canusium

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canusium

town, Puglia (Apulia) region, southeastern Italy, on the right bank of the Ofanto (ancient Aufidus) River, overlooking the Tavoliere (tableland) di Puglia, just southwest of Barletta. Ancient Canusium was originally a Greek town, said to have been founded by the legendary hero Diomedes, companion of Odysseus. It voluntarily accepted Roman sovereignty and remained loyal throughout the Punic Wars, but revolted in the Social War (90-89 BC), in which it appears to have suffered. An important trade centre on the Via Traiana (a Roman road) for agricultural products, Apulian wool, and ceramics, it became a municipium (city) under the early Roman Empire. In the 6th century it was still one of the most important cities in Apulia. Destroyed by the Saracens in the 9th century and rebuilt by the Normans in the 11th, it was thereafter part of the Kingdom of Naples. A large number of Greek relics have been found, including fine polychrome vases made there in the 3rd century BC, and there are several Roman remains. The town is dominated by a ruined medieval castle and by the 11th-century former cathedral dedicated to S. Sabino (bishop of Canosa 514-566; the bishopric passed to Andria in 1818) containing interesting Byzantine relics. Adjacent to the cathedral is the detached mausoleum of Bohemond I, son of the Norman Robert Guiscard, who captured Antioch during the First Crusade (1096).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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