Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – B


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.

Bafile, Andrea: (Monticchio (AQ), 1878; d. Basso Piave, 1918). Naval officer and hero. As a lieutenant (Tenete di Vascello) aboard an Italian warship, he posthumously received the Gold Medal for military valor (Medaglia d’Oro) on March 12, 1918.

Bagaladi (RC): A commune in the province of Reggio Calabria.

Bagheria (Sic. Baharìa)(PA): A commune in the province of Palermo situated along the N coast of Sicily between Palermo and Messina. Area: 29.68 km². Population: 54,508 (2006e); 50,854 (2001); 47,085 (1991); 40,076 (1981). It served as the “court suburb” for Palermo, a place where members of the Bourbon royal court built beautiful holiday villas, which included splendid gardens, arabesque pavilions, and a view of the Lipari Islands.

baglio: A term applied to a great wine establishment. Several were located at Marsala on the W coast of Sicily, including the Baglio Ingham. The word, similar to the English “bailey”, derives from the Latin ballium (= a walled enclosure).

baglio Palmenti: Treading vats used in Sicily for crushing the wine grapes.

Bagnara Calabra (RG): A town in southern Calabria, situated on the Gulf of Gioja. Population: 11,230 (2001).

Bagnoli del Trigno (IS): A commune in the province of Isernia. Population: 835 (2006e).

Bagnoli Irpino (AV): A commune in the province of Avellino. Population: 3,327 (2007e); 3,341 (2006e).

Bagnolo del Salento (LE): A commune in the province of Lecce. Population: 1,867 (2006e).

Baia e Latina (CE): A commune in the province of Caserta. Population:  2,337 (2006e).

Baiae: (mod. Baia). An ancient town located on a small bay to the west of Neapolis (Naples). Situated opposite to Puteoli, it was noted for its beautiful scenery and its warm mineral springs. Under the Romans it developed into ancient Italy’s most famous health and pleasure resorts. Many of Rome’s wealthiest and more powerful citizens maintained seaside villas along the coast between Baiae and Puteoli. Much of the ancient site is now underwater due to changes in the coastline.

                According to mythology, Baiae was named for Baius, a companion of Ulysses.

Baiano (AV): A commune in the province of Avellino. Population: 4,733 (2007e); 4,743 (2006e).

Balarum: A haven of ancient Bruttium, located near Scylla.

Balbo, Michele: (c. 1270). Navigator. An Italian pirate who operated in the Aegean Sea during the 2nd half of the 13th century.

baldachin (or ciborium; Ital. baldachino or baldacchino): A canopy over the high altar of a church. Very rare in the churches and cathedrals on Sicily, they are more common on the Italian mainland. The term comes an Old Italian term Baldacco (= Baghdad).

Baldini, Filippo: (fl. 2nd half of the 18th century). Physician. He served for some time as physician to the royal family. He was the author of several medical dissertations which were published as a collection entitled Saggi intorno alla Preservazione e Cura della Umana Salute (Essays around the Preservation and Care of Human Health) (publ. Naples, 1787).

Baldo, Antonio: (b. Cava de Tirreni (SA), 1688). Painter and engraver. A pupil of Solimena, he produced several works including historical pieces and portraits. Among the subjects of the latter were Emperor Charles VI, Don Carlos of Naples, and the physician Cyrillus.

Balestrate (Sic. Balistrati)(PA): A commune in the province of Palermo. A town in W Sicily which became known as the center of production for a large percentage of the grapes used to produce Marsala wine.

Baletium (Valetium): (mod. San Pietro Vernotico [BR]). A maritime town in ancient Calabria, situated between the river Pactius and Lupia.

Baletum, River: A river in Bruttium mentioned by Pliny the Elder. It’s identification is uncertain, but its name derives from the IE root *bhel(e) (= shining, white). In some Indo-European languages, the name means “swamp.” Some scholars suggest that the name is of Illyrian origin.

Balmes, Abraham de: (b. Lecce. d. Padua, 1523). Physician and professor. He was the author of Mikne Avaam (the Possession of Abraham) (Venice, 1523), a Hebrew grammar, and translated some of the philosophical commentaries of Averroes and others.

Balsamo, Giuseppe: See Cagliostro, Count Alessandro di.

Balsorano (AQ): A commune in the province of L‘Aquila. Population: 3,706 (2006e).

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

Balzico, Alfonzo: (b. 1825 at Cava de’Tirreni; d. 1901). Sculptor.

Bambocci, Abate Antonio: (b. Piperno, near Rome, c1368; d. Naples, c1435). Artist. He arrived in Naples with his father, the sculptor Domenico Bambocci, and became a pupil of Masuccio who taught him drawing, architecture and sculpture. He received further instruction in these subjects from Andrea Ciccione. He was taught painting by Colantino del Fiore and Zingaro. Bambocci is best known for his sepulchral monuments, including those of Cardinal Filippo Minutolo and Cardinal Carbone. The 1421 monument he created for Lorenzo Aldemareschi included an inscription in which Bambocci  described himself as a sculptor, painter and brassfounder. The chapel which housed the monument was also decorated with paintings executed by Bambocci. In 1407, he created the architrave and other decorative elements for the great door to the Cathedral at Naples. He also crafted the doors of the churches of Pappacoda and S. Agostino allla Zecca. Although he also designed and constructed several private palazzi but most of these had already disappered by the middle of the 19th century. Bambocci’s sculpture reveals his belief in restoring the rules followed in classical times. He founded his own school of art which produced several superior artists like Angelo Agnello del Fiore and Guglielmo Monaco.

bamboo: Although not usually associated with Sicily, many varieties, including tropical ones, grow well there. They have had a wide variety of uses for making everything from garden sticks to staffs for goat-herders to pipes.

bandieri bella, a: A variety of Calabrian secular multi-part song.

Banditti (=bandits): Synonymous with briganti (= brigands), these bands of outlaws infested the mountainous regions of Italy and Sicily. They frequently would attack and kidnap travelers for ransom.

Bandusiae Fons: (mod. Sambuco). A fountain in ancient Apulia, located about 6 miles from Venusia. It was mentioned by Horace (Carm. iii.13).

Bantia: (mod. Banzi (PZ). A town in ancient Apulia or Lucania, located in a wooded area near Venusia, to the WNW of Silvium It was near here that Marcellus was killed in an ambush during the Second Punic War.

Bantine Table (Lat. Tabula Bantina): An ancient bronze tablet, bearing a 33-line Oscan inscription, discovered near Banzi (PZ) in 1793.

Banulo, Andrea: See Barolo, Andrea.

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

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

Baranello (CB): A commune in the province of Campobasso. Area: 24.8 km². Alt. 610 m. Population: 2,731 (2006e); 2,636 (2001); 2,790 (1991). Population Density: 106.1/ km² (2001).

Barano d’Ischia (NA): A commune in the province of Napoli.

Barba, Gaetano: (b. Naples, fl. end of the 18th Century). Artist.

Barba di Giove: (Jupiter’s Beard). A common wild flower in Sicily which receives its name from the golden color of its trailers in autumn. Originally from Australia, the flower is often found growing along railway embankments in Sicily.

Barbary Corsairs: Long a plague on the coasts of Sicily and Italy, they were responsible for the abduction of thousands of innocent people who were sold into slavery in North Africa and beyond. Rich captives could usually be ransomed, but the vast majority of victims ended their lives as slaves in foreign lands. Some governments appeased the corsairs, paying “protection money” to prevent their ships from being set upon or their shores invaded. Such payment, however, was no guarantee of safety and many watch towers (known as Corsairs’ Towers) were built to guard against possible attacks. Ultimately, the only way to eliminate the threat of the Corsairs was through warfare. The United States Navy, with the cooperation of the Sicilians, attacked the pirate base at Tunis in North Africa during the Barbary War. The final blow to them was dealt in 1816 when the British Lord Exmouth bombarded Algiers. Piracy did not disappear completely from the Mediterranean after the collapse of the Barbary states but the practice never again reach the levels during the age of these corsairs.

Barbatus, St.: (b. AD 612; d. Feb. 29, 682 at Benevento). Ecclesiastic. Sent to Benevento as a missionary, he made many converts among the still largely pagan population. In AD 663, when the Byzantine emperor Constans II was besieging Benevento, Barbatus correctly predicted that the assault would fail. After the withdrawal of the Byzantines, the Beneventans elected Barbatus as their bishop. He attended the Council of Constantinople in AD 680. Feast Day: Feb. 19.

Barbary Coast: a geographical term formerly used for the Mediterranean coast of North Africa.  The “Barbary corsairs” derived their name from this term.

Barbolani Dei Conti De Montauto, Francesco: (fl. 1590). Navigator. A member of the Knights of St. Stephen, he was active along the Barbary Coast against the Muslim corsairs.

Barbolani Dei Conti De Montauto, Giulio: (d. 1619). Navigator. A Knight of St. Stephen, he operated against the Barbary Corsairs.

Barbula, Lucius Aemilius: (fl. 1st half of the 3rd Century BC). Roman politician and military leader. Consul in 281 BC, he led the Roman army against the Tarentines, Samnites, and Salentines.

Barbula, Quintus Aemilius: (fl. second half of the 44th Century BC). Roman politician and military leader. As Consul in 317 BC, he conquered Apulia for Rome. Elected to a second consulship in 311 BC, he campaigned against the Etruscans.

barca: A typical boat of Sicily. They are generally painted with brightly colored stripes. Traditionally, each district had its own distinctive styles. Most had eyes painted on their bows, a feature common to Mediterranean boats since the time of the ancient Greeks. The barcas of Siracusa are constructed with beaks, a survival from the bronze beaks used for ramming on ancient Greek warships, as well as tall bow-posts used to determine the safe height for any passenger’s head when passing under a bridge. The barcas of Trapani have been compared in shape to lifeboats, but with very elaborate decoration. They are fitted with a jib and a spritted mainsail.

Barca: The surname of an important family of ancient Carthage. It derived from the epithet given to Hamilcar, the Carthaginian commander in Sicily during the 1st Punic War. It was attached to other members of his family, including his famous son Hannibal, who terrorized Roman Italy during the 2nd Punic War. The family was known collectively as the Barcines, as was the democratic political faction of Carthage which formed their support base.

Barcellona (-Pozzo di Gotto) (ME): A commune in the province of Messina. Population: 41,129 (2006e).

 A manufacturing town in E Sicily, situated on the river Longano between Messina and Milazzo. It was here, in 269 BC, that Hieron II, ruler of Syracuse defeated the Mamertines, an event which led, ultimately to the First Punic War and the occupation of Sicily by Rome.

Bardellino, Pietro: (b. 1731 from Naples; d. 1806). Painter.

Bardi, Gualterotti: (c1616). Navigator. A Knight of Malta, he was active in Mediterranean Sea.

Bardulum: (mod. Barletta [BA]). A maritime town of ancient Apulia, situated on the Via Frentana, between the rivers Aufidus and Aveldius.

Barentus, River: Ancient name for the river Busento.

Barete (AQ): A commune in the province of L‘Aquila. Population: 664 (2006e).

Bari, Province of: Area: 513,830 km².

Bari (anc. Barium) (BA): Port city and capital of the region of Puglia, provincial capital of the province of Bari, situated on the Adriatic coast. Area: 116.20 km². Population: 325,052 (2007e); 326,915 (2006e); 316,532 (2001); 342,309 (1991); 371,022 (1981).

Bari, Roberto di: (fl. 1266). Grand Protonotary of the kingdom of Naples in 1266 under Charles I of Anjou. Although involved in many legal affairs for that king, he is probably best known for issuing the sentence on the unfortunate Conradin in 1268.

Bari-Bitonto, Metropolitan Archdiocese of:

Type: Metropolitan Archdiocese.

Rite: Latin/Roman

History: Established in the 4th century as the Diocese of Bari.

Promoted to a Metropolitan Archdiocese of Bari-Canosa in 6th century.

Renamed as the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Bari–Bitonto on Sept. 30, 1986.

Conference Region: Puglia

Metropolitan (if applicable):

Suffragans (if applicable): Altamura–Gravina–Acquaviva delle Fonti, Andria, Conversano–Monopoli, Molfetta–Ruvo–Giovinazzo–Terlizzi, Trani–Barletta–Bisceglie.

Area: 1,264 km² (488 sq. miles).

                In 2004 the diocese had a population of 720,000, 712,000 (98.9%) of which are Catholics. There are 125 parishes, 372 priests (207 Diocesan and 165 Religious), 62 permanent deacons, 259 male religious, and 711 female religious.

