Aa – Aj
A: In the ancient Roman world, A usually stood for the praenomen Aulus. In many inscriptions it stood for the singular title Augustus; AA meant duo Augusti (two Augusti); AAA meant tres Augusti (three Augusti); etc.
Aaron ben Gershon Abu Al-Rabi of Catania: (fl. 1400-1450). Sicilian-Jewish scholar, cabalist, and astrologer. Having been educated at Treviso, he was well-acquainted with the various scientific and philosophical controversies of his time. He was an excellent grammarian and had a good working knowledge of the Arabic language. He was also familiar with the practice of astrology and the tenets of the Cabala. During his lifetime he traveled widely through the lands bordering the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, making many connections with influential Jewish and Christian leaders and scholars, including Pope Martin V.
Abacaenum (Greek: Abakainon) (see full page)
Abagnole, Giuseppe: [b. Nov. 25, 1816, Casole, [NA]. d. Feb. 13, 1869, Aversa [CE]]. Patriot. He was a member of Garibaldi’s Mille (Thousand) in 1860.
Abamonti, (or Abbamonte), Giuseppe: (see full page)
Abarbanel (Abravanel): A Jewish family which flourished in the Kingdom of Naples in the 15th and 16th centuries. Their ranks included prominent merchants, bankers, scholars, and philosophers. Originally centered in Spain and Portugal, they fled into exile in southern Italy when the Inquisition was imposed in 1492. Two of their members, the brothers Giuseppe and Giacomo Abarbanel, created a commercial network throughout Apulia, Basilicata, and Calabria. When, in 1510, the new Spanish government in Naples issued a decree of expulsion against the Jews, the Abarbanel family was able to successfully bribe court officials into granting them special exemption.
Abarbanel (Abravanel), Isaac: (b. 1437 in Lisbon. d. 1508 in Venice). Financier and scholar. A member of a prominent Jewish family, he had earned great wealth and a reputation for great intellect and scholarship in his native Portugal. During these years he was honored with several high appointments by King Alfonso. On the accession of John II to the Portuguese throne, Abarbanel found himself out of favor and forced to flee to neighboring Castile. He now devoted much time to the study of the Old Testament, but soon reentered the political arena. It was not long before his gifts brought him the attention and favor of King Ferdinand of Aragon, who now ruled Castile jointly with his wife Isabella. This favor, however, was of no help when, in 1492, Jews were banished from the Spanish kingdom. Not wishing to become a victim of the Inquisition, Abarbanel decided to seek a friendlier and more tolerant home. Accompanied by his three sons, Judah, Joseph, and Samuel, he resettled at Naples, in 1493, and soon earned a place of honor at the court of King Ferdinand I. He was able to use his great talents to rebuild his fortune and to play an important role in the kingdom’s intellectual life. For the next few years, Abarbanel enjoyed the royal favor of Ferdinand and his successor, Alfonso II. He made several close contacts with leading Jewish and Christian scholars throughout Italy. Abarbanel’s misfortunes returned when, in 1495, the French King Charles VIII seized power in Naples. Accompanying Alfonso II into exile at Messina, Sicily, he remained there until the former king’s death. He then relocated for a short time to the Greek island of Corfu. After the French retreated from the Kingdom of Naples, Abarbanel returned (1496) and settled in the port-city of Monopoli in Apulia. He was his intention to devote his time hereafter to scholarly pursuits and avoid politics. His rest from forced travels, however, proved all too short. In 1504, Spain defeated France for control of southern Italy and annexed Naples. The Inquisition which he had fled in Spain was now brought to Italy, forcing Abarbanel to flee once again. At the age of 71, he resettled in Venice, remaining there until his death. Abarbanel had one more, short episode in his political career when he played an instrumental role in effecting a treaty between Venice and his native Portugal. When he finally died in 1508, he was interred in a beautiful tomb at Padua. Abarbanel’s surviving literary works are concerned with Biblical studies and commentaries. Throughout his life, Abarbanel claimed, although without any proof, that he was a direct descendant of King David of Israel.
Abarbanel: See Abrabanel.
Abate (sometimes Abbate): A prominent Sicilian family. Becoming feudal lords of Carina in 1293, they later obtained the title of Barons of Uria (1453). One branch of the family held the title of Marchese of Lungarini.
Abate, St. Adamo: (b. cAD 990 in Petazio (mod. Petacciato [CB]); d. May 3, between 1060 and 1070). Benedictine abbot. He was a strong supporter of the unification of southern Italy under Roger II. Feast Day: June 3.
Abate (or Abbate), Andrea Belvedere: (b. 1642 or 1652, Naples; d. June 26, 1732]. Painter. Centered in Naples, he specialized in depictions of natural history and still life. He was particularly well-known for his paintings of flowers and his style anticipates the approaching European Rococo.
Abate, Gennaro: (b. Apr. 1, 1874, Bitonto [BA]). Composer. His works consist of operas, symphonies, and chamber music.
Abate, Onofrio: (b. 1824, Palermo. d. 1915, Cairo). Physician and naturalist. A specialist in ophthalmology, he traveled to Egypt in 1845, where he became director of the government hospital at Alexandria. After 1882, he came to be known as Abate Pascià. The author of a number of medical works, he also wrote on the Egyptian economic and sanitation systems, the history of science, and Egyptian archaeology and geography.
Abatellis, Francesco: (fl. 2nd half of the 15th century). Harbor master (Maestro Portulano) of the kingdom of Sicily, Praetor of the city of Palermo. He is best-known for his fine home in Palermo, the Palazzo Abatellia (or Palazzo Patella), designed and built by Matteo Carnelivari between 1488 and 1495. After the death of Abatellis, the building was transformed into a monastery, remaining such until 1867. It is now the home of the Palazzo Abatellis Sicilian Regional Gallery.
Abate Pascià: See Onofrio Abate.
Abba, Giuseppe Cesare: (b. Oct. 6, 1838, Cairo Montenotte [SV]), Liguria. d. Nov. 6, 1910, Brescia [BS]). Diarist, novelist, short story writer. A member of Garibaldi’s Mille (Thousand), he published an excellent account of the 1860 conquest of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. This subject formed the premise for the poem Arrigo: da Quarto al Volturno (publ. 1866) as well as for two diaries: Noterelle di uno dei Mille edite dopo vent’anni (Notes by one of the Mille twenty years later)(1880) and Da Quarto al Volturno: Noterelle d’uno dei Mille (From Quarto to Volturno: Notes by one of the Mille), .
Abbadelli: See Abbatelli.
Abbadessa: A noble family in Sicily. Originating in Florence, they appear to have arrived in Palermo during the reign of Frederick III (r1295-1337). Nicolo Abbadessa served that king as a royal percettore (collector) and then governor of the Camera Reginale. His descendents, Corrado and Andrea Abbadessa, both served in the post of governor of Vizzini under Charles V in the 16th Century.
Abbadia: See Badia.
Abbagnano, Nicola: (b. July 15, 1901, Salerno. d. Sept. 9, 1990, Milan). Existentialist Philosopher and Historian of Italian Philosophy. In 1936, he joined the faculty of the University of Torino (Turin) as a professor of philosophy. In 1939, he became professor of the history of philosophy at the same institution. He was an exponent of Positive Existentialism, in opposition to the Negative Existentialism as expounded by Heidegger, Jaspers, and Sartre. He was the author of several works: La struttura scienza (Torino, 1939); Esistnzialismo positive (Torino, 1948); Storia della filosofia (in 3 vol. 1946-50); Problemi di sociologia (Torino, 1958); Filosofia Antica, Filosofia Patristica, Filosofia Scolastica: Volume 1 (Torino, 1963); Filosofia del Rinascimento, Filosofia Moderna dei secoli XVII e XVIII: Volume II (Torino, 1963).Quote: “Reason itself is fallible, and this fallibility must find a place in our logic”.- Daily Telegraph (London, Sept. 14, 1990).
Abbasids: The 2nd dynasty of the Islamic empire. Reigning from AD 750 to 1258, they came to power by overthrowing their predecessors, the Umayyads. The Abbasids based their right to rule upon their descent from al-Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed. It was under the Abbasid Caliphs that the Islamic assault on Europe took place.
Abbate (or Abbati): A noble family of Sicily. Its founder appears to have been a Roman knight named Papiro. Wishing to withdraw to the monastery of Monte Cassino, he turned all of his worldly possession over to his son Ascanio. When Ascanio died soon afterwards without having produced an heir, Papiro was forced to give up his monk’s habit and return to the outside world. Marrying again, he began a new family which took the surname Abbate in remembrance of his time as a monk.
Abbate, Andrea: See Abate, Andrea.
Abbateggio (PE):A commune (Area: 15.71 km². Alt. 450 m) of Abruzzo, in the province of Pescara, located 40 km from Pescara. Pop. 419 (2007e).
History: The town dates back to at least the 10th century.
Abbatelli: A noble family of Sicily. The earliest known member was Dulcio Abbatelli from Lucca in northern Italy who settled at Palermo in 1237 during the reign of Emperor Frederick II (r1198-1250). In 1431, Giovanni Abbatelli (also known as Patella) purchased the county of Cammarata from one Moncada for the price of 40 thousand gold fiorini. He also acquired the fiefs of Pietra and Cefalu, as well as half of the excise tax on fruit from Palermo. He rose to a high social status, marrying into the Chiaromonte family. In 1451, Dulcio’s son Ferderico was officially invested with the title of Count of Cammarata. Through is mother’s line he also became the Count of Modica. A few generations later, in 1535, Cammarata came into the hands of Margherita Abbatelli and her husband, Blasco (Biagio) Branciforte, nephew of the Captain-general Count Federico Branciforte. The principal branch of the family soon became extinct but another line survived at Catania.
Abbati: See Abbate.
Abbati, Giuseppe: (b. 1836, Naples. d. 1868, Florence). Painter. The son of Vincenzo Abbati, another Neapolitan painter, he received his earliest education from his father. Later, graduating from the Academy at Venice, he specialized in genre (i.e. pictures of everyday life), architecture, and landscapes. During the Risorgimento, he fought under Garibaldi and lost an eye in combat. In 1866, he volunteered to fight in the Italian army against the Austrians in the Tyrol. He survived the war only to succumb to an infected dog bite in 1868. Principal Works: A Dominican singing in the choir of Santa Maria Novella, Florence (1863); Peasant Family taking a siesta. The Prayer; The Dominican; A Street in Sunlight.
Abbot: The Ordinary of an abbey. For those abbeys having additional territory attached to the, the abbot serves as the Ordinary for the whole area.
Abd: an Arabic term meaning “slave of”, “servant of”, or “worshipper of”. Several Arabic personal names are created by the combination of Abd- with “Allah” or other names or attributes of the deity (e.g. Abdullah, Abdul).
Abdalla-ibn-Cais-el-Fezary: (fl. 2nd half of the 7th Century AD). Saracen raider. A general of the Caliph Moawia, he led the first Saracen raid on Sicily in AD 667.
‘Abdallah ibn ‘Abbas ibn al-Fadl: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (rAD 862).
Abdila: Byzantine Strategies of Bari (rAD 969-975).
Abdilla: a surname of Saracen origin. It is first attested in historical documents in 1178 among the Muslim serfs living in Norman Sicily.
Abela: A surname found in Sicily, of Aragonese origins.
Abela, Gaetano: (b. 1796, Siracusa. d. 1826, Palermo). Patriot. Joining the Carbonara movement, he participated in an unsuccessful insurrection at Siracusa in 1826. Arrested the following year, he spent the remainder of his short life in prison.
Abelard of Hauteville: (b. c1044; d. 1081). (see full page)
Abella (or Avella): An ancient Greek town in Campania. Situated near Nola, it was founded by the Chalcidian Greeks. It was best known for the quality of its apples and hazel-nuts. The modern Avella (AV).
Abellinum (sometimes Abellinum Protropum): Ancient name for Avellino [AV]. The original Abellinum lay near the present city of Avellino in the upper valley of the river Sabatus (mod. Sabbato). Founded by the Hirpini, a Samnite tribe, it lay on the road connecting Beneventum and Salernum. Abellinum appears in history only in the Roman era. By then it had become a prosperous town and had probably achieved the status of a colonia under the Second Triumvirate (mid- 1st century BC).The city survived the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, finally succumbing in the early Middle Ages during the wars between the Byzantines and Lombards. The survivors abandoned the original site and refounded their city on the present site of Avellino. The site of ancient Abellinum includes the remains of the city walls and the ruins of an amphitheatre. A great number of inscriptions, bas-reliefs, statuary, etc have been unearthed.
Abellinum Marsicum: An ancient town in Lucania, situated to the NE of Casilinum, near the source of the river Aciris. It was the capital city of the Marsi. The modern Marsico Vetere [PZ].
Abenavolo, Ludovico: (b. 1470, Capua or Teano. d. c1535). Man-at-arms. Son of Troilo Abanavolo, lord of Teano, he was one of the 13 Italian knights who defeated an equal number of French knights in the famous Disfida di Barletta (Feb 13, 1503). He is mentioned as being one of the three sindici of the University of Teano in 1518. In 1528, he had apparently changed loyalties and supported the French against the Spanish during their war over southern Italy. After 1532 he disappears from the historical record.
Abignente, Filippo: (b. 1814, Sarno. d. 1887, Rome). Patriot and statesman. On May 15, 1848, he was one of the Deputies of the Neapolitan Parliament who signed the protest against King Ferdinand II. As a result he was forced to flee for his life in 1849 when the revolutionary movement was crushed. He settled in Nice, then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, until the final collapse of Bourbon power in Naples in 1860. He then returned home where he became professor of church history at the University of Naples. Reentering politics, he served in the Italian government as a Counselor of State in 1876. From 1866 to 1883, he was a Parliamentary Deputy, serving in 1880 as President of the Camera. Throughout his career, Abignente played an important role in guiding relations between the Church and the Kingdom of Italy.
Abignente, Marino: (b. 1471, Sarno. d. 1521). Man-at-arms. Born into a noble family of Sarno (SA), he was one of the 13 Italian knights who took part in the famous Disfida di Barletta (Feb. 13, 1503).
Abolla (SR): An ancient town in eastern Sicily, situated at the mouth of the river Erineus. It is usually identified with present-day Avola (SR), located on the island’s E coast about 9 km NE of Noto (SR). Abolla is only mentioned in the historical records by the 5th century AD historian Stephanus Byzantinus.
Aborigines: A generic term for the original inhabitants of a country. Although the term is sometimes applied to the ancestors of the Latins by ancient writers it is a misnomer. These proto-Latins had to drive away earlier settlers, often identified as the Sikels, before they were able to settle in Latium.
Abos, Gerolamo (or Geronimo): (b. Nov. 16, 1715, Valetta, Malta. d. May or Oct. 1760, Naples). Composer and singing teacher. Trained in Naples by L. Leo and Francesco Durante, he toured through many of Europe’s great cities including Rome, Venice, Turin, and London. In 1756, he became maestro al cembalo at the Italian Theater in London. During his career he composed 14 operas (both melodramatic and opera buffo) and several pieces of church music. Principal Works: La Serva Padrona (1744, Naples).L’Ifigenia in Aulide.
Abramo di Balmes: (b. Lecce. d. Venice, 1523). Jewish physician and grammarian. A native of Apulia, he made several important translations, from Hebrew editions, of Arab philosophical and scientific works. Among these were the writings of Averroës; and the Miqreh Abram (Possession of Abram).
Abrial, Count Andre Joseph: (b. Mar. 19, 1750, Annoney, France. d. 1828, Paris). Magistrate and politician. After establishing himself as a successful magistrate in Paris, he was selected by the Directory to go to Naples in 1799 to help organize the government of the Parthenopean Republic. In February of that year he became the republic’s chief of civic and political police and set about setting up the organization of the civilian and military branches of the government. The plans he formulated who create a constitutional republic along the lines that governed France at that time. During his term in office, he developed a reputation for fairness and honesty. The collapse of the Parthenopean Republic forced him to flee back to France where he became a strong supporter of Napoleon. He was subsequently honored both by Napoleon and King Louis XVIII.
Abriola (PZ): (see full page)
Abruzzi/Abruzzo: (see full page)
Abruzzi/Abruzzo, Communes of:
Province of Chieti
Altino, Archi, Ari, Arielli, Atessa, Bomba, Borrello, Bucchianico, Canosa Sannita, Carpineto Sinello, Carunchio, Casacanditella, Casalanguida, Casalbordino, Casalincontrada, Casoli, Castel Frentano, Castelguidone, Castiglione Messer Marino, Celenza sul Trigno, Chieti, Civitaluparella, Civitella Messer Raimondo, Colledimacine, Colledimezzo, Crecchio, Cupello, Dogliola, Fallo, Fara Filiorum Petri, Fara San Martino, Filetto, Fossacesia, Fraine, Francavilla al Mare, Fresagrandinaria, Frisa, Furci, Gamberale, Gessopalena, Gissi, Giuliano Teatino, Guardiagrele, Guilmi, Lama dei Peligni, Lanciano, Lentella, Lettopalena, Liscia, Miglianico, Montazzoli, Montebello sul Sangro, Monteferrante, Montelapiano, Montenerodomo, Monteodorisio, Mozzagrogna, Orsogna, Ortona, Paglieta, Palena, Palmoli, Palombaro, Pennadomo, Pennapiedimonte, Perano, Pietraferrazzana, Pizzoferrato, Poggiofiorito, Pollutri, Pretoro, Quadri, Rapino, Ripa Teatina, Rocca San Giovanni, Roccamontepiano, Roccascalegna, Roccaspinalveti, Roio del Sangro, Rosello, San Buono, San Giovanni Lipioni, San Giovanni Teatino, San Martino sulla Marrucina, San Salvo, San Vito Chietino, Santa Maria Imbaro, Sant`Eusanio del Sangro, Scerni, Schiavi di Abruzzo, Taranta Peligna, Tollo, Torino di Sangro, Tornareccio, Torrebruna, Torrevecchia Teatina, Torricella Peligna, Treglio, Tufillo, Vacri, Vasto, Villa Santa Maria, Villalfonsina, Villamagna.
Province of L’Aquila
Acciano, Aielli, Alfedena, Anversa degli Abruzzi, Ateleta, Avezzano, Balsorano, Barete, Barisciano, Barrea, Bisegna, Bugnara, Cagnano Amiterno, Calascio, Campo di Giove, Campotosto, Canistro, Cansano, Capestrano, Capistrello, Capitignano, Caporciano, Cappadocia, Carapelle Calvisio, Carsoli, Castel del Monte, Castel di Ieri, Castel di Sangro, Castellafiume, Castelvecchio Calvisio, Castelvecchio Subequo, Celano, Cerchio, Civita d`Antino, Civitella Alfedena, Civitella Roveto, Cocullo, Collarmele, Collelongo, Collepietro, Corfinio, Fagnano Alto, Fontecchio, Fossa, Gagliano Aterno, Gioia dei Marsi, Goriano Sicoli, Introdacqua, Lecce nei Marsi, Luco dei Marsi, Lucoli, L`Aquila, Magliano de` Marsi, Massa d`Albe, Molina Aterno, Montereale, Morino, Navelli, Ocre, Ofena, Opi, Oricola, Ortona dei Marsi, Ortucchio, Ovindoli, Pacentro, Pereto, Pescasseroli, Pescina, Pescocostanzo, Pettorano sul Gizio, Pizzoli, Poggio Picenze, Prata d`Ansidonia, Pratola Peligna, Prezza, Raiano, Rivisondoli, Rocca di Botte, Rocca di Cambio, Rocca di Mezzo, Rocca Pia, Roccacasale, Roccaraso, San Benedetto dei Marsi, San Benedetto in Perillis, San Demetrio ne` Vestini, San Pio delle Camere, San Vincenzo Valle Roveto, Sante Marie, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Sant`Eusanio Forconese, Scanno, Scontrone, Scoppito, Scurcola Marsicana, Secinaro, Sulmona, Tagliacozzo, Tione degli Abruzzi, Tornimparte, Trasacco, Villa Santa Lucia degli Abruzzi, Villa Sant`Angelo, Villalago, Villavallelonga, Villetta Barrea, Vittorito.
Province of Pescara
Abbateggio, Alanno, Bolognano, Brittoli, Bussi sul Tirino, Cappelle sul Tavo, Caramanico Terme, Carpineto della Nora, Castiglione a Casauria, Catignano, Cepagatti, Citta` Sant`Angelo, Civitaquana, Civitella Casanova, Collecorvino, Corvara, Cugnoli, Elice, Farindola, Lettomanoppello, Loreto Aprutino, Manoppello, Montebello di Bertona, Montesilvano, Moscufo, Nocciano, Penne, Pescara, Pescosansonesco, Pianella, Picciano, Pietranico, Popoli, Roccamorice, Rosciano, Salle, San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore, Sant`Eufemia a Maiella, Scafa, Serramonacesca, Spoltore, Tocco da Casauria, Torre De` Passeri, Turrivalignani, Vicoli, Villa Celiera.
Province of Teramo
Alba Adriatica, Ancarano, Arsita, Atri, Basciano, Bellante, Bisenti, Campli, Canzano, Castel Castagna, Castellalto, Castelli, Castiglione Messer Raimondo, Castilenti, Cellino Attanasio, Cermignano, Civitella del Tronto, Colledara, Colonnella, Controguerra, Corropoli, Cortino, Crognaleto, Fano Adriano, Giulianova, Isola del Gran Sasso d`Italia, Martinsicuro, Montefino, Montorio al Vomano, Morro d`Oro, Mosciano Sant`Angelo, Nereto, Notaresco, Penna Sant`Andrea, Pietracamela, Pineto, Rocca Santa Maria, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Sant`Egidio alla Vibrata, Sant`Omero, Silvi, Teramo, Torano Nuovo, Torricella Sicura, Tortoreto, Tossicia, Valle Castellana.
Abruzzi e Molise: A former region/compartment of Italy, now divided into the regions of Abruzzo and Molise. It had an area of 5,955 square miles (or 6,380 according to Lippincott, 1913).
Abruzzo, Parco Nazionale d’ (Abruzzo National Park):
A national park centered on the upper valley of the river Sangro. Privately founded in 1921, it came under national control in 1923. It covers 408 km² in area with an additional protected region of 200 km². The greater part of the park lies within the province of L’Aquila, with a smaller part in the province of Frosinone (Lazio). It is dominated by the Montagna Grande, which marks its northern boundary. The high meadows of the park consist of forests of pine, chestnut, beech, and maple trees. There is also a rare species of birch tree which have been native to the area since the last Ice Age.
The park’s fauna is very diverse. It is home to about 300 different species of birds (including goshawks, sea crows, royal eagles, and song birds), 40 species of mammals (including the Abruzzian brown bear [Ursus arctos marsicanus]), Apennine wolf, roe deer, red deer, wildcats [e.g. Apennine lynx], otters, foxes, and squirrels), and 30 species of retiles and amphibians (including Orsini snakes and yellow salamanders). The park is famous as the home of the Abruzzo Chamois (Rupicapra ornata), found primarily in the high meadowlands.
The park includes a natural history museum, a zoo, and a botanical garden. The park headquarters is located at Pescasseroli.
Abruzzo Citeriore: an alternate name for Abruzzo Citra.
Abruzzo Citra (sometimes Abruzzo Citeriore) (Nearer Abruzzo): A province of the former kingdoms of Naples and the Two Sicilies. It corresponds to the present province of Chieti. Its designation as “Nearer” referred to its position to the city of Naples in relation to the other two Abruzzian provinces (Abruzzo Ultra 1 and 2). The province was about 1,700 square miles in area and had a population of 260,250 (in 1825). Its capital was Chieti, or Teti, (anc. Teate), and its other principal communities were Pescara, Ortona, and Lanciano.
Abruzzo Ulteriore I: Alternate name for Abruzzo Ultra I.
Abruzzo Ulteriore II: Alternate name for Abruzzo Ultra II.
Abruzzo Ultra (sometimes Abruzzo Ulteriore) (Further Abruzzo) I: A province of the former kingdoms of Naples and the Two Sicilies corresponding to the modern province of Teramo. The northernmost province of the Regno, it had an area of about 1,143 square miles and a population of 174,370 (in 1825). Its principal towns were Teramo (the provincial capital), Atri, and Civita di Penne. Also found here was the fortress of Civitella, the last Bourbon stronghold to surrender to the Piedmontese in 1861.
Abruzzo Ultra (sometimes Abruzzo Ulteriore) (Further Abruzzo) II: A province of the former kingdoms of Naples and the Two Sicilies corresponding to the modern province of L’Aquila. It was about 2,220 square miles in area and had a population of 259,114 (in 1825). Its capital, Aquila (L’Aquila), was a center for the manufacturing of paper, stockings and leather goods. Its other principal towns were Sulmona (anc. Sulmo), the birthplace of the Roman poet Ovid, and Celano.
Abrystum: See Aprustum.
Abside: See apse.
Abu: an Arabic form found in many personal and geographical names, usually signifying either possession or paternity.
Abu Aaron: (fl. 2nd part of the 9th century). Jewish scholar. A notable scholar, he frequented the various Jewish communities throughout southern Italy. While visiting Saracen-controlled Bari, he became friends with the emir Sawdan.
Abu Abbas ibn ‘Ali: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (rAD 886).
Abu ‘Abbas ibn Ya’qub ibn ‘Abdallah: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (r AD 871-2).
Abu ‘Abbas ‘Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abdallah ibn al-Aghlab: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (rAD 873).
Abu ‘Abdallah Asad ibn Furat ibn Sinan: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (r. AD 827-8).
Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Battuta: (b. c1100, at Ceuta; d. 1164). Geographer. Having been educated at Cordoba, he traveled widely throughout much of the Islamic world, including Spain, the Barbary states in North Africa, and Asia Minor. He eventually arrived in Sicily where he became a member of Roger II’s court at Palermo. He is famous for creating a world map and an accompanying description of the world as it was then known for Roger. This work, called the al-nuzhat al-mushtaq (The Book of Roger), was completed in 1154.
Abu Fihr Muhammad ibn ‘Abdallah ibn al-Aghlab: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (r.AD 831-5).
