Department Colloquium - Ned Schoolman

Ned Schoolman
Assistant Professor of History
University of Nevada, Reno

“Creating the Past in the Histories of Naples”
Monday, April 16, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.
Edmund J. Cain Hall, Room 108H
Philosophy Dept. Classroom
University of Nevada, Reno


Lecture Description

In 1883, the historian Ugo Balzani observed of the eighth-century chronicle Gesta Episcoporum Neapolitorum: “The first [section], compiled by an unknown author towards the end of the eighth century, begins with Christ and descends to the year 763, adding with its dry records little or nothing to our knowledge” Balzani, though factually correct, is wrong in assuming that the record has little historical value.


While adding only small original details to the first third of the Gesta, its author actually created a cogent history of Naples by melding more than 15 other sources, crafting a history of the origin of the city and of its early medieval position to suit his needs as an eighth-century churchman. In fact, what makes the Gesta so remarkable is that, by being responsive to contemporary forces, it creates a past for Naples where records did not exist (or were not used).


This phenomenon is at the core of my project, the aim of which is to explore the ways in which a Neapolitan past was created not only in the Gesta, but in two other works—the first comprehensive history of Naples and one of the first secular texts written in the Neapolitan dialect, the Cronaca di Partenope (c. 1350), and the Nanni Loy film Le quattro giornata di Napoli (1962).

About Ned Schoolman

An active archeologist as well as historian, Ned Schoolman is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at UNR. He received his MA in Archaeology from University College London (2003) and his PhD in History from UCLA (2010). His research interests include the transformation of the Roman world in the eastern and western Mediterranean, the history and culture of the Byzantine Empire, and early medieval Italy.

Sponsored by The Department of Philosophy