Masaniello (a contraction of Tommaso Ani-ello), an Italian popular leader, born in Amain in 1620, assassinated in Naples, July 16, 1647. He was a fisherman, but headed a successful revolt against the duke of Arcos, who as viceroy of Philip IV. of Spain, in order to defray the expenses of a war against France, had levied a tax on fruit and vegetables, the food of the common people. On July 7, 1647, a dispute in the market place as to which of two parties should pay the odious tax collected a crowd, into which Masaniello, who was a great favorite with the populace, ran shouting, "No taxes, no taxes! long live the king of Spain! down with the bad government! " After speaking a few eloquent words, he was made by acclamation chief of the angry populace, which poured through the streets, demolishing the tax gatherers' houses, burning palaces, opening prisons, and driving the viceroy into the castle. An impromptu commonwealth was organized, and Masaniello was proclaimed "captain general of the Neapolitan people." After an unsuccessful attempt by some nobles to make away with him, which resulted in the slaughter of the would-be assassins, the viceroy accepted articles drawn up by the insurgents, which abolished the imposts upon eatables, restored the privileges bestowed by Charles V., and granted a general amnesty, the Neapolitans to remain in arms until the articles should have been ratified by the king of Spain. This negotiation completed, Masaniello threw off the rich robes he had assumed, declared himself again a fisherman, and knelt at the feet of the cardinal archbishop of Naples. But the people would not suffer him to resign.

The next day, after a feast with the duke of Arcos, lie became delirious, whether from the effects of over-good fortune or of poison, and his whole nature changed. The reign of freedom now rapidly became a reign of terror. For four days longer the people obeyed him; but on July 16, nine days after he became -chief, he was assassinated in a convent, where he had taken refuge from their jeers. His body was dragged through the streets and subjected to all kinds of outrage, and his head was sent to the viceroy. The next day head and body were put together by the fickle populace, who, to the number of 80,000, followed the remains to the tomb, where military honors were paid by order of the viceroy. lie was killed as a tyrant, but was subsequently revered by the people as a liberator. Auber's opera of La muette de Portici, also known as Masaniello, is founded upon his nine days' career. Ca-rafa de Colobrano also wrote an opera, Masaniello, which is now obsolete.