Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – Ba to Be


Baal: See Belus.

Baal Addir: The Phoenician-Carthaginian god of the dead. There is some archaeological evidence to suggest that Baal Addir was worshipped in those areas of western Sicily and Sardinian occupied by the Carthaginians prior to First Punic War.

babà: a Neapolitan dessert made from leavened dough, soaked in syrup and liqueur. It may be topped with whipped cream or served with orange sauce.

Babies, Care of: In early 20th century Sicily, parents would teach their children to walk by using wicker frames that encompassed the child fitting tightly under their arms. These frames were so wide that it was impossible for the child to come within two feet of anything or to topple over. When not in these frames, the baby would be wrapped so tightly in swaddling that them could be left on a window frame and not be able to fall off. Foreign observers compared these tightly bound babies to American Indian papooses.

Babòccio, Antonio: (b. c1351 at Piperno; d. c1435 at Naples). Sculptor. Flourishing in the early 15th century, he earned a notable reputation for his marble sculptures. His principal works are found in the Cathedral of S. Gennaro in Naples. These include the cathedral’s portal (1407), the chapel of S. Giovanni dei Pappacoda (1415), and a number of tombs. Other works of his making, principally tombs, can be found in several churches in Naples and Salerno.

Bacchus: A Roman god usually identified with the Greek Dionysus, god of wine. The only surviving temple to Bacchus in Sicily is located in the ruins of Syracuse.

Bacchilus: The first bishop of Messina. Although many older sources claim that he had been ordained by St. Paul in the mid-1st century AD, most modern scholars now believe that Bacchilus was a legendary character.

Bacchylides: (b. Iulis, Ceos; fl. c470 BC). Greek lyric poet. He was the nephew and pupil of the famous odist Simonides, and was a rival of Pindar. In c476 BC, he accompanied his uncle to the court of Hieron I of Syracuse, residing there for a long time thereafter. Like Simonides, Bacchylides composed several Doric dialect poems, principally victory odes and hymns lauding athletic achievements. Hieron, who was a victor in chariot-racing at the Olympic Games, was the topic of some of Bacchylides’ poems. Among his other works were paeans and processionals. Bacchylides’ poems were widely read and praised for centuries and had a strong influence on the Roman poet Horace. Only a few fragments survive.

Bachi, Pietro: (b. Sicily, 1787; d. Boston, Aug. 22, 1853). Language professor. Having been implicated in Murat’s attempt to regain the throne of Naples in 1815, he was banished from the Regno. After living in exile for a number of years in Great Britain, he immigrated to the United States in 1825.  There he became an instructor of Italian at Harvard University. Bachi was knowledgeable in several ancient and modern languages, and was fluent in Italian, German and English.

Bacoli (NA): A commune in the province of Napoli.

Badala: A Sicilian family name of Arabic origins (uadi ΄́llah = “valley of God”).

Badia (or abbadia): An abbey, or nuns’ convent. The term varies according to the particular local dialect. It was known as an abbadia in standard Italian; badiazza in Messina; and batia at Agira.

Badia, Luigi: (b. Teramo, 1822; d. Milan, Oct. 30, 1899).  Composer. His works consist of operas and songs.

Badiza: See Besidiae.

Badolato (CZ): A commune in the province of Catanzaro. Population: 3,317 (2006e).

Baffi, Pasquale: (b. S. Sofia d’Epiro (CS) in 1749; d. Naples; Nov. 11, 1799). Scholar and patriot. In 1773, he became Professor of Latin and Greek at the Military College of the Nunziatella at Naples. He later served as the Librarian of the Royal Bourbon Library. He was one of the leading authorities on Pompeii and Herculaneum of his day. Baffi played an important role in the establishment of the short-lived Parthenopean Republic, serving in the post of President of the Committee of Administration. After the collapse of the Republic, Baffi was arrested by Bourbon authorities and hanged as a revolutionary.