Baricelli (or Baricello), Giulio Cesare: (b. San Marco dei Cavoti (BN), 1574; d. Benevento). Physician, scientist, philosopher, humanist. Few facts are known about his life but he appears to have been a humanist of some note. His principal medical work was De hydronosa natura, siue sudore humani corporis libri quatuor, a study on human sweat. In 1617, he was the first physician to prescribe mercury as a medication.

baride: Traditional Sicilian brass bands.

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

Barisano da Trani: (b. Trani (BA); fl. 1179). Sculptor.

Barisciano (AQ): A commune in the province of L‘Aquila. Population: 1,787 (2006e).

Barium: (mod. Bari) A city of ancient Apulia (Peucetia). Under the Romans, it held the status of a municipium. Situated on the Via Egnatia between Butuntum and Turris Julianae, on the Adriatic coast. It was famous in ancient times for its fisheries.

Barletta (BA): a seaport city and commune in the province of Bari, situated on the Adriatic coast of Puglia. Area: 146.91 km². Population: 93,230 (2007e); 93,081 (2006e); 92,094 (2001); 89,527 (1991); 83,453 (1981).

Barletta-Andria-Trani, Province of: A new province of Puglia set to become official in 2009. Area: 1,538 km².  It will be composed of ten communes taken from the provinces of Bari and Foggia: Andria (BA), Barletta (BA), Bisceglie (BA), Canosa (BA), Margherita di Savoia (FG), Minervino Murge (BA), San Ferdinando di Puglia (FG), Spinazzola (BA), Trani (BA), and Trinitapoli (FG). These communes had an estimated population in 2005 of 384,293.

Barnabei, Felice: (b. Jan. 13, 1842 at Castelli (TE); d. Oct. 29, 1922 at Rome). Archaeologist and politician.

Barolo (or Banolo, Banulo), Andrea: (b. Barolo or Barletta; fl. 16th century). Jurist and royal counselor. He wrote a number of legal works including Sopra le Leggi de’ Longobardi (Venice, 1537).

Barone (Eng. Baron): The lowest grade of nobility. The term derives from a Gothic term meaning “man”, apparently used to designate a representative or a servant. Barons originally served as castellans, overseers of royal lands.

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

Baroque: An architectural style which followed the Renaissance in Italy. It reached its height during the 16th century. Many art historians and critics, especially in the English-speaking world, condemn Baroque style as being too extreme and ostentatious. Baroque decoration made extensive use of stucco, gold leaf and colored marbles. Many important religious, government, and private buildings throughout the provinces of the Two Sicilies date from the high point of the Baroque period. As a result, even today, they are often criticized as “appalling” and in “bad taste.”  This prejudice the Baroque has prevented many of the most beautiful works of art and architecture in Italy from getting to credit they deserve.

Barra (NA): a town in Campania.

Barrafranca (EN): a commune in the province of Enna. Population: 13,039 (2006e).

Barrea (AQ): A commune in the province of L‘Aquila. Population: 771 (2006e).

Bartolomeo da Camoglie: (b. Liguria. fl. 1339-1348). Painter. His most famous work is the Madonna dell’Umiltà, in the Cloister of the Church of San Francesco d’ Assisi in Palermo, signed and dated 1346.

Basciano (TE): A commune in the province of Teramo.

Baselice (BN): A commune in the province of Benevento. Population: 2,674 (2007e); 2,699 (2006e).

Basile, Ernesto: (b. 1857, Palermo. d. 1932, Palermo). Architect and furniture designer. Having graduated from the University of Palermo, he studied Sicilian, Arab-Norman and Renaissance architecture. Principal Works: Palazzo di Montecitorio (Rome, 1903-1925) a monument of Calatafimi (1885) buildings for the National Exposition of Palermo (1891).Villa Igea (Palermo)Villa Paterno’ (Palermo, 1898) pavilion of Sicilian Exposition (Palermo, 1901)Caffe’ Ferraglia (1901, Rome)Villini Monroy (1903, Palermo)Basile (1904, Palermo)Fassini (1906, Palermo)Villa Dellella (1909, Palermo).

basilica: an ancient Roman administrative building, used as a courtroom or meeting hall. It had a central nave and an apse at one or both ends. Two side aisles were formed by rows of columns. The earliest known basilica in Rome dates from 184 BC. Ancient Pompeii also had a basilica built in the late 2nd century BC.

The early Christian churches were based a similar floor plan to the secular basilicas. Typically such a church had a nave with an apse, two or four side aisles, a narthex, and a clerestory. They are distinguished by a lack of transepts.

Basilica is also used in the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches to designate a church accorded special privileges by the pope as a result of its great antiquity or notoriety.

Basilicata (Lucania):

Location: A region in southern Italy.


Capital: Potenza.

>Area>: 9,992 km² (mi²) ().

>Number of Provinces>: 2 (Potenza; Matera).

>Number of Communes (Municipalities)>: 131.

>Population>: 591,338 (2007)

>Population Density>:  59.2/km² (2007).




>Historical Population>: 490,000 (1901); 610,186 (1981); 610,528 (1991); 597,768 (2001); 594,086 (2006e).



Basilicata, Communes of:

Province of Matera

Accettura, Aliano, Bernalda, Calciano, Cirigliano, Colobraro, Craco, Ferrandina, Garaguso, Gorgoglione, Grassano, Grottole, Irsina, Matera, Miglionico, Montalbano Jonico, Montescaglioso, Nova Siri, Oliveto Lucano, Pisticci, Policoro, Pomarico, Rotondella, Salandra, San Giorgio Lucano, San Mauro Forte, Scanzano Jonico, Stigliano, Tricarico, Tursi, Valsinni.

Province of Potenza

Abriola, Acerenza, Albano di Lucania, Anzi, Armento, Atella, Avigliano, Balvano, Banzi, Baragiano, Barile, Bella, Brienza, Brindisi Montagna, Calvello, Calvera, Campomaggiore, Cancellara, Carbone, Castelgrande, Castelluccio Inferiore, Castelluccio Superiore, Castelmezzano, Castelsaraceno, Castronuovo di Sant`Andrea, Cersosimo, Chiaromonte, Corleto Perticara, Episcopia, Fardella, Filiano, Forenza, Francavilla in Sinni, Gallicchio, Genzano di Lucania, Ginestra, Grumento Nova, Guardia Perticara, Lagonegro, Latronico, Laurenzana, Lauria, Lavello, Maratea, Marsico Nuovo, Marsicovetere, Maschito, Melfi, Missanello, Moliterno, Montemilone, Montemurro, Muro Lucano, Nemoli, Noepoli, Oppido Lucano, Palazzo San Gervasio, Paterno, Pescopagano, Picerno, Pietragalla, Pietrapertosa, Pignola, Potenza, Rapolla, Rapone, Rionero in Vulture, Ripacandida, Rivello, Roccanova, Rotonda, Ruoti, Ruvo del Monte, San Chirico Nuovo, San Chirico Raparo, San Costantino Albanese, San Fele, San Martino d`Agri, San Paolo Albanese, San Severino Lucano, Sant`Angelo Le Fratte, Sant`Arcangelo, Sarconi, Sasso di Castalda, Satriano di Lucania, Savoia di Lucania, Senise, Spinoso, Teana, Terranova di Pollino, Tito, Tolve, Tramutola, Trecchina, Trivigno, Vaglio Basilicata, Venosa, Vietri di Potenza, Viggianello, Viggiano.

Basilicata, Ecclesiastical Region of:

Area: 9,970 km²/ mi²

Total Population: 605,942

Catholic Population:

Total Priests: 413 (Diocesan: 327; Religious: 86)

Permanent Deacons: 38

Male Religious:

Female Religious:

Parishes: 268.

Basico’ (ME): A commune in the province of Messina. Population: 713 (2006e).

Basilio: Bishop of Capua (rAD 595 – ?).

Basiluzzo (anc. Hycesia)(ME): a small islet in the Lipari/Aeolian Islands.

Basket-Laundries: Up until the 20th century it was common for women in Palermo to travel through the city streets with large baskets. They would use these as a sort of portable laundry, accepting a fee to wash a persons clothing while they waited.

Basket-Stoves: In 19th and early 20th century Palermo, local men would travel through the streets with basket-stoves, the tops of which contained pans of hot batter. They would use these to cook various meats and shell-fish which more wealthy classes considered unfit to eat. They were, however, a delight to the poor, who readily paid for what they considered as delicacies.

basso (pl. bassi): As late as the early 20th century the poor of Sicily’s cities and towns often live in the ground floors of the houses of the wealthy. These lower floors came to be known as bassi (or catodj). They were normally windowless, with coach-doors that were kept open throughout the day. Eventually, many of these bassi were converted into separate dwellings, but even with windows and regular doors added, they remained nothing more than poor hovels. Many of the old shops of Palermo also had their beginnings as bassi.

Bassus, Caesius: (fl. AD 1st Century). Roman lyric poet. He was a friend of Persius and was the owner of a villa in Campania that was destroyed by the famous eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.

Basta: (mod. Vaste). Town of the ancient Sallentini, Iapygia. It was situated south of Sallentia. Its inhabitants were known as Basterbini.

Basterbini: See Basta.

baths, ancient: Ancient Greek style baths were built at a number of sites in Magna Graecia and Sicily since the 3rd century BC. This style of bath complex centered on a series of hip-baths arranged around the walls of 1 or more circular rooms (tholoi). As bathers sat in these hip-bathes they were showered by hot water drained from niches above them. These Greek baths were the forerunners of the more complex style developed by the Romans. A great number of the resort spas in Sicily and southern Italy have their origins in these same ancient establishments.

Bathys river: (mod. Jati river). A river in ancient W Sicily falling into the Segestanus sinus between Parthenicum and Segestanum Emporium.

Batinus river: (mod. Tordino river). A river of ancient Picenum, which falls into the Adriatic Sea N of Castrum Novum.

Battaglia, Francesco: (fl. 1732-78). Architect. He created the salone of the Palazzo Biscari at Catania.

Battipaglia (SA): A commune in the province of Salerno. Area: 56.46 km². Population: 50,868 (2006e); 50,359 (2001); 47,139 (1991); 40,797 (1981).

Batulum: An ancient town of the Pentri in Campania or Samnium, to the E of Beneventum. Its location is disputed although many sources identify it with moderm Paduli [BN].

Batus river: (mod. Bato river). A river in ancient Bruttium, which fell into the Siculum mare, to the W of the river Halax.

Baucina (PA): A commune in the province of Palermo.

Bauli: (mod. Bacoli [NA]). An ancient locality in Campania between Misenum and Baiae, mentioned by Pliny. The name derives either from the Greek boaulia (= “ox stall”) or from the Indo-European root *beu– (= “to swell, puff”), referring to the dune or promontory on which the settlement stood. It was not an official town but rather a collection of fine Roman villas.

beans, broad: One of basic foods in the Sicilian diet for many generations, even broad beans were utilized differently according to social class. The upper, wealthier classes ate them as young, raw shoots. The poor, however, ground the beans into a flour out of which they made bread.

Beatrice of Naples: (b. 1295; d. c1321). The daughter of Charles II “the Lame” of Naples, she married (1305) to the much-older Azzo VIII, marquis of Este. Because this marriage was supposedly part of a deal in which Azzo paid a large sum of money to Charles, Dante compared it to the selling female slaves by corsairs.

Beatrice of Provence: (b. 1234, in Of, Aix-En-Provence, Provence; d, Sept. 23, 1267, in Nocera, Calabria). Queen of Naples/Sicily. The daughter of Raymond Berenger IV, Count of Provence, she was the first wife of Charles I of Anjou, who she married on Jan. 31, 1246. She had 7 children, including Charles II “the Lame”, King of Naples. Beatrice’s sister, Margaret, married Charles’s brother, King Louis IX of France.

Beccadelli (Panormita), Antonio: (b. Palermo, 1394; d. Jan. 6, 1471). Courtier, scholar, diplomat. Born into a noble family of Bolognese origins, he was the son of Arrigo Beccadelli, chancellor to King Martin I of Sicily. After receiving a good education in Palermo, he was sent (c1420) to the University of Bologna to study law. After receiving his doctorate, he taught literature at the University of Pavia and became tutor in history to Duke Filippo Maria Viscinti of Milan, though the exact years of these positions are uncertain. It is known that he resettled at Naples in 1436 where he entered the court of King Alfonso V. He remained in that king’s service for several years, accompanying him on several journeys and Alfonso rewarded him with a noble title and a fine house, the Villa Sisia. Among his many duties, Beccadelli served as Alfonso’s ambassador to Genoa, Venice, and the imperial court of Frederick III. Beccadelli later served Alfonso’s son and successor, Ferdinand I, as secretary and counselor.

