History: History of Paduli di Benevento from Ancient Times to 1900, Alfonso Meomartini

Posted on Updated on


Paduli has a long, rich history dating at least as far back as the twelfth century and perhaps even earlier. In modern times, many citizens of Paduli (Padulesi) immigrated to the United States primarily between 1880 and the late 1920s. Another wave of Padulesi emigrated to Australia primarily in the 1950s and 60s. Lastly, in the latter part of the 20th century, many Padulesi worked in Switzerland accounting for the fact that a number of Padulesi in their 30s and 40s were born in Switzerland. Their main reason for immigrating was to earn a living, which was difficult if not impossible in Paduli. Currently, the most substantial settlements of people of Padulese ancestry outside of Paduli exist in Oyster Bay and adjoining towns in Long Island, New York, and in Campbelltown, South Australia, near Adelaide. In October 2008, representatives from Paduli and descendants of Paduli from Australia and the United States gathered in Oyster Bay to celebrate their common ancestry and to sign Sister City and Friendship City Agreements. In January 2010, representatives from Paduli and descendants of Paduli from Oyster Bay and Campbelltown met in Campbelltown, to celebrate the opening of Padulesi Park in recognition of the large role played by descendants of Paduli in Campbelltown. Following is a brief account of the history of Paduli based on ancient and modern sources.

Most of the information presented below comes directly from Alfonso Meomartini’s history of Paduli in his compendium of histories of the communities of the Province of Benevento.[1] It dwells heavily on the lives of the nobility and their incessant fighting for control. It can be very confusing to anyone, including me, who is not a specialist in medieval history. I have tried to explain who is who in the footnotes, but I am afraid that I may just have further complicated the issue. Because it contains so little about the lives of the people, I have highlighted passages that relate to the people such as deaths in earthquakes and plagues, tax records and census data.


The town of Paduli (population 4,085 according to the census of October 2011) is located approximately 12 kilometers east of the city of Benevento, Provincial Capital of the Province of Benevento. It is situated on the slopes and summits of a series of hills that point toward the City of Benevento. Three rivers feed into it: the Calore, Tammaro and the Miscano that joins the Calore east of Benevento. In ancient times, Paduli occupied a fairly strategic position along the shortest route between Benevento and Puglia. Due to its strategic location, it was often caught between rival forces in the struggles for control of Southern Italy by various dynastic rivals and the Papacy, struggles that frequently brought devastation and ruin upon it.

Paduli’s Origins

There are two theories as to the origins of Paduli, one advanced by Meomartini that it started as far back as in Roman times, and the other that it originated much later in medieval times. The first is conjecture based on a phrase that appears in the poem De Bello Punico (the Punic Wars 264-146 B.C.) written by Silvio Italico (25-101 A.D). In Part VIII of his poem, Italico remarks that the Samnite people (the tribe living around the Sannita Mountains) cultivated the territories of Batulo and Mucre. Journalist and historian Alfonso Meomartini (November 11, 1841 – January 22, 1918) in his history of the communities of Benevento (see footnote 1) conjectured that Batulo referred to the series of hills that begin at Paduli and that the name Paduli may have derived from the word Batulo.

While this theory is appealing because it ascribes a pre-Roman pedigree to the town, there is little evidence that Paduli proper goes back that far.[2] Rather, historians, including Meomartini, have pointed out that there was a small Roman settlement called Foro Nuovo that was built along the Roman road Via Egnatia (now called Ignazio) that passed by Paduli. This Foro Nuovo (currently called Forno Nuovo) was a changing station for conveyances on the road from Benevento to Puglia. Many stone columns and other ancient artifacts bearing Roman inscriptions have been found there, but none bearing the name Paduli.

Under the Normans and Swabians

 The theory that Paduli began in medieval times is supported by references in historical documents. The very first reference to Paduli is found in the “Diploma” confirming Conrad II of Germany as Holy Roman Emperor (reigned from 1027-1039). The “Diploma” refers to Conrad as having dominion over many areas, including “possessions in Mussano (Mosciano, in the territory of S. Marco) and in Padule, etc.” Conrad also served as King of Germany from 1024, King of Italy from 1026, and King of Burgundy from 1033.

