1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sicily
SICILY (Ital. Sicilia), an island of the Mediterranean Sea belonging to the kingdom of Italy, and separated from the nearest point of the mainland of Italy only by the Straits of Messina, which at their narrowest part are about 2 m. in width. It is nearly bisected by the meridian of 14° E., and by far the greater part lies to the south of 38° N. Its southernmost point, however, in 36° 38' N. is 40' to the north of Point Tarifa, the southernmost point of Spain and of the continent of Europe. In shape it is roughly triangular, whence the ancient poetical name of Trinacria, referring to its three promontories of Pelorum (now Faro) in the north-east, Pachynum (now Passero) in the south-east, and Lilybaeum (now Boeo) in the west. Its area, exclusive of the adjacent small islands belonging to the compartimento, is, according to the calculations of the Military Geographical Institute of Italy, 9860 sq. m.; while the area of the whole compartimento is 9936 sq. m.
The island occupies that part of the Mediterranean in which the shallowing of the waters divides that sea into two basins, and in which there are numerous indications of frequent changes in a recent geological period. The channel between Cape Bon in Tunis and the south-west of Sicily (a distance of 80 m.) is, on the whole, shallower than the Straits of Messina, being for the most part under 100 fathoms in depth, and exceeding 200 fathoms only for a very short interval, while the Straits of Messina, have almost everywhere a depth exceeding 150 fathoms. The geological structure in the neighbourhood of this strait shows that the island must originally have been formed by a rupture between it and the mainland, but that this rupture must have taken place at a period long antecedent to the advent of man, so that the name Rhegium cannot be based even on the tradition of any such catastrophe. The mountain range that runs out towards the north-east of Sicily is composed of crystalline rocks precisely similar to those forming the parallel range of Aspromonte in Calabria, but both of these are girt about by sedimentary strata belonging in part to an early Tertiary epoch. That a subsequent land connexion took place, however, by the elevation of the sea-bed there is abundant evidence to show; and the occurrence of the remains of African Quaternary mammals, such as Elephas meridionalis, E. antiquus, Hippopotamus pentlandi, as well as of those of still living African forms, such as Elephas africanus and Hyaena crocuta, makes it probable that there was a direct post-Tertiary connexion also with the African continent.
The north coast is generally steep and cliff-bound, and abundantly provided with good harbours, of which that of Palermo is the finest. In the west and south, and in the south part of the east side, the hills are much lower and recede farther from the sea. The coast is for the most part flat, more regular in outline and less favourable to shipping, while in the east, where the sea-bottom sinks rapidly down towards the eastern basin of the Mediterranean, steep rocky coasts prevail except opposite the plain of Catania. In the northern half of this coast the lava streams of Mount Etna stand out for a distance of about 20 M. in a line of bold cliffs and promontories. At various points on the east, north and west coasts there are evidences of a rise of the land having taken place within historical times, at Trapani on the west coast even within the 19th century. As in the rest of the Mediterranean, tides are scarcely observable; but at several points on the west and south coasts a curious oscillation in the level of the waters, known to the natives as the marrobbio (or marobia), is sometimes noticed, and is said to be always preceded by certain atmospheric signs. This consists in a sudden rise of the sea-level, occasionally to the height of 3 ft., sometimes occurring only once, sometimes repeated at intervals of a minute for two hours, or even, at Mazzara, where it is most frequently observed, for twenty-four hours together.
The surface of Sicily lies for the most part more than 500 ft. above the level of the sea. Caltanissetta, which occupies the middle point in elevation as well as in respect of geographical situation, stands 1900 ft. above sea-level. Considerable mountains occur only in the north, where the lower slopes of all the heights form one continuous series of olive-yards and orangeries. Of the rest of the island the greater part forms a plateau varying in elevation and mostly covered with wheat-fields. The only plain of any great extent is that of Catania, watered by the Simeto, in the east; to the north of this plain the active volcano of Etna rises with an exceedingly gentle slope to the height of 10,868 ft. from a base 400 sq. m. in extent. This is the highest elevation of the island. The steep and narrow crystalline ridge which trends north-eastwards, and is known to geographers by the name of the Peloritan Mountains, does not reach 4000 ft. The Nebrodian Mountains, a limestone range connected with the Peloritan range and having an east and west trend, rise to a somewhat greater height, and farther west, about the middle of the north coast, the Madonie (the only one of the groups mentioned which has a native name) culminate at the height of nearly 6500 ft. From the western end of the Nebrodian Mountains a lower range (in some places under 1500 ft. in height) winds on the whole south-eastwards in the direction of Cape Passaro. With the exception of the Simeto, the principal perennial streams—the Salso, the Platani and the Belice—enter the sea on the south coast.