Abu’l-Abbas ‘Abdallah ibn Ibrahim II: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (r. AD 899-902).
Abu’l-Aghlab Abbas ibn Fadl ibn Ya’qub ibn Fezara: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (r. AD 851-861).
Abu’l-Aghlab Ibrahim ibn ‘Abdallah: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (r. AD 835-851).
Abu Malik Ahmad ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdallah ibn Ibrahim I ibn al-Aghlab: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (r AD 873-76; 899).
Academia: A beautiful country villa built by Cicero in the 1st century BC near Puteoli (mod. Pozzuoli) in Campania. It was one of his favorite retreats where he would take pleasure in philosophical studies and conversations with friends. It was here that he composed his Academic Questions. He named the villa Academia in honor of Plato’s famous philosophical school in Athens. (also see “academy”).
Academy: a school or conservatory. The name derives from the Greek akademeia, which, in turn, is based on Akademus, the name of a mythological hero. A public park is ancient Athens dedicated to Akademus, was the chosen location for Plato and his students to gather.
Acadine (Acadinus): A fountain of Sicily situated near ancient Palica, mentioned by Diodorus Siculus. Its waters were believed to have magic properties. Written oaths and promises were thrown into the fountain to test faithfulness. Those which sank were considered to be falsely made; while those made with honesty would float.
Acaia (or Acaja, Acaya) (LE): A community in southern Puglia, it is now a frazione in the commune of Vernole (LE). Its name, which derives from Achaia, a region of Greece, reveals its Byzantine origins. The existing center, however, is somewhat more recent, Aragonese foundation. A castle was begun here in 1506 by the Baron Alfonso dell Acaja, and completed by his son Gian Giacomo dell Acaja in 1535. The latter was also the architect for the castle at Lecce, the town walls at Crotone, and the Castel Sant’Elmo in Naples. The Acaia castle is considered a model of Aragonese military architecture, with an imposing enciente and large bastions with steep scarps and partially revealed, projecting battlements. Of particular interest is an underground passage which runs from this castle to the Castle of Charles V in Lecce, a distance of some 10 km.
Outside the town walls is a marsh protected by the World Wildlife Fund.
Acalandra (mod. Salandra): A town in ancient Lucania. It derived its name from the nearby river, Acalandrus.
Acalandrus (or Akalandros), River: Ancient name for a small river in Lucania. It is believed to be one of the streams flowing into the Gulf of Taranto about 16 km S of the river Sinni. Its exact identification with any modern river remains uncertain since there is a discrepancy among the ancient sources as to its location. Some modern sources identify it with the Cavone, while others believe it to be the Salandrella. The Acalandrus is thought to have been a natural boundary between the ancient Greek cities of Heraclea and Thurii. This gave it such political significance that it was chosen by Alexander of Epirus as his choice for the site of the general assembly of Italiote Greeks. According to Pliny the Elder, in Roman times the river was called the Talandrus. The Greek name Akalandros derives from the Indo-European *ekwel-, an extension of the root *akwa- (=water, river). The river Acalandrus lends its name to a canal on the planet Mars.
Acanthus: A weed best-known for its beautiful purple flower. Its leaves are reminiscent of the elaborate capitals on Corinthian columns. Acanthus weeds are found growing wild throughout southern Italy, especially in stony locations like archaeological sites.
Acate (formerly Biscari) (see full page)
Acaviser: An ancient Etruscan deity who is sometimes describer as a male and at other times as a female. Probably a divinity concerned with healing, this deity is associated with Turan, Achilles, Thetis and Alpan.
Accademia Antoniana: An early name for the Accademia Panormita in Naples.
Accadia (FG) (med. Eca):A commune (area: 30.47 km². alt. 650 m) of Puglia, in the province of Foggia. (see full page)
Accaria Rosario (CZ): A frazione in the commune of Serrastretta (CZ). It was founded in medieval times by the Saracens.
Accarini: A surname found mainly in Sicily. It is of Saracen origins deriving from the Arab al-qarinu (= husband).
Accascina, Filippo “Pippo”: (b. May 13, 1919, Mezzojuso (PA). d. 2001, Rome). Chemist. He was a noted researcher on the theory of electric conductance of solutions between ions, solvent molecules, absorption of ultrasolics in liquid mixtures and kinetic of hydrolysis. During his career he was a professor of chemistry at the University of Rome.
Accetta, Giulio: (b. Francavilla Fontana (BR). d. Sept. 25, 1725, Turin). Mathematician and Augustinian Monk. He was a professor of mathematics at the University of Turin. His principal work was Gli elementi di Euclid (post. 1753).
Accetto (sometimes Maestro Accetto): (b. Lavoro, Apulia. fl. 11th century). Sculptor and archdeacon. One of his best works was a pulpit in the Cathedral of Canosa di Puglia. Remains of another of his pulpits (1041) can be seen in the church of S. Michele at Monte Sant’Angelo (FG). Accetto’s sculpture reveals strong Byzantine and Saracen influences; ornate in styling and never depicting human figures.
Accetto, Torquato: (fl. 1st half of the 17th century). Neapolitan scholar. An author of moralistic verses, he is best known for his 1641 treatise Della dissimulazione onestra.
Accettura (MT): A commune (Area: 89.27 km². alt: 770 m) of Basilicata, in the province of Matera (see full page).
Acciaioli: See Acciaiuoli.
Acciaiuoli (or Acciajuoli, Acciaioli): A notable family of Florentine origins. Their name, deriving from acciao (=steel), reflects their roots as 12th century steel processors. As such, and later as bankers, they became exceptionally wealthy. During the 14th and 15th centuries, one branch of the family became deeply involved in the political affairs of central Greece, becoming virtual rulers of Elis, Messenia, and Cephalonia. Another branch of the family became important financial backers to the Angevin rulers of Naples. Among the family’s most notable members was Niccolo Acciaiuoli who, in 1358, was granted control of Corinth by King Robert the Wise of Naples. Among his endeavors was the refortification of the Isthmus of Corinth. Later members of the family went on to gain control over Athens and Thebes, maintaining themselves there until the Turkish invasion in the 15th century. This “Greek” branch intermarried with such families as the Palaiologi and the Tocco.
Acciaiuoli, Angelo: (b. Apr. 15, 1340, Florence. d. May 31, 1408). Ecclesiastic. In 1375, Pope Gregory XI appointed him Bishop of Rapolla, a diocese in the Kingdom of Naples. In 1383, he was chosen to become Archbishop of Florence. Soon after (1385) Pope Urban VI appointed him to the College of Cardinals. When that pope died a conclave was called at which Acciaiuoli received half of the votes cast. When no decision could be resolved, he directed his followers to support the Neapolitan Piero Tomacelli who then became Pope Boniface IX. Boniface rewarded him by making him Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia. Acciaiuoli later became Governor of Naples, serving as guardian to the young King Ladislaus. After Ladislaus reached his majority, Acciaiuoli continued to be a strong supporter of his claim to the throne of Hungary. He accompanied Ladislaus when he went to Budapest to secure this claim.
Acciaiuoli (or Acciajuoli), Niccolo: (see full page) Acciano (AQ): A commune of Abruzzo, in the province of L’Aquila. (see full page)
Acciano, Giulio: (b. 1651, Bagnoli Irpino. d. 1681, Naples). Poet. He produced a series of burlesque and satirical poems, and was a member of the Accademia degli Investiganti (Neapolitan Academy of Investigation).
Acciaroli (SA): A frazione (alt. 10 m) in the commune of Pollica (SA), located 5.8 km SW of that center, on the coast of the Cilento district in the S. part of the province of Salerno. Situated on highway No. 267, it sits on a promontory overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. There is a small port facility. Possessing a rugged coastline and great expanse of sandy beaches, Acciaroli has become a center for tourism and water sports. Early in the 20th century, Acciaroli achieved a certain status as being a favorite location of Earnest Hemingway.
Accolti, Michele (a.k.a. Michael): (b. 1807, Conversano [BA]. d. 1878, San Francisco, California). Jesuit missionary. In 1843 he joined the mission sent to the American Indians, assisting Fr. Giovanni de Nobili in the newly established missions of California in 1849. In 1850, he served as Superior of the Jesuit Rocky Mountain Mission in Oregon. Returning for a time to Italy in 1853, he visited Rome. Again in California, he served as professor and prefect of studies at the mission of Santa Clara. In 1868, Accolti served his last post as preacher in New York and San Francisco.
Acconia (CZ): A small frazione in the commune of Curinga (CZ), located 4.5 km WNW of the communal center. It is situated to the left of the torrent Turrina, on the E edge of the Piana di Angitola.
Accordino, Giuseppe: (b. 1777, Patti [ME]; d. 1830). Philosopher.
Accorsi, Mariangelo: See Accorso, Mariangelo.
Accorso (Accorsi), Mariangelo: (b. Apulia; fl. 1st half of the 16th century). Classical scholar, linguist and critic. He was a favorite of Emperor Charles V and resided at the imperial court for over 30 years. He spent much of his time organizing, editing and translating the ancient manuscripts. Among the ancient writers whose works helped to preserve were Ausonius, Ovid, Cassiodorus, Claudian, and Ammianus Marcellinus. He also wrote a number of original works including a fable, poems, and a satire.
Accua: a small town in ancient Apulia. Its exact site is uncertain but is appears to have been near Luceria. Its only historical mention is in Livy (xxiv.20) who identifies it as one of the towns recovered by the Romans under Q. Fabius from the Carthaginians in 214 BC.
Acellus: See Aegithallus promontorium (TP).
Acer, River: A river in ancient Lucania. It emptied into the river Sora, near Grumentum.
Acerbi (or Acerbo), Francesco: (b.1606, Nocera dei Pagani. d. 1690, Naples). Theologian and Latin poet. He served as professor of theology and philosophy at L’Aquila and then at Naples.
Acerbo, Francesco: See Acerbi, Francesco.
Acerbo, Giacomo: (b. 1888, Loreto Apurtino, near Pescara. d. 1969, Rome). Soldier, economist, and statesman. During a distinguished military career, he was awarded several medals for valor. Entering the political world, he joined the Fascist party and was elected (1921) as a deputy. He became under-secretary to the president of the Consiglio, serving in that post until 1924. In 1924, he became baron of Aterno. Acerbo served as professor of economics and political agriculture at Rome and, in 1926, became vice-president of the Camera. From 1929 to 1935, he served as Minister for Agriculture and the Forests and, for a short time in 1943 (Feb. 5-July 25), was minister of Finance. On July 25, 1943, he was a member of the Grand Council of Fascists that voted against Mussolini. For this action he was condemned to death (in default) by the Fascist tribunal of Verona (Jan.1944). He was later arrested by the Bonami government and sentenced to 30 years for “Great Acts”, but was later amnestied. He was the brother of Tito Acerbo.
Acerbo, Tito: (b. Loreto Apurtino, near Pescara, 1890; d. Croce di Piave, 1918). Military hero. He was killed in battle against the Austrians during the First World War. In reward for his heroism, he was posthumously awarded the gold medal for military valor. His younger brother was the Fascist statesman, Giacomo Acerbo.
Acerenza (or Accerenza) (PZ): (see full page)
Acerenza, Archdiocese of
Founded: AD 4th century.
Conference Region: Basilicata.
Metropolitan: Archdiocese of Potenza-Muro Lucano-Marsico Nuovo.
Area: 1,250 km².
Population: 50,567 (2006e).
Priests: 42 (Diocesan: 40; Religious: 2).
Permanent Deacons: 0
Suffragan to Potenza-Muro Lucano-Marsico Nuovo. Part of the Ecclesiastical Region of Basilicata. Area: 1,250 km²; Inhabitants: 51,575. Parishes: 21. Clergy: 36 (Secular Priests), 6 (Regular Priests), 0 (Permanent Deacons).
History: The diocese of Acerenza was established in the 4th century AD and became an archdiocese in the 11th century. It was united with the diocese of Matera in 1203.
Acharenses: See Acherini.
Achates: a faithful companion (fidus Achates) of the Trojan hero Aeneas. His name is often used to describe someone who is a true and loyal friend or follower. According to some sources the Achates River in Sicily was said to have been named for him.
Achates, River: A small river in ancient Sicily noted for the crystal clarity of its waters. Although its location is uncertain, many researchers identify it with the river Acate, to the SE of Gela in S Sicily. Others disagree, since it is known that the Acate bore the name Dirillo in ancient times. The origin of the river’s name is also controversial with some sources linking it with Achates, the companion of the hero Aeneas, while others claim it derived from the semiprecious agates (lapis Achates) that were said to lie in its bed. The only literary mention for the river Achatus is found in a Latin poem by Silius Italicus (AD 25-101). The river Achates lends its name to a canal on the planet Mars.
Achemenides: See Achaemenides.
Acherini (Acharenses): The inhabitants of an ancient Sicilian town the location of which is uncertain. Cicero mentions them among those Sicilians who were victimized by Verres.
Acheron (Acheruns), Lake: A sulfurous lake located near ancient Baiae, in Campania. The lake was surrounded by hills which blocked out the sun except at high noon. The gloomy surroundings were said to be the home of witches.
Acheron, River: A small river in ancient Bruttium, situated near Pandosia, identified with either the Lese or Arconti. It was the site of the defeat and death of Alexander of Epirus (331 or 330 BC).
Acherontia (1): A small town of ancient Apulia or Lucania, identified with modern Acerenza (PZ). Mentioned in the works of Horace, the ancient town was located near the frontier with Lucania, about 14 miles south of Venusia and 6 miles southeast of Ferentum. Although small in size, its location on a summit of M. Vulture, gave it a great strategic important. The town occupied a strong defensive position whose steep slopes made it accessible only on one side. It was originally a town of the Peuceti. During the Roman-Gothic Wars of the 6th century AD, the Ostrogothic leader Totila, recognized the value of the place and strengthened it with a garrison.
Acherontia (2): A town in ancient Bruttium situated on the river Acheron.
Acherusia lacus (or Palus) (mod. Lago d’Fusaro): An ancient salt-water lake located in the province of Napoli, between the ancient sites of Cumae and Misenum, reputed to be an entrance to the infernal regions. This Campanian lake was the most famous of several lakes, swamps, and caverns found in the ancient Greek world. It is mentioned by Pliny the Elder (H.N. iii.5) and Strabo (v. p.243).
Acherusia Palus: (mod. Lago di Fusaro): A small, salt-water lake located near the coast of Campania between Cumae and Misenum. It is mentioned by Pliny the Elder (H.N. iii.5) and Strabo (v. p.243).
Achetum: A small town in ancient Sicily. Its location is uncertain.
Achetus: A river in ancient Sicily.
Achilles: One of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology, he figures as the principal figure in Homer’s Iliad. Achilles was honored with a hero-cult at ancient Croton. His name is believed to derive from a Mycenaean Greek word meaning “grief to the army.”
Achimaaz du Oria: See Ahima as ben Palti’ el.
Achradina: One of the five quarters of ancient Syracuse.
Aci-: A prefix found in many place names in northeastern Sicily. Many scholars believe it to derive from Acis, a mythological figure connected with the area since ancient times. According to the Metamorphosis of Ovid, Acis was a handsome Sicilian youth, the mortal son of the nature-god Faunus and the sea-nymph Symaethis. Beloved by the beautiful nymph Galatea, he aroused the jealousy of her spurned suitor, the Cyclops Polyphemus. In a fit of rage the Cyclops attacked Acis, crushing the youth beneath a huge rock from Mt. Etna. As the stream of Acis’s blood poured out from beneath the rock, it was divinely changed into the river Aci, although some choose to connect it with the river today called the Fiumefreddo. An associated legend claims that Polyphemus tore the body of Acis into nine parts, scattering them throughout the countryside. Collectively these sites came to be known as the Nove aci (the Nine Acis): Aci Bonaaccorsi, Aci Castello, Aci Catena, Aci Platani, Acireale, Aci S. Filippo, Aci S. Antonio, Aci S. Lucia and Aci Trezza. The nearby coastal area, the Riviera dei Ciclopi, likewise came to be associated with the legends of Polyphemus and the other Cyclopses. The actual root for aci– appears to derive from the Greek word Akus (“penetrating”) and was probably first attached to the ancient river Acis because of the cold temperature of its water.
Aci River (anc. Acis): A river in NE Sicily that flows along the foot of Mt. Etna, before emptying into the Ionian Sea near the city of Acireale (CT). The river’s name derives from its ancient association with the Homeric myth of Acis, the son of the nature-god Faunus and the nymph Symaethis. The river Acis lends its name to a canal on the planet Mars.
Aci Bonaccorsi (CT): A commune of Sicily, in the province of Catania. (see full page)
Aci Castello (CT): A commune of Sicily, in the province of Catania. (see full page)
Aci Catena (CT): A commune of Sicily, in the province of Catania. (see full page)
Aci Consolazione (CT): A locality in the province of Catania. Major earthquakes struck in 1693, 1818, and 1894.
Aci Platani (CT): A frazione of Acireale (CT) in the province of Catania. Major earthquakes struck in 1693 and 1818.
Aci Sant’Antonio (CT): A commune of Sicily, province of Catania.
Former Names (if any): (Sic. Jaci Sant’Antoniu)
Region: Sicilia │ Province: Catania.
Coordinates: Lat. 37°36’25″N/Long. 15°7’15” E.
Location/Setting: Located 13 km NNE of Catania, it is situated in a coastal hilly area on the SE slope of M. Etna. Part of the Regione Agraria n. 7 – Colline litoranee di Acireale.
Alt.: 302 m.
Area: 14.27 km².
Population: 16,901 (2006e).
Pop. Density: /km².
Frazioni & Localities: S.Maria La Stella, Monterosso Etneo, Lavinaio, Lavina.
Tel. Prefix: 095.
Name of Inhabitants: Santantoniesi.
Patron Saint(s): Sant’Antonio Abate. Feast Day: Jan. 17.
Economy: The economy is based principally on agriculture (citrus fruits, olives, fruit, and wine grapes). The commune is also a center for livestock breeding (cattle and horses). One of the most important manufactured products is linseed oil. The town is also a center for the production of the famous Sicilian decorated carts (Carretti Siciliani). Another typically Sicilian art form practiced here is the manufacture of Sponde, figures used to recreate the feats of the medieval French Paladins.
History: The town arose in medieval times around a now-lost church dedicated to Sant’Antonio (hence its name). That church, along with the rest of the original town, has been destroyed by the many lava-flows from Mt. Etna (1169, 1329, and 1408) that have ravaged the place. The commune has been a feudal fief for much of its history, belonging first to the Platamone family, and later to the Moncada family. After being abandoned for a time, the present center arose on the site (Aci Superiore) in 1672 under the control of Luigi (or Stefano) Riggio, Prince of Campofranco and Campoflorido. The Spanish crown awarded him the title of Prince of Aci S. Antonio and S. Filippo. This new town was severely damaged by the great earthquake of 1693 and largely rebuilt.
In 1702, the Prince of Campoflorido Luigi II constructed a great palace in the town.
On April 15, 1951 Aci Sant’Antonio gave up some of its territory to create the new commune of Valvende.
Major earthquakes struck in 1669, 1693, 1818, 1894, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1911, 1914, 1975, and 1990.
Points of Interest:
Monuments: The principal secular monuments are the Palazzo Riggio and the Palazzo Spitaleri, both founded in 1700.
The Palazzo del Maltese was constructed and the end of the 18th century by Count Mario Amico (called il Maltese). It is believed his nickname derives from the fact that, although of Sicilian blood, he was born in Malta. A stone representation of the Amico coat of arms (which incorporates the double-headed Hapsburg eagle) can be seen in the buildings interior. The building was abandoned in 1968 due to the construction of a nearby multilevel condominium complex which blocked the sun from reaching the palazzo for most of the day.
The former Palazzo Comunale dates from the second half of the 18th century. At various times it has been used for a number of governmental functions.
Churches (& other religious sites): The present Cathedral of S. Antonio Abate was constructed in the 17th century to replace an earlier destroyed by the great earthquake of 1693. The front of the church, designed by Francesco Battaglia (1701?-1778), combines trabeations, columns and frames. The façade is Baroque in style. In the choir are paintings by Alessandro Vasta (1720-1793). The altarpiece consists of a painting by Michele Panebianco (1806-1873) of Messina, depicting Sant’Antonio. Other artists with works here include Sciuto and Lo Loco.
The Church of S. Michele includes among the treasures several paintings by Pietro Paolo Vasta (1697-1760).
Festivals/Feasts/Events: Annual Fair dedicated to Sicilian wines- August.
Acidalus, Fountain of: A fountain in ancient Campania. Its waters were said to have had the medicinal power to treat or cure eye ailments.
Acidii: An ancient village of Lucania, situated to the north of Grumentum.
Acilla: See Acrillae.
Acino: (from the Latin acinus or acinum = grape, berry, pip). The lowest unit of weight used in southern Italy during early modern times. It was the equivalent of the medieval Neapolitan grano (= 0.045 grams). There were 20 acini to one trappeso.
Acireale (Aci Reale) (CT): A commune of Sicily, in the province of Catania.
Former Names (if any): (Sic. Jaci) anc. Xiphonia, Acium, Aquilia, Aquilia Nuova, Akis(?).
Region: Sicily│ Province: Catania.
Coordinates: Lat: N│ Long: E.
Location/Setting: Situated on the E coast of Sicily, about 9 miles NE of Catania. It was almost completely rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 on the E. coast of Sicily, in a fertile valley on the E. slope of M. Etna, overlooking the shoreline. The city sits on 7 platforms formed by lava flows from Mt. Etna. Part of the Regione Agraria n. 7 – Colline litoranee di Acireale.
Area: 39.96 km².
Population: 52,490 [2006e].
Pop. Density: /km².
Frazioni & Localities: S.Maria La Scala, S.Tecla, Stazzo, Pozzillo, S.M.Ammalati, Guardia, Mangano, Capomulini, S.Cosmo, Balatelle, Pennisi, Fiandaca, Loreto, Piano d’Api, Aciplatani, Scillichenti, S.Caterina, S.M.delle Grazie, S.M.la Stella, S.G.Bosco.
Tel. Prefix: 095
Name of Inhabitants: Acesi.
Patron Saint(s): Santa Venera. Feast Day: July 26./ San Sebastiano. Feast Day: Jan. 20.
Economy: Acireale is fortunate to have a diverse economic base. The communal territory is given over mainly to agriculture (cereals, fruits, and vegetables), with special emphasis on vineyards and citrus orchards. Animal breeding (cattle, sheep) is also important. There is also a variety of non-agricultural industries located here; the principal ones centering on foodstuffs (syrup, macaroni), leather goods, textiles (silks, linens, cottons, embroidery), carved lava rock, wrought iron, soap, wax, glass, cutlery, metal furniture and musical instruments. In addition, the commune also possesses pozzuolana mines. Along the coast, a certain segment of the population practices coral fishing. Port facilities are also located here.
History: Ancient Acium took its name from the nearby river Aci and, by extension, from the mythical Greek/Sicilian character, Acis. Despite its apparent prosperity during Roman times, when it was called Aquilia, the town never played an important role historically. Acium’s only literary mention appears in the Itinerary, which lists it as a community between Catana and Tauromenium.
Ancient Acis survived the turmoil of the early Middle Ages only to suffer destruction from an earthquake in 1169. Rebuilt soon afterwards, the second city (Aquilia Nuova) suffered the terrors of Saracen piratical raids throughout the 13th and 14th centuries. The worst calamity, however, came at the hands of their fellow Christians. In 1326, the town was burnt by the fleet of Robert of Anjou. According to legend, this was an act of revenge carried out by Beltrando Del Balzo for a supposed insult given him by the population of the town. The town managed to partly survive the attack, but soon afterward (1329) a new eruption of Etna forced the people to abandon the old site. The third city arose nearby, located on higher, less vulnerable ground. Held as a fief by the Mastrantonio family since 1488, it returned to direct royal control in 1531. In 1553, the crown attempted to withdraw its privileges and reduce the town once more to the status of a fief. Faced with this loss of status and freedom, the people of the town managed to bribe the king into changing his mind. In 1577, anti-Spanish feelings ran high due to the imposition of a garrison. This lead to a revolt which was only putdown after much loss of life. In the end, 17 of the rebels were hung and the town was forced to pay an amnesty of 15,000 ducati. In 1588, the Church of the Annunziata was given the status of an independent parish, further enhancing the town’s prosperity as a whole. By the latter part of the 16th century the town boasted a population of about 7,000.
Early in the 17th century, the continued threat from the Turks led to new fortification being built. In 1642, upon the confirmation of Philip IV as king of Sicily, Acireale became a royal holding (hence its modern name meaning “Royal Aci”) and quickly grew into an important commercial center. Disaster struck again in 1693 when the 3rd city was devastated by a great earthquake. The site was temporarily abandoned but its people soon returned to construct the city that stands today. Most of the oldest quarter of the city owes its Baroque buildings to this last reconstruction.
The bishopric was established in 1844.
Acireale suffered some damage during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.
Major earthquakes struck in 1693, 1818, 1879, 1889, 1894, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1911, 1914, 1967, 1975, 1980, 1986, and 1990.
Points of Interest: The violent history of Acireale has left few remains from ancient times. The most important ancient remains are those of a Roman bath and a temple, both dating from Republican times, located near Capo Molini. Remains of another Roman era building are located in the Casalotto district.
What the city lacks in ancient monuments, it makes up for in the many beautiful 17th-18th century Sicilian-Baroque style religious and secular monumental buildings. Many of the principal monumental buildings surround the Piazza Duomo.
The Belvedere is a public garden laid out in 1848. From here are excellent views of M. Etna and the east coast of Sicily.
The city also contains an important meteorological observatory, a Seminary, and a teachers’ college. There is also an experimental station for citrus-fruit.
Monuments: The huge Palazzo Comunale, dating from 1659, includes a fine portal and balconies supported by carved corbels.
The 19th century classical Palazzo Pennisi di Floristella, a work of Mariano Falcini, has a famous numismatic collection of ancient Greek and Sicilian coins (6th– 4th centuries BC).
The exterior of the 17th century Palazzo Musumeci is noted for its iron balconies and Rococo style windows.
