The Two Sicilies (It., Regno delle Due Si-cilie), formerly a kingdom of southern Italy, including the island of Sicily, with various smaller islands, and the kingdom of Naples. At the time of its incorporation with the dominions of Victor Emanuel in 1860, the area was 43,225 sq. m., and the population 8,703,130. It now forms six main divisions of the kingdom of Italy, viz.: the island of Sicily, with seven provinces (see Sicily), and the continental divisions of Abruzzo and Molise, Campania (with Naples), Apulia, Basilicata, and Calabria, with an aggregate of 16 provinces (including Benevento, which formerly belonged to the papal dominions) and somewhat over one third of the population of all Italy. (See Italy.) - The early history of the peninsular part of the country, which in ancient times comprised the divisions of Bruttium, Lucania, Calabria, Apulia, Samnium, Campania, and a part of Latium, is closely connected with the history of Rome, and, through the Magna Grsecian cities of Tarentum, Croton, Sybaris, Thurii, Rhegium, Neapolis, and others, partly also with that of Greece. After the fall of the western empire the country was successively under the power of the Goths, the Byzantine exarchate of Ravenna, and the Saracens; but several small republics or duchies, as Naples, Salerno, Amalfi, Gaeta, and Benevento, ultimately rose to independence.
During the first half of the 11th century great numbers of Norman adventurers served these" small states as mercenaries, but soon began to wage war on their own account; and under the leadership of William Bras de Fer, Drogo, and Robert Guiscard, they conquered the greater part of Apulia, which they divided into 12 counties, forming together a feudal confederation. In 1053 Pope Leo IX., at the head of German and Italian troops, tried to expel the new conquerors; but he was defeated at Civitella and taken prisoner,'and his captors obliged him to recognize their conquests by formally holding them as vassals of the holy see. Robert Guiscard established his power paramount over his companions in arms, assumed the title of duke of Apulia, and subdued Calabria, while his youngest brother Roger made himself master of the island of Sicily, previously occupied by the Saracens. In 1127 the whole of the Norman acquisitions were united under Roger II., son of Roger I., the conqueror of Sicily, who received in 1130, from the antipope Anacle-tus II., the title of king of Sicily and Apulia. The bull which conferred that dignity clearly established the paramount lordship of the pope, and stipulated the annual tribute to be paid by the new kingdom.
Roger conquered Capua and Naples. He was succeeded in 1154 by his son William I. the Bad, who left his crown to William II. the Good (1166-'89); the latter promoted public prosperity, and was a stanch supporter of Pope Alexander III. and the cities of Lombardy against the emperor Frederick Barbarossa. William II. died without issue, and his kingdom was claimed by his aunt Constantia, who had married the son of Frederick Barbarossa. Her husband, Henry VI., upheld her rights against the usurper Tancred, and finally in 1194 united the kingdom of Naples and Sicily to the empire. On his premature death in 1197, his Italian crown passed to his son, afterward the emperor Frederick II. The exertions of this prince to annihilate the .Lombard league and to strengthen his dominion over Italy drew upon himself and his descendants the persecution of the papal court; and during the minority of Conradin, his grandson, the Roman see took the kingdom. Manfred, a natural son of Frederick II., the first regent for his nephew Conradin, then king on the pretended death of this young prince (1258), was finally defeated and slain at the battle of Benevento (Feb. 26, 12(36), by Charles of Anjou, who had been crowned as his successor by Pope Clement IV., and. who now usurped the power in the two kingdoms.
Conradin, the last of the Hohen-staufen, was utterly defeated at Tagliacozzo, Aug. 23, 1268, and beheaded at Naples, Oct. 29. The exasperation produced by Charles's despotism finally culminated (March 30, 1282, at the hour of vespers) in the revolt and massacre at Palermo provoked by the licentious brutality of a Frenchman, and the expulsion of the French from Sicily, an event known as "the Sicilian vespers," and Pedro III. of Aragon, the husband of Constantia, Manfred's daughter, became king. Charles strove in vain to regain possession of Sicily. For more than a century and a half the island (mainly ruled by a younger branch of the house of Aragon) and the continental kingdom were separated from each other, and the sovereigns of both parts styled themselves kings of Sicily. The destinies of the house of Anjou at Naples, obscured during the later years of Charles I. and the reign of his son Charles II. the Lame, brightened again under Robert the Wise (1309-'43), the patron of Petrarch; but the reign of his granddaughter, Joanna I., was marked by all sorts of domestic crimes and disorders.