                Beccadelli wrote a number of works, the most important being De Dictis et Factis Alphonsi Regis, Epistolarum libri, and Carmina.

Befana (La Befana; S. Befana): an ugly but good-natured old hag who leaves presents in the stockings of children on the eve of the Epiphany (the Twelfth Night) in parts of Italy and Sicily. In Christian legend, the tree kings passed an old lady on their way to adore the Christ Child. They invited her to accompany them but she was too busy cleaning her house and did not come with them. Later, she attempted to follow, but became lost among the way and never saw the Holy Child. Every year she comes looking for him. She visits the children while they sleep and fills their stockings, giving the good ones candy and the bad ones only stones or charcoal. It is also a common practice for an image of Befana made of rags to be hung outside the home on January 5.Although the name is probably a corruption of Epiphany (Epiphania), it is likely that parts of the legend pre-date Christian times.

beggars: The destitute of the cities of Sicily and southern Italy often survived only through begging. Few of those who better off realized that even among this poorest class, there existed a certain hierarchy. The “privileged” beggars were usually those found sitting in the shelters of doorways of churches and other buildings. The lower orders were forced into less comfortable, more exposed sites.

Beidis: See Bidis.

Beido: See Bidis.

Belcastro (CZ): A commune in the province of Catanzaro. Population: 1,367 (2006e).

Belisarius: (b. Illyria; d. AD 565). Byzantine general. Born a commoner of Slavic origins (his name means “White Star”), he entered into a military career, working his way into the highest levels. In 534, he led a Byzantine army to North Africa where he destroyed the Vandal kingdom there, restoring the region to imperial control. In the following year hr turned his attention to the recovery of Sicily and Italy. In 535, Sicily was retaken and he proceeded to invade the Italian mainland. His successes ultimately worked against him as Emperor Justinian became worried that he could become a rival to his own power. Recalled to Constantinople before attaining ultimate victory, his place was taken by his rival Narses. In 559, he successfully campaigned against the invading Bulgars. In 563, he was implicated in a conspiracy again Justinian. Whether guilty or not, he was sentenced to house-arrest for a year. A popular belief that he was reduced to poverty, blinded, and spent the remainder of his life as a homeless beggar is simply an example of anti-Justinian propaganda rather than true. In reality, he spent the remainder of his life in quiet retirement with his wealth, honor and body intact.

bell, ringing of a: In Palermo, during Lent it has been the tradition to ring bells by striking them with a hammer. This was in remembrance of the revolt of the Sicilian Vespers. The French Angevin occupiers of Palermo feared that local church bells might be used by rebels as a call to arms. Therefore they ordered that all of the bell-ropes in the city’s churches were to be cut off. When the revolt finally did break out, the rebels climbed into the bell-towers and struck the bells with hammers to sound the alarm. Bell-ringing during Lent was otherwise forbidden.

Bella Sombra: A Spanish name used by the Sicilians for the Japanese kiri, a tree introduced into Sicily and much used to line avenues.

Bellante (TE): A commune in the province of Teramo.

Bellini, Vincenzo: (b. 3 Nov, 1801, Catania. d. 23 September 1835, Puteaux ,France). Operatic Composer.

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

Bellona (CE): A commune in the province of Caserta. Population:  5,106 (2006e).

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

Belmonte Calabro (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: 2,511 (2006e).

Belmonte del Sannio (IS): A commune in the province of Isernia. Population: 878 (2006e).

Belmonte Mezzagno (Sic. Bilmunti Minzagnu) (PA): A commune in the province of Palermo.

Belpasso (CT): A commune in the province of Catania. Population: 22,378 (2006e).

Belsito (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: 961 (2006e).

belvedere: a terrace or lookout point. It was usually a roofed structure like a gazebo situated at a high point.

                In Italy, belvederes could be freestanding structures or attached to a larger building. It is often identical to a loggia.

Belvedere di Spinello >(KR): A commune in the province of Crotone. Population: 2,402 (2006e).

Belvedere Marittimo (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: 9,321 (2006e).

Belus: The Latin name for the Semitic god Baal. Baal, whose name means “master”, “owner” or “lord”, was worshiped as a sun god/fertility god throughout the Mediterranean world wherever the Semitic Phoenicians and Carthaginians established themselves. His worship, which included the practice of human sacrifice, was one of the principal reasons for hatred shown to the Carthaginians by the Greeks and Romans. Baal is identified in biblical writings with the fallen angel Beelzebub or Baalzebub, derived from the Canaanite Baal-Zebul (= “Prince Baal”). In Sicily and Sardinia, where the Phoenicians and Carthaginians had planted colonies, Baal (in the company of his wife Tanit) was generally worshipped, as Baal-Hammon (= “Lord of the incense-altars”). Despite this seemingly pleasant name, archaeologists have found that his altars here were just like those where human sacrifices were offered to him in other locations. One center of his worship was at Lilybaeum, in western Sicily, where a now-lost temple of Baal-Hammon stood.

Benassai, Giuseppe: (b. 1835 at Reggio di Calabria; d. 1878). Painter.

Benedict I: Pope. (rJune 2, 575-July 30, 579).

Benedict II: Pope. (r June 26, 684-May 8, 685).

Benedict III: Pope. (r855-Apr. 7, 858).

Benedict IV: Pope. (r900-903).

Benedict V: Pope. (rMay 22-June 23, 964). He was raised to the Papal throne during a revolt in Rome against Leo XII. Emperor Otto I deposed him and restored Leo XII to power.

Benedict VI: Pope. (rJan 19, 973-June 974).

Benedict VII: Pope. (rOct 974-July 10, 983).

Benedict VIII: Pope. (rMay 18, 1012-Apr 9, 1024).

Benedict IX: Pope. (r1032-1044; 1045-1046; Nov 1047-1048).

Benedict X (Giovanni Filagatto):  Antipope. (r1058-1059).

Benedict XI (Niccolo Boccasini): (b. 1240; d. July 7, 1304, in Perugia). Pope. (rOct 22, 1303-July 7, 1304). The son of a notary from Treviso, he entered the Dominican order in 1257, becoming the General of that Order in 1296. In 1298, he became Cardinal Bishop of Ostia. In 1302, he succeeded Boniface VIII as pope. He had reigned only about 8 months when he died, rumored to have been the victim of poisoned figs.

Benedict XII: Pope. (rDec 20, 1334-Apr 25, 1342).

Benedict XIII: Pope. (rMay 29, 1724-Feb 21, 1730).

Benedict XIV: Pope. (rAug 17, 1740-May 3, 1758).

Benedict XV: Pope. (rSept 3, 1914-Jan 22, 1922).

Benedict XVI: Pope. (rApr 19, 2005- ).

Benestare (RC): A commune in the province of Reggio Calabria.

Benevento, Province of: A province on Campania. Area: 2,071 km². Population: 289,201 (2006e); 287,042 (2001).

Benevento (BN): A city and provincial capital of the province of Benevento, in northern Campania. Area: 129.96 km². Population: 62,958; (2007e); 63,026 (2006e); 61,791 (2001); 62,561 (1991); 62,636 (1981).

Benevento, Metropolitan Archdiocese of:

Type: Metropolitan Archdiocese

Rite: Latin/Roman

History: Established in the 1st century.

Promoted to a Metropolitan Archdiocese on May 26, AD 969.

Conference Region: Campania

Metropolitan (if applicable):

Suffragans (if applicable): Ariano Irpino–Lacedonia, Avellino, Cerreto Sannita–Telese–Sant’Agata de’ Goti, Montevergine, Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi–Conza–Nusco–Bisaccia.

Area: 1,691 km² (653 sq. miles).

                In 2006 the diocese had a population of 267,000, of which 265,000 (99.3%) are Catholics. There are 116 parishes, 231 priests (153 Diocesan and 78 Religious), 32 permanent deacons, 116 male religious, and 249 female religious.

Benevento, Duchy/Principality of: A Lombard state founded in the late 6th Century in the southern part of the Italian peninsula. Separated from the northern Kingdom of Italy by Papal Ducatus Romanus, it was largely autonomous throughout most of its history. The exact date of its foundation is somewhat disputed but most sources put it in cAD 590.

Benevento, Rulers of:

Duchy of Benevento (AD 571 – 774)

  • Zotto (Zottone)        AD 571 – 591
  • Arechis (Arechi) I     591 – 641
  • Aiulf (Aione) I           641 – 646
  • Radoald (Radoaldo)                646 – 651
  • Grimoald (Grimoaldo) I 651 – 662 (King of the Lombards 662 – 671)
  • Romoald (Romoaldo) I            662 – 677
  • Grimoald (Grimoaldo) II           677 – 680
  • Gisulf I                     680 – 706
  • Romoald (Romoaldo) II           706 – 732
  • Adelais                     732 – 733
  • Gregory                   733 – 740
  • Godescalc (Godescalco)          740 – 743
  • Gisulf II                    743 – 749
  • Liutprand 749 – 758
  • Arechis (Arechi) II    758 – 774 (see below)

Principality of Benevento (AD 774 – 1053)

  • Arechis (Arechi) II    774 – 787
  • Grimoald (Grimoaldo) III          787 – 806
  • Grimoald (Grimoaldo) IV         806 – 817
  • Sico (Sicone) I         817 – 832
  • Sicard (Sicardo)      832 – 839
  • Radelchis (Radelchi) I             839 – 851
  • Radelgar 851 – 854
  • Adelchis (Adelchi)    854 – 878
  • Waifer (Gaideri)       878 – 881
  • Radelchis (Radelchi) II            881 – 884 (first reign)
  • Aiulf (Aione) II          884 – 890
  • Orso        890 – 891
  • Byzantine Occupation              891 – 895
  • Guy (also Duke of Spoleto)     895 – 897
  • Peter (Bishop of Benevento & Regent)   897
  • Radelchis (Radelchi) II            897 – 900 (second reign)
  • Atenulf I (also Prince of Capua)              900 – 910
  • Landulf I (also Prince of Capua) 901 – 910 (as co-ruler)
  • Landulf I (also Prince of Capua)              910 – 943
  • Atenulf II (also Prince of Capua) 911 – 940 (as co-ruler)
  • Landulf II “the Red”(also Prince of Capua) 939/940 – 943 (as co-ruler)
  • Atenulf II Carinola (also Prince of Capua) 933 – 943 (as co-ruler)
  • Landulf II “the Red”(also Prince of Capua)              943 – 961
  • Pandulf I Ironhead (also Prince of Capua) 943 – 961 (as co-ruler)
  • Landulf III (also Prince of Capua)            959 – 961 (as co-ruler)
  • Landulf III (also Prince of Capua) 961 – 968/9 (as co-ruler)
  • Pandulf I Ironhead (also Prince of Capua; Duke of Spoleto; and Duke of Salerno) 961 – 981
  • Landulf IV (also Prince of Capua)           968 – 981 (as co-ruler)
  • Pandulf II 981 – 1014
  • Landulf V 987 – 1014 (as co-ruler)
  • Landulf V 1014 -1033
  • Pandulf III                1012 – 1033 (as co-ruler)
  • Pandulf III                1033 – 1050
  • Landulf VI1038 – 1050 (as co-ruler)
  • Norman Occupation                1050 -1053
  • Rudolf (Papal rector)               1053 – 1054
  • Pandulf III (as Papal vassal)    1054 – 1059 (restored)
  • Landulf VI (as Papal vassal)    1054 – 1077 (restored)
  • Pandulf IV                1056 – 1074
  • Robert Guiscard      1078 – 1081

Beneventum: (mod. Benevento). A town in ancient Samnite Hirpini. It was situated on the Appian Way, at the junction of the river valleys of the Sabatus and Calor. Prior to its occupation by the Romans it was called Maleventum but, because this name closely resembled the Latin word for “bad air”, it was changed to the more positive Beneventum (= good air). An early tradition claimed that the city was founded by the Homeric Greek hero Diomedes after his return from the Trojan War. In 274 BC, the Romans under Curius defeated Pyrrhus nearby. It was captured from the Hirpini by the Romans during the Samnites wars and, in 271 or 268 BC, became a Roman colony called Beneventum. Later, Augustus planted a new colony here, giving the place the name of Colonia Julia Concordia Augusta Felix. Sitting on the Via Appia, the town flourished under the early empire. The emperor Trajan chose Beneventum as the site for his famous triumphal arch in AD 114. It was the birthplace of the grammarian Arbelius.