The neoclassical Thermae di Santa Vénera can be found in a park near the town. Used since Roman times, these hot sulfurous and radioactive springs have been developed as a health spa (the present one dating from 1873) for the treatment of neuritis, gout and respiratory ailments. The remains of a Roman era bath facility have been excavated and are thought to be the Tepidarium and the Calidarium.
In the vicinity of Acireale are sites that, since ancient times, have been identified with mythology including the Cave of Polyphemus and the Grotto of Galatea.
Museums: The Biblioteca and Pinacotera dell’Accademia Zelantea is a fine-arts museum founded in 1671. It represents one of Sicily’s most important libraries and contains old theological, philosophical and scientific manuscripts and a collection of historical books. Also housed here are archaeological finds (including a 1st century BC bust of Caesar) and a notable coin collection. There is a collection of paintings by 17th and 18th century Sicilian artists.
The Museum dei Pupi dell’Opra houses some interesting puppets and has a theater for performances.
Churches (& other religious sites): The roof and windows of the domed Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of the Annunziata e Venere (constructed between 1597 and 1618) suffered considerable damage during World War II but were later restored. The building is famous for its tiled spires and its Baroque portal. It has an early 20th century neo-Gothic façade created by Giovanni Battista Basile. The doorway that pieces it, however, is a survival of the original 16th century Baroque façade. It also incorporates a 17th century marble portal between two campanili. The interior contains a nave and two aisles. The interior decoration includes frescoes by Pietro Paolo Vasta (1737) and Antonio Filocamo (1711). The left aisle has a holy-water stoup believed to be a 1525 work of Antonello Gagini. There is a meridian dating from 1843. The Capella di Santa Venera, in the right transept, contains a 1651 silver statue of the town’s patron saint, S. Venere. There are a number of statues by Blandamonte (1668). On the floor of the transept is an interesting 19th century sundial created by Wolfang Sertorius and F. Peters.
The Baroque church or Basilica of S. Sebastiano possesses an elaborate early 17th century Spanish Baroque-style balustrade façade decorated with statues and garlands (restored 1705). The balustrade, with its 10 statues of Old Testament figures, is a 1754 work by Giovanni Battista Marino. It has a nave and two aisles. The interior (dome, chapels, and transept) contains frescoes by Pietro Paolo Vasta (1697-1760), depicting the life of St. Sebastian. The roof and windows underwent repair after World War II.
The church of the Suffragio also suffered damage during World War II.
The 17th century church of the Crociferi contains some pleasant frescoes.
The 16th century church or basilica of SS. Pietro e Paolo has a notable early- 18th century façade of pillars, with statues of the patron saints.
The church of the Filippini is a neoclassical structure.
The church of S. Domenico has a notable Baroque façade.
Outside of the city is the Grotta del Presepe di S. Maria della Neve. Used both by brigands and fishermen in the 17th century, the cave was consecrated to religious use. In 1752, a manger scene (presepe) consisting of 32 wax figures was created here.
In the frazione of S. Maria la Scala is an interesting 17th century Chiesa Madre.
Festivals/Feasts/Events: Acireale celebrates a well-known 5-day Carnevale held in February and March. The festivities include parades of floats with marchers dressed in colorful costumes.
The city’s famous traditional Sicilian puppet theater, at the Opera dei Pupi, gives performances in August and September.
During July dramatic performances are held in honor of the town’s patron saint, Santa Venera. During the 19th century, the English scholar, Augustus Hare, noted that the area around Acireale was devoted to the veneration of Santa Venera, a survival of the ancient worship of Venus.
Acireale’s creche, displayed in a lava grotto during the Christmas season, dates from 1736.
There is an annual cattle fair held every July during which products derived from the local cattle and sheep industries are displayed.
Acireale, Diocese of: Suffragan to the Archdiocese of Catania. Part of the Ecclesiastical Region of Sicily. Area: 665 km²; Inhabitants: 223,722. Parishes: 111. Clergy: 140 (Secular Priests), 176 (Regular Priests), 9 (Permanent Deacons).
The diocese of Acireale was established in 1844. Its first bishop, however, was not appointed until 1872.
Bishops of Acireale
Gerlando Maria Genuardi 1872 – 1907
Giovanni Battista Arista 1907 – 1920
Salvatore Bella 1921 – 1922
Fernando Cento 1922 – 1926
Evasio Colli 1927 – 1932
Salvatore Russo 1932 – 1964
Pasquale Bacile 1964 – 1979
Giuseppe Malandrino 1979 – 1998
Salvatore Gristina 1999- 2002
Pio Vittorio Vigo 2002 –
Aciris, River: A river in ancient Lucania which rose to the NW of Abellinum Marsicum, and empties into the bay of Taranto (Tarentinus sinus) at Agri.
Acis (Grk. Akis): A mythological shepherd of Sicily. According to the myth, Acis was a young and handsome shepherd who tended his flocks in E. Sicily. Although a mortal himself, he was the son of the nature-god Pan-Faunus and the Naiad nymph Symaethis. He met and fell in love with the sea-nymph Galatea, thus incurring the jealousy of the Cyclops Polyphemus, a spurned suitor of Galatea. In a fit of rage, the eye-eyed giant tore a great stone from Mt. Etna and crushed the helpless Acis beneath it. When Galatea prayed for the gods to show mercy to her dead lover, Acis was transformed into a river-god. As his blood flowed from beneath the rock, it miraculously transformed into the stream of water that came to bear his name. The river named for him rose on Aitna near Akion (Acium) and flowed into the Mediterranean.
Acis (or Acinius) (mod. Iaci), River: Ancient river in eastern Sicily. Rising on the slopes of Mt. Aetna, it flows along the foot of that mountain, past Akion (Acium), before emptying into the Sicilian Sea at Acis, at a point between the river Acesinus and Adrix, to the north of Catana. It is named for the mythical youth, Acis, the victim of the Cyclops Polyphemus.
Acis (mod. Castel d’Iaci): An ancient town in eastern Sicily located near the mouth of the river Acis.
Acithis (Acithius, Atys) (mod. Carabi), River: A river in ancient Sicily, located in the W part of the island. It falls into the Africum pelagus, to the N of the Lilybaeum promontory.
Acithius: Ancient name for Birgi, in Sicily.
Acium: an ancient town located in eastern Sicily. Nothing is known of its history but it was known to have been situated on the road between Catana (mod. Catania) and Tauromenium (mod. Taormina), near the small river Acis. It is identified as the modern Acireale (CT).
Acontist: a javelin thrower.
Acqua Alte, Canale: A canal in northern Puglia (province of Foggia). Beginning near Casa Lauro sul Lago di Lésina, it runs for a length of 10 km, emptying into the Adriatic Sea near Torre Mileto.
Acquabella, Punta di (CH): A promontory on the Adriatic coast of the Abruzzo (province of Chieti). It lays S. of Ortona and N. of the mouth of the river Moro. It is sometimes known as the Punta del Moro.
Acqua Bianca, Fosso (MT): A waterway of Basilicata (length: 10 km). It rises at a point (564 m) near Garaguso (MT) and flows from the left into the Torrent Salandrella at Masseria Molino (MT).
Acqua Calda, Torrente: A waterway (length: 8 km) of Campania. Rising on Monte Mutria (1822 m), it flows into the torrente Titerno near Civitella Licinia.
Acqua del Lupo, Fosso (MT): A watercourse of Basilicata (length: 11 km). Beginning at Serra di Gianni (521 m), it flows from the left into the river Bràdano at Masseria Zecchiniello (MT).
Acquacorsari: A small center in Sicily near the city of Palermo. Its name derives from its origins as the site of a watch tower built to guard against Saracen pirates (corsairs).
Acquaformosa (CS): A commune of Calabria, in the province of Cosenza.
Former Names (if any): (Arberesh. Firmoza, Formoza)
Region: Calabria │ Province: Cosenza.
Coordinates: Lat. 39°43’26″N/Long. 16°5’26″E.
Location/Setting: Located 71 km N of Cosenza, it is situated on the slopes of the Cozzo del Lepre, in the Mula range of mountains, in the basin of the river Esauro, on the road between Castrovillari and Belvedere Marittimo. Much of the territory is covered by vast woods and meadows. Part of the Comunità Montana del Pollino. Part of the Regione Agraria n. 2 – Versante Nord/Est della catena costiera. Part of the Parco Nazionale del Pollino.
Alt.: 756 m.
Area: 22.57 km².
Population: 1,247 (2006e)
Pop. Density: /km².
Frazioni & Localities:
Tel. Prefix: 0981
Name of Inhabitants: Acquaformositani.
Patron Saint(s): S. Giovanni Battista. Feast Day: August 24.
Economy: The commune has an abundance of copper and mercury deposits that have not been exploited.
History: The town probably received its name from the Cistercian monastery church of Santa Maria di Acquaformosa, built on the site in 1195 or 1197 by the Brahalla family of nearby Altomonte. A popular legend, however, disputes this, claiming that the town was given its name by an Albanian princess. While Irene Castriota, princess of Bisignano and the daughter of Skanderberg, was visiting the place accepted a drink from the water at the abbey (then known as Ariosa). Her exclamation of “Che acqua Formosa” (“What wonderful water”) was said to have inspired the new name. Whatever the truth, the monastic complex soon became the center for a small community of houses.
In 1501, the monastery granted land to a group of 20 Albanian families to establish a center called Firmoza. In return for this gift the settlers agreed to pay the monastery an annual rent based on population, numbers of dwellings, and amount of livestock.
Major earthquakes struck in 1887, 1905, and 1908.
Points of Interest:
Monuments: There are some ancient remains of a villa dating from the period of the Roman Empire.
Churches (& other religious sites): The Church of Santa Maria Scala Coeli was built by the Cistercians in 1227 on the site of an earlier structure. It is approached through an atrium and a 17th century carved wooden door. The interior has 3 aisles divided by pillars. There is a 16th century Renaissance oil-painted icon depicting Christ and the 12 Apostles.
The Cistercian Abbey of Santa Maria del Leucio, dating from 1500, is today in ruins.
The Byzantine Church of San Giovanni Battista was founded in 1505 to serve the new Albanian settlers. It has a 17th century wooden door decorated with carved mythical figures of sirens, winged griffons, two-headed eagles, emblems, etc. The interior contains a carved 17th century walnut wood choir and 17th century lecterns carved from chestnut. There are some 16th century tables, one depicting the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, attributed to the painter Marco Pino (1522-1579). In one of the chapels is a 16th century sculpted Madonna and Child.
The Gothic sanctuary of the Madonna del Monte (Santas Maria del Monte) dates to the late 14th / early 15th century. Among the treasures is a 15th century Gothic sculpture of the Madonna and Child. In the apse near the greater altar, there is a 16th century, oil painted table depicting the Assumption of the Virgin Mary with a Glory of Angels and Apostles, a work of Pietro Negrone. There is a fine choir of carved walnut.
In the Church of San Basilio Abate e San Benedetto are some 18th century painted tables and some fine Baroque gild-work.
In the Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia is an icon of the Teotokos created by the Greek painter Fatima Paula in 1973. The figure is decorated in silverwork by the Greek goldsmith Costapulos
The chapel of Madonna della Concezione is a largely Byzantine inspired structure. Its treasures include a 1785 fresco of the Immacolata.
The ruined 13th century oratory of San Leonardo di Sassone, contains several works of art including a 15th century fresco.
The Grotta della Madonna is so-named because of a local tradition claiming that a mysterious bust of the Virgin was discovered there.
Culture: The town still follows the Greek-Byzantine-Albanian rite, and is part of the diocese of Lungro.
Festivals/Feasts/Events: Festival of San Francesco– 2nd Sunday after Easter.
Festival and fair of the Madonna della Misericordia– last Sunday in May.
Festival of Santa Maria del Monte (Festa e Shën Mërisë së Malit)- July 20. Drawing visitors from other Albanian towns, the festival includes traditional songs, dances, and costumes.
Festival and fair of the town’s patron saint, San Giovanni Battista, occurs on the last Sunday in August.
Acquaiuolo: a traditional water-seller in old Sicily. A common sight on hot days, the acquaiuolo would set up small brass-mounted tables (about 2 feet long by 18 inches wide by 18 inches high) with large water-jugs shaped like ancient Greek vases.
Acqualadrone (ME): Former name for Acquarone (ME).
Acquappesa (CS): A commune of Calabria, in the province of Cosenza.
Former Names (if any): Casaletto or Casalicchio
Region: Calabria │ Province: Cosenza
Coordinates: Lat. 39°29’40″N/Long. 15°57’10″E.
Location/Setting: Located 51 km NW of Cosenza, it is situated on a hill near the coastal highway #80 just S. of Cetraro. The communal territory contains the hot springs of Terme Luigiane (alt.146 m.), whose waters, rich in sulfur and iron, are used to treat rheumatic ailments. Part of the Comunità Montana dell’Appennino Paolano. Part of the Regione Agraria n. 9 – Montagna Litoranea di Paola.
Alt.: 80 m.
Area: 14.43 km².
Population: 2,037 (2006e)
Pop. Density: /km².
Frazioni & Localities: Intavolata, Pantana-Santa Rosalia, San Iorio, Terme Luigiane.
Tel. Prefix: 0982
Name of Inhabitants: Acquappesani.
Patron Saint(s): (Feast Day:).
History: This commune is of relatively recent origins. It appears to have arisen in the late 17th or early 18th century under the name of Casaletto or Casalicchio. The area, however, has been inhabited since ancient times. Archaeologists have discovered Greek pottery dating from the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.
In 1927, it was annexed by the neighboring commune of Guardia Piemontese, but became autonomous again in 1943.
Major earthquakes struck in 1854, 1887, and 1905.
Points of Interest:
Monuments: The Palazzo De Seta has an interesting portal.
There are some archaeological sites in the commune, mostly dating from Greco-Roman times.
Churches (& other religious sites): The church of S. Teresa Vergine (in the frazione of Intavolata) has a fine façade and a glass door created by Cesare Baccelli.
The other religious monument of interest is the 19th century parish church of Santa Maria del Rifugio. Among its treasures is an 18th century silver ostensorium.
Acquarelli: (fl. c1640). Neapolitan painter. An architectural painter, he specialized in depictions of ornamental decoration from churches palaces, and theaters.
Aquaria, Claudio: See Aquaviva, Claudio.
Acquarica del Capo (LE): A commune of Puglia, in the province of Lecce.
Region: Puglia │ Province: Lecce.
Coordinates: Lat. 39°54’43″N/Long. 18°14’46″E.
Location/Setting: Located 59 km. S of Lecce, it is situated in a beautiful valley of the Salentine Murge, between the Serra di Pozzo Mauro and the Serra dei Cianci.
Alt.: 110 m.
Area: 18.37 km².
Population: 4,44 (2006e).
Pop. Density: /km².
Frazioni & Localities:
Tel. Prefix: 0833
Name of Inhabitants: Acquaricesi.
Patron Saint(s): San Carlo Borromeo. Feast Day: Nov. 4.
Economy: The town is a center for wine growing and reed basket making.
History: The commune was founded in the 10th century as Bonsecolo by the Normans, to replace the earlier town of Pompignano, destroyed by the Saracens. The place was settled by refugees from Pompignano, while other settlers came from the towns of Ceciovizzo and Cardigliano. In 1190, King Tancred awarded the place as a fief to the Guarino family, who maintained control of it, with some lapses, until the end of the 17th century. The town was rebuilt after 1432 when the area was conquered by Giovanni Antonio Orsini, prince of Taranto.
A major earthquake struck in 1947.
Points of Interest:
Monuments: The quadrilateral Castle dates to between 1432 and 1445. Some decorative 17th/18th century relief work still survives as does one of the four circular towers included at each corner. The castle is one of the earliest examples of a fortification designed to defend against firearms.
Not far from the communal center is the Masseria di Celsorizzo. It arose in the 17th century around an earlier defensive tower dating from the middle of the 16th century.
Churches (& other religious sites): The Baroque Church of San Carlo Borromeo, built in 1661 upon an earlier structure, has a fine 17th century portal. In the sacristy is a 17th century grille of windows of beautiful carved stone.
The 19th century church of San Giovanni Battista (reconstructed in 1826) has a simple façade and an interesting campanile.
The church of Madonna del Ponte was built during the 19th century on the site of an earlier structure.
The small chapel of the Immacolata dates from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Outside the center, the 11th century church of Santa Maria Pannetti (or Panelli) contains some interesting 13th century murals depicting religious themes. The small church has a simple façade and two semicircular apses.
The church of Vergine Assunta in Cielo (or the Madonna di Pompignano) contains some fine 16th, 17th and 18th century artwork. Among the treasures is 17th century painting of the Madonna with Child and an 18th century canvas of the Annunciation.
Acquaro (VV): A commune of Calabria, in the province of Vibo Valentia.
Former Names (if any):
Region: Calabria │ Province: Vibo Valentia.
Coordinates: Lat. 38°33’20″N/Long. 16°11’16″E.
Location/Setting: Located 27 km SE of Vibo Valentia, it is situated in the basin of the river Marepotamo, to the right of a tributary of the torrent Petriano. Its territory is crossed by the river Amello. Part of the Comunità Montana dell’Alto Mesima. Part of the Regione Agraria n. 3 – Colline Orientali del Mesima e dell’Angitola.
Alt.: 262 m.
Area: 25.32 km².
Population: 3,046 (2001).
Pop. Density: /km².
Frazioni & Localities: Camerino, Fellari, Limpidi, Maiera’, Piani di Acquaro.
Tel. Prefix: 0963
Name of Inhabitants:
Patron Saint(s): (Feast Day:).
Frazioni: Tel. Prefix: 0963. Postal Code: 89832.
Population Designation: Acquaresi.
Patron Saint (s): S. Rocco. Feast Day: 3rd Sunday in August.
History: Founded by the Normans, it was a fief for several noble families including the Conclubert (to 1678), the Acquaviva d’Aragona and the Caracciolo di Gioiosa. It became a commune in 1811. In 1928, it formed part of the new commune of Dasa but became an autonomous commune in its own right a year later.
Major earthquakes struck in 1783, 1791, 1905, 1908, 1947, and 1975.
Historic Population Figures: 2,194(1861); 2,711(1901); 3,115(1921); 4,327(1951); 3,293(1981); 3,046 (2001).
Events: Feast of the Vijuazzu (pannocchia)- August.
Feast of the Curuijcchia (a local cake-dessert)- December.
Annual embroidery show- August.
Economy: The territory is principally agricultural, with much of the land devoted to vast olive groves, grain fields and vineyards. The chief non-agricultural industry is the production of perfume.
Acquavella (SA): A frazione (alt. 230 m.) in the commune of Casal Velino (SA). It is located in the S. Cilento, to the right of the torrent il Fiumicello at the S. foot of M. Forma (alt. 442 m).
Points of Interest: It contains an interesting church.
Acquavella, Dukes of:
- Michele Sanfelice (1) 1734-1766
- Giuseppe Sanfelice (1) 1766-1813
- Michele Sanfelice (2) 1813-1854
- Giuseppe Sanfelice (2) 1854-1859
- Francesco Paolo Sanfelice 1859-1884
- Gustavo Sanfelice 1884-1946
Acquaviva: One of the seven Great Houses of the Kingdom of Naples. Originating in Germany, they were related to the Dukes of Bayer. Coming to Italy in 10th century, they originally centered themselves in and around the Marquisate of Ancona. Under the Swabian-Hohenstaufen dynasty, they acquired several feudal holding in the Abruzzi, including Acquaviva Collecroce (now in Campobasso province, Molise), from which they took their surname. The Sicilian branch of the family survived until 1650, when it was absorbed into the San Framondo family. The Acquaviva della Ratta branch, which held the title of Counts of Caserta, died out in 1511. The Acquaviva- Concublet branch (Marquises of Arena) survived until 1708. The Acquaviva branch which held the titles of the Princes of Caserta and Marquis of Bellante became extinct in 1635, while those who held the title of Dukes of Atri were absorbed into the Strozzi. At the height of their power, the Acquaviva held many fiefs including:
Baronies: Basciano, Bisenti, Cermignano, Corropoli, Castel del Monte, Castrogerardo, Cellino, Colonnella, Forcella, Montesilvano, Montefusco, Montone, Montemaiella, Montebello, Montepagano, Raiano, Rapino, Ripattone, Rocca Santa Maria, Roseto, Sant’Omero, Rocchetta, Sant’Egidio, San Vito, Tortoreto, Scorrano.
Counties: Capestrano, Conversano, Giulianova, Montorio (1383), Palena (1467).
Princedoms: Caserta (1579], Teramo (1484).
Over the centuries the Acquaviva family produced many great statesmen, ecclesiastical leaders, and military figures.
Acquaviva, Andrea Matteo: (b. 1456, 1458, or 1460 in Naples; d. 1528 or 1529). 8th Duke of Atri. Scholar and patron of letters. In 1486, he was one of the leaders of a conspiracy of Neapolitan barons against the Aragonese dynasty. When the plot collapsed, he received a pardon and later became Grand Seneschal of the Kingdom of Naples. During the war between France and Spain for control of Naples, he changed sides several times before finally becoming a partisan of the French. For this, he was taken prisoner by the Spanish captain Gonsalvo da Cordova. Transported to Spain, he was soon freed thanks to the efforts of his younger brother Belisario. Allowed to retain his fortune, he now devoted himself to literary pursuits. Although he produced at least one book of his own (a commentary on the Latin translation of Plutarch’s Morals), he was better known as a patron to other writers.
Acquaviva, Antonio: (d. between 1393 and 1395). Nobleman. In 1382, Charles of Durazzo made him Count of S. Flaviano and Count of Montorio. After the conquest of Atri, he received the dukedom of that city from Ladislaus (1393).
Acquaviva, Belisario: (b. Naples; fl late 15th and early 16th Centuries). Nobleman and scholar. He was the younger brother of M. Acquaviva. He shared his brother’s love scholarly and literary pursuits but chose to support the Spanish cause in Naples against the French. Because of this, he was able to preserve to family estate after Spain’s conquest of the Regno and was able to secure the release of his pro-French brother. He was the author of several dissertations.
Acquaviva, Francesco: (b. 1665, Naples. d. 1723, Rome). Ecclesiastic and statesman. Born into the family of the Dukes of Atri, he first entered papal service during the reign of Innocent XI (1676-89), and was the first master of the Chamber of Innocent XII (1692-1700). He also held the post of nuncio to the Spanish court. While in Spain he supported King Philip VI, whom he named minister and protector of the Kingdom of Spain. In 1706, Pope Clement XI made him a cardinal with the title of S. Bartolomeo and Bishop of Sabina. He later received the title of S. Cecilia.
Acquaviva, Giovanni: (b. Feb. 15, 1818, Tricarico (MT)). Ecclesiastic. He became Bishop of Nuscia (SA) in 1871.
Acquaviva, Giovanni Vincenzo: (d.1566). Ecclesiastic. In 1537, he was made Bishop of Melfi and Rapolla. He became a cardinal-priest of Sylvester and Martin in 1542.
Acquaviva, Giulio: (b. 1546, Atri or Naples. d. Rome, 1574). Ecclesiastic. He was the son of Giovan Girolamo Acquaviva, Duke of Atri; he was also the nephew of Claudio Acquaviva, and the brother of Ottavio Acquaviva (1). In 1568, he was papal nuncio of Pope Pius V to the court of King Philip II of Spain, with a mission to present condolences to that monarch for the death of Don Carlos, the heir apparent. In 1570, Pope Pius V raised him to the cardinalate. He assisted Pius V on the latter’s deathbed.
Acquaviva, Giulio Antonio: (d.1481). Nobleman. After taking part in the first conspiracy of the barons against the Aragonese dynasty, he later was reconciled with those rulers. King Ferdinand I honored him with the cognomen of “Aragona.”
Acquaviva, Marcello: (b. 1531, Naples. d. 1617, San Omero (Abruzzo)). Ecclesiastic. In 1586, he became Archbishop of Otranto. After holding the post of apostolic nuncio in the Republic of Venice, he played a similar role in the Duchy of Savoy (1590), involving himself in their dealings with Emperor Henry IV. In 1595, he served as governor and vice-legate of Bologna in 1595.
Acquaviva, Orozio: (fl. late 16th-early 17th Centuries). Ecclesiastic. A participant at the battle of Lepanto (Oct. 7, 1571), he was taken prisoner by the Turks. He was elected as Bishop of Caiazzo in 1641. He was a noted scholar.
Acquaviva, Ottavio (1): (b. 1560, Naples. d. 1612, Naples). Ecclesiastic. He was the son of Duke Giovanni Girolamo Acquaviva of Atri and Margherita Pio di Carpi. The brother of Giulio Acquaviva, he served three popes: Sixtus V, Gregory XIV, and Clement VIII. In 1591, he was created a cardinal and made legate for Campania. In 1593, Pope Clement VIII chose him as legate to Avignon where he aided in the conversion of Emperor Henry IV. In 1605, he became Archbishop of Naples.
Acquaviva, Ottavio (2): (b. 1608/9, Naples. d. 1674, Rome). Ecclesiastic. He was a member of the Atri Ducal branch of the Acquaviva family. Between 1638 and 1643, he held several governorships in the Papal States. He was raised to the cardinalate in 1654 by Pope Innocent IX and served as legate, first to Viterbo, and then to Romagna (Bologna) until 1658, where he was instrumental in the suppression of local banditry. In 1655, he received Cristina of Savoy during her visit to Rome and the Papal States.
Acquaviva, Pasquale: (b. Nov. 3, 1718, Naples. d. Feb. 29, 1788, Rome). Ecclesiastic. A member of the Order of Malta, he became Privy Chamberlain to the Pope in 1739. His subsequent career was as follows: Protonotary apostolic, March 1743; Abbot commendatario of S. Leonardo, Apulia, 1743; Pro-legate in Avignon, 1743-1753; Commissary general of the Navy, 1753; Pro-commissary of War, 1766; President of Urbino from 1767.Pope Clement XIV (r.1769-1775) raised him to the cardinalate in 1773. He participated in the conclave of 1774-75. On April 3, 1775, he received the red hat and the deaconry of S. Maria in Aquiro. On Dec. 13, 1779, he became Cardinal deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin, and on Sept. 27, 1780, became Cardinal deacon of S. Eustachio.
