Francesco Mario Pagano

Pagano, Francesco Mario


Born Dec. 8, 1748, in Brianza; died Oct. 29, 1799, in Naples. Italian jurist, philosopher, and political figure; representative of the radical wing of the Neapolitan Enlightenment. Professor at the University of Naples.

In Political Essays on the Origins, Progress, and Decline of Society (1783–85), Pagano developed ideas on the objective laws of the historical process. In his legal works he elaborated on the idea that the law is the guarantor of man’s freedom. He was active in the patriotic Jacobin movement that emerged in Naples under the influence of the Great French Revolution. In 1799, after the proclamation of the Parthenopean Republic, he became a member of the provisional government and president of the legislative committee, as well as one of the authors of a draft constitution. He fought in defense of the republic in June 1799. After its defeat, he was among the signers of an honorable capitulation (June 23, 1799), which guaranteed that the lives of the republicans would be spared. However, the Bourbon government of Naples violated the terms of the capitulation and dealt harshly with those who had participated in the revolution. More than 100 patriots were executed, including Pagano.


Opere filosofiche, politiche ed estetiche. Lugano, 1837.


Paternoster, F. Francesco Mario Pagano. Rome, 1951.
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Francesco Mario Pagano (translated and introduced by Maria Concetta Pastore Passaro, edited by Susette Acocella and Maria Henry), Corradino: A Tragedy (bilingual edition), Legas: Mineola, NY, 2014; 132 pp.
Following the way shown by Giambattista Vico, Francesco Mario Pagano, Vincenzo Cuoco and others, intellectuals started to enquire into the history of mankind, investigating both the fables of mythology and the catastrophes of geology and concluded that Homer was not Greek, but Italian.
18th-century Italian literature, earthquakes, Francesco Mario Pagano, Giambattista Vico, mythology, Vincenzo Cuoco