Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – M


Macchia d’Isernia (IS): A commune in the province of Isernia. Population: 948 (2006e).

Macchia Valfortore (CB): A commune in the province of Campobasso. Population: 693 (2006e).

Macchiagodena (IS): A commune in the province of Isernia. Population: 1,928 (2006e).

Macerata Campania (CE): A commune in the province of Caserta. Population: 10,437 (2006e).

Maddaloni (CE): a commune in Campania located 15 miles NE of Naples. Population: 38,420 (2006e).

Madonie Mountains (anc. Nerbodes): a range of mountains in NE Sicily.

Mafalda (CB): A commune in the province of Campobasso.

Maffa, Vincio: (fl. early 16th Century). Ecclesiastic. He was elected Bishop of Caiazzo in 1507, and served as theologian at the Lateran Council in 1512.

Mafia: an infamous criminal organization centered on the island of Sicily.

Mafioso (pl. mafiosi): member of the mafia.

Magisano (CZ): A commune in the province of Catanzaro. Population: 1,275 (2006e).

Magliano de’ Marsi (AQ): A commune in the province of L’Aquila. Population: 3,810 (2006e).

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

Maglie (LE): A commune in the province of Lecce. Population: 15,195 (2006e).

Magna Graecia: [Lat. =Great Greece], Greek colonies of S Italy. The Greek overseas expansion of the 8th cent. B.C. led to the foundation of several towns and cities that became the centers of a new, thriving Greek culture on Italian soil. These Greek colonies were established mostly on both coasts of the southern Italian peninsula from the Bay of Naples and the Gulf of Taranto southward. Unlike Greek Sicily, the power and wealth of Magna Graecia began to decline by 500 B.C., due in large part to the wide-spread presence of malaria in the region as well as to endless warfare among the colonies. Only Tarentum (now Taranto) and Cumae managed to remain relatively secure for any extended period. Despite the political and social difficulties that existed in Magna Graecia, two important philosophical schools developed there during the 6th cent. B.C.; that of Parmenides at Elea and that of Pythagoras at Kroton. The Greeks of Magna Graecia, especially those at Cumae in Campania, served as conduits through which Greek civilization spread to the Etruscans of Capua and the Romans. The following are the chief cities of Magna Graecia (those colonized from Greece, except Thurii and Elea, go back to the 8th or early 7th cent. B.C.; those colonized locally are perhaps a century younger): on the east coast from north to south, Taras (Tarentum) (colonized from Sparta), Metapontum (from Achaea), Heraclea (from Tarentum), Siris (from Colophon), Sybaris (from Achaea), Thurii (from Athens, replacing Sybaris), Kroton (Croton, Crotona) (from Achaea), Caulonia (from Croton), Epizephyrian Locris (from Locris); on the west coast from north to south, Kyme (Cumae) (from Chalcis), Neapolis (mod. Naples; from Cumae), Poseidonia (Paestum) (from Sybaris), Elea (Velia) (from Phocaea in Ionia), Laos (from Sybaris), Hipponium (from Epizephyrian Locris), and Rhegium (now Reggio de Calabria; from Chalcis).

magna regia curia: the highest court in the judicial system in the medieval kingdom of Sicily.

Maia Maietas: The Roman version of the Italic goddess of Spring. She is also identified with the goddesses Fauna, Bona Dea, and Ops.

Maida (CZ): A commune in the province of Catanzaro. Population: 4,358 (2006e).

Maiella: An important massif in the Abruzzian Apennines. Its highest summit is Monte Amaro (alt. 9,130 ft; 2,795 meters).

Maiera’ (CS): A commune in the province of Cosenza. Population: 1,296 (2006e).

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

Maio of Bari: (d. Nov. 10, 1160). A Lombard from Bari, he rose to become the Admiral (or more properly ammiratus ammiratorum = Emir of Emirs) of Sicily under the Norman kings. He became Chancellor of Sicily in 1150 or 1151, and was appointed Admiral by William I in 1154. He ousted Thomas Brun of England from the office of kaid or magister of the royal Diwan.

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