Rossano - Encyclopedia

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ROSSANO, a city of Calabria, Italy, in the province of Cosenza, 24 m. N.N.E. from that town direct, with a station 4 m. distant on the line from Metaponto to Reggio. Pop. (1901) 1 3,354. It is picturesquely situated on a precipitous spur of the mountain mass of Sila overlooking the Gulf of Taranto, the highest part of the town being 975 ft. above sea-level. Rossano is the seat of an archbishop, and in the cathedral is preserved the Codex Rossanensis, an uncial MS. of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark in silver characters on purple vellum, with twelve miniatures, of great interest in the history of Byzantine art, belonging to the 6th century A.D. It was brought to Grottaferrata for the exhibition of Byzantine art held there in 1905. Marble and alabaster quarries are worked in the neighbourhood.

Mentioned in the Itineraries, Rossano (Roscianum) appears under the Latin empire as one of the important fortresses of Calabria. Totila took it in 548. The people showed great attachment to the Byzantine empire. In the 14th century Rossano was made a principality for the great family of De Baux. Passing to the Sforza, and thus to Sigismund of Poland, it was united in 1558 to the crown of Naples by Philip II. of Spain in virtue of a doubtful will by Bona of Poland in favour of Giovanni Lorenzo Pappacoda. Under Isabella of Aragon and Bona of Poland the town had been a centre of literary culture; but under the Spaniards it declined. The crown sold the lordship in 1612 to the Aldobrandini, and from them it passed to the Borghesi and the Caraffa. Rossano is best known as the birthplace of St Nilus the younger, whose life is the most valuable source of information extant in regard to the state of matters in southern Italy in the 10th century. Pope John VII. (705-7)7) was also a native of the town.

See F. Lenormant, La Grande-Grbce (1881), vol. i. 339 sqq.

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