28/04/20-Criminal heroes

Aula Paparelli Placanica

Throughout the early modern age (roughly 1550-1800), the Kingdom of Naples was at the center of a dense network of relationships between northern and southern Europe, western and eastern Mediterranean, Africa, Asia and beyond. The presence of merchants, consuls, diplomats, spies, and slaves favored the spread of fake news, legends, and cultural stereotypes. This lecture focuses on handwritten records and printed accounts of three famous trials, which took place in the 1760s. These trials were based on the invention of fake identities and imagined political enemies, in a particular way from fall 1763 to summer 1764, when a great famine and a subsequent contagion gravely hit the population. They turned into a meeting field, where the feelings of ordinary people could interact with the ones of the social elite, stimulating exchanges of ideas, whispers, gossip, inventions, and dissimulations…