GIANNO'NE, PIETRO, an eminent historian and lawyer, was b. 1676, at Ischitella, village of Capitanata, in Naples. He early distinguished himself as an able and learned practitioner at the bar of Naples, and soon realized an easy independence, which enabled him to devote his time and energies to his favorite historical researches. In his beautiful villa, adjoining Naples, he labored during the space of 20 years at his greatest historical work, which, in 1723, he published in four volumes, under the title of Star@ Civile del Regno di _Napoli. This valuable and comprehensive work not only treats of the civil history of the kingdom, but also contains learned and critical dissertations on the laws, customs, and administrative vicissitudes of Naples from the most remote times, tracing the successive working of Greek, Roman, and Christian influences on the legislative and social institutions. Some severe strictures on the spirit of worldly aggrandizement, And progressive corruption of the doctrines and practices of primitive Christianity apparent in the modern Roman Catholic church, so enraged the ecclesiasti cal party that Giannone was universally denounced and anathematized from pulpit and altar. The ignorant fanaticism of the lower classes was aroused by the grossest calum nies leveled at the great writer, who was finally forced to yield before the tempest and take refuge at Vienna. The history was solemnly condemned as heretical and libelous by the pope, and was strictly prohibited. Giannone was granted a small pension by the emperor Charles VI., under -whose dominion Naples then was, and received, in some
degree, compensation for his sufferings, in the admiration and sympathy of the enlight ened spirits of his own land. In 1734, Giannone was deprived of his pension and returned to Venice, from whence he was expelled, and forced to seek shelter in Geneva. There he composed his famous and bitterest diatribe, entitled ll Triregno. against the papal pretensions, and even proclaimed his adoption of the Calvinistic doctrines. Shortly after, aft emissary from the court of Turin, having artfully ingratiated himself into the confidence of Giannone, induced him to enter the Sardinian states, where he was immediately arrested and conducted to the fortress of Turin, a close prisoner. Giannone beguiled his tedious confinement with his chosen studies, and retracted his change of religious opinions, a step which in no way alleviated his persecution. He died a prisoner in the fortress, in 1748, after an incarceration of 12 years. His son, Giovanni, was assigned a liberal pension by the new king of Naples, Don Carlos of Bourbon, who thus sought to avert from his house the reproach which overwhelmed the persecutors and jailors of one of Italy's most illustrious citizens. • La Storia Civile has passed through several editions, the most modern is that of Milan, 1823, in 13 vols., 8vo. See Cornianv Vita di P. Giannone da Leonardo Paneini; SOHO della Letteratura Italiana da Maffei.