Naples: a case of urban survival in the early Middle Ages?
By Paul Arthur
Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome. Moyen-Age, Temps modernes, Vol. 103, No.2 (1991)
Introduction: Campania is one of most reknowned areas of ancient Rome : for its agricultural produce, and particularly the wine from the ager Falernus – for the oriental link furnished by Puteoli – for the splendid archaeological data bank that is Pompeii – as a paradigm for the slave model of production – as a subject in much of Cicero’s correspondence – and not least as the subject of the late Martin Frederiksen’s magnum opus. Despite its capital importance during the late Republic and early Empire and its continuing Mediterranean-wide significance, especially as regards Naples, right through to modern times, after the early Empire its history has attracted little interest on the part of scholars, with a few notable exceptions.
However, the history of the Mediterranean would probably have been profoundly different had not Naples and Campania maintained a certain preeminence throughout late antiquity and the dark ages for it to participate in Lopez’ medieval commercial revolution, alongside towns such as Genova and Venice, and for it to have become the centre respectively of Norman, Angevin, Arragonese and eventually Bourbon power in Italy.