Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – C


Cabala: An ancient locality in N Sicily, located near Panormus (mod. Palermo), although it’s exact site remains uncertain. It was the location, in c279 BC, of a major defeat of the Carthaginians under Mago, at the hands of Dionysius I, the Greek tyrant of Syracuse.

Cabrera, Bernardo: A Spanish noble (d. 1411) who, during the 15th century, fermented rebellion in Sicily. Under the Aragonese king of Sicily Martin I, Bernardo held the position of Captain of the Army, Viceroy and Constable (Contabile) of the Kingdom. He eventually had a falling out with the royal family.

Caccamo: (anc. Cucumum). (PA): A commune (area: 187.8 km²; alt. 521 m) in the province of Palermo. Located 44 km SE of Palermo, it is situated on a rocky hill on the W slope of the Madonie mountains, between the rivers S. Leonardo and Tonto. Population: 8,636 (1991).

History: The center was founded by the Carthaginians in c400 BC. During the time of the Saracens it was called Karches. It suffered during the wars between the Angevins and Aragonese, but successfully repulsed the Angevin King Robert “the Wise” of Naples in 1302. The area around the town has deposits of jasper, agate, marble, porphyry, and rock-crystal.

Caccavello, Annibale: (fl. 16th century). Sculptor. He is known for his decoration of notable tombs in the churches of Naples. Among his works are the tombs of Marshal Lautrec (d. 1528) in the church of S. Maria Nova, and of Porzia (d. 1559), wife of Bernardino Rota, in the Franciscan convent of Santa Clara.

Cacciatore, Niccolò: (b. Jan. 26, 1770, Casteltermini (AG); d. Jan. 28, 1841, Palermo). Astronomer. (full page)

Cacirus: The ancient name for Cassaro [SR].

cactus: Although not native to Sicily, cacti are found in abundance throughout the island. Prickly pear and aloes are especially common. The cactus plant found in Sicily is not related to more familiar plants of the same name found the Americas. The name derives from the Greek kaktos, which had originally been applied to the plant they found in Sicily and other parts of the Mediterranean. Only in the 18th Century did the botanist Linnaeus mistakenly extend its use to apply to the family of American succulents. The Sicilian plant is also known as the Spanish artichoke.

Cacus: A son of Vulcan and Medusa, he was a fabled bandit who lived in Italy. The approaches to the caves in which he dwelt were said to marked by the scattered bones of his human victims. As Hercules was returning to Greece through Italy with the cattle of Geryon, Cacus stole some of the animals. When Hercules discovered the identity of the thief, he fought Cacus and finally strangled him.

Cacyparis, River: (mod. Cassibili River). A river in ancient E Sicily, located to the south of Syracuse. It falls into the sea to the S of the Longum promontorium.

Cacyrum: (mod. Cassaro [SR]). An ancient town of E Sicily, situated to the N of Gela.

Caecilius of Calacte: (orig. name: Archagathus). (fl. 1st Century BC). Historian, critic, teacher, rhetorician. A native of the Sicilian town of Calacte (or Cale Acte) (from which he derived his nickname Calactinus), he went to Rome where he earned citizenship. He took the name of Caecilius after his patron, a member of the Metelli gens. Caecilius earned a reputation as a reliable historian and scholar during the time of Cicero and Augustus. Although he wrote many books on grammar, rhetoric, and history (including one on the Servile Wars of Sicily), only a few fragments of his work survive today.

Caecilius Jucundus, Lucius: (fl. AD 1st Century). An auctioneer in ancient Pompeii, he was well-known for a pair of herms which he displayed in his atrium. These statues said to be remarkably realistic images of Jucundus himself. Archaeologists have discovered a collection of 127 waxed tablets of his, most of which are receipts recording the proceeds of auction sales which Jucundus had conducted. Nearly all of them date to the period AD 52 to 62.

Caecinum: (mod. Satriano [CZ]). A town of ancient Bruttium, situated near the mouth of the river Caecinus.