Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – O


Odoacer (Odovacar; Audawakrs)
: (b. AD 435; d. AD 493). (see full page)

Oebalia: An alternate name for Tarentum.

Oebalus: A mythical ruler in ancient Campania. He was the son of Telon and the river nymph Sebethus.Oenotrians (Oenotri): An ancient people who occupied much of Apulia, Lucania, and northern Calabria. Possessing an Iron age culture, they appear to have emigrated across the Adriatic Sea from Illyria during the 11th century BC. The arrival of the Greeks in the 8th Century began to force the Oenotrians inland from the coastal regions. The Oenotrians began to finally disappear with the advance of the Sabellian peoples during the 5th Century BC.

It is believed that the Oenotrians derive their name from the Greek word oinos (=wine), so-called because the first contact was made in a vine-growing area.

Oenotrides: Two ancient islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the coast of Lucania. They sat opposite to the city of Velia (Elea) and the mouth of the river Helos.
oikistes: a title for the founder of an ancient Greek colony.
oikos: an ancient Greek household.
Oldest Surviving Cities in Southern Italy:


8th Century BC


8th Century BC


8th Century BC

Reggio di Calabria

8th Century BC


734 BC


c708 BC


c600 BC


bef. 331 BC

Olevano sul Tusciano (SA): A commune in the province of Salerno.

oli oledda, a: A variety of Calabrian multi-part song.

omertà: the mafia “code of silence.” The term is believed to derive from the Sicilian word umirtà (= humility).

Oppido Mamertina – Palmi, Diocese of:
Metropolitan: Reggio Calabria – Bova
Conference Region: Calabria
Area: 930 km²/ mi²
Total Population: 177,386.
Catholic Population:
Total Priests: 96(Diocesan: 79; Religious: 17)
Permanent Deacons: 10.
Parishes: 66.

Ops: Ancient Roman earth and fertility goddess.
Orange (Ital. Arancia): A citrus fruit grown in many varieties throughout Sicily and southern Italy. Among the most famous is the Sicilian orange, known as a “blood orange” because of its bright, ruby-red flesh.

orazioni: A variety of Sicilian narrative folk song.
orbi: A variety of Sicilian narrative folk song.
Ordinary: An ecclesiastical leader of a specific jurisdiction. An Ordinary may or may not be a bishop.

orecchiette: a pasta made in Puglia made in the shape on small ears, for which it is named. Each piece is created from a small thin round of pasta pressed in the center by a thumb to fashion out a hollow.

Orlando, Vittorio Emanuele: (b. 1860, Palermo; d. 1952). Politician and Jurist. He served as Prime Minister of Italy from 1917 to 1919. He was one of the four leaders of the victorious western allies who shaped reshaped Europe after the end of World War I.

Orthon: an athlete of ancient Syracuse. He was victor in the Stadion at the Olympian Games in 148 BC.

Oscan (1): an Oscan-speaking member of an ancient people of Campania. The name derives from the Latin Osci, (pl. Opsci), or the Greek Opici. The ancient name translates literally to “worshippers of Ops.” Ops was an ancient Italic harvest goddess, whose name is related to the Latin ops (gen. opis) (= “abundance, plenty, wealth, riches”).
It is believed that the Oscans were the earliest inhabitants of Campania, and held control over much of central and southern Italy.
Oscan (2): an extinct Italic language of ancient southern Italy.Ospedaletto D’Alpinolo (AV): A commune in the province of Avellino. Population: 1,738 (2006e).
Ossuna, Pedro Tellez y Giron, Duke of: (b. Jan. 8, 1579; d. Sept 25, 1624). Spanish statesman. In 1611, he became viceroy of Sicily and, in 1616, transferred to Naples. Incredibly ambitious, he unsuccessfully intrigued to seize the throne of Naples for himself in 1618. Recalled to Spain in 1620, he was imprisoned and died in 1624.

Otranto, Terra di: A former province of the Two Sicilies, corresponding to the present province of Lecce. Encompassing the extreme end of the SE portion of the Italian boot, its capital was located at Lecce. With an area of 3,293 sq. miles and a population of 447,982 (1862), it measured 102 miles in length and had a breadth ranging between 25 and 35 miles. It encompassed the territory of ancient Iapygia or Messapia. Among the most fertile parts of the southern Italian mainland, it produced excellent wine, as well as corn, olive-oil, cotton, figs, almonds and oranges. The local tobacco was described as being the best grown in Italy. Although the interior of the province was blessed with fertility and a pleasant environment, the coastal regions were afflicted with malarial marshes.