Modena formerly a sovereign duchy of Upper Italy, and now a part of the united kingdom, is situated between Parma, Lombardy, Venice, the Papal States, Tuscany, and the Adriatic Ocean. and covers an area of about 966 square miles, with 273,231 inhabitants in 1885).
The ancient history of Modena affords evidence that it enjoyed at an early period a considerable degree of prosperity; the splendor, wealth, and arts of its capital. of like name, being mentioned by Cicero, Pliny, and Strabo. In modern times Modena has shared, more or less, the various vicissitudes. which befell Italy, and participated in the great internecine feuds of the country. In 960 a member of the great, house of Este was proclaimed marquis of Modena, and in 1452 the then reigning marquis was created duke by the emperor Frederick III. In 1797 Modena formed part of the Cisalpine Republic, but was restored in 1814 by .the congress of Vienna to the reigning family. The duchy had at that time an area of 2310 square miles, and a population of 586,000. In 1848 the duke of Modena was temporarily deprived of his rights; and in 1859 the. population definitively expelled their unpopular ruler, who carried off all the property and valuables within his reach, including the silver handles of the palace doors. In the beginning of March, 1860, a plebiscitum declared in favor of annexation to the kingdom of Sardinia, which is now included in Italy as a united kingdom.
In ecclesiastical history, Modena figures quite prominently during the Reformatory movement of the 16th century. The learned Sicilian, Paola Ricci, labored there successfully in 1540, and the Roman bishop of the diocese, cardinal Morone, at one time gave the country up as Lutheran. The duchess herself, Renata de Ferrraa, a sister of Francis I of France, greatly distinguished herself as a promoter of the new doctrines. But the Inquisition came, and from its introduction dates the wane of Protestantism in Modena. SEE INQUISITION; SEE ITALY.