Tavola Strozzi (the oldest image of Napoli, 1472/1473)
1 – AntiquityAll in Naples, the buildings, the museums and even the spoken language carries traces of all the periods of its history, from its Greek birth, until today
The first colonists were some Greek sailors coming from Rhodos, on the small island of Megaride (the one where is now the castle of the egg) and in the hills close to Pizzofalcone, the commercial colony on the small island was called Parthenope.
Towards the 8th century before JC, the hamlet of Pizzofalcone was occupied by inhabitants of the Greek colony of Cumes: it will be the place of the future Neapolis.
In 680 b JC, Partenope was already a flourishing city, which caused the desire of the inhabitants of Cumes, and who destroyed it. A few years later, Partenope was again rested by Cumes colonists of the island of Eubea who fled a terrible epidemic which had fallen down on the Greek Colony of Cumes.
In 475 before JC, colonists of Cumes founded a city in the east of the old town of Partenope; for this reason it was called néa- Pólis, “city new”, nevertheless very near to Partenope. Towards 400, the walls of Naples will resist at the seat of Samnites, which had conquered the grounds cumes, of “Capo Miseno” in Cumes, to the port of Dicearchia (Pozzuoli).There was a strong enclosure of walls, in front of which the invader phenician Hannibal had to beat a retreat, when the city was allied with the Romans.
At that time, the city was already an important trading and agricultural centre. In 326, following the Samnites wars, the Roman consul Quinto Publilio Filone entered in Naples and made it a Roman colony.
In 476 after JC, Romulus Augustus, the last of the Roman emperors, was deposited and injailed close to the Manor house dell’ Ovo (castle of the egg), which at that time was a strengthened Roman villa.
Many Roman emperors – Claudius, Tiberus, Neron – passed in Naples their stays in elegant villas from which there remain only ruins today.
Other constructions were an odeon and a theatre, as well as the temple of Dioscures, the gods of the city. Although conquered by the Romans in the 4th century before JC, Naples maintained a long time its greek culture. During the Roman era, the city was a center of blooming of hellenistic culture which attracted many Romans eager to improve their Greek culture.
Its pleasant climate made a famous resource of pleasure, like known by Virgile and attested by the number of luxurious villas which extend all along the coast, from the Gulf of Pozzuoli to the peninsula of Sorrentine. The famous zone of the catches of Posillipo is named ruins of the Pausilypon villa, whose significance in Greek is “a pause of care”.
Vue du gilde de Naples – Claude Joseph Vernet, 1748
The Romans connected the city to the rest of Italy with their famous roads, excavated galleries to bind Naples to Pozzuoli, increased the port, the baths and the aqueducts public.
It improved considerably the quality of the life in Naples. The city was also celebrated for its many treats. According to the legend Peter and Paul themselves had come to preach in the city.
The Christians had a role starting from the end of the years of the Roman empire.
The underground areas of Naples include some catacombs, particularly in the northern part of the city. The first basilicas of paleo-Christian women were built beside the entries of the catacombs. The considerably popular owner of the city, San Gennaro, was decapitated here in 305, and since the 5th century he is commemorated in the basilica of San Gennaro Moenia.
It is in the villa of Lucullus, maintaining the manor house dell’ Ovo (castle of the egg), that Romulus Augustus, the last emperor of the Western Roman empire, was imprisoned after being deposited in 476. Naples suffered during the Gothic wars between Ostrogoths and Byzantines at the sixth century.
Naval battle in the gulf of Naples – Peter the elder Bruegel, 1558/62
2 – Middle-Ages
The duchy of Naples
In the VI th century the city was withdrawn from Goths by the Byzantine empire during the attempt of Justinien to recreate the Empire. It becomes an autonomous duchy thereafter, under the jurisdiction of principle of Byzance.
Thanks to the perspicacity of its chiefs and its bishops, Naples resisted at the attempts conquests of behalf of Lombards, Franks and Buckwheats and was one of the last territories to fall in the hands of the Normans in 1137, when the Kingdom of Sicily was founded, with Palermo as capital. The city passed then to the svevi with Federico II, who, in 1224, founded the University there, the second of the peninsula.
At the time of the invasion of Naples by Lombards, the population was approximately 30.000-35.000 inhabitants. In 615, under Giovanni Consino, Naples rebelled for the first time against the power of Ravenne, the emperor in Italy. In answer, the first shape of duchy was created into 638 by the Eleutherius emperor, but this civil servant came from abroad and had to answer the strategos of Sicily. At this time the duchy of Naples included a sector corresponding today at the province of Naples, surrounding the Vesuvius sector, the Flegrei Camps, the Sorrentine peninsula, Giugliano, Aversa, Afragola, Nola and the islands of Ischia and Procida. Capri was part of the duchy of Amalfi.
