Campania Felix is the old name given to Naples region. It means happy or lucky Campania, let's find out why the ancients chose that name.

Campania Felix is an ancient denomination with which often, even now, Naples region is called. Translated from the Latin this name means Happy or Lucky Campania. The meaning of this denomination is however much wider than the strictly literal one and has a very old origin that perhaps not everyone knows.

Campania felix from Magna Graecia to the Augustan Age

Once upon a time Campania included a very vast territory that went from the Phlegraean area in the south, up to Mount Massico in the north. Within its borders there were particularly developed and rich cities, including Pompeii, Sorrento and of course Neapolis; it was a land full of culture and traditions, with a mild climate and fertile soil thanks to the presence of a few rivers. It was also strategically perfect for trade, having a wide coastal strip on the Tyrrhenian Sea on which some of the main commercial ports of Magna Grecia were located. For all these reasons, the Greek historian Polybius had already identified Campania as a particularly happy and fortunate land indeed.
A couple of centuries later Campania still amazed common people, emperors and men of culture as well. Pliny the Elder, the famous historian who sadly perished during the 79 a.c. Vesuvius eruption, loved this region very much and to emphasize its wealth and beauty he coined the name Campania illa felix. Pliny, however, referred also to other important factors, which made this region a place like few others within the Roman Empire. 

Campania Felix through the centuries

During the Augustean age, following a new subdivision of the provinces of the Empire, Campania changed its borders, which extended to include part of Lazio, Rome's region. 
It was the beginning of a period of unity and political stability, much needed after Hannibal's wars, particularly the one ended with the ruinous defeat of Capua. From that moment on, Campania developed and became even richer, thanks also to the birth of a new administrative system in which both cities, ports and large agricultural settlements coexisted and supported each other. That type of structure, thanks to its effectiveness, remained mostly unchanged over time and laid the foundations for the luck of the region in the centuries to come, so much so that the name Campania Felix has been handed down over time to the present day.

Did you like this? Let us know

We recommend