Τετάρτη, 27 Μαρτίου 2019

Byzantine Campania (Italy) (Part A) : The medieval Greek duchy of Neapolis (Naples)

First settled by Greeks in the second millennium BC, Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban areas in the world. In the ninth century BC, a Greek colony known as Parthenope or Παρθενόπη was established on the Island of Megaride, later refounded as Neápolis in the sixth century BC. The city was an important part of Magna Graecia, played a major role in the merging of Greek and Roman society and a significant cultural centre under the Romans. It served as the capital of the Duchy of Naples (661–1139 AD) during Byzantine period, in Middle Ages. The earliest Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium BC. Sailors from the Greek island of Rhodes established a small commercial port called Parthenope (Παρθενόπη, meaning "Virgin Eyes") on the island of Megaride in the ninth century BC. By the eighth century BC, the settlement had expanded to include Monte Echia. In the sixth century BC the new urban zone of Neápolis (Νεάπολις, New City) was founded on the plain, eventually becoming one of the foremost cities of Magna Graecia. The Greek city grew rapidly due to the influence of the powerful Greek city-state of Syracuse, and became an ally of the Roman Republic against Carthage. During the Samnite Wars, the city, now a bustling centre of trade, was captured by the Samnites; however, the Romans soon captured the city from them and made it a Roman colony. During the Punic Wars, the strong walls surrounding Neápolis repelled the invading forces of the Great Carthaginian general Hannibal. Naples was greatly respected by the Romans as a paragon of Hellenistic culture. During the Roman era, the people of Naples maintained their Greek language and customs, while the city was expanded with elegant Roman villas, aqueducts, and public baths. Landmarks such as the Temple of Dioscures (Greek heroes from Sparta) were built, and many emperors chose to holiday in the city, including Claudius and Tiberius. Virgil, the author of Rome's national epic, the Aeneid, received part of his education in the city, and later resided in its environs. It was during this period that Christianity first arrived in Naples; the apostles Peter and Paul are said to have preached in the city. Januarius, who would become Naples' patron saint, was martyred there in the fourth century AD. The last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustulus, was exiled to Naples by the Germanic king Odoacer in the fifth century AD.
Following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, Naples was captured by the Ostrogoths, a Germanic people, and incorporated into the Ostrogothic Kingdom. However,Belisarius of the Byzantine Empire recaptured Naples in 536, after entering the city via an aqueduct. In 543, during the Gothic Wars, Totila briefly took the city for the Ostrogoths, but the Byzantines seized control of the area following the Battle of Mons Lactarius on the slopes of Vesuvius. Naples was expected to keep in contact with the Exarchate of Ravenna, which was the centre of Byzantine power on the Italian Peninsula. The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a lordship of the Byzantine Empire in Italy, from 584 to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards. It was one of two exarchates established following the western reconquests under Emperor Justinian to more effectively administrate the territories, along with the Exarchate of Africa. In 568, the Lombards under King Alboin, together with other Germanic allies, invaded Northern Italy. The area had only a few years ago been completely pacified, and had suffered greatly during the long Gothic War. The local Roman forces were weak, and after taking several towns, in 569 the Lombards conquered Milan. They took Pavia after a three-year siege in 572, and made it their capital. In subsequent years, they took Tuscany. Others, under Faroald and Zotto, penetrated into Central and Southern Italy, where they established the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. However, after Alboin's murder in 573, the Lombards fragmented into several autonomous duchies (the "Rule of the Dukes").
The Lombards had their capital at Pavia and controlled the great valley of the Po. The Lombard wedge in Italy spread to the south, and established duchies at Spoleto and Beneventum; they controlled the interior, while Byzantine governors more or less controlled the coasts. Because of the Lombard incursions, the Byzantine possessions had fragmented into several isolated territories, and in 580, Emperor Tiberius II reorganized them into five provinces, now termed in Greek,eparchies: the Annonaria in northern Italy around Ravenna, Calabria, Campania, Emilia and Liguria, and the Urbicaria around the city of Rome (Urbs). The exarchate was organised into a group of duchies (Rome, Venetia, Calabria, Naples, Perugia,Pentapolis, Lucania, etc.) which were mainly the coastal cities in the Italian peninsula since the Lombards held the advantage in the hinterland.