Geology.—In general, the older beds occur along the northern coast, and progressively newer and newer beds are found towards the south. Folding, however, has brought some of the older beds to the surface in the hills which lie to the north and north-east of Sciacca. The Monti Peloritani at the north-eastern extremity of the island consists of gneiss and crystalline schists; but with this exception the whole of Sicily is formed of Mesozoic and later deposits, the Tertiary beds covering by far the greater part. Triassic rocks form a discontinuous band along the northern coast, and are especially well developed in the neighbourhood of Palermo. They rise again to the surface in the southern part of the island, in the hills which lie to the north of Sciacca and Bivona. In both areas they are accompanied by Jurassic, and occasionally by Cretaceous, beds; but of the latter there are only a few small patches. In the southeastern part of the island there are also a few very small outcrops of Mesozoic beds. The Eocene and Oligocene form a broad belt along the northern coast, very much more continuous than the Mesozoic band, and from this belt a branch extends southwards to Sciacca. Another patch of considerable size lies to the east of Piazza-Armerina. Miocene and Pliocene deposits cover nearly the whole of the country south of a line drawn from Etna to Marsala; and there is also a considerable Miocene area in the north about Mistretta. Volcanic lavas and ashes of a recent geological period form not only the whole of Etna but also a large part of the Monti Iblei in the south. Small patches occur also at Pachino and in the hills north of Sciacca.
Climate.—The climate of Sicily resembles that of the other lands in the extreme south of Europe. As regards temperature, it has the warm and equable character which belongs to most of the Mediterranean region. At Palermo (where continuous observations have been made since 1791) the range of temperature between the mean of the coldest and that of the hottest month is little greater than at Greenwich. The mean temperature of January (51½° F.) is nearly as high as that of October in the south of England, that of July (77° F.) about 13° warmer than the corresponding month at Greenwich. In only seven of the thirty years, 1871-1900, was the thermometer observed to sink below the freezing-point; frost thus occurs in the island even on the low grounds, though never for more than a few hours. On the coast snow is seldom seen, but it does fall occasionally. On the Madonie it lies till June, on Etna till July. The annual rainfall except on the higher mountains does not reach 30 in., and, as in other parts of the extreme south of Europe, it occurs chiefly in the winter months, while the three months (June, July and August) are almost quite dry. During these months the whole rainfall does not exceed 2 in., except on the slopes of the mountains in the north-east. Hence most of the streams dry up in summer. The chief scourge is the sirocco, which is experienced in its most characteristic form on the north coast, as an oppressive, parching, hot, dry wind, blowing strongly and steadily from the south, the atmosphere remaining through the whole period of its duration leaden-coloured and hazy in consequence of the presence of immense quantities of reddish dust. It occurs most frequently in April, and then in May and September, but no month is entirely free from it. Three days are the longest period for which it lasts. The same name is sometimes applied to a moist and not very hot, but yet oppressive, south-east wind which blows from time to time on the east coast. Malaria occurs in some parts of the island.
