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|Duchy of Naples|
|Province of the Byzantine Empire|
|Map of southern Italy, showing the Duchy of Naples, c. 1112|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|•||Annexation to the Kingdom of Sicily in the hands of Roger II of Sicily||1137|
|Today part of|
The Duchy of Naples (Latin : Ducatus Neapolitanus, Italian : Ducato di Napoli) began as a Byzantine province that was constituted in the seventh century, in the reduced coastal lands that the Lombards had not conquered during their invasion of Italy in the sixth century. It was governed by a military commander ( dux ), and rapidly became a de facto independent state, lasting more than five centuries during the Early and High Middle Ages. The modern city of Naples remains a significant region of Italy, today.
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, and together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority. In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.
The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, is the common name given to the surviving Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. "Byzantine Empire" is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans". In medieval Western Europe it was sometimes labelled the Imperium Graecorum since the Holy Roman Empire, created in 800 AD by Charlemagne and Pope Leo III, was believed to represent the legitimate Roman Empire.
The Lombards or Longobards were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774.
In 661, Naples obtained from the emperor Constans II the right to be ruled by a local duke, one Basil, whose subjection to the emperor soon became merely nominal. Among his titles were patrikios ("patrician") and hypatos ("consul"). At that time the Ducatus Neapolitanus controlled an area corresponding roughly to the present day Province of Naples, encompassing the area of Vesuvius, the Campi Flegrei, the Sorrentine Peninsula, Giugliano, Aversa, Afragola, Nola, and the islands of Ischia and Procida. Capri was later part of the duchy of Amalfi. He had authority over the neighbouring seaports of Gaeta, Amalfi, and Sorrento, though each of these was largely autonomous, especially during the later years of the Neapolitan duchy.
Constans II, also called Constantine the Bearded, was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 641 to 668. He was the last emperor to serve as consul, in 642. Constans is a nickname given to the Emperor, who had been baptized Herakleios and reigned officially as Constantine. The nickname established itself in Byzantine texts and has become standard in modern historiography.
Basil was the first Duke of Naples from 661 to 666. Neapolitan by birth, soldier of the Byzantine Empire by trade, he was nominated by the emperor Constans II to be dux Campaniae in 661.
Hypatos and the variant apo hypatōn was a Byzantine court dignity, originally the Greek translation of Latin consul. The dignity arose from the honorary consulships awarded in the late Roman Empire, and survived until the early 12th century. It was often conferred upon the rulers of the south Italian principalities. In Italian documents the term was sometimes Latinised as hypatus or ypatus, and in Italian historiography one finds ipato. The feminine form of the term was hypatissa (ὑπάτισσα).
In this era, the duchy coined monies with the effigy of the emperor and Greek inscriptions. Greek was the official language.
In 763, the duke Stephen II switched his allegiance from Constantinople to Rome, putting Naples under papal suzerainty. Already during the reign of the imperially appointed John I (711- ca 719), the papacy had come to the duke's aid against the Lombards, while Byzantine assistance seemed remote. Stephen II's reign is considered a period of transition in the history of Naples: it moved away from the iconoclastic East and towards the papal West. The Byzantine Greeks were soon to become as much a threat to the Neapolitans as the Lombards.
Stephen II was the duke of Naples during an important transitional period in its history, from 755 to his death. He was styled as eminentissimus consul and was the leader of the local aristocracy when he was appointed by the patrician of Sicily. By the end of his reign, through a rupture with the Byzantine Empire, Naples was practically independent. After his abdication, Naples experienced a period of crisis until the election of Sergius I in 840.
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.
Sometime around the beginning of the ninth century, the dukes began striking coinage with Latin inscriptions, as Latin replaced Greek in official usage. Saint Januarius replaced the emperor on the coins. Acts were still dated by the imperial reign, but the emperor was of no consequence in regular Neapolitan affairs. In 813, when Leo V the Armenian called for the fleet of the entire ducatus to aid the Byzantine admiral in combating the Saracen pirates preying on Sicily, Duke Anthimus could ignore the order; only Amalfi and Gaeta responded with contingents. Apparently, the Neapolitans felt themselves practically independent already and their underlings felt themselves independent of Naples.
Leo V the Armenian was Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 813 to 820. A senior general, he forced his predecessor, Michael I Rangabe, to abdicate and assumed the throne. He ended the decade-long war with the Bulgars, and initiated the second period of Byzantine Iconoclasm. He was assassinated by supporters of Michael the Amorian, one of his most trusted generals, who succeeded him on the throne.
Saracen was a term widely used among Christian writers in Europe during the Middle Ages to refer to Arab Muslims. The term's meaning evolved during its history. In the early centuries of the Common Era, Greek and Latin writings used this term to refer to the people who lived in desert areas in and near the Roman province of Arabia Petraea, and in Arabia Deserta. In Europe during the Early Middle Ages, the term came to be associated with tribes of Arabia. The oldest source mentioning the term Saracen dates back to the 7th century. It was found in Doctrina Jacobi, a commentary that discussed the event of the Arab conquests on Palestine.