In 661 Naples obtained from the emperor Constantin II, a local duke, Basilius, whose tender with the emperor became soon of pure form. In 763 the duke Stephen II changed allegiance from Constantinople to the pope. In 840 the duke Sergius I remade the succession of the hereditary duchy, and consequently Naples was in fact, completely independent.
At that time, the city was a military center, directed by an aristocracy of warriors and landowners, though it was obliged to return in Lombards neighbors much of its interior territory. Naples was not a commercial town as could be other seaboard towns of Campania like Amalfi and Gaeta, but had a sizeable fleet which took part in the battle of Ostia against Buckwheats in 849.
At all events Naples did not hesitate to combine with the inaccurate ones if this were in its advantage: in 836, for example, it asked the support of Buckwheats in order to push in addition to seat of the troops of Lombard coming from the duchy close to Benevento. After its dukes rose to highest prominence under the Athanasius Duke-Bishop and his successors, whose, Gregorio IV and John who took part in the battle of Garigliano in 915, Naples lost its importance at the tenth century until being captured by the hereditary rival, Pandulf IV of Capoue.
In 1027, the duke Sergius IV gave the county of Aversa to a band of Normans mercenaries carried out by Rainulf Drengot, of which it needed the support in the war against the principality of Capoue.
At this time, it did not think about the consequences, but this payment began a process which thereafter carried out to the end of the independence of Naples itself.
The last of the southernmost Italian states, in 1137 Sergius VII was forced to go to Roger II of Sicily, which was proclaimed king of Sicily seven years earlier. Under the new rules the city was managed by a compalazzo (account of palatine), with little independence left to the Neapolitan patriciat. For this period, Naples had a population of 30.000 inhabitants, but obtained his lift of the interior country: activities of trading were mainly deputy to the foreign people, mainly of Pisa and Genoa. Independently of the church of San Giovanni, the Norman buildings in Naples were mainly extensions, in particular castles (Castle of the egg, of Capoue), walls and enriched doors.
Normans, le Hohenstaufen and Anjou
Frederick II Hohenstaufen founded the university in 1224, considering intellectual Naples as capital while Palermo held its political role: this university remained single in Southern Italy during seven centuries.
After the defeat of the son of Frederick, Manfred, in Naples in 1266, the kingdom of Sicily was entrusted by the pope Clement IV to Charles of Anjou, which moved the capital from Palermo in Naples. He decided its new residence in the Nuovo Manor house, around whose a new zone was developed with the palates of the noble ones.
During its reign new Gothic churches were also built, including Santa Chiara, San Lorenzo Maggiore, Santa Maria Donna Regina and the cathedral.
In 1284, following the revolt of Sicilian Vespers, Angevins lost the insular part to the advantage of the Aragoneses. The two Kingdoms, naturally, were defined “of Sicily” and, in particular, on the continent was born the formula from “Sicily in on this side Headlight” (Naples) and “Sicily beyond the Headlight”. (acting of the headlight of Messine). Or “kingdom of Naples” for continental part. The two parts formally remained separate until 1816, where under a single sovereign, formed the Kingdom of Two Siciles. The kingdom had certainly been divided into two halves, but Naples developed in an important way: The traders of Pisa and Genoa were joined by the bankers of Tuscany, and with them come exceptional artists like Boccaccio, Petrarque and Giotto.
The period of the Aragoneses
Alfonso, in 1442, conquered Naples after its victory against last king of Anjou, Rene, and makes his triumphal entry in the city in February 1443. The new dynasty increased the trade, connecting Naples to the Iberian peninsula and making in Naples a center of Italian Rebirth : the artists who worked there for this period include Francesco Laurana, Antonello Messine, Jacopo Sannazzaro and Angelo Poliziano.
The court also extended the possessions of nobility in the province, but in this way the cohesion of the city was reduced. After the short conquest by Charles VIII of France in 1485, the two kingdoms were joined together under the Spanish mode in 1501. In 1502 the Spanish General Gonzalo Fernández of Cordoue entered the city, beginning the two centuries of the mode of the almost omnipotent viceroy of Naples.
Spanish remained there until 1707. For the period of Spanish domination were born quarteras, better known today as District of the Spaniards and started to consolidate the role of the Camorra. [from http://naples.rome-in-italy.com – at the same link the complete history of Napoli]
Veduta panoramica di Napoli dal mare – Antiono Joli, 1759/68Weniger