louis I of Anjou, Louis II, crowned king by Clement VII on November 1, 1389. The local nobility opposed the new king and in 1399 Ladislaus I was able to claim his rights to the throne by defeating the French king. The new king was able to restore the Neapolitan hegemony in southern Italy by intervening directly in the conflicts of the whole peninsula: in 1408, called by Pope Innocent VII to quell the Ghibelline revolts in the papal capital, occupied most of Lazio and Umbria obtaining the administration of the province of Campagna and Marittima, and then occupying Rome and Perugia under the pontificate of Gregory XII. In 1414, after having definitively defeated Luigi II d”Angiò, the last sovereign at the head of a league organized by the antipope Alessandro V and aimed to stem the Neapolitan expansionism, the king of Naples arrived at the doors of Florence. With his death, however, there were no successors to continue his undertakings and the boundaries of the kingdom returned within the historical perimeter; Ladislao”s sister, Giovanna II of Naples, however, at the end of the Western Schism, obtained definitive recognition from the Holy See of the royal title for her family.
Succeeded Ladislaus in 1414 his sister Joan, August 10, 1415 married James II of Bourbon: after her husband tried to acquire personally the royal title, a revolt in 1418 forced him to return to France where he retired in a Franciscan monastery. Joan in 1419 was the only queen, but the expansionist aims in the Neapolitan of the Angevins of France did not cease. Pope Martin V called in Italy Louis III of Anjou against Joan who did not want to recognize the fiscal rights of the Papal States on the kingdom of Naples. The French threat therefore brought the kingdom of Naples closer to the Aragonese court, so much so that the queen adopted Alfonso V of Aragon as her son and heir until Naples was under siege by Louis III”s troops. When the Aragonese freed the city in 1423, occupying the kingdom and averting the French threat, relations with the local court were not easy, so that Joan, driven out Alfonso V, at his death left the kingdom as an inheritance to Renato of Anjou, brother of Louis III.
With the death without heirs of Joan II of Anjou-Durazzo the territory of the kingdom of Naples was disputed by Renato of Anjou, who claimed the sovereignty as brother of Louis of Anjou, adopted son of the Queen of Naples Joan II, and Alfonso V, King of Trinacria, Sardinia and Aragon, former adopted son then repudiated by the same queen. The war that resulted involved the interests of other states of the peninsula, including the lordship of Milan of Filippo Maria Visconti, who intervened first in favor of the Angevins (Battle of Ponza), then definitely with the Aragonese.
In 1442 Alfonso V conquered Naples and assumed the crown (Alfonso I of Naples), temporarily reuniting in his person the two kingdoms (the Kingdom of Sicily will return to Aragon at his death) and settling in the city of Campania and imposing himself, not only militarily, in the Italian political scene.
In 1447, Filippo Maria Visconti designated Alfonso heir to the Duchy of Milan, formally enriching the patrimony of the Aragonese crown. The nobility of the Lombard city, however, fearing annexation to the kingdom of Naples, proclaimed Milan a free commune and established the Ambrosian republic; the consequent Aragonese and Neapolitan claims were opposed by France, which in 1450 gave political support to Francesco Sforza to take military possession of Milan and the duchy. The Ottoman expansionism, which threatened the borders of the kingdom of Naples, prevented the Neapolitans from intervening against Milan, and Pope Nicholas V first recognized Sforza as Duke of Milan, then succeeded in involving Alfonso of Aragon in the Italic League, an alliance aimed at consolidating the new territorial order of the peninsula.
The domestic policy of Alfonso I: humanism and centralism
The court of Naples was, in this era, one of the most refined and open to the cultural innovations of the Renaissance: guests of Alfonso were Lorenzo Valla, who during his stay in Naples denounced the false history of the donation of Constantine, the humanist Antonio Beccadelli and the Greek Emanuele Crisolora. To Alfonso we owe also the reconstruction of Castel Nuovo. The administrative structure of the kingdom remained roughly that of the Angevin age: they were resized, however, the powers of the ancient justices (Abruzzo Ultra and Citra, Contado di Molise, Terra di Lavoro, Capitanata, Principato Ultra and Citra, Basilicata, Terra di Bari, Terra d”Otranto, Calabria Ultra and Citra), which retained mainly political and military functions. The administration of justice was instead devolved in 1443 to the baronial courts, in an attempt to bring the ancient feudal hierarchies in the bureaucratic apparatus of the central state.
Another important step towards the achievement of territorial unity in the kingdom of Naples is considered the policy of the king, aimed at encouraging pastoralism and transhumance: in 1447 Alfonso I passed a series of laws, including the imposition on shepherds from Abruzzo and Molise to winter within the Neapolitan borders, in the Tavoliere, where many of the cultivated lands were also forcibly transformed into pastures. He also established, first in Lucera and then in Foggia, the Customs of the sheep in Apulia and the very important network of sheep tracks that led from Abruzzo (which since 1532 had its own detachment of the Customs, the Doganella d”Abruzzo) to Capitanata. These measures raised the economy of the internal cities between L”Aquila and Apulia: the economic resources linked to transhumant shepherding of the Apennines of Abruzzo were once dispersed in the Papal States, where until then the herds had wintered.
With the Aragonese measures, the activities related to transhumance involved, mainly within the national borders, the local craft activities, markets and boari forums between Lanciano, Castel di Sangro, Campobasso, Isernia, Boiano, Agnone, Larino up to Tavoliere, and the bureaucratic apparatus risen around the customs, predisposed to the maintenance of the sheep tracks and to the legal protection of the shepherds, became, on the model of the Castilian Concejo de la Mesta, the first popular base of the modern central State in the kingdom of Naples. To a lesser extent the same phenomenon occurred between Basilicata and Terra d”Otranto and the cities (Venosa, Ferrandina, Matera) linked to the transhumance towards Metaponto. At his death (1458) Alfonso divided the crowns again, leaving the Kingdom of Naples to his illegitimate son Ferdinand (legitimized by Pope Eugene IV and appointed Duke of Calabria), while all the other titles of the crown of Aragon, including the kingdom of Sicily, went to his brother John.
King Alfonso left therefore a kingdom perfectly inserted in the Italian politics. The succession of his son Ferdinand I of Naples, known as Don Ferrante, was supported by Francesco Sforza himself; the two new sovereigns together intervened in the republic of Florence and defeated the troops of the captain of fortune Bartolomeo Colleoni who were undermining the local powers; in 1478 the Neapolitan troops intervened again in Tuscany to stem the consequences of the Pazzi conspiracy, and then in Val Padana in 1484, allied with Florence and Milan, to impose on Venice the peace of Bagnolo.
The power of Ferrante, however, during his regency, seriously risked to be threatened by the nobility of Campania; in 1485 between Basilicata and Salerno, Francesco Coppola Count of Sarno and Antonello Sanseverino Prince of Salerno, with the support of the Papal State and the Republic of Venice, led a revolt with ambitions Guelph and Angevin feudal claims against the Aragonese government that, centralizing power in Naples, threatened the rural nobility. The revolt is known as the conspiracy of the barons, which was organized in the castle of Malconsiglio in Miglionico and was eradicated in 1487 thanks to the intervention of Milan and Florence. For a short period the city of L”Aquila passed to the Papal State. Another parallel pro-Angevin conspiracy, between Abruzzo and Terra di Lavoro, was led by Giovanni della Rovere in the Duchy of Sora, ended with the mediator intervention of Pope Alexander VI.
Despite the political upheaval, Ferrante continued in the capital city of Naples the patronage of his father Alfonso: in 1458 he supported the foundation of the Accademia Pontaniana, expanded the city walls and built Porta Capuana. In 1465 the city hosted the greek humanist Constantine Lascaris and the jurist Antonio D”Alessandro, as well as in the rest of the kingdom Francesco Filelfo, Giovanni Bessarione. At the court of Ferdinand”s sons, however, humanistic interests took on a much more political character, decreeing, among other things, the definitive adoption of Tuscan as a literary language in Naples: the anthology of rhymes known as the Aragonese Collection, which Lorenzo de” Medici sent to the King of Naples Frederick I, dates from the second half of the 15th century, in which Florentine was proposed to the Neapolitan court as a model of illustrious vernacular, of equal literary dignity with Latin. The Neapolitan intellectuals accepted the Medicean cultural program, reinterpreting in an original way the stereotypes of the Tuscan tradition. Following the example of Boccaccio, Masuccio Salernitano had already written, around the middle of the 15th century, a collection of novels in which the satirical ideas were taken to extremes, with invective against women and the ecclesiastical hierarchy, so much so that his work was included in the Index of forbidden books by the Inquisition. A real literary canon was inaugurated by Jacopo Sannazaro who, in his prosimetrum Arcadia, for the first time exposed in vernacular and in prose the pastoral and mythical topoi of the virgilian and theocritical bucolic poetry, anticipating of centuries the tendency of the modern and contemporary novel to adopt as poetic reference a mythological-esoteric substratum.
Sannazaro”s bucolic inspiration was also a counterbalance to the courtly stereotypes of the Petrarchists, of the Provençal and Sicilian poets, or of Stilnovism; and in the return to a pastoral poetics there is a clear humanistic and philological opposition of classical mythology to the female icons of the Tuscan poets, including Dante and Petrarch, who veiledly expressed the political and social tendencies of the communes and seigniories of Italy. Sannazaro was also a model and inspiration for the poets of the Academy of Arcadia, who took the name of their literary school from his novel.
