When was the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies born and why is it called that?

by Federico Quagliuolo

THE Bourbon they have half to do with the invention of this name, in spite of what one might imagine. The first to define himself "King of the Two Sicilies" was Charles of Bourbon, but IL Kingdom of the Two Sicilies And an entity that was born some time later, from the idea of Gioacchino Murat when he was granted the throne by Napoleon in 1808.
Finally, to find the first time the title "Rex Utriusque Siciliae we have to knock on the doors of Alfonso of Aragon.

It was in fact he a reunite the two crowns for the first time under the dominion of Naples.

Let's do some clarity.

Ferdinand I, king of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand I, King of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, it was he who created the state entity

A Norman heritage

The problem arose a long time ago and this makes us understand how in the modern world, in expressions, names and aspects of common life there are direct legacies of the distant past.

When in the 1140 Roger II managed to conquer for the first time all of Southern Italy, the Pope conferred on him the crown of King of Sicily and the capital was Palermo.
In fact, one was not even imaginable at the time Naples capital (rather, the Normans preferred Salerno) And the continental kingdom was identified as "Kingdom beyond the lighthouse, a very ancient expression that has actually remained in common use until 1861.

In the thirteenth century, with the arrival of the Angevins that they weren't sweet at all in conquering Southern Italy, Sicily had a start: to get free from humiliating conditions imposed by King Charles and furious for having lost the capital Palermo, with the riots of the Vespers he declared himself independent and, through a shrewd maneuver of Constance of Swabia, he organized himself a marriage with the Aragones.

Thus was born the Kingdom of Trinacria, which had an independent life for about 150 years, until the arrival of Alfonso in Naples.

In short, we arrived in 14th century and, until now, the Two Sicilies do not really talk about it. Indeed, Naples and Palermo were two neighbors unwelcome to each other.

Alfonso d & #039; Aragon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Alfonso of Aragon, Rex Utriusque Siciliae

The King of the Two Sicilies is born, but not the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies

Alfonso of Aragon was one of those men who change the destinies of the world: charming, elegant, cultured and highly intelligent. It is no coincidence that it is said that the Renaissance in Italy it began in the Aragonese court. His personal ambition it was matched only by his own charisma and managed to conquer Naples through one found it very clever copied from the invasion of Belisario which almost happened 800 years earlier.

After the conquest of the throne of Naples, he decided to move to Castel Capuano (while having the Male Angevin) and moved the capital of all his domains to Naples. The two crowns, that of Sicily and Naples, were thus summarized in a new title which was "Rex Utriusque Siciliae". All the sources of the time, however, translate this title as "King of both Sicily", while the Two Sicilies are a later interpretation.

Charles of Bourbon, king of the Two Sicilies
Charles of Bourbon was the first to be appointed King of the Two Sicilies

Charles of Bourbon and a new translation

And here the mess. Fallen the Aragonese e after 200 years under the rule of foreign emperors and viceroys from the Spanish or Austrian name, Naples with Charles of Bourbon, followed by the ubiquitous Bernardo Tanucci, began a new historical course ofindependence: in 1735 the new king was crowned a Palermo and thus he reunited all of Southern Italy under a single crown.
At that moment the ancient title returned by Alfonso of Aragon: Carlo began to define himself "Rex Utriusque Siciliaethat, in documents drawn up in Italian, appears for the first time as "King of the Two Sicilies", perhaps for one translation wrong or one new interpretation of the original term.
The crown remained though divided between the two capitals of the Kingdom and at the time no one would have dared to touch a tradition that has been going on since 1282: so much so that the son Ferdinand was crowned a Naples with the numeral IV and with the numeral III a Palermo.
He will be the one to simplify everything a few years later.

Kingdom of the Two Sicilies Murat
A coin by Gioacchino Murat in which the term Kingdom of the Two Sicilies appears, even if Sicily does not exist

Here is the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies

The first to officially become "King of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies And Joachim Murat. In fact, he received the appointment by Napoleon Bonaparte in person in Bayonne Statute of 1808, which was the official act with which the French wanted legitimize their dominion over the former Bourbon kingdom beyond the lighthouse.
The only problem is that Murat never conquered Sicily.

Eventually the omelette was completed by Ferdinand IV of Bourbon who in 1816 returned to the throne, when they were wiped out the French of Napoleon from the ancient empires of England and Austria.
The new king, in fact, did a choice that will prove fatal for the destiny of Southern Italy: he was the protagonist of the first unification of the Italian kingdoms when declared the domains united "beyond the lighthouse and on this side of the lighthouse and reappeared under the name of Ferdinand I of Bourbon King of the Two Sicilies. reusing the term of Napoleon.

Although that of Ferdinand and his entourage was a choice that we could say is rational, since that of the two capitals it was a custom born 5 centuries earlier is that Sicily already enjoyed a good independence, it was actually a political suicide, since the anti-Bourbon discontent of Sicily they exploded just then, as the Island suddenly felt transformed into the province of Naples, also losing the last formality that bound her to the times when she was queen of the Mediterranean.

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, after centuries of kings, dynasties, wars and human affairs, after all it was one of the shorter stories of the secular life of Naples capital: it lasted in fact only from 1816 to 1861, year in which it was officially annexed to the newborn Kingdom of Italy with a military campaign that, not surprisingly, it started right from Sicily.

-Federico Quagliuolo

Giovanni Antonio Summonte, Historia of the city and Kingdom of Naples, Antonio Bulifon, Naples, 1681
Bastian Biancardi, The Lives of the Kings of Naples, Venice, 1737
Antonio Ghirelli, History of Naples, Einaudi, Milan, 2015
Benedetto Croce, History of the Kingdom of Naples, Adelphi, Milan, 1992

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1 Comment

Fabrizio 6 July 2021 - 15:27

The revolt of the Sicilians, according to what is taught, was due precisely to the fact that Sicily found itself totally inheriting the laws in force in Naples, thus losing all the local specificities and in particular the fiscal and legislative autonomies it had. The problem was therefore not simply the loss of the capital, but the loss of state autonomy.


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