After her execution by order of the king of Hungary (see Joanna) in 1382, a bloody contest raged between Louis I., the head of the second house of Anjou, her adopted son, and Charles of Durazzo, her lawful heir. The latter finally triumphed, but was called to Hungary by discontented nobles in 1385, crowned king, and murdered soon after. His son Ladis-las, scarcely 10 years old, was overthrown by the Angevine party, who called in Louis II. of Anjou in 1389; but in 1399 he reascended his throne, and crushed the adherents of his rival. He was succeeded in 1414 by his sister Joanna II., whose reign of 21 years was as shameful and disastrous as that of Joanna I. After adopting in succession Alfonso V. of Aragon and Louis III. of Anjou, she finally, on the latter's death, bequeathed the crown to his brother Rene. After a few years' war Ren6 was expelled by Alfonso V., who received the investiture of his new kingdom from Pope Eugenius IV., and thus reunited the two parts of the old monarchy. On his death in 1458 he left the kingdom of Naples to his natural son Ferdinand I., who finally maintained his rights against John of Calabria, son of King Ren6, while Sicily as well as Aragon fell to his brother John II. In 1494 the kingdom of Naples was suddenly conquered by Charles VIII. of France, and its possession was disputed by the French and Spaniards until Ferdinand the Catholic became master of it in 1503, and was successively known as Ferdinand III. of Naples and Ferdinand II. of Sicily. The oppressive rule of the Spanish viceroys resulted in 1647 in the rising under Masaniello at Naples, and in other commotions; the disturbances created by the former lasted for years, though Masaniello was speedily assassinated (July 16, 1647). During the war for the Spanish succession the people sided with Philip V., the Bourbon king; but in 1707 they accepted his competitor Charles of Austria, afterward emperor of Germany as Charles VI., whose title to Naples was confirmed by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, while Sicily was given to Victor Amadeus of Savoy. The latter exchanged Sicily in 1720 for Sardinia, and the two kingdoms remained under the rule of Charles VI. till 1734, when they were conquered by Don Carlos, son of Philip V. of Spain, who was crowned at Palermo in 1735 as Charles III., and acknowledged as king of the Two Sicilies. In 1759, on his succession to the throne of Spain, his son Ferdinand IV. became king of Naples and Sicily. Under the influence of his wife Queen Caroline and her favorite the prime minister Acton, he joined the first coalition against France, and in 1799 the French established the Parthenopean republic in the Neapolitan territory.
This was overthrown after a few months, and Ferdinand restored. He retained the island of Sicily with the assistance of England, but after his violation of the treaty of Paris which in 1801 he had concluded with France, Napoleon deposed the Bourbons, and in 1806 gave the throne of Naples to his brother Joseph, and in 1808 to Murat. In 1815, after the overthrow of Murat, Ferdinand was restored; and on Dec. 12, 1816, he assumed power over the two countries as Ferdinand I. of the (united) kingdom of the Two Sicilies. He abrogated the constitution which he had granted while in Sicily. The rising under Pepe in 1820 obliged him to adopt the Spanish liberal constitution of 1812, but with the aid of Austria he soon suppressed it. On his death, Jan. 4, 1825, he was succeeded by his son Francis I., who had become popular by his liberalism, but whose reign was notorious for his subserviency to Austria. He died in 1830.
His son and successor, Ferdinand II. (1830-59), was the most odious of all the Bourbon rulers from his sanguinary repression of insurrections in Sicily and Naples. His excesses aroused the national spirit and paved the way for liberty. His son Francis II. adhered to his despotic system. In 1860 Garibaldi invaded Sicily, conquered it, and crossed the strait of Messina. On his approach in September toward Naples Francis fled to Capua.' There he rallied an army, which was however compelled to surrender with the fortress, Nov. 2, the court retiring to Gaeta. The two kingdoms were merged with Victor Emanuel's possessions, and the flight of Francis from Gaeta and the surrender of that stronghold to Gen. Cialtlini, Feb. 13, 1861, removed the last obstacles to national unity, and Victor Emanuel received on Feb. 26 the title of king of Italy. - See Giannone, Storia civile del regno di Napoli (4 vols., Naples, 1723; new ed., 13 vols., Milan, 1823 et seq.); Colletta, Storia del reame di Nctyoli dal 1734 sino al 1825 (2 vols., Capo-lago, 1834; English translation, 1858); and Reuchlin, Geschichte Neayels wahrend der letz-ten siebzig Jahre (Nordlingen, 1802).