Already from the first great epidemic of plague (XIV century) that involved Europe, the cities and the economy of the extreme Mezzogiorno were heavily hit, so much to make that territory, that from the first Greek colonization had remained for centuries one of the most productive of the Mediterranean, a vast depopulated country. The flat coastal territories (Metaponto plain, Sibari, Sant”Eufemia), by now abandoned, were swamped and infested by malaria, with the exception of the plain of Seminara, where agricultural production alongside that of silk supported a weak economic activity linked to the city of Reggio.
In 1444 Isabella of Chiaromonte married Don Ferrante and brought as a dowry to the Neapolitan crown the principality of Taranto, which at the death of the queen in 1465 was suppressed and joined permanently to the kingdom. In 1458 arrived in Southern Italy the Albanian fighter Giorgio Castriota Scanderbeg to support the king Don Ferrante against the revolt of the barons. Previously Scanderbeg came to support the Aragonese crown in Naples under the reign of Alfonso I. The Albanian leader obtained in Italy a series of titles of nobility, and feudal possessions attached, which were shelter for the first communities of Arbereschi: the Albanians, exiles following the defeat by Muhammad II of the Christian party in the Balkans, settled in areas of Molise and Calabria, until then depopulated.
A resumption of economic activities in Apulia returned with the concession of the Duchy of Bari to Sforza Maria Sforza, son of Francesco Maria Sforza Duke of Milan, offered by Don Ferrante to confirm the alliance between Naples and the Lombard city. After Ludovico il Moro succeeded Sforza Maria, the Sforzeschi neglected the Apulian territories in favor of Lombardy, until the Moor gave them to Isabella of Aragon, legitimate heir to the regency of Milan, in exchange for the Lombard duchy. The new duchess in Apulia began a policy of urban improvement of the city, which was followed by a slight economic recovery that lasted until the government of her daughter Bona Sforza and the succession to the royal title of Naples of Charles V.
In 1542 the viceroy Pedro of Toledo issued a decree of expulsion for the Jews from the kingdom of Naples. The last communities that had settled between Brindisi and Rome since the great diaspora of the 2nd century disappeared from the urban realities in which they had been welcomed. In the ports of the Apulian coast and in the main cities of Calabria, as well as with some weak presences in the Terra di Lavoro, after the crisis of the cenobitic economy of the 16th century, the Jews were the only efficient source of financial and commercial activities: besides the exclusive privilege, granted by the local administrations, of exercising the loan of money, their communities managed important sectors of the commerce of silk, relict of that economic system of the Mediterranean that in Southern Italy survived the barbaric invasions and feudalism.
Don Ferrante was succeeded by his eldest son Alfonso II in 1494. In the same year Charles VIII of France came down in Italy to upset the delicate political balance that the cities of the peninsula had reached in the previous years. The occasion directly concerned the kingdom of Naples: Charles VIII boasted a distant kinship with the Angevin kings of Naples (his paternal grandmother was the daughter of Louis II who tried to steal the Neapolitan throne to Charles of Durazzo and Ladislaus I), enough to be able to claim the royal title. With France also sided with the duchy of Milan: Ludovico Sforza, called the Moor, had ousted the legitimate heirs of the duchy Gian Galeazzo Sforza and his wife Isabella of Aragon, daughter of Alfonso II, married in the marriage with which Milan had sealed the alliance with the Aragonese crown. The new Duke of Milan did not oppose to Charles VIII, who went against the Aragonese kingdom; avoiding the resistance of Florence, the French king occupied in thirteen days the Campania and shortly after entered in Naples: all the provinces submitted to the new sovereign of beyond the Alps, except for the cities of Gaeta, Tropea, Amantea and Reggio.
The Aragonese took refuge in Sicily and sought the support of Ferdinand the Catholic, who sent a contingent of troops led by Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba that engaged in battle in Calabria the French line-up. The French expansionism pushed however also the pope Alexander VI and Massimiliano of Asburgo to constitute a League against Carlo VIII, to fight him and finally to defeat him in the battle of Fornovo: at the end of the conflict the Spain occupied Calabria, while the republic of Venice acquired the main ports of the Apulian coast (Manfredonia, Trani, Mola, Monopoli, Brindisi, Otranto, Polignano and Gallipoli). Alfonso II died during the war, in 1495, and Ferrandino inherited the throne, but he survived only one year without leaving heirs, but still managed to quickly reconstitute a new Neapolitan army that to the cry of “Ferro! Iron!” (deriving from the “desperta ferro” of the almogàver) drove out the French of Charles VIII from the Kingdom of Naples.
In 1496 became king the son of Don Ferrante and brother of Alfonso II, Federico I, who had to face again the French ambitions on Naples. Louis XII Duke of Orleans had inherited the kingdom of France after the death of Charles VIII; having the King of Aragon Ferdinand the Catholic inherited the throne of Castile, he stipulated an agreement (Treaty of Granada, November 1500) with the French sovereigns pretenders to the throne of Naples, to divide Italy and oust the last Aragonese in the peninsula. Louis XII occupied the Duchy of Milan, where he captured Ludovico Sforza, and, in agreement with Ferdinand the Catholic, moved against Frederick I of Naples. The agreement between the French and the Spanish provided for the division of the Kingdom of Naples between the two crowns: to the French sovereign, Abruzzo and Terra di Lavoro, as well as the title of rex Hierosolymae and, for the first time, of rex Neapolis; to the Aragonese sovereign, Apulia and Calabria with the ducal titles attached. With this treaty, on November 11, 1500, the title of rex Siciliae was declared forfeited by Pope Alexander VI and united to the Crown of Aragon.
In August 1501 the French entered Naples; Frederick I of Naples took refuge in Ischia and finally ceded his sovereignty to the King of France in exchange for some fiefs in Anjou. Although the occupation of the kingdom was successful for both, the two kings did not agree on the implementation of the treaty of division of the kingdom: the fate of Capitanata and the County of Molise remained undefined, on whose territories both French and Spanish claimed sovereignty. Having inherited the kingdom of Castile from Philip the Fair, the new Spanish king sought a second agreement with Louis XII, whereby the titles of King of Naples and Duke of Apulia and Calabria would go to Louis” daughter, Claudia, and to Charles of Hapsburg, her betrothed (1502).
The Spanish troops occupying Calabria and Apulia, led by Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba and faithful to Ferdinand the Catholic, did not respect the new agreements and drove the French out of Southern Italy, to which only Gaeta remained until their final defeat in the battle of Garigliano in December 1503. The peace treaties that followed were never definitive, but it was established at least that the title of King of Naples belonged to Charles of Hapsburg and his betrothed Claudia. Ferdinand the Catholic however continued to own the kingdom considering himself the legitimate heir of his uncle Alfonso I of Naples and of the ancient Aragonese crown of Sicily.
The Aragonese royal house became indigenous in Italy had died out with Frederick I and the kingdom of Naples fell under the control of the royals of Spain who governed it through the viceroys. The south of Italy remained a direct possession of the Iberian sovereigns until the end of the War of the Spanish Succession (1713). The new administrative structure, although highly centralized, was based on the old feudal system: the barons were able to strengthen their authority and land privileges, while the clergy saw their political and moral power increase. The most important administrative bodies were based in Naples and were the Collateral Council, similar to the Council of Aragon, the supreme body in the exercise of legal functions (composed of the viceroy and three jurisconsults), the Chamber of Sommaria, the Court of Vicarage and the Court of the Sacred Royal Council.
It was Ferdinand the Catholic who, holding the titles of King of Naples and Sicily, appointed viceroy Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, who had been until then Grand Captain of the Neapolitan army, entrusting him with the same powers of a king. At the same time, the title of Grand Captain lapsed and the command of the royal troops of Naples was entrusted to the Count of Tagliacozzo Fabrizio I Colonna with the appointment of Grand Constable and the task of leading an expedition in Apulia, against Venice which occupied some Adriatic ports. The military operation ended successfully and the Apulian ports returned in 1509 to the kingdom of Naples. King Ferdinand also re-established the funding to the University of Naples by providing a monthly contribution from his personal treasury of 2000 ducats per year, a privilege later confirmed by his successor Charles V.
The de Córdoba was succeeded first by Juan de Aragón, who enacted a series of laws against corruption, combated patronage, prohibited gambling and usury, and then by Raimondo de Cardona, who in 1510 tried to reintroduce the Spanish Inquisition in Naples and the first restrictive measures against Jews.
Charles V, son of Philip the Fair and Joan the Mad, due to a complicated system of inheritance and kinship, soon found himself ruling a vast empire: from his father he obtained Burgundy and Flanders, from his mother in 1516 Spain, Cuba, the kingdom of Naples (for the first time with the title of rex Neapolis), the Kingdom of Sicily and Sardinia, as well as two years later the Austrian dominions from his grandfather Maximilian of Habsburg.
The kingdom of France, once again, came to threaten Naples and the dominion of Charles V on the South: the French after having conquered the duchy of Milan to the son of Ludovic the Moor, Maximilian, were defeated and driven out of Lombardy by Charles V (1515). The king of France Francis I in 1526 then entered into a league, sealed by Clement VII and called holy league, with Venice and Florence, to drive out the Spaniards from Naples. After a first defeat of the league in Rome, the French responded with the intervention in Italy of Odet de Foix, who pushed in the Kingdom of Naples besieging Melfi (the event will go down in history as “Easter of blood”) and the capital, while the Serenissima occupied Otranto and Manfredonia. In the full force of the military campaign of invasion by the troops of Francis I, King of France, is placed the episode of the siege in the summer of 1528 of the city of Catanzaro, remained faithful to Emperor Charles V and that stood as a last bulwark against the advancing invaders. While Naples, in fact, was surrounded by sea and land, Catanzaro was besieged by soldiers under the orders of Simone de Tebaldi, Count of Capaccio, and Francesco di Loria, Lord of Tortorella, who had come down in arms in Calabria to occupy it, subdue it and govern it in the name of Francis I.
