Niccolò Cacciatore

Cacciatore, Niccolò: (b. Jan. 26, 1770, Casteltermini (AG); d. Jan. 28, 1841, Palermo). Astronomer. A student and assistant of Giuseppe, Piazzi (director of the Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo and discoverer of the asteroid Ceres), he helped that scientist compile the second edition of the Palermo Star Catalogue (publ. 1814). He became notorious for a sort of practical joke concerning this catalog in which renamed two stars using the reversed spellings of his Latinized name.  The trick did not hurt his career as he succeeded Piazzi at the observatory in 1817. A Sicilian patriot, he was imprisoned for a time after the failure of the 1820 Revolution in Sicily. Resuming his post at the Palermo Observatory, he discovered the globular cluster NGC 6541 in 1826. He remained directory until his death in 1841, and was succeeded by his son Gaetano.



Eleutherius: (fl. first part of the 7th century AD). Byzantine official. He became Exarch (patricius et cubicularis) of Ravenna in AD 616. Soon after his arrival he executed all those who were connected with the assassination of his predecessor John Limigius. He then set out to restore imperial authority in rebellious Naples. Marching south from Ravenna, he arrived in Rome where he received a warm welcome from Pope Deusdedit I (615-18). Continuing on to Naples, he defeated the local rebels and put the leader, John of Compsa, to death. Returning to Ravenna, he was able to enjoy a period of peace. In AD 620, however, Eleutherius decided to lead his own rebellion and set himself up as Emperor in Italy. The attempt, however, won little support and he was executed by his own soldiers. His head was cut off and sent as a trophy to the emperor in Constantinople. Like many important officials in the Byzantine government, Eleutherius was a eunuch.


Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – U-Z


Ucria (ME): A commune in the province of Messina.

Ugento (LE): A commune in the province of Lecce. Population: 11,836 (2006e).

Uggiano la Chiesa (LE): A commune in the province of Lecce. Population: 4,286 (2006e).

Umbriatico (KR): A commune in the province of Crotone. Population: 2,326 (2006e)

Underworld Painter: ( fl c.330-c.310 BC). Vase painter. Centered in ancient Apulia, he receives his name from a famous monumental volute krater found at Canosa (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 3297), with a multi-figured composition showing Pluto and Persephone in their Palace surrounded by figures of the Underworld. Art historians consider this work to be one of the most important of a group of late Apulian vases attributed to various painters that show Underworld scenes. The Underworld Painter is notable for and his individualistic treatment of the Underworld theme and his particular interest in the fate of Orpheus.

Uni: An Etruscan goddess, equivalent to the Roman Juno.

Urban I, St.: Pope. (r222/223-230).

Urban II: Pope. (rMar 12, 1068-July 29, 1099).

Urban III: Pope. (rNov 25, 1185-Oct. 19, 1187).

Urban IV: Pope. (rAug 29, 1261-Oct 2, 1264).

Urban V: Pope. (rSept 28, 1362-Dec 19, 1370).

Urban VI: Pope. (rApr 8, 1378-Oct 15, 1389).

Urban VII: Pope. (rSept 15-27, 1590).

Urban VIII: Pope. (rAug 6, 1623-July 29, 1644).

Uria: See Hyrium.

Ursulsines: An order of nuns founded by St. Ursula of Naples.

Ururi (CB): A commune in the province of Campobasso. Population: 2,977 (2006e).

Ustica (PA): A commune and island in the province of Palermo.

History: A castle was built on the island in 1761 as a protection against Barbary pirates. This brought about enough security to allow a return of a population.


Vaccarini, Giovanni Battista: (b. Feb. 3, 1702 in Palermo; d. Mar. 11, 1768 in Palermo). Architect. Having studied architecture at Rome, he returned to Sicily in c1730, where he did much to advance the Sicilian Baroque style. Most of his work was centered in and around Catania, redeveloping the area hit hard by the earthquake of 1693.

Vaccarizzo Albanese (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: 1,265 (2006e).

Vaccaro, Andrea: b. 1598, in Naples; d. 1670, in Naples. Painter. A pupil of Stanzioni, he was also influenced by the styles of Caravaggio and Guido. After the death of Stanzioni, Vaccaro was said to have been the greatest painter of the Neapolitan school. Among his best works was a “Holy Family” in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Naples.

