Athanasius II of Naples

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Athanasius II of Naples was the Bishop of Naples from 876 to 898. He also brutally deposed his brother Sergius II to become the Duke of Naples. As duke, he increased the power and prestige of Naples. He was a hellenophile who worked to preserve many Greek manuscripts and maintained good relations with Eastern Empire.


Athanasius was the son of Duke Gregory III of Naples and the brother of Duke Sergius II, also of Naples, and was a member of the Sergii dynasty of Naples. Athanasius became the Bishop of Naples as Athanasius II, following his uncle Athanasius I. His brother Duke Sergius was friendly with the Aghlabids emirs of Sicily in the face of opposition from Bp. Athanasius II. In his opposition Athanasius was supported by Pope John VIII who, on September 9, 876, had written to Bp. Athanasius, "non diligere Deum, qui mandata eius participando cum perfidis non custodit." (not to love God, who keepeth not his commandments, by participating with the perfidious).[1] The dispute led to the usurpation of the ducal throne by Bp. Athanasius who blinded and deposed Sergius while remaining the bishop of Naples. However, since Bp. Athanasius did not break with the Muslims, Pope John excommunicated him in 879.

Duke Athanasius, then, involved himself in the wars over the throne of Capua. He assisted [w:Atenulf_I_of_Capua|Atenulf I of Capua] against his brothers and cousins. With Byzantine forces, he besieged Capua itself. Then from about 881, Athanasius ruled Capua, technically as a vassal of Prince Guaimar I of Salerno. He and Guaimar, also, fought an indecisive war while Guaimar was preoccupied with the Saracen menace. In 886, Athanasius, having been released from excommunication, again allied himself with the Saracens, which brought a threat from Pope Stephen V of a blockade of Naples. By 887, Atenulf had been installed in Capua as count. Then in 888, Athanasius and Atenulf disputed over the region of "Liburnia" in the northeastern Adriatic and went to war. This resulted in an indecisive battle at S. Carzio on the Clanio. In 895, Athanasius fomented a revolt by the Neapolitan populace in the city of Salerno that Guaimar's young son, Guaimar II, suppressed.

Athanasius had married and had a daughter, Gemma, who married Landulf I of Benevento, the son of his former ally Atenulf. He was succeeded as Duke of Naples by his nephew Gregory IV and as Bishop of Naples by his brother Stephen.

The date of his death is not known.


  1. Engreen, p 319.
Succession box:
Athanasius II of Naples
Preceded by:
Athanasius I
Bishop of Naples
876 - 898
Succeeded by:
Help with box

Succession box:
Athanasius II of Naples
Preceded by:
Duke of Naples
878 - 898
Succeeded by:
Gregory IV
Help with box


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