Anthimus or Anthemus was the Duke of Naples for from 801 until around 818, when the patrician of Sicily re-established Byzantine control over the ducatus. Anthimus was, for most of his reign, independent of any higher authority, but he was losing control over his own subject cities, Gaeta and Amalfi.
The duchy was not yet hereditary; in 818, the patrician of Sicily appointed Theoctistus without imperial approval. He revoked this appointment, and appointed one Theodore II in 821, but he was chased from the city the same year in favour of the elected Stephen III. This Stephen first began to mint pieces with his own initials on them and not those of the Eastern Emperor.
The Theme of Sicily was a Byzantine province (theme) existing from the late 7th to the 10th century, encompassing the island of Sicily and the region of Calabria in the Italian mainland. Following the Muslim conquest of Sicily, from 902 the theme was limited to Calabria, but retained its original name until the middle of the 10th century.
Theoctistus was the Duke of Naples during an ill-recorded period in its history. His reign began sometime around 818 and lasted until 821.
Stephen III was the duke of Naples during an important transitional period in its history, from 821 to his death. By the end of his reign, Naples was completely independent.
In 840, Duke Sergius I made the succession to the duchy hereditary, and thenceforth Naples was de facto independent. In this age, the city was mainly a military centre, ruled by an aristocracy of warriors and landowners, even though it had been compelled to surrender to the neighbouring Lombards much of its inland territory. Naples was not a merchant city as other Campanian sea cities like Amalfi and Gaeta, but had a respectable fleet who took part in the Battle of Ostia against the Saracens in 849. Anyway, Naples did not hesitate to ally with infidels if this turned to its advantage: in 836, for example, it asked support to the Saracens in order to push off the siege of Lombard troops coming from the neighbouring Duchy of Benevento. After its dukes rose to highest prominence under the Duke-Bishop Athanasius and his successors—of whom Gregory IV and John II participated at the Battle of the Garigliano in 915—Naples declined in importance in the tenth century, until it was captured by its traditional rival, Pandulf IV of Capua.
Sergius I was the first duke of Naples of his dynasty, often dubbed the "Sergi," which ruled over Naples for almost three centuries from his accession in 840 until the death of his namesake Sergius VII in 1137.
Campania is a region in Southern Italy. As of 2018, the region has a population of around 5,820,000 people, making it the third-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km2 (5,247 sq mi) makes it the most densely populated region in the country. Located on the south-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, with the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, it includes the small Phlegraean Islands and Capri for administration as part of the region.
The naval Battle of Ostia took place in 849 in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Muslim pirates and an Italian league of Papal, Neapolitan, Amalfitan and Gaetan ships. The battle ended in favor of the Italian league, as they defeated the pirates. It is one of the few events to occur in southern Italy during the ninth century that is still remembered today, largely for the walls named after Leo and for the Renaissance painting Battaglia di Ostia by Raphael.
In 1027, duke Sergius IV donated the county of Aversa to a band of Norman mercenaries led by Rainulf Drengot, whose support he had needed in the war with the principality of Capua. In that period he could not imagine the consequences, but this settlement began a process which eventually led to the end of Naples' independence itself. Sergius cemented his position with marital alliances with the Normans, but when these broke down, he was abandoned by his mercenaries and retired to a monastery. His son, John V, cosied up to Guaimar IV of Salerno and eventually did homage to him.
Naples was the last of the southern Italian states which the Normans had met when they first entered Italy. It survived the fall of the Lombard principalities: Capua, Salerno, Benevento. It had survived the fall of its fellow Greek duchies: Amalfi, Gaeta, Sorrento. In 1137, Duke Sergius VII was forced to surrender to Roger II of Sicily, who had had himself proclaimed King of Sicily seven years earlier. Under the new rulers the city was administrated by a compalazzo (palatine count), with little independence left to the Neapolitan patriciate. In this period Naples had a population of 30,000 and yet got its sustenance from the inland country: commerce activities were mainly delegated to foreign people, mainly from Pisa and Genova.
Apart from the church of San Giovanni a Mare, Norman buildings in Naples were mainly lay ones, notably castles (Castel Capuano and Castel dell'Ovo), walls and fortified gates.
The history of the Italian peninsula during the medieval period can be roughly defined as the time between the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance.
The Duchy of Benevento was the southernmost Lombard duchy in the Italian peninsula, centered on Benevento, a city in Southern Italy. Being cut off from the rest of the Lombard possessions by the papal Duchy of Rome, Benevento was practically independent from the start. Only during the reigns of Grimoald, King of the Lombards and the kings from Liutprand on was the duchy closely tied to the kingdom. After the fall of the kingdom, however, alone of Lombard territories it remained as a rump state, and maintained its de facto independence for nearly three hundred years, though it was divided after 849.
