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An article from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, now in the public domain.
Any color photos are mine, © William P. Thayer.

Vol. V

Capua, (anc. Casilinum), a town and archiepiscopal see of Campania, Italy, in the province of Caserta, 7 m. W by rail from the town of Caserta. Pop. (1901) 14,285.​b It was erected in 856 by Bishop Landulf on the site of Casilinum (q.v.) after the destruction of the ancient Capua by the Saracens in 840, but it only occupies the site of the original pre-Roman town on the left (south) bank of the river.

The cathedral of S. Stefano, erected in 856, has a handsome atrium and a lofty Lombard campanile, and a (modernized) interior with three aisles; both it and the atrium have ancient granite columns. The Romanesque crypt, with ancient columns, has also been restored. It has a fine paschal candlestick, and the fragments of a pulpit with marble mosaic of the 13th century. There are also preserved in the cathedral a fine Exultet roll and an evangelarium of the end of the 12th century, bound in bronze decorated with gold filigree and enamels. The mosaics of the beginning of the 12th century in the apses of the cathedral and of S. Benedetto, were destroyed about 1720 and 1620 respectively. The small church of S. Marcello was also built in 856. In 1232‑1240 Frederick II erected a castle to guard the Roman bridge over the Volturno, composed of a triumphal arch with two towers. This was demolished in 1557. The statues with which it was decorated were contemporary imitations of classical sculptures. Some of them are still preserved in the Museo Campano (E. Bertaux, L'Art dans l'Italie méridionale, Paris, 1904, i.707). The Museo Campano also contains a considerable collection of antiquities from the ancient Capua.

Capua changed hands frequently during the middle ages. One of the most memorable facts in its history is the terrible attack made on it in 1501 by Caesar Borgia, who had entered the town by treachery, in which 5000 lives were sacrificed. It remained a part of the kingdom of Naples until the 2nd of November 1860, when, a month after the battle of the Volturno, it surrendered to the Italian troops.

Thayer's Notes:

a This article is about the modern town by that name, known as Casilinum in Antiquity. The ancient town of Capua, a different place 4.5 km to the NW, is now S. Maria di Capua Vetere: see the article on Roman Capua. The whole thing is becoming moot, as the two towns coalesce.

b I've been unable to find the official census figures for the year 2000, but in the late 20c Capua's population was reported at around 18,000.

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Page updated: 18 Nov 17