The fortified city was besieged in the first days of the month of June and resisted for about three months to the assaults under the walls and facing with courage and skill the battles in the open field; at the end of the month of August, in fact, the besieging troops had to withdraw sanctioning in such a way the victory of the City of the Three Hills, as Catanzaro is defined, that Simone de Tebaldi himself, retired in Apulia, defined “Cità assai bona et forte”. During the siege that, undoubtedly, contributed to the maintenance of the Kingdom of Naples to the emperor Charles V, in Catanzaro was beaten an oxidional coin of the value of a carlin. In those same days, the Genoese fleet, initially allied with the French, put itself in the pay of Charles V, and the siege of Naples turned into yet another defeat of the enemies of Spain, which then led to the recognition by Clement VII of the imperial title of King Charles. Venice definitely lost its possessions in Apulia (1528).
The hostilities of France against the Spanish dominions in Italy however did not cease: Henry II, son of Francis I of France, solicited by Ferrante Sanseverino, prince of Salerno, allied himself with the Ottoman Turks; in the summer of 1552 the Turkish fleet commanded by Sinan Pasha surprised the imperial fleet, commanded by Andrea Doria and don Giovanni de Mendoza, off Ponza, defeating it. The French fleet however did not succeed in rejoining the Turkish one and the objective of the invasion of Naples failed.
In 1555, following a series of defeats in Europe, Charles abdicated and divided his dominions between Philip II, to whom he left Spain, the colonies of America, the Spanish Netherlands, the kingdom of Naples, the kingdom of Sicily and Sardinia, and Ferdinand I of Habsburg to whom went Austria, Bohemia, Hungary and the title of emperor.
The viceroyships that followed each other under the reign of Philip II were mostly marked by warfare that did not bring prosperity to the people of Naples. To worsen the situation was the plague that spread throughout Italy around 1575, the year of the appointment of Íñigo López de Hurtado de Mendoza as viceroy. Naples, as a port city, was extremely exposed to the spread of the disease and its main economic activities were undermined at the base. In the same years landed first in Trebisacce, Calabria, then in Apulia, the ships of the Ottoman Sultan Murad III, who sacked the main ports of the Ionian and Adriatic Sea. It was necessary to increase the militarization of the coasts, so the de Mendoza built a new arsenal in the port of Santa Lucia designed by Vincenzo Casali. Moreover it forbade to the public officials to interlace sacramental bonds and religious kinship.
With the peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, traditional historiography designates the end of French ambitions in the Italian peninsula. The climate of religious reform that involved at the time both the Lutheran opposition to the papacy in Rome and the Catholic church itself, in the territories of the viceroyalty of Naples was contextualized in the growth of the civil authority of the clergy and the ecclesiastical hierarchies. In 1524, in Rome, Gian Pietro Carafa, at that time bishop of Chieti, had founded the congregation of the Theatines (from Teate, ancient name of Chieti) that soon spread throughout the kingdom, later joined by the Jesuit colleges, which were for centuries the only cultural reference for the provinces of southern Italy. The Council of Trent imposed new rules on the dioceses, such as the obligation for bishops, parish priests and abbots to reside in their own seat, the establishment of diocesan seminaries, of inquisition courts and, later, of frumentari monti, transforming the dioceses of the viceroyalty of Naples into real organs of power, strongly rooted in the territory and in the provinces, since they were the only social, juridical and cultural support to the control of the civil order. Among the other monastic orders that were very successful in Naples in these years are the Discalced Carmelites, the Teresian Sisters, the Brothers of Charity, the Camaldolese and the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri.
De Castro, Téllez-Girón I, Juan de Zúñiga y Avellaneda and the revolt in Calabria
On July 16, 1599 arrived in Naples the new viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro. His work was limited mainly to military operations against the Turkish incursions in Calabria of Amurat Rais and Sinan Pasha.
In the same year of his appointment as viceroy, the Dominican Thomas Campanella, who in The City of the Sun outlined a community state based on a supposed natural religion, organized a conspiracy against Fernando Ruiz de Castro in the hope of establishing a republic with capital in Stilo (Mons Pinguis). The Calabrian philosopher and astrologer had already been a prisoner of the Holy Office and confined in Calabria: here, with the doctrinal and philosophical support of the eschatological Gioachimite tradition, he took the first steps to persuade monks and religious to adhere to his revolutionary ambitions, fomenting a conspiracy that extended to involve not only the entire Dominican order of Calabria, but also the local minor orders such as Augustinians and Franciscans, and the main dioceses from Cassano to Reggio Calabria.
It was the first revolt in Europe to take sides against the Jesuit order and their growing spiritual and secular authority. The conspiracy was quelled and Campanella, who passed himself off as crazy, escaped the stake and life imprisonment. A few years earlier (1576) another Dominican, the philosopher Giordano Bruno, was tried for heresy in Naples. His speculations and theses were later admired by various scholars in Lutheran Europe.
The de Castro also inaugurated a policy focused on state funding for the construction of various public works: under the direction of the architect Domenico Fontana, in Naples he ordered the construction of the new royal palace in what is now Piazza del Plebiscito.Characterized mainly by urban works was the mandate of Pedro Téllez-Girón y de la Cueva: he fixed the road system of the capital and the provinces of Puglia.
He was succeeded by Juan de Zúñiga y Avellaneda, whose government was oriented to the recovery of order in the provinces: he stemmed the brigandage in Abruzzi with the support of the Papal State and in Capitanata; he modernized the road system between Naples and the Land of Bari. In 1593 were stopped by his army the Ottomans who tried to invade Sicily.
Philip III of Spain and the viceroyships of de Guzmán, Pimentel and Pedro Fernandez de Castro
When Philip II was succeeded to the throne of Spain by his son, Philip III, the administration of the viceroyalty of Naples was entrusted to Enrique de Guzmán, Count of Olivares. The kingdom of Spain was at its height, uniting the crown of Aragon, with the Italian domains, to that of Castile and Portugal. In Naples, the Spanish government was weakly active in the urban planning of the capital: de Guzmán was responsible for the construction of the Fountain of Neptune (under the direction of the architect Domenico Fontana), a monument to Charles I of Anjou and the arrangement of the road system.
The other government that actively operated with a discreet political and economic activity in the kingdom of Naples was that of the viceroy Juan Alonso Pimentel de Herrera. The new sovereign had to defend the territories of Southern Italy from Turkish naval incursions and to quell the first revolts against taxation, which in the capital began to threaten the palace. To prevent the Ottoman aggressions conducted a war against Durazzo, destroying the city and the port in which found asylum the Turkish and Albanian corsairs that often attacked the coasts of the kingdom. In Naples he tried to fight crime, in those years more and more growing, even against the papal provisions, opposing the right of asylum that guaranteed the buildings of Catholic worship: for this some of his officials were excommunicated.
Pimentel”s strongly national policy, however, also involved several urban and architectural works: he built avenues and widened roads, from Poggioreale to via Chiaja; in Porto Longone, in the Stato dei Presidi, he ordered the construction of the imposing fortress.
To Pimentel followed in 1610 Pedro Fernández de Castro, whose interventions were mainly concentrated in the city of Naples, whose urban redevelopment was entrusted to the Royal Architect Domenico Fontana, whose most important work was the construction of the Royal Palace. He ordered the reconstruction of the university, whose lessons from the beginning of Spanish rule had been housed in various cloisters city, funding a new building (Palace of Royal Studies, now houses the National Archaeological Museum of Naples) commissioning the renovation of a cavalry barracks architect Giulio Cesare Fontana and modernizing the system of teaching and professorships.
It flourished under his regency the Academy of the Idlers, which joined among others the Marino and Della Porta. He built the college of the Jesuits entitled to San Francesco Saverio and a complex of factories near Porta Nolana. In Terra di Lavoro he began the first works of reclamation of the plain of Volturno, entrusting to Fontana the project of Regi Lagni, the work of canalization and implementation of the waters of the river Clanio between Castel Volturno and Villa Literno, where until then swamps and coastal lakes (such as Lake Patria) had made a good part of Campania Felix of the Romans an unhealthy and depopulated territory.
The death of Philip III and the governments under Philip IV and Charles II
It was mainly characterized by military operations the government of Pedro Téllez-Girón y Velasco Guzmán y Tovar, who, in the war between Spain and Savoy for the Monferrato, led an expedition against the Republic of Venice, in those years allied to the Savoy monarchy. The Neapolitan fleet besieged and sacked Traù, Pola and Istria.
He was succeeded by Cardinal Antonio Zapata, among famines and revolts, and, after the death of Philip III, Antonio Álvarez de Toledo y Beaumont de Navarra and Fernando Afán de Ribera who had to face the problems of a brigandage in the provinces more and more widespread and rooted. They were followed by Manuel de Acevedo y Zúñiga, who financed the fortification of the ports of Barletta, Ortona, Baia and Gaeta, with a government strongly committed to the economic support of the army and the fleet. The strong impoverishment of the state treasury led, under the administration of Ramiro Núñez de Guzmán, a devolution of the administration of the royal domains to the courts of the barons, and the consequent growth of feudal powers.Under the reign of Charles II we remember the viceroyships of Fernando Fajardo y Álvarez de Toledo and Francisco de Benavides, with policies committed to contain endemic problems such as banditry, clientelism, inflation and scarcity of food resources.