Bentinck, Lord William: The administrator of Sicily during the English occupation of the island during the Napoleonic Wars. He was the creator of the short-lived Constitution of 1812 (q.v.) for Sicily.

Berbers: A general term given to the native tribes inhabiting the mountainous regions of Barbary and the northern Sahara. Although conquered by Phoenicians/Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, and Arabs, they maintained a distinctive cultural and ethnic identity. Berbers had a warlike nature and were utilized by the Saracens in the conquest of Sicily during the 9th and 10th centuries.

Beregra: A town of the ancient Praetutia, Picenum, situated to the S of Interamna. Under the Romans it became a colonia.

Bernalda (MT): A commune in the province of Matera. Population: 12,162 (2006e).

Bernard: (fl. mid-9th century). Monk. While on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he passed through Bari, then under Saracen control, where he picked up letters of safe conduct from the Emir there. While in Bari he witnessed thousands of southern Italian prisoners being loaded into ships to be taken off into slavery.

Bernini, Gian Lorenzo: (b.1598, Naples. d. 1680, Rome). Architect, Sculptor and Scene-Designer. Having received his earliest training in the studio of his father, Pietro Bernini, he was strongly influenced by both contemporary Renaissance works and those of the Classical masters. His long career was centered in and around Rome where he produced some of the most important civic and religious sculptures and architectural works of his era. Principal Works: Aeneas and Anchises (marble group) (Rome); Ratto di Proserpina (marble group) (Rome); David (marble group) (Rome); Apollo and Dafne (marble group) (Rome).

Bersaglieri: The sharpshooters of the Sardinian-Piedmontese, and later Italian, army. They were first employed in 1848.

Besidiae: (mod. Bisignano [CS]). A town in ancient Bruttium, situated on the river Crathis. The name appears to derive from a pre-Oscan word meaning “sand” or “ash” and related to the Indo-European root *bhes- (= to smear, spread). This usually refers to a place having sandy soil.

Biancavilla (CT): A commune in the province of Catania. Population: 23,378 (2006e).

Bianchi (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: (2006e).

Bianco (RC): A commune in the province of Reggio Calabria.

Bianco, James: (fl.c1303). Navigator. He was an Italian pirate active in Mediterranean against the Venetians.

Bicarus: Ancient name for the modern city of Vicari, Sicily.

Biccari (FG): A commune in the province of Foggia. Population: 2,999 (2006e).

Bidera, Giovanni Emanuele: (b. 1784, Palazzo Adriano [PA]). Librettist.

Bidis (Beidis, Beido): A small town in ancient Sicily located to the SW of Syracuse, near the source of the river Anapus. It is identified with modern Vizzini.

bifora>: See pifara.

Binetto (BA): A commune in the province of Bari. Population: 2,041 (2007e); 2,007 (2006e).

Bion: An ancient Bucolic poet (fl. c280 BC). A native of Smyrna, he settled in Sicily. He was the teacher of Moschus.

Birgi: (anc. Acithius). This Sicilian town was the site, on Dec. 1, 1299, was the site of a victory by King Frederick II of Sicily over French Angevins, taking Philip of Anjou prisoner.

Bisaccia> (AV): A commune in the province of Avellino. Population: 4,114 (2007e); 4,148 (2006e).

Bisacquino (Sic. Busacchinu)(PA): A commune in the province of Palermo, known as Busekuin in Saracen times. It is a site for agate and jasper.

Bisceglie (BA): A commune in the province of Bari (Barletta-Andria-Trani). Area: 68.48 km². Population: 53,841 (2007e); 53,630 (2006e); 51,718 (2001); 47,408 (1991); 46,538 (1981).

Bisegna (AQ): A commune in the province of L‘Aquila. Population: 345 (2006e).

Bisenti (TE): A commune in the province of Teramo.

Bishop: The ecclesiastical leader of a diocese. Typically, the powers and responsibilities of a bishop are focused on his own jurisdiction and he possesses little authority beyond its boundaries.

Bishop Emeritus: A bishop who has retired from the leadership of a diocese. Canon law requires that, upon reaching the age of 75, a bishop must tender his resignation. The Pope makes the final decision on whether to accept this resignation of not. Some bishops are granted earlier retirements for reasons such as ill-health.

Bisignano (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: 10,472 (2006e).

Bissuccio, Leonardo di: (fl. 1st part of the 15th century). Painter. His only surviving work is the paintings in the 1433 monumental chapel of Sergianni Caracciolo in the church of S. Giovanni a Carbonara, at Naples. One of the paintings shows Caracciolo naked, and may have been inspired by the state in which his body was found after being murdered. Other paintings in the chapel depict scenes from the “Life of the Virgin” and images of other members of the Caracciolo family.

Bitetto >(BA): A commune in the province of Bari. Population: 10,947 (2007e); 10,632 (2006e).

Bitonto (BA): A commune in the province of Bari, near the Adriatic coast. Area: 172.82 km². Population: 56,174 (2007e); 56,277 (2006e); 56,929 (2001); 53,772 (1991); 49,714 (1981). It produces a notable wine.

Bitritto (BA): A commune in the province of Bari. Population: 10,457 (2007e); 10,406 (2006e).

Bivona (anc. Hipponia) (AG): A commune in the province of Agrigento. Population: 4,091 (2007e); 4,086 (2006e).

History: A Sicilian town founded by Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse, in commemoration of his victory over the Carthaginians at Himera (480 BC). The town came to be called Bisbona because its farms produced two crops of every kind twice each year. It was also known for a spring whose waters are said to have curative powers. The area around the town is abundant in agates, jaspers, and other semiprecious stones.

Bivongi (RC): A commune in the province of Reggio Calabria.

Blanda (1): (mod. Maratea). A town in ancient Lucania, situated on the Via Aquila, to the S of Scidrus.

Blanda (2): (mod. Polecastro di Tortora [CS]). An ancient Bruttian settlement. The origin of its name is uncertain but may derive from the Indo-European root *bheleg- (= to shine).

Blasis, Carlo: (b. Naples, 1797; d. 1878). Dancer. After performing in France, England, Russia, and Italy, he took the post of director of the Dance Academy in Milan in 1837. He wrote several treatises on standardizing ballet techniques and is considered to be the most important ballet teacher iof the 19th Century.

Blera: (mod. Gravina in Puglia [BA]). A town in ancient Messapia, situated on the Via Appia between Silvium and Sub Lupatia.

Bloodletting, Medicinal: The ancient medical practice of bloodletting as a cure survived in Naples until well into the 19th century. In January 1851 Scientific American mentioned that Neapolitans still commonly used bloodletting is cases where, in contemporary America, it would have been considered fatal to the patient. Bleeding was practiced by professionals who set up businesses in the narrows lanes of Naples. Such establishments were marked by signs depicting a nude man with streams of blood flowing from the arm, neck, and foot. These shops were constantly busy, especially in the spring when, it was commonly believed, everyone should undergo a bleeding as a form of preventative medicine.

Blosius (or Blossius): An important family of ancient Campania.

Blosius of Cumae (full name: C. Blosius): (fl. 2nd Century BC). Philosopher. A follower of Antipater of Tarsus, he was a friend and client of Tiberius Gracchus. Upon the death of the latter in 133 BC, Blosius fled to the court of King Aristonicus of Pergamum. When Pergamum fell to the Romans, Blosius committed suicide to avoid capture.

Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) of Capri: Situated on the N coast of the island of Capri, the Blue Grotto is accessible using a light boat through an entrance so low that it required occupants to deeply duck or lie down. The grotto’s ceiling then rises to a height of 41 feet, while the depth of the water averages 8 fathoms. The cave has a length of 175 feet and a maximum width of 100 feet. The blue color for which the grotto is named fills the interior and is the result of light refraction. Within the grotto are the remains of an ancient landing place and some broken steps leading to a now-sealed passage. It is thought that this passage was an ancient land entrance to the cave and was associated with the villa of the Roman Emperor Tiberius at Damecuta. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, knowledge of the Blue Grotto was forgotten. It wasn’t rediscovered until 1822.

Blufi (PA): A commune in the province of Palermo.

Boccacci: a 19th Century type of firearm with a wide, trumpet-like muzzle. It was particularly popular among the Calabrians.

Bocchigliero (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: 1,764 (2006e).

bocconcini: “little balls” made from fresh mozzarella cheese. The cheese is produced from fresh cows’ milk in balls of two sizes. The larger of the two is generally what is termed mozzarella while the smaller size balls of the same cheese are called bocconcini.  Production of Mozzarella and bocconcini is centered in the regions of Campania, Abruzzo and Molise.

Boeo, Capo: The westernmost point of land on the main island of Sicily. It is the site of the ancient Lilybaeum and present day Trapani.

Bojano (anc. Bovianum Vetus) (CB): A commune in the province of Campobasso. Population: 8,278 (2006e).

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

Bolognese, Domenico: (b. Nov. 1819, Naples; d. Jan 2, 1881, Naples). Librettist and poet.

Bolognetta (PA): A commune in the province of Palermo.

Bomba (CH): A commune in the province of Chieti. Population: 946 (2006e).

Bomba, King (“King Bomb“): A nickname given to Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies (d.1859). It referred to his orders to allow the bombardment of the cities of Messina and Palermo during the Sicilian revolution of 1848-9.

Bomilcar: (fl. 2nd part of the 3rd Century BC). Carthaginian naval commander. In 215 BC, he delivered supplies to Hannibal in Italy during the 2nd Punic War. In 214 BC, he commanded a fleet of 55 ships in an unsuccessful attempt to break the Roman siege of Syracuse. In 212 BC, he made a new attempt the rescue Syracuse which also ultimately failed. He then turned his attention to helping the Tarentines in their siege of the Roman citadel in their city. The only result of this, however, was the faster depletion of the Tarentines own supplies. He was, thus, forced to withdraw from Italy.

Bominaco (AQ): A commune in the province of L’Aquila.

Bompensiere (CL): A commune in the province of Caltanissetta. Population: 647 (2006e).

Bompietro (Sic. Bompietru)(PA): A commune in the province of Palermo.

Bonaparte, Maria Annunciata Caroline: (b. 1782, in Ajaccio, Corsica; d. 1839). Queen of Naples (1808-1815). The youngest surviving sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, she married Joachim Murat in 1800. She was crowned as Queen of Naples after her husband assumed the throne of Naples in 1808. During the years of her reign, the court of Naples became one of the most brilliant in Europe, highly contrasting the dour Bourbon court. After the overthrow and execution of her husband in 1815, she was allowed to settle at Frohsdorf, Austria, remaining there until 1824. She resided at Trieste from 1824 to 1831, before moving to Florence where she remained for the rest of her life.

Bonapartist (-Muratist) Dynasty of Naples: A French dynasty which ruled Naples from 1806 to 1815.

Boncompagni, Francesco: (b. Jan. 21, 1592, at Sora; d. Dec. 9, 1641, at Naples). Ecclesiastic. Elevated to a cardinal in 1621, he served as bishop of Fano (1622-1626) and archbishop of Naples (1626-1641).

Bonea (BN): A commune in the province of Benevento. Population: 1,497 (2007e); 1,479 (2006e).

Bonefro (CB): A commune in the province of Campobasso. Population: 1,770 (2006e).

Bonello, Matteo: Grand Chancellor under King William II of Sicily.

Boniface I, St.: Pope. (rAD Dec. 28/29, 418-Sept. 4, 422).

Boniface II: Pope. (r Sept 22, 530-Oct 17, 532).

Boniface III: Pope. (rFeb 19-Nov 12, 607).

Boniface IV: Pope. (rAug 25, 608-May 8, 615).

Boniface V: (d. AD 625). Pope (rDec 23, AD 619-Oct 25/Dec. 25, AD 625). A native of Naples, he succeeded Deusdedit on the papal throne. There is little recorded about his tenure although it occurred during the revolt of Eleutherius, Exarch of Ravenna. From his few extant letters, Boniface seems to have been concerned with the state of the early English church. He appointed Justus to the see of Canterbury and gave him the right to ordain other bishops. According to some sources, this letter was actually a forgery, designed to confirm Canterbury’s primacy in England. He sent a letter to Edwin, the pagan king of Northumbria, encouraging him to convert to Christianity. Another letter was sent to Edwin’s wife, Ethelberga, encouraging her to affect the desired conversion. Boniface was succeeded by Honorius I.

