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Lucera

LUCERA, a town and episcopal see of Apulia, Italy, 12! m. W.N.W. by rail of Foggia. Pop. (1901) 16,962. It is situated upon a lofty plateau, the highest point of which (823 ft.), projecting to the W., was the ancient citadel, and is occupied by the well-preserved castle erected by Frederick II., and rebuilt by Pierre d'Angicourt about 1280. The cathedral, originally Romanesque, but restored after 1300 is in the Gothic style; the fafade is good, and so is the ciborium. The interior was restored in 1882. The town occupies the site of the ancient Luceria, the key of the whole country. According to tradition the temple of Minerva, founded by Diomede, contained the Trojan Palladium, and the town struck numerous bronze coins; but in history it is first heard of as on the Roman side in the Samnite Wars (321 B.C.), and in 315 or 314 B.C. a Latin colony was sent here. It is mentioned in subsequent military history, and its position on the road from Beneventum, via Aecae (mod. Troja) to Sipontum, gave it some importance. Its wool was also renowned. It now contains no ancient remains above ground, though several mosaic pavements have been found and there are traces of the foundations of an amphitheatre outside the town on the E. The town-hall contains a statue of Venus, a mosaic and some inscriptions (but cf. Th. Mommsen's remarks on the local neglect of antiquities in Corp. Inscr. Lot. ix. 75). In 663 it was destroyed by Constans II., and was only restored in 1223 by Frederick II., who transported 20,000 Saracens hither from Sicily. They were at first allowed religious freedom, but became Christians under compulsion in 1300. Up to 1806 Lucera was the capital of the provinces of Basilicata and Molise. (T. As.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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