The Duchy of Naples 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. 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 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 autonomous, during the later years of the Neapolitan duchy. 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. 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 entireducatus 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. 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 Byzantine Emperor.
In 840, Duke Sergius I made the succession to the duchy hereditary, and thenceforth Naples wasde 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.
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. Starting in 827, Muslim forces began the conquer Sicily. In 846, Saracens raided the outskirts of Rome, plundering various basilicas, including Old Saint Peter's which was outside the Aurelian walls, for their treasures. News of a massing of Saracen ships offSardinia reached Rome early in 849. A Christian armada, commanded by Caesar, son of Sergius I of Naples, was assembled off recently refortified Ostia, and Pope Leo IV came out to bless it and offer a mass to the troops. After the pirate ships appeared, battle was joined with the Neapolitan galleys in the lead. Midway through the engagement, a storm divided the Muslims and the Christian ships managed to return to port. The Saracens, however, were scattered far and wide, with many ships lost and others sent ashore. When the storm died down, the remnants of the Arab fleet were easily picked off, with many prisoners taken. In the aftermath of the battle, much booty washed ashore and was pillaged by the locals, per ius naufragii. The prisoners taken in battle were forced to work in chain gangs building the Leonine Wall which was to encompass the Vatican Hill. Rome would never again be approached by an Arab army.
The Battle of Garigliano was fought in 915 between Christian forces and the Saracens. Pope John X personally led the Christian forces into battle. The aim was to destroy the Arab fortress on the Garigliano river, which had threatened central Italy and the outskirts of Rome for nearly 30 years. After a series of ravaging attacks against the main sites of the Lazio in the second half of the 9th century, the Saracens established a colony next to the ancient city of Minturnae, near the Garigliano River. Here they even formed alliances with the nearby Christian princes (notably the hypati of Gaeta), taking advantage of the division between them. John X, however, managed to reunite these princes in an alliance, in order to oust the Saracens from their dangerous strongpoint. The Christian armies united the pope with several south Italian princes of Lombard or Greek extraction, including Guaimar II of Salerno, John I of Gaeta and his son Docibilis, Gregory IV of Naples and his son John, and Landulf I of Benevento and Capua. The King of Italy, Berengar I, sent a support force from Spoleto and the Marche, led by Alberic I, duke of Spoleto and Camerino. The Byzantine Empire participated by sending a strong contingent from Calabria and Apulia under the strategos of Bari, Nicholas Picingli. John X himself led the milities from the Lazio, Tuscany, and Rome.
The first action took place in northern Lazio, where small bands of ravagers were surprised and destroyed. The Christians scored two more significant victories at Campo Baccano, on the Via Cassia, and in the area of Tivoli and Vicovaro. After these defeats, the Muslims occupying Narni and other strongholds moved back to the main Saracen stronghold on the Garigliano: this was a fortified settlement (kairuan) whose site, however, has not yet been identified with certainty. The siege lasted for three months, from June to August. After being pushed out of the fortified camp, the Saracens retired to the nearby hills. Here they resisted many attacks led by Alberic and Landulf. However, deprived of food and noticing their situation was becoming desperate, in August they attempted a sally to reach the coast and escape to Sicily. According to the chronicles, all were captured and executed. Berengar was rewarded with the papal support and eventually the imperial crown, while Alberic's prestige after the victorious battle granted him a preeminent role in the future history of Rome. John I of Gaeta was able to expand his duchy to the Garigliano and received the title of patricius from Byzantium, leading his family to proclaim themselves "dukes". Following the victory, the Byzantines, as the most important force during the battle, became the dominant power in southern Italy.
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.
Πηγή : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchy_of_Naples

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