Boniface VI: Pope. (rApr. 4-19, 896).

Boniface VII: Antipope (r974; 984-985).

Boniface VIII (Benedetto Gaetani or Guatani): (b. c1217 at Anagri; d. Oct. 11, 1303, at Rome). Pope. (rDec 24, 1294-Oct 11, 1303). Elected at Naples in succession to Celestine V, he was later crowned at Rome on Jan 23, 1295.

Boniface IX: Pope. (rNov 2, 1389-Oct 1, 1404).

Bonifati (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: 3,313 (2006e).

Bonito (AV): A commune in the province of Avellino. Population: 2,544 (2007e); 2,240 (2006e).

borage: A common wild plant found in Sicily noted for its large blue blossoms.

borgata (pl. borgate): originally a term for the suburban towns and villages around a large city. It was adopted by the American mafia to mean “Family.”

Borgetto (Sic. Burgettu)(PA): A commune in the province of Palermo.

Borgia (CZ): A commune in the province of Catanzaro. Population: 7,293 (2006e).

Borrello (CH): A commune in the province of Chieti. Population: 409 (2006e).

bosco: Italian term for “woods” or “forest.”

Bosco di Caronia: A deciduous woodland located near the town of Caronia [ME]. As late as the early 20th century, it was the largest forest in Sicily. Today, although much reduced in area (c12 hectares/30 acres), it is still an impressive collection of various species of trees including oak, beech, elm, and ash.

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

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

Botricello (CZ): A commune in the province of Catanzaro. Population: 4,742 (2006e).

Botrugno (LE): A commune in the province of Lecce. Population: 2,995 (2006e).

bottaci: a traditional unit of volume capacity used in Sicily. It was equal to 615 liters.

bougainvillea: A tropical plant which produces clusters of rosy or purplish leaves which match its flowers. It is much used as a creeper in Sicily.

boule: a council of an ancient Greek city. The meeting-place for a boule was known as a boulerterion.

Bourbon Dynasty: Royal dynasty with links in Austria and Spain, ruling Sicily and Naples (and the Two Sicilies) 1735-1859.

Bova (RC): A commune in the province of Reggio Calabria.

Bova Marina (RC): A commune in the province of Reggio Calabria.

Bovalino (RC): A commune in the province of Reggio Calabria.

Bovesia (or Grecia Calabra=Calabrian Greece): the smaller of the two surviving Griko-speaking enclaves in southern Italy (along with Grecia Salentina in Puglia). Located on the tip of Calabria near Reggio di Calabria, it consists of nine villages.

Bovianum: (mod. Boiano (CB)). The principal town of the Pentrian Samnites. Captured by the Romans during the Samnite wars, it became a veteran colony under Julius Caesar or Augustus. It was situated on the Via Numicia, between Aesernia and Ad Tamarum.

Bovino (FG): A commune in the province of Foggia. Population: 3,788 (2006e).

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

Bradanus, River: (mod. Bradano). A river in ancient Lucania. Rising in the Apennines between Venusia and Potentia, it flows into the Bay of Taranto (Sinus Tarentinus), at a point NE of Metapontum. Its course formed the boundary between Lucania and Apulia.

bradyseism: a long-continued, extremely slow vertical instability in the earth’s crust near a volcano. In the Phlegraean Fields these movements range from 20 feet above to 20 feet below sea level over 2,000 years.

Brancaccio: One of the great noble families of Naples. Descended from the Brancas of France, they formed two principal branches, the “Principi di Ruffano” and the “Principi Brancaccio”. Between the 14th and 17th centuries the Bracaccios supplied several important officials to the royal government as well as seven cardinals to the Church.

Brancaccio, Landolfo: (b. Naples. d. 1312, Avignon). Ecclesiastic. Created a cardinal by Pope Celestine V in 1294, he served in the papal government under that Pope and Boniface VIII. He attended the General Council at Vienne in 1311-12.

Brancaccio, Luigi: (d. 1411). Ecclesiastic and canonist. Having served as papal nunzio to Naples for Pope Innocent VII (r1404-06), he was appointed Archbishop of Taranto and Cardinal by Gregory XII in 1408.

Brancaleone (RC): A commune in the province of Reggio Calabria.

Brentesion: The Messapian name for ancient Brundisium. The name is derived from a Messapian word meaning “stag’s head.”

Brettioi: Greek name for the ancient Bruttii.

Briatico (VV): A commune in the province of Vibo Valentia.

Bricinniae (Bricinnia): An ancient town in eastern Sicily located to the S of Leontini, near the source of the river Pantagias. Ruins of ancient fortifications still survive.

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

Brigand: Originally a term for a type of irregular foot soldier, it later became synonymous with a bandit. The two definitions became confused during the Brigantaggio, the civil war which raged for several years in southern Italy after the Sardinian conquest of the Two Sicilies.

Brill, Paul: (b. 1554, Anversa. d. 1626, Rome). Painter. Of Flemish origins, he moved to Rome where he worked with his brother Matthjis on a number of religious projects (Torre dei Venti [Vatican]; Casino Rospigliosi; Galleria Clementina, Scala Santa and Library [Vatican]).

Brindisi, Province of: A province of Puglia. Area: 1,839 km². Population: 403,786 (2006e); 402,422 (2001); 411,314 [1991]; 388,434 [1981]. Its capital is the city of Brindisi. Bordering on the Adriatic coast of Puglia, the terrain is low and hilly enclosing a flat plain. It is watered by a few streams.

History: The province was created from communes taken from the province of Lecce.

The principal agricultural products are grapes, olives, figs, almonds, and vegetables. Stock-raising and fishing are also important. Most industry is centered in and around the city of Brindisi.

Brindisi (anc Brundisium) (BR): a port city in Puglia, on the Adriatic coast. Area: 328.48 km². Population: 90,439 (2006e); 89,081 (2001); 95,383 (1991); 89,786 (1981).

The ancient name appears to derive from the Illyrian word brento or bretto (= deer).

>History>: Ancient Brundisium derives its name from either the Illyrian word brento or bretto (= deer), or an Italic word related to the Latin term bruna (=antlers). This was likely inspired by the double-branched bay, although some sources believe it may have been due to the abundance of deer which once roamed here. Ancient tradition names the Greek hero Diomedes as the city’s founder. Historically, however, the place was founded by the Messapii (q.v.), an ancient people linked with the Illyrians. There is also some evidence that shows that a Minoan trading colony once existed on the site. Although Greeks from the city of Taras (mod. Taranto) established a colony here, the town’s culture remained essentially Messapian until the arrival of the Romans in the 3rd century BC. Capturing the place in 266 BC, the Romans planted a Latin colony here in 246 BC. Two years later, an important naval base was established here. In 220 BC, the noted Roman playwright, poet and painter Pacuvius (q.v.) was born here. During the 2nd Punic War, Brundisium remained loyal to Rome after the disaster at Cannae. In the 1st century BC, the population became divided during the Social War, forming two hostile factions, one pro-Roman and the other pro-Italian. This led to civil strife until the Romans finally crushed the rebels. Brundisium benefited in the aftermath of that conflict, being raised in status to a municipium. Further troubles arose during the Roman Civil Wars. In 49 BC, Caesar occupied Brundisium in an unsuccessful attempt to block Pompey from escaping from Italy. Later, in 40 BC, the city was besieged by Marc Antony during his conflict with Octavian. Later that same year, Brundisium served as the site where the Second Triumvirate renewed itself with a new treaty.

>Throughout its history, Brundisium owed its both its good fortune and ill-luck to its fine harbor and port facility. Thanks to its geographical position on the Adriatic, it was a vital strategic and commercial prize. The Romans recognized this, making it the eastern terminus to the Via Appia (Appian Way) in c264 BC. The Roman legions who conquered Greece and the eastern Mediterranean set sail, for the most part, from Brundisium. Merchants and other travelers also used Brundisium as their principal connection to and from the east. In 19 BC, the great Roman poet Virgil died here on his way home from Greece.

>Brundisium was the site of one of the first diocese established in Italy. Established sometime between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD, it is now the seat of an archbishop.

>After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, control of the city changed a number of times. Part of the 6th century Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy, it was captured by the Byzantine general John who established his base of operations here. In AD 668, it fell to Romoald, who incorporated it into his duchy of Benevento. Brindisi’s position on the coast also made it vulnerable to attacks from the sea. It suffered several times from Saracen raids, the one in AD 838 being particularly destructive. Thirty years later, in AD 868, it was again sacked, this time by the Holy Roman Emperor Louis II. Eventually, by the end of the 10th century, the Byzantines were once more in possession of the city. They established an archbishop here, subject to the patriarch of Constantinople.

>The 11th and 12th centuries brought more strife as Lombards, Byzantines and Normans fought one another for control of Apulia. In 1071, Brindisi fell to the Norman leader Robert Guiscard, but was soon recovered by the Byzantines. They would continue to hold it until the middle of the 12th century.

>The expulsion of the Byzantines from Apulia meant that Brindisi’s archdiocese was transferred to the control of the Pope. This, however, did not end Greek rites in Brindisi. Greek influence and culture remained so strong that both Latin and Greek rites were practiced in the Cathedral for decades after. Brindisi was also welcoming to the Jews. A sizeable Jewish population thrived there under the Norman and Swabian dynasties.

>Medieval Brindisi gained considerable wealth as a center for the manufacturing of Proto-Maiolica pottery. But the main element in the city’s prosperity and importance remained its port. It was from Brindisi that the Normans assembled their expeditions in their attacks on the Byzantine Empire. It was also here that many of the Crusaders embarked on the voyages to the Holy Land.

>The economic prosperity under the Normans and Swabian rulers declined under the subsequent Angevins and Aragonese. Even so, Brindisi’s strategic importance was recognized enough that the local fortifications were strengthened. The Aragonese also built a port canal as part of the defenses against a possible Turkish attack.

>Some of the city’s former prosperity returned for a time during the 19th century. When the Suez Canal was opened in 1869, European travelers found Brindisi ideally placed as a point of departure for points east.

>In the early part of the 19th century, during World War I, Brindisi became the site of an Italian naval base.

>Points of Interest>:

>Colonna Romana>: Dating from the 1st century AD, it was one of two columns raised by the Romans to mark the terminus of the Via Appia. The base of the other column can also still be seen, although the column itself (which fell in 1528) now serves as the support for a statue of S. Onofrio in Lecce. The surviving column stands about 19 m. in height. The base is made from Attic marble while the column shaft has been made a gray, eastern marble. The capital is decorated with 12 carvings depicting mythological figures: Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva (or Juno), Mars (or Amphitrite), and eight Tritons.

>Roman villa>: Located near the Colonna Romana, it is one of the few surviving ancient buildings in Brindisi. Local tradition claims the building as the site of Virgil’s death in 19 BC.

>Ancient remains>: The modern city of Brindisi sits on the same location as ancient Brundisium, making archaeological excavation difficult. Thus, relatively little of the ancient city has been unearthed or identified. Some ancient remains have been studied below the Piazza Duomo and the church of S. Giovanni al Sepolcro. Some remains situated on the Via Colombo have been identified as a large Roman reservoir dating from the reign of Trajan (AD 97-117). Other remains include those of an aqueduct from the reign of Claudius (AD 41-54), baths, a porticoed crypt with an arched vault, and a forum.

>Monuments from the medieval and later periods are more abundant. The Castle, with its rectangular towers, was built in 1227 during the time of Frederick II. In 1481, the Aragonese reinforced the structure with a barbican and four cylindrical towers.

>The Loggia Balsamo (or Palazzetto Balsamo) is a survival of a 13th / 14th century Angevin palace.

>Duomo>: Founded in the 12th century, little remains of the original structure except for the pavements mosaics in the apse. Most of the structure dates to the 18th century.

>The Romanesque church of S. Lucia (or SS. Trinità) dates from the 11th century. Only the crypt, decorated with 12th century Byzantine frescoes, survives from the original structure. Other parts of the church are decorated with frescoes from the 13th and 14th centuries.

>The church of S. Benedetto was founded in 1080 as an Apulian-Romanesque structure. Only the campanile and the cloister of the ex-monastery has survived from the original complex. Most of the rest dates from the 16th century or later.