Flora.—The flora of Sicily is remarkable for its wealth of species; but, comparing Sicily with other islands that have been long separated from the mainland, the number of endemic species is not great. The orders most abundantly represented are the Compositae, Cruciferae, Labiatae, Caryophyllaceae and Scrophulariaceae. The Rosaceae are also abundantly represented, and among them are numerous species of the rose. The general aspect of the vegetation of Sicily, however, has been greatly affected, as in other parts of the Mediterranean, by the introduction of plants within historical times. Being more densely populated than any other large Mediterranean island, and having its population dependent chiefly on the products of the soil, it is necessarily more extensively cultivated than any other of the larger islands referred to, and many of the objects of cultivation are not originally natives of, the island. Not to mention the olive, which must have been introduced at a remote period, all the members of the orange tribe, the agave and the prickly pear, as well as other plants highly characteristic of Sicilian scenery, have been introduced since the beginning of the Christian era. With respect to vegetation and cultivation three zones may be distinguished. The first reaches to about 1600 ft. above sea-level, the upper limit of the members of the orange tribe; the second ascends to about 3300 ft., the limit of the growth of wheat, the vine and the hardier evergreens; and the third, that of forests, reaches from about 3300 ft. upwards. But it is not merely height that determines the general character of the vegetation. The cultivated trees of Sicily mostly demand such an amount of moisture as can be obtained only on the mountain slopes, and it is worthy of notice that the structure of the mountains is peculiarly favourable to the supply of this want. The limestones of which they are mostly composed act like a sponge, absorbing the rain-water through their innumerable pores and fissures, and thus storing it up in the interior, afterwards to allow it to well forth in springs at various elevations lower down. In this way the irrigation which is absolutely indispensable for the members of the orange tribe during the dry season is greatly facilitated, and even those trees for which irrigation is not so indispensable receive a more ample supply of moisture during the rainy season. Hence it is that, while the plain of Catania is almost treeless and tree-cultivation is comparatively limited in the west and south, where the extent of land under 1600 ft. is considerable, the whole of the north and north-east coast from the Bay of Castellammare round to Catania is an endless succession of orchards, in which oranges, citrons and lemons alternate with olives, almonds, pomegranates, figs, carob trees, pistachios, mulberries and vines. The limit in height of the olive is about 2700 ft., and that of the vine about 3500 ft. The lemon is really grown upon a bitter orange tree, grafted to bear the lemon. A considerable silk production depends on the cultivation of the mulberry in the neighbourhood of Messina and Catania. Among other trees and shrubs may be mentioned the sumach, the date-palm, the plantain, various bamboos, cycads and the dwarf-palm, the last of which grows in some parts of Sicily more profusely than anywhere else, and in the desolate region in the south-west yields almost the only vegetable product of importance. The Arundo Donax, the tallest of European grasses, is largely grown for vine-stakes.
Population.—The area and population of the several provinces are shown in the table on the next page. Thus between 1881 and 1901 the population increased at the rate of 20.5%. The average density is extremely high for a country which lives almost exclusively by agriculture, and is much higher than the average for Italy in general, 293 per sq. m. In 1905 the population was 3,568,124, the rate of increase being only 4.4% per annum; the low rate is due to emigration.
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The chief towns in each of these provinces, with their communal populations in 1901, are as follow: Caltanissetta (43,023), Castrogiovanni (26,081), Piazza Armerina (24,119), Terranova (22,019), San Cataldo (18,090); Catania (146,504), Caltagirone (44,527), Acireale (35,203), Giarre (26,194), Patera) (22,857), Leonforte (21,236), Bronte (20,166), Vizzini (18,013), Agira (17,634), Nicosia (15,811),(15,811), Grammichele (15,017); Girgenti (24,872), Canicatti (24,687), Sciacca 4 (24,6 5), Licata (22,993), Favara (20,403); Messina (147,106), Racalmuto (16,028), Palma (14,384), Barcellona (24,133), Milazzo (16,214), Mistretta (14,041); Palermo (305,716), Partinico (23,668), Monreale (23,556), Termini Imerese (20,633), Bagheria (18,329), Corleone (16,350), Cefalu (14,518); Syracuse (31,807),(31,807), Modica (49,951), Ragusa (32,453), Vittoria (32,219), Comiso (25,837), Noto (22,284), Lentini (17,100), Avola (16,301), Scicli (16,220), Palazzolo Acreide (15,106) Trapani (61,448), Marsala (57,824), Alcamo (51,798), Monte S. Giuliano (29,824), Castelvetrano (24,510), Castellammare del Golfo (20,665), Mazzara del Vallo (20,044), Salemi (17,159).
The archiepiscopal sees (the suffragan sees, if any, being placed after each in brackets) are Catania (Acireale), Messina (Lipari, Nicosia, Patti), Monreale (Caltanissetta, Girgenti), Palermo (Cefalu, Mazara, Trapani), Syracuse (Caltagirone, Noto, Piazza Armerina).