Literary and scientific culture in Naples in the seventeenth century
The humanistic and Christian tradition was the only reference point for the first revolutionary ambitions of a national nature that began to emerge, for the first time in Europe, between Rome and Naples, in the irrationalism of the Baroque, in popular urban planning (Spanish quarters), in religious mysticism and in political and philosophical speculation. If in the country a strong return to the feudal order brought back to the seminaries and the dioceses the control of art and culture, Naples was the first city in Italy where the first literary forms of intolerance to the cultural climate that followed the Counter-Reformation were born, even if disorganized and ignored by the governments.
Accetto, Marino and Basile were the first in Italian literature to transgress the poetic paradigms that took the works of Tasso as their model, and with a strong subversive thrust towards the artistic canons of their Italian contemporaries, they rejected the study of the classics as an example of harmony and style and the aesthetic and linguistic theories of the purists, who were born with the doctrinal re-proposition of scholastic and liturgical Latin (Chiabrera, Accademia della Crusca, Accademia del Cimento).
These were the years in which, in the Neapolitan commedia dell”arte, Punchinello, the most famous mask of southern popular inventiveness, imposed himself. The Cosentine Tommaso Cornelio, educated according to the Telesian and Cosentinian tradition (pupil of Marcus Aurelius Severinus), professor of mathematics and medicine, brought to Naples in the second half of the seventeenth century the philosophy and mathematics of Descartes and Galilei, as well as physics and Gassendi”s atomistic ethics constituting, in contrast with the local Thomistic and Galenic tradition, the basis of the future schools of modern Neapolitan thought.
Similar in ambition to Campanella, but driven by economic reasons, under the viceroyalty of the Duke of Arcos Rodríguez Ponce de León, Masaniello led, in 1647, a revolt against the heavy local taxation. He succeeded in obtaining from the viceroy the constitution of a popular government and, for himself, the title of Captain General of the faithful people, until he was killed by the same rioters. He was replaced by Gennaro Annese who gave a broader scope to the revolt, which took on an anti-feudal and anti-Spanish character and precise political and social connotations and also secessionist, like what had happened a few years earlier in Portugal and Catalonia. Also for Rosario Villari the ultimate goal of the revolt was independence from Spain that could have resized the feudal society of the kingdom. “What rages in southern Italy in 1647-1648,” writes the historian from Calabria, “is essentially a peasant war, the largest and most impetuous that has known Western Europe in the seventeenth century. Naples will try to lead the movement, setting as its goal independence “as a prerequisite and indispensable condition of a downsizing of feudal power and a new political and social balance of the kingdom. In October 1647 Gennaro Annese, with the support of Giulio Mazzarino and Henry II of Guise, proclaimed the Republic. The new government was short-lived: although the revolts had extended to the countryside, in the spring of 1648 the Spanish troops led by Don Giovanni of Austria restored the previous regime.
The eastern provinces: Terra di Bari, Terra d”Otranto and Calabrie
From the sixteenth century the stabilization of the Adriatic borders after the battle of Lepanto and the end of Turkish threats on the Italian coast led, with few exceptions, to a period of relative tranquility in southern Italy, during which barons and feudal lords could exploit the ancient land rights to consolidate economic and productive privileges.
Between the sixteenth and seventeenth century arose in Apulia and Calabria that closed and provincial economy that will characterize the regions until the unification of Italy: agriculture for the first time became subsistence, the only products for export were oil and silk, whose production times stable, cyclical and repetitive could not escape the control of the landed aristocracy. So between the Land of Bari and the Land of Otranto, oil production increased a relative well-being, witnessed by the widespread system of rural farms and, in the city, by the flourishing of urban and architectural works (Lecce Baroque). After the loss of the dominions of the Serenissima in the Mediterranean, the ports of Brindisi and Otranto remained a valuable market of Venice for the supply of agricultural and food products, lost among others also the markets of Ortona and Lanciano after the conversion of the territories of Abruzzo to the pastoral economy. Very similar the condition of the Calabrie whose provinces, deprived of commercial outlets and competitive ports, saw a partial development in the single zone of Cosenza.
Around the wealthier classes flourished a particular type of humanism, strongly conservative, characterized by the cult of classical Latin tradition, rhetoric and law. Even before the birth of seminaries, priests and lay aristocrats subsidized centers of culture that constituted, in Apulia and Calabria, the only form of civil modernization that the administrative and bureaucratic innovations of the Aragonese kingdom required, while the economy and the territory remained excluded from the changes taking place in the rest of Europe.
Since the fifteenth century disappeared the last traces of the Greek cultural and social tradition: in 1467 the diocese of Hieracium abandoned the use of the greek rite in the liturgy in favor of Latin, similarly in 1571 the diocese of Rossano, in 1580 the archdiocese of Reggio, in 1586 the archdiocese of Siponto and shortly after that of Otranto. The Latinization of the territory started with the Normans, continued with the Angevins, found its completion in the XVII century, in parallel with the strong centralization of power in the hands of the landed aristocracy, between Reggio and Cosenza. In these years the Campanella involved these dioceses, with the support of astrological and oriental philosophical speculations, in the revolt against the Spanish dominion and the order of the Jesuits; they were also the years of the great development of the Carthusian monasteries of Padula and Santo Stefano, and of the birth of the Accademia Cosentina, that will see among its students and masters Bernardino Telesio and Sebezio Amilio.
The succession of Charles II and the end of Spanish rule
Already in 1693 in Naples, as in the rest of the dominions of the Hapsburgs of Spain, they began to discuss the fate of the kingdom of Charles II, who left the states of his crown without direct heirs. It was on this occasion that a politically organized civil conscience began to emerge in Southern Italy, transversally composed of both aristocrats and small town merchants and artisans, arrayed against the privileges and tax immunities of the clergy (the related legal current is known to historians as Neapolitan anti-curialism) and ambitious to face banditry. This kind of party in 1700, at the death of Charles II, opposed the will of the Spanish sovereign that designated heir of the Spanish and Neapolitan crowns Philip V of Bourbon, Duke of Anjou, supporting instead the claims of Leopold I of Hapsburg, who considered legitimate heir the Archduke Charles of Hapsburg (later Emperor with the name of Charles VI). This political disagreement led the pro-Austrian Neapolitan party to an explicit anti-Spanish position, followed by the revolt known as the conspiracy of Macchia, then failed. After the political crisis the Spanish government tried with repression to restore order in the kingdom, while the financial crisis was increasingly disastrous. In 1702 failed the Bank of the Annunciation, in these years Philip V, traveling in Naples, in 1701 condoned the debts of the universities. The last viceroys on behalf of Spain were Luis Francisco de la Cerda y Aragon, committed to curb banditry and smuggling, and Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco y Zúñiga, Marquis of Villena whose government mandate was prevented by the war and then by the Austrian occupation of 1707.
The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 put an end to the War of Spanish Succession: according to the agreements signed by the signatories, the kingdom of Naples with Sardinia ended up under the control of Charles VI of Habsburg; the kingdom of Sicily instead went to the Savoy, re-establishing the territorial identity of the crown of the rex Siciliae, with the condition that, once the male descendants of the Savoy had died out, the island and the attached royal title would return to the Spanish crown. With the peace of Rastatt, a year later also Louis XIV of France recognized the Hapsburg dominions in Italy. In 1718 Philip V of Spain tried to re-establish its own dominion in Naples and Sicily with the support of its prime minister Giulio Alberoni: against Spain intervened directly however Great Britain, France, Austria and United Provinces that defeated the fleet of Philip V in the battle of Capo Passero. The treaty of the Aia (1720) that concluded the war of the Quadruple alliance (to which the battle of Capo Passero is an element) decreed the passage of the kingdom of Sicily to the Hapsburgs: even if it maintained itself as a separate state entity, it passed together with Naples under the Austrian crown while Sardinia became possession of the Savoy dukes, with the birth of the kingdom of Sardinia. Charles of Bourbon was designated heir to the throne in the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza.
The beginning of the Austrian rule, although forced to face a disastrous financial situation, marked a profound reform in the political hierarchies of the Neapolitan State, which was followed by a discreet development of the Enlightenment and reformist principles. They were since then available in Naples, as well as the Cartesian texts, the works of Spinoza, Giansenio, Pascal and the expressions of culture returned in direct contrast with the city clergy, on the road of Neapolitan anti-curialism already opened by famous jurists such as Francesco d”Andrea, Giuseppe Valletta and Costantino Grimaldi. During the Austrian viceroyalty, in 1721, Pietro Giannone published his most famous text, the Istoria civile del Regno di Napoli (Civil History of the Kingdom of Naples), a very important cultural reference for the Neapolitan State, which became famous throughout Europe (admired by Montesquieu) for how it re-proposes in modern terms Machiavellism and subordinates canon law to civil law. Excommunicated by the archbishop of Naples, he found refuge in Vienna, without being able to return to southern Italy. In this environment, between Naples and Cilento, also lived Giovan Battista Vico who, in 1725, published the first edition of his Principles of a new science, and Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina, a scholar in Naples of canon law, who founded in Rome, with Christina of Sweden, the Academy of Arcadia, proposing the lay reading of the classics. His pupil Metastasio just in Naples formed on Tasso and Marino poetic innovations that gave the Italian melodrama international fame.
The first Austrian viceroys were Georg Adam von Martinitz and Virico Daun, followed by the administration of Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani who, favorable to the anticurial Neapolitan circles, implemented the first policy of financial recovery, trying to reduce the government expenses and to the seizure of the annuities of the southern feudal lords who, following the Austrian occupation, were contumacious The viceroys who succeeded him (Carlo Borromeo Arese and Daun at the second mandate) found a slight positive balance in the revenues of the kingdom, thanks also to the balance of the expenses that the military operations had required. In 1728 the viceroy Michele Federico Althann established the public Banco di San Carlo, to finance the private entrepreneurship of mercantilistic type, buy back the shares of public debt and liquidate the ecclesiastical manomorta The same viceroy earned the enmity of the Jesuits for having tolerated the publication of the works of anti-curialists Giannone and Grimaldi.