>The church of the Cristo has a single nave and a notable banded façade. Among its treasures are a fine Crucifix and a painted 13th century wooden sculpture of the “Madonna Enthroned.”

>The 14th century church of S. Paolo has a baroque façade.

>The baroque church of S. Teresa dates to 1670.

>The circular church of S. Giovanni al Sepolcro was constructed during the 11th century by the famous Knights Templar. After the fall of that order it came into the possession of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. The structure has a portal flanked by a pair of Romanesque lions. The interior has a circular colonnade of eight columns. The walls still show remnants of 14th century frescos.

>The Knights Templar are also represented by the Portico dei Cavalieri Templari. This gate includes fine Gothic arches.

>Brindisi>’s principal museum is the Museo Archeologico Provinciale Francesco Ribezzo. It houses collections of Roman and other ancient artifacts found in the local area. One of its greatest prizes is a beautiful marble bust of the Emperor Trajan.

>The Biblioteca Arcivescovile De Leo is housed within the Palazzo del Seminario (174–44). Its collection includes several incunabula and manuscripts.

>The Monumento al Marinaio, constructed in 1933, is shaped like a 52 m high giant rudder.

>About 2 km N of the city is the 13th / early 14th century Romanesque-Gothic church of S. Maria del Casele. It has a banded façade of colored stones. The single-aisled interior is decorated with 14th century frescoes. In the lunette of the inside portal is a beautiful Byzantine-inspired “Universal Judgment” by Rinaldo da Taranto. In the choir is a damaged, but still impressive, fresco depicting the “Deposition.”


Economy: Fishing, food-canning, flour-milling.

The port of Brindisi accommodates shipping lines linking Italy and other central European countries with Greece, the Middle East and Asia. A major airport is also located here.

Brindisi (di) Montagna> (PZ): a commune (area: 59.8 km²; alt. 800 m) in Basilicata located 19 km E of Potenza. It is situated between two torrents to the right of the river Basento. Population: 949 (1991).

Brindisium>: an ancient name for Brindisium. Also see Brundisium.

Brittoli> (PE): A commune (area: 15.8 km²; alt. 781 m) in Abruzzo located 42 km SW of Pescara. It is situated on a spur between the valleys of two torrential streams, the Nora and the Cigno. It has an agriculturally based economy. Population: 470 (1991).

broccoli: A vegetable much favored in Sicily. Broccoli sellers would sell their wares in the streets of Palermo, drawing their customers with musical calls resembling yodeling.

brodetto alla pescarese: A popular chili-based dish from Pescara, in Abruzzo.

Brognaturo (VV): A commune (>area: 23 km²; alt. 755 m) in the province of Vibo Valentia. Located 40 km E of Vibo Valentia, it is situated to the right of the river Ancinale. Population: 833 (1991).

Brolo (ME): A commune (area: 7.86 km²; alt. 450 m) in the province of Messina. Located 60 km W of Messina, it is situated on the N coast of Sicily, near the river Sant’Angelo. Population: 5,589 (2006e); 5,071 (1991). Although principally an agricultural commune, it has also developed into a summer resort.

History: Brolo was the scene of heavy fighting during World War II and was finally freed by the Allies on August 13, 1943.

Points of Interest: The principal monument is a square tower castle founded by Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century.

Bronte (CT): A commune (area: 285.9 km²; alt. 793 m) in the province of Catania. Located 48 km NW of Catania, it is situated on the W slope of Mt. Etna, to the left of the river Simeto. Population: 19,147 (2006e); 18,512 (2001); 18,689 (1991).

Tradition holds that the town founded in the distant past by the Cyclopes. Although it is known that a settlement has existed here since ancient times, the identities of the true founders of the town remain uncertain. The present center dates back to c1485 when a group of Albanian refugees were allowed to settle here. These refugees were related to similar groups who founded centers at Biancavilla (CT) and Piana degli Albanesi (PA).

As a Sicilian duchy, it was bestowed of Horatio Nelson in 1799 by Ferdinand IV of the Two Sicilies. Under Sicilian law, the fief was inherited by the eldest daughter of Nelson’s brother, the first Duke, rather than the male heirs of his eldest sister, as would be the case in English practice. The estate remained in the family for generations afterward. Their residence, however, was at Manaice, on the far side of the estate, rather than at the town of Bronte. The English traveler, writing in the early 20th Century, described the citizens of Bronte as “the most villainous people in Sicily.” The town was threatened by lava flows from nearby Mt. Etna in 1603, 1610, 1727, 1763, 1787, and 1843. During World War I it suffered damage from bombing in 1943.

                The principal products are cereals, olive-oil, pistachios, almonds, fruits, and timber.

Points of Interest: The church of the Annunciata, founded in 1631, contains an Annunciation by Antonio Gagini. The church building foundation incorporates remains of an ancient Roman house which had previously stood there.

                The Castle Maniace was originally founded in 1173 as a convent by Margaret of Navarre. Its name derives from that of the Byzantine general George Maniakes who, in 1040, won a great victory over the Saracen on the site. The castle is also the site of the grave of the Scottish poet Fiona Macleod (pseudonym for William Sharp) (1855-1905).

Brontinus of Metapontum: (dates uncertain). Pythagorean philosopher. He was one of the scholars whom Alcmaeon dedicated his works. Some sources stare that Brontinus was married to Theano, the daughter of Pythagoras.

Bronze Age: An historical/archaeological period which lasted in Sicily from c2500 BC to c900 BC.

Broschi, Carlo (called Farinelli): (b. Naples, 1705; d. Bologna, 1782). Castrato singer. He performed in London in 1734 and was honored by the king of Spain by being made a grandee and awarded a considerable pension.

Brozini, Felice: (fl. mid-19th century). Revolutionary. After the defeat at Sapri [SA] in 1857, he was arrested and died in prison.

Brùcoli (SR): A frazione (alt. 10m) in the commune of Augusta, situated on a small inlet at the S extremity of the Gulf of Catania. It is used as a center for fishing boats. The village marks the site of the ancient Greek colony of Trotillo.

Brundisii promontorium: (mod. Capo Cavallo). A promontory at the entrance of the harbor of ancient Brundisium.

Brundisium (or Brundusium; Brindisium) (mod. Brindisi): A port-city in ancient Calabria, located on a small bay on the Adriatic coast, situated between Speluncae and Baletium. It was governed by its own local kings before being captured and colonized by the Romans in 246/245 BC. Thanks to its excellent harbor, it became one of the principal ports for Rome. After becoming the eastern terminus of the Via Appia, Brundisium was the normal point of embarkation for Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. Of early foundation (pre-700 BC), the town was already in existence before the Greeks colonized southern Italy. Some ascribe its origins to Minoans from Crete, while others claim that it was founded by the Greek hero Diomedes. Brundisium was the birthplace of the poet Pacuvius and where Virgil died upon his return from Greece in 19 BC.

Brundisium Agreement: A pact made in 40 BCE among the triumvirate of Octavian, Lepidus, and Marc Antony concerning the disposition of lands in the Roman Empire. Octavian was put in charge of the West, Antony received the East and Lepidus was given Africa.

Bruno, St.: (b. Cologne, Germany, c1030; d. Calabria, Oct. 6, 1101). Monk and writer. After teaching at Reims, he founded a small monastery in the Alps, from which the order of the Carthusians began. In 1090, he was summoned to Rome by his former student, Pope Urban II, to become a counselor. After serving some years in the papal service, he retired to a Carthusian monastery he had founded (1098) in Calabria, remaining there until his death. His order eventually merged with that of the Cistercians. Feast Day: Oct. 6.

Bruno, Girodano: (b. Nola [NA], c1548; d. Rome, Feb. 17, 1600). Philosopher, priest, astronomer, astrologer, occultist. The son of a soldier named Giovanni Bruno, he is best known for his system of mnemonics. He was also an early proponent of extra-solar planets and extraterrestrial life. His radical new scientific and religious ideas eventually led to his condemnation as a heretic by the Inquisition. Refusing to recant his beliefs he was burned at the stake.

At the age of 11, Bruno went to Naples to study at the Trivium. Having become a Dominican at Rome at age 15 in 1563, he became disenchanted with many of the basic teachings of the Church, especially with those which were expected to be accepted on blind faith. In 1576, having expressed his disbelief in the doctrine of transubstantiation and skepticism in the Immaculate Conception, he was forced to flee from Italy. The next found him in Geneva. From there he went to Paris and, eventually, London. During his time in England (1583-86), he wrote some of his greatest works. In 1586, he returned to the continent and taught at the University of Wittenberg until 1588. After touring many cities in Germany, France, and Switzerland, he decided to return to Italy. The Church had not forgiven him for his defiance and he was arrested on May 22, 1592 at Naples. Brought before the Inquisition, he was eventually for guilty of heresy. When threatened with execution, Bruno held firm on his beliefs, based on logic, reason, and science. As a result, he was burned at the stake on Feb. 17, 1600. Bruno was adamant in his rejection of Church dogma. He was, however, not ready to renounce all of the basic beliefs of the church. Although he believed in the basic ideas of Copernicus he did not endorse all of the aspects of Copernican theory. He could not conceive that a perfect absolute truth existed and his own writings reveal him as being a pantheist. Bruno’s principal works include Spaccio della bestia trionfante (Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast [1584]), Della causa principio et uno [1585], Dell’infinito, universo emondi (1584), and De monade numero et figura [1591].

Brusciano (NA): A commune (area: 5.64 km²; alt. 34 m) in the province of Napoli. It is located 16 km NE of Naples, situated to the left of the Regi Lagni. Population: 14,019 (1991).

Bruthius: See Bruttii.

Bruttii (Bruttius, Brettii, Bruttiorum Ager, Bruttium, Oenotria, Italia): (1) An ancient region of southern Italy, roughly corresponding to modern Calabria, the “toe” of the Italian peninsula. It had an area of about 3,400 sq. miles. It’s border with ancient Lucania ran from the mouth of the river Laus to Thurii. Bruttium faced Sicily across the Strait of Messina. It is mostly mountainous, dominated by southern section of the Apennines. It was famous in ancient times for its excellent pasturage and the quality of its grain, fruit and olives. The earliest inhabitants known to history were Illyrian Chones and the Oenotrians (Oenotri), whose name apparently derives from the Greek word for wine (=oinos). In the 8th Century BC, the Sabellian Lucanians extended their control over area. These settlers intermarried with the earlier inhabitants and settled in a number of settlements, the principal ones being Cosentia (mod. Cosenza) and Clampetia (mod. Amantea). The new hybrid colonists spoke an Oscan dialect very similar to Lucanians. In 356 BC, the settlers, who mainly held the interior, revolted and declared themselves independent. The Lucanians, unable to rein in their colonists, referred to them thereafter as Bruttii (or Brettii), meaning either “rebels” or, disparagingly, “runaway slaves.” Ancient scholars such as Diodorus Siculus (16.15), Strabo (6.253f), and Justin (23.1) all confirm the origin of this name, believing that the root-word was pre-Sabellian. While the Bruttii were establishing themselves in the interior, the adjoining coasts were being colonized by the Greeks with cities like Sybaris, Kroton, Rhegion and others. Both peoples remained at odds with one another, neither being strong enough to completely conquer or oust the other. The Bruttii, however, were far more cohesive in nature than the Greeks, the latter constantly fighting amongst themselves. These differences gave the Bruttii a distinct advantage when they targeted some of the weaker Greek city-states. The Bruttii was able to bring control of a number of these cities under their control. Although the Bruttii proved to be the stronger militarily, it was Greek culture that ultimately prevailed. As the Bruttii warred with and trade with the Greeks, they became increasingly Hellenized in their way of life. The increasing power of the Romans into southern Italy was met with hostility by the Bruttii. During the war of Pyrrhus against Rome in the first part of the 3rd Century BC, the Bruttii allied themselves with the former. When Pyrrhus withdrew from Italy in defeat, the Romans punished the Bruttii by confiscating half of the Sila forest. Despite this, the Bruttii were not cowed. When Hannibal invaded Italy during the 2nd Punic War, the Bruttii were among his strongest allies. The consequences of choosing the wrong side again were devastating. Large tracts of Bruttian land were seized by the Romans who established a series of new colonies at Buxentum, Tempsa, Vibo Valentia, Croton, and Thurii. The Romans deprived the Bruttii of their independence and the entire people were declared to be public slaves. Many of them were employed by the Romans as lictors and servants for the magistrates. When Spartacus revolted in southern Italy (73-71 BC), several Bruttii supported him, bringing further devastation to their lands. The coastal regions of Bruttium were repeatedly raided by Sextus Pompey during his battle with Octavian. By the time that the Roman Empire was established and peace was restored, Bruttium was a devastated land, stripped of its wealth and populated by a broken people. The majority of the Roman population concentrated itself into a handful of cities, the principal ones being Rhegium and Vibo Valentia. When Augustus reorganized Italy, Bruttium was combined with Lucania in the Third Augustan Region. The region passed to Byzantium after the fall of Rome and became known as Calabria.