Vaccaro, Lorenzo: (b. 1655, Napoli, d. 1706, Torre del Greco). Sculptor, architect, silversmith and painter. Originally intending to follow a legal career, he turned to art and became a pupil of Cosimo Fanzago. On Fanzago’s death in 1678, Vaccaro inherited several of his unfinished commissions., including the marble monument to Francesco Rocco in the church of the Pieta dei Turchini, Naples. He later created several bronze and silver figures in the cathedral of S Gennaro, Naples (1679), marble putti in the church of Santa Croce, Torre del Greco (1680), stucco figures in the church of Gesu delle Monache, Naples (1681-5), and two terracottas depicting the Labors of Hercules. Over the last two decades of the 17th century, Vaccaro’s workshop created several important works of art including stucco decorations (1682) in the church of S Giorgio, over life-size stucco statues of St Helena and St Constantine (both 1689) in the church of S. Giovanni Maggiore and the light and graceful stucco decoration (1693-98) of the transept and cupola of the church of S Agostino degli Scalzi. Vaccaro was in the forefront of the change from High Baroque style to the more refined treatment known as barocchetto.

Vacri (CH): A commune in the province of Chieti. Population: 1,803 (2006e).

Vaglio Basilicata (PZ): A commune in the province of Potenza.

Vairano Patenora (CE): A commune in the province of Caserta. Population: 6,358 (2006e).

Valderice (TP): A commune in the province of Trapani.

Val di Demone: A former district of Sicily, encompassing the NE portion of the island.


Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – T


Tabula Bantina: See Bantine Table.

Tagliacozzo (AQ): A commune in the province of L’Aquila. Population: 6,814 (2006e).

tammorriata (tammuriata): Campanian couple-dance. It is usually accompanied by lyric songs called strambotti, and tammorra tambourines.

tammuriata: See tammorriata.

Tancred (de Hauteville): b. c AD 990; d. AD 1041. A minor baron in Normandy, he is best-known as the father of several sons who played important roles in the Norman conquest of southern Italy and the foundation of the kingdom of Sicily. Some sources state that his two wives were both daughters of Duke Richard I of Normandy, but this appears to have been a 16th Century fiction, perhaps designed to give the family line nobler roots.

The Children of Tancred de Hauteville

By his first wife Muriel (or Muriella, Moriella, Moriellam):

  • William Iron Arm, count of Apulia (1042-46)
  • Drogo, count of Apulia (1046-51)
  • Humphrey, count of Apulia (1051-57)
  • Geoffrey, count of the Capitanate (d.1071)
  • Serlo I, heir to the family estates in Normandy.

By his second wife Fressenda (or Fedesenda, Fresendis):

  • Robert Guiscard, count of Apulia (1057-59) and duke of Apulia (1059-85)
  • Mauger, count of the Capitanate (1056-59)
  • William, count of the Principate (1056-80)
  • Aubrey (Alberic, Alberad, Alvered, Alvred, or Alfred), remained in Normandy
  • Hubert (Humbert), remained in Normandy
  • Tancred, remained in Normandy
  • Roger I “Bosso”, Great Count of Sicily (1071-1101)
  • Fressenda, wife of Richard, count of Aversa & prince of Capua

Tancred: (d. Feb. 20, 1194). King of Sicily (r.1189-1194).

Taormina (anc. Tauromenium) (ME): A commune (204m) in the province of Messina. Area: 13 km˛. Population: 10,863 (2005e).

History: Ancient Tauromenium was founded in 403 BC by Dionysius I to replace the destroyed Naxos. In 358 BC, it received a colony on Naxian Greeks planted there by the tyrant Andromachus. Andromachus warmly welcomed Timoleon when he land at Tauromenium and supported him in his efforts to free Sicily from the other tyrants.

                Tauromenium was an early supporter of the Roman republic for which it received great benefits. During the period of the Roman Civil Wars, it unfortunately threw its support to Sextus Pompey when the latter seized control of Sicily. Octavian punished the city in 35 BC by exiling the population. A new colony was settled there and Tauromenium flourished for centuries thereafter.

                In AD 902, the original city was finally destroyed by the Saracens, who soon rebuilt it. In 1078, the Norman Count Roger I captured the place.

Points of Interest:

                Religious Monuments:

                Cathedral: Dating to the 13th century, it sits on the site of an earlier basilica. Much of the surviving structure dates to restorations in the 15th and 16th centuries. The main west door was created in 1636.

                Church of Sant’Agostino: Dating from 1448, it has a fine Gothic doorway. It is now the site for the Library.

                Church of Sant’Antonio: Dating from the 15th century, the structure has a fine doorway. It suffered damaged in July 1943 from bambs.

Taranta Peligna (CH): A commune in the province of Chieti. Population: 492 (2006e).

tarantate: Women who had been supposedly received the poisonous bites of tarantula spiders and then performed a ritual dance (the tarantella) to cure themselves.

tarantel: An alternate term for the tarantella dance.

tarantella: A couple dance performed in 6/8 time. Now found in many varieties throughout southern Italy, it had its beginnings in and around ancient Tarentum (mod. Taranto) as a ritual dance performed to cure the supposedly poisonous bite of the tarantula spider.

tarantismo: Apulian term for the tarantella healing ritual.

