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CATANZARO—CATAPULT

of many other Roman buildings also exist beneath the modern town, among the best preserved of which may be noted the public baths (Thermae Achilleae) under the cathedral, and those under the church of S. Maria dell’ Indirizzo. The number of baths is remarkable, and gives some idea of the luxury of the place in Roman times. Their excellent preservation is accounted for by their burial under the lava. The majority were excavated by Prince Ignazio Biscari (1719–1786), who formed an important private collection of antiquities. Of the ancient city walls no authenticated remains exist.

Catania has a considerable export trade in sulphur, pumice stone, asphalt, oranges and lemons, almonds, filberts, cereals, wine (the total production of wine in the province amounted to 28,600,000 gallons in 1905) and oil. The total value of exports in 1905 was £1,647,075, and of imports £1,326,055, the latter including notably coal, almost entirely from the United Kingdom, and wheat, from Russian ports. The harbour is a good one, and has been considerably enlarged since 1872; £128,000 was voted in 1905 towards the completion of the harbour works by the Italian government. Sulphide of carbon is produced here; and there are large dyeworks, and a factory for making bed-stuffing from seaweed.

The ancient Catina was founded in 729 B.C. by colonists from Naxos, perhaps on the site of an earlier Sicel settlement—the name is entirely un-Greek, and may be derived from κάτινον, which in the Sicel language, as catinum in Latin, meant a basin, and would thus be descriptive of the situation of the town. Charondas, a citizen of Catina, is famous as its lawgiver, but his date and his birthplace are alike uncertain; the fragments preserved of his laws show that they belong to a somewhat primitive period. The poet Stesichorus of Himera died here. Very little is heard of Catina in history until 476 B.C., when Hiero I. removed its inhabitants to Leontini, repeopled it with 5000 Syracusans and 5000 Peloponnesians, and changed its name to Aetna. In 461 B.C., however, with the help of Ducetius and the Syracusans, the former inhabitants recovered possession of their city and revived the old name. Catina was, however, an ally of Athens during the Syracusan expedition (415–413 B.C.), and served as the Athenian base of operations in the early part of the war. In 403 B.C. it was taken by Dionysius of Syracuse, who plundered the city, sold the inhabitants into slavery and replaced them with Campanian mercenaries. In the First Punic War it was one of the first cities of Sicily to be taken by the Romans (263 B.C.). Marcellus constructed a gymnasium here out of the booty of Syracuse. In 123 B.C. there was an eruption of Etna so violent that the tithe on the territory of Catina payable to Rome was remitted for ten years. It appears to have been a flourishing city in the ist century B.C., but to have suffered from the ravages of Sextus Pompeius. It became a Roman colonia under Augustus, and it is from this period that the fertile plain, hitherto called the plain of Leontini, begins to be called the plain of Catina. It seems to have been at this time the most important city in the island, to judge from the language of Strabo and the number of inscriptions found there. In A.D. 251 a lava stream threatened the town and entered the amphitheatre, which in the time of Theodoric had fallen into ruins, as is clear from the fact that he permitted the use of its fallen stones to build the city wall. It was recovered by Belisarius in 535, sacked by the Saracens in 902 and taken by the Normans. The latter founded the cathedral; but the town was almost entirely destroyed by earthquake in 1170, and devastated by Henry VI. in 1197. It became the usual residence of the Aragonese viceroys of the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1669 an eruption of Etna partly filled up the harbour, but spared the town, which was, however, almost entirely destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Since that catastrophe it has been rebuilt, and has not further suffered from its proximity to Etna.

See A. Holm, Das alte Catania (Lübeck, 1873).  (T. As.) 


CATANZARO, a town and episcopal see of Calabria, Italy, capital of the province of Catanzaro, 1125 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901) 22,799 (town); 32,005 (commune). The station for the town (Catanzaro Sala) is situated on a branch line connecting the two main lines along the east and west coasts of Calabria, 6 m. N. by W. of Catanzaro Marina on the east coast, and 20 m. E. of S. Eufemia Biforcazione, on the west coast line. The town enjoys a comparatively cool climate in summer, and commands fine views. Numerous wealthy families reside here, and the town has a trade in olive-oil, silk and velvet. The castle, built by Robert Guiscard, has been modernized, and so has the cathedral. The see was founded in 1121. The provincial museum contains antiquities and especially coins from the ancient cities of Magna Graecia, and a few pictures.


CATAPHYLL (Gr. κατά, down, φύλλον, leaf), a botanical term for the early leaf-forms produced in the lower part of a shoot, such as bud-scales, or scales on underground stems.


CATAPULT (Lat. catapulta, Gr. καταπέλτης) a generic name for warlike engines of the cross-bow type used by the ancients. Although engines of war appear on Assyrian remains, and are mentioned in 2 Chronicles xxvi. 15, it appears that Greek armies, even of the 5th century, did not possess them, and the first record of a large siege train in classical literature is of the year 399 B.C., when Dionysius I. of Syracuse, contemplating an expedition against Carthage, provided himself with engines. From Sicily siege engines found their way some years later into Greece; they were used by Philip of Macedon at the siege of Byzantium in 340, and thereafter, as a natural consequence of the regularizing or professionalizing of armies, artillery, as we may call it, came into prominence and called into existence technical corps to work it.

EB1911 Catapult.jpg

The war engines of the Romans, during the republic and early principate, are of the same type as those of Alexander’s successors in Greece. They are usually classed as (a) catapults and (b) ballistae (λιθοβόλοι). The former were smaller and were used with arrows for what is now called direct fire (i.e. at low angles of elevation); the latter were large siege engines discharging heavy bolts or stones at a high angle of elevation, like the modern howitzer. They were, of course, principally siege engines, but the smaller natures of catapult appear in field warfare from time to time, and eventually, during the early principate, they are found as part of the regulation equipment of infantry units. Both were constructed on the same principle.

The essential parts of the catapult (see illustration) were the frame, the propelling gear, the trough (corresponding to the modern barrel) and the pedestal. The frame consisted of two horizontal beams forming top and bottom sills, and four strong upright bars mortised into them. The three open spaces or compartments, resembling narrow windows, between these four uprights carried the propelling and laying gear. The propelling gear occupied the two outer “windows.” In each a thick skein of cord or sinews was fastened to the top and bottom sills and tightly twisted. Two stiff wooden arms were inserted in the two skeins, and a specially strong bowstring joined the tips of these arms. In the middle compartment was the hinged fore-end of the trough, which was at right angles to the frame and at the back of it. The trough could be laid for elevation by a movable prop, the upper end of which was hinged to the trough, while the lower ran up and down a sort of trail fastened to the pedestal. The whole equipment was laid for “line” by turning the frame, and with it the trough, prop and trail by a pivot in the head of the pedestal. Sliding up and down in the trough was a block, fitted with a trigger mechanism, through which passed the middle of the bowstring. The pedestal was a strong and solid upright resting upon, and strutted to, a framework on the ground; its upper end, as mentioned above, took the pivot of the frame and the head of the trail.