Agriculture.—Sicily, formerly called the granary of Italy, exported grain until the end of the 18th century. Now, although the island still produces every year some 15 million bushels, the supply barely suffices for the consumption of a population of which bread is almost the exclusive diet. The falling-off in the exportation of cereals is not a consequence of any decadence in Sicilian agriculture, but rather of the increase of population, which nearly doubled within the 19th century. Two types of agriculture prevail in Sicily—the extensive and the intensive. The former covers mainly the interior of the island and half the southern coast, while the latter is generally adopted on the eastern and northern coasts. Large holdings of at least 500 hectares (a hectare equals about 22 acres) are indispensable to the profitable pursuit of extensive agriculture. These holdings are usually called feudi or latifondi. Their proprietors alternate the cultivation of wheat with that of barley and beans. During the years in which the soil is allowed to lie fallow, the grass and weeds which spring up serve as pasture for cattle, but the poverty of the pasture is such that at least two hectares are required for the maintenance of every animal. This poverty is due to the lack of rain, which, though attaining an annual average of 29 in. at Palermo, reaches only 21 in. at Syracuse on the east coast, and about 192 in. at Caltanissetta, on the central high plateau. The system of extensive cultivation proper to the latifondi gives an annual average gross return of about 200 lire per hectare (£3, 4s. 5d. per acre).
Intensive agriculture in Sicily is limited to fruit trees and fruitbearing plants, and is not combined with the culture of cereals and vegetables, as in central and parts of northern Italy. Originally the Sicilian system was perhaps due to climatic difficulties, but now it is recognized in most cases to be more rational than combined culture. Large extents of land along the coasts are therefore exclusively cultivated as vineyards, or as olive, orange, and lemon groves. Vineyards give an annual gross return of between £11 and £13 per acre, and orange and lemon groves between £32 and £48 per acre. The by-products of the citrus-essences, citrate of lime, &c. are also of some importance. Much damage is done by the olive fly. Vegetables are grown chiefly in the neighbourhood of large cities. Almonds are freely cultivated, and they seem to be the only trees susceptible also of cultivation upon the latifondi together with grain. A large export trade in almonds is carried on with north and central Europe. Hazel nuts are grown in woods at a level of more than 1200 ft. above the sea. These also are largely exported to central Europe for use in the manufacture of chocolate. The locust bean (used for forage), figs, and peaches are widely grown, while in certain special zones the pistachio and the manna-ash yield rich returns. On the more barren soil the sumach shrub, the leaves of which are used for tanning, and the prickly pear grow freely. The latter fruit constitutes, with bread, the staple food of the poorest part of the rural population for several months in the year. The cultivation of cotton, which spread during the American War of Secession, is now rare, since it has not been able to withstand the competition of more favoured countries. All these branches of intensive cultivation yield a higher gross return than that of the extensive system. Along the coast landed property is as a rule broken up into small holdings, usually cultivated by their owners. There is possibility of great development of market-gardening.
Climatic conditions prevent cattle-raising in Sicily from being as prosperous an undertaking as in central Italy. The total number of bullocks in the island is calculated to be less than 200,000; and although the ratio of consumption of meat is low in proportion to the population, some of the cattle for slaughter have to be imported. Sheep and goats, which subsist more easily on scanty pasturage, are relatively more numerous, the total number being calculated at 700,000. Yet the wool harvest is scarce, and the production of butter a negligible quantity, though there is abundance of the principal product of Sicilian pasture lands, cheese of various kinds, for which there is a lively local demand. The Sicilian race of horses would be good but that it is not prolific, and has degenerated in consequence of insufficient nourishment and overwork. A better breed of horses is being obtained by more careful selection, and by crossing with Arab and English stallions imported by the government. Donkeys and mules of various breeds are good, and would be better were they not so often weakened by heavy work before attaining full maturity.
Forests.—The absence of forests, which cover hardly 3% of the total area of the island, constitutes a serious obstacle to the prosperity of Sicilian pastoral and agrarian undertakings. The few remaining forests are almost all grouped around Etna and upon the high zone of the Madonian Mountains, a range which rises 40 m. west of Palermo, running parallel to the northern coast almost as far as Messina, and of which many peaks reach nearly 6000 ft. above the sea. Here they are chiefly composed of oaks and chestnuts.
In that part of the island which is cultivated intensively some too million gallons of wine are annually produced. Had not the phylloxera devastated the vineyards during the last decade of the 19th century, the production would be considerably higher; 7,700,000 gallons of olive oil and 2500 million oranges and lemons are also produced, besides the other minor products above referred to. The zone of the latifondi, or extensive culture, yields, besides wheat, nearly 8,000,000 bushels of barley and beans every year.
