1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cosenza
COSENZA (anc. Consentia), a town and archiepiscopal see of Calabria, Italy, the capital of the province of Cosenza, 755 ft. above sea-level, 43 m. by rail S. by W. of Sibari, which is a station on the E. coast railway between Metaponto and Reggio. Pop. (1901) town, 13,841; commune, 20,857. It is situated on the slope of a hill between the Crati and Busento, just above the junction, and is commanded by a castle (1250 ft.). The Gothic cathedral, consecrated in 1222, on the site of another ruined by an earthquake in 1184, goes back to French models in Champagne, and is indeed unique in Italy. It contains the Gothic tomb of Isabella of Aragon, wife of Philip III. of France, and also the tomb of Louis III., duke of Anjou; but it has been spoilt by restoration both inside and out. S. Domenico has a fine rose window. The Palazzo del Tribunale (law courts) is a fine building, and the upper town contains several good houses of rich proprietors of the province; while the lower portion is unhealthy. Earthquakes, and a fire in 1901, have done considerable damage to the town.
The ancient Consentia is first named as the burial place of Alexander of Epirus in about 330 B.C. In 204 it became Roman, though it was more under the influence of Greek culture. It is mentioned by Strabo as the chief town of the Bruttii, and frequently spoken of in classical authors as an important place. It lay on the Via Popillia. Varro speaks of its apple trees which gave fruit twice in the year and Pliny praises its wine also. It is the more surprising that in the whole of its territory no inscriptions, either Greek or Latin, have ever been found, those that are recorded by some writers being fabrications. in A.D. 410 Alaric fell in battle here and was buried, it is said, in the bed of the Busento, which was temporarily diverted and then allowed to resume its natural course. Cosenza became an archbishopric in the 11th century. In 1461 it was taken by Roberto Orsini, and suffered severely. It was the home of a scientific academy founded by the philosopher Bernardino Telesio (1509–1588). In 1555–1561 it was the centre of the persecution by the Inquisition of the Waldenses who had settled there towards the end of the 14th century. (T. As.)