A new invasion attempt by Philip V of Spain, although it ended with the defeat of the latter, brought the budget of the kingdom again in deficit: the problem persisted throughout the subsequent period of Austrian rule; in 1731 Aloys Thomas Raimund promoted the establishment of a “Council of Universities” to control the budgets of small towns in the provinces, together with the Council of Numeration for the reorganization of financial administrations, established in 1732. The new land registers were, however, hindered by landowners and the clergy, who wanted to avert the government”s intentions to tax ecclesiastical property. The last of the Austrian viceroys, Giulio Visconti Borromeo Arese, saw the Bourbon invasion and the consequent war, but left to the new sovereigns a much better financial situation than the one left by the Spanish viceroys.
Charles of Bourbon
The policy of reforms tepidly started under the viceroyalty of Charles VI of Hapsburg was resumed by the crown of the Bourbons who undertook a series of administrative and political innovations, extending them to the whole territory of the kingdom. Charles of Borbone, already duke of Parma and Piacenza, son of Philip V king of Spain and Elisabetta Farnese, as a result of the battle of Bitonto, conquered the kingdom of Naples and made his entrance in the city on May 10, 1734; he was crowned Rex utriusque Siciliae on July 3, 1735 in the Cathedral of Palermo. The conquest of the two kingdoms by the Infante was made possible by the maneuvers of the Queen of Spain, which, taking advantage of the War of Polish Succession in which France and Spain fought the Holy Roman Empire, claimed to her son the provinces of southern Italy, obtained in 1734 following the battle of Bitonto. With Charles, the Kingdom of Naples saw the birth of the new dynasty of the Bourbons of Naples. On June 8, 1735 Charles replaced the Collateral Council with the Royal Chamber of Santa Chiara, also entrusting the formation of the government to the Count of Santisteban and appointing Bernardo Tanucci Minister of Justice.
The kingdom did not have a real autonomy from Spain until the peace of Vienna in 1738, which ended the War of Polish Succession. Because of the repeated wars and the risks that ran Naples, Tanucci hypothesized the displacement of the capital to Melfi (already first capital of the Norman dominion), seeing in it a highly strategic point: placed in the continental zone, protected by the mountains and far from the threats coming from the open sea.
In August 1744 the army of Charles, still strong with the presence of Spanish troops, defeated in the Battle of Velletri the Austrians who were trying to regain the kingdom. The precarious situation in which the Bourbon crown was on the kingdom of Naples corresponded to an ambiguous policy of Charles: he tried to support the political positions of the ecclesiastical hierarchy at the beginning of his government, favoring the establishment of a court of Inquisition in Palermo and not opposing the excommunication of Pietro Giannone. When, however, the end of hostilities in Europe averted the threats to his royal title, he appointed Bernardo Tanucci as Prime Minister, whose policy was immediately aimed at curbing ecclesiastical privileges: in 1741, with an agreement, the right of asylum in churches and other immunities to the clergy were drastically reduced; ecclesiastical goods were subjected to taxation. Similar successes, however, were not had in the fight against feudalism in the peripheral provinces of the kingdom. Since 1740, on the proposal of the Board of Commerce appointed a few years earlier, the Regi Consolati di commercio (Royal Consulates of Commerce) had been instituted in order to encourage the liberalization of the economy and to ensure the civil justice that the feudal lords were not able to guarantee. Present in all the main cities of the kingdom (even more than one per province), the consulates were subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Magistrate of Commerce of Naples. However, the opposition of the baronial class was so compact and well organized that within a few years, it determined the substantial failure of the initiative.
The reforms, however, while restoring the old cadastral systems, succeeded in imposing a taxation on ecclesiastical property equal to half of the ordinary taxation of the laity, while feudal property remained bound to the tax system of the adoa. The Treasury benefited from the new measures and at the same time there was a significant development of the economy, the increase in agricultural production and trade related. In 1755 was established at the University of Naples the first chair of economics in Europe, called Chair of Commerce and Mechanics. The courses (in Italian and not in Latin) were held by Antonio Genovesi who, having lost his chair of theology following accusations of atheism, continued his studies in economics and ethics. The successes obtained inaugurated a more radical intervention project to be carried out in the Terra di Lavoro. The first step involved the construction of the royal palace of Caserta and the urban modernization of the homonymous city, which was rebuilt on the rationalistic drawings of Luigi Vanvitelli. In the same years, in the heart of the capital of the kingdom, Giuseppe Sammartino created the famous sculptural complex in the Sansevero Chapel: the extremely formal care and the stylistic modernization of his works generated controversy in the Neapolitan Catholic circles, accustomed to the artistic results of Mannerism and Baroque.
At the royal palace of Portici, which should have been the residence of Charles before the construction of the Royal Palace of Caserta, the king established the archaeological museum in which were collected the findings of the recent excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii. For the first time in Italy, since the institution of the ghetto of Rome, a law was promulgated in Naples in these years to guarantee the Jews, expelled from the kingdom two centuries earlier, the same rights of citizenship (with the exception of the possibility of owning feudal titles) reserved until then for Catholics.
King Ferdinand IV
In 1759 King Ferdinand VI of Spain died without leaving direct heirs. In first place in the line of succession was his brother Charles of Bourbon, who, respecting the treaty between the two kingdoms which established that the two crowns should never be united, had to choose a successor for the two kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. He who until then had been considered the heir to the Throne, Philip, born on June 13, 1747, was put under observation for two weeks by a committee composed of high officials, magistrates and six doctors to assess his mental state. Their verdict was his complete imbecility, thus excluding him from succession. The second son Charles Anthony, born in 1748, instead will follow his father as heir to the throne of Spain. The choice falls on the third son Ferdinand, born on 12 January 1751, who assumed the title of Ferdinand IV of Naples.
At his birth a country noblewoman named Agnese Rivelli, belonging to the nobility of Muro Lucano, was chosen as his nurse. It had become customary in the court of Naples, taking example from that of Spain, to place side by side to the prince a commoner of the same age. He, called menino, had to be scolded instead of the prince, who in this way had to understand that, if one day he became king, in case he made mistakes during his government, the evil would fall on the whole people. Agnese Rivelli introduced her son Gennaro Rivelli to the royal family. This would have become an inseparable friend of Ferdinand and in fact Ferdinand prevented his son from being scolded in his place, close even in the tragic events of the Revolution. In fact, it will be Gennaro Rivelli at the side of Cardinal Ruffo to lead the army of the Holy Faith in the Counterrevolution to the reconquest of the kingdom.
These are the words of Charles of Bourbon at the time of his abdication: “I humbly recommend to God the Infante Ferdinando who at this very moment becomes my successor. To him I leave the kingdom of Naples with my paternal blessing, entrusting him with the task of defending the Catholic religion and recommending justice, clemency, care, love for the people, who, having faithfully served and obeyed me, have the right to the benevolence of my royal family”. Ferdinand was then only 8 years old and for this reason a Regency Council was established by Charles himself. Main exponents were Domenico Cattaneo, Prince of San Nicandro and the Marquis Bernardo Tanucci, the latter the head of the Council of Regency. During the period of the regency and in the following one, it was mainly Tanucci to hold the reins of the Kingdom and to continue the reforms begun in the Carolingian age. In the legal field, many advances were made possible by the support given to the minister Tanucci by Gaetano Filangieri, who, with his work “Science of Legislation” (begun in 1777), can be considered among the precursors of modern law. In 1767 the king issued the act of expulsion of the Jesuits from the territory of the kingdom, which entailed the alienation of their property, convents and cultural centers, six years before Pope Clement XIV decreed the suppression of the order.
In the meantime Ferdinand instead spent his days playing with his friend Gennaro, dressing up and mingling with the common people, who treated him and spoke to him in absolute freedom. On January 12, 1767 Ferdinand, having reached the age of 16, became king with full powers. On that same day the Council of Regency became the Council of State. At the time of the ceremony, however, Ferdinand was not there. In fact, he had forgotten the important event and was with his beloved Liparites, a select group of students with whom he played at war. In fact it was still Tanucci who governed. He, continuing to maintain relations with the now former king of Naples and the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, organized repeated attempts to marry Ferdinand to an Austrian archduchess, making him engaged with several daughters of the empress, but all died before the wedding. In the end his efforts bore fruit, but resolved in the end of his political career.
In 1768 Ferdinand married Maria Carolina of Hapsburg-Lorraine, daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and sister of the Queen of France Maria Antoinette. As usual, before the wedding a marriage contract was stipulated, which provided that Maria Carolina had to attend the State Council once she gave birth to the male heir. The following year Ferdinand IV met his brother-in-law Pietro Leopoldo, at that time Grand Duke of Tuscany, as well as Carolina”s brother and husband of Maria Luisa, Ferdinand”s sister. Often Ferdinand, due to his ignorance, remained silent for a long time.
In these same years Masonic associations developed, basing their ideals on the freedom and equality of every individual. This is not frowned upon by Maria Carolina, who, like other rulers, considers her title divine, but unlike others and like her family believes that among her tasks there must be the happiness of her people; however, they were opposed by conservatives, including Tanucci. However, Tanucci saw his prestige decrease in 1775 when Maria Carolina, after giving birth to her first male child, Carlo Tito, became part of the State Council. Maria Carolina will participate more actively in political life than her husband and will often replace him.
