Benevento. I. A province of Italy, traversed by the W. ridges of the Neapolitan Apeninnes and the river Calore; area, 675 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 231,878. The former papal delegation of Benevento contained only an area of barely 100 sq. m. and a population of little over 20,-000; but when it became a province of the kingdom of Italy it was considerably enlarged by the addition of territory formerly belonging to the Neapolitan kingdom. Benevento now comprises three districts, one of its own name containing nearly half of the total population of the province, and those of Cerreto Sannita and Bar-tolommeo in Galdo. Cereals, fruits, wine, oil, and same abound, and are extensively exported. II A city (anc. Beneventum), capital of the province, at the junction of the Galore and Sabbato rivers, and on the railway from Naples to Foggia, 82 m. N. E. of Naples; pop. in 1872, 20,133. The Porta Aurea, one of the gates of the city, which once spanned the Appian Way and now leads to Foggia, is formed by the famous arch of Trajan, with bass reliefs representing his exploits, and one of the finest and best preserved monuments of the kind in Italy. The Corso extends along the ridge on which the city is built, from the cathedral to the castle.
In the piazza Orsini is a fountain with a statue of Tope Benedict XIII. Most of the streets, though narrow and steep, contain mansions of ,' families and other tine residences. There are many convents and churches. The vast and interesting cathedral had its interior completely restored in the 17th century. In the episcopal palace are various antiquities and two fragments of Egyptian obelisks in hieroglyphics. The castle is used as the official residence of the local authorities, and Latin inscriptions abound all over the city, as well as bass reliefs and esteemed fragments of ancient statuary. Among other relics are the remains of an amphitheatre, portions of the Roman walls, and an ancient bridge over the Calore. Few Italian cities present greater archaeological and historical interest than Benevento. Traditions of a mysterious walnut tree, where the streghe di Benevento, as the witches of S. Italy were popularly called, met at night, still linger among the people. Gold and silver ware, leather, and parchment are manufactured, and the corn trade is considerable. - The origin of the city has been variously ascribed to Dio-medes and to Auson, a son of Ulysses and Circe. It first appears in history as one of the chief cities of Samnium, and fell into the hands of the Romans in the 3d century B. C, when Pyrrhus was defeated here (275); and about the same period the name of Beneventum was adopted in place of the previous appellation of Maleventum. Under the Romans Beneventum retained great importance till the fall of the empire, on account of its wealth and prosperity and its position on the Appian Way. Under the Lombards it became the capital of a duchy, including many of their conquests in S. Italy, and afterward of a principality with extended dominion, which passed through many vicissitudes, and became extinct in 1077 with the death of Landulph VI. The Normans then seized the territory, while the city came under the sway of the pope.
Four councils were held here in the 11th and 12th centuries. On Feb. 26, 1266, Charles of Anjou was defeated here by Manfred of Naples in a celebrated battle, which has been commemorated by Dante. Early in the 15th century the city was for a time under Neapolitan rule, till Ferdinand I. returned it to the pope. In 1688 it was devastated by an earthquake, and its restoration was due to the archbishop of Benevento, afterward Pope Benedict XIII. The papal power was almost uninterruptedly sustained till 1798, when the French took the place and sold it to Naples. Cardinal Ruffo routed here in 1799 a body of French troops. In 1806 Benevento was made a principality by Napoleon I. for the benefit of Talleyrand, but it was restored to the pope in 1815. An insurrection in 1820 was speedly put down; and Benevento had no share in the revolutionary outbreak of 1848-'9. In 1860 it was united to the kingdom of Italy, together with Naples.