The Sicilian Vespers Italian: Vespri siciliani ; Sicilian: Vespiri siciliani was a successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out at Easter against the rule of the French-born king Charles Iwho had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since Within six weeks, three thousand French men and women were slain by the rebels, and the government of King Charles lost control of the island. It was the beginning of the War of the Sicilian Vespers. The rising had its origin in the struggle of investiture between the Pope and the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperors for control over Italyespecially the Church's private demesne known as the Papal States.
These lay between Hohenstaufen lands in northern Italy Battaglia di montaperti yahoo dating the Hohenstaufen Kingdom of Sicily in the south; the Hohenstaufen also at the time ruled Germany.
A period of turmoil followed Conrad's death inand the Kingdom of Sicily was seized by Manfred, King of SicilyFrederick's illegitimate son, who reigned from to Manfred had no involvement in German politics, where the interregnum lasted longer and there was no emperor until He first styled himself as vicar of his nephew ConradinConrad's son.
He wished for a reconciliation with the papacy, which may have explained his support for the landless Baldwin II, Latin Emperor.
In Conradin, who had meanwhile come of age, invaded Italy to press his claim to the throne, but he was defeated at the Battle of Tagliacozzo and executed afterwards. Charles was now undisputed master of the Kingdom of Sicily. Charles regarded his Sicilian territories as a springboard for his Mediterranean ambitions, which included the overthrow of Michael VIII Palaiologos of the Byzantine Empireand the capture of Constantinoplethen the richest city in the western world.
As Steven Battaglia di montaperti yahoo dating put it, "[The Sicilians] saw themselves now being ruled to enable an alien tyrant make conquests from which they would have no benefit" . The unrest was also fomented by Byzantine agents to thwart Charles's projected invasion, and by King Peter III of AragonManfred's son-in-law, who saw Battaglia di montaperti yahoo dating wife Constance as rightful heir to the Sicilian throne.
The event takes its name from an insurrection which began at the start of Vespersthe sunset prayer marking the beginning of the night vigil on Easter Monday, 30 Marchat the Church of the Holy Spirit just outside Palermo. The events that started the uprising are not known for certain, but the various retellings have common elements.
According to Steven Runcimanthe Sicilians at the church were engaged in holiday festivities and a group of French officials came by to join in and began to drink.
A sergeant named Drouet dragged a young married woman from the crowd, pestering her with his advances. Her husband then attacked Drouet with a knife, killing him. When the other Frenchmen tried to avenge their comrade, the Sicilian crowd fell upon them, killing them all.
At that moment all the church bells in Palermo began to ring for Vespers. Runciman describes the mood of the night:. To the sound of the bells messengers ran through the city calling on the men of Palermo to rise against the oppressor. At once the streets were filled with angry armed men, crying "Death to the French" " moranu li Francisi Battaglia di montaperti yahoo dating in Sicilian language.
Every Frenchman they met was struck down. They poured into the inns frequented by the French and the houses where they dwelt, sparing neither man, woman nor child. Sicilian girls who had married Frenchmen perished with their husbands. The rioters broke into the Dominican and Franciscan convents; and all the foreign friars were dragged out and told to pronounce the word "ciciri", whose sound the French tongue could never accurately reproduce. Anyone who failed Battaglia di montaperti yahoo dating test was slain… By the next morning some two thousand French men and women lay dead; and the rebels were in complete control of the city.
According to Leonardo Brunithe Palermitans were holding a festival outside the city when the French came up to check for weapons, and on that pretext began to fondle the breasts of their women. This then began a riot.
The French were attacked, first with rocks, then weapons, and all were killed. The news spread to other cities leading to revolt throughout Sicily.
There is also a third version of the events that is quite close to Runciman's, varying only in the minor details. This story is part of the oral tradition on the island up to the present time. This oral tradition cannot be verified, but is of interest to sociologists. All three were later excommunicated by Pope Martin IV in After leaders were elected in Palermo, messengers spread word Battaglia di montaperti yahoo dating the island for the rebels to strike before the French had time to organise resistance.
In a fortnight the rebels gained control over most of the island, and within six weeks it was all under rebel control, except for Messina which was well fortified, and whose leading family, the Riso, remained faithful to Charles. Charles' Vicar Herbert and his family were safely within Battaglia di montaperti yahoo dating Mategriffonbut after negotiations the rebels granted Herbert and his family safe conduct to leave the island upon a promise that they never return.
After the restoration of order in the city, the townsmen announced themselves a free commune answerable only to the pope. They elected leaders, one of whom was Bartholomaeus of Neocastro who was prominent the unfolding events and would later chronicle much of the revolt in Historia Siculaan important if sometimes contradictory source of information for historians. Again significantly, the leaders' next act was to send word, via a Genoese merchant named Alafranco Cassano, to the Emperor Michael advising him that his nemesis Charles had been crippled.
The islanders were hoping for status such as enjoyed by VeniceGenoa, Pisa and other cities, free to form their own government, but morally answerable only to the pope who would hold a vague and unstable suzerainty. Charles' island officials were far Battaglia di montaperti yahoo dating from his oversight; he did not see the avarice, the rape, theft and murder, nor did he see the high taxes levied against the meager possessions of the peasants, which kept them impoverished, but made no improvement in their lives.
When the pope asked why he needed such a great war fleet, Peter stated that it would be used against the followers of Islam along the northern coast of Africa, because he had legitimate trade interests there and needed to protect them.
So when Peter received a request for help from the Sicilians he was conveniently on the north coast of Africa in Tunisjust miles across the sea from the island. At first, Peter feigned indifference to the request of the Sicilians and their plight, but after several days to allow a proper showing of deference made for the pope's consumption, he took advantage of the revolt. Peter ordered his fleet to sail for Sicily, landed at Trapani on 30 August While he marched towards Palermo, his fleet followed close by the coastal road.
However, after Pope Martin made plain his orders for the populace to accept Charles, Peter promised the islanders that they would enjoy the ancient privileges they had had under the Norman king, William II of Sicily.
Thereafter, he was accepted as a satisfactory second choice and was crowned by acclamation of the people at the cathedral in Palermo on September 4, thus becoming also Peter I of Sicily. With the pope's blessing, the counterattack from Charles was not long in coming; "Battaglia di montaperti yahoo dating" fleet from the Kingdom of Naples arrived and blockaded the port of Messina and made several attempts to land troops on the island, but all were repulsed.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. War of the Sicilian Vespers. Wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines.