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Amalfi

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Imperatore Dario I View Drop Down
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  Quote Imperatore Dario I Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Amalfi
    Posted: 17-Apr-2005 at 08:06
Amalfi, anyone know much about this city-state?  All I know is they carved out an empire shown in my signature, but that's all I know. Anyone help me out with this.  Stupid google, I can't find anything on there!

Let there be a race of Romans with the strength of Italian courage.- Virgil's Aeneid
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  Quote vagabond Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Apr-2005 at 14:35

Amalfi was one of the many small maritime city states that built great wealth in the Middle Ages through trade across the Mediterranean.  It was recorded by someone in the 4th century (with the limited resources I have at my fingertips here - I can't find out who) .  Development began in the 6th century.  Under the Byzantines they developed a strong oriental trade, had accumulated massive wealth and a population of between 50 and 70,000 - with "secret" trade routes and sweetheart deals in the East.  There are stories that the modern ship's compass was invented here - or in one of the city states on this coast - in the early 14th century.  They goverened themselves (under a Doge - similar to Venice) until they were conquered by Roger of Naples in 1131.  1135 and 1137 they were sacked by the Pisans.

Today Amalfi is overrun with tourists - when I was taking groups through there - it was one of the most difficult places to get to - always a traffic jam.  The "Amalfi Drive" is written up in every tourist guide that exists - and is really beautiful.  Take the coast road south from Naples.   Keep the sea on your right and with in view and you can't get lost.  The stretch from Sorrento to Salerno is truly spectacular scenery.  Stop everywhere you can and take pictures.  Eat and drink everywhere you stop for pictures.  Stop again to take pictures of the car accidents caused by people who drank too much while they were stopped to take pictures.  You know you are going to be delayed for a long time by the accident - so take some more pictures and have something else to eat and drink.  Take lots of money.  And your patience.  And a sense of humor.

John Steinbeck lived and wrote in nearby Positano in the early 1950s.

In the time of your life, live - so that in that wonderous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it. (Saroyan)
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  Quote Serge L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2005 at 07:08

So you are/were a tourist guide, Vagabond?

However, I just add that Amalfi is considered one of four Repubbliche Marinare together with Venice, Pisa and Genoa, the Southernmost, the first to Arise and the first to go. As such, the Amalfi's cross:

Is included in the Italian Navy Insignia and Civil Flag:

 

The most famous, albeit legendary, Amalfitan was  Flavio Gioia, the one who allegedly invented (or re-invented) the Compass in Europe

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Imperatore Dario I View Drop Down
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  Quote Imperatore Dario I Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2005 at 10:13
I was aware that they were one of the four Italian maritime republics. But  I wonder when they established colonies in Constantinople(!!), Cairo, and Alexandria.

Let there be a race of Romans with the strength of Italian courage.- Virgil's Aeneid
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  Quote vagabond Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Apr-2005 at 04:32

Hi Serge - yes - I spent 11 years dragging tourists through historic sites around the world - worked on a cruise ship - various jobs - but was always involved with the shore excursion aspect in one way or another.  For six years or so I was one of their destination lecturers - tellling the tourists what to see and why it was important to see. 

That whole thing has changed now - on most ships, they have destination lecturers but the lecture is just a list of shops with which the cruise line has a contract - all advertising and where to shop - no longer information about the history and geography.  I'm kinda glad I got out when I did.

re:  trading colonies - colony is an imprecise word to use in this case.  Just as the Hanseatic traders tried to have their own quarter of warehouses in a seperate, independent section of each city in the Baltic where they traded, the Italian trading city states also maintained an Italian quarter in each of their major trade destination cities.  They could warehouse trade goods which they could then protect together in the case of civil unrest in the cities (foreign businesses were - and are - a common target in times of civil unrest) .  This cooperation between the cities over the establishment of an "Italian quarter" was in complete contrast to most of their trade practices - they were usually particularly ruthless with each other and would undercut and sabotage each other at every opportunity.  Raids on each other's warehouses, pirating of each other's ships and outright murder were ( are? ) common practices for the international businessman.

 There is particularly good information about the Genovese (and some on the other cities') presence in Constantinople, where everything was recorded by the Byzantine court scribes.  There is also some information recorded about their presence in Alexandria and in the cities along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean.  In Istanbul you can still visit the Galata tower - rebuilt by the Genovese in 1453 - which once overlooked the quays and wharves where the trade ships loaded their goods.

In the time of your life, live - so that in that wonderous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it. (Saroyan)
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Komnenos View Drop Down
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Apr-2005 at 08:37
A study on Amalfi-Byzantine relationships:

In the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, the Campanian maritime cities Amalfi and Salerno became Naples' heirs as centers of the Greco-Latin reciprocal relations. The hagiographical and narrative traditions of translation were continued in Amalfi; in Salerno, medical studies flourished.

Before Venice began to extend its control into the eastern Mediterranean, Amalfi was the emporium of the Orient in the West. Ships from Amalfi supplied the colonies of Latins in Constantinople and on Mt. Athos, which already existed around the year 1000; in 1050 in Jerusalem they founded the hostel for pilgrims which was possibly the starting point of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.20 Around the middle of the eleventh century, in the monastery on Mt. Athos that was associated with Amalfi,21 a monk named Leo translated the famous Miraculum a S. Michaele Chonis patratum (Chonae in Asia Minor), the cult legend of the oldest shrine to St. Michael in all of Christendom;22 the work was attributed to Patriarch Sisinnius of Constantinople (426-27). Perhaps it was the same Leo who, in 1048-49 in Constantinople, commissioned the Latin translations of the Greek Barlaam and Josaphat novel, the legend of Buddha in Christian guise; this work was the second novel translated from Greek during the Middle Ages, the first having been the adventures of Alexander, translated by Leo the archpriest.

A clan with the surname "Comiti(s) Mauronis" was especially important in promoting Amalfi's cultural relations with the Byzantine Empire.23 Maurus and his son Pantaleon donated the bronze gates of Amalfi (1065), Monte Cassino (around 1066), Rome (S. Paulo fuori le Mura, 1070), and St. Michael in Gargano (1076), all of which were cast in Constantinople. Another Pantaleon from the same Amalfi clan donated the Byzantine bronze doors of Atrani (1087).24 But these "royal merchants" of Amalfi also attended to literary exports from East to West. A priest and monk named John, living in the monastery Panagiotum in Constantinople, relates the following story in the prologue to the Vita vel passio S.Herinis virginis et martiris (Irene) which he translated:25

One day when entered the house of the very noble man Lord Lupinus, the son of Lord Sergius, with the surname Comiti Mauronis, in order to pay him a visit, several others from Amalfi were there. While we were talking of one thing or another, whatever one customarily talks about as a comfort to a sick person, the conversation turned to the holy virgin and the blessed martyr of Christ Irene: That we neglected to investigate and find out who she was for all those years while the church of Amalfi was under her rule and also her protection, since there were in fact many noble, wise, and very rich men in this royal city and several interpreters of both languages...


From: Walter Berschin: From the Middle of the Eleven Century to the Latin Conquest of Constantinople.


Walter Berschin: From the Middle of the Eleven Century to the Latin Conquest of Constantinople.
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