Bruttii (Bruttians): The ancient Italic inhabitants of the “toe” of the Italian Peninsula.

Bruttiorum ager: Alternative name for Bruttii.

Bruttium: An alternate name for ancient Bruttii, the toe of the Italian peninsula.

Bruttium et Lucania (Regio III): one of the eight provinces of Italy created by the Roman Emperor Augustus in the late 1st Century AD. As the name suggests its territory encompassed the traditional regions of Bruttium (mod. Calabria) and Lucania (Basilicata). The province was governed by a praesides or corrector.

Bruttius Praesens, Gaius: (fl. AD late 1st – mid 2nd Century). A Roman senator from Lucania, he was a friend of Pliny the Younger. Although he began his political career under Domitian, he was not able to advance until the reign of Trajan. Under this last emperor, Bruttius distinguished  himself as a military commander during the war against the Parthians (AD 115-116). as a reward, he received the governorship of Cilicia, and was serving in that post when Trajan died in 117. His career continued to thrive under Trajan’s successor, Hadrian. He served as legate in Cappadocia and then Moesia. he was proconsul of Africa and legate in Syria. In AD 139, he served as consul in partnership with the new emperor Antoninus Pius. He may have also held the office of city prefect of Rome. He was the grandfather of Crispina, the wife of the emperor Commodus.

Bruttius sinus: (mod. Golfo di Gioia). A bay on the Tyrrhenian coast of ancient Bruttii. The principal port was Metaurum (mod. Gioia Tauro [RC]).

Bruzzano, Capo (RC): A promontory on the E (Ionian) coast of Calabria, located to the S of the mouth of the river La Verde (lower Aposcipo), near Africo.

Bruzzano Vecchio (RC): A frazione of Bruzzano Zeffirio (RC). It was founded by the Saracens in the 11th century.

Bruzzano Zeffirio (RC): A commune (area: 18 km²; alt. 82 m) in the province of Reggio di Calabria. It is located 67 km ESE of Reggio di Calabria, situated on a hill to the left of the torrent Pantano Grande. Population: 1,842 (1991).

Bryson of Heraclea: (b. Heraclea, c450 BC). Mathematician. The son of Herodorus of Heraclea, he was a member of the Pythagorean school, and worked towards defining the quadrature of the circle. Because he was a Sophist, Bryson was disliked by Aristotle. The latter criticized Bryson’s method for squaring a circle despite the fact that later mathematicians have called it “an important step forward in the development of mathematics.”

Brystacia: (mod. Umbriatico [KR]). Ancient town of the Oenotri, Bruttium, W of Crimisa.

Bubulcus, Gaius Junius: (fl. late 4th Century BC). Roman politician and military leader. He held consulships in 317 BC, 313 BC, and 311 BC. In his third consulship he led the Roman army against the Samnites.

Buca: (mod. Penna [TE]). Port of the ancient Frentani, SE of the river Sagnus.

Buccheri (SR): A commune (area: 57.4 km²; alt. 812 m) in the province of Siracusa. Located 56 km W of Siracusa, it is situated on a slope of the N edge of the plain of Buccheri, on the E slope of M. Lauro.  Population: 2,755 (1991). The economy is principally agricultural (olives, olive oil), but the center is also a summer resort.

History: The center predates the Saracen era. Under the Normans, it became an important feudal holding.

Points of Interest: The church of the Madonna has a fine 18th century façade ans an impressive interior.

                The baroque church of Sant’Antonio is a notable religious monument.

                The principal secular monument is a ruined medieval castle located near the center.

Bucchianico (CH): A commune (area: 38 km²) in the province of Chieti. Located 10 km S of Chieti, it is situated along the watershed between the rivers Alento and Forio. Population: 4,990 (2006e); 4,805 (1991). The economy is based on agricultura and pasta making.

History: The town is best known as the birthplace of Camillo de Lellis.

Culture: There is an interesting annual festival held in late May. The Sagra dei Banderesi, dating from medieval times, centers on reenactments of battle between Christians and Turks. The festival wraps up with a grand feast held on the final night.

Bucci, Maurizio: (b. Sant’Angelo del Pesco [IS], Aug. 29, 1923). Diplomat. A graduate of the University of Rome, he entered the Italian diplomatic service in 1949. In 1952 he was Second Secretary of the Italian Mission to NATO. In 1955, he served as Deputy Consul-General in Paris, while, in 1958, he became First Secretary in the Italian Embassy to Luxembourg. Bucci went on to hold several other diplomatic posts in his long career: Chief of Cabinet of the Vice-President of EEC Executive Committee (1961); Counselor of the Italian Mission to the European Communities, Brussels (1963); Head of the Research and Planning Division, Economics Dept., Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1968); Ambassador of Foreign Affairs (1979-1984); Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1984-89). In Oct. 1987, he served as President of the United Nations Security Council.

Bucciano (BN): A commune (area: 7.9 km²; alt. 390 m) in the province of Benevento. Located 25 km SW of Benevento, it is situated in the valley of Isclero, on the S slope of Monte Taburno. Population: 1,968 (2007e); 1,958 (2006e); 1,817 (1991).

Buccino (anc. Vulcei, Volceium, Volcei, Volcentium, Bulcinum) (SA): A commune (area: 65.5 km²; alt. 649 m) in the province of Salerno. Located 70 km E of Salerno, it is situated in the Campanian Apennines, to the left of the river Botta. Population: 5,926 (1991). The principal agricultural products are olive-oil and wine. Local industries include irrigation pump manufacturing and marble-quarrying. The center has also been developed as a resort.

History: In ancient times Vulcei, a city of the Volcenti, stood here. Under the Romans, it became a municipium, known variously as Volcentium, Bulcinum and Volceium. The Roman historian Livy mentions the Volcentes among those peoples who revolted against Rome to join Hannibal during the 2nd Punic War. The Carthaginians placed a garrison in the town for a short time. In 209 BC, the Volcentes renewed their alliance with the Romans. Pliny the Elder included them, under the name Volcentani, among the municipalities found in the interior of Lucania. The Greek geographer Ptolemy also mentioned this people, calling them Ulci or Volci. Inscriptions found by archaeologists on the site reveal that the population of the town referred to it as Volceii or Vulceii, while they called themselves Volceiani. The ancient town flourished during Imperial Roman times, retaining its status as a municipium. During the Middle Ages, the center remained a place of some importance, and was long held as a fief by the Caracciolo di Martina family.

Points of Interest:  There are remains of a medieval castle.

                The convent of Sant’Antonio includes a lovely cloister utilizing columns taken from an ancient Roman temples.

                A bridge spanning the river Botta dates from Roman times.

Bucinna (sometimes Bucina): An island mentioned in ancient sources. Its location is uncertain although it is often identified with Levanzo in the Egadian islands.

Bucra promontorium: (mod. Capo di Scalami). A promontory of ancient Sicily, S of Camerina.

Bufano, Beniamino (or Benevenuto) (aka Benny): (b. San Fele, Basilicata on Oct. 14, 1896; d. 1970). Italian-American sculptor. He received his training at the National Academy of Design, the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, and the Art Students League of New York. His works were widely shown in the United States, France, Italy, Russia, and Germany. As a young man he won prestigious awards from the Art Students League at New York (1914-16) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1917). His works are displayed in New York (the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and San Francisco (the Palace of the Legion of Honor and the Museum of Art). Among his many works are the Peace Memorial and the statue of Sun Yat-sen, both in San Francisco. He also served as the art commissioner of San Francisco.

Bugnara (AQ): A commune (area: 25.8 km²; alt. 580 m) in the province of L‘Aquila. Located 76 km SE of L’Aquila, it is situated to the right of the river Sagittario, on the SE side of the Conca di Sulmona. Population: 1,076 (2006e); 1,161 (1991).

Bulgarino D’Anaia: (fl. c1275). Navigator. He was an Italian pirate who preyed on Venetian shipping in the Aegean Sea.

Bulgheria (SA): A limestone massif of the southern Cilento, Campania. It has a maximum elevation of 1,224 m. and is isolated from the remainder of the Cilento, bounded by the lower valleys of the Bussento and the Mingardo.

bullock-wagons & plows: Sicilians into the 20th century were still using primitive wagon wains of the same pattern used in ancient Roman times. They also used the same type of ancient wooden plow drawn by oxen. This style was actually better for the rocky, thinly-soiled Sicily than more modern types of plows.

Buonabitacolo (SA): A commune (area: 13.39 km²; alt. 500 m) in the province of Salerno. Located 103 km SE of Salerno, it is situated near the S end of the Vallo di Diano, on the river Calore. Population: 2,825 (1991).

Buonalbergo (BN): A commune (area: 25.1 km²; alt. 250 m) in the province of Benevento.It is located 25 km NE of Benevento. Population: 1,881 (2007e); 1,884 (2006e); 2,082 (1991).

Buonanótte (CH): Former name for the commune of Montebello sul Sangro (CH).

Buongiorno, Crescenzo: (b. Bonito [AV], 1864; d. Dresden, Nov. 7, 1903). Composer. He received his training at the Conservatory at Naples and spent the early part of his career there. Eventually settling in Dresden, Germany, produced four operas (Etelka [Naples, 1887], [Prague, 1894]; Das Erntefest [Leipzig, 1896]; Das Mädchenherz [Kassel, 1901]; and Michel Angelo and Rolla [Kassel, 1903]), and a dozen operettas.

Buoni, Buono de: (b. Naples d. 1465). Painter. Considered one of the best painters of his day, he decorated many of the churches of Naples. He was the father and teacher of Silvestro de Buoni, he later studied under Solario (Zingaro).  Many of his paintings are preserved in the museums and churches in Naples. Among his works is a painting in the old basilica of S. Restituta, showing that saint with the Virgin and the Archangel Michael.

Buoni, Silvestro de: (b. 1420, Naples; d. 1480). Painter. After receiving his initial training from his father, Buono be Buoni,

Buonvicino (CS): A commune (area: 30.4 km²; alt. 400 m) in the province of Cosenza. Population: 2,423 (2006e); 3,033 (1991).

Burgio (AG): A commune (area: 42.2 km²; alt. 317 m) in the province of Agrigento. Located 70 km NW of Agrigento, it is situated on a spur to the right of the river Verdura. Population: 2,923 (2007e); 2,964 (2006e); 3,562 (1991). The economy is based on the growing of olives, grain, and almonds. There is also an active ceramics industry, founded in the 16th century, and a bell-foundry.

Points of Interest: The principal monument is a medieval castle.

                The Chiesa Madre has a fine Renaissance portal and houses notable statuary including a Madonna by Vincenzo Gagini.

burial confraternities: In 19th / 20th century Sicily and southern Italy, most people joined burial confraternities, or guilds. These groups were formed for the purpose of guaranteeing its members decent, even impressive, burials. All of the members of a guild would turn out for a fellow-member’s burial dressed in a medieval type of hooded robe which covered nearly the entire head and body except for the boots, eyes and mouth. In Sicily, these robes were usually pure white, while in Naples they had sky-blue, scarlet and purple additions. The guilds often had their own cemeteries and chapels.

burial and funeral customs: In Campania, it is still common to bury the deceased in a grave dug directly into the volcanic soil. The special properties of this soil dry out the corpse, and turn it into a mummy. Once the process is complete, the desiccated body is unearthed and placed into a family vault.

                In the case of funerals for children there are a number of special practices. Near Bari, in Puglia, the parents and relatives follow the coffin at a short distance and periodically toss handfuls of sweets on it. In Sicily, the sound of church bells ring out joyfully during a child’s funeral. This latter practice appears to have come from Spain, where it is called la misa d’angel (the angel’s mass).

