Encyclopedia of Southern Italy

Ak – Az

Akragas: Ancient name for Agrigento (See which).

Akrai: See Acrae.

Akudunniad: the Oscan name of an ancient Samnite town. It is identified in some sources with Aquilonia.

al-Aghlab ibn Muhammad ibn al-Aghlab>: (fl. 2nd part of the 9th century). Saracen usurper who seized power in Sicily for a short time in AD 878.

Alabon (Alabus): (mod. Cantaro). An ancient river and town located to the north of Syracuse. The river emptied into the Sicilian Sea at Megara, between Xyphonia and Thapsus.

Alabus, River: See Alabon.

Alabus (Alabon) River (modern Cantaro): An ancient river of Sicily which emptied into the Sicilian Sea at Megara, between Xyphonia and Thapsus.

Alaca, River: A river of Calabria (length: 21 km). Rising from the Lago di Lacina in the Serra d’Assi (1,048 m), it flows eastward into the Gulf of Squillace near San Sostene (CZ).

Alaesa (Halesa, Halaesa): An ancient town situated on the N coast of Sicily between Calacta and Cephaloedium. It was founded by Arconides of Herbita in 403 BC. According to tradition, in the vicinity of the town was a foundation whose waters were said to “dance” to the sound of a flute. Mod. Pittineo.

Alaesus (Halesus) River: A river in ancient Sicily which emptied into the Tyrrhenian Sea at Alaesa.

Alagna (Span. Alaña), Jose Saverio: (b. Jan. 11, 1707, Palermo; d. 1767, Havana, Cuba). Jesuit missionary. Entering the Jesuit Order in 1722, he served as a teacher of mathematical sciences and languages (Greek and Engllish) at the Jesuit college at Belen. Among his student was the noted historian Fr. Alegre.

                In 1743, Alagna participated in the unsuccessful experition led by Fr. Jose Maria Monaco to colonize Florida. The diary which he kept during this expedition, which includes several astute scientific comments and maps of the Florida Keys, is an exceptional historical resource. Alagna returned to Cuba where he remained for the remainder of his life as a teacher of classical languages.

Alagna (or Alagno), Lucrezia d’: (b. c1430, Amalfi; d. 1478, Rome). Noblewoman. It is believed that she became the mistress of King Alfonso I “the Magnanimous” of Naples (d.1458) during the last years of his life. Lucrezia was described as a young woman of great beauty, born into a noble, but impoverished, family. Despite her denial to any involvement with the king, it seemed to have been something of an open secret. After Alfonso’s death, she left Naples and lived for a time in Dalmatia. After spending some time at Ravenna, she eventually moved to Rome where she died.

Alagona: A noble family of Sicily which rose to attain much power and wealth from the 14th to 17th centuries. Apparently of Aragonese origins, they played an important role in the conflicts in Sicily during the reign of Queen Maria and Martin I “the Younger.”

Alagona, Artale di (1): (d. 1389, Catania). Nobleman. Serving as baiulo (guardian) of Queen Maria of Sicily, he became one of the four vicar-governors early in the queen’s reign. Realizing the danger to Maria if she remained in Sicily, Alagona helped the Queen to escape to Aragon and to marry Martin of Aragon. Despite this, he spent the remainder of his life attempting to prevent Martin from seizing power in Sicily. He was the uncle of Artale di Alagona (2).

Alagona, Artale di (2): (fl. late 14th century). Nobleman. The nephew of Artale di Alagona (1), he seized control, in 1392, of the city of Catania in resistance to King Martin I and Queen Maria. When Martin finally captured the city in 1394, Alagona fled to Milan.

Alagona, Pietro: (b. 1549, Syacuse; d. Oct. 19, 1624, Rome). Jesuit scholar. His principal work was Enchiridian, seu manuale confessariorum. He also wrote compendiums of the works of Martin Aspelcueta (uncle of St. Francis Xavier), of the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas, and of canon law.

Alaimo (sometimes Alaymo or Alcaimo), Marcantonio: (b. 1590, Regalbuto [EN]; d. 1662). Physician. Having established himself at Palermo, he earned the reputation as the greatest physician of his time in Sicily. Among his many works was Diadecticon (1637), an account of various medicinal substances.