Online Encyclopedia

MELFI

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 94 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MELFI  , a

city and episcopal see of
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Basilicata, Italy, in the province of Potenza, 30 M. by
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rail N. of the
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town of that name . Melfi is picturesquely situated on the
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lower slopes of
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Monte
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Vulture, 1591 it. above sea-level . Pop . (1901), 14,547 . The castle was originally erected by Robert Guiscard, but as it now stands it is mainly the
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work of the Doria
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family, who have possessed it since the time of Charles V.; and the noble
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cathedral which was founded in 1153 by Robert's son and successor, Roger, has had a
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modern restoration (though it retains its campaniles) in consequence of the
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earthquake of 1851, when the town was ruined, over one thousand of the inhabitants perishing . It is the centre of an agricultural
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district which produces oil and wine . In the town hall is a
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fine
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Roman sarcophagus found 6 m . W. of Venosa . Melfi does not seem to occupy an ancient site, and its origin is uncertain . By the
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Normans it was made the capital of Apulia in x041, and fortified . The council held by Nicholas I. in x059, that of Urban II. in x089, the
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rebellion against Roger in 1133 and the subsequent punishment, the
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plunder of the town by Barbarossa in 1167, the attack by Richard, count of
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Acerra in 1190, and the parliament of 1223, in which Frederick II. established the constitution of the
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kingdom of Naples, form the
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principal points of
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interest in the annals of Melfi . In 1348 Joanna I. of Naples bestowed the city on Niccolo Acciajuoli; but it was shortly afterwards captured, after a six months' siege, by the king of Hungary, who transferred it to Conrad the Wolf .

In 1392 Goffredo Marzano was made count of Melfi; but Joanna II. granted the lordship to the

Caracciolo family, and they retained it for one
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hundred and seven years till the time of Charles V . An obstinate resistance was offered by the city to Lautrec de
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Foix in 1528; and his entrance within its walls was followed by the
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massacre, it is said, of 18,000 of its citizens . See G. de Lorenzo, Venosa e la regione del Vulture (Bergamo, Igoe) .

End of Article: MELFI
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