||Agropoli is a town and comune located in the Cilento area of the province of Salerno, Campania, Italy. It is situated at the start of the Cilento coast, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its population is 21.251
The promontory on which Agropoli stands has been inhabited since Neolithic times. It seems, however, that it was not until the later Bronze and Iron Ages that it came to be continuously inhabited by a stable, indigenous population, which lived off hunting and fishing.
To the east of the promontory, at the mouth of the River Testene, there is a natural sheltered bay, called "Foce" in ancient times, but which is now almost completely silted up. Before and after the foundation of nearby Poseidonia (c. 625 BC), the Greeks used it for trading with the local people. They gave the promontory the Greek name, Petra ("rocky hill"), and built a temple on it, dedicated to Artemis, the Goddess of Hunting.
It has been established that in Roman times, on the coastal stretch, now known as San Marco, east of the promontory, and to the right of the Testene, a seaside town called "Ercula" developed and flourished between the 1st century BCE, and the 5th century CE. Meanwhile, the harbour of neighbouring Poseidonia (by then, renamed Paestum by the Romans) became progressively silted up by the process of coastal bradyseism.
During the 5th century, when the Vandals made life difficult in Ercula, its inhabitants retreated to the overlooking promontory, which offered better prospects for defence. Then, in the 6th century CE, during the Greco-Gothic war (535-553), the Byzantines needed a secure, well-protected harbour, south of Salerno, so they fortified it, and called it Akropolis, meaning "high town".
Towards the end of the 6th century, the Longobard invasion forced the Bishop of Paestum to take refuge in Agropoli, which then became not only the episcopal see, but the main centre of the surviving Byzantine territories in Tyrrhenian Lucania.
Agropoli remained in the hands of the Byzantines until 882, when the town fell to the Saracens, who turned it into a formidable stronghold (Arabic: rabat?). From this base, they set out to plunder and terrorise the surrounding areas, right up to the walls of Salerno. Eventually, in 915, they were driven out from their trenched camp at Garigliano. Agropoli was also liberated, and came back under the jurisdiction of the bishops, who had established their see in (old) Capaccio during this period.
For the rest of the medieval period, the area remained under the protection of the bishops, who also possessed huge territories, including the inhabited areas of Eredita and Ogliastro, as well as the former villages of Lucolo, Mandrolle, Pastina, San Marco in Agropoli and San Pietro in Eredita. This vast area constituted the feudal district of Agropoli which had been ceded to the bishops of Capaccio in Norman times and, except for brief periods, was possessed by them until the early decades of the 15th century. In fact, in 1412, Pope Gregory XII ceded the feudal territories of Agropoli and Castellabate to King Ladislas of Durazzo (13861414) in partial payment of some war debts. However, the Crown did not formally take possession until 1443, and before this, on 20 July 1436, King Alfonso V of Naples granted the fiefs of Agropoli and Castellabate to Giovanni Sanseverino, Count of Marsico and Baron of Cilento, requiring him to pay the Bishop of Capaccio 12 ounces of gold annually.