The Byzantine New Year in Amalfi and Atrani

Among the summer events not to be missed on the Amalfi Coast is the Byzantine New Year, a historical-cultural event scheduled between Amalfi and Atrani which recalls the beginning of the fiscal and legal year in the era of the Roman Empire. East, of which Amalfi was a peripheral autonomy.

In the Byzantine world, the year began on September 1st, the day on which the comites, that is, the leaders of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi in its aristocratic phase, took office. With the advent of the ducal monarchy, which replaced the aristocratic republic, the coronation ceremony of the duke was introduced with the delivery of the chlamys and cap, symbol of ducal power, in the Church of San Salvatore de’ Birecto in Atrani.

The highlight of the event is the traditional and fascinating historical commemorative procession held on 1 September, with around a hundred people in period costumes recreating the atmosphere of that time, followed by the investiture ceremony of the Magister of Amalfi Civilization, with the medieval rite inspired by the coronation of the Dukes of Amalfi. The title of Magister of Amalfi Civilization is awarded annually to a personality, of Amalfi origin or by adoption, who has distinguished himself in one of the sectors of ancient medieval civilization. Each edition of the event focuses on a theme chosen around the name of the Magister.

As usual, the Byzantine New Year follows a precise ceremony:

  • on August 31st in the Arsenale, the symbolic monument of the ancient maritime Republic of Amalfi, a study conference on the Amalfi Middle Ages is held, followed by the lectio magistralis of the Magister of Amalfi Civilization;
  • on 1 September the historical procession accompanies the Magister along the route from Amalfi to the churchyard of the Church of San Salvatore de’ Birecto in Atrani, where the investiture ceremony takes place in the presence of the Archbishop, and then reaches the steps of the Amalfi Cathedral, where it is presented to the citizens.

The Byzantine New Year program is completed with cultural events, entertainment opportunities and knowledge of the area.

Featured photo © Andrea Lucibello Agenzia Fotografica – Comune di Amalfi