Saverio Mercidante, an Italian composer, born in Altamura in 1797, died in Naples, Dec. 18, 1870. At the age of 12 he entered the royal college of music at Naples, and studied the violin and flute, but soon devoted himself to the study of dramatic art and to composing for the voice. In 1818 a cantata of his composition was performed at the theatre Del Fon-do, and for 25 years he wrote opera after opera with great rapidity, many of them meeting with no success. In 1833 he became chapelmaster at the cathedral of Novara. In 1830 his opera I Brigand was brought out at Paris, but failed even with such great singers as Rubini, Tambu-rini, Lablache, and Grisi. In 1840 he became director of the royal conservatory at Naples, but his sight failed him, so that in 1802 he became completely blind, and was obliged to dictate whatever he composed. Of his 40 odd operas II giuramento is now best known.
Savona, a fortified city of Italy, in the province, on the W. side of the gulf, and 23 m. S. W. of the city of Genoa; pop. in 1872, 24,-851. It is very antique, has a large trade in silk, wine, and fruit, manufactures paper, cloth, firearms, soap, and glass, and is famous for its pottery. It has a cathedral dating from 1604, with fine wood carvings from an older one, a citadel, an arsenal, a naval school, a seminary, and a college. The port was filled up with hulks and stones by the Genoese in 1525-'8, but has been partly cleared out, and the work is still in progress (1875).
Saxo, surnamed Grammaticus, a Danish historian, died about 1204. According to the common opinion he was provost of the cathedral of Röskilde, then the Danish capital, and was employed by Archbishop Absalon to write a history of Denmark. For times near his own, Saxo is an unexceptionable witness; but in describing remote periods he drew from popular tradition. His Historia Begum Hero-unique Danorum was first printed in Paris (fol., 1514). A learned commentary on it has been written by Stephens (fol., Sorö, 1644).
Scala (Lat. Scaligeri), an Italian family whose power in Verona was established in 1260 by Mastino I. della Scala, who was assassinated in 1279, and whose most celebrated successor was Cangrande, the friend of Dante. (See Cane I. della Scala.) After receiving in fief from the emperor Henry VII. Verona, which they greatly embellished, and other important cities, their power was extended under Cangrande's successors, the joint rulers Alberto II. and Mastino II., as far as Lucca; but they became involved in war with Venice and Florence. The power of the Scalas greatly declined after Mastino's death in 1351, and still more under Cangrande II. and other worthless rulers, and it was finally overthrown in 1387 by Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti.