Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Canosa

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

CANOSA, or Canusium, a city of Italy, in the province of Terra di Bari, and district of Barletta, situated on the slope of an eminence on the right bank of the Aufidus or Ofanto, about 15 miles from the sea, and 6 miles from the battlefield of Cannse. Its most interesting buildings of modern date are a feudal castle on the top of the hill, aud the church of St Sabinus the patron saint of the city, with its mosque-like cupolas and ancient pulpit. In the neighbourhood of the latter stands the tomb of Bohemond of Antioch, who died in 1102. The ruins of the old Roman city extend for a considerable distance beyond the modern town; large portions of its walls can still be traced; and there are extensive remains of an amphitheatre which was larger than that of Pompeii, and a gateway, frequently described as a triumphal arch, dedicated to Trajan. Various explorations have brought to light great numbers of vases, inscriptions, and miscellaneous antiquities, among which is a complete list of the members of the municipal senate. The vases, which have been principally derived, from the sepulchres excavated in the tufa rock which were, discovered about 1803, are large in size and somewhat coarse in workmanship. (See Millin, Description des tombeaux de Canosa, Paris, 1813.) Like several of the more important cities in this part of Italy, Canusium is said to have been founded by the Grecian hero Diomede ; the origin of the city, however, can be traced with tolerable certainty to the Pelasgi. Canusium is first mentioned in history as assisting the Samnites in their wars against the Romans, by whom it was subdued for the first time 318 B.C. In the second Punic war the inhabitants gave shelter within their Avails to the remnant of the Roman army, which retreated thither after the rout at Canuje. In the second year of the social war, in which Canusium joined the revolted allies, it was besieged unsuccessfully by the Romans. In the civil wars it suffered severely, but always contrived to preserve its municipal privileges, and was never colonized from Home till the days of Marcus Aurelius. In the Itcr ad Brundusium of Horace, its bread is described as gritty, and its water as extremely scanty. This last defect was remedied by Herodes Atticus, who constructed an aqueduct, of which the remains are still visible. In the tenth satire of the first book of Horace, the inhabitants are called bilingites, probably from their speaking Latin or Greek indifferently. Till a late period in the Middle Ages Canusium continued an important and flourishing city; but it suffered severely at the hands of Lombards and Saracens. In 1694 it was laid in ruins by an earth quake, and in 1851 it was considerably injured by a similar disturbance. The title of prince of Canosa was bestowed in 1712 on Tiberio Capece. Population, 14.900.