An ancient Greek colony, Naples was mentioned as Parthenope, Palaepolis, and Neapolis. It was conquered (4th cent. B.C.) by the Romans, who favored it because of its Greek culture, its scenic beauty, and its baths. The Roman poet Vergil, who often stayed there, is buried nearby. In the 6th cent. A.D. Naples passed under Byzantine rule; in the 8th cent. it became an independent duchy. In 1139 the Norman Roger II added the duchy to the kingdom of Sicily. Emperor Frederick II embellished the city and founded its university (1224). The execution (1268) of Conradin left Charles of Anjou (Charles I) undisputed master of the kingdom. He transferred the capital from Palermo to Naples. After the Sicilian Vespers insurrection (1282), Sicily proper passed to the house of Aragón, and the Italian peninsula S of the Papal States became known as the kingdom of Naples (see separate article). Naples was its capital until it fell to Garibaldi and was annexed to the kingdom of Sardinia (1860). The city suffered severe damage in World War II.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.