The Middle Ages
The dukedom of Naples was strong, the Catholic
Church had power over the lives of Neapolitans and trade and art were growing. this
is a panorama of Naples in the early 11th century. However there were
some dangers looming Naples: the Normans
were interested in some Lombard strongholds
such as Salerno, Benevento, Capua and Amalfi.
The Normans came to the south region of Italy
in the 10th century on pilgrimage from Holy Land. They later became
mercenaries who served the principalities in their wars and against the Muslims
occupying Sicily. Capua, Amalfi, Salerno and Southern Sicily were taken by the Normans
throughout the 11th and 12th century. Naples could not
repel their invasion and fell in 1139. They established in this way their own
kingdom, the Kingdom of the two Sicilies. Its capital was in Sicily and Naples
was a bit over shadowed by it; however, its citizens did not reject their new occupiers
and when in 1194 the Hohenstaufen house took the throne they turned to hatred.
Swavian crown was beaten in Benevento by the house of Anjou
, a fact which gladden
the Neapolitans. The French crown decided to turn Naples into a benchmark of
cultural and intellectual life. Castel Nuovo and Castel Sant’Elmo were
constructed and the port was made bigger.
The last periods of the Anjou family in the
crown was stained with blood: a queen blamed for murdering her husband and
another queen being supported by the ordinary people against her husband who attempted
to take power. These hard times weakened the power of the rulers and the
Spanish found the best situation to invade. Alfonso of Aragon
was the conqueror
and first Aragonese king who seized Naples in 1442. His reign was beneficial to
Naples as he encouraged art, science and institutional reforms. However, in
1485 the nobles supporting the Angevians rebelled against his heir, Ferdinand
I. By 1486 the rebellion was crushed.
This peace period was short as in 1495
the French crown attacked again. As they seized the town, they were backed up
by the nobles and faced the ordinary populations’ opposition, and the region
was in their hands for four months. When they fell from power, the Aragonese
were welcomed by the Neapolitans again.