Mining.—The most important Sicilian mineral is undoubtedly sulphur, which is mined principally in the provinces of Caltanissetta and Girgenti, and in minor quantities in those of Palermo and Catania. Up to 1896 the sulphur industry was in a state of crisis due to the competition of pyrites, to the subdivision of the mines, to antiquated methods, and to a series of other causes which occasioned violent oscillations in and a continual reduction of prices. The formation of the Anglo-Italian sulphur syndicate arrested the downward tendency of prices and increased the output of sulphur, so that the amount exported in 1899 was 424,018 tons, worth £1,738,475, whereas some years previously the value of sulphur exported had hardly been £800,000. Nineteen-twentieths of the sulphur consumed in the world was formerly drawn from Sicilian mines, while some 50,000 persons were employed in the extraction, manufacture, transport and trade in the mineral. But the development of the United States sulphur industry at the beginning of the 20th century created considerable difficulties, including the practical loss of the United States market. In 1906, when the concession to the Anglo-Sicilian Sulphur Company was about to expire, the government decreed that it should be formed into an obligatory syndicate for a term of twelve years for the control of all sulphur produced in Sicily, and exempted from taxation and legal dues, foreign companies established in Italy to exploit industries in which sulphur is a principal element. The Bank, of Sicily was further obliged to make advances to the sulphur industry up to four-fifths of the value of the sulphur deposited in the warehouses. The exports of sulphur in December 1906 were 17,534 tons, as compared with 40,713 tons in 1905; in the year 1904 the total production was 3,291,710 tons (value about £1,522,229) and the total exports 508,980 tons, as compared with 470,341 tons in 1905.
Another Sicilian mineral industry is that of common salt and rock-salt. The former is distilled from sea-water near Trapani, and the latter obtained in smaller quantities from mines. The two branches of the industry yielded in 1899 about 180,000 tons per annum, worth £80,000, while in 1906 about 200,000 tons were made at Trapani alone. About half this quantity is exported, principally to Norway. Besides salt, the asphalt mining industry may be mentioned. Its centre is the province of Syracuse. The value of the annual output is about £40,000, and the exports in 1906 amounted to nearly 103,000 tons. Pumice stone is also exported from Lipari (11,010 tons in 1904).
Other Industries.—Deep-sea fisheries give employment to some twenty thousand Sicilians, who exercise their calling not only off the coasts of their island, but along the north African shore, from Morocco to Tripoli. In 1894 (the last year for which accurate statistics have been issued) 350 fishing smacks were,in active service, giving a catch of 2480 tons of fish. Approximately, the value of the annual catch may be reckoned at from £600,000 to £800,000. During 1904 the coral fisheries employed 98 vessels with 1138 men: the profits were about £75,264, the expenses being £64,664. The sponge divers brought up sponges valued at £24,630. The estimated hauls of tunny fish were 5534 tons, valued at £110,324.
The majority of the scanty Sicilian industries are directly connected with various branches of agriculture. Such, for instance, is the preparation of the elements of citric acid, which is manufactured at an establishment at Messina. Older and more flourishing is the Marsala industry. Marsala wine is a product of the western vineyards situated slightly above sea-level. In 1899, wine was exported to the value of more than £120,000, while in 1906, 24,080 pipes of the value of £361,200 were shipped. The quantity consumed in Italy is far greater than that exported abroad.
Another flourishing Sicilian industry carried on by a large number of small houses is that of preserving vegetables in tins. Artichokes and tomato sauce are the principal of these products, of which several dozen million tins are annually exported from Sicily to the Italian mainland, to Germany and to South America. Manufactories of furniture, carriages, gloves, matches and leather exist in large number in the island. They are, as a rule, small in extent, and are managed by the owners with the help of five, ten or at most twenty workmen. There are several glass works at Palermo, a cotton dyeing works at Messina, and a large metal foundry at Palermo. Large shipbuilding yards and a yard for the construction of trams and railway carriages have been constructed in the latter city. There are dry docks both at Palermo and Messina.
