Catania is the second largest city of Sicily after Palermo located on the east coast facing the Ionian Sea. It is the capital of the Metropolitan City of Catania, one of the ten biggest cities in Italy, the seventh largest metropolitan area in Italy; the population of the city proper is 320,000 while the population of the city's metropolitan area, Metropolitan City of Catania, stood at 1,116,168 inhabitants. Catania was destroyed by catastrophic earthquakes in 1169 and 1693, by several volcanic eruptions from the neighbouring Mount Etna, the most violent of, in 1669. Catania was founded in the 8th century BC by Chalcidians. In 1434, the first university in Sicily was founded in the city. In the 14th century and into the Renaissance period, Catania was one of Italy's most important cultural and political centres; the city is noted for its history, culture and gastronomy. Its old town, besides being one of the biggest examples of baroque architecture in Italy, is a World Heritage Site, protected by UNESCO.
Catania has been a native or adoptive homeland of some of Italy's most famous artists and writers, including composers Vincenzo Bellini and Giovanni Pacini, writers Giovanni Verga, Luigi Capuana, Federico De Roberto and Nino Martoglio. The city is the main industrial and commercial center of Sicily, it is the home of the largest in Southern Italy. The ancient indigenous population of the Sicels named their villages after geographical attributes of their location; the Sicilian word, means "grater, flaying knife, skinning place" or a "crude tool apt to pare". Other translations of the name are "harsh lands", "uneven ground", "sharp stones", or "rugged or rough soil"; the latter etymologies are justifiable since, for many centuries following an eruption, the city has always been rebuilt within its black-lava landscape. Around 729 BC, the ancient village of Katane became the Chalcidian colony of Katánē where the native population was Hellenized; the Naxian founders, coming from the adjacent coast used the name for their new settlement along the River Amenano.
Around 263 BC, the city was variously known as Catăna. The former has been used for its supposed assonance with catina, the Latin feminization of the name catinus. Catinus has two meanings: "a gulf, a basin or a bay" and "a bowl, a vessel or a trough", thanks to the city’s distinctive topography. Around 900, when Catania was part of the emirate of Sicily, it was known in Arabic as Balad al-fīl and Madinat al-fīl; the former means "The Village of the Elephant", while the latter means "The City of the Elephant". The Elephant is the lava sculpture over the fountain in Piazza Duomo. Most a prehistoric sculpture, reforged during the Byzantine Era, it appears to be a talisman, reputedly powerful enough to protect the city from enemies and to keep away misfortune, plagues, or natural calamities. Another Arab toponym was Qaṭāniyyah from the Arabic word for the "leguminous plants". Pulses like lentils, peas, broad beans, lupins were chiefly cultivated in the plains around the city well before the arrival of Aghlabids.
Afterwards, many Arabic agronomists developed these crops and the citrus orchards in the area around the city. The toponym Wadi Musa, or "Valley of Moses", was used. Catania is located at the foot of Mount Etna; as observed by Strabo, the location of Catania at the foot of Mount Etna has been both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, violent outbursts of the volcano throughout history have destroyed large parts of the city, whilst on the other hand the volcanic ashes yield fertile soil suited for the growth of vines. Two subterranean rivers run under the city; the Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Csa". It has one of the hottest in the whole country of Italy. Temperatures of 40 °C are surpassed every year a couple of times,Winters are mild with chilly nights. Most of precipitation is concentrated from October to March, leaving late spring and summer dry; the city receives around 500 millimetres of rain per year, although the amount can vary from year to year. During winter nights lows can go under 0 °C.
Highs under 10 °C can happen during winter. Snow, due to the presence of Etna that protects the city from the northern winds, is an uncommon occurrence, but occasional snow flurries have been seen over the recent years in the hilly districts, more substantial in the northern hinterland. More light snowfalls occurred on 9 February 2015, 6 January 2017 and 5 January 2019, but the last heavy snowfall dates back to 17 December 1988; as of January 2015, there are 315.601 people residing in Catania, of whom 47.2% are male and 52.8% are female. Minors totalled 20.50 percent of the population compared to pensioners. This compares with the Italian average of 19.94 percent. The average age of Catania residents is 41 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five
Alfonso III of Aragon
Alfonso III, called the Liberal or the Free, was the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona from 1285. He conquered the Kingdom of Majorca between his succession and 1287, he was a son of King Peter III of Aragon and Constance and heiress of King Manfred of Sicily. Soon after assuming the throne, he conducted a campaign to reincorporate the Balearic Islands into the Kingdom of Aragon -, lost due to the division of the kingdom by his grandfather, James I of Aragon, thus in 1285 he declared war on his uncle, James II of Majorca, conquered both Majorca and Ibiza reassuming suzerainty over the Kingdom of Majorca. He followed this with the conquest of Menorca - until an autonomous Muslim state within the Kingdom of Majorca - on 17 January 1287, the anniversary of which now serves as Menorca's national holiday, he sought to maintain Aragonese control over Sicily early in his reign by supporting the claims to the island of his brother, James II of Aragon. However, he retracted the support for his brother shortly before his death and instead tried to make peace with the Papal States France.