Acquaviva, Rinaldo d’: (fl. late 12th century). Swabian nobleman. He was the founder of the great Acquaviva family, which produced so many important figures in the history of the Church, and of southern Italy. In 1195, he received several fiefs from Henry VI.
Acquaviva, Bl. Rodolfo: (b. 1550, Atri. d.1583, Cuncolium, Goa (W. India); Feast Day: July 25). Jesuit missionary. Son of the Duke of Atri, he was a nephew of Claudio Acquaviva (Aquaviva). Entering the Jesuit Order at Rome in 1568, he was ordained a priest at Lisbon in 1577. Joining the mission to India, he arrived at the Portuguese colony of Goa in 1578, where he became a teacher of philosophy. From 1580 to 1583 he led a mission to the court of the Great Mogul, Akbar. Although he familiarized that ruler with the basic teachings of Christianity he was unable to convert him. Returning to Goa in 1583, he was appointed as director of the mission to the island of Salsette. On his journey to his new post, he, with four other Jesuits, were murdered in the village of Cuncolim (N of Bombay) by Hindu natives. In 1593, he and his companions were beatified.
Acquaviva, Troiano (or Traiano): (b. Jan. 15 or 16, 1695, Naples. d. March 20, 1747, Rome). Ecclesiastic. A member of the Atri Ducal branch of the Acquaviva family, he entered the service of the Church. In January, 1721, he became Vice-legate in Ferrara. Later that same year he was appointed Governor of Ancona. Over the next few years he held the positions of Cleric of the Apostolic Chamber, Referendary of the Supreme Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace, and Protonotary apostolic. On April 17, 1729, he was ordained a priest and, on the following day, was elected titular bishop of Filippopolidi Arabia (consecrated on May 3, 1729 at Benevento by Pope Clement XI). During that same year he also received the appointments of Prefect of the Papal Household (May 14), Assistant at the Pontifical Throne (June 25), and Prefect of the Apostolic Palace (July 6). On August 14, 1730, he was promoted to the titular see of Larissa. On Oct. 1, 1732, he was created a Cardinal priest in the Consistory, receiving the red hat and the title of SS. Quirico e Giulita on November 17, 1732 (on January 13, 1733, he opted for the title of S. Cecilia). In 1734, he was employed as Ambassador of Spain before the Holy See by the Kings of Spain, Philip V and Charles III. In 1738, he became Protector of Naples and Sicily, and, in 1743, was appointed Protector of Spain. At the request of the Spanish King Charles III, he was appointed as Archbishop of Toledo. After serving for a time in this see, he received the post of Archbishop of Monreale (Sicily) (March 4, 1739). On August 17, 1740, he played an important role at the conclave in which Benedict XIV was elected Pope. His last appointment was as Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals (February 3, 1744). He was a loyal supporter of Charles III of Naples, and, in 1741, served that king as representative to the papal court in peace talks.
Acquaviva, Monte (CH): A mountain (2,737 m.) in the northern part of the Maiella.
Acquaviva Collecroce (CB)(Croatian: Zivavoda-Kruc): A commune of Molise, in the province of Campobasso.
Region: Molise. Province: Campobasso.
Elevation: 425 m. Area: 28.50 km². Population: 754 (2006e); 800 (2001). Population Density: 28.1/km² (2001).
Coordinates: Lat. 41°52’1″N/Long. 14°44’53″E.
Location & Setting: Located 56 km N of Campobasso, it is situated on a hill between the basins of the rivers Trigno and Biferno. Part of the Comunità Montana Monte Mauro.
Tel. Prefix: 0875. Postal Code: 86030.
Population Designation: .
Patron Saint (s): San Michele. Feast Day: Sept. 29.
History: Although the site appears to have been inhabited in ancient times, the earliest remains are of medieval date. During the 12th century it came under the control of the Knights of Malta. From 1446 to 1553 it was a possession of the Cantelmo family. The present commune was founded in the 16th century (1561/2) by a colony of Croatian refugees fleeing from the Turkish conquerors of their Balkan homeland. Judging from the peculiarities in the surviving dialect of the inhabitants, it is believed that the original settlers came from the Dalmatian hinterland in the Neretva area (present-day Bosnia-Herzegovina).
A major earthquake struck in 1984.
Historic Population Figures: 1,777(1861); 2,212(1901); 2,017(1921); 2,250(1951); 1,017(1981); 883 (1991); 800(2001).
Famous Natives & Residents:
Points of Interest: The modern population of the commune still retains traces of the language, customs, and costumes of the original Croatian settlers. It is the largest of the 3 Slavic-speaking communes in Molise (the others being Montemitro and San Felice).
Historical Sites and Monuments: The Casa di Riposo is also of interest.
Churches and Religious Sites: The principal monument is the church of S. Maria Ester, constructed in the late 16th century by the Knights of Malta. Reconstructed in 1715, the principal treasures are a pair of statues depicting S. Michele Arcangelo and the Concezione, both by Paolantonio di Zinno.
The church of Santa Giusta, located in the countryside near the center, was a place of refuge for local shepherds.
Events: Festa del Maja- May 1. A survival from ancient times, the festival is meant as a request for a good harvest. As part of the ritual a fantoccio (puppet) is carried along the along the rural roads to the accompaniment of choral songs.
Festival of S. Michele- Sept 29.
The Smarceka– Christmas time. This Slavic rite involves the lighting of a torch which is then a huge tree trunk near the door of the parish church.
Acquaviva delle Fonti (BA): A commune in the province of Bari.
Region: Puglia. Province: Bari.
Elevation: 300 m. Area: 130.98 km². Population: 21,340 (2007e); 21,478 (2006e); 21,613 (2001). Population Density: /km² ().
Coordinates: Lat. 40°53’55″N/Long. 16°50’35″E.
Location & Setting: Located 28 km. S of Bari, it is situated on a high terrace in the Murge. The city’s name means “water of the fountain,” deriving from the locally abundant sub-surface water supply. Part of the Comunità Montana Murgia Barese Sud-Est. Part of the Regione Agraria n. 6 – Murge di Castellana.
Tel. Prefix: 080. Postal Code: 70021.
Population Designation: Acquavivesi.
Patron Saint (s): Maria SS. Di Costantinopoli. Feast Day: 1st Tuesday in March.
History: The first mention of Acquaviva dates from the end of the 7th century AD, although it may have been founded as early as the 6th century. Twice sacked by the Saracens, it attained a degree of importance during the time of the Normans. It was held as a fief by several notable families and individuals: the Del Balzo, the Acquaviva d’Aragona (counts of Conversano), Prospero Colonna (1st part of the 16th century), and the Spinelli (1614). It became the property (with the accompanying title of Prince) of the De Mari family in 1664. In 1799, its citizens made a valiant, but futile, effort to defend their town from the army of Cardinal Ruffo. When it fell, the Cardinal’s troops brutally sacked the center.
Thanks in large part to the fertility of its soil and the abundant water supply Acquaviva remained prosperous during the 19th century. In the 20th century, Acquaviva’s economy was greatly affected by the jobs created for the construction of the Edificio Monumentale (1909-1915).
After World War II, the economy received another boost by the enlargement and modernization of the hospital.
Major earthquakes struck in 1694, 1731, 1857, 1905, 1930, and 1980.
Historic Population Figures: 6,776(1861); 11,113(1901); 10,848 (1921); 14,125(1951); 18,390(1981); 21,613 (2001).
Points of Interest: Acquaviva is the location for one of southern Italy’s most important private hospitals.
The Mercadente Forest (258 acres) is located 14 km to the W.
Recently, researchers have discovered a nearby cave with evidence of Paleolithic habitation.
Historical Sites and Monuments: The 17th century Baroque Municipio, formerly the Palazzo dei Principi, was built by the noble De Mari family on the site of an old Norman castle. It consists of about 300 rooms of various sizes and functions. Crowning its loggia are a row of decorative niches and masks spanning the length of the façade. Two towers of the former castle still survive.
Churches and Religious Sites: The original 12th century Romanesque Duomo was founded by the Norman king Roger II. The present structure, a beautiful model of late-Renaissance architecture, dates of the 15th/ 16th century. It is one of the four Palatine Basilicas of Apulia. The building has a bipartite façade inset with an elegant rose window and prominent pilasters. The triangular pediment is topped by statues of the Madonna and Child at the apex and of statues of saints at the ends. Of the original Romanesque building little survives except some freestanding columns with bases carved as lions, supporting a damaged pediment over the tall central door. In the lunette is a bas-relief of St. Eustace with a stag. The interior is decorated with rich stucco work and gilding.
Events: Feast of Maria SS. Di Costantinopoli– 1st Tuesday in March. The celebration includes fireworks displays.
Sagra della cipolla (Feast of the Onion)- October. The celebrations include the tasting of locally made delicacy, calzone, a cake stuffed with red onions.
Economy: The territory is agricultural, devoted to the cultivation of wine-grapes, olives, fruits, vegetables and almonds. The city is a center for distilling.
Acquaviva d’Isernia (IS): A commune in the province of Isernia.
Area: 13.73 km². Alt. 730 m. CAP: 86080. Tel. Pref.: 0865. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 41°40’23″16 N/Long 14°8’59″28 E. Population Information: 468 (2006e); 468 (2001); 531 (1991). % Change in Population from 1991 to 2001: . Population Density (2001): / km². Inhabitants Designation: .
Location & Setting: Located 18 km. NW of Isernia, it is situated on a hill to the right of the torrent Rio (Volturno). Part of the Comunità Montana del Volturno.
Economy: Although agriculture still plays a vital economic role, the commune also is a center for animal husbandry (goats) and forestry. Tourism is now also becoming an increasing important factor.
Historic Population Figures: 713(1861); 765(1901); 838(1921); 749(1951); 585(1981); 468(2001).
History: Although the origins of the center are uncertain, archaeological evidence suggests that it has existed at least since the time of the ancient Samnites.
During the 20th century the town’s population was severely reduced due to emigration.
Major earthquakes struck in 1456, 1805, 1925, and 1984.
Points of Interest: To the N of the center stands the church of Madonna d’Assunta.
The Parish Church of S. Anastasio Martire.
Other churches include those of S. Maria Asunta and the Oratory of Santa Maria Rosaria.
There is an interesting castle.
Culture & Religion: Patron Saint(s): Sant’Anastasio (FD- 21/22 Jan).
Festival of S. Anastasio– evening of January 21/22. The ceremonies include the lighting of a big bonfire which is kept burning throughout the night. A procession follows and traditional stories are recited.
Acquaviva Platani (CL)(Arab. Michinese): (see full page)
Acquavona: A mountain pass (alt. 1050 m.) in the chain of M. Reventino, part of the Calabrian Apennines.
Acque Basse, Canale: A canal (length: 12 km) in the province of Foggia (Puglia). Stretching from Masseria Caroppi near Lesina, it captures the waters of the Parata before emptying into the Lago di Lésina near Foce Vecchia Càldoli.
Acquedolci (ME): A commune in the province of Messina.
Area: 12.96 km². Alt. 15 m. CAP: 98070. Tel. Pref.: 0941. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 38°3’25″56 N/Long 14°34’58″44 E. Population: 5,436 (2004). 5,373 (2001); 5,122 (1991). % Change in Population from 1991 to 2001: . Population Density (2001): / km². Inhabitants Designation: Acquedolcesi.
Location & Setting: located 107 km W of Messina. It is situated on the N. (Tyrrhenian) coast of Sicily about 4 km. W of Sant’ Agata di Militello, to the W of Capo d’Orlando. Part of the Regione Agraria n. 4 – Montagna litoranea dei Nebrodi.
Economy: The economy is based on agriculture (cereals, olives, citrus) and processing factories. Local handicrafts center on marble working and woodworking.
Historic Population Figures: 109(1861); 757(1901); 895(1921); 3,572(1951); 4,925(1981); 5,373(2001).
History: The town’s name, meaning “sweet water”, is believed to derive from the sugar cane introduced into the area by the Saracens in medieval times. This crop survived until c1700.
There is evidence of a harbor existing here in Hellenistic times.
During the 17th and 18th centuries it was a fief of the Princes of Palagonia.
In 1922 the center was founded as a frazione after a landslide damaged nearby San Fratello (ME). It became an autonomous commune in 1969.
Major earthquakes struck in 1978 and 1990.
Points of Interest: The Grotta di S. Teodoro (on M. Castellaro) was the site of prehistoric habitation. It measures 60 meters in length, 20 meters in width, and up to 20 m in height. Excavators have discovered artifacts including stone implements and animal remains. The walls are decorated with several drawings. It appears to have been the site of a settlement of the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Eras (20,000 to 6,000 BC). Researchers have found what is believed to be some of the earliest skeletal remains of woman ever found in Europe. About 30 years of age at her death, “Thea” (as she has been named) dates to c9000 BC.
The principal religious monument is the church of S. Benedetto “il Morro”.
Other churches include those of Santa Anna and S. Giacomo.
The commune has remains of a 14th century castle and a fortified tower built by Charles V.
Culture & Religion: Patron Saint(s): S. Benedetto “il Morro” (FD- Apr.5).
Festival of S. Benedetto- Apr. 5.
Cattle Fair- May 14-15
Festival of the Emigrants- summer.
Acquoso, Rio: A waterway of Molise. It is formed from the union of two branches: the Rio San Pietro (length: 7 km) which descends from Monte Marrone (1805 m), and the Rio Molinello (length: 5 km) which originates on Monte Marrone under the name of Rio Petrara. Its waters flow into the River Volturno in the Colli al Volturno at a point 86 km from Campobasso.
Acradina: Ancient name for Capo Santa Panagia (SR), a promontory that forms the S end of the Golfo di Augusta.
Acrae: Latin name for Akrai, a town in eastern Sicily, founded by Syracuse in 664 BC.
Acrae (Acra) (mod. Palazzolo Acreide [SR]). A town in ancient Sicily located to the southwest of Syracuse, between the rivers Anapus and Tellaro. West of modern Palazzuolo Acreide, it sat on a flat-topped, hill. The steep sides of the hill made the place approachable only on one side. The town was founded in 665/664 BC by colonists from Syracuse on a site periodically inhabited since Paleolithic times. The colony was founded as a fortified outpost to guard an important approach to Syracuse. The town appears periodically in history in events linked to Syracuse. Dion stopped here in 357 BC during his expedition against Dionysius II. In 263 BC, Acrae was mentioned in a treaty between Hieron II of Syracuse and the Romans as one of the towns that would come under the jurisdiction of Syracuse. During the 1st Century AD Pliny the Elder mentioned it as having the status of a civitates stipendiariae. Although it disappears from history thereafter, archaeological evidence shows that the town remained active well into the late Empire. The town was probably destroyed in AD 827 during the Saracen invasion.
Acragas (Akragas; Lat. Agrigentum): Ancient Greek name for Agrigento. It was second in power and wealth in ancient Greek Sicily only to its rival Syracuse. At its height of power and wealth, Acragas had a population of about 200,000, although only c20,000 of these held full rights as citizens. Acragas derived its great wealth from exports of grain, wine and olive oil. The origin of the city’s name is uncertain. One of the many theories is that it derives from Akragante, identified in some myths as the city’s founder.
Acragas, River: Ancient name for the small river S. Biagio (formerly Girgenti) in southern Sicily. It emptied into the Africum pelagus below Agrigentum.
Acri (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza.
Region: Calabria. Province: Cosenza.
Elevation: 720 m. Area: 198.58 km². Population: 21,468 (2006e); 21,669 (2004). Pop. Density: 110/km² (2004).
Coordinates: Lat. 39°29’38” N/Long. 16°23’4″ E.
Location & Setting: Located 38 km. NE of Cosenza, it is situated along the left bank of the river Mucone, at the edge of the Sila. Part of Comunità Montana Destra Crati. Part of Regione Agraria n. 3 – Sila Greca. Part of Parco Nazionale della Sila.
Frazioni: Calamia, Casalinella, Cerasello, Chimento, Cuta, Duglia, Ferrante, Foresta, Gioia, Guglielmo, Macchia, Montagnola, Pagania Vallonecupo, Pagania Vallonecupo II, Pantalia, Pantano d’Olmo, Pertina, Piano d’Arnice, Pietramorella, Pietremarine, Policaretto, Salici, San Benedetto, San Giacomo, San Martino, Seggio, Serricella, Sorvo, Ternita, Timpone Morte, Vagno, Vallonecupo.
Tel. Prefix: 0984. Postal Code: 87041.
Population Designation: Acresi.
Patron Saint (s): Bl. Angelo. Feast Day: Oct. 30.
History: Acri’s history has been one of numerous battles, the most significant occurring in 1806. It was long held as a fief by the Princes of Bisignano.
Major earthquakes struck in 1836, 1887, 1905, 1908, 1913, 1930, 1947, and 1980.
Historic Population Figures: 12,032(1861); 13,132(1901); 14,252(1921); 20,239(1951); 20,615 ; 21,189(1981); 21,891 (2001); 23,190 .
Famous Natives & Residents:
Points of Interest:
Historical Sites and Monuments: Neolithic remains have been discovered in the area.
The center still contains traces of ancient walls. The principal monument is a 17th century Palazzo of the Princes of Bisignano.
There is a ruined 15th century castle.
The Palazzo dei Sanseverino was built by the Princes of Bisignano during the 14th and 16th centuries. It was extensively restored in 1720 by Stefano Mangerio. It has some interesting frescoes featuring allegorical figures of Time and Eternity.
Churches and Religious Sites: The Romanesque Mother Church of S. Maria Santissimma stands on the sites of an early Christian sanctuary.
The Chiesa Parrocchiale was reconstructed in the 18th century upon the remains of an earlier structure. Its interior contains some excellent paintings.
Other important churches are those of the 18th century Cappuccini church (formerly of S. Chiara)(18th century), with some fine wooden statues and oil paintings; the 16th century church of S. Francesco da Paola (restored in the 18th century) and the 15th century church of S. Nicola di Salas.
Festival of S. Giuseppe- Mar. 19.
Festival of Bl. Angelo- Oct. 30.
Economy: It is an important agricultural trade center dealing in wine, olives, salted meats (sausage), cattle and pigs. An important hydroelectric station is located here. Acri is a trade center for salted meats (sausage), cattle, swine, olive oil and wine.
Acri, Francesco: (b. 1836, Catanzaro. d. 1913, Bologna). Philosopher. He began his teaching career as a professor at the University of Palermo. In 1871, he taught the history of philosophy at Bologna. He opposed the concepts of Idealism and Positivism, preferring mysticism and Platonic doctrines. His most important philosophical work was the Abbozzo d’una teoria delle idee (1870). Acri also made an important contribution to the study of legends. He produced significant studies of both Italian and classical traditions. He was an expert on the works of Plato. Among Acri’s other works were Videmus in aenigmate (1907), Amore, dolore, fede (1908), Dialettica turbata (1911), and Dialettica serena (posth.1917).
Acrilla (or Acrillae): An ancient Sicilian town of uncertain location. It is known to have stood near Syracuse in E Sicily. Some scholars have identified it with modern Giarratana [RG]. The town was mentioned in the writings of the historian Stephanus of Byzantium and is thought to have been the site of Marcellus’s victory over Hippocrates in 214 BC.
Acron (Acrone, Acronis): (fl. 5th century BC). A famous Greek physician, he was the son of Xenon, and was a native of Akragus (mod. Agrigento) in Sicily. Many scholars consider him to be the founder of the school of empirical practice. He is known to have moved to Athens where he helped to found a medical and philosophical school. He is credited with stopping a terrible plague in Athens by inventing fumigation (i.e. lighting large smoky fires and purifying the air with perfumes). According to Suidas, he was the author of several medical works written in the Doric dialect.
acropolis: (=high city). The citadel of an ancient Greek settlement, normally located on its highest elevation.
Acrotatus: (fl. late 4th Century BC). King of Sparta. In 314 BC, he responded to an appeal for help from Akragas, then being threatened by Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse. Acrotatus sailed to Sicily and took over the defense of Akragas. The harshness which he used to rule the city aroused the citizens to expel him. He returned home to Sparta and died soon after.
Acton: An English/Irish family, which arose in the 14th century at Aldenham Hall, Shropshire, England. Many of its members were to significantly affect the political and military affairs of the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Its first member of note was Edward Acton, created an English baron in 1643 as a reward for his loyalty to the Stuarts. A later namesake, who worked as a physician at Besançon, in France, was the father of John Francis Edward Acton, who inherited the title in 1791. The latter’s brother was Joseph Edward Acton (1737-1808), who founded the Neapolitan branch of the family.
Acton, Alfredo: (b. 1867, Castellammare di Stabia. d. 1934, Naples). Admiral. During his career he participated in several campaigns throughout the world: Mesewa (Ethiopia), Crete (1938), the Far East, and Libya. During World War I, he commanded a combined Italian-English naval force in the lower Adriatic, playing an important role in the naval battle at Otranto (May, 1917). After the war, he became head of the General Staff of the Admiralty.
Acton, Charles (Carlo): (b. Aug. 25, 1829, Naples. d. Feb. 2, 1909, Portici). Operatic composer and pianist. His principal work was Una cena in convitto.
Acton, Charles Januarius Edward: (b.1803, Naples. d. June 23, 1847, Naples). Ecclesiastic. Son of Sir John Francis Edward Acton (d.1736-1811) of Shropshire, England, he was educated in England (London and Cambridge) and at Rome (Academia Ecclesiastica), where he studied for the priesthood. In 1828, he served as papal attaché; to the Nuncio Lambruschini at Paris. After acting as vice-delegate (legate) at Bologna and as an assistant judge of the civil court at Rome, he became papal auditor (1837). In 1842, he became a cardinal under Pope Gregory XVI. After the restructuring of the Catholic hierarchy, he became procurator of the department of England in the eighth apostolic vicariate.
Acton, Ferdinando: (b. 1832, Naples. d. 1891, Rome). Admiral. In 1860, he transferred with the grade of captain of frigate from the Bourbon Navy to the Italian navy. From 1881 to 1884 he served as Minister of the Navy; later becoming President of the Supreme Council and head of the General Staff of the Admiralty.
Acton, Guglielmo: (b. 1825, Castellammare di Stabia. d. 1896, Naples). Naval officer and statesman. A Captain of frigate in the navy of the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, after the defeat of the Bourbons he transferred to the Italian navy as a ship’s captain. He served with distinction during the battle of Lissa. From 1870 to 1872 he was Minister of the Navy, becoming a Senator in 1871. In 1879 he was promoted to Vice-Admiral. He served a second term as Minister of the Navy from 1879 to 1881.
Acton, Lord John Emerich Dalberg- (1st Baron Acton of Aldenham): (b. Jan. 10, 1834, Naples. d. Jan. 19, 1902, Tegernsee, Bavaria). Historian. He was a grandson of Sir John Francis Edward Acton. After studying under Döllinger at Monaco, he became an important figure in the Liberal Democrat party in Great Britain. He served in the British parliament for 5 years. A close friend of Gladstone (who awarded him the title of baron), he earned a reputation as an historian and book collector. He was the planner for the Cambridge Modern History.
Acton, Sir John Francis Edward: (b. 1736, Besançon, France. d. Aug. 12, 1811, Palermo). Adventurer and statesman. The son of an English doctor, Edward Acton, he served for a time in the French and Tuscan navies, rising to the rank of Captain. In 1775, he participated as the captain of a Tuscan frigate, in the campaign of Charles III against Algiers. During this action, he distinguished himself by assuming command at a critical moment, thus saving 3 to 4 thousand Neapolitans and Spaniards. A man of ambition, he had a keen sense of opportunity. In 1778, he saw such opportunity in Naples and entered the service of the Bourbon rulers. It did not take him long to the attention of the sovereigns. Driven forward by unbridled ambition, Acton used his innate intelligence and skills to win the favor of the Austrian-born Queen Maria Carolina. His rise to power thereafter was a swift one. By 1779, he was named Minister of the Navy; a year later, he became Minister of War. From 1784 to 1798, Acton held the office of Prime Minister. Queen Maria Carolina had a private agenda to pull Naples out from under the strong influences of Spain and turn it into a puppet of the Austrian Hapsburgs. In Acton, she discovered an ally and weapon in her quest. Left free of any interference, Acton was successful in carrying out the Queen’s wishes. This achievement earned him still more power. In 1789 he became Foreign Minister and President of the Council. With these appointments, added to those he already held, Acton became the effective ruler of Naples in all but name. His determination to gain and hold power by whatever cruel or brutal means necessary established the tradition of repression that so marked the final decades of the Bourbon kingdom. In many ways, Acton can be considered the catalyst, which sparked the series of events leading to the ultimate fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. For all of his cunning and scheming ways, Acton was an ardent supporter of the Old Order. He admired the despotism of the Hapsburgs and opposed the concepts of democracy and liberty of the French Revolution. This opposition blinded him to the changes taking place in Europe; changes that were to bring about his own downfall. In 1806, the army of Napoleon entered southern Italy and captured Naples. Acton fled with the Royal family to Sicily to avoid capture and died in exile in Palermo. Through papal dispensation, he was allowed to marry his niece, the eldest daughter of his brother, General Joseph Edward Acton (b. 1737). The marriage produced three children, the two most important being Sir Richard Acton (father of the first Lord Acton) and Charles Januarius Edward Acton (1803-1847).
Acton, Ruggiero Emerich: (b. 1834, Naples d. 1901, Naples). Admiral. He served with distinction at Palermo during the suppression of the uprising of in Sept. 19-21, 1866. His service as a naval commander at the battle of Lissa earned him the Medaglia d’oro al Valor Militare (Medal of gold to the Military Valor).
Acuto: (fl. 12th century). Sculptor. He produced a number of significant works in his native Abruzzo, including the pulpit of the church of S. Angelo a Pianella and, possibly, the portico of the monastery of S. Clemente di Causauria.
Ad Angitulam>: A town in ancient Bruttium located at the mouth of the river Angitula, between Ad Turres and Nicotera, on the Via Aquilia.
Ad Calorem>: A town in ancient Lucania, situated on the river Calor, between Ad Silarum and Marcelliana.