                In 1823, it was recorded how the remains of the poor received little care or ceremony. At Naples a burial-ground (campo santo) was set aside for those who died in the public hospitals and paupers. Here were located 366 vaults, each sealed with a pile of lava rock. Each morning one of the vaults was opened and all of the bodies of the dead for that day were put there. The bodies, stripped of most of their clothing except for a small loincloth, were unceremoniously thrown in without any effort to position them. At nightfall the vault was sealed and another was opened on the following day. By the time all of the vaults were used, a year had passed. This was plenty of time for the remains of those interred earlier to dissolve and be replaced by a new batch. This practice was a survival of a practice used in Italy at least as far back as the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. Roman writers like Varro, Festus, and Cicero mention puticuli, large trenches into which the dead bodies of the poor were thrown and left to rot away.

                The Capuchin convent of Palermo includes a sort of catacomb in which the mummified remains of dead monks, still dressed in there robes, are hung by their necks along the walls. The four long subterranean corridors also cases or coffers containing the remains of local gentry and nobility who paid for the privileges to be interred there. Each of these coffers is locked and the keys held by the loved ones of the departed.

burrata: a type of cheese manufactured exclusively in Puglia. It was invented in the early part of the 20th century by a family of dairy farmers in that region.

Busa: (fl. late 3rd century BC). An Apulian noblewoman. After the disastrous defeat at Cannae in 216 BC, many of Roman survivors fled to Canusium where Busa gave them clothing, food and other provisions at great personal expense. She later received special thanks from the Roman Senate.

Busambra, Monte (PA): A mountain (1,613 m) in W Sicily, rising to the NE of Corleone. Rocky in its upper level, its lower slopes are covered with oak trees.

Buscemi (Anc. Casale; Arab. Abisama) (SR): A commune (area: 51.6 km²; alt. 760 m) in the province of Siracusa. Located 47 km W of Siracusa, it is situated on a spur of Monti Iblei, to the left of the river Anapo. The local economy is based on the growing of carob beans and citrus fruit.

History: Known to the Saracens as Abisama, it was originally an ancient center known as Casale, the remains of which can still be seen. Archaeological evidence indicates that the site was inhabited during the Middle Bronze Age.

Buscemi, Vincenzo: (b. Palermo; fl. 19th century). Italian patriot. He was a member of Garibaldi’s Mille.

Busekuin: The Saracen name for Bisaquino, Sicily. The name means “many waters.”

Busentinus, River: Ancient name for the river Busento.

Busento, River (anc. Busentinus, Busentus, Barentinus): A river in Calabria. It rises 6.4 km N of the town of Grimaldi and flows N for 17 km until it joins the river Crati at Cosenza. The Busento divides the city of Cosenza into two sections, the old city on the hill, while the newer city lies on the plain. The river figures in history principally in its connection with the Visigoth chieftain Alaric. In AD 410, following his famous sacking of Rome, Alaric moved south through Campania and Bruttium, intent on crossing over to Sicily. When this plan was thwarted, Alaric led his people northward again. While still in Bruttium, he became severely ill and died in a short time. The Visigoths, fearful that Alaric’s grave would be desecrated, diverted the course of the Busento and buried their dead leader in the now-dry river bed. Included with the body was a great treasure consisting of some of the most precious treasures stolen from Rome. Once the burial was completed, the river was returned to its original course thus masking all trace of the grave. The company of slaves who performed the burial was then murdered, thus assuring that location would not be revealed. Despite repeated attempts to find Alaric’s grave by both professional archaeologists and amateur treasure-hunters, the location of the burial and its incredible treasure has never been found.

Busentus, River: Ancient name for the river Busento.

Buseto Palizzolo (TP): A commune (area: 72.7 km²; alt. 270 m (at Busento)) in the province of Trapani. Located 19 km E of Trapani, it is situated on a hill of M. Luziano. Population: 3,210 (1991).

Busone (AG): An archaeological site located on a hill to the NW of Agrigento. Excavations have revealed a prehistoric necropolis. Grave goods include several statuettes carved from small stones depicting a goddess.

Bussènto, River (SA): A river (length: 37 km; basin: 307 km²) in the Cilento of southern Campania. It originates from some mountain streams which unite to the SW of sanza and empties into the Gulf of Policastro at a point 2 km W of Policastro Bussentino.

Bussi sul Tirino (PE): A commune (area: 26.3 km²; alt. 330 m) in the province of Pescara. Located 52 km SW of Pescara, it is situated on a terrace to the left of the river Tirino, near a mountain cascade. Population: 3,236 (1991). The nearby cascade is utilized for the production hydroelectric power and has allowed for the development of local chemical and aluminum production industries.

Busso (CB): A commune (area: 23.6 km²; alt. 736 m) in the province of Campobasso. Located 14 km W of Campobasso, it is situated on a hill to the right of the river Biferno. Population: 1,446 (2006e); 1,487 (1991).

butcher’s-broom: A plant used for creating hedges in Sicily. Because its edible shoot resembles asparagus, the Sicilians named it sparagi di trono.

Butera (CL): A commune (area: 296.53 km²; alt. 402 m) in the province of Caltanissetta. Located 55 km SE of Caltanissetta, it is situated on a high, steep hill to the right of the torrent Comunelli, overlooking the W portion of the fertile Piana di Gela. Population:  5,120 (2006e); 5,673 (1991). The local economy is based on sulfur-mining.

History: The site of the town was first occupied by an ancient Sikan settlement during the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. They were the earliest members of that race to come into conflict with Greek colonists who, in c689 BC, had founded Gela, located about 20 km to the SE. Scholars believe that this early settlement was the Omphake, a town mentioned by Pausanias (8.46.3) as having been conquered by Antiphemus, the Greek leader of Gela.

In AD 853 it was besieged and captured by the Saracens who held it until 1089. After the Normans conquest of Sicily the town became a fief of the Aleramici family. Under the succeeding Swabian dynasty, Butera came under the control of the Lancia family. When Charles I of Anjou seized the Kingdom of Naples, Butera became a royal holding, remaining so until the outbreak of the Sicilian Vespers revolt. The Aragonese kings of Sicily established Butera as the seat of a county and it passed through the hands of a number of noble families. In 1563, after Sicily became part of the Spanish Empire, King Philip II raised it to the status of a principality, awarding it to the Brancifonte family. The title of prince of Butera came to acknowleged as the chief noble on Sicily. In 1805, Butera passed passed back to the Lancia family as part of the dowry of Stefania Branciafonte in her marriage to Giuseppe Lancia of Trabia. The Lancia retained control only until 1812 when feudalism was finally eliminated on Sicily.

Points of Interest: The site of a large ancient Sikan-Greek necropolis is located at Piano della Fiera, located to the N of the town. The lowest, or earliest, of the sites levels is comprised of cave-tombs called grotticella. Dating from the 8th to early 7th centuries BC, the grave goods found in these included locally made pottery decorated with painted or incised designs, and bronze fibulae and razors. These goods show little Greek influence at this time. The second oldest level, dating from the second half of the 7th century BC, shows significantly greater Greek influences thanks to the foundation of Gela. Several hundred graves are on this level and are a combination of both Greek and Sikan tombs, including a large dolmen tomb. The natives who utilized the necropolis at this time practiced both inhumation and cremation. It appeared to be a common practice at this time to partially cremate the body and preserve the severed heads in vases. Grave goods include local pottery as well as Greek artifacts of Protocorinthian and Geloan types. The destruction of the Sikan community is indicated by the fact that no graves have been discovered containing Corinthian, Ionic or Attic ware. The use of the necropolis was not resumed for about three centuries later with the third level dating to the 2nd half of the 4th century BC. This appears to correspond with the Greek revival intitiated in Sicily by Timoleon. The burials on this level consist of monuments with stepped entrances and topped by epitymbia columns. They graves contain goods including Sicilian red-figure ware. The graves of the highest level indicate that the town had fallen on difficult economic times. Grave goods (including unpainted alabastra) from these 3rd Century BC graves are of significantly poorer quality.

                Excavations made on the slopes of the hill below the modern town have revealed some protohistoric Sikan huts and a Hellenistic building. As with the necropolis, no evidence has been found here dating from the same three century period between the late 7th and late 4th centuries BC.

                Near Fontana Calda, beside the torrent Comunelli, are the remains of an ancient rural sanctuary. The patron deity of the sanctuary appears to have been Polystephanos Theo, identified as a local version of the Greek goddess Artemis. The votive offerings found here consist of figurines with hunting bows and hounds. These offerings indicate the sanctuary was first used during the archaic period, and was at its height in the second half of the 4th century BC. Evidence shows that the sanctuary remained in use well into Roman imperial times.

                Remains of ancient Greek farmsteads have been identified at several sites throughout the commune including Fiume di Mallo, Priorato, Milingiana, and S. Giuliano. Several Roman graves connected with ancient farms and villages have also been found near the Abbey of Suor Marchesa.

                The principal monument of the town itself is an 11th century castle.

                The Chiesa Madre contains a fine Renaissance triptych, and a Madonna painted by Filippo Paladino (c1544-1614).

                Several artifacts from the commune of Butera are located at the National Museum of Gela.

Butes: A mythological hero. A native of Athens, he joined the expedition of the Argonauts in the quest for the Golden Fleece. On the return journey back to Greece, the Argo past the rocks of which lived the Sirens. Swayed by their sweet singing, Butes jumped overboard and would have drowned had the goddess Aphrodite not come to his rescue. She brought Butes safely to western Sicily where he settled. He was said to be the father of Eryx.

Buthrotus river: (mod. Novito river). River of Bruttium. It fell into the Locrensis sinus, to the N of Locri.

Butuntum: (mod. Bitonto). A city of ancient Apulia (Peucetia), on the Via Egnatia, between Rubi and Barium.

Buxentum (or Pyxous, Pyxus, Pixous)(mod. Policastro Bussentino): A city on the west coast of Lucania, situated by the mouth of the river Buxentum. Originally known as Pyxus (or Pyxous, Pixous) (= “full of box-trees”), it was founded in 471 BC by Micythus, tyrant of Messana and Rhegium. Under the Romans, the town became a colony in 194 BC, and was later a municipium. In medieval times, a new center called Policastro was founded on a nearby site.

Buxentum promontorium: (mod. Capo degli Infreschi). Promontory of ancient Lucania, located at the city of Buxentum.

Buxentum, River: Ancient name for the river Bussento. A river of Lucania, falling into the sea NW of Blanda.

Byzantines: More properly, the eastern Romans. The “Byzantine” empire is a name given by later western scholars and politicians to the surviving eastern portion of the Roman Empire which survived the collapse of the Western Roman Empire for nearly a thousand years. The name derives from Byzantium, the Greek town on the European side of the Hellespont, which was replaced by the city of Constantinople in the early 4th century AD. The Byzantines continued to lay claim to Italy and Sicily and made repeated attempts to impose their rule until the triumph of the Normans in the 11th century. As was the case with the previous “Roman Empire”, the Byzantine Empire was held together by a superior military force. From the 6th century, when they wrested the whole of Italy and Sicily from the Ostrogoths until the 13th / 14th centuries when they defied the designs of the French Angevins of Naples, the Byzantine army and navy have played a significant role in southern Italian history. The Byzantine army had its origins in the reformation of the Late Imperial Roman army in the early 4th century. The Roman legions of that era were reorganized into two distinctly different types of armies. The first were the Limitanei, military units strung along the frontier in permanent garrisons. These troops were static in nature, meant to fight defensive actions against barbarians attempting to enter the empire. These garrisons often formed the nuclei of settlements that rose up around them and the soldiers stationed there took local wives, raised families, and were ultimately buried in the local cemeteries. The second Roman force was the Comitatenses, dynamic and highly mobile in nature. These forces were on permanent at the ready to quickly move to deal with any threat throughout the Empire. By the 5th century, the Eastern Roman Empire had five Comitatenses armies, each commanded by an officer called a Magister militum. Two of these armies, designated as praesentales, were stationed at the capital of Constantinople, under the immediate command of the emperor. Two other armies, per Illyricum and per Thracias, were stationed in the northern Balkans to deal with threats from beyond the Danube. The fifth army, per Orientem, was stationed along the Euphrates River to defend against the Persians to the east. A sixth army, commanded by a magister militum per Armenium, was created. Unlike what transpired in the Western Empire, where Germanic mercenaries and allies (known as foederati or federates) came to predominate the army both in the ranks and officer corps, the Eastern Roman army was essentially a “native Roman” force.

Byzantine Period: Period of rule of Sicily from Constantinople (Istanbul), which began in AD 533 and was replaced by Saracen rulers between 827 and 902.