In 1113, Falcone di Benevento,[3] chronicler of the history of Benevento, refered to a “fortified castle” at Paduli built by the Norman, Robert Schiavo, to act as a point for launching continuing incursions against Benevento. It was located on Mount Saglieto within the territory of Paduli. Later, Landolfo della Greca,[4] Constable of Benevento, completely destroyed the so-called “fortified castle.” In order to make sense of the many back-and-forth struggles in which Paduli was involved during medieval times, it is important to know it was a time when members of the nobility (the Monarchy), including first the Normans and then the Germans of the Hohenstaufen family of Swabia, constantly struggled with the Papacy for supremacy throughout Southern Italy including everything from south of Rome through Sicily. Benevento always was a seat of power of the Popes, while Paduli always sided with the Monarchy.

Paduli’s allegiance to the Monarchy is reflected even today in the Coat of Arms (Lo Stemma) of Paduli that features the crown of the Monarchy over the three hills on which Paduli stands: Monte Coppolo, Monte Santo and Monte Oro. Today this Coat of Arms can be seen in the pavement of the ramp leading up to the Ducal Palace and on the Porto Columbro, the only remaining gateway of three that used to exist in the walls surrounding the ancient town of Paduli.

In the year 1122, Paduli was referred to in historical records as a part of the territory ruled the Norman, Count Jordan (Giordano) of Ariano.[5] (Ariano is a community located in the Province of Avellino.) Jordan revolted against other Norman princes, including Duke William the Norman, son of Duke Roger, and Count Roger, son of Roger of Sicily. His revolt brought much devastation and ruin upon the area. Jordan’s enemies occupied Paduli, but Jordan gained control of it once more. Duke William laid siege to the castle[6] of Paduli for three months yet was unable to take it. However, Jordan, realizing that he was also being hemmed in by William’s ally, the Prince of Capua, gave way and handed Paduli back to William.[7]

Duke William died In July 1127. Once again, Count Jordan took up arms and recovered all that was his including Paduli. However, not long after, Jordan died in the Siege of Florence. Count Roger of Sicily sailed from Sicily, disembarked at Salerno, subjected all those who had rebelled, reoccupied the cities and the country and took back the title of Duke that had been taken from him by Pope Honorius III (r. 1216-1227). This resulted in more incursions throughout the Beneventan valley. Pope Honorius, in Capua, formed an alliance with Prince Robert and Rainulf II, Count of Alife (d. April 1139)[8], against Count Roger of Sicily and battled against him. However, sensing the coolness of the Duke of Capua and of the other barons, the Pope unexpectedly made a treaty with Count Roger of Sicily and consecrated him as Duke of Puglia in the presence of twenty thousand people near the Ponte Maggiore in Benevento on the August 22, 1128.

Pope Innocent succeeded Honorius III as Pope. At the same time, Anacletus, the Antipope, was also elected. Anacletus crowned Roger as King Roger II of Sicily on Christmas Day 1130. This was followed by the invasion of Lothar[9] and the war between the same and the Normans, which ended with strengthening the power of King Roger II and with the founding of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, also called the Kingdom of Puglia and Sicily.

King Roger came from Sicily and passed through the Beneventan valley. He made Paduli his base of military operations against Benevento as well as against all places in the valley of the Tammaro River. In 1137, his brother-in-law, Duke Rainulf, routed his, King Roger’s, forces. King Roger and his forces fled by night and sought refuge in Paduli for several days. Duke Rainulf then occupied all the towns of the County of Ariano and brought Count Roger of Ariano and his barons under his control. On December 1, 1137, Rainulf stationed his forces near Paduli, but the town was so well defended and fortified that Count Rainulf was obliged to abandon the siege.

