The nobility of Southern Italy during the French period - In the first part of the essay the author examines the law on nobility enacted in southern Italy under French domination by linking it to measures taken by the Bourbon government in the second half of the Eighteenth Century. Two stages have been identified in Napoleonic legislation: the first deprives the ancient nobility of the Kingdom of its legal privileges maintaining only an honorary distinction; the second establishes a new nobility, intended to confer symbolic and material rewards on those who distinguished themselves in the service of the State and the Dynasty. An advisory board – the Consiglio de’ majoraschi – was created and charged with carrying out the bureaucratic procedures provided for the establishment of entails. These were an essential requirement for the titles conferred upon the new nobles to become hereditary. In the second part the author performs a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the new nobility, involving the timing and social distribution of the new titles. Te relations between old and new Neapolitan aristocracy nobles are also investigated. The case of Southern Italy is set in the broader context of Napoleonic Europe, and the similarities and differences between the new nobilities of the French Empire and of the Kingdom of Italy are duly underlined.
Keywords: Napoleonic Era; Southern Italy; Nobility; legislation on nobility
Parole chiave: età napoleonica; Mezzogiorno d’Italia; nobiltà; legislazione nobiliare