Busa of Canosa di Puglia

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Ancient map of Canosa

Paulina Busa was an Apulian woman of Canasoa of noble blood. Paulina was her given name and Busa was used as a family name.


When Hannibal was ravishing the countryside of southern Italy and laying to waste everything in his path he came upon an Apulian village of Cannae in 216 BC. He obliterated most of the Italian forces there. There were about 10,000 men that escaped Hannibal's bloodbath by secretly leaving the area by backroads at night. The fugitives that arrived in Canasoa were destitute. They had no food, clothing, medical supplies, or even any military weapons. Paulina Busa came to the rescue and provided these soldiers with what was needed by receiving them into her house. She obtained doctors and medical supplies and took care of the wounded. It is recorded in history that her deeds were on par with the generosity of Alexander the Great. There is to this day a house of Punic ruins in the Roman city center of Canasoa that is known to the locals as that belonging to Paulina Busa, the noblewoman that helped the Italian soldiers.


Further reading[edit]

  • Livy Ab urbe condita libri XXII.52
  • Valerius Maximus, Factorum at dictorum memorabilium libri IV.8.2
  • Virginia Brown's translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Famous Women, pp 140 – 142; Harvard University Press, 2001; ISBN 0-674-01130-9