In 1138, King Roger II returned with a strong army. After engaging in various military actions and destroying many towns, he encamped outside Paduli on September 12 making it his base of operations to threaten the town of Apice, adjacent to Paduli, which was being held by Count Rainulf on behalf of Count Roger of Ariano. King Roger Became gravely concerned when he heard that Rainulf was approaching. He set his headquarters in the castle on the slope of the mountain. He fortified Paduli and Montefusco with strong garrisons. Not only did this impede communications with Puglia, but also harassed those citizens of Benevento who adhered to Count Rainulf and to his ally the Prince of Capua.

Even though King Roger was defeated at the hands of Rainulf and the Prince of Capua at the Battle of Nocera on July 25, 1132, he desired to strike a decisive blow to the forces of his brother-in-law Count Rainulf. He regathered his whole army and proceeded to Paduli where he established what today would be termed general quarters. From there he began to deal with the Beneventans who were opposed to him. Paduli, for its valor in remaining faithful to King Roger, the founder of the Kingdom of Naples (1139), was granted the extraordinary status of remaining directly under the control of the King rather than being parceled out in feudal style to local nobility. This concession included the surrounding inhabited areas and not just the main town.

The histories are silent about Paduli from the time that King Roger defeated his enemies and established the Monarchy to the time when his grandson, Tancred the Norman, contended for supremacy with the Swabians[10] at the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th centuries. Nevertheless, if the Swabian armies were to travel easily from Terra di Lavoro in Puglia, one can easily suppose that they had occupied and defended Paduli, as a strategic location. Frederick II of Sicily (of the Swabian, Hohenstaufen family) and the Papacy engaged in successive struggles to determine who would control Sothern Italy. A Papal army invaded the Kingdom of Naples, profiting from the absence of Frederick II who was on Crusade in Syria. The Papal army, together the Beneventans, attacked and captured Paduli in the year 1229.[11]


The Anjevin Dynasty 1266-1438

In 1262, Charles of Anjou, son of Louis VIII of France, conquered the Kingdom of Naples and assumed the title Charles I, King of Naples. Paduli was brought into the County of Ariano and was valued at 40 ounces (gold?) in annual taxes. Paduli was given to Count Errico of Vaudemont of the House of Lorraine. Subsequently, however, it returned to the Crown. In 1269, it was referred to in the ordinances of Charles I for the requisition of soldiers and workers: 6 soldiers and 50 men with hoes, to be exact.

Based on tax records, in 1320, Paduli was a large town in the jurisdiction of the Outer Principality (Principato Ultra). In the feudal tax registry of October 9, 1320, it was taxed at 30 ounces, 22 tarì (a unit of measure) and 3 of grain. The only towns to exceed it at that time were Bisaccia, Gesualdo, Trevico, Aquaputrida, Apice, S. Agata dei Goti, and Mercogliano.

Paduli suffered during the invasion of the Durazzo royal family, a Hungarian branch of the French Anjous, which occupied and sacked it in revenge for its resistance to their arms.

In 1350, Paduli was intended to become part of the territory of Benevento belonging to the Papacy. However, the Pope never took possession, neither under the Anjou’s of France nor under their Hungarian cousins, the Durazzos. Paduli was under the dominion of the House of Shabran, Counts of Ariano, but by the time of Charles III Durazzo (Charles the Short, 1345 – 1386) it had been given to one Giacomo Carbone. Later, under Ladislas of Anjou, it was given to one Gentile di Montecalvo. Ladislas then gave it to a Masone Carbone in 1411 for 7,300 ducats of gold. The transfer of title from King Ladislas to Masone Carbone references several “castles” in Paduli, with the instructions that they were to be held by William of Shabran.

On 20 February 1419, Giovanna II[12], Queen of Naples, gave the rights to Paduli to a Domizio Carbone, nephew of the aforementioned Masone Carbone, and afterwards on 18 September, 1422, Paduli was given to a Giacomo Carbone Jr.

