Sicilian Vespers
Sicilian Vespers
The traditional name given to the insurrection which broke out at Palermo on Easter Tuesday, 31 March, 1282, against the domination of Charles of Anjou

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Sicilian Vespers
    Sicilian Vespers
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Sicilian Vespers
    The traditional name given to the insurrection which broke out at Palermo on Easter Tuesday, 31 March, 1282, against the domination of Charles of Anjou. It was only in the fifteenth century, during the excitement aroused by the passing of Charles VIII (Nov., 1494), that the expression "Sicilian Vespers" and the legend of the Easter bells calling the insurgents to arms seem to have originated. Charles of Anjou, Count of Provence and brother of St. Louis, had received from Urban IV the crown of the Two Sicilies which had been taken from the Hohenstaufens. Having defeated Manfred in 1256, he established his authority by force, and cruelly repressed the Ghibelline revolt led by Conradin in 1268, in consequence of which 130 barons were condemned to death. As undisputed master of the Two Sicilies, he resumed the ambitious designs of his predecessors, the Norman and Hohenstaufen kings, and sought to establish his dominion in the Mediterranean. In 1281 he was on the point of attaining his object; in 1277 he had purchased the rights of Mary of Antioch to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, he was the protector of the Kingdom of Armenia, the Emir of Tunis was paying him tribute, and his soldiers occupied a portion of the Morea. Finally, at his instance Pope Martin IV had excommunicated the Emperor Palæologus. Then, concluding a treaty which assured him the assistance of the Venetian fleet (3 July, 1281), Charles was organizing a formidable crusade for the conquest of Constantinople, when the revolt of 31 March, 1282, obliged him to direct his arms against Sicily and save the Byzantine Empire.
    It was long held on the authority of Giovanni Villani (d. 1348) that this revolt was the result of a plot between Michael Palæologus, Pedro III, and the Sicilian barons, whose active agent was a gentleman of Salerno, Giovanni da Procida. In a famous book, "La Guerra del Vespero Siciliano", the first edition of which appeared at Palermo in 1842, the Sicilian patriot Amari endeavoured to show that the insurrection of 1282 was a wholly spontaneous popular movement due to the oppressive administration and fiscal tyranny of Charles of Anjou. The legend of Giovanni de Procida did not appear until the fourteenth century, in works such as the "Ribellamentu di Sicilia" (Biblioth. Script. Aragon., I, 241-74), or in a letter of King Robert of Naples (1314). Contemporary historians [Saba Malaspina, Dean of Malta ("Rerum sicularum historia", ed. Muratori, "SS. Rer. Ital.", VIII, 785-874), who wrote about 1285; Bartolommeo de Neocastro, author of an "Historia Sicula" (ed. Muratori, "SS. Rer. Ital.", XIII, 1013-1196)] speak only of a popular outbreak of fury consequent upon injuries and annoyances of all kinds inflicted on the people by French barons and the officers of Charles of Anjou. A search of the State archives of Naples and Barcelona has led to the same conclusion.
    What is certain is that on 31 March the insurrection broke out, amid cries of "Death to the French", after vexatious searches had been carried on by the command of the Governor of Palermo, who wished to deprive the inhabitants of the right of bearing arms. Within a few weeks the revolt spread over the entire island and more than 8000 French were massacred. The towns of Sicily formed a sort of federal republic and placed themselves under the protection of the Holy See. It was only when Charles of Anjou appeared before Messina with all his troops that the Sicilian nobles called to their aid King Pedro III of Aragon, and the other towns only approved this action when it seemed to them impossible to resist Charles of Anjou.
    Amari's theory, though fundamentally correct, is too sweeping. The popular and spontaneous nature of the uprising of 1282 is an indisputable fact, but on the other hand the negotiations between Michael Palæologus and Pedro of Aragon unquestionably took place. In these Giovanni da Procida played a part which it is impossible to define precisely, and possibly certain of the Sicilian nobles were aware of this intrigue. There was at least a coincidence between the coalition against Charles of Anjou and the popular insurrection of the Sicilian Vespers. The results of this revolt were considerable, as it proved the death blow to all the projects for the domination of the East formed by Charles of Anjou. The crusade against Constantinople did not take place, and Charles of Anjou began the long and fruitless warfare against the House of Aragon, which exhausted his resources without obtaining Sicily. A compromise between the rival dynasties was only effected in 1302.
    LOUIS BRÉHIER
    Transcribed by Elizabeth T. Knuth

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sicilian Vespers — Part of War of the Sicilian Vespers Sicilian Vespers (1846), by Francesco Hayez …   Wikipedia

  • Sicilian vespers — Sicilian Si*cil i*an, a. Of or pertaining to Sicily or its inhabitants. [1913 Webster] {Sicilian vespers}, the great massacre of the French in Sicily, in the year 1282, on the evening of Easter Monday, at the hour of vespers. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sicilian vespers — Vespers Ves pers, n. pl. [OF. vespres, F. v[^e]pres, LL. vesperae, fr. L. vespera evening. See {Vesper}, n.] (R. C. Ch.) (a) One of the little hours of the Breviary. (b) The evening song or service. [1913 Webster] {Sicilian vespers}. See under… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sicilian Vespers — a general massacre of the French in Sicily by the local population, begun at the sound of the vesper bell on Easter Monday, 1282. * * * (1282) Massacre of the French that began a Sicilian revolt against the Angevin king Charles I. Backed by Peter …   Universalium

  • SICILIAN VESPERS —    name given to a massacre of the French in Sicily at the hour of vespers on the eve of Easter Monday in 1282, the signal for the commencement being the first stroke of the vesper bell; the massacre included men and women and children to the… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Sicilian Vespers —    The uprising in Sicily (q.v.) in March 1282 that thwarted Charles I of Anjou s (q.v.) planned attack on Constantinople (q.v.). Charles s fleet at Messina (q.v.) was destroyed, and with the arrival of Peter III of Aragon (son in law of Manfred… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Sicilian Vespers — /səˌsɪliən ˈvɛspəz/ (say suh.sileeuhn vespuhz) noun a general massacre of the French in Sicily by the Sicilians, begun at the sound of the vesper bell on Easter Monday, 1282 …   Australian English dictionary

  • Sicilian Vespers — a general massacre of the French in Sicily by the local population, begun at the sound of the vesper bell on Easter Monday, 1282 …   Useful english dictionary

  • War of the Sicilian Vespers — Infobox Military Conflict conflict= War of the Sicilian Vespers caption= Sicilian Vespers (1846), by Francesco Hayez. date= 1282 ndash; 1302 place= The Mediterranean; primarily Sicily, the Mezzogiorno, Aragon, and Catalonia result= Division of… …   Wikipedia

  • Vespers — Ves pers, n. pl. [OF. vespres, F. v[^e]pres, LL. vesperae, fr. L. vespera evening. See {Vesper}, n.] (R. C. Ch.) (a) One of the little hours of the Breviary. (b) The evening song or service. [1913 Webster] {Sicilian vespers}. See under {Sicilian} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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