His reign was marred by a constitutional struggle with the Aragonese nobles, which culminated in the articles of the Union of Aragon - the so-called "Magna Carta of Aragon", which devolved several key royal powers into the hands of lesser nobles. His inability to resist the demands of his nobles was to leave a heritage of disunity in Aragon and further dissent amongst the nobility, who saw little reason to respect the throne, brought the Kingdom of Aragon close to anarchy. During his lifetime a dynastic marriage with Eleanor, daughter of King Edward I of England, was arranged; however Alfonso died before meeting his bride. He died at the age of 26 in 1291, was buried in the Franciscan convent in Barcelona. Dante Alighieri, in the Divine Comedy, recounts that he saw Alfonso's spirit seated outside the gates of Purgatory with the other monarchs whom Dante blamed for the chaotic political state of Europe during the 13th century. Alighieri, Purgatorio, Canto VII, l. 115ff. Jones, Michael. McKitterick, Rosamond, ed.
The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 6, C.1300-c.1415. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521362900. Nelson, Lynn; the Chronicle of San Juan De LA Pena: A Fourteenth-Century Official History of the Crown of Aragon ISBN 0-8122-1352-1 O'Callaghan, Joseph. A History of Medieval Spain ISBN 0-8014-9264-5
Ferdinand IV of Castile
Ferdinand IV of Castile called the Summoned, was a King of Castile and León from 1295 until his death. During his minority, his upbringing and the custody of his person were entrusted to his mother, Queen María de Molina, while his tutorship was entrusted to the Infante Henry of Castile the Senator, son of King Fernando III of Castile. At that time, for the rest of his reign, his mother tried to placate the nobility, confronted her son's enemies, prevented Ferdinand IV from being dethroned, he had to face the insubordination of the nobility, led at numerous times by his uncle, the Infante John of Castile, Lord of Valencia de Campos and by Juan Núñez II de Lara, who were supported in some occasions by Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena and grandson of the King Ferdinand III. Like his predecessors on the throne, Ferdinand IV continued the Reconquista and, although he failed to conquer Algeciras in 1309, he captured the city of Gibraltar that same year, in 1312 the city of Alcaudete was conquered.
During the Cortes of Valladolid of 1312, he promoted the reform of the administration of justice, that of all areas of administration, while attempting to strengthen the royal authority to the detriment of the nobility. He died in Jaén on 7 September 1312 aged 26, his mortal remains are now in the Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Hippolytus. Ferdinand was born in the city of Seville on 6 December 1285 as the second child and eldest son of King Sancho IV of Castile and his wife María de Molina, he was baptized at Seville Cathedral by Archbishop Raimundo de Losana and was proclaimed heir to the Crown and received the homage of the nobles of the Kingdom. King Sancho IV entrusted to Fernán Pérez Ponce de León the raising of his newborn son, since he had been First Majordomo of King Alfonso X; the prince and his tutor left for the city of Zamora. The King appointed Isidro González and Alfonso Godínez as Chancellors of the prince, while appointing Samuel de Belorado almojarife of the prince. Fernán Pérez Ponce de León and his wife, Urraca Gutiérrez de Meneses, had a significant influence on Ferdinand's character, he would show them, as a King, a profound gratitude.
In his infancy the question of his marriage was raised, being the desire of Sancho IV to choose a princess from Kingdoms of France or Portugal. In the agreement signed by Sancho IV and King Denis of Portugal in September 1291, was established the betrothal between Ferdinand and the Infanta Constance, daughter of the Portuguese sovereign. In spite of the commitment contracted with the Portuguese monarch, in 1294, Sancho IV thought about the possibility of marrying his son with Margaret or Blanche, daughters of King Philip IV of France; the death of Sancho IV a year put an end to the negotiations with the French court. King Sancho IV of Castile died in the city of Toledo on 25 April 1295, leaving his eldest son Ferdinand as heir of the throne. After the burial of the sovereign at Toledo Cathedral, his widow María de Molina retired to the Alcázar of Toledo for a mourning of nine days; the now Dowager Queen was in charge of the regency of her 9-years-old son. Because the marriage between Sancho IV and María de Molina was without validity, all their children were illegitimate, so the Dowager Queen had to face numerous problems to keep her son on the throne.