Under the Control of Aragon 1443-1485

We find ourselves now in the midst of the period of wars for control of the Kingdom of Naples between the Anjous of France and the Aragonese of Spain. Paduli played a role in the confrontation between Francesco Sforza[13] (1401-1466) and Giacomo della Marca[14] (1370-1438), who became the husband of Giovanna II. The historian Paolo Giovio, in his Life of the Sforzas (Vita Sfortiae, page 22 in the edition of 1539), writes that the conspirators had decided to kill Francesco Sforza in the valley of the Calore River below Paduli, but that Sforza, mounted on his horse of battle called Sperandio, waded across the river successfully surrounded by his own men of battle in the middle of a squad of cavalry.

In 1437, Giacomo Caldora (1369-1439), camped in Paduli when he was allied with Giovanni Vitelleschi (d. 1440), Patriarch of Aquileia and Archbishop-then-Cardinal of Florence, against Alfonso of Aragon. Also, on February 1, 1440, Rene of Anjou[15], King of Naples, overnighted in Paduli on his way from Benevento to Puglia. It is reported that, as he entered the town, the citizens of Paduli ran from the nearby castle praising him and praying that God would keep him safe.

The following year, 1441, Alfonso I of Aragon approached Paduli: “thus he was moved to go to Puglia by virtue of the fact that Gracia Cavagnilia held Benevento with its fortress, and thus he passed through Paduli, and Giacomo Carbone who was lord there [Paduli] took note, etc.” (Costanzo, book XVIII).

On December 5, 1456, a terrible earthquake struck Paduli causing immense damage. According to the chronicles, Paduli, with its castle, was completely destroyed. One-thousand-three-hundred of its inhabitants were crushed under the ruins. Indeed, Paduli lies in an active seismic zone and has suffered through many violent earthquakes, including the devastating quakes in the 1960s and 1980s that caused most of the inhabitants of the old town (Paduli Vecchio) to abandon their homes for good and to take up residence in new structures on the flatland above the old town.

Giacomo Carbone and his two sons, Francesco and Alessandro, who were dwelling in their fortress, were among the numbers of the dead. One Errico Carbone inherited the feuds of his ancestors. His uncle, Domizio, succeeded him. However, the Carbones were among the barons who rebelled against Ferdinando of Aragon. They were declared felons and were despoiled of their feudal holdings. Paduli was sold to a Sancio Samudio, captain of galleys, for 7 thousand ducats. When Charles VII came on the scene, there was recourse to litigation and the decision went in favor of another Giacomo Carbone, descendant of Domizio. But he held Paduli only until Frederick III of Aragon gave it again to Samudio in exchange for Mottola.

At the beginning of the 16th century, Paduli was visited by the Dominican Father, Leandro Alberti, who left only one written reference. At the point at which the Tammaro flows into the Calore, he noted that the waters were abundant. He was then equally distant between the two rivers, the Tammaro and the Calore, at the Castle of Paduli.

The French Marshal, Lautrech, occupied Paduli when he moved from Puglia toward Naples. He died of the plague in 1528 at the siege of Naples and was buried in S. Maria la Nova where to this day one can admire the monument erected for him.

Later, the town came under the general attention of the government of the Viceroy, and in the first census done under Carlo V in 1532, Paduli was inhabited by 352 families. The number increased to 427 families in 1545 and to 433 families in 1561.

On October 1, 1560, Giovan Berardino Carbone was named Marquis of Paduli. The diploma granting his title states that Paduli was given to him because he was one of the most valiant defenders of Naples under the siege of Lautrech. In 1588, Giovannantonio (aforenamed “Giovan”) Carbone, Marquis of Paduli, sold Paduli to Cornelia Pignatelli, wife of the Duke of S. Agata dei Goti (a town in the Province of Benevento), Giov. Paolo Cosso.   In the next census, the contract was declared null and the same Carbone sold it to Costanza Caracciolo, Marchesa of Casalbore, on October 4, 1592. In the next census of 1595, the population had increased to 521 families.

Giovanvincenzo Caracciolo sold it for 37,000 ducats to Fabrizio dei Lagni on February 18, 1600, with an agreement of repurchase, ceding it then to Marcello Barone for 52,000 ducats on 4 August 4, 1606 and then to Alberico Cybo, prince of Massa, on 27 May 1609.

