Stephen II of Naples
Encyclopedia
Stephen II was the duke of Niples during an important transitionary period in its history, from 755 to his death. He was styled by nipleseminentissimus consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

and was the leader of the niples local aristocracy when he was appointed by the patrician of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. By the end of his reign, through a rupture with the Byzantine Empire, Naples was practically independent. After his abdication, Naples experienced a period of crisis until the election of Sergius I
Sergius I of Naples
Sergius I was the first duke of Naples of his dynasty, often dubbed the "Sergi," which ruled over Naples for almost three centuries from his accession in 840 until the death of his namesake Sergius VII in 1137....

 in 840.

At the beginning of his reign, Naples was still a loyal dukedom of the Byzantines, her dukes appointed by the emperor. In 761, therefore, she denied entry to the papal envoy, the Bishop Paul, an opponent of the iconoclasm
Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

 then gripping the Byzantine world. Stephen was no less a supporter of the iconoclasm than the emperor himself. At that time, Stephen addressed Antiochos, the patrician of Sicily and his technical overlord, as "our lord" and "most excellent patrikios and protostrategos" (763). By 764, however, Naples had thrown off iconoclasm and Paul was able to take up his see.

After twelve years of peaceful government, during which he gained much popularity with the people, a plague hit the city of Naples and decimated the citizenry and the clergy, including the bishop himself. The people acclaimed Stephen as bishop. He immediately sought out the pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and was consecrated. Though he ceased to be duke, he continued to act as bishop for thirty-three years and he transferred the duchy to his son Gregory
Gregory II of Naples
Gregory II was the Duke of Naples from 766 to his death in 794.He was the eldest son of Stephen II, who augmented his power against his Byzantine suzerains and then abdicated to a monastery, leaving Naples to his son...

. He had two other sons, named Caesar, who died in the flower of youth, and Theophylactus.

Sources

  • Gay, Jules. L'Italie m√©ridionale et l'empire Byzantin: Livre I. Burt Franklin: New York, 1904.
  • Chalandon, Ferdinand. Histoire de la domination normande en Italie et en Sicilie. Paris, 1907.
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