The Camorra, the union of disputatious persons, is a secret society which for many years dominated Naples. Originally, so far as can be traced, a league of prisoners formed for good fellowship and mutual aid, it gradually spread through many branches of Neapolitan society.
There was a grand master, whose name no one was supposed to know, and a court of judges, picked from the twelve branches of the league. Each branch was composed of a number of semi-independent groups, politicians, blackmailers, smugglers, or thieves. The judges met in secret and sentenced in secret.
Those who refused them obedience died, as a long list of unpunished murders testified. The old Cammoristi were helped, criminals in its ranks mysteriously escaped punishment ; and respectable citizens submitted to its blackmail rather than fight it. It hung like a shadow over Naples.
From The Times, London, 13 March 1911.