It was under feudal obligation to the historically famous Cibo family when the revolution of Masaniello[16] occurred in 1647 that was ardently followed by Paduli.

We cannot recount the events better than Capecelatro, a soldier and eyewitness to what happened:

 He [Marquis di San Marco] wanted to take Paduli by surprise, a place situated in an important position near Benevento with a strong castle, and which, because it was dissatisfied with the Prince of Massa of the Cibo [family] of Genoa, who was its lord, was one of the first [towns]to rebel. In large part, the Mayor [of Paduli] instigated the revolt with the support of 200 armed peasants. He disobeyed the orders of the Viceroy of the Province to muster the battalion to his [the Viceroy’s] call. Furthermore he launched a salvo of archibuses against Giuseppe Grillo, who was in charge of the detachment and who had already tried to muster them. They [the Marquis and his allies] decided and attempted to take his [the Mayor’s] life. Consequently, when some [soldiers] of [the Duke of] Guisa’s[17][1] army, from Solofra [a town in the Province of Avellino], were passing by with passports allowing them to return home, he [Marquis of S. Marco] imprisoned them and took away their arms. The Duke of Salsa concurred in this action, and the Marquis of S. Marco proceeded in the following manner. Making known his intentions only to his brother, D. Luigi [Cavaniglia], and to his son, D. Carlo, they all mounted their horses on Saturday December 7 saying that they intended to proceed to Aversa where they would join with the other Barons, and because they had in mind to depart again in such a way as to arrive at their destination at night in order to proceed with the assault with greater ease. Under various pretexts they took to the roads aided by a rainstorm that gave them cover. They stopped in certain hostelries to dry themselves. They departed from there and arrived at Tavernole near Buonalbergo quite late, one hour after sunset, where they believed they would be able to restore themselves and lodge overnight, which is how the Marquis announced his intentions.

 He appointed three captains of his squad and showed them how easy the tasks were they were about to undertake, especially when guided by someone who was familiar with the countryside. They would reunite at an hour at which they would find their enemies totally unaware of their assault. They left their baggage and took their most prized horses which they led by hand, and took off quickly toward Paduli. When they were near Paduli, a little more than a mile away, the Marquis and his soldiers dismounted their horses, and as it already was the fifth hour of the night, he sent soldiers armed with archibuses forward with Francesco de Capua in order to reconnoiter the walls for a place where they could place the scaling ladders that they had brought along in secret. From afar, D. Luigi and D. Carlo Cavaniglia, with seventy soldiers, followed with two big blasts, and all of the remaining came after with the Marquis.

 The air was covered in mist and raining lightly thereby rendering the terrain slippery and retarding the march, but the slowness actually aided the undertaking finding the Padulesi wrapped in sleep. Joining together near the walls, seeing that a certain number of them probably would succeed in the confrontation, the Marquis stopped his march. They found themselves amidst olive groves that gave them cover from which they witnessed a number of peasants who were openly stealing grain from certain caches totally unaware of the enemy approaching. Then, reaching the wall, they placed the ladders up and, even though they had some difficulty because they discovered that it was higher than they had thought, all succeeded in scaling the walls. Upon entering the area, they set themselves up in a location from which they could defend themselves without the citizens being aware of anything. While they were proceeding to occupy the road that led to the Castle, a sentinel finally heard their clamor. Upon seeing who they were, he raised the alarm that the enemy was within. For this reason, the Marquis, in order to strike terror in them, had his men cry out. He left some soldiers in the piazza of the Castle while he passed onward with D. Carlo toward the main church. They blocked the entrance so that no one would be able to enter.   D. Luigi went to the house of the Mayor, who was among the first combatants, and near the house of the lieutenant of the town, he announced that all would be assured of keeping their lives but only if they would surrender their arms to him, which they gave up completely. No one died except the Mayor, although four others were wounded. Not one of the Marquis’ men was harmed. They sacked the house of the Mayor but did not molest anyone else. The Marquis billeted at his expense the person who accompanied him. He had seized the town quicker than he had thought, causing noticeable fear in the nearby localities because of Paduli’s reputation as a secure stronghold, capable of being defended for a long time.