In 1776 Tanucci marked his last success, promoting the abolition of a symbolic act of vassalage, the homage of the chinea, which formally made the kingdom of Naples a tributary state of the pontiff of Rome. In 1777 the minister was replaced by the Sicilian Marquis of Sambuca, a man more appreciated by Maria Carolina, whom Tanucci himself had brought to Naples. As for Ferdinand, on July 14, 1796, he declared suppressed the Duchy of Sora, together with the State of the Presidi, the last traces of the Renaissance seigniories in Italy, and set the compensation to be paid to Duke Antonio II Boncompagni. He was also personally involved in the policy of territorial reform inaugurated by his father: in Terra di Lavoro he ordered the construction of the industrial colony of San Leucio (1789), an interesting experiment in social legislation and manufacturing development.
In 1778 arrived in Naples John Acton, naval man of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, which Queen Maria Carolina had wrested from her brother Leopold. The royals of Naples and Sicily had to revise the agreements with third states in terms of fishing, merchant shipping and war, eliminate the Aragonese institutions. In 1783 it was learned that the Prime Minister Marquis of Sambuca had profited from the treasure in every possible way, for example buying back at a low price all the possessions expropriated from the Jesuits of Palermo. However, his government lasted until 1784, when it was discovered that he was one of the many who spread the news that John Acton and Maria Carolina were lovers. It is never known whether this was true, but Maria Carolina convinced Ferdinand that it was false. He became prime minister the seventy-one year old Marquis Domenico Caracciolo, already viceroy of Sicily, while John Acton became Royal Councillor. The same Acton will succeed Caracciolo on July 16, 1789, the day of his death.
A useful tool, a source of a great deal of data is the Notiziario di Corte Notiziario di Città, published in 1789.
In 1793 the Jacobin-inspired Neapolitan Patriotic Society was founded, which was dismantled the following year with the death sentence of 8 affiliates.
All these events prepared the ground for the Neapolitan Republic of 1799. As a matter of fact, Maria Carolina, who in the first years of her reign had been sensitive to the instances of renewal and moderately favourable to the promotion of individual liberties, made an abrupt change of course after the French Revolution, which resulted in open repression when she heard about the beheading of the French rulers and, on the contrary, expressed the Neapolitan support to the British military presence in the Mediterranean Sea. The repressive measures led to an irremediable fracture between the monarchy and the intellectual class; the penalties affected not only the democrats, but also reformists of certain monarchical faith, who thus did not hesitate to embrace the Republican cause in 1799. The advance of French troops in Italy began with the campaign of General Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796. In 1798 the French ships took Malta; previously, in January 1798, the French had also occupied Rome. Maria Carolina”s decision, supported by British Admiral Horatio Nelson and Ambassador William Hamilton, to join the second anti-French coalition and to authorize the military intervention of the Neapolitan troops in the Papal States ended in disaster. The Neapolitan army, led by Austrian general Karl Mack and made up of about 116,000 men, after having initially reached Rome, suffered a series of heavy defeats and disintegrated in the retreat. The Kingdom was opened so to the invasion of the French Army of Naples of the general Jean Étienne Championnet.
The Neapolitan Republic and the Bourbon reconquest
On December 22, 1798 King Ferdinand IV fled to Palermo, leaving the government to the Marquis of Laino Francesco Pignatelli, with the title of vicar general, and in Naples the only weak popular resistance of Lazarus against the military beyond the Alps. From the popular uprising, which meanwhile had extended to Abruzzo, Pignatelli, however, did not collect an organized resistance, and January 11, 1799 signed the armistice of Sparanise, after the French had occupied Capua.
Thirteen days later, on January 22, 1799 in Naples, the so-called Neapolitan patriots proclaimed the birth of a new state, the Neapolitan Republic, anticipating the French plan to establish a government of occupation in the Neapolitan Mezzogiorno. The French commander Jean Étienne Championnet, who had entered the capital, approved the patriots” institutions and recognized the pharmacist Carlo Lauberg as the head of the republic. Therefore Lauberg, strong of the French support, in these years founded together with Eleonora Pimentel Fonseca the Monitore Napoletano, famous newspaper of revolutionary and republican propaganda.
The new government also directly participated in the French revolutionary experience by sending to the Directory of Paris its own representation, called the Neapolitan deputation, and immediately attempted innovations such as the subversion of feudalism, the Jansenist project to create a national church independent from the bishop of Rome and the constitutional project of the Republic realized by Mario Pagano that, although it remained unimplemented, is considered an important document that anticipated the basis of the modern Italian order, in particular the judicial one.
Already on January 23rd 1799 the General Instructions of the Provisional Government of the Neapolitan Republic were issued to the Patriots, a sort of first government program. However, the political projects could not find a practical implementation in the only five months of life of the Republic; on June 13, 1799, in fact, the popular Sanfedist army organized around Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo reconquered Southern Italy, giving back the territories of the kingdom to the exiled Bourbon monarchy in Palermo. After the Bourbon reconquest, the seat of the court officially remained in Sicily, but already in the summer of 1799 in Naples were established administrative organs such as the Government Council, the Council of State and the Ecclesiastical Council; the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs was entrusted to Acton who still managed the charges from Palermo. In the following months a junta appointed by Ferdinand I began the trials against the republicans. 124 pro-Giacobini, including Pagano, Cristoforo Grossi, Fonseca, Pasquale Baffi, Domenico Cirillo, Giuseppe Leonardo Albanese, Ignazio Ciaia, Nicola Palomba, Luisa Sanfelice and Michele Granata, were sentenced to death.
The royal reaction and the first restoration
At the end of the summer of 1799 the former Jacobins captured and imprisoned were 1396. In the meantime, the government of Naples had been entrusted by Ferdinand IV to Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo, who had been elected lieutenant and captain general of the Kingdom of Sicily, with a title that unofficially anticipated the future denomination of Kingdom of the Two Sicilies that first Murat and, after the Congress of Vienna, Ferdinand IV used to designate the kingdom. The restored monarchy, in search of the unconditional support of the clergy and threatened by the juridical and administrative innovations that the Bourbons themselves had already brought to Naples in the 18th century, was characterized by an obscurantist turn of events: it immediately put its own political plans into practice by physically eliminating the main republican exponents and by ostracising those who had gained fame during the republic. At the same time, in order to bring within the new conservative policy also the priests and monks who, on more or less Jansenist positions, had previously adhered to the revolution, the new government directly charged the bishops, with official letters and dispatches, to control all the religious institutes of their respective dioceses so that the Tridentine orthodoxy would be respected everywhere. King Ferdinand took refuge in Palermo and remained king of Sicily.
On September 27, 1799, the Neapolitan army conquered Rome, putting an end to the revolutionary republican experience in the Papal States as well, thus reinstating the principality of the Pope. In 1801 the Neapolitan military interventions, in an attempt to reach the Cisalpine Republic, went as far as Siena, where they clashed unsuccessfully with the French occupation troops of Joachim Murat. The defeat of the Bourbon troops was followed by the armistice of Foligno, February 18, 1801, and then the peace of Florence between the sovereigns of Naples and Napoleon, in these years were also launched a series of pardons that allowed many Neapolitan Jacobins to get out of prison. With the peace of Amiens instead, stipulated by the European powers in 1802, the South was provisionally freed from French, English and Russian troops, and the Bourbon court from Palermo returned to officially settle in Naples. Two years later were reopened the doors of the kingdom to the Jesuits, while already from 1805 the French returned to occupy the kingdom, allocating in Puglia a military garrison.
The following five years saw the Kingdom follow a swinging policy towards Napoleonic France which, although hegemonic on the continent, remained essentially on the defensive on the seas: this situation did not allow the Neapolitan Kingdom, strategically positioned in the Mediterranean, to maintain a strict neutrality in the conflict between the French and the British, who in turn threatened to invade and conquer Sicily.
After the victory of Austerlitz on December 2, 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte definitively settled the accounts with Naples: he promoted the occupation of the Neapolitan area, successfully led by Gouvion-Saint Cyr and Reynier, and then declared lapsed the Bourbon dynasty, which on April 11 of the same year had entered the third anti-French coalition, clearly hostile to Napoleon. Ferdinand with his court returned to Palermo, under English protection. The French emperor appointed his brother Joseph “King of Naples”. Meanwhile in the provinces of Southern Italy (especially in Basilicata and Calabria) the anti-Napoleonic resistance returned to organize itself: among the various captains of the pro-Bourbon insurgents (among which there were both professional soldiers and common bandits) stood out, in Calabria and Terra di Lavoro, the brigand of Itri Michele Pezza, called Fra Diavolo, and in Basilicata the colonel Alessandro Mandarini of Maratea. The repression of the anti-French movement was entrusted, mainly, to the generals André Massena and Jean Maximilien Lamarque who managed to stop the rebellion, even if with extremely cruel expedients, as happened for example in the so-called massacre of Lauria, perpetrated by the soldiers of Massena.
Under a predominantly foreign administration, composed of the Corsican Cristoforo Saliceti, Andrea Miot and Pier Luigi Roederer, radical reforms such as the subversion of feudalism and the suppression of the regular orders were attempted once again, and finally for the most part implemented; in addition, land tax and a new land register were instituted.