Ad Canales (1)>: (mod. Canile). A town of ancient Messapia, located below Mt. Aulon, to the WNW of Tarentum.
Ad Canales (2)>: An ancient town of the Samnite Pentri, on the Via Trentana, between Ad Pirum and Bovianum.
Ad Decimum>: A town in ancient Calabria, on the Via Egnatina, between Egnatia and Speluncae.
Ad Duodecim>: (mod. Borgogne). A town in ancient Calabria located to the NW of Hydruntum.
Ad Honoratianum>: A town of the ancient Hirpini, in Samnium, located on the Via Numica between Ad Matrem Magnam and Venusia.
Ad Lanarium>: (mod. Campobello). A town in ancient Sicily located SW of Mazara.
Ad Matrem Magnam>: (mod. Villanova). A town of the ancient Hirpini, in Samnium. It was located near the source of the river Cerbalus, on the Via Numica between Equus Tuticus and Ad Honoratianum.
Ad Nonum>:>A town of the ancient Sidicini, in Campania, located between Pons Campanus and Casilinum.
Ad Novas>: (mod. Nova). A town in ancient Campania, located on the Via Appia between Calatia and Caudium.
Ad Octavum>:>A town of the ancient Sidicini, in Campania, located on the Via Appia between ancient Capua and Pons Campanus.
Ad Pinum>: (mod. Spinazzola). A town in ancient Lucania, located between Venusia and Opinum.
Ad Pirum>: (mod. Campolieto). A town in ancient Apulia located on the Via Frentana between Geronium and Ad Canales.
Adalberta: (fl. 2nd part of the 8th century). Wife of Arichis II. When her husband died in 787, she worked to have Charlemagne free Grimoald, the rightful heir to the power in Benevento.
Adam of Rottiwell:(fl 2nd half of the 15th century). Printer. He founded the first publishing house in the Abruzzi at L’Aquila. In 1482, he published a translation of the Lives of Plutarch by B.A. Iaconella of Rieti.
Adami, Gaetano: (b. 1848, Cosenza. d.?). Painter. He attended the Istituto di BBAA di Napoli where he studied under Domenico Morelli.
Adami, Giovanni Matteo: (b. 1574, Mazara del Vallo. d. 1623, Japan). Missionary and martyr. A Jesuit, he was sent to Japan in 1602 to do missionary work. During a persecution of Christian clerics he fled for a time to Macao. Returning to Japan, he was eventually arrested, tried and executed.
Adamucci, Antonio: (b. between 1750 and 1775, Naples. d. 1827, Paris). Physician. One of the forerunners of positivist thinking, he discounted the existence of the soul, the immaterial, or anything that cannot be scientifically examined or explained.
Addamo, Sebastiano: (b. Feb. 18, 1925, Catania. d. July 9, 2000, Catania). Educator and writer. He moved to Lentini [SR] where he became headmaster of the local liceo classico. During his career he contributed several articles of literary criticism to the publications Il Mattino and La Sicilia. His most significant publications are the fiction works Violetta (1963) and Un uomo fidato (1978), and the poetic works La metafora dietro di noi (1980) and Il giro della vite (1983). He spent his later years in his native Catania.
Addaura Caves (PA):An important archaeological complex of 3 caves at the base of the N slope of Monte Pellegrino (an associated cave, Grotta Niscemi, is located on the E slope), located about 8.5 km. NW of Palermo. It was discovered accidentally following the explosion of an ammunition dump towards the end of World War II. Scientific investigation has revealed that the caves were used during the Mid-Upper Paleolithic, prior to 35,000 BC, and in the later Copper and Early Bronze Ages. In 1952, researchers discovered a series of highly artistic Upper Paleolithic wall incisions depicting humans and animals in one cavern. The designs found here are considered the best examples for this type of art south of the Alps. The Addaura designs fall into three distinct styles. The earliest engravings consist mostly of lightly scratched animal figures of good quality. The middle stage is best represented by a well executed, deeply cut depiction of a deer, as well as one scene containing 17 human figures. Some scholars believe that these latter carvings depict a human sacrifice. One figure is shown lying down and bound. Two other figures are shown with raised arms. Some appear to be wearing bird or dog headed masks. These carvings appear to have similarities to those discovered at sites in the Sahara.
Addolorata (TP)>:>An agricultural community (alt. 9 m) located 4 km NE of Marsala, situated on Route #115 between Santa Vénere and Tabaccaro, in a plain to the NW of Capo Lilibeo.
Addone, Niccolo: (b. Potenza; fl. early 19th century). Rebel leader. He is best known for leading an unsuccessful attack against French-occupied Potenza.
Adeiperto: Bishop of Capua (r 944 – ?).
Adelaide di Monferrato (or di Savona; del Vasto): (b. c1075; d. Apr. 16, 1118). Countess of Sicily. Different sources identify her father as the daughter of the Marchese Manfredo or Boniface del Vasto, Marquis of western Liguria. She was the 3rd wife of Roger I, the “Great Count” of Sicily, marrying him in 1089. By him she became the mother of Sicily’s first king, Roger II. Widowed in 1101, she held the regency of Sicily until 1112, first for her oldest son, Simon, and then for the younger Roger II. King Baldwin of Jerusalem, seeking to possess her vast wealth, married her in 1113. After this marriage was annulled in 1117 she returned to Sicily, without her dowry, and died the following year. She was buried at Patti, in Sicily. Roger II became so incensed at his mother’s treatment at the hands of Baldwin, he refused to give any assistance to the Second Crusade, nearly three decades later.
Adelaide’s sister married Roger I’s illegitimate son, Jordan (Giordano), and her brother, Henry del Vasto, became lord of Paternò and Butera.
Adelais of Benevento>:>Duke of Benevento (rAD 730 or 732-33).
Adelchis (or Adelgisus): (d. 878). Prince of Benevento. He was the son of Radelchis I. He was a vassal of Ludovico (Ludwig) II, Lombard king of Italy, and succeeded his brother Radelgar to power in Benevento in 853 or 854. In 866, he issued laws to be enforced within the duchy as a supplement to the Lombard code for use in Benevento. Following an expansionist policy, he eventually gained control of Salerno and was the gastalato of Capua. During his reign he was able to successfully hold off hostile attacks from the Carolingian Franks, the Papacy, and the Saracens. In August, 871, he captured Emperor Louis II, releasing him only when a promise was made guaranteeing Adelchis’s sovereignty to the duchy. Once freed, Louis went to Rome where he was freed from his oath by Pope Adrian II. The Emperor, now seeking revenge on Adelchis, marched south again. Although he scored another victory over the Saracens at Capua, he was unable to harm Adelchis and finally departed again to the north. Despite his success against outside threats, Adelchis could do nothing against those from within and he was assassinated by a group of his own relatives.
Adelfer (Adelferio) of Amalfi:He usurped the Duchy of Amalfi in 984 while his brother, Manso I, was in Salerno. In 986 he and his wife Drosa were forced to flee to Naples when Manso returned to Amalfi.
Adelfia (BA):A commune (area: 29.73 km². alt. 154 m) in the province of Bari. Located 15 km. S of Bari, the two sections of the town (each formerly an independent center) are divided by a valley called the “lowland” or “marsh” of Montrone. A single bridge spans the chasm to link the two sections, which lie less than a kilometer from one another. Population: 17,070 (2007e); 17,020 (2006e); 16,824 (2004).
The communal territory is cultivated with vineyards, olive groves, and almond trees. Part of Regione Agraria n. 8 – Pianura di Bari. CAP: 70010. Tel. Pref.: 080. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 41°0’18″72 N/Long 16°52’21″00 E.
History: Adelfia was created on 29 September 1927 by the uniting of the two communes of Montrone and Canneto di Bari. Its name, adapted from the Greek word adelphòs (meaning “brotherhood”), reflects this unification. Montrone (med. Monte Roni) was originally a village founded by the Byzantines in 982 (although the site had been occupied in pre-Roman times by a Peucetican center, possibly Celiae), while Canneto (med. Cane) was a Norman foundation from 1071.
Throughout most of their history, Montrone and Canneto were feudal holdings. They only received the status of free communes with the abolition of feudalism in 1806.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the communes were largely depopulated due to emigration, mostly to the Americas.
Major earthquakes struck the area in 1731, 1980, and 1984.
Points of Interest: The Norman Tower is all that remains of a castle constructed from Alfonso Balbiano in 1153.
The church of the Principle (del Principio), founded if 1086, is so-named for a fresco it houses of la Vergine del Principio, reputedly discovered miraculously drawn on a cave wall.
The church of S. Nicola contains a painting of S. Francesco di Paola, attributed to Titian.
The Baroque church of the Concezione immacolata houses a reliquary of S. Vittoriano.
The church of Santa Maria della Stella, founded in 1186, underwent restoration during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The 14th century Marchesale Palazzo De’ Bianchi Dottula now houses a Museo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari.
The Castello Fascina is an excellent example of an 18th century fortified manor house from the Baroque period.
A monument to the Fallen commemorates the local citizens lost during the various campaigns of Italy in past centuries.
Archaeologists have discovered geometric ceramics dating from the 6th century BC. A pre-roman tomb has also been found dating from the 4th century BC.
Culture & Religion: Patron Saint(s): S. Trifone (FD-Nov10/11). S. Vittoriano (Canneto)- July.
Feast of Madonna della Stella– April.
Festival of S. Vittoriano (Canneto)- July.
Sagra dell’uva e delle Frittelle occurs in September.
Feast of S. Tifone- Nov 10/11. A procession and the lighting of bonfires figure into the ceremonies.
Adelgisus: See Adelchis.
Ademar of Capua: Duke of Capua (r999).
Adeodata: (fl. end of 6th Century AD). Sicilian noblewoman (inlustris femina). She is known from her correspondence with Pope St. Gregory I “the Great” (r AD 590 – 604) expressing her desire to enter a religious life.
Adeodatus (Deusdedit) I, St.: (b. Rome; d. Nov. 8, AD 618, Rome). Pope. (r Oct 19, 615-Nov 8, 618). He succeeded Boniface IV and was succeeded by Boniface V.
He supported the Roman/Byzantine Governor Eleutherius when the latter marched through Rome on his way south to crush the revolt of John of Compsa at Naples. Feast Day: Nov. 8.
Adeodatus (Deusdedit) II>: (b. Rome; d. June 17, 676, Rome). Pope (rAD Apr.11, 672-June 17, 676). He succeeded Vitalianus on the papal throne. The son of a Roman named Jovianus, he had been a monk, who was noted for his kindly, benevolent nature. Two of his papal letters are extant, one confirming the privileges granted to the monastery of St. Peter’s at Canterbury, and another granting privileges to the Gallic monastery of St. Martin’s of Tours. He was succeeded by Donus.
Adeona: An ancient Italic goddess of journeys and protector of travelers. The Romans incorporated her attributes into the goddess Juno. She protected children when they took their first steps away from home, watching over them until they safely returned.
Adephagia: A Greek goddess of Gluttony and Discord (or as some sources prefer “Good-Eating and Merriment”). She was worshipped in Sicily in connection with the harvest goddess Ceres.
Aderente, Vincente (aka Vincent Aderente): (b. 1880, Naples. d. 1941, Bayside, Long Island, NY,). Painter. Having immigrated to the United States, he became a nationally known portrait and mural painter. He first achieved fame at the age of 17 when he won several prizes at the Art Students League. As a result of this he was awarded the contract to decorate the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Ballroom. From there he went on to create many works in public buildings in Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, New York (Queens), and Washington, D.C. Among his best-known works are the Murals at the Keith Memorial Theater, Boston. MA and the frescoes of angels in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington, D.C. In 1935, he designs a series of government bonds using as his theme “Allegiance.”
Aderno (CT):former name for Adrano [CT].
Ades: See Hades.
Adhemar (Adhemar, Ademar, Ademarius) of Salerno>: Prince of Salerno (r853-861). Son and heir of the usurper Peter of Salerno. An unpopular ruler, he lost considerable authority and territory to the Counts of Capua. In 858, his situation was so threatened that he had to call on the assistance of Guy I of Spoleto, who demanded further territorial concessions. Thus able to survive, Adhemar was forced to turn control of the Liri River over to Guy as compensation.
Adhemar of Capua:Prince of Capua (999).
Adimari, Lodovico (or Ludovico): (b. 1644, Naples. d. 1708, Florence). Scholar and poet. Having served the Medici at Florence, he was forced into exile after the collapse of their power, living successively at Lucca, Bologna, and Mantua. In 1692, he returned to Florence where he eventually became a scholar of the Tuscan tongue in the Florentine Studio (1697). Adimari was the author of three dramas and several laudatory, sacred, and love poems. His best works are considered to be five Satires, published posthumously in 1716. Other works include Poesie sacre e morali (1696) and Prose sacre (1706). Accused of having killed his wife, he lost a commission from the Captain of Pietrasanta.
Admiral: A high state and military official in the Norman Sicily. The title originated as the Arabic amir al-bahr, meaning “Commander (emir) of the Sea.”
Adonis, Gardens of: In the ancient Greek cities founded in Sicily and Magna Graecia, the worship of the nature/vegetation god, Adonis, was very popular. A ritual to this deity was known as the Gardens of Adonis. These so-called gardens were actually baskets or pots filled with earth, in which wheat, barley, lettuces, fennel, and various kinds of flowers were sown and tended by women for eight days. Although the plants sprouted quickly and flourished, they lacked a root system and withered and died at the end of eight days. The dead plants were then bundled with images of Adonis and brought to the seashore or to a sacred spring, where they were flung into the water. After the rise of Christianity, the ritual of the Gardens of Adonis survived to become part of the Easter celebrations. As the holy day approached, women sowed wheat, lentils and canary seed in plates, which they kept in the dark and watered every two days. When the plants grew tall enough they were tied together in bundle with red ribbons. On Good Friday the plants in their plates were brought to both Catholic and Greek Rite churches where they were then placed on sepulchers with effigies of Christ. This practice, known as the “Gardens of Gethsemane” has survived into modern times in Sicily as well as at Cosenza in Calabria.
Adonis, Scarlet: A bright little flower found throughout Sicily. It received its name from the legend that it originally sprang from the blood of Adonis when he was slain by a wild boar.
Adorno (RC): Former name for the commune of Ardoro (RC).
Adorno, Giorgio: (d. 1558). Navigator. He served as Captain General of the Galleys for the Knights of Malta.
Adorno, Mario: (b. 1773, Siracusa. d. 1837, Siracusa). Lawyer and patriot. He participated in the uprising of the Carbonari in 1820-21. In 1837, he led an unsuccessful revolt in Siracusa against the Bourbon government. He was captured and executed with his son Carmelo.
Adrano (CT): (anc. Adranon, Adranum, Adranus, Hadranum; Arab. Adornu; formerly Aderno). A commune (Area: 82.51 km². Alt. 560 m) in the province of Catania. Located 36 km NW of Catania, on the SW slope of M. Etna, it is situated in a hilly region near the junction of the rivers Simeto and Salso, on a lava hill above the Simeto valley. Population: 35,984 (2006e); 35,611(2004). The town is a market center for wine, citrus fruit (especially oranges), pistachios, and honey. The surrounding territory is given over to agricultural cultivation (citrus fruits, olives, pistachios, and vegetables) and livestock breeding (cattle and sheep). Part of Regione Agraria n. 1 – Versante Occidentale dell’Etna. Part of Parco dell’Etna.
CAP: 95031. Tel. Pref.: 095. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 37°39’46″08 N/Long 14°50’8″16 E.
Inhabitants Designation: Adraniti.
Frazioni/Localities: Calcerana Marina, Sacro Cuore.
Historic Population Figures: 13,161(1861); 25,689(1901); 40,007(1921); 27,182(1951); 33,220(1981); 34,490(2001).
History: The town’s name derives from that of the Sikel god Adranos (or Hadranos). The area around Adrano had been inhabited since Neolithic times. A number of small Stentinello culture villages from the 6th and 5th millennia BC have been excavated.
The ancient town of Adranon was founded in c400 BC by Dionysius the Elder, tyrant of Syracuse, on the probable site of an earlier Sikel community dating from the Early Bronze Age. It was located near the chief temple of the Sikelian fire/volcano deity (H)adranos, from whom its name is derived. The Greeks soon assimilated Hadranos into their own deity Hephaestus.
In Greek times, the town was a place of some importance, guarding an important crossroads between Katane (Catania) and Henna (Enna). Timoleon conquered the place from Dionysius II in 343-42 BC. In 263 BC, the town was captured by the Romans. Much of the old town was destroyed at this time and a new settlement called Hadranum arose on the site. Pliny the Elder, writing in the 1st century AD, listed it among the stipendiariae civitates (cities liable to annual taxation). Diodorus Siculus and Plutarch also mention it as an insignificant place important only for its still-active temple. In spite of its lack of political and military importance, the town thrived economically throughout the Roman era.
The town survived the fall of the Roman Empire and came under the control of the Byzantines. The Saracens captured it during the 10th century. Called Adornu, the Saracen center flourished. When the Normans occupied the place (second part of the 11th century), the town’s name was altered to Aderno. As a fief (a county) of Count Roger I, Aderno underwent a major reconstruction. During the 14th century, the Aragonese King Federico II gave Aderno to Matteo Sclafani with the title of count. In 1360, it came under the control of the Moncada-Sclafani family. In 1549, ownership passed to the Moncada, Princes of Paterno, who continued to hold it until the abolition of feudalism in 1812. It suffered terrible damage during the terrible earthquake of 1693. In 1929, the town’s name was changed to Adrano.
The modern town suffered considerable damage during fighting between German and American forces in World War II. Many of its monuments have undergone restoration since the end of the war.
Major earthquakes struck in 1693, 1818, 1894, 1905, 1908, 1975, 1978, and 1990.
Points of Interest: The town still has many ancient Greek, Sikel, and Roman remains. The earliest remains include Early Bronze Age (8th century BC) pottery (Castellucian) and bronzes from Mendolito (the “Mendolito hoard”), the site of the Sikel settlement. Among these are a necropolis (7th – 5th centuries BC), remains of walls and towers (from the Dionysian city), and some ancient buildings (Roman thermae and temples). Long stretches of the southern stretch of the ancient lava-stone fortification circuit walls still survive in the district of Mendolito, much of it having been incorporated into defensive works of later date. The walls were constructed from isodomic blocks of lava stone. They are also are especially well preserved along their E stretch (in the Cartalemi district). At the NE end a rectangular tower has been incorporated into the church of S. Francesco. These walls mark the E and W boundaries of the ancient city. A steep ravine defended the S side. Of the N defenses nothing remains, having been obliterated by modern buildings. Other ancient remains include some houses from the 4th century BC in which were discovered pottery of Italiote manufacture and some coins of the same era. None of the monuments of the city (including the famous sanctuary of Hadranos) have yet been found. Part of an archaic necropolis, located to the SE of the city in Sciare Manganelli, has been excavated. The graves discovered here are unlike those typically found in ancient Sicily. They consist of crude circular edifices built of basalt stone, similar in nature to the tholoi in Mycenaean Greece. The grave goods, including some small bronze artifacts, are now housed in the Archaeological Museum located in the Norman Castello.
Of the medieval remains, the most important is the rectangular Norman Castello founded by Count Roger I in 1070 upon the ruins of an earlier Saracen fortification. It includes a rectangular keep, modified in the 14th, 15th centuries (1640-56), and 19th centuries (1811). Rising to a height of about 36 m., the complex’s four wings are surrounded by defensive corner turrets. Housed within is the Museo Archeologico Etneo. Among the artifacts included here are pieces of pottery dating from the early Bronze Age. On the first two floors of the museum are collected prehistoric artifacts from the Stentinello and Castelluccio sites. On the 2nd floor are artifacts from Mendolito, including a hanging Ascos and a 6th century BC bronze figurine known as the “Il Banchettante.” A small Norman chapel (2nd floor) has an apse decorated with a fresco (relating the story of Countess Adelasia, granddaughter of Count Roger I [see below]) and contains a collection of coins from the ancient town. On the 3rd floor is a mediocre collection of paintings.
The Bellini Theater dates to 1846.
The most important religious monument is the Norman Chiesa Madre, or church of the Maria SS. Assunta, containing some good artworks in its Norman interior. It has three aisles divided by 16 basalt columns taken from an ancient Greek temple. In the N aisle is a 15th century painted crucifix, now in poor condition, and above the W door is a 16th century polyptych of the Messina School. The campanile, built in reinforced concrete, remained incomplete. The church underwent restoration during the 17th century. The transept is decorated by paintings of Zoppo di Ganci.
The church of S. Francesco contains a beautiful 17th century wooden crucifix created by Fra. Umile da Petralia.
The church of S. Agostino preserves a fine engraved marble altar.
Other religious monuments include the churches of SS. App. Filippo e Giacomo, Santa Lucia (founded 1156; rebuilt 1775), and Chiesa del Rosario (18th century), and the Dominican Convent (1596).
The Norman Countess Adelasia in 1157/8 founded the ex-monastery of Santa Lucia outside the town walls. The present building, dating from 1596, is now used as a school. A second restoration, which includes the façade, occurred in the 18th century. The high 3-storied twin-bell-towered façade of the church dates from 1775. The charming interior has an oval central area.
To the E of the town, in Contrada Cartalemi, are remains of a 4th century BC temple of Demeter and of the ancient Greek circuit walls.
In the district of Mendolito, to the NW of the center, are the remains of a Sikel town. Traces of its fortifications can still be seen. One of the most interesting finds here is a long, untranslated inscription in the Sikel tongue.
About 8 km. W of the center, near Cárcaci, is the 14th century Ponte dei Saraceni, a bridge over the river Simeto.
To the SW of Adrano, at the foot of a volcanic plateau on the river Simeto is Eurelios. Completed in 1982, it among the largest solar-energy complexes in Europe. It is a combined French-German-Italian enterprise consisting of 182 computer-controlled mirrors to collect solar rays.
Cappella del Castello,
Chiesa S. Maria della Catena,
Chiesa di S. Francesco,
Chiesa di S. Pietro,
Chiesa del Rosario,
Chiesa del Salvatore,
Chiesa di S. Agostino,
Chiesa e Monastero di S. Lucia,
Chiesa S. Antonio Abate,
Chiesa S. Antonio di Padova,
Chiesa Di SS. Apostoli Filippo e Giacomo,
Chiesa di S. Chiara,
Chiesa SS. Cristo della Colonna,
Chiesa del Crocifisso,
Chiesa di Gesù e Maria,
Chiesa di S. Leonardo,
Chiesa della Madonna delle Grazie,
Chiesa di S. Maria degli Angeli,
Chiesa di Maria SS. Della Catena,
Chiesa di S. Nicola, Chiesa di S. Paolo,
Chiesa dello Spirito Santo,
Culture & Religion: Patron Saint(s): San Nicolò Politi (3 Aug).
Passion Play- Easter time. This is one of the most Passion Plays in Sicily.
Exhibit-Market of Artistic and Commercial Handicrafts- July.
Feast of San Nicolò Politi- Aug 3.
The author of an early 20th century guide book warned travelers that the local inhabitants of the town “had a bad name.”
Adranodorus: (b. Syracuse; fl. 3rd century BC). General. He was the tutor of Hieronymus, the 15-year-old grandson and successor of Hieron II, tyrant of Syracuse. Hieronymous was a member of the pro-Carthaginian faction of Syracuse, opposing the pro-Roman feelings of Hieron. After the death of Hieronymus (214 BC), Andranodorus favored the new republican government formed to replace the tyranny. Later, following an unsuccessful attempt to seize power for himself, he was put to death. He was married to Damarata, daughter of Hieron II.
Adranon (AG):An ancient settlement, believed to have been of Sikan origins, located on Monte Adranone (1000 m), on the road between Contessa Entellina (PA) and Sambuca di Sicilia (AG). Excavations, begun in 1968, have revealed the remains on a Greek colony established here in the 6th century BC probably established by Selinunte (Selinus). This Greek town was destroyed at the end of the 5th century BC by the Carthaginians who established their own settlement here. Excavations have revealed the remains of a walled sanctuary of Punic design. The site was abandoned after being captured by the Romans in 263 BC. The site has a small museum located near an Iron Age necropolis. Here is found the so-called Tomba della Regina, notable for its interesting entrance. There are several other tombs here dating from the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The site also contains the remains of walls, the S gate of the circuit wall and a sanctuary. Part of the acropolis is located to the NE.
Adranos (or Hadranos):A Sikel god often identified with the Phoenician deity Adramelech. It is believed that Adranos was originally a fire-god connected with Mt. Etna. It is certain that he had some link with the volcano. His name is believed to derive from the Sikel word adar (=fire). According to one legend, Adranos was the father of the Palici, a particular class of Sikel deity. The Greeks later assimilated Adranos into their own fire-god, Hephaistos. The Romans did the same with their god Vulcan. The sacred Sikel shrine of Adranos was located on the slope of Mt. Etna, near the ancient city of Adrano. Although this city was of far later date that the shrine, the coins minted here during the time of Timoleon (2nd half of the 4th century BC) show that the god was still venerated but that he had been changed into a river deity. According to legend the shrine was guarded by 1,000 sacred dogs that would welcome any honest man with friendship but would attack and kill drunkards and thieves.
Adranum (or Hadranum) (mod. Adrano):>An ancient town in Sicily located at the SW foot of Mt. Etna, situated on the river Adranus, near its junction with the river Cyamosurus. Founded by Dionysius the Elder, it was famous for its shrine to the god Adranus (Hadranus), from whom it derived its name.
Adranus, River:A river in ancient Sicily. Rising in the Nebrodes Mountains, it joins with the Cyamosurus to form the river Symaethus.
Adria (1): An ancient name for the Adriatic Sea. In a more narrow sense, it was applied to that part of the Mediterranean Sea, which lies between Crete and Sicily. Also see Adriatic Sea.
Adria (2): Sometimes called Adriatide. A hypothetical land that was said to have connected the Gargano promontory on Puglia to the coast of Dalmatia. Adria supposedly broke up and sank over the eons of geological time. The Tremiti Islands are believed by some to be a remnant of this ancient land.