 In 1648, the census counted 453 families, a significant reduction from the preceding census. Then in 1656, a ferocious Plague struck Paduli, which was reduced to only 159 families – that is, 400 families disappeared from among the living.

 An earthquake in 1688 also caused grave damage. Most of the houses were ruined and 135 citizens were killed, according to Sarnelli.

On October 12, 1726, Aderano and Camillo Cibi Malaspina sold Paduli to Baldassare Coscia for 52,000 ducats. They were the nephews of the famous Cardinal Coscia, native of Pietradefusi and confidant of Pope Benedict XIII. He controlled access to the Pope. A famous saying that survives from that time puns off the dual meaning of “coscia” both as the family name of the famous Cardinal and as the Italian word for thigh.

He who wishes graces from the Holy See

Must first kiss the foot and then the Knee.

Chi vuole grazie dalla Santa Sede

          Baci prima la Coscia e poi il piede.

 (Note: In translating “coscia,” I substituted the word “knee” for “thigh” in order to maintain the rime.)

 Baldassare Coscia, with a document of title from Carlo VI dated October 18, 1727, became the Duke of Paduli, which remained in the possession of the same family, some of whom actually lived in Paduli.

There are no outstanding buildings in the community, but the habitations are optimum for their owners and maintained with much care. On the ruins of the old castle of Paduli, in which stayed the Counts of Ariano of old, Duke Rainulf, King Roger, Tancred, Frederick II, Manfred, Ladislas, Renato of Anjou, Sforza, and Alfonso of Aragon, the first Duke of the House of Coscia erected a palace of beautiful appearance that today (referring to the early 1900s when Meomartini composed his chapter on Paduli) belongs to the de Vivo[18] family of Naples. To the side of this edifice is the palace of the actual Dukes of Paduli.

Churches are abundant in Paduli as there are five of them. The foremost is dedicated to S. Bartholomew the Apostle and is presided over by a curate with the title of Abbot. (Today there is one main church, St. Bartholomews, one smaller, older church to The Virgin and to St. Rocco, and the Franciscan Convent Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Ruins of St. Nicola’s church still may be seen in the largely abandoned Paese Vecchio, Old Town. This is interesting because the Patron Saint of Paduli is St. Nicola, and therefore one would think that he would have top billing. However, St. Rocco is far more present in the lives of the people.

On the summit of the hill is a large edifice that previously was a monastery of the Antonian Brothers and then of the Reformed Franciscans. It is dedicated to S. Maria. One reaches it by a pleasant walk overlooking Paduli where the view extends over the whole valley of Benevento and on the other side to the Tammaro and to the surrounding olive groves that cover this pleasant hill with their green leaves. The Convent (monastery) serves as lodging for the seminarians from Benevento. (Today the Convent, which houses 365 rooms, is mostly abandoned except for areas used for events, plays and meetings).

The territory of the community extends over 13,000 tomoli,[19] nearly all of which is mountainous, and is well adapted to olives, grapes, and cultivation for the most part. Its produce is excellent.

The principal families who live there are the previous feudal lord, the Duke of Coscia, the Caccese family, the Mazzei, Marcarelli, Perret, Lombardi, Trombetta, Abate, Falbo, and others. The Marquis Vasaturo, the de Vivos and others of Naples, including the Panari, Angelini, de Juliis and Scrocco of Buonalbergo, and some modern wealthy families of Benevento own property. (Meomartini doesn’t mention the largest families in Paduli such as the Ranaldos, Marmorales, Minicozzis, Limongellis, et.c)

In the ancient administrative ordinances of Naples, which are housed in the Autonomous University of the Province of Benevento, Paduli always belonged to the Principato Ultra with its capital in Montefusco. Following the law of 1809 that created the districts and the circuits, in 1811 Paduli was named the capital of a vast circuit in the district of Ariano, encompassing Apice, Buonalbergo, Casalbore and Montemalo. On March 1, 1816, the last two named communities ceased to exist as they were aggregated into Montecalvo.