To the incessant struggles with the Castilian nobility, led by the Infante John of Castile, Lord of Valencia de Campos and by the Infante Henry of Castile the Senator, son of Ferdinand III and great-uncle of Ferdinand IV were joined the claims of the Infantes de la Cerda, who were supported by France and Aragon and by their grandmother Dowager Queen Violante of Aragon, widow of Alfonso X. To this were added the problems with Aragon and France, who tried to take advantage of the political instability that suffered the Kingdom of Castile in their own benefit. At the same time, Diego López V de Haro, Lord of Biscay, Nuño González de Lara, Juan Núñez II de Lara, among many others nobles, sowed confusion and anarchy in the kingdom. In the Cortes of Valladolid in 1295, Henry of Castile the Senator was appointed guardian of the King, but the Dowager Queen María de Molina got that the custody of her son was entrusted to her. While celebrating the Cortes of Valladolid, John of Castile, Lord of Valencia de Campos, left the city of Granada and tried to occupy the city of Badajoz, when failing in this attempt, he seized Coria and the castle of Alcántara.
He passed to the Kingdom of Portugal, where he pressed King Denis of Portugal to declare war to Castile and, at the same time, to support his claims to the Castilian throne. In the summer of 1295, when the Cortes of Valladolid were finished, the Dowager Queen and Henry of Castile met in Ciudad Rodrigo with King Denis of Portugal, to whom they delivered several localities located near the Portuguese border. In the meeting of Ciudad Rodrigo was renewed the betrothal between Ferdinand IV and Constance of Portugal, daughter of King Denis, in addition Infanta Beatrice of Castile, younger sister of Fernando IV, would marry Afonso, heir to the Portuguese throne. At the same time, Diego López V de Haro was confirmed the possession of the Lordship of Biscay, John of Castile, who recognized Ferdinand IV as his sovereign, was momentarily restored his property. Shortly after, King James II of Aragon returned the Infanta Isabella of Castile to th
Frederick III of Sicily
Frederick II was the regent and subsequent King of Sicily from 1295 until his death. He was the third son of Peter III of Aragon and served in the War of the Sicilian Vespers on behalf of his father and brothers, Alfonso ΙΙΙ and James ΙΙ, he was confirmed as King of Trinacria by the Peace of Caltabellotta in 1302. His reign saw important constitutional reforms: the Constitutiones regales, Capitula alia, Ordinationes generales. Although the second Frederick of Sicily, he chose to call himself "Frederick III" – because only some fifty years before, his well-known and remembered great-grandfather had reigned Sicily and used an official ordinal: Fridericus secundus, imperator etc.. Thus, Fridericus tertius was better in line with the precedent of his ancestor's ordinal. However, an anecdote attributes Frederick's choice of numeral to him being the third son of Peter; the next man called Frederick to occupy the Sicilian throne was dubbed by generations of historians as Frederick III: Frederick III the Simple, though he himself did not use an ordinal.
Frederick was born in Barcelona to Peter III of Aragon and Constance of Sicily, daughter of King Manfred of Sicily. When his father died in 1285, he left the Kingdom of Aragon to his eldest son and that of Sicily to his second son, James; when Alfonso died in 1291, James left Frederick as regent in Sicily. The war between the Angevins, who contested the title to Sicily from their peninsular possessions centred on Naples, the Crown of Aragon for the possession of the island was still in progress, although the Crown of Aragon was successful in Italy, James’ position in Spain became insecure due to internal troubles and French attacks. Peace negotiations were begun with Charles II of Naples, but were interrupted by the successive deaths of two popes. At last, under the auspices of Pope Boniface VIII, James concluded a shameful treaty, by which, in exchange for being left undisturbed in the rest of the territories belonging to the Crown of Aragon and promised possession of Sardinia and Corsica, he gave up Sicily to the Church, for whom it was to be held by the Angevins.
The Sicilians refused to be made over once more to the hated French they had expelled in 1282, found a national leader in the regent Frederick. In vain the pope tried to bribe him with dignities; when Frederick heard that James was preparing to go to war with him, he sent a messenger, Mountainer Pérez de Sosa, to Catalonia in an effort to stir up the barons and cities against James in 1298. Mountainer carried with him an Occitan poem, Ges per guerra no.m chal aver consir, intended as a communication with his supporters in Catalonia. This communiqué seems to have had in mind Ponç Hug as a recipient, for the count penned a response, A l'onrat rei Frederic terz vai dir, in which he praised Frederick's tact and diplomacy, but told him bluntly that he would not abandon his sovereign; this poetic transaction is dated to January–March, Spring, or August 1296, but Gerónimo Zurita in the seventeenth century dated the embassy of Mountainer to 1298. Frederick reformed the administration and extended the powers of the Sicilian parliament, composed of the barons, the prelates, the representatives of the towns.
His refusal to comply with the pope's injunctions led to a renewal of the war. Frederick landed in Calabria, where he seized several towns, encouraged revolt in Naples, negotiated with the Ghibellines of Tuscany and Lombardy, assisted the house of Colonna against Pope Boniface. In the meanwhile James, who received many favours from the Church, married his sister Yolanda to Robert, the third son of Charles II. For Frederick, a part of the Catalan-Aragonese nobles of Sicily favoured King James, both John of Procida and Roger of Lauria, the heroes of the war of the Vespers, went over to the Angevins, the latter defeated the Sicilian fleet off Capo d'Orlando. Charles’s sons Robert and Philip landed in Sicily, but after capturing Catania were defeated by Frederick, Philip being taken prisoner, while several Calabrian towns were captured by the Sicilians. For two years more the fighting continued with varying success, until Charles of Valois, sent by Boniface to invade Sicily, was forced to sue for peace, his army being decimated by the plague.
In August 1302 the Treaty of Caltabellotta was signed, by which Frederick was recognized king of Trinacria for his lifetime, was to marry Eleanor of Anjou, daughter of Charles II of Naples and Maria Arpad of Hungary. At Frederick's death, the kingdom was to revert to the Angevins and Frederick's children would receive compensation elsewhere. Boniface tried to induce King Charles to break the treaty, but the latter was only too anxious for peace. In May 1303, the pope ratified the treaty, albeit with changes and additions, which included Frederick agreeing to pay him a tribute. For a few years Sicily enjoyed peace, the kingdom was reorganized. However, on the descent of the emperor Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor into Italy, Frederick entered into an alliance with him, in violation of the pact of Caltabellotta made war on the Angevins again and captured Reggio, he set sail for Tuscany to cooperate with the emperor, but on the latter’s death he returned to Sicily. R
James II of Majorca
James II was King of Majorca and Lord of Montpellier from 1276 until his death. He was the second son of James I of Aragon and his wife, daughter of Andrew II of Hungary. In 1279, by the Treaty of Perpignan, he became a vassal of the Crown of Aragon. James inherited from his father a realm including three of the Balearic Islands, the counties of Roussillon and Cerdanya, the dominion of Montpellier, the barony of Aumelàs, the viscounty of Carladès, he gained tribute from the fourth Balearic island, which remained under Muslim control throughout his life. He ruled as a vassal of his brother Peter III of Aragon, a subordinate status which he sought to escape. In the Aragonese Crusade, James allied with Pope Martin IV and king Philip III of France against his brother, but was defeated in the Battle of Les Formigues in 1285, his nephew Alfonso III of Aragon annexed the Balearic Islands to Aragon in the conquest, but they were returned by the Treaty of Anagni in 1295. Following this reversion, James made an effort to improve the viability of the kingdom on the domestic front.
He devoted himself to running his kingdom by reforming urbanism, establishing agricultural policy, emphasising defense, reforming the economy. He implemented a vast policy of agricultural colonisation with the creation of rural centres; the opening of criminal proceedings against the Knights Templar and their suppression would allow the seizure of the tithes of the Templars on the islands. James wed Esclaramunda of Foix in 1275 through a marriage arranged by his own initiative and not that of his father's. Esclaramunda was a daughter of Roger IV of Foix, they had six children including: James. Sancho, James II's successor Sancha, who married Robert of Naples. Elizabeth, wife of Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena. Ferdinand, father of James III. Philip, regent of Majorca during James III's minorityHe had an illegitimate daughter: Saura, who married Berengeur de Villaragut, they had Violante of Vilaragut. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "James II. of Majorca".