Adria (or Hadria) (3):Ancient name for modern Atri (TE). Probably founded by the Etruscans in Picenum, it was later a Roman settlement. Adria was hometown of the family of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Adria, Giovanni Giacomo: (b. Mazara, Sicily; d.1560). Physician. He was the personal physician to Emperor Charles V, who ennobled him. Charles appointed him as proto-medicus (chief physician) of Sicily.
Adrian: Also see Hadrian.
Adrian, St. (called “the African”): (b. North Africa; d.AD 709 or 710). Monk. He spent much of his life near Naples as the head of a Benedictine abbey at Nerida. His reputation brought him to the attention of Pope Vitalian, who wished to appoint him as Archbishop of Canterbury, in Saxon England. Adrian refused the offer and recommended Theodore, a Greek monk, for the honor. The Pope agreed, but only on the condition that Adrian would accompany Theodore as his advisor. In 668, Adrian and Theodore departed for England. Thereafter, Adrian dedicated much of his time to teaching, making certain that the monks under his care were knowledgeable in Latin and Greek. According to legend, his body remained in perfect condition for centuries after his death. He is often called St. Adrian of Canterbury.
Adrian (Hadrian) I: (b. Rome; d. 795).Pope (rAD Feb. 1/9, 772- Dec. 25/26, 795). The son of a Roman noble named Theodorus, he was orphaned at an early age and received a good education before entering the church. He succeeded Stephan III on the papal throne. Dante incorrectly states that it was Adrianus who crowned Charlemagne as Emperor. Threatened by the Lombard king Desiderius, Adrian successfully appealed to Charlemagne to invade northern Italy. This invasion ended the Lombard kingdom of Italy and secured the temporal power of the Papacy. He was succeeded by Leo III.
Adrian (Hadrian) II: (b. AD 792, Rome; d. Dec. 14, 872). Pope. (rDec 14, 867-Dec 14, 872). A native of Rome, he succeeded Nicholas I. and was succeeded by John VIII.
Adrian (Hadrian) III: (b. Rome; d. cSept. 885, Modena). Pope. (rMay 17, 884-cSept. 885). He succeeded Marinus I and was succeeded by Stephen V.
Adrian (Hadrian) IV (Nicholas Breakspeare): (b. c1100, Hertfordshire, England; d. Sept. 1, 1159, Anagni (FR)). Pope. (rDec 4, 1154-Sept. 1, 1159). The only pope of English ancestry, he succeeded Anastasius IV and was succeeded by Alexander III.
Adrian (Hadrian) V (Ottobuono de’ Fieschi): (b. c1205, Genoa; d. Aug. 18, 1276, Viterbo). Pope. (rJuly 11, 1276-Aug. 18, 1276). He succeeded Innocent V and was succeeded by John XXI.
Adrian (Hadrian) VI (Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens): (b. Mar. 2, 1459, Utrecht; d. Sept. 14, 1523, Rome.). Pope. (rJan 9, 1522-Sept 14, 1523). He succeeded Leo X and was succeeded by Clement VII.
Adriani, Achille: (b. 1905, Naples. d. 1982). Archaeologist. He became a professor at the University of Palermo in 1948 and later served as director of the Greco-Roman Museum at Alexandria, Egypt. His principal field of study was Greek art, especially that of Alexandria. One of principal projects was the search for the tomb of Alexander the Great. Despite many years of research on the subject, he never published his work. One of his students, Professor Nicola Bonacasa, later studied Adriani’s notes and lectures and postulated that the famed tomb was located in the Latin cemetery in Alexandria.
Adriatic Sea (Lat. Adriaticum Mare; It. Mare Adriatico):Known in Roman times as the Adria or Mare Adriaticum, it is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea that separates the Balkan Peninsula (to the E) and the Italian mainland (to the W and NW). Some Latin writers also called it mare superum (Upper Sea), while Pliny the Elder preferred the name Atriaticum. Landlocked on three sides, it is open only to the S where it connects with the Ionian Sea, through the Strait of Otranto. It measures about 804 km. (or, according to some sources, 783 km) in length and has an area of about 132,085 km². It varies in breadth from a maximum of 225 km, near its center, to only 93 km at the Strait of Otranto on its southern end. It has an average depth of 242 m. with a maximum depth of 1,399 (or 1,280) m. The Adriatic skirts S. Italy along the coasts of Abruzzo, Molise and Puglia. The most significant feature of the coastline is the Golfo di Manfredonia beside the province of Foggia. The Adriatic derives its name from that of Adria, an ancient Etruscan-Roman port city located in the modern Italian province of Rovigo, Veneto region. Adria’s name, in turn probably derives from the ancient Illyrian word adur (= water, sea). Changes in the sea level have now left the site of Adria over 20 km inland.
There are over 1,000 islands in the Adriatic, mostly off the eastern coast. Of the Italian Adriatic Islands, the Tremiti group, off the Gargano Peninsula, is the most significant.
Adryx: An ancient maritime town in Sicily situated between Acis and Catana.
Ad Sabbatum: A town in ancient Bruttium located on the river Sabbatus, on the Via Aquilia between Consentia and Ad Turres.
Ad Samarum: a town of the Pentri, in ancient Samnium, situated near the source of the river Tamarus, between Bovianum and Equus Tuticus.
Ad Silarum: An ancient village in Lucania, situated on the river Silarus, between Ad Tanarum and Ad Calorem.
Ad Tanarum: An ancient maritime town of the Picentini, on the river Tanarus, near its mouth, between Picentia and Paestum.
Ad Templum Veneris: A town in ancient Calabria situated on the Via Egnatia between Norva and Egnatia (mod. Monte San Pietro).
Ad Tropea: An ancient town of the Bruttii situated on the Tyrrhenian coast, near Portus Herculis.
Ad Turres: An ancient town of Bruttii. It was situated on the Via Aquilia, between Ad Sabbatum and Angitula (mod. Maida).
Ad Undecimum (Furfane): A town of ancient Apulia situated on the Via Egnatia, between Herdonia and Canusium.
Ad Vicesimum:A town in ancient Lucania, between Cylistarnus and Thurii.
adytum (adito): From the Greek aduton (= a place not to be entered). It was a term used in ancient times for cave-sanctuaries and for the innermost chambers of Greek temples where oracles were received and mystery rites were performed. Such places were off-limits to all but priests and the initiated.
Aeaea (or Aia): An island mentioned in the Odyssey where the sorceress Circe made her home. It is uncertain exactly which island Homer was referring to although it appears to have been either Aegusa (mod. Favignana) or another isle somewhere off the east or west coasts of the Italian mainland.
Aebalia: An alternate name for ancient Tarentum.
Aecae (Aeca, Aecani, Aecas) (>mod. Troja [FG])>: Ancient name for the Puglian city of Troja (Troia). It lay within the confines of Samnium and originally belonged to the Samnite Hirpini or the Daunian Apulians. The city lay of the Via Traiana between Beneventum and Brundisium (or on the Via Egnatia, between Equus Tuticus and Ad Pirum). Captured by Hannibal in 216 BC during the the 2nd Punic war, it was retaken by the Romans in 214 BC. Under the early Empire, a colony was established there and the city was renamed Colonia Augusta Apula. Its citizens may have been enrolled in the Papiria voting tribe. Pliny the Elder called the place Aecani and Aecas.
Aeclanuii: See Vertumnus.
Aeclanum (sometimes Aeculanum) (It. Eclano; mod. Mirabella Eclano) (AV): An ancient Oscan city of the Hirpini-Samnites, located 24 km E of modern Benevento and 30 km NE of Avellino, in the communal territory of Mirabella Eclano. It was situated on the Via Appia where the Via Aeclanensis split away to later join the Via Traina Nova at Herdoniae. This position on a major road junction made Aeclanum an important market town in Roman times. During the Roman Civil Wars it was attacked and occupied by Sulla (89 BC). Soon recovered from this disaster, it became a municipium. During the 2nd century, it achieved the high status of a colonia. During Christian times a bishopric was established here. Giuliano, a disciple of Pelagius and the opponent of St. Augustine, was born here. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Aeclanum continued to survive until AD 668 the Emperor Constans II destroyed the city during his Italian campaign. After this incident it disappears from history. The city was situated on an irregular promontory overlooking the river Calore to the S. To the N ran the Via Appia along the crest of a ridge. Although excavations have shown that the town was inhabited long before Roman times, most of the surviving remains are Roman constructions. The surviving fortifications consist of circuit walls and towers dating from the 2nd quarter of the 1st century BC. Built of opus quasi-reticulatum, they show signs of significant repair work from a slightly later date. The graffiti left on these walls have proven an important source in the study of ancient Roman epigraphy. One of the most important of the surviving monuments is a bath (thermae) originally built during the time of Augustus and later modified. The excavated building measures about 60 m by 40 m. The surviving walls of the bath rise over 3 meters in height and enclose several bathing rooms, pools, and latrines. A circular area located about 150 meters S of the baths has been identified as the remains of an amphitheater.
Aeculanum (Aeclanum)>: (mod. Le Grotte, near Mirabella Eclano (AV)). Ancient town of the Hirpini, in Samnium. It was situated on the Via Appia, to the ESE of Beneventum.
Aedile: A Roman magistrate who oversaw the running of the public games, public places, and the grain supply for the city of Rome. Four aediles were elected each year, two of which were required to be plebians. The two others, known as curule aediles, might be either plebians or patricians. The aediles were charged with a number of detailed duties. They saw to the general welfare of Rome and its inhabitants, keeping the peace, overseeing public works (buildings, aqueducts, baths, etc) and procuring the necessary food and other provisions for Rome. They were also changed with regulation of weights and measures.
The title of aedile derived from the Latin word aedes (=building), an apparent reference to their original function as overseers of public works. As Roman culture and government spread throughout Italy, aediles were elected in all of the municipal towns.
Aeeae: One of the Aegadian Islands.
Aegadian Islands: See Aegates.
Aegates (>Aegades, Aegusae, Aegadian) Islands >(=>goat islands) (TP): Ancient name for the Isole Egadi, a group of small, rocky islands off the W coast of Sicily. Total area: 70 square miles. They consist of three principal islands: Aegusa (mod. Favignana), Phorbantia (or Bucinna; mod. Levanzo), and Hiera (or Maretima; mod. Marettimo); and two lesser ones, Formica and Marsone. They are now under the jurisdiction of the province of Trapani. The archipelago’s ancient Greek name means “Goat Islands”, so-called for the wild goats found there. In 241 BC the Roman fleet under Lutatius Catulus achieved an important naval victory over the Carthaginians under Hanno in the waters off these islands. This victory brought an end to the First Punic War, leaving Sicily in Roman hands as their first overseas province. In 1874, the Florio family of Palermo purchased the islands from the Genoese family Pallavicini-Rusconi for the sum of 2 million lire. (Also see Egadi, Isole d’). In the early 20th century the islands were the site of the best tuna fisheries in Italy. They were often used as a favorite site for quail-hunting, being on the great migration route of that bird. They would fly north over Levanzo during their summer flight, while passing south over Favignana as winter approached.
According to Virgil, Anchises, the father of Aeneas died on the Aegates.
Aegesta: See Segesta.
Aegestanum emporium: an ancient port in Sicily, situated at the mouth of the river Simois. It served as the port for the city of Segesta, in western Sicily.
Aegestes: See Acetes.
Aegetini: The inhabitants of ancient Azerium (or Netium), in Peucetia (Apulia).
Aegimius: See Aegimus.
Aegimus (Aegimius): (b. Velia; fl. 5th century BC). Physician. Galen credited him with being the first physician to write a treatise (De Palpitationibus) on the pulse.
aegis: a sash or breastplate associated with both Athena and Zeus. It was said to bear the head of a gorgon. The aegis was made from goat skin, its name deriving from aisk, the Greek word for “goat.”
Aegithallus (Acellum)>: An ancient fortress situated on the Aegithallus promontorium of W Sicily. In 249 BC, during the First Punic War, it was occupied by the Romans under the command of Lucius Junius, as part of the operations against Lilybaeum. It was soon retaken by the Carthaginians under Carthalo and Junius was taken prisoner. Diodorus Siculus called it Acellum.
Aegithallus promontorium (Aegitharsus) (TP): Ancient name for Capo di S. Teodoro, a promontory on the W coast of Sicily between Marsala and Trapani. Later called Acellus, it was near ancient Lilybaeum.
Aegusa (sometimes Aethusa) (TP): Ancient name for the island of Favignana, off the W coast of Sicily. It lay at the far E point of the archipelago, the closest of the islands to ancient Lilybaeum. It is sometimes identified as the Aeeae mentioned by Homer. Mod. Favignana.
Aegusae: See Aegates Islands.
Aemilii: A patrician gens (= clan) of ancient Rome. They claimed to be descended from the great Greek mystic philosopher Pythagoras, through his son Mamercus. Several of Rome’s most illustrious families made up the various branches of the Aemilii gens: the Pauli, the Lepidi, and the Scauri. The Roman consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus was one of generals who suffered the humiliating defeat at Cannae at the hands of Hannibal in 216 BC. His son and namesake later obtained the consulship for himself on his own merits, while his daughter, Aemilia, married Publius Cornelius Scipio, the great general who finally defeated Hannibal and forced Carthage to surrender. In 194 BC, the younger Aemilius was appointed to be one of the three Roman commissioners overseeing the creation of colony at Croton. Because of his family’s belief in their descent from Pythagoras, who was closely connected with Croton, this task must have had some special significance for Aemilius. Later in his career, he would achieve fame for his defeat of King Perseus of Macedonia and the annexation of that kingdom into the Roman State.
Aemilius Paulus, Lucius: (d. 216 BC): Roman consul (219 and 216 BC). Co-commander of the Roman forces at the battle of Cannae, he was among those who fell in that disastrous defeat to the Carthaginians.
Aenaria (Inarime, Pithecusa) (NA): Ancient name for the island of Ischia. Sources attribute the name to the Roman Emperor Augustus who was apparently related the island with the epic of Aeneas.
Aeneas: A mythological hero of the Trojan War, claimed by the Romans as the founder of their race. He was the son of Anchises, King of Dardania, and the goddess Aphrodite (=Venus). According to Roman mythology, as set down in the 1st century BC by Vergil in the Aeneid, Aeneas led the surviving Trojans from the ruins of their city on a seven-year journey in search of a new homeland. Part of his epic story takes place in Sicily and Campania. In the 3rd book of the story, Aeneas’s father, Anchises, died at Drepanum in W Sicily. In the 5th book, during Aeneas’s second visit to Sicily, he is welcomed by Acestes (see which) near Mt. Eryx. In the 6th book, Aeneas meets the Sibyl at Cumae in Campania, who leads him through a cave at Lake Avernus to visit his father in the Underworld.
Aeneid: The epic poem of ancient Rome, created by the poet Virgil. It was the National Epic of the ancient Romans, telling the tale of the Trojan hero Aeneas, who led his followers of a 7-year journey to Italy. There, after several adventures, they settled in Latium and became the ancestors of the Romans. In the third book of the Aeneid, Virgil includes an itinerary of the Sicilian coast from Messina to Syracuse, from Syracuse to Selinunte (Selinus), and then on to Trapani. Nearly the entire fifth book of the epic, describing the funeral games of Anchises, take place in W Sicily, in and around Trapani and Eryx.
Aeolia: In classical mythology, the floating island home of Aeolus, ruler of the winds. Traditionally, Aeolia is identified with one of the Lipari Islands, thus providing that chain with its classical name, Aeoliae Insulae. It was said to have been surrounded by a great bronze wall.
Aeoliae Insulae (Vulcaniae, Hephaestiades, Lipareae, Planctai (?))(ME)>: Classical name for the volcanic Lipari Islands off the NE coast of Sicily. The name derives from that of Aeolus, the mythical god of the winds, who was said to reside there (supposedly on either Strongyle or Lipara). Because one of the islands (Hiera) was supposed to have been the site of the workshop of the fire-god Hephaestus (Vulcan), the chain was also sometimes called the Hephaestiades or Vulcaniae. Occasionally they were also called the Liparenses, after Lipara the largest of the islands. The islands of the chain are actually peaks of a volcanic mountain range connecting Vesuvius in Campania with Etna on Sicily. These isles were Lipara (mod. Lipari), Hiera (Vulcano), Strongyle (Stromboli), Phoenicusa (Felicudi/Filicudi), Ericusa (Alicudi), Euonymus (Panaria), Didyme (Salina), Hicesia (Lisca Bianca), Basilidia (Basilizzo), and Osteodes (Ustica).
Archaeologists have found evidence of settlements on a number of the islands- Filicudi: Classical Greek and Roman tombs; Salina: Roman walls, Greek and Latin inscriptions; Basilizzo: Roman house, including a hypogeum, wall paintings and mosaics; Stromboli: millstones and Roman tombs. By far the principal settlement was that on the island of Lipara.
Lipara was founded in 580 BC by Knidian Greeks led by Pentathlos.
Aeolian Harp: An early musical instrument, named for Aeolus, legendary ruler of the winds. It has strings of different thicknesses, all tuned to the same note and stretched across a box that create sounds when the wind blows through them.
Aeolus (Grk: “fleet”): (see full page)
Aequa (mod. Equa): An ancient village (vici) in Campania, located on the Cumanaus Sinus, to the east of Surrentum and west of Stabiae.
Aequanus Vicus: an ancient town in Campania, near Surrentum. Mod. Vico Equense [NA].
Aequi: An ancient people of central Italy. Their territory included parts of eastern Lazio and western Abruzzo. Kinsmen of the neighboring Volsci, they were a formidable threat to early Rome. In 418 BC, they lost their stronghold on Mt. Algidus, but were not completely subjugated until 304/303 BC.
Aequus Tuticus (or Aequum Tuticum) (AV): A town of the ancient Irpini, the site of which is thought to have been between Casalbore and Ariano Irpino, near Sant’ Eleuterio. The name means “wide field.” Conquered by the Romans during the 2nd Century BC, it flourished thanks to its location at the junction of the Via Appia and Via Herculia. It survived into the 6th century AD until a series of strong earthquakes and the violence of warfare caused the site to be abandoned. Excavators at the site have discovered remains of buildings, honorary statues, bases and funerary steles.
Aesai: Ancient Oscan deities equivalent to the Etruscan Aiseras (The Shrouded Gods) The name translates to mean “the Hidden Ones.”
Aesarus (Avien) River: A river in ancient in ancient Bruttium which emptied into the Ionian Sea at Croton. (Mod. Esaro).
Aescheion: (b. Syracuse; fl 1st part of the 1st century BC). His wife, Pippa, was a mistress of the corrupt Roman governor Verres. Dishonest and greedy himself, he willingly carried out Verres’s crimes.
Aeschines: (b. c389 BC; d. c314 BC). Philosopher and orator. A native of Athens, he was a student of Socrates and a rival of Demosthenes. He spent several years as part of the court of Dionysius I of Syracuse, later returning to Athens. He advocated a simple life, unencumbered by possessions.
Aeschines the Orator: A famous ancient statue discovered at Herculaneum. A Roman copy of a Greek original from the late 4h century BC, it is now displayed in the National Museum at Naples.
Aeschines (b. c389 BC; d. c314 BC), an Athenian philosopher and orator, he was a student of Socrates and a rival of Demosthenes. He spent several years as part of the court of Dionysius I of Syracuse, later returning to Athens. He advocated a simple life, unencumbered by possessions.
Aeschylus: (b.525/4 BC; d. 461 or 456 BC). Tragic poet. A native of Eleusis, Aeschylus ranks among the greatest tragic poets of classical Greece and is often regarded as the “Father of Greek Tragedy.” In his younger years he served in the Athenian army during the Persian Wars. Wounded at Marathon (490 BC), it is believed that he participated in the battle of Salamis (479 BC) as well. In 484 BC, he won his first victory in a dramatic competition, repeating this feat twelve more times before being defeated in 468 BC by Sophocles. It was because of this defeat that he was willing to accept an invitation from Hieron I to come to Syracuse. Aeschylus made two visits to Sicily. During the first he composed the now-lost play Aetnae (or Aetnaeae), in commemoration of the foundation of the new town of Aetna by Hieron I. Returning to Athens, he won his last competition in 458 BC with the Orestia trilogy of plays. Later returning to Sicily he gave a new performance of his play Persae. A legend, most likely apocryphal, says that Aeschylus was killed when an eagle, believing his bald head to be a rock, dropped a turtle on him. Whatever the cause of his death, Aeschylus died and was buried at Gela. The playwright’s funerary monument at Gela (where he died in 456 BC) was said to have had an epitaph inscription written by Aescylus himself, mentioning his service to Athens at the battle of Marathon but ignoring his literary achievements. During his lifetime, Aeschylus is said to have written 60 plays, of which only 7 are extant: the Persae and the Oresteia trilogy (Agamemnon, Choephoroe and Eumenides), Seven Against Thebes, Prometheus Bound, and the Suppliants.
Aesculapius: An ancient god of medicine. He was very popular in ancient Sicily, where malaria was an endemic problem. He was said to have been the son of Apollo and Coronis, and was a patron god of ancient Messene (Messina).
Aesernia (IS): Classical name for the area now occupied by the province of Isernia (Molise) and for the city of Isernia (CB). It was also the name for center of the ancient Caraceni Samnites, which became a Latin colony was founded here in 263 BC. It was situated on the Via Numicia, between Aufidena and Bovianum. Mod. Isernia.
Aeserus, River: A small river in ancient Bruttium, named for a legendary hunter who drowned there. It emptied into the Ionian Sea just N of Croton. It is identified with the modern river Esaro. Unimportant historically, it was the site of a mythological battle between Herakles (Hercules) and Lacinius.
Aethusa (TP): An ancient name for the island of Favignana (TP).
Aetius>: An ancient physician from Sicily to whom has been ascribed the book De Atrabile. It is believed that the famous physician Galen used Aetius’s writing for source material.
Aetna (Aitna): An ancient Sicilian nymph and the goddess of the Sicilian volcano Mt. Etna. According to some versions of her myth, she was one of the Oceanides, a daughter of Uranus and Gaea, and, thus, older than the Olympian gods themselves. Other sources say she was the daughter of the Cyclops Briareus. She is known principally as the mediator in a dispute between Hephaestus and Demeter over control of Sicily. She may have been considered the consort of the Sikel fire-god Adranos (see which) (Other sources name Hephaestus or Zeus), as she is named as the mother of the Palici (Palikoi), the gods of thermal geysers and springs.
Aetna (Inessa)(CT): An ancient town that sat at the S. foot of M. Etna, near modern Paterno, located between Centuripae and Katane. It was originally a Sikel town known as Inessa. In 461 BC, the town was seized by Hiero I’s Doric Greek colonists who were fleeing from Catana. They renamed the place Aetna, after their former home. In 426 BC, the Athenians under Laches unsuccessfully attacked the town. In 415 BC, Aetna supported Syracuse during the war against Athens. During the reign of Dionysius II, a military colony of Campanian mercenaries was established here, later ousted by Timoleon. The Romans later gave the town the status of civitas decumena. It grew in prosperity thanks to the fertility of its soil. In the 1st century BC Aetna was among the towns pillaged by the avaricious Roman governor Verres (73-71 BC). The town never recovered from this desolation and it disappeared from history soon after. The exact location of this last center is uncertain, though believed to be between Paterno and Centuripe.
Aetna, Mons (CT): Classical name for Mt. Etna in the E part of Sicily. Some scholars believe that the name “Aetna” is related to the Phoenician word attuna (= chimney, furnace). The ancient Sikel and Greek inhabitants of the area lived in fearful respect of the mountain. Its extremely fertile lower slopes yielded rich harvests of grapes, one of the most important commodities in the ancient Mediterranean world. Further up the slopes, thick forests provided wood for shipbuilding and other industries. Perhaps to counter-balance these rich gifts, the mountain also exacted a terrible price. The area was, and still is, highly susceptible to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. It may well have been these natural disasters rather than the invasion of the Sikels that caused the Neolithic Sikans to emigrate to the west. The Classical Greeks put the slopes of the mountain to full use. In c476 BC, Hieron I of Syracuse attempted to found a town (Aetna) on the slopes of the mountain. In 430 BC, the philosopher Empedocles, is believed to have committed suicide by jumping into the volcano’s crater. During the Roman era it was a popular pastime to climb to the top of the mountain. Among those climbers was the Roman Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138). Roman ruins may still be seen near the summit. The volcano figures in a number of mythological stories both ancient and medieval. It is associated first with the nymph, Aetna (see which). The volcanic nature of the mountain was usually explained away as it being the forge of the fire-god Hephaestos/Vulcan. Whenever the forge was in use, fire would spit forth out of the mountaintop; the earth around would shake to the force of the god’s hammer as he worked. At other times, it was the Cyclopes the filled this role. It was also claimed that a mythological monster, either the giant Enceladus or the hideous Typhon, trapped underneath caused the seismic activity. When the Normans arrived in Sicily in the 11th century they brought with them French troubadours who spread the tales of King Arthur and the Round Table throughout the island. According to one of their legends, King Arthur sleeps in a cave on the mountain awaiting his return to the world of the living. (Also see Etna).
Aetnaeus: An epithet attached to several deities or mythical beings associated with Mount Etna (anc. Aetna mons). Among these were Jupiter Aetnaeus, to whom a statue and a festival were dedicated on the slopes of the mountain. The name was also attached to Vulcan and to the Cyclopes.
Afan de Rivera, Achille: (b. 1842, Santa Maria di Capua. d. 1904, Naples). Military leader and politician. He loyally served the Bourbons until the fall of Gaeta to the Sardinians in January 1861. Transferring to the new army of the Kingdom of Italy, distinguishing himself during the war against the Austrians in 1866. By 1896, he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant General. Having also begun a political career, he became a Deputy in 1890, served as Undersecretary of War, and, in 1898, had become Minister of Public Works. In 1898, he was awarded the title of Marchese.
Afan de Rivera, Carlo: (b. 1779, Gaeta. d. 1852, Gaeta). Military engineer and civil official. An expert in road construction and land reclamation, he began his career in the military. In 1824, he became Director-General of bridges and roads for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Utilizing modern techniques he began an effective program of land reclamation in southern Italy. He began some important hydraulic works including the draining and restoration of the outlet for the Lago Fucino (first begun by the Roman Emperor Claudius in the 1st century AD). He also drew up plans for other projects. De Rivera supported the reforestation of lands that had been earlier clear-cut. A new network of roads was drawn-up to link together the various parts of the Kingdom. In his important work Considerazioni (1832-33) he argued that the great social and economic problems of the Kingdom could only be solved by generating enough funding through taxation.