Paduli was always a part of the Archdiocese of Benevento together with Benevento, Pietrelcina, S. Giorgio la Molara, Montemale or S. Arcangelo Trimonti, Buonalbergo, and Apice. At the end of the 18th century, Paduli included 2468 inhabitants, 3574 in 1852, and 4017 in the census of 1901.


[1] At this time, the Duke of Guisa was in support of Masaniello’s rebellion and therefore opposed to the Marquis of S. Marco.

[1] This account of history, spanning the period from ancient times through the latter half of the 19th century, is almost entirely an abridged translation of Alfonso Meomartini’s chapter on Paduli in his compendium of histories of the communities of Benevento published in 1907 under the title I Comuni della Provincia di Benevento, ed. Giuseppe De Martini. In order to make the text more understandable to the general reader, I have omitted most of the Roman inscriptions found around Paduli and have somewhat simplified the ups and downs of various nobles who contended for control over Paduli throughout its history.   Even so, the story is complicated.

[2] Fusco, Daniele, Il Centro Storico Di Paduli (Bn): Analisi tipologico-costruttiva per la conoscenza delle tecniche tradizionali, Tesi di Laurea In Architettura Tecnica, Universita’ Degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Facolta’ Ingegneria, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Edile, Anno Accademico 2001-2002.

[3] Falcone di Benevento (end of 11th century – 1144 ca.) was the author of Chronicum Beneventanum, an account of the history of Benevento from 110the -1144 and the rise to power Roger II of Sicily and of the Normans in Southern Italy

[4] The Pope appointed Landolfo della Greca Constable of Benevento in 1113. This position gave him control of the militia.

[5] Jordan (died 12 August 1127), Count of Ariano (from 1102), was a baron in Apulia during the reign of the Duke William II. Jordan was the son and successor of Count Eribert and Altrude of Buonalbergo (a town nearby Paduli). In 1114, he and Robert I of Capua assaulted Benevento, but Archbishop Landulf II, who controlled Benevento, made peace with them. Jordan rebelled against the duke and, at Nusco in 1121, he took a troop of knights to threaten and insult the duke, saying, according to Falcone of Benevento, “I will cut your coat short for you.” He then plundered the entire district. William begged assistance from the more powerful Roger II of Sicily, who, in exchange for all of Calabria and the duke’s halves of Palermo and Messina, crossed the Straits of Messina and subjugated the Count of Ariano. When Jordan died, his young son was put under the suzerainty of his neighbor, Count Ranulf of Alife.

[6] There are many references to “castles” in the histories that refer to Paduli. Some historians conjecture that the word “castle” (castellan in Latin) should in reality be thought of more as a fortified area manned by soldiers than a traditional castle structure. (See Fusco.)

 [7] The words of Falcone are as follows:

“Audiens autem Dux praenominatus Castellum illud captum fuisse, exercit aggregato, Castrum illud obsedit mensibus tribus. Dux ille videns quia sic cito capi non poterat” (Hearing that the aforementioned Castle could be captured, the Duke gathered his army and laid siege to it for three months. But, the Duke saw that it could not be captured.) He called for help from the Prince of Capua offering him Apice and Acerno. He also made peace with the Beneventans. Then, surrounded on every side, Count Jordan, who was holed up in Paduli, surrendered to the Duke of Capua: Cumque Comes ille Iordanus taliter se coactum aspiciens, in manus praedicti Principis se et Castellum Padulis summisit. (Jordan seeing himself thus forced, submitted the Castle into the hands of the aforementioned Prince.)

[8]Rainulf II (or Ranulf) (died 30 April 1139) was the Count of Alife and Caiazzo, and for a contested period, Duke of Apulia. He was a member of the Norman Drengot clan, which ruled Aversa and Capua for most of the century between 1050 and 1150. He was brother-in-law to King Roger of Sicily against whom he fought.

