Spolia, reuse and all’antica building in southern Italy, 1400–1600

Between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries some of the most conspicuous remains of antiquity in the Italian peninsula were found in the Kingdom of Naples. These included not only Roman ruins, but also pre-Roman ones, such as Greek and Italic relics, which testified to the diverse and very ancient origins of many of its centres. Magnificent ruins, such as temples or tombs, marked the landscape of cities and countryside and were regarded as traces of a glorious local past. Ancient remains were, furthermore, constantly unearthed across southern Italy either through chance findings or as a result of purposeful excavation and antiquarian research.

Examining literary and artistic evidence, this essay considers local antiquity as a central theme of southern Italian antiquarianism, for example in Capua and Venosa. It will also question the nature and perception of a diverse body of southern Italian ‘antiquities’, which could include medieval monuments, imported classical works, or forgeries.

in Local antiquities, local identities
Art, literature and antiquarianism in Europe, c. 1400–1700

This book brings together essays on the burgeoning array of local antiquarian practices that developed across Europe in the early modern era (c. 1400–1700). Adopting an interdisciplinary and comparative method it investigates how individuals, communities and regions invented their own ancient pasts according to the concerns they faced in the present. A wide range of ‘antiquities’ – real or fictive, Roman or pre-Roman, unintentionally confused or deliberately forged – emerged through archaeological investigations, new works of art and architecture, collections, history-writing and literature. This book is the first to explore the concept of local concepts of antiquity across Europe in a period that has been defined as a uniform ‘Renaissance’. Contributions take a new novel approach to the revival of the antique in different parts of Italy and also extend to other, less widely studied antiquarian traditions in France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Britain and Poland. They examine how ruins, inscriptions and literary works were used to provide evidence of a particular idea of local origins, rewrite history or vaunt civic pride. They consider municipal antiquities collections in southern Italy and southern France, the antiquarian response to the pagan, Christian and Islamic past on the Iberian peninsula, and Netherlandish interest in megalithic ruins thought to be traces of a prehistoric race of giants. This interdisciplinary book is of interest for students and scholars of early modern art history, architectural history, literary studies and history, as well as classics and the reception of antiquity.

Abstract only

This book brings together essays on the burgeoning array of local antiquarian practices that developed across Europe in the early modern era (c. 1400–1700). Adopting an interdisciplinary and comparative method it investigates how individuals, communities and regions invented their own ancient pasts according to the concerns they faced in the present. A wide range of ‘antiquities’ – real or fictive, Roman or pre-Roman, unintentionally confused or deliberately forged – emerged through archaeological investigations, new works of art and architecture, collections, history-writing and literature. This book is the first to explore the concept of local concepts of antiquity across Europe in a period that has been defined as a uniform ‘Renaissance’. Contributions take a new novel approach to the revival of the antique in different parts of Italy and also extend to other, less widely studied antiquarian traditions in France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Britain and Poland. They examine how ruins, inscriptions and literary works were used to provide evidence of a particular idea of local origins, rewrite history or vaunt civic pride. They consider municipal antiquities collections in southern Italy and southern France, the antiquarian response to the pagan, Christian and Islamic past on the Iberian peninsula, and Netherlandish interest in megalithic ruins thought to be traces of a prehistoric race of giants. This interdisciplinary book is of interest for students and scholars of early modern art history, architectural history, literary studies and history, as well as classics and the reception of antiquity.

in Local antiquities, local identities