The fight against feudalism was effective also thanks to the contribution of Giuseppe Zurlo and of the jurists of the special Commission, which, presided over by Davide Winspeare (already in the service of the Bourbons as mediator between the court of Palermo and the French troops in Southern Italy), was in charge of settling the disputes between municipalities and barons, and in the end succeeded in producing a clean break with the past and therefore the birth of bourgeois property in the Kingdom of Naples, supported by Joachim Murat himself. Alongside a series of reforms that also involved the tax and legal system, the new government established the first system of provinces, districts and districts of the kingdom, with civil organization, headed respectively by an intendant, a subintendent and a governor, then a justice of the peace. The new provinces were Abruzzo Ultra I, Abruzzo Ultra II, Abruzzo Citra, Molise (with capital Campobasso), Capitanata (with capital Foggia), Terra di Bari, Terra d”Otranto, Basilicata, Calabria Citra, Calabria Ultra, Principato Citra, Principato Ultra, Terra di Lavoro (with capital Capua), Naples. Finally, the alienation of the assets of the monasteries and feudal lords attracted to Naples a large number of French investors, the only ones able, together with the old local nobles, to dispose of the necessary capital to purchase land and real estate. Following the example of the Legion of Honor in France, Joseph Bonaparte established in Naples the Royal Order of the Two Sicilies to recognize the merits of new personalities who distinguished themselves in the reformed state.
To Joseph Bonaparte, in 1808 destined to reign over Spain, succeeded Joachim Murat, who was crowned by Napoleon on August 1 of the same year, with the name of Joachim Napoleon, King of the Two Sicilies, par la grace de Dieu et par la Constitution de l”Etat, in compliance with the Statute of Bayonne which was granted to the kingdom of Naples by Joseph Bonaparte. The new sovereign immediately captured the goodwill of the citizens by freeing Capri from the English occupation, dating back to 1805.
He then aggregated the district of Larino to the province of Molise. He founded, by decree of November 18, 1808, the Corps of Engineers of Bridges and Roads and initiated major public works not only in Naples (the bridge of Sanità, via Posillipo, new excavations at Herculaneum, the Field of Mars), but also in the rest of the Kingdom: public lighting in Reggio di Calabria, the project of the Borgo Nuovo in Bari, the establishment of the San Carlo hospital in Potenza, garrisons located in the District of Lagonegro with monuments and public illuminations, plus the modernization of the road system in the mountains of Abruzzo. He was the promoter of the Code Napoleon, which came into force in the kingdom on 1st January 1809, a new civil law system which, among other things, allowed divorce and civil marriage for the first time in Italy: the code immediately aroused controversy in the most conservative clergy, who saw the privilege of managing family policies, dating back to 1560, taken away from the parishes. In 1812, thanks to Murat”s policies, the first paper mill in the kingdom with a modern production system was established at Isola del Liri, in the building of the suppressed Carmelite convent, by the French industrialist Carlo Antonio Beranger.
In 1808, the sovereign entrusted General Charles Antoine Manhès with the task of suppressing the recrudescence of brigandage in the Kingdom, distinguishing himself with such ferocious methods that he was nicknamed “The Exterminator” by the Calabrians. After having tamed with little difficulty the revolts in Cilento and Abruzzi, Manhès set his headquarters in Potenza, continuing with success the repressive activity in the remaining southern areas, especially in Basilicata and Calabria, provinces closer to Sicily, from which the brigands received support from the Bourbon court in exile.
In the summer of 1810 Murat attempted a landing in Sicily to reunite politically the island to the continent, arrived in Scylla June 3 of that year and remained there until July 5, when it was completed a large camp at Piale, a village of Villa San Giovanni, where the king settled with the court, ministers and the highest civil and military. On September 26, then, noting difficult enterprise the conquest of Sicily, Murat dismantled the camp of Piale and left for the capital.
Thanks to the Baiona statute, the constitution by which Murat had been proclaimed by Napoleon king of the two Sicilies, the new sovereign considered himself free from the vassalage to the old French hierarchy, represented in Naples by many officials appointed by Joseph Bonaparte, With this strong political line, he found more support from the Neapolitan citizens, who also welcomed Murat”s participation in several religious ceremonies and the royal concession of some titles of the Royal Order of the Two Sicilies to Catholic bishops and priests. King Joachim took part in the Napoleonic campaigns until 1813, but the political crisis of Bonaparte was not an obstacle to his international policy. He looked for the support of the European powers until the Congress of Vienna, deploying the Neapolitan troops against France and the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, supporting the Austrian army that descended to the south for the conquest of the Padana Valley: on this occasion he occupied the Marche, Umbria and Emilia-Romagna up to Modena and Reggio Emilia, well received by the local population.
He kept the crown longer, but he did not get rid of the British hostility and of the new France of Louis XVIII, enmities that prevented the invitation of a Neapolitan delegation to the Congress, and so any sanction to the Neapolitan occupation of Umbria, Marche and Legations, dating back to the campaign of 1814. This political uncertainty pushed the king to a risky move: he made contact with Napoleon at the Elba island and agreed with the emperor in exile, in view of the attempt of the Hundred days. Murat started the Austro-Napolitan war, attacking the allied states of the Austrian Empire; following this second military turn, Murat launched the famous Proclamation of Rimini, an appeal to the union of the Italian people, conventionally considered the beginning of the Risorgimento. The unitary campaign, however, foundered on May 4, 1815, when the Austrians defeated him in the battle of Tolentino: with the Treaty of Casalanza finally signed at Capua on May 20, 1815 by the Austrian and Murat”s generals, the kingdom of Naples returned to the Bourbon crown. Murat”s epic ended with the last naval expedition that the general tried from Corsica to Naples, then diverted to Calabria where, in Pizzo Calabro, Murat was captured and shot on the spot.
After the Restoration, with the return of the Bourbons on the throne of Naples in June 1815, Ferdinand merged the two kingdoms of Naples and Sicily in December 1816 in a single state entity, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which would last until February 1861, when, following the expedition of the Thousand and the military intervention of Piedmont, the Two Sicilies were annexed to the nascent Kingdom of Italy. The new kingdom retained the Napoleonic administrative system, according to a line of government adopted by all the restored states, in which was inscribed, in Naples, the Bourbon political program, strongly conservative. The Ministry of Police was entrusted to Antonio Capece Minutolo, Prince of Canosa, while the Ministry of Finance was entrusted to Luigi de” Medici of Ottajano, belonging to the Medici branch of the Princes of Ottajano, and the Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs was entrusted to Donato Tommasi, the main supporters of the Neapolitan Catholic Restoration.
Moreover, for the first time, the king, who had taken the title of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, was willing to make political agreements with the Holy See, and even promoted the Terracina agreement of February 16, 1818, which definitively abolished the fiscal and legal privileges of the clergy in the Neapolitan area, but strengthened their property rights and increased their assets. The State was characterized by a strongly confessional policy, supporting the popular missions of the Passionists and the Jesuits and the colleges of the Barnabites, of anti-regalist formation, and for the first time adopting the national religion as a pretext to quell the popular uprisings (riots of ”21).
From its formation until the unification of Italy, the territory occupied by the Kingdom of Naples remained more or less always within the same boundaries and the territorial unity was only weakly threatened by feudalism (Principality of Taranto, Duchy of Sora, Duchy of Bari) and the raids of the Barbary corsairs. It occupied roughly the whole part of the Italian peninsula that today is known as Mezzogiorno, from the rivers Tronto and Liri, from the Simbruini mountains in the north, up to the Cape of Otranto and Cape Spartivento. The long Apennine chain that develops there was traditionally divided into the Abruzzi Apennines on the borders with the Papal States, the Neapolitan Apennines from Molise to Pollino and the Calabrian Apennines from Sila to Aspromonte. Among the major rivers, the Garigliano and Volturno: the only navigable ones.
Belonged to the kingdom the islands of the Campania archipelago, the islands of Ponza and Tremiti, the State of the Principalities. The state was divided into “giustizierati” or provinces, headed by a “giustiziere”, around which revolved a system of officials who helped him in the administration of justice and in the collection of tax revenues. Each capital city of the justicierati housed a court, a military garrison and a mint (not always active).
The list of the twelve historical provinces of the Kingdom of Naples follows.
The kingdom of Naples inherited in part the coinage of the ancient Swabian-Norman kingdom of Sicily. The tarì was the most ancient coin in the kingdom and it lasted until the modern age. In 1287 Charles I of Anjou decreed the birth of a new coin, the carlin, minted in pure gold and silver. Charles II of Anjou reformed again the silver carlin increasing its weight: the new coin was commonly known as gigliato, from the heraldic lily of the Angevin house that was represented. Until Alfonso of Aragon (to whom we owe the gold ducats called Alfonsini) were no longer issued gold coins, except for some series of florins and bolognini under the reign of Joan I of Naples. During the Spanish domination the first scudi were minted, as well as tarì, carlini and ducati. In 1684 Charles II ordered the minting of the first piasters. The whole complex monetary system was kept by the Bourbons and during the Napoleonic period, when the franc and the lira were also introduced.
Thanks to its international outlook, the kingdom had various mercantile relations which subsequently led to a new, significant economic growth during the Aragonese period. In particular, trade flourished with the Iberian Peninsula, the Adriatic, the North Sea and the Baltic thanks to privileged relations with the Hanseatic League. Gaeta, Naples, Reggio Calabria and the ports of Apulia were the most important commercial outlets of the kingdom, which put in communication the internal provinces with Aragon, France, and, through Bari, Trani, Brindisi and Taranto, with the East, the Holy Land and the territories of Venice. In this way Apulia became an important supplying center for the European markets of typical Mediterranean products such as oil and wine, while in Calabria, in Reggio, the market and the cultivation of silk, introduced in the Byzantine era, could survive.
