Intercultural identity and the local vernacular: Neapolitan history as articulated in the Cronaca di Partenope (c. 1350)

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Abstract

The first history of Naples in over four centuries, the Cronaca di Partenope (c. 1350) articulated a Neapolitan identity through its narration of the past and through its delineation of Naples as a geographical centre in relation to various peripheries or 'others'. As vehicles of identity, time and space interacted in complex and sometimes surprising ways. Recent developments, notably Naples' new status as a royal capital, help to explain the Cronaca's composition after such long historiographical silence. But in affirming Naples as a 'centre', the Cronaca eschewed its contemporary centrality to the southern Italian kingdom (itself firmly anchored in the Latin West) and instead resuscitated an early-medieval, Mediterranean geography of identity in which Naples was balanced between Greek, Muslim and transalpine neighbours. Similarly, the Cronaca's use of the local vernacular was both a reflection of its own age-Neapolitan having only very recently been utilized as a literary language-and a choice that facilitated its nostalgic evocation of a city balanced between Greek, Muslim and Latin worlds: in its very parochialism, the local vernacular permitted the expression of a cosmopolitan identity informed by non-Latin as well as Latin elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-284
Number of pages26
JournalMedieval History Journal
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History

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