Taranto, Province of: A province of Puglia. Population: 580,189 (2007e).

Taranto (TA): A commune and provincial capital of the province of Taranto in Puglia. The earliest name of the city, Taras, may derive from the Illyrian word darandos (= “oak”), so-called because of the abundance of that type of tree. Another theory, however, suggests that the name derives from the Indo-European root ter- or tor- (= “current”).

tarantolati: An Apulian variety of the tarantella healing ritual.


Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – S


Sabatini, Andrea: See Andrea da Salerno.

Sabatus fl.: An ancient river in Bruttium identified with the modern river Savuto, in the province of Cosenza. Scholars believe that its name derives from the Indo-European root *sap-/sab- (‘to taste, perceive’).

Sabelli: an Oscan-speaking people of ancient Italy. They were a loose group and seemed to have had little or no political unity. These Oscan-speaking tribes expanded over central Italy, and by the 5th cent. B.C. seem to have occupied ancient Campania and Lucania. The Samnites and Sabines were probably Sabelli.

Sabines (Sabini): an ancient Sabellian people of central Italy, related to the Samnites and Lucanians. The Sabine territory encompassed the southern part of Umbria and western Abruzzo. According to tradition, they were named for their mythical progenitor, the god Sabus (or Sabinus). The Sabines were notable for their military prowess and their social and moral severity.  They were among the earliest peoples to pose a serious threat to the fledgling Rome. The famous myth of the “Rape of the Sabine Women” was probably based on a ritual marriage of Roman men with Sabine women to seal a treaty between the two peoples. Over time, the Sabines were eventually absorbed into the Roman state, the last of them being defeated in 292 BC by the consul Curius Dentatus.

Sabinian, St.: Pope. (rSept 13, 604-Feb 22, 606).

Sacchini, Antonio Maria Gaspare: (b. 14 June 1730, Pozzuoli. d. 6 October 1786, Paris). Composer.

Sacco (SA): A commune in the province of Salerno.

Sala Consilina (SA): A commune in the province of Salerno.

Salandra (MT): A commune in the province of Matera. Population: 3,054 (2006e).

Salaparuta (TP): A commune in the province of Trapani.

Salapia: A city of ancient Apulia.

Salcito (CB): A commune in the province of Campobasso. Population: 694 (2006e).

Salemi (TP): A commune in the province of Trapani.

Salento (SA): A commune in the province of Salerno.

Salerno, Province of: A province in Campania. Population: 1,089,737 (2007e).

Salerno (SA): A commune and provincial capital of the province of Salerno.

Salerno, School of Medicine at: (Lat: Schola Medica Salernitana; It. Scuola Medica Salernitana). One of the earliest (if not the first) true medical schools to be founded in medieval times. It played a very important role in the gathering and dissemination of medical knowledge to Europe from the 10th to the 13th Centuries, producing some of the finest physicians of that era. The schools drew medical students and scholars from throughout the Mediterranean world and beyond. In its capacity as a teaching hospital, it treated patients using medical techniques drawn from the Classical Greco-Roman world, as well as Saracen and Jewish teachings. Beyond medicine, the school also taught its students philosophy, theology, and law; all considered important to the molding of true physicians.

Salerno, Giuseppe (lo Zoppo di Gangi): fl. 1588-1630. A painter from Gangi (PA).

Salice Salentino (LE): A commune in the province of Lecce. Population: 8,861 (2006e).

Salina: an island of the Isole Eolie (Lipari Islands).

Saline di Barletta: Earlier name, until 1879, for the town of Margherita di Savoia [FG].

Salle (PE): A commune in the province of Pescara.

Salve (LE): A commune in the province of Lecce. Population: 4,599 (2006e).

Salvitelle (SA): A commune in the province of Salerno.

Salvo di Antonio, Giovanni: fl. 1493-1525. Painter from Messina.

Salza Irpina (AV): A commune in the province of Avellino. Population: 835 (2006e).

Sambuca de Sicilia (AG): A commune in the province of Agrigento. Population: 6,328 (2006e).

Sammichele di Bari (BA): A commune in the province of Bari: Population: 6,845 (2006e).

Samnio (Molise): A province in the former kingdom of the Two Sicilies (Naples). Its territory comprised part of ancient Samnium. The smallest of the Neapolitan provinces, it had an area of about 1,200 square miles and an estimated population of about 200,000 (est 1830). It was bounded by Abruzzo Citra, the Capitanata, Principato Ultra and the Terra di Lavoro.


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