From the Aragonese age, sheep-farming became another of the kingdom”s fundamental resources: between Abruzzo and Capitanata, the production of raw wool destined for Florentine markets, of lace and, in Molise, of handicrafts linked to the working of iron (knives, bells), became until the beginning of the modern age the most important industries inserted in the needs of European markets. With the development of industrialization, the kingdom of Naples was involved in the processes of modernization of the systems of production and commercial exchange: one recalls the development of the paper industry in Sora and Venafro (Terra di Lavoro), of silk in Caserta and Reggio Calabria, of textiles in San Leucio, Salerno, Pagani and Sarno, of iron and steel in Mongiana, Ferdinandea and Razzona di Cardinale in Calabria, of metalworking in the Naples basin, of shipbuilding in Naples and Castellammare di Stabia, of coral working in Torre del Greco, of soap in Castellammare di Stabia, Marciano and Pozzuoli.
Despite the difficult historical conditions, which sometimes caused the exclusion of the kingdom of Naples from the main lines of economic development, the port of the capital and the city of Naples itself, occupying a strategic and central position in the Mediterranean, were for centuries among the most lively and active economic centers in Europe, so as to attract merchants and bankers from all major European cities. Trade also developed against the hostilities of the Turks who, with their raids, were a heavy inhibitor to the naval economy and maritime trade, a factor which made it necessary to strengthen the military and merchant navy in the Bourbon era.
A discrete coexistence of customs, religions, faiths and different doctrines that elsewhere were at war, was instead possible in the territories of the kingdom of Naples, thanks to the central position that occupies the South in the Mediterranean. From the beginning of the Angevin rule, Catholicism was imposed in Naples as the religion of the state and of the sovereigns, and the Catholic Church found the consent of most of the population. At the birth of the kingdom several wars led to the defeat and consequent banning of other religious denominations to which adhered minorities and foreign settlers: Judaism, Islam and the Orthodox Church. In Calabria and Apulia until the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation, the use of the Greek rite and the Nicene Creed (symbol recited without filioque) survived. The reconversion of many Greek dioceses to the Latin tradition was initially entrusted to the Benedictines and the Cistercians, who gradually replaced the Basilian monasteries with their missions, then it was encouraged and made official by a series of provisions that followed the Council of Trent.
Another important religious minority was constituted by the Jewish communities: widespread in the main ports of Calabria, Puglia, and in some cities of the Land of Labor and the coast of Campania, were expelled from the kingdom in 1542 and then readmitted, with all rights of citizenship, only under the government of Charles of Bourbon, about two centuries later.
The catholic doctrinal control was exercised mainly in the noble hierarchies and in the jurisprudence and determined on the other hand the development of subversive philosophies and ethics towards the Church of Rome, secular and often anti-curialist: these doctrines were born on atomistic and Gassendian bases and had spread from the seventeenth century (philosophies brought to Naples by Tommaso Cornelio) and then converged in a strongly local form of Jansenism in the eighteenth century.
Particularly widespread among the population of the whole kingdom was the cult of saints and martyrs, often invoked as protectors, thaumaturges and healers, as well as the devotion to the Virgin Mary (Conception, Annunciation, of the Well, Assumption). On the other hand, centers of vocation, ecumenism, and new monastic orders such as the Theatines, the Redemptorists, and the Celestines sprang up in the territories of the kingdom.
In the kingdom of Naples very little remained of the cultural flowering that Frederick II encouraged in Palermo, giving, with the experience of the Sicilian language, literary dignity to Sicilian and Calabrian dialects and contributing, both directly and through the Sicilian-Tuscan poets, celebrated by Dante, to the enrichment of the Tuscan language and literature of the time, the basis of contemporary Italian.
With the advent of the Angevin kingdom, the process of Latinization already successfully initiated by the Normans in Calabria continued, as did the progressive marginalization of the linguistic minorities of the Mezzogiorno through centralist policies and the use of Latin, which replaced Greek everywhere (but which survived in the liturgies of some Calabrian dioceses until the beginning of the 16th century). During the Angevin age, if, from a juridical, administrative and teaching point of view, the hegemonic language was Latin, and from a vehicular point of view, Neapolitan, at court, at least initially, the most formally prestigious language was French.
Already at the time of King Roberto (1309-1343) and Queen Giovanna I (1343-1381) there was an increase in the merchant presence of the Florentines, who, with the rise to power of Niccolò Acciaiuoli (who became Grand Siniscalco in 1348) played a leading political and cultural role in the kingdom. It is of this period, in fact, the circulation of literature in the Tuscan language and “the two vernaculars, Neapolitan and Florentine, will be in close contact, not only in the varied environment of the court, but perhaps, even more, in the sector of commercial activities”.
In the first decades of the fifteenth century, still in the Angevin period, the familiarity of some of the southern clergy with Greek, especially in Calabria, together with the arrival of Greek-speaking refugees leaving the Balkans, which had fallen largely under Ottoman rule, favored a resumption of humanistic studies in that language, in addition to those that had long been initiated in Latin, both in the Kingdom of Naples and in the rest of Italy.
In 1442, Alfonso V of Aragon took possession of the kingdom with a host of Catalan, Aragonese and Castilian bureaucrats and officials, most of whom, however, left Naples upon his death. Alfonso, who was born and educated in Castile and belonged to a Castilian-speaking family, the Trastámara, succeeded in creating a trilingual court that had Latin (the main language of the chancery), Neapolitan (the main language of public administration and internal affairs of the kingdom, alternating in specific areas with Tuscan) and Castilian (the bureaucratic language of the court and of the Iberian literati closest to the sovereign, occasionally alternating with Catalan) as its literary and administrative points of reference.
A progressive and greater approach to Italian (which was then still called Tuscan or vulgar) took place with the ascension to the throne of Ferrante (1458), the natural son of Alfonso the Magnanimous, and a great admirer of this language. Since then, it has been used more and more at court, also because, at the behest of the sovereign himself, many of the kingdom”s natural born entered the court and the bureaucracy. Until 1458, the general use of Italian was limited to the drafting of a part of those documents that had to have a public circulation (convocations of the nobles of the kingdom, granting of statutes to the universities, etc.), a sector in which Neapolitan still prevailed and, together with Latin and Catalan, in the commercial correspondence (coupons, payments from the Treasury to the army and the court, etc.).
With Ferrante I in power the Tuscan vernacular officially became one of the languages of the court as well as the main literary language of the kingdom together with Latin (just think of the group of “Petrarchan” poets, such as Pietro Jacopo de Jennaro, Giovanni Aloisio, etc.), gradually replacing (and from the middle of the sixteenth century in a definitive way) the Neapolitan language in the administrative sector and remained so during the rest of the Aragonese period. Catalan, at that time, was, as we have seen, used in business and commercial transactions along with Italian and Latin, but it never became either a court language or an administrative language. Its written use in commercial correspondence is attested until 1488. Nevertheless, at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a famous songbook was composed in Catalan, which had as its model Petrarch, Dante and the classics, published in 1506 and 1509 (second edition, expanded). Its author was the Barcelonian Benet Garreth, better known as Chariteo, a high public official and member of the Accademia Alfonsina.
The first decade of the sixteenth century is of exceptional importance for the linguistic history of the Kingdom of Naples: the publication of a pastoral prose in Italian, the Arcadia, composed in principle at the end of the fifteenth century by the poet Jacopo Sannazzaro, the most influential literary personality of the Kingdom together with Giovanni Pontano, who, however, remained faithful to Latin until his death (1503). Arcadia was at the same time the first masterpiece of the pastoral genre and the first masterpiece in Italian written by a native of the Kingdom of Naples. The publication, for the known political events of the kingdom (which saw the decline of the House of Aragon and the occupation of the State by French troops, with the abandonment of Naples by Sannazzaro who wanted to stay at the side of his king, voluntarily accompanying him in exile), could not take place before 1504, although some manuscripts of the text began to circulate since the last decade of the fifteenth century.
Thanks to Arcadia, the Italianization (or Tuscanization, as it was still called at the time) took place not only of poetic genres other than love poetry, but also of prose. The extraordinary success of this masterpiece, in Italy and abroad, was in fact at the origin, already in the Spanish viceregal era, of a long series of editions that did not stop even after Sannazzaro”s death in 1530. On the contrary, it will be right from that year “that a real fashion of the vernacular spreads and the name of Sannazzaro, especially in Naples, is combined with that of Bembo”. The Neapolitan literati… from the time of Sannazzaro accepted willingly the supremacy of the Florentine, a supremacy that was handed down from generation to generation from the late sixteenth century to the eighteenth century.
The Neapolitan language reached literary dignity first with Lo cunto de li cunti by Basile and later in poetry (Cortese), music and lyrics, which could count on schools of the highest level. As for the Italian language, besides being the main written and administrative language, it remained, until the extinction of the kingdom (1816), the language of the great literary personalities, from Torquato Tasso to Basilio Puoti, passing through Giovan Battista Marino, of the great philosophers, such as Giovan Battista Vico and of jurists (Pietro Giannone) and economists, such as Antonio Genovesi: The latter was the first among the teachers of the oldest faculty of Economics in Europe (opened in Naples at the behest of Charles of Bourbon) to give his lessons in Italian (higher education had in fact been given in the kingdom, until then, exclusively in Latin). His example was followed by other teachers: Italian thus became not only the language of the university and of the four conservatories of the capital (among the most prestigious in Europe) but also, de facto, the only official language of the State, having shared this role with Latin until then. However, Latin continued to survive, alone or side by side with Italian, in various cultural institutions spread throughout the kingdom, which consisted mainly of schools of grammar, rhetoric, scholastic theology, Aristotelianism or Galenic medicine.