Pre-Latin center placed on a hill of the Valley of the Tanagro and on the right of the river. The existence of a local native population is attested by the recovery in ceramics graves with geometric decorations similar to those of Sala Consilina and Padula and from rests of boundaries in polygonal of an arx in the inhabited area. Of the «campi atinati » is news in Plinio that remembers the Atenateses or Atinates among the people of the Lucania. Town hall in Roman age it was united, as Bussento, to the tribe Pomptina (89-87 B.C, epigraph in Bloodhound nr.. 152).
The documents from cava signal that in the middle age Atena was castrum, as confirms the unpublished work diploma of a donation for soul from Raone, «. rectore de castle que atena dicitur » (1100).Winkelmann however affirms that in age of Frederick II Atena was not inclusive between the civitateses and the castrates of principality.
In the Archives of the Abbey of Cava, over the above-mentioned diploma, there is another diploma and interesting concession of a noble feud from Thomas Sanseverino and still other eight parchments about Atena from 1168 to the 1400. Of 1121 is the donation of Giovanni, child of the was Leone Mari, resident to Atena, of a ground to Castelluccia in the church of S. Pietro of Atena. Different the documents of the angevin age: in the 1266 Roger (II) of Sanseverino had confirmed Atena, Sala and Teggiano; but then results Giovanni of Rocca, lord of the place, in 1269 and his child, Guido, in the 1291.
Of 1295 is a petition of Thomas Sanseverino that denounces to the king the extreme indigence of the hamlets of his barony, among which Atena, because of the frequent hostile raids. In 1311 Atena was always of the Sanseverinos, if Thomas granted to Puzio Docato of Atena the noble feud that had been of Giovanni Citi, then devolved to the Sanseverinos for expiration. In July 16 th 1362 the bishop of Capaccio Tommaso of Santomagno returned to the abbot of Cava the usurped churches, among which «ecclesia sancti Petri de Athana ». In 1335 Atena was always in possession of the Sanseverinos, gentlemen of St. Severino, S. George, Diamo, Tortorella and Atena in the Principality, of Lauria, Pinello and Lagonegro in Basilicata and Laino, Orsomano and Abbatemarco in Calabria.
In 1463 it was still in possession of the Sanseverinos, but in 1498 the feud was granted to Birna of Rocchesano (confirmation in 1503) and then returned to the Sanseverinos. In 1498 «king Federico gave this land [Montesano] with a land of Atena to the magnificent D. Diano de Requesez ». In October 11 th 1552 the feud of Atena, with those of Sala and Marsico Nuovo were auctioned. Giovanni Caracciolo offered d. 24.000, the prince of Stigliano d. 25.300 for the feud of Atena, the prince poured in the 1552 d. 12.650. In 1558 the prince Luigi Carafa della Marra permuted the feud of Atena with Caivano, for which Atena passed from Scipione Carafa to his brother, count of Morcone.
Not all the bodies and privileges of the feud purchased by Luigi Carafa passed to others, so in the 1571 Ippolita Filomarino, wife of Marcantonio Caracciolo, marquis of Brienza purchased Atena for ducats 10.000. In 1573 the husband of Ippolita purchased from the revenue the second causes (jurisdiction of appeal) and the «portolania ». Diana Caracciolo sold the feud to her child Joseph in 1634 that was in possession of it in the 1658. Joseph, that Cassandro defines «a greedy type of ignorant and violent squire, to get on October 8 1636 « sobras su tierra de Atena » the title of prince. Deceased without heirs, happened to him his sister Faustina, wife of Cario Gambacorta, prince of Macchia and mother of Pietro and Ann Cristina.
In the 1652 Ann Cristina married Domenico Caracciolo bringing him in dowry d. 46.000, in which it was inclusive with the titles of marquis of Brienza and prince of Atena, also this last «land ». The titles passed then to his child Charles Giuseppe, father of Domenico. You learned then that « the inheritance and the price of the feuds » had to be delivered to Domenico Caracciolo (branch of St. Erasmo) because to his wife Ann Cristina didn't touch that only thousand dukedoms. In 1751 the prince Joseph Littero (7 April 1725 - 12 July 1807) got that it was left him in ownership.
He, from his wifeTeresa Serra of the dukes of Cassano, had three children, Joseph and Maria Giuseppa, dead before of father and Julia (19 November 1798 - 10 September 1875) that inherited the fatherly titles. Julia married Marzio Carafa, prince of Colobrano, but he didn't have heirs, for which he made a will for Luigi Barracco, his sister-in-law's child Emilia Carafa. Summonte remembers that on 31 July of the 1561 Atena was destroyed from an earthquake, repeated in September 8 th 1694, when it destroyed 20 houses and there were 4 corpses.
For long time during the summer months they were frequent the cases of malaria for the many ponds all around, then disappeared for the canalization ordered by king Ferdinando.
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