Encyclopædia Britannica. 15. Cambridge University Press. P. 142
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The four largest islands are Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera. Many minor islands and islets are close to the larger islands, including Cabrera, S'Espalmador; the islands have a Mediterranean climate, the four major islands are all popular tourist destinations. Ibiza, in particular, is known as an international party destination, attracting many of the world's most popular DJs to its nightclubs; the islands' culture and cuisine are similar to those of the rest of Spain but have their own distinctive features. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain, with Palma de Mallorca as the capital; the 2007 Statute of Autonomy declares the Balearic Islands as one nationality of Spain. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Spanish; the official name of the Balearic Islands in Catalan is Illes Balears, while in Spanish, they are known as the Islas Baleares.
The term "Balearic" derives from Greek. In Latin, it is Baleares. Of the various theories on the origins of the two ancient Greek and Latin names for the islands—Gymnasiae and Baleares—classical sources provide two. According to the Lycophron's Alexandra verses, the islands were called Γυμνησίαι/Gymnesiae because its inhabitants were nude because of the year-round benevolent climate; the Greek and Roman writers derive the name of the people from their skill as slingers, although Strabo regards the name as of Phoenician origin. He observed it was the Phoenician equivalent for armoured soldiers the Greeks would have called γυμνῆτας/gymnetas; the root bal does point to a Phoenician origin. Indeed, it was usual Greek practice to assimilate local names into their own language, but the common Greek name of the islands is not Γυμνησίαι/Gymnesiai. The former was the name used by the natives, as well as by the Carthaginians and Romans, while the latter derives from the light equipment of the Balearic troops γυμνῆται/gymnetae.
The Balearic Islands are on a raised platform called the Balearic Promontory, were formed by uplift. They are cut by a network of northwest to southeast faults; the main islands of the autonomous community are Majorca, Menorca/Minorca and Formentera, all popular tourist destinations. Amongst the minor islands is Cabrera, the location of the Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park; the islands can be further grouped, with Majorca and Cabrera as the Gymnesian Islands, Ibiza and Formentera as the Pityusic Islands referred to as the Pityuses. Many minor islands or islets are close to the biggest islands, such as Es Conills, Es Vedrà, Sa Conillera, Dragonera, S'Espalmador, S'Espardell, Ses Bledes, Santa Eulària, Foradada, Tagomago, Na Redona, Colom, L'Aire, etc; the Balearic Front is a sea density regime north of the Balearic Islands on the shelf slope of the Balearic Islands, responsible for some of the surface-flow characteristics of the Balearic Sea. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the Balearic Islands unsurprisingly have typical Mediterranean climates.
The below-listed climatic data of the capital Palma are typical for the archipelago, with minor differences to other stations in Majorca and Menorca. Little is recorded on the earliest inhabitants of the islands; the story, preserved by Lycophron, that certain shipwrecked Greek Boeotians were cast nude on the islands, was evidently invented to account for the name Gymnesiae. A tradition holds that the islands were colonised by Rhodes after the Trojan War; the islands had a mixed population, of whose habits several strange stories are told. In some stories, the people were said to go naked or were clad only in sheepskins—whence the name of the islands —until the Phoenicians clothed them with broad-bordered tunics. In other stories, they were naked only in the heat of summer. Other legends allow that the inhabitants lived in hollow rocks and artificial caves, that they were remarkable for their love of women and would give three or four men as the ransom for one woman, that they had no gold or silver coin, forbade the importation of the precious metals, so that those of them who served as mercenaries took their pay in wine and women instead of money.
Their marriage and funeral customs, peculiar to Roman observers, are related by Diodorus Siculus. In ancient times, the islanders of the Gymnesian Islands constructed talayots, were famous for their skill with the sling; as slingers, they served as mercenaries, first under the Carthaginians, afterwards under the Romans. They went into battle ungirt, with only a small buckler, a javelin burnt at the end, in some cases tipped with a small iron point; the three slings were for stones of different sizes.
John of Aragon (patriarch)
John of Aragon was a prince of Aragon. He was the son of his second wife Blanche of Anjou, he was archbishop of Toledo from 1319 until 1328. He became archbishop of Tarragona in 1327 and Latin Patriarch of Alexandria in 1328, holding both posts until his death. Https://web.archive.org/web/20150924055242/http://www.grec.cat/cgibin/heccl2.pgm? NDCHEC=0034645