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Barletta

Barletta is a city and comune located in the north of Apulia in south eastern Italy. Its current population is around 94,000.Barletta is famous for the Colossus of Barletta, a bronze statue, representing a Roman Emperor (perhaps Theodosius II). This statue, called "Eraclio" by the inhabitants of Barletta, about 4 meters tall, is the biggest statue from the late Roman Empire (i.e. the Roman Empire after Constantine). According to a local folk story, Eraclio saved the city from a Saracen attack. Seeing the Saracen ships approaching Barletta's coast, Eraclio waited for them on the sea shore. Here Eraclio acted as if he was crying so the Saracens asked him why he was sad and Eraclio answered that he was sad because he was the smallest among Barletta's inhabitants and so everybody made fun of him. The Saracens thought that Barletta's inhabitants were all giants so left the coast, fearing to face them.In 1503 Barletta was the location of the disfida di Barletta ("Joust of Barletta"), a battle during which 13 Italian knights commanded by Ettore Fieramosca challenged and defeated an equal number of French knights who were at the time prisoners of war, in a joust held near Andria. This episode was documented in 1833 by Massimo d'Azeglio, who wrote the novel "Ettore Fieramosca o la Disfida di Barletta". In the book the author regards this episode as one of the earliest manifestations of Italian national pride.The city at the time was fairly loosely besieged by French forces, and occupied by a Spanish army under the command of Gonzalo de Cordoba the 'Gran Capitan'.
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