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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 702 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SESSA AURUNCA, a town and episcopal see of Campania, Italy, in the province of Caserta, on the S.W. slope of the extinct volcano of Rocca Monfina, 27 M. by rail W.N.W. of Caserta and 202 M. E. of Formia by the branch railway to Sparanise, 666 ft. above sea-level. Pop. 5945 (town), 22,077 (commune). It is situated on the site of the ancient Suessa Aurunca, on a small affluent of the Liri. The hill on which Sessa lies is a mass of volcanic tufa. The town contains many ancient remains, notably the ruins of an ancient bridge in brickwork of twenty-one arches, of substructures in opus reticulatum under the church of S. Benedetto, of a building in opus quadratum, supposed to have been a public portico, under the monastery of S. Giovanni, and of an amphitheatre. The Romanesque cathedral is a basilica with a vaulted portico and a nave and two aisles begun in 1103, a mosaic pavement in the Cosmatesque style, a good ambo resting on columns and decorated with mosaics showing traces of Moorish influence, a Paschal candelabrum, and an organ gallery of similar style. The portal has curious sculptures with scenes from the life of SS. Peter and Paul. In the principal streets are memorial stones with inscriptions in honour of Charles V., surmounted by an old crucifix with a mosaic cross. The hills of Sessa are celebrated for their wine. The ancient chief town of the Aurunci, Aurunca or Ausona, is believed to have lain over 2000 ft. above the level of the sea, on the narrow south-western edge of the extinct crater of Rocca Monfina. Here some remains of Cyclopean masonry exist; but the area enclosed, about zoo yds. by 50, is too small for anything but a detached fort. It dates, doubtless, from a time prior to Roman supremacy. In 33 7 B.C. the town was abandoned, under the pressure of the Sidicini, in favour of the site of the modern Sessa. The new town kept the old name until 313, when a Latin colony under the name Suessa Aurunca was founded here. It was among the towns that had the right of coinage, and it manufactured carts, baskets, &c. Cicero speaks of it as a place of some importance. The triumviri settled some of their veterans here, whence it appears as Colonia Julia Felix Classica Suessa. From inscriptions it appears that Matidia the younger, sister-in-law of Hadrian, had property in the district. It was not on a highroad, but on a branch between the Via Appia at Minturnae and the Via Latina crater mentioned. See A. Avena, Monumenti dell' Italia Meridionale (Naples, 19o2), i. 181 sqq. (T. As.) SESSION (through Fr. from Lat. sessio, sedere, to sit), the act of sitting or the state of being seated, more generally the sitting together or assembly of a body, judicial, legislative, &c., for the transaction of its business, and also the time during which the body sits until its adjournment or dispersion. A session of parliament is reckoned from its assembling till prorogation; usually there is one session in each year. In particular the term is applied to the sittings of various judicial courts, especially criminal, such as the sessions of the Central Criminal Court in London. The sittings of the justices of the peace or magistrates in the United Kingdom are " sessions of the peace " for the transaction of the judicial business committed to them by statute or by their commission. These are either " petty sessions," courts of summary jurisdiction held by two or more justices of the peace or by a stipendiary or metropolitan police magistrate under statute for the trial of such cases as are not of sufficient importance to be tried before quarter-sessions, or for a preliminary inquiry into indictable offences (see JUSTICE OF THE PEACE and SUMMARY JURISDICTION). The " special sessions " of the justices are held for licensing purposes, styled " Brewster sessions," or for carrying out the provisions of the Highway Acts, &c. The only sessions which are " general sessions " of the peace are now " quarter-sessions " (q.v.). The supreme court of Scotland is termed the " Court of Session " (see SCOT-LAND), and the name is given in the Presbyterian church to the lowest ecclesiastical court, composed of the elders of the church presided over by the minister. In the Established Church of Scotland this is usually styled the " Kirk-session."
End of Article: SESSA AURUNCA

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