Canosa (Bari) is one of the most important archeological centers in Apulia, and in southern Italy. The importance of this town, which had already emerged in the pre-Roman age when Canosa was one of the wealthiest and most powerful settlements in the Daunia region, was further strengthened during Roman times. It reached a peak in the 6th–8th century A.D., when the town became the seat of the governors and the regional capital of the provincia Apulia et Calabria. The town very soon became a leading religious center, too, thanks to the presence of a large Christian community led by powerful bishops, who were frequently called to attend important religious councils and were involved in diplomatic missions. The greatest splendor of the Canosa church was in the middle of the 6th century, at the time of the famous bishop Sabino, who was held traditionally to have presided over the diocese for over 50 years (514–566), and who commissioned an intensive program of construction of holy buildings. The Paleo-Christian settlement attributed great importance to the cemetery, which features tombs of various types in which one or more bodies were buried, generally without funerary accoutrements. Nevertheless, they were clearly people of rank, including an anonymous defensor (civitatis or ecclesiae) and a certain Georgius parbulus; the inscription in his name found in the hall confirms that the cemetery was fully in use already in the 7th century. Finally, the southern area of the quarter was occupied by craftsmen, as demonstrated by at least two furnaces for the production of building materials and of ceramics. The building compounds identified up to now were devoted to many different functions of a liturgical, pastoral, funerary, administrative and residential type, typical of an important Paleo-Christian settlement like the town of Canosa.
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