Afan de Rivera, Fernando: (b. 1570 or 1584, Seville, Spain. d. 1638, Villach, Austria. Duke of Alcala; and Spanish diplomat. A great patron of the arts, he built a collection at his palace at Seville, which included both works of art and codices. He served as ambassador to the court of Pope of Urban VIII, later becoming vicar to the Kingdom of Naples (1629-31) and then to Sicily (1632-35). In 1636, he was appointed vicar-general to Italy. He died while serving as plenipotiary at the congress of Colonia for European peace.
Afan de Rivera, Pedro: (b. c1508; d.1571). Duke of Alcala. Spanish politician. He served as Spanish vicar of Naples from 1559 until his death in 1571. During his term in this office he effectively combated Turkish pirates from without and Calabrian bandits (including the famous Marco Berardi, popularly known as “King Marco”) from within the Kingdom of Naples. One of the few Spanish colonial officials to be truly conscious of the needs of the local people, de Rivera attempted to relieve the terrible suffering of the Neapolitan peasants caused by famine, pestilence, and earthquakes. Despite his persecution of the Waldensians in Calabria, he also refused to allow ecclesiastic authority and privilege to take precedence over civil law in Naples.
Afesa, Pietro (also called Della Basilicata): (fl. mid-17th century). Painter. A native of the Basilicata, he created a number of works still extant in several churches and convents in the city of Naples. Among of his finest works in an altar-piece in the chapel of the convent of Marsico Nuovo depicting the “Assumption of the Virgin Mary.” He received high praise in Bernardo di Domenici’s “Lives of Neapolitan Painters and Architects” (1744).
Afflitto, Giovanni Maria: (b. Naples; d.1673). A monk and writer. His best-known work is a “Treatise on Fortifications.”
Afflitto, Eustachio d’ (1): (b. 1742; d. 1785). Nobleman (Duke of Roccagloriosa) and scholar. He was a teacher of ecclesiastical hitory at the University of Naples. He also served as directory of the Royal Library and the Royal Museam of Capodimonte.
Afflitto, Eustachio d’ (2): (d. 1790). Dominican monk and historian. He is principally known for the unfinished 2-volume Memorie degli Scrittori del Regno di Napoli (“Memoirs of the Writers of the Kingdom of Naples”) (posth.1792).
Afflitto, Matteo d’ (Lat. Matthaeus de Afflictis): (b. Naples, 1430 or 1448; d. 1510 or 1524). Lawyer. An author of several legal works, in 1469 he became professor of civil and canon law at the University of Naples. He was an advisor to King Ferdinando I. His principal works are Commentarius in Costitutione Siciliae et Neapolis; Commentarius super tre libros feudorum; Decisiones neapolitanae antiquae et novae; Lecturae super consuetudines Neapolitani Siciliaeque regni; and Lecturae super septem libros codicis Justiniani.
Afflitto, Rodolfo: (b. Roccagloriosa [SA]; fl 19th century). Politician. A member of Garibaldi’s expedition against the Kingdom of Naples (1860-61), he refused to accept an offered ministry in the later government. He served as Prefect of Genoa, and later, Prefect of Naples.
Afragola (NA): A town and commune (Area: 17.99 km². Alt. 43 m) in the province of Napoli. (Area: 17.99 km²; Population: 63,486 (2006e); 62,319 ; 60,065 (1991); 57,367 (1981)). CAP: 80021. Tel. Pref.: 081. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 40°55’37″20 N/Long 14°18’42″12 E. Population Information: 62,319 (2001); 60,065 (1991). % Change in Population from 1991 to 2001: . Population Density (2001): / km². Inhabitants Designation: Afragolesi.
Location & Setting: Located 12 km. NE of Naples in a very fertile area, it is now within the metropolitan area of Naples. Part of Regione Agraria n. 6 – Piano Campano sud-orientale.
Frazioni/Localita: Capo Mazzo, Saggese.
Economy: The economy is based on the cultivation of cereals, fruits and hemp. There is a local industry in the manufacture of straw hats.
History: The center appears to have arisen during the Middle Ages. The earliest historical mention dates to 1131 when it was known as Afraore. Later documents refer to it as Afragone, Afraolla, Fraolla, and Afrangola. By 1272, the present form of the name, Afragola, had come into use. According to some researchers the name derives from fragile (“strawberries”).
King Roger II is traditionally credited with having found the center in 1140. There is documentary evidence, however, that the area was settled and being actively farmed in 1025. Likewise, archaeological evidence reveals local settlement by ancient Oscans and Samnites as early as the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.
The center was fortified as a stronghold sometime in the 12th century. Under the Angevins much of the commune was awarded as a fief to Bernardo Caracciolo, Archbishop of Naples. In 1386 it became the property of the noble Bozzuto family. In 1575, it bought its autonomy with a payment of 27,000 ducati to the Crown. In 1639, however, it was forced to pay a huge ransom to the Viceroy of Naples, duke of Medina, to retain its privileges. Despite this payment, Afragola was dominated by the will of the Spanish Viceroys. It was not until 1809, under the direction of the French administration of the Kingdom, did the center finally free themselves of feudal obligations.
Major earthquakes struck in 1980 and 1984.
Points of Interest: The principal secular monument, a Castello dating from the reign of Queen Joanna I, is now used as an orphanage.
The Palazzo Comunale was completed in 1880 and has an irregular rectangular plan.
The earliest churches are those of Santa Maria d’Ajello, San Giorgio and San Marco in Sylvis.
The Church of Santa Maria d’Ajello dates to 1131 and has undergone several restorations and remodelings. In 1583 two side aisles were added. Among the treasures are some painted tele dating to 1780.
There is documentary evidence of the Church of S. Giorgio in 1131. There was a major restoration of the church in 1380. After suffering severe damage from an earthquake in 1688, extensive restoration work occurred during the early the 18th century. A dome was added to the structure in 1741, while the 3-part campanile dates to 1772. Treasures include works by Mozzillo, Cimino, and the school of Murillo.
The Church of S. Marco in Silvis was founded in c1179 by the Norman king William II. In includes a square campanile with an octagonal pinnacle.
The church of the Rosario, dating to 1602, has some fine floors of majolica tile and a marble balaustra. Among the tresures is a painted tele by Giovanni Lanfranco (1581-1647).
The Sanctuary of S. Antonio was built in 1633 by the Frati Minori. Decorations include frescoes by the Severino and 18th century polychrome marble sculptures. Houses in one of the chapels is a valuable 13th century wooden Crucifix. There is an 18th century wooden staue of Sant’ Antonio.
In the territory near Afragola are some tombs dating from the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.
Culture & Religion: Patron Saint(s): S. Gennaro.
Festival of S. Antonio di Padova– June 13. Included is a procession during which the statue of the saint is carried in procession from the church of Sant’Antonio to the Piazza Municipio. There are also musical performances and bonfires.
Afranius, Lucius: (b. c150 BC). Latin Comic poet and playwright. He is best known for his works with southern Italian settings, including one play entitled Brudusinae (“Women of Brundisium”). Another play, Exceptus, set in Naples, deals with a young man whose love is rejected by a local woman. He unsuccessfully attempts to drown himself but is rescued by a fisherman. Afranius’s play, “Bucco Adopted”, shows strong influences from native Oscan productions. The title character, Bucco (=fat fool), is a stock character in Atellan farces. He borrowed much of his work from Menander.
African Sea: The section of the central Mediterranean Sea between southern Sicily and North Africa.
Africo >(or Africo Vecchio) (RC): A commune in the province of Reggio Calabria. Area: 51.02 km². Alt. 15 m. CAP: 89030. Tel. Pref.: 0964. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 38°3’6″12 N/Long 16°8’2″40 E. Population Information: 3,465 (2001); 3,223 (1991). % Change in Population from 1991 to 2001: . Population Density (2001): / km². Inhabitants Designation: Africesi.
Location & Setting: Part of Comunità Montana Aspromonte Orientale. Part of Regione Agraria n. 5. Part of Parco Nazionale dell’Aspromonte.
Agapetus I, St.: (b. prob. Rome; d. Apr. 21, 536, Constantinople). Pope (rMay 13, 535-Apr 22, 536). The son of a Roman priest named Gordianus, he was already elderly when he succeeded John II as Pope. An opponent of Arianism, he was the only pope to hold authority over the Eastern Church. He was succeeded by Silverius.
Agapetus II: (b. Rome; d. 955). Pope. (rMay 10,946-Oct/Dec 955). The successor of Marinus II, he was aided, in 953, by King Otto I “the Great” against Berenger. He was succeeded by John XII.
Agasus portus: A port of ancient Daunia, located below Mount Garganus to the NE of Sipontum. It is believed to be the same as the Apenestae mentioned by Ptolemy. Mod. Porto Greco.
Agatha, St.: (d. cAD 251) The patron saint of Catania, Sicily. According her legend, she was a beautiful Christian virgin who refused the proposal of Quintilianus, the Roman Prefect. For this, she was imprisoned, tortured and finally executed. Some sources date Agatha under the later reign of Diocletian (AD 284-305). According to her Acta, her death occurred on February 5.
Ceremonies connected with Agatha’s festival appear to have their origins in the pagan worship of the harvest goddesses Proserpina (Persephone) and Ceres. St. Agatha is often depicted in artwork carrying her severed breasts on a tray. Because these were sometimes mistaken for bread rolls, her followers developed a tradition of blessing loaves of “St. Agatha’s bread” on her feast day. When her cult spread to Spain, the bread loaves took on an even more prominent place in her festivals. A procession of young girls carrying trays of bread on their heads are often included, though few probably remember the original significance of the loaves.
Agatharchus: (fl. second half of the 5th Century BC). Naval commander. A Syracusan, he commanded a fleet of 12 ships sent by Syracuse, in 413 BC, to visit allies and harass the Athenians. That same year he was among the Syracusan commanders who fought the Athenians in the sea battle in the harbor of Syracuse.
Agathartus promontorium: ancient name for the NW promontory on Sicily located at Cetaria.
Agatho, St. (1): (d. AD 306). Martyr. A little-known saint from Triphina, Sicily, he is listed as martyr during Diocletian’s persecution of the Christians. Feast Day: July 5.
Agatho, St. (2): (d. Jan. 10, AD 681). Pope (rJune 27, 678 – Jan 10, 681). Born in Palermo to wealthy Greek parents, he led a successful life and may have been married before choosing a religious life as a Benedictine monk. He became noted for his devotion and miracle-working. In 678, he was chosen to succeed Domnus as pope. During his reign, he showed himself as an enemy of Monothelitism. He also played an important role in the role of the Roman church in England, being a supporter of Wilfrid, archbishop of York, during his dispute with Theodore of Tarsus, archbishop of Canterbury. Feast Day: Jan. 10.
Agathocles (Agathokles): (b. 361 BC in Thermae Himeraeae; d. 289 BC in Syracuse). Tyrant of Syracuse (317-289 BC), king of Sicily (304 -289 BC). Of common birth (his father was a pottter by trade), he moved to Syracuse with his father and began a career as a soldier. His exceptional abilities and physical beauty earned him much popularity and he eventually won the patronage of Damas, Syracuse’s wealthiest citizen. Upon Damas’s death, Agathocles married his widow and thus came into possession of vast riches. He used these resources to build a private army and moved to seize power in Syracuse from the ruling aristocratic class. He launched his revolt by ambushing and killing about 400 of the city’s most important citizens. Over the next two days, another 4,000 Syracusans were killed while an equal number were banished. Thus rid of any possible opposition from the aristocracy, he proclaimed himself tyrant and won the support of the city’s commoners by canceling all their debts and dividing up amongst them the confiscated property of his wealthy victims. Despite his obvious cruelty and ambition, Agathocles also sought to return Syracuse to its primacy in Sicily. The legal codes and fiscal regulations of the city were revised and the city’s army and navy were reorganized and strengthened.
Agathocles sought to extend the supremacy of Syracuse over all of Sicily and, through military and diplomatic coercion, this ambition was nearly achieved. Having taken control of most of Greek Sicily, he turned his attentions westward towards the Carthaginian part of the island. It was then that Agathocles met his match. Hamilcar, Carthage’s principal military leader was sent to Sicily to face Agathocles. In 310 BC, Hamilcar defeated Agathocles and forced him to retreat back to Syracuse itself. The victorious Hamilcar followed with his army and soon laid siege to the city. Syracuse might have fallen at this point, bringing all of Sicily under Carthaginian rule and significantly changing the course of western history. But Agathocles showed a unique shrewdness. Instead of surrender, he counter-attacked, leading a Greek naval squadron out of Syracuse and landing a powerful army in North Africa, seizing several coastal towns and threatening Carthage itself. The plan worked and Hamilcar was forced to break off his siege of Syracuse to oversee the defense of his own city. Agathocles was forced to return to Sicily when Akragas, Syracuse’s principal Greek rival attempted to take advantage of the disputed state of affairs. After restoring order, Agathocles returned to Africa but now found the Carthaginians more formidable defenders. In 306 BC, he suffered a defeat and was forced to retreat back to Sicily. A peace agreement was finally reached with Carthage and the old status-quo on the island was restored. The Carthaginians were secured in their control over western Sicily, while Agathocles remained ruler over the Greek east.
The defeat Agathocles suffered at the hands of the Carthaginians did nothing to curb his ambition and arrogance. In 304 BC, he began to style himself as King of Sicily and ruled with a heavy hand for years afterwards. In 289 BC, Agathocles finally died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. While many believe that he die cancer of the jaw, there is a theory that he was the victim of an elaborate assassination. One of his kinsman, fearing for his own life, had a toothpick dipped in poison brought to Agathocles’s table. When the tyrant pricked his gum he became paralyzed. His breathing and heart rate slowed to such a weak level as to be undetectable and everyone believed him to be dead. Agathocles, however, was said to be very much alive and aware of what was taking place. Unable to speak or otherwise communicate, he was helpless as his body was lifted on to a hastily built funeral pyre. Thus, the hated tyrant was said to have been burned alive.
Agathyrna (Agathyrsa, Agathyrsum, Agathyrnum): an ancient port town on the N coast of Sicily located between Tyndaris and Aluntium. Its site is located near modern Sant’Agata di Militello [ME]. It was named for its mythical founder Agathryrnus, son of Aeolus, ruler of the Winds. Archaeological evidence dates as early as c1100 BC.
Agathyrnum: Ancient name for Capo d’Orlando [ME] in Sicily.
Agathyrnus: Mythical founder of the Sicilian city of Agathyrna (Agathyrnum). He was a son of Aeolus, god of the winds.
Agathyrsa: See Agathyrna.
Agathyrsum: See Agathyrna.
Agave: (American Aloe; Century plant). It received this last name from the belief that did not bloom until it reached the age of 100 years, after which it died. Whatever the origin of this belief, it bloomed very frequently in Sicily, its blossoms sometimes reaching 20 feet in height or more. Found throughout Sicily, there is a unique variety located at Cefalu, on the N coast of the island.
Agelli (sometimes Ajelli; Lat. Agellius), Antonio: (b. 1532, in Sorrento; d. 1608, in Rome). Commentator and ecclesiastic. Having entered the Teatine order in 1551, he rose to become that order’s head at Genoa (1572) and Cremona (1579). He was a member of the commission which, under Popes Pius V and Clement VIII, designed a version of the Vulgate Bible. He also translated a translation of the Greek Septuagint for Pope Sixtus V. In 1593, he became bishop of Acerno, a seat which he held until 1604. Other works by Agelli include a commentary on the Psalms, the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and several other parts of the Bible.
Agello, Giuseppe: (b. Sorrento; fl. 1st half of the 17th century). Painter. Having settled at Rome, he developed a reputation for his landscapes. He served as an assistant to Roncelli and several other painters.
Ageltrude: (d. Aug. 27, AD 923). Holy Roman Empress and Queen of Italy. Daughter of daughter of Prince Adelchis of Benevento and Adeltrude, she married Guy, then the duke and margrave of Spoleto and Camerino, future Holy Roman Emperor and king of Italy. When, in 891, Guy became emperor, she was also crowned. Ageltrude was a favorite of the army and used this influence to insure the succession of her son Lambert to the imperial throne. She later arranged for the body of her enemy, Pope Formosus (r AD 891-896), to be disinterred, condemned in a trial, and thrown into the Tiber. After the death of Lambert (Oct 15, 898), Ageltrude devoted the remainder of her life to religious pursuits.
Ager Camere: An area of ancient Bruttium, located near the mouth of the river Crathis.
Agerola >(NA): A commune in the province of Napoli. Area: 19.62 km². Alt. 630 m. CAP: 80051. Tel. Pref.: 081. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 40°38’19″32N/Long 14°32’22″92 E.
Population: 7,392(2004); 7,348 (2001); 7,508 (1991). % Change in Population from 1991 to 2001: . Population Density (2001): / km². Inhabitants Designation: Agerolesi.
Location & Setting: Part of Comunità Montana Zona Penisola Sorrentina. Part of Regione Agraria n. 3 – Colline litoranee della penisola Sorrentina.
Historic Population Figures: 3,958(1861); 4,625(1901); 4,819(1921); 6,585(1951); 7,111(1981); 7,348(2001).
Agesias: An athlete of ancient Syracuse. He was victor in the Apene at the Olympian Games in 468 BC.
Agesidamos: An athlete of ancient Locri Epizephyri. He was victor in Boy’s Boxing in the Olympian Games in 476 BC.
Aggia, Torrente: A short torrential stream (length: 4 km) in Basilicata. It rises on the slopes of the Serra Longa (1,097 m) and flows into the river Agri at Casa Palermo near Paterno (PZ).
Agilulf: (d. AD 616). Duke of Turin (r589-590). King of Italy (r590-616). Assuming the Lombard throne in AD 590, he devoted his energies to the strengthening and consolidation of his kingdom. Having defeated the Byzantines at Ravenna, Agilulf laid siege to Rome. He spared the city from plunder only after the payment of a heavy tribute by Pope Gregory I. Despite these successes, Agilulf was unable to secure control over the autonomous duchies of Spoleto and Benevento.
Agira (EN): (anc. Agyrium, Agyrion; mod. S. Filippo d’Agiro). A commune (area: 163.1 km²; population: 8,285 (2006e); 8,171(2004); 8,348 ; 9,150 (1991)) in the province of Enna, in eastern Sicily. It sits on a high hill (824 m) overlooking the valleys of the river Salso and the river Dittaino. The modern town sits on the site of ancient Agyrion (Agyrium). Part of Regione Agraria n. 3 – Colline del Salso.
Historic Population Figures: 11,588(1861); 17,634(1901); 25,717(1921); 16,528(1951); 9,146(1981).
The modern version of its name derives from the belief that St. Philip the Apostle was buried there. The town is of very ancient origins and is connected with the legend and worship of Hercules. Founded by the Sikels, it was first mentioned historically when its tyrant, Agyris, became an ally of Dionysius I of Syracuse against the Carthaginians in 339 BC. Somewhat later (339 BC), another tyrant, Apolloniades, was expelled from Agira by Timoleon, and the people of the town were given Syracusan citizenship. Agira’s most famous citizen was the historian Diodorus Siculus, born there in 50 BC. The town has an interesting castle and a number of churches. In one of these, the Realbatia, can be seen the cell and tomb of St. Philip. Remains of an ancient Greek fortification can also be seen. According to ancient mythology, the hero Hercules passed by here while driving the oxen of Geryon. Marks were left in the ground reputed to have been made the animals’ hooves. The ancient town was said to sit on land won by Hercules after defeating the giant Eryx in a wrestling match.
Aglianico: A red wine grape found throughout much of Basilicata, Campania and Puglia. The grape was originally brought to Italy by the ancient Greeks and Phoenicia. This ancient origin is remembered in the grape’s name which is believed to derive from Ellenico (=Greek). Some sources, however, believe the name derives from Apulianicum (=Apulia).
Aglianico del Vulturno (or Bartolo): a variety of dry, red wine produced by the Aglianico grapes on the vineyards of M. Vulture in Basilicata.
Agliata: a type of garlic sauce or cream of medieval origins.
Agliata, Francesco (1): (fl. mid-15th Century). Government official. He served as protonotary under Queen Joanna II and King Alfonso I “the Magnanimous.” Some of his works has survived under the title of Allegazioni.
Agliata, Francesco (2): (fl. 17th Century). Poet. A native of Palermo, he was the son of the prince of Villafranca. Several members of this noble family became notable writers of poetry and prose. Best-known as the author of Chansons Siciliennes, he is sometimes confused with Gerard Agliata, a 16th Century poet also from Palermo.
Agliata, Gerard: (fl. 16th Century). Poet. A Sicilian probably from Palermo. He composed some verses which were included in the Collection of the Academy of the Accesi at Palermo.
Agliata, Giovanni: (b. Palermo; d. 1675). Lawyer. He held several important government posts, including Protonotary during his career.
Agnana Calabra >(RC): A commune in the province of Reggio di Calabria.
Region: Calabria. Province: Reggio di Calabria.
Elevation: 210 m. Area: 8.35 km². Population: 673 (2001). Population Density: /km² ().
Location & Setting: 117 km from Reggio di Calabria.
Tel. Prefix: 0964. Postal Code: 89040.
Population Designation: Agnanesi.
Historic Population Figures: 1,144(1861); 1,113(1901); 1,297(1921); 1,532(1951); 833(1981); 673(2001).
Agnano, Lago di: See Agnano Caledra.
Agnano Caldera (Lago di Agnano): A volcanic crater (6.5 km in circumference) in the Phlegraean Fields, located to the NW of Naples. The Greeks and the Romans enjoyed visiting the local hot springs and believed that witches inhabited the region. By medieval times the crater had filled with water to become a malarial lake, remaining so until finally being drained in 1870 through a tunnel at its SW edge. The recovered land was used for a time for cultivation of crops and is now the site of the Agnano hippodrome and some hotels. At the S rim of the crater is Agnano Terme, a health spa.
The crater is the site of the Grotta del Cane (Cave of the Dog). In times past local guides would demonstrate the existence of the deadly carbonic acid gas in this cave by exposing a dog to them.
To the E of Agnano caldera is the Parco degli Astroni, another extinct volcano.
Agnelli, Giuseppe>: (b. 1621, Naples; d. Oct. 17, 1706, Rome). Jesuit Scholar and Consultor of the Inquisition. Have entered the Jesuit order in 1637 he served as rector at the Jesuit colleges at Montepulciano, Macerata, and Ancona. Settling in Rome in 1671, authored several sermons, treatises on the “Spiritual Exercises” and a commentary on the Sunday gospels. He also served as Consultor, or advisor, of the Inquisition of the Rome.
Agnelli (or Agnello), Salvatore>: (b. 1817, Palermo; d. 1874, Paris or Marseilles). Operatic Composer. Having received his musical education at Palermo and Naples (where he studied under Giovanni Furno, Niccolo Antonio Zingarelli, and Gaetano Donizetti), he produced several works in the style of Rossini and Donizetti. He lived at Naples from 1834 to 1842 and at Marseilles, in southern France, from 1849 to 1860. In 1856, he visited Paris where he wrote a cantata entitled L’apoteosi di Napoleone I. His works include: I due pedanti (1837 Napoli Fo); La jacquerie (1849 Marseilles); Léonore de Médicis (1855 Marseilles); and Cromwell. His works of church music include a Stabat Mater.
Agnellus, St.>: (d. ?AD 596). Having lived as a hermit for many years he eventually became abbot of the Benedictine monastery of San Gaudioso, near Naples. He is one of the traditional patron saints of Naples who was invoked for protection from invaders. (Feast Day: Dec. 14.
Agnesi (or Agnese), Astorgio degli>: (b. 1391, in Naples; d. 1451, in Rome). Ecclesiastic. He became bishop of Melito in 1411, bishop of Ravello in 1413, and bishop of Melfi in 1418. He served as bishop of Ancona and Numana from 1418 to 1436. He was Pontifical commissioner and Inquisitor General for Marca d’Ancona in 1426, governor of Romagna in 1435, and archbishop of Benevento in 1436. In 1448 he was elevated to cardinal.
Agni da Lentini, Tommaso>: (b. Sicily; d. 1277). Ecclesiastic. Having entered the Dominican order, he founded the convent of S. Domenico Maggiore in Naples in 1231. It was here, in 1243, that he received St. Thomas Aquinus into the Dominican order. He later became bishop of Bethleham, of Cosenza (1267), and, in 1272, became Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. He supported the crusades and union with the Greek church at the Council of Lyon in 1274.
Agnifilo della Rocca, Amico: (b. 1393 in Roccadimezzo, Abruzzo; d. 1476 in L’Aquila). Ecclesiastic. He became bishop of L’Aquila in 1431 and was elevated to cardinal in 1464. He served as a counselor to King Alfonso V “the Magnanimous” of Naples and Aragon and, later, to King Ferdinand “the Catholic” of Spain.
Agnolo, Gabriele d’: (b. Naples; d. 1510). Architect. He designed the beautiful Renaissance Palazzo Gravina and the church of Santa Maria in Naples.
Agnomen>: a name added by the Romans to those of a person to commemorate his services, or an aspect of his character. For example, the Roman triumvir, Pompey “the Great” (Pompeius Magnus) was so-called because of his abilities as a general. In some circumstances the descendents of such individuals retained the agnomens at part of their own names. One example of this is the agnomen Caudinus which was used by the descendants of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, the general who, in 324 BC, avenged the Roman disgrace at the hands of the Samnites at the battle of Caudine Forks (2nd Samnite War).
Agnone (IS): A commune in the province of Isernia.
Region: Molise. Province: Isernia.
Elevation: 850 m. Area: 96.27 km². Population: 5,628 (2006e); 5,667 (2005). Population Density: /km² ().
Coordinates: Lat. 41°48’37″N/Long. 14°22’42″E.
Location & Setting: It is situated on the W slope of the Apennines, 22 miles NW of Campobasso.