The history of Naples is long and varied. The first Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the 2nd millennium BC. During the end of the Greek Dark Ages a larger mainland colony – initially known as Parthenope – developed around the 9-8th century BC, and was refounded as Neapolis in the 6th century BC: it held an important role in Magna Graecia. The Greek culture of Naples was important to later Roman society. When the city became part of the Roman Republic in the central province of the Empire, it was a major cultural center. Virgil is an example of the political and cultural freedom of Naples. Naples is a microcosm of the European history because it saw several civilizations come and go, each leaving traces also in its art and architecture. Naples was the capital of States and Empires, and it was a primary cultural center. Naples was an advocate for Italian unification during the Neapolitan War. Today Naples is part of the Italian Republic, and is the third largest municipality by population after Rome and Milano, with the second or third largest metropolitan area of Italy.
Guaimar IV was Prince of Salerno (1027–1052), Duke of Amalfi (1039–1052), Duke of Gaeta (1040–1041), and Prince of Capua (1038–1047) in Southern Italy over the period from 1027 to 1052. He was an important figure in the final phase of Byzantine authority in the Mezzogiorno and the commencement of Norman power. He was, according to Amatus of Montecassino, "more courageous than his father, more generous and more courteous; indeed he possessed all the qualities a layman should have—except that he took an excessive delight in women."
The Duchy of Gaeta was an early medieval state centered on the coastal South Italian city of Gaeta. It began in the early ninth century as the local community began to grow autonomous as Byzantine power lagged in the Mediterranean and the peninsula due to Lombard and Saracen incursions.
The Duchy of Amalfi or the Republic of Amalfi was a de facto independent state centered on the Southern Italian city of Amalfi during the 10th and 11th centuries. The city and its territory were originally part of the larger ducatus Neapolitanus, governed by a patrician, but it extracted itself from Byzantine vassalage and first elected a duke in 958. During the 10th and 11th centuries Amalfi was estimated to have a population of 50,000 -70,000 people. It rose to become an economic powerhouse, a commercial center whose merchants dominated Mediterranean and Italian trade for centuries before being surpassed and superseded by the other maritime republics of the North, like Pisa, Venice, and Genoa. In 1073, Amalfi lost its independence, falling to French Norman invasion and subsequently to Pisa in 1137.
The Duchy of Sorrento was a small peninsular principality of the Early Middle Ages centred on the Italian city of Sorrento.
Sergius IV was Duke of Naples from 1002 to 1036. He was one of the prime catalysts in the growth of Norman power in the Mezzogiorno in the first half of the eleventh century. He was nominally a Byzantine vassal, like his father, John IV, before him.
Robert II was the count of Aversa and the prince of Capua from 1127 until his death.
The Dukes of Naples were the military commanders of the ducatus Neapolitanus, a Byzantine outpost in Italy, one of the few remaining after the conquest of the Lombards. In 661, Emperor Constans II, highly interested in south Italian affairs, appointed a Neapolitan named Basil dux or magister militum. Thereafter a line of dukes, often largely independent and dynastic from the mid-ninth century, ruled until the coming of the Normans, a new menace they could not weather. The thirty-ninth and last duke, Sergius VII, surrendered his city to King Roger II of Sicily in 1137.
John IV was the mostly absentee duke of Naples from 997 to after 1002. He was the son and successor of Sergius III. John IV originally recognised the suzerainty of the Byzantine Emperor.
John II was the duke of Amalfi from 1029 to 1069 with multiple interruptions. He was the son of Sergius II and Maria, sister of Pandulf IV of Capua. He was the last significant duke of Amalfi before the Norman conquest of 1073.
The Drengots were a Norman family of mercenaries, one of the first to head to the Mezzogiorno of Italy to fight in the service of the Lombards. They became the most prominent family after the Hautevilles.
The Lombard Principality of Salerno was a South Italian state, formed in 851 out of the Principality of Benevento after a decade-long civil war.
The Principality of Capua was a Lombard state centred on Capua in Southern Italy, usually de facto independent, but under the varying suzerainty of Western and Eastern Roman Empires. It was originally a gastaldate, then a county, within the principality of Salerno.
Caesar the Brave was the admiral of the fleet of the Duchy of Naples during the reigns of his father, Sergius I, and brother, Gregory III.
Sergius VI was the magister militum and duke of Naples from 1077 to his death. He was the son of the Neapolitan senator John, and succeeded his uncle, John's elder brother, Sergius V. His sister Inmilgia married Duke Landulf of Gaeta. His reign is very obscure because of the slight documentary evidence.
The Norman conquest of southern Italy lasted from 999 to 1139, involving many battles and independent conquerors. In 1130 these territories in southern Italy united as the Kingdom of Sicily, which included the island of Sicily, the southern third of the Italian Peninsula, the archipelago of Malta and parts of North Africa.