In the area of the commune of Marcianise numerous tombs of Etruscan and Roman age have been excavated, although Oscan elements should have pre-existed. The origin of the today's city are uncertain. It was allegedly founded in the 6th century CE by bands of Ostrogoths after their defeat in the Gothic War.
In 861 it was probably destroyed by the Saracens along with Capua. After the creation of the Duchy of Capua, Marcianise followed the latter's history.
The area was repeatedly struck by cholera but, according to a legend, the city was miracolously spared by the July 1706 plague through the intercession of the Holy Crucifix. Later the marshy area was dried, and extensive cultivation of cannabis augmented the economy of the region.