Frazioni: Castelverrino, Fontesambuco, Villacanale.
Tel. Prefix: 0865. Postal Code: 86081.
Population Designation: Agnonesi.
Patron Saint (s): San Crinstanziano. Feast Day: May 13.
Historic Population Figures: 10,637(1861); 10,189(1901); 10,142(1921); 9,664(1951); 6,324(1981); 5,842(2001).
Points of Interest: Known as “Città d’Arte”.
Economy: Center for iron and copper industries.
Agnozzi, Nicola: (b. Nov. 5, 1911, in Fermo). Ecclesiastic. Ordained as a priest in 1934, he became auxiliary bishop of Ndola, Zambia, in 1962, rising to full bishop of that see in 1966. Resigning from that post in 1975, he returned to Italy and was appointed bishop of sees of Ariano and Lacedonia in the following year. In 1986, he became bishop of Ariano Irpino-Lacedonia. He retired on June 11, 1988.
Agora (Grk= assembly): The market-place or main square of an ancient Greek town. In ancient Sicily, the term was used by the Greek-speaking inhabitants in place of “forum” as the political, religious, and commercial center of a city or town. In several cases an agora was built with covered porticoes along the sides.
Agosta: Former name for Augusta (SR).
Agostino, S.: Bishop of Capua (rAD 252-260).
Agostino, Giuseppe: (b. Nov. 25, 1928, Reggio di Calabria). Ecclesiastic. Ordained a priest in 1951, he rose to be appointed archbishop of Santa Severina and bishop of Croton in 1973. In 1974, he was ordained archbishop of Santa Severina. In 1986 he became Archbishop of Crotone-Santa Severina, and, in 1998, Archbishop of Cosenza-Bisignano. He retired on Dec 18, 2004.
Agraz, Antonio: (b. 1640, in Palermo). Judge. Raised to the level of a justice by Don Pedro Téllez-Girón, 3rd Duke of Osuna, the Spanish viceroy of Naples (1616-1620), he filled a similar position under popes Clement IX (1667-1670) and Clement X (1670-1676). He published two Latin treatises.
Agresti, Filippo: (b. 1797 in Naples; d. 1862 in Naples). Patriot. An officer in the Bourbon army of Naples, he participated in the unsuccessful constitutional revolt of 1820. He escaped into exile in 1821, only returning home in 1848. In 1850, he was arrested and condemned to death as an associate of the Unita italiana. The sentence was commuted to imprisonment, from which he was only released in 1860.
Agri, River: (anc. Aciris). A river (length: 109.4 km) located in the region of Basilicata. It rises in the Apennines about 19 km S of Potenza, on the Piana del Lago (1,290 m) to the south of Monte Maruggio (1,576 m). Flowing first to the south, it passes Marico Nuova. Turning E, it empties into the Gulf of Taranto at Torre Mozza, about 26 km SE of Pisticci. Along its course. its waters are blocked by dams to create the reservoirs of Lago di Gannano and Lago di Pietra del Pertusillo. In 1937, an aqueduct system was opened which allows the river’s waters to irrigate much of the province of Matera.
The Agri River captures the waters of 16 smaller watercourses.
Agricola, Christophe Ludwig: (b. Nov. 5, 1667, in Augsburg or Ratisbon; d. 1719, in Augsburg or Ratisbon). German landscape painter. He traveled throughout his career, spending much time in Naples and elsewhere in Southern Italy.
agriculturi: Sicilian term for “farmer.”
Agrigento, Province of: A province of Sicily. It measures 3,042 km² in area.
Agrigento (anc. Akragas; Acragas; Agrigentum) (AG): A commune and provincial capital of the province of Agrigento. One of the principal cities of Sicily.
Region: Sicilia. Province: Agrigento.
Elevation: 230 m./755 ft. Area: 244.57 km². Population: 59,082 (2007); 59,111 (2006e); 59,111(2005); 59,031 (2004); 54,619 (2001); 55,283 (1991); 51,325 (1981).
Coordinates: Lat. 37°19’18″N/Long. 13°35’22″E.
Location & Setting: Located 72 km. from Caltanissetta, 199 km. from Catania, 107 km. from Enna, 295 km. from Messina, 139 km. from Palermo, 136 km. from Ragusa, 217 km. from Siracusa, 182 km. from Trapani., situated in a hilly area near the southern coast of Sicily, between the rivers San Biagio and Sant’Anna (or Drago).
Frazioni: Fontanelle, Giardina Gallotti, Monserrato, Montaperto, San Leone, Villaggio La Loggia, Villaggio Mosè, Villaggio Peruzzo, Villaseta.
Tel. Prefix: 0922. Postal Code: 92100.
Population Designation: Agrigentini, Girgentani.
Patron Saint (s): San Gerlando. Feast Day: Feb. 25.
Former Names: (Grk. Akragas, Acragas), (Lat. Agrigentum), (Arb. Karkint, Kerkent)(Byz. Girgentum), (Normans/It/Sic. Girgenti).
Ancient Akragas (Acragas) was founded in c582 BC or c579 BC by Dorian Greeks, led by Aristonoos and Pystilos, from the city of Gela. The name apparently derives from the Greek word meaning “high land.” According to a foundation myth, the original Greek name, Akragas (or Acragas), comes from that of Akragante, a daughter of Zeus, often credited as the city’s founder. The original settlers were originally from the islands of Rhodes and Crete. The original Greek colony, situated on the site of the earlier Sican town of Camicus, sat on a steep hill, three sides of which were sheer cliffs of tufa rock. Only the south side of the hill offered a gentler approach. The colony was first governed by an oligarchy but power was soon concentrated in the hands of the cruel tyrant Phalaris. Ambitious by nature, Phalaris desired to turn Akragas into the dominant power of central Sicily. The military power of the city was turned principally against the native Sikan towns. Akragaean power spread so far to as to even threaten the security of Himera on the island’s north coast. It grew in power and wealth to become second only to Syracuse in Sicily. Pharlaris was eventually overthrown and killed in c554 BC. This did not diminish the status of the city. By the second part of the 6th Century BC Akragas was a leading center for the production and export of Sicilian grain, wine and olives. The city’s pastures provided livestock for export throughout the Mediterranean world. A mint was established that produced excellent silver coinage. It was under Theron (r488 -473 BC) that Akragas reached its height in power and wealth. Theron had taken Himera, much to the dislike of that city’s Carthaginian allies. When the Carthaginians launched an invasion, however, they suffered a major defeat at the hands of a Greek army led by Theron of Akragas and Gelon of Syracuse. Theron returned to Akragas with a great amount of Carthaginian booty. With this wealth he set about beautifying his city with great temples such as that of Olympian Zeus. He also improved Akragas with a new system of aqueducts designed by the architect Phaiax. Theron also became noted as a patron of the arts. Among those who frequented his court was the famous poet Pindar, who called Akragas “the most beautiful city of mortals.” Following the period of tyrants, Akragas was governed by a semi-aristocratic regime which gave way to a constitutional democracy. It was during this area that Akragas was the home of the extraordinary philosopher Empedocles. With the exception of a short period during the Sikel revolt led by Ducetius in the mid-5th Century BC, Akragas continued to enjoy a high level of prosperity. Unfortunately, Akragas became too tempting a prize for the Carthaginians when they renewed their assault on Greek Sicily in the late 5th Century BC. After the capture of Himera and Selinus, they marched on Akragas and laid siege to the city. Akragas held out valiantly for some time but, when all hope of relief was finally gone, the city fell in 406 BC. The great city with its beautiful temples, sumptuous homes, aqueducts, and fine streets was sacked and burned. Akragas was left abandoned and overgrown for nearly 70 years after. In 338 BC, Akragas was restored by Timoleon who recolonized the city with a new population from Greek population drawn from Elea. A new democratic government was restored led by Megellus and Pheristos. Although much reduced from its former glory, Akragas was able to maintain a certain prosperity. The tyrant Phintias (r286 -280 BC), having taken power now attempted to rebuild Akragas’s old power. His attempts, however, failed and a new threat from the Carthaginian emerged. In 276 BC, Pyrrhus of Epirus occupied Akragas in an attempt to unite the Greeks of Sicily in his war against the Carthaginians. When his campaign fell apart, Pyrrhus withdrew from Sicily leaving Akragas helpless and exposed. The city found itself once more under Carthaginian control. During the 1st Punic War, it was besieged by the Romans in 262 BC and 255 BC. The ultimate Roman victory in that war freed Akragas from the Carthaginian threat once and for all. Anti-Roman sentiments, however, led the Akragans to revolt in 210 BC during the 2nd Punic War. Besieged and captured by the Romans, the city was incorporated into the province of Sicily. Although no longer a political power, Akragas, or as it was now called by the Romans, Agrigentum, enjoyed a new extended period of prosperity. The old Greek population was soon supplemented by Roman colonists in 207 BC and under Augustus. Despite a degree of romanization, the local government remained Greek in structure. Besides abundant agricultural pursuits, Agrigentum’s economy expanded to include textile industry and sulfur mining. It had an excellent harbor and a notable emporium. Under the later Christian era, Agrigentum rapidly declined. The famous temples of the city were either abandoned or converted into Christian churches. By the time of the Saracen invasion of Sicily, the old city was reduced to the status of a village. Occupied by the Saracens in AD 827, who called the place Karkint or Kerkent, a certain degree of prosperity returned. A number of mosques were erected during this era.
In 1087, the town was taken by the Normans and became a feudal holding. A number of prominent families held title to the place, renamed Girgenti, including the Chiaramonte and the Montaperto. Once more reduced to a poor place, it was only freed from its feudal status in 1860.
Prior to 1927, the city was called by its Arabic name, Girgenti, a distortion of the Roman Agrigentum.
Historic Population Figures: 17,838(1861); 20,180(1871); 21,219(1881); 24,872(1901); 26,147(1911); 30,074(1921); 28,677(1931); 32,951(1936); 40,491(1951); 47,919(1961); 49,213(1971); 51,325(1981); 55,283(1991); 54,619(2001).
Famous Natives & Residents:
Empedocles: Greek philosopher.
Points of Interest:
Historical Sites and Monuments:
The zone where the city’s ancient glories can be best seen is the Valley of the Temples. The principal monuments of the area include:
Temple of Olympian Zeus (Jupiter): erected in thanks to Zeus for the Greek victory over the Carthaginians in 480 BC. The original temple measured 113 meters in length and 56 meters in width.
Temple of Castor and Pollux (Dioscuri): erected in the 5th century BC.
Temple of Heracles (Hercules):
Tomb of Theron: a pyramid-shaped structure, it was actually a memorial to those soldiers who fell during the 2nd Punic War.
Temple of Concord: One of the most complete of the ancient temples, it was built in 430 BC. It is uncertain to whom the building was dedicated. The assumption that it was dedicated to Concord comes from a nearby inscription which may have been unrelated.
Temple of Hera Lacinia (Juno): built in the 5th century BC, it was burned by the Carthaginians when they captured the city in 406 BC. Its altar is located to the east of the building.
Churches and Religious Sites: The Cathedral was founded in the 11th century by bishop Gerlando. A chapel in the structure is still dedicated to that prelate.
The church and monastery of Santo Spirito is one of the oldest Christian complexes in Sicily.
The 17th century Chiesa del Purgatorio is decorated with eight allegorical statues representing the Virtues.
The 13th century Church of St. Mary of the Greeks (Chiesa di S. Maria de Greci) sits on the foundations of a 5th century BC temple.
Museums: The Archaeological Museum is located in the former 13th century church of San Nicola.
Culture: Patron Saint: S. Gerlando (Feast Day: Feb. 24).
Almond Blossom festival: 1st half of February.
Festival of San Calogero: First and second Sundays in July.
Garden mass and craft show: July.
Piranddello festival: August.
Persephone festival: August.
The Efefo d’Or: a competition of composers of film music: September.
Economy: Agriculture: Almonds, cereal crops, citrus, olives.
Agrigento, Metropolitan Archdiocese of:
Type: Metropolitan Archdiocese
History: Date of foundation is uncertain. Most sources claim the see was created in either the 1st century or 4th century. There is much evidence, however, which indicates that it dates to the late 5th century.
It was elevated to the status of a Metropolitan Archdiocese on Dec. 2, 2000.
Conference Region: Sicilia
Metropolitan (if applicable):
Suffragans (if applicable): Caltanissetta, Piazza Armerina
Area: 3,041km² (1,174 sq. miles).
In 2006 the diocese had a population of 461,000, 449,000
(97.4%) of which are Catholics. There are 194 parishes, 286 priests (237 Diocesan and 49 Religious), 34 permanent deacons, 59 male religious, and 443 female religious.
Agrigentum: Ancient Roman name for Agrigento.
Agrippa, Marcus Vipsanius: (b. 63/62 BC; d. 12 BC). Roman Statesman and general. He was the principal supporter of Octavian, and it was his talents as a general which allowed Caesar’s nephew to become Augustus, the first Roman emperor. Agrippa was the commander in charge of Octavian’s fleet which defeated that of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium (32 BC). He also defeated and drove Sextus Pompey from Sicily (38 BC), and was responsible for the development of the great Roman naval port at Misenum on the coast of Campania. Agrippa held the consulship 3 times and was governor of Syria twice. He married Julia, the daughter of Augustus.
Agrippa, Menenius: Roman consul (503/502 BC). He was noted for his defeat of the Sabines and Samnites.
Agrippina the Elder>: (d. AD 33, Pandataria (mod. Pantellaria)) Roman noblewoman. She was the daughter of M. Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia (daughter of the Roman Emperor Augustus). Having married Germanicus, she shared the affection given to her husband by the Roman people. This incurred the jealousy of Augustus’s successor, Tiberius, who, in AD 30, had her arrested and exiled to the small island of Pandataria. She starved herself to death there in AD 33. Her son, Gaius Caligula, succeeded Tiberius as Emperor in AD 37. One of her daughters, Agrippina the Younger, became the wife of Emperor Claudius and the mother of Emperor Nero.
Agrippina the Younger: (d. AD 59) daughter of Agrippina the Elder and Germanicus. She was both niece and wife of the Roman emperor Claudius and was the mother of Nero. History remembers her as a cruel and ruthless, yet highly intelligent and courageous woman who was able to obtain the Roman throne for Nero by poisoning Claudius (AD 54). During the first few years of Nero’s reign, she was a powerful force behind his throne. Nero finally sought to free himself from his mother’s control by having her assassinated (AD 59) in her villa in Campania.
Agrippina, St.>: (d. c.AD 256 or 262). Martyr. Born into a good family in Rome, she fell victim to the persecution under Emperors Valerian and Gallienus. Either tortured to death or beheaded, her remains were brought to the Sicilian town of Mineo by three Christian women, Bassa, Paula and Agatonica. Her shrine at Mineo remains a popular pilgrimage site because of the many miracles attributed to her intercession. According to an alternate version of her story, her remains were brought to Constantinople. Feast Day: June 23.
Agrippino (Agrippinus) (or Arpinus), St.>: (dates uncertain). Ecclesiastic. Bishop and former patron saint of Naples. He was renowned for his virtue and miracle-worker and his relics are preserved in the high altar in the Cathedral of Naples. His dating his uncertain with sources putting him anytime between the 2nd and mid-4th Centuries AD. His term is sometimes placed between St. Paulus and St. Eustatius. Feast Day: Nov. 9.
Agrippinus, St.>: (fl. AD 2nd and 3ed Centuries). Ecclesiastic. He served as bishop of Naples, in whose cathedral his remains are preserved. According to some sources, he was the 6th bishop of Naples. Feast Day: Nov 9.
Agrolas>: An architect from ancient Sicily. With Hyperbius, he built most of the walls surrounding the Acropolis at Athens.
Agropoli >(SA): A commune in the province of Salerno.>
Region: Campania. Province: Salerno.
Elevation: 24 m. Area: 32.51km². Population: 20,246 (2005). Population Density: /km² ().
Coordinates: Lat. 40°20’52″N/Long. 14°59’50″E.
Location & Setting: Part of Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano.
Frazioni: Fuonti, Moio, Mattine, Frascinelle, Madonna del Carmine.
Tel. Prefix: 0974. Postal Code: 84043.
Population Designation: Agropolesi.
Historic Population Figures: 2,038(1861); 3,228(1901); 4,093(1921); 7,774(1951); 14,329(1981); 19,949(2001).
Agùglia, Mimì>: (b. Palermo, Dec. 21, 1884; d. July 31, 1970). Actress. She was a notable entertainer who performed in the theater using local Sicilian dialect.
Aguilèra, Emmanuele>: (b. Licata, 1677; d. Palermo, 1740). Jesuit historian. He was the author of a history of the Jesuits in Sicily from 1546 to 1672.
Aguirre, Francesco>: (b. 1682, Salemi [TP]; d. 1748 or 1753, Milan). Canonist.
Agyris: A tyrant of the ancient Sikel town of Agira. Second in power and wealth in Sicily only to Dionysius I of Syracuse, he formed an alliance with the latter against the threat of the Carthaginians.
Agyrion (Agyrium): (mod. Agira [EN]). A town in ancient Sicily situated on a hill overlooking the Cyamosorus (mod. Salso) and the Chrysas (mod. Dittaino), northwest of Centuripe and about 25 km northeast of Enna. It is best-known as the birthplace of the historian Diodorus Siculus. According to tradition, Herakles (Hercules) passed through the place during his tenth labor. To him was ascribed the foundation of the districts known as Iolaos and Geryon, as well as the creation of a nearby lake.
The city’s population was enlarged when Timoleon settle 10,000 Greeks there in c339 BC. This sparked a new period of growth which included a beautiful theater, believed to lie beneath the churches of S. Pietro and SS. Trinità, and of strong city walls fortified with towers. Little is known of the history of the city in Roman times.
Agyrium: See Agyrion.
Ahenobarbus, Lucius Domitius: (fl. early 1st Century BC). Roman politician. A member of an important Roman family, he served as praetor in Sicily in 96 BC, obtaining the consulship in 94 BC. A supporter of Sulla, he was murdered in Rome in 82 BC by order of Marius.
Ahima as ben Palti’ el (or Achimaaz du Oria): (b. 1017, at Capua). Hebrew chronicler. While residing at Oria, near Brindisi, he wrote an important chronicle of the events of the 9th and 10th centuries. His principal work, “Megillat ‘Ahima’az” (The Scroll of ‘Aħima’az) was originally titled “Sefer Yuħasin” (The Book of Genealogy).
Ahmad ibn Ya’qub ibn Fezara: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (r861-2).
Ahmad ibn Ya’qub ibn Modha ibn Sawada ibn Sufian ibn Salim: Aghlabid governor of Sicily (r872).
Aidone (EN): A commune in the province of Enna.
Region: Sicilia. Province: Enna.
Elevation: 800 m. Area: 209.58 km². Population: 5,380 (2006e); 5,462 (2004). Population Density: /km² ().
Coordinates: Lat. 37°24’59″N/Long. 14°26’45″E.
Tel. Prefix: 0935. Postal Code: 94010.
Population Designation: Aidonesi.
Patron Saint (s): San Lorenzo. Feast Day: Aug. 10.
Historic Population Figures: (1861); (1901); (1921); (1951); (1981); 6,057 (2001).
Situated on a mountain above Piazza Armerina, in the province of Enna, Sicily. It was settled by Lombard soldiers in the army of King Roger II. The modern inhabitants have retained a unique Lombard based local dialect. Some sources identify Aidone with ancient Herbita or Trinacia.
Aielli (AQ): A commune in the province of L’Aquila.
Region: Abruzzo. Province: L’Aquila..
Elevation: 1,021 m. Area: 34.70 km². Population: 1,506 (2006e); 1,506 (2005); 1,477 (2001). Population Density: 42.6/km² (2001).
Coordinates: Lat. 42°4’54″N/Long. 13°35’29” E.
Location & Setting: On a hill overlooking the Fucino basin, it is part of Comunità Montana Valle del Giovenco.
Frazioni: Aielli Stazione.
Tel. Prefix: 0863. Postal Code: 67041.
Population Designation: Aiellesi.
Former Names: med. Castrum Agelli..
History: Aielli was surrounded by walls in the 14th century, it was later annexed to the County of Celano. In 1915, it was severely damaged by a major earthquake.
Historic Population Figures: (1861); (1901); (1921); (1951); (1981); 1,477 (2001).
Historical Sites and Monuments: 14th Century cylindrical tower: once part of a larger fortified structure, it was built by Ruggero, Count of Celano.
Churches and Religious Sites: Chiesa di S. Rocco.
Chiesa di S. Adolfo (at Aielli Stazione), built in the 1930s, contains sculpture by Arturo Dazzi.
Ruined hermitage below Mount Etra.
Events: Sagra of amaretti (typical almond biscuits): August.
Aiello, Giambattista: See Giambattista Ajello.
Aiello, Giuseppe: See Giuseppe Ajello.
Aiello Calabro >(CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza.
Area: 38.56 km². Alt. 502 m. CAP: 87031. Tel. Pref.: 0982. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 39°7’6″96 N/Long 16°10’3″00 E. Population Information: 2,234 (2006e); 2,446 (2001); 3,079 (1991). % Change in Population from 1991 to 2001: . Population Density (2001): / km². Inhabitants Designation: Aiellesi.
Location & Setting: Part of Comunità Montana del Savuto. Part of Regione Agraria n. 18 – Colline Litoranee di Amantea.
Aiello del Sabato (AV): A commune in the province of Avellino. Population: 3,701 (2007e); 3,548 (2006e).
Area: 10.83 km². Alt. 425 m. CAP: 83020. Tel. Pref.: 0825. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 40°53’24″36 N/Long 14°49’18″12 E. Population: 3,548 (2006e) 3,219 (2001); 2,740 (1991). % Change in Population from 1991 to 2001: . Population Density (2001): / km². Inhabitants Designation: Aiellesi.
Location & Setting: Part of Comunità Montana Serinese Solofrana. Part of Regione Agraria n. 8 – Colline di Avellino.
Aieta (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza.
Area: 47.97 km². Alt. 524 m. CAP: 87020. Tel. Pref.: 0985. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 39°55’43″68N/Long 15°49’27″48E. Population: 868 (2006e); 892 (2001); (1991). % Change in Population from 1991 to 2001: . Population Density (2001): / km². Inhabitants Designation: Aietani.
Location & Setting: Part of Comunità Montana Dorsale Appenninica Alto Tirreno. Part of Regione Agraria n. 7 – Montagna Litoranea del Lao. Part of Parco Nazionale del Pollino.
Ailano (CE): A commune in the province of Caserta.
Area: 15.49km². Alt. 260 m. CAP: 81010. Tel. Pref.: 0823. Geographical Coordinates: Lat 41°23’29″04N/Long 14°12’21″24E. Population: 1,424 (2006e); 1,466 (2001); (1991). % Change in Population from 1991 to 2001: . Population Density (2001): / km². Inhabitants Designation: Ailanesi.
Location & Setting: Part of Comunità Montana Zona del Matese. Part of Regione Agraria n. 3 – Colline di Monte Maggiore.
Aimnistos: (fl. late 5th century BC). Tyrant of Enna (c403 BC).
Ainemolo >(Aniemolo), Vincenzo: (aka Vincenzo da Pavia or Vincenzo il Romano). A painter (b. late 15th Century; d. 1540 or after 1557) from Palermo (although some sources say that he was a native of Pavia). After studying at Rome, he fled in 1527 when the Spanish captured that city. He settled for a time at Messina before returning to his native Palermo. Many of his works can be seen in the Palermo Museum, as well as in the Gancia and the church of S. Domenico in that city. He is best-known for his ability to make the characters in his paintings seem genuinely human. Among his most important works are: “Virgin and Child between Four Saints” in the church of S. Pietro Martire, “Virgin of the Rosary” in the church of S. Domenico, and “Sposalizo”, in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Aio I: See Aiulf I.
Aio II: See Aiulf II.
Aione I: See Aiulf I.
Aione II: See Aiulf II.
Airoldi, Alfonso: (b. 1729, Palermo; d. 1817, Palermo). Scholar and ecclesiastic. He served as Archbishop of Eraclea. An expert in the study of Arabic Sicily, he published four Dissertations on Sicilian history [publ. posthumously 1840-42].
Airoldi, Cesare: (b 1774, Palermo; d. 1858, Florence). Politician and naturalist. He took part in the Sicilian Parliament which formulated the 1812 constitution. He was president of the Camera dei Comuni (July 1813) and director of the Ministry of the Inland (Oct. 1813). When England withdrew its support from the Sicilian constitutional government, King Ferdinand IV quickly reinstated his control of the island. To escape arrest and prosecution for treason, Airoldi fled to Milan. From there he continued on to Paris, and finally settled at Florence. Although an exile, he continued to love his native Sicily and, upon his death, willed his precious scientific collections and library to the University of Palermo.
Aisclittino: See Asclettin.
Aita: Etruscan god of the underworld. He was the counterpart of the Greek Hades and Roman Pluto.
Aiulf (Aione; Aio) I: (d. AD 646). Duke of Benevento (AD 641-646). The son and heir of Arechis I, he suffered from mental instability to such an extent that it was necessary to name his adopted brothers Radoald and Grimoald as co-regents. In 646, southern Italy was attacked by Slavic raiders who landed at Siponto on the Adriatic coast. Despite his problems, Aiulf possessed military ability and led his troops against the invaders. While making a reconnaissance of the Slavic camp his horse fell into a pit trap. Discovered by the Slavs, he was surrounded and killed. He was succeeded by his brother Radoald (Radwald).
Aiulf (Aione, Aio) II of Benevento>: Prince of Benevento (r. AD 884-890).
Ajello (Aiello), Giambattista: (b. 1815?, Naples; d. 1860). Scholar and educator. A disciple of B. Puoti, he joined with him in opening a private studio. Dieing in his mid-forties in poverty, he was the author of two notable works: Della muliebrita delle volgar letteratura dei templi di mezzo (1841) and Discorsi di storia e letteratura (1841).
Ajello (Aiello), Giuseppe: (b. fl. 19th Century; Palermo). Italian patriot. He was a member of Garibaldi’s Mille (“Thousand”).
ajri: A form of Albanian-Calabrian multi-part song.