[9] Lothair III of Supplinburg (9 June, 1075, Unterlüss – 4 December 1137), was Duke of Saxony (1106), King of Germany (1125), and Holy Roman Emperor from 1133 to 1137. The son of Count Gebhard of Supplinburg, his reign was troubled by the constant intriguing of Frederick II, Duke of Swabia and Duke Conrad of Franconia. He died whilst returning from a successful campaign against the Normans in southern Italy.

[10] The Swabians (Svevi in Italian) refers to the House of Hohenstaufen in Germany that was to take over the rule of Southern Italy from the Normans. The most famous of them was Frederick II who became Holy Roman Emperor but who also had many struggles with the Papacy.

[11] In Meomartini this date is mistakenly given as 1129. Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen family and Holy Roman Emperor lived from 1194-1250 and in fact was in Syria at the time referred to in the chronicle.

 [12] Giovanna II (25 June 1373 – 2 February 1435) was Queen of Naples from 1414 to her death, upon which the senior Angevin line of Naples became extinct. As a mere formality, she used the title of Queen of Jerusalem, Sicily, and Hungary.

 [13] Francesco Sforza (1401-1466), was the first Duke of Milan and the founder of the Sforza Dynasty that ruled Milan. He was a close friend to Cosimo d’Medici. He was the father of Lodovico Sforza who commissioned Leonardo DaVinci to paint the Mona Lisa.

 [14] Giacomo della Marca (1370-1438), also known as Giacomo II di Borbone, was the third Count of the Marches, married Giovanna II of Naples, in 1415 but had to return to France in 1418 due to conflicts with the nobility of Naples.

[15] René of Anjou (16 January 1409 – 10 July 1480), also known as René I of Naples and Good King René (French Le bon roi René), was Duke of Anjou, Count of Provence (1434–1480), Count of Piedmont, Duke of Bar (1430–1480), Duke of Lorraine (1431–1453), King of Naples (1438–1442; titular 1442–1480), titular King of Jerusalem (1438–1480) and Aragon (1466–1480) (including Sicily, Majorca, Corsica). He was the father of the English queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI of England and a key figure in the Wars of the Roses.

[16] Masaniello (Tommaso Aniello, b. 1620 in Naples, d. 1647) was a young fisherman in 1647 when he was chosen to lead a protest against a new tax on fruit, levied by the nobility to raise money to pay the tribute demanded by Spain. The insurrection against the nobles was successful, but Masaniello became intoxicated and urged the people to slaughter the nobles. Shortly thereafter, he was murdered by assassins hired by the nobles.

[17] In 1647, the Duke of Guisa, Henri II (Enrico II) of Lorraine, was nominated by the rebellious Neapolitans, who had followed the rebel leader Masaniello in his revolt against the Spanish, as Generalissimo of the Army of the Republic of Naples. (Biografia Universale, Antica e Moderna, Vol XXVII, Venezia, presso Giovan Battista Missaglia, MDCCCXVI, p. 160.) Therefore he was an enemy of the Marquis of S. Marco whose allegiance was to the Spanish.

[18] Interestingly, while no members of the de Vivo family currently live in Paduli, one of its descendants, Enrico De Vivo, became a priest, and in 1915 he founded St. Rita’s Parish in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. Father De Vivo was born in Paduli on February 25, 1876, the third son in a family of four boys and four girls. His father, a textile manufacturer, was Luigi De Vivo, and his mother, Emiddia Massimiano.

[19] A tomolo is a unit of land measurement that varies widely depending on place and time. If the total area of Paduli then (13,000 tomoli, ca. 1900) was the same as it is now (17.27 mi2 or 44.73 km²), then 1 tomolo equals 37,035 ft2 (0.85 acres) or 3,441 m2   (3.44 hectares).

2 thoughts on “History: History of Paduli di Benevento from Ancient Times to 1900, Alfonso Meomartini

    Ralph Messera said:
    April 5, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Interesting to see the references to Fredrick II, as I have read most everything I can find about him over the years, in English that is. He was a facinating individual.


      sesame45blog responded:
      April 6, 2015 at 9:12 am

      Yes, Frederick II was a fascinating figure in Italian history. I was especially interested in his struggles with the Pope for temporal control in Southern Italy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s