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Sicilian Vespers,in Italian history, name given the rebellion staged by the Sicilians against the Angevin French domination of Sicily; the rebellion broke out at Palermo at the start of Vespers on Easter Monday, Mar. 30, 1282. The revolt quickly spread over the island; nearly all the French in Sicily were massacred. Although basically a move for Sicilian independence, the insurrection was instigated as part of a widespread conspiracy against the Angevin ruler of Naples and Sicily, King Charles ICharles I
(Charles of Anjou), 1227–85, king of Naples and Sicily (1266–85), count of Anjou and Provence, youngest brother of King Louis IX of France. He took part in Louis's crusades to Egypt (1248) and Tunisia (1270).
..... Click the link for more information. , who dreamed of establishing an Angevin empire in the East. Byzantine Emperor Michael VIIIMichael VIII
(Michael Palaeologus), c.1225–1282, Byzantine emperor (1261–82), first of the Palaeologus dynasty. Following the murder of the regent for Emperor John IV of Nicaea, he was appointed (1258) regent and, soon afterward (1259), coemperor.
..... Click the link for more information. financed the plot, hoping to preoccupy Charles and thus avert the Angevin's imminent invasion of the Byzantine Empire. John of ProcidaJohn of Procida
, c.1225–c.1302, Italian conspirator, lord of the island of Procida. He was an ardent supporter of the Hohenstaufen cause in Sicily and attempted to secure the island for Manfred and Conradin against the claims of Charles of Anjou, who was given Sicily by
..... Click the link for more information. , a loyal supporter of the Hohenstaufen, and King Peter IIIPeter III
(Peter the Great), 1239?–1285, king of Aragón and count of Barcelona (1276–85) and king of Sicily (1282–85); son and successor of James I. In 1280 he established Aragonese influence on the northern shores of Africa.
..... Click the link for more information. of Aragón, who claimed rule of the island as the husband of Constance, heiress of the Hohenstaufen claim there, also joined the intrigue. Peter accepted the throne offered by the Sicilians, and a 20-year war for possession of Sicily followed between the Angevin kings of Naples and the Aragonese kings of Sicily. The rising secured Sicilian independence for more than a century, with the house of Aragón keeping Sicily and the Angevin dynasty holding the S Italian mainland kingdom of Naples. The two territories were finally reunited (1442) under Alfonso V of Aragón.
See study by S. Runciman (1958).
Vespers, Sicilian:see Sicilian VespersSicilian Vespers,
in Italian history, name given the rebellion staged by the Sicilians against the Angevin French domination of Sicily; the rebellion broke out at Palermo at the start of Vespers on Easter Monday, Mar. 30, 1282.
..... Click the link for more information. .
a popular uprising that flared up in Sicily in 1282 against Charles I (Charles d’Anjou), who had subjugated the Kingdom of Sicily in 1268. The cause of the uprising was the final enslavement of the peasants, resulting from Charles I’s extensive distribution of lands and privileges to the French feudal lords. Other motives were excessive taxation, acts of violence by French knights, the abuses of officials, and the transference of the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily from Palermo to Naples.
The immediate cause of the uprising was the disrespect shown to a Sicilian woman by some French soldiers, resulting in a spontaneous outbreak on March 31 in Palermo. A legend about the allegedly organized nature of the Sicilian Vespers later arose, asserting that the uprising had begun at a signal—the ringing of a church bell for vespers. During April, the rebellion spread throughout the island, and most of the French, 3,000 to 4,000, were killed. Urged on by the feudal lords, headed by Giovanni da Procida, the Sicilian parliament, assembled at Palermo, offered the crown to the Aragonese king Pedro III. Arriving on the island in September 1282, Pedro (in Sicily, Pietro I) freed Messina, besieged by Charles I, and took possession of Sicily. The war with the French (War of the Sicilian Vespers), which continued in southern Italy and at sea, ended in 1302 with the complete separation of Sicily from southern Italy and the establishment of the Aragon dynasty on theisland.
M. L. ABRAMSON