Communications.—Before 1860 there was no railway in Sicily. The total length of Sicilian railways is now 890 m., all single lines. Their construction was rendered very costly by the mountainous character of the island. They formed a separate system (the Rete Sicula) until in 1906, like the rest of the railways of Italy, they passed into the hands of the state, with the exception of the line round Mount Etna and the line from Palermo to Corleone. Messina is connected with the railway system of the mainland by ferry-boats from Villa S. Giovanni and Reggio, on which the through carriages are conveyed across the straits. From Messina lines run along the northern coast to Palermo, and along the east coast via Catania to Syracuse: the latter line is prolonged along the south of the island (sometimes approaching, sometimes leaving the coast) via Canicatti as far as Aragona Caldare, Girgenti and Porto Empedocle. From Catania another line runs westward through the centre of the island via S. Caterina Xirbi (with a branch to Canicatti) to Roccapalumba (with a branch to Aragona Caldare) and thence northwards to Termini, on the line between Messina and Palermo. This is the direct route from Catania to Palermo. From Catania begins the line round Etna following its south, west and northern slopes, and ending at Giarre Riposto on the east coast railway. From Valsavoia (14 m. S. of Catania on the line to Syracuse) a branch line runs to Caltagirone. From Palermo a line runs southwards to Corleone and S. Carlo (whence there are diligences to Sciacca on the south coast) and another to Castelvetrano, Marsala and Trapani, going first almost as far as the south coast and then running first west and then north along the west coast. The only part of the coast of the island which has no railways is that portion of the south coast between Porto Empedocle and Castelvetrano (Sciacca lies about midway between these two points), where a road already exists, and a railway is projected, and the precipitous north coast between Palermo and Trapani. A steam tramway runs from Messina to the Faro at the north-east extremity of the island, and thence along the north coast to Barcelona, and another along the east coast from Messina to Giampilieri: while the island is fairly well provided with high roads, but is very backward in rural communications, there being only 244 yds. of road per sq. m., as compared with 1480 yds. in north Italy. The communications by sea, however, are at least as important as those by land, even for passengers. A steamer leaves Naples every night for Palermo, and vice versa, the journey (208 m.) being done in 11 hours, while the journey by rail (438 m.), including the crossing of the Straits of Messina takes 191 hours; and the weekly steamer from Naples to Messina (216 m.) takes 12 hours, while the journey by rail and ferry boat (292 m.) takes 14 hours. Palermo, Messina and Catania are the most important harbours, the former being one of the two headquarters (the other, and the main one, is Genoa) of the Navigazione Generale Italiana, and a port of call for the steamers from Italy to New York. Emigrants to the number of 37,638 left Palermo direct for New York in 1906, and no less than 46,770 in 1905, while others embarked at Messina and Naples.
The movement of trade in these three ports may be shown by the following table:—
|1900||Tonnage of shipping||1,658,848||1,683,244||1,245,954|
|Tonnage of„ goods landed||398,718||213,624||235,575|
|1904||Tonnage of„ shipping||2,298,054||2,265,381||1,593,678|
|Tonnage of„ goods landed||445,036||315,414||309,514|
|1906||Tonnage of„ shipping||2,403,851||2,574,872||1,542,520|
Of the other harbours, Porto Empedocle and Licata share with Catania most of the sulphur export trade, and the other ports of note are Marsala, Trapani, Syracuse (which shares with the roadstead of Mazzarelli the asphalt export trade). The total importation of coal in 1906 amounted to 519,478 tons, practically all British.
In 1904, 75,779 Sicilians were registered as seamen, and Ito steamships with a gross tonnage of 145,702 were registered in Sicily.
Economic, Intellectual, and Moral Conditions.—As a general rule, trade and the increase of production have not kept pace with the development of the ways of communication. The poverty of the Sicilian population is accentuated by the unequal distribution of wealth among the different classes of society. A small but comparatively wealthy class—composed principally of the owners of latifondi—resides habitually in the large cities of the island, or even at Naples, Rome or Paris. Yet even if all the wealthy landowners resided on their estates, their number would not be sufficient to enable them to play in local public life a part corresponding to that of the English gentry. On the other hand, the class which would elsewhere be called the middle class is in Sicily extremely poor. The origin of most of the abuses which vitiate Sicilian political life, and of the frequent scandals in the representative local administrations, is to be found in the straitened condition of the Sicilian middle classes.
Emigration only attained serious proportions within the last decade of the 19th century. In 1897 the permanent emigration from the island was 15,994, in 1898, 21,320, and in 1899, 24,604. Since then it has much increased: in 1905 the emigrants numbered 106,000, and in 1906, 127,000 (3.5% of the population). Of these about three-fourths would be adults; but the population has increased so fast as more than to cover the deficiency—with the disadvantage, however, that in three years 220,000 workers were replaced by 320,000 infants.
The moral and intellectual defects of Sicilian society are in part results of the economic difficulties, and in part the effect of bad customs introduced or maintained during the long period of Sicilian isolation from the rest of Europe. When, in 1860, Sicily was incorporated in the Italian kingdom, hardly a tenth of the population could read and write. Upon the completion of unity, elementary schools were founded everywhere; but, though education was free, the indigence of the peasants in some regions prevented them from taking full advantage of the opportunities offered. Thus, even now, 60% of the Sicilian conscripts come up for military service unable either to read or to write. Secondary and superior education is more diffused. The pupils of the secondary schools in Sicily number 3.94 per 1000, the maximum being 6.60 in Liguria and the minimum 1.65 in Basilicata.
Brigandage of the classical type has almost disappeared from Italy. The true brigands haunt only the most remote and most inaccessible mountains. Public security is better in the east than in the west portion of the island. Criminal statistics, though slowly diminishing, are still high—murders, which are the most frequent crimes, having been 27 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1897–1898 and 25.23 per 100,000 in 1903, as against 2.57 in Lombardy, 2.00 in the district of Venetia, 4.50 in Tuscany and 5.24 in Piedmont. Violent assaults with infliction of serious wounds are also frequent. This readiness to commit bloodshed is largely attributable to the sentiment of the Mafia. (q.v.) (G. G. C.; G. Mo.; T. As.)
The geographical position of Sicily led almost as a matter of necessity to its historical position, as the meeting-place of the nations, the battle-field of contending races and creeds. For this reason, too, Sicily was never in historic times (nor, it seems, in prehistoric times either) the land of a single nation: her history exists mainly in its relation to the history of other lands. Lying nearer to the mainland of Europe and nearer to Africa than any other of the great Mediterranean islands, Sicily is, next to Spain, the connecting-link between those two quarters of the world. It stands also as a breakwater between the eastern and western divisions of the Mediterranean Sea. In prehistoric times those two divisions were two vast lakes, and Sicily is a surviving fragment of the land which once united the two continents. That Sicily and Africa were once joined we know only from modern scientific research; that Sicily and Italy were once joined is handed down in legend. Sicily then, comparatively near to Africa, but much nearer to Europe, has been a European land, but one specially open to invasion and settlement from Africa. It has been a part of western Europe, but a part which has had specially close relations with eastern Europe. It has stood at various times in close connexion with Greece, Africa and Spain; but its closest connexion has been with Italy. Still the history of Sicily should never be looked on as simply part of the history of Italy. Lying thus between Europe and Africa, Sicily has been the battle-field of Europe and Africa. That is to say, it has been at two separate periods the battle-field of Aryan and Semitic man. In the later stage of the strife it has been the battle-field of Christendom and Islam. This history Sicily shares with Spain to the west of it and with Cyprus to the east. And with Spain the island has had several direct points of connexion. There was in all likelihood a near kindred between the earliest inhabitants of the two lands. In later times Sicily was ruled by Spanish kings, both alone and in union with other kingdoms. The connexion with Africa has consisted simply in the settlement of conquerors from Africa at two periods, first Phoenician, then Saracen. On the other hand, Sicily has been more than once made the road to African conquest and settlement, bath by Sicilian princes and by the Roman masters of Sicily. The connexion with Greece, the most memorable of all, has consisted in the settlement of many colonies from old Greece, which gave the island the most brilliant part of its history, and which made the greater part practically Greek. This Greek element was strengthened at a later time by the long connexion of Sicily with the Eastern, the Greek-speaking, division of the Roman empire. And the influence of Greece on Sicily has been repaid in more than one shape by Sicilian rulers who have at various times held influence and dominion in Greece and elsewhere beyond the Adriatic. The connexion between Sicily and Italy begins with the primitive kindred between some of the oldest elements in each. Then came the contemporary Greek colonization in both lands. Then came the tendency in the dominant powers in southern Italy to make their way into Sicily also. Thus the Roman occupation of Sicily ended the struggle between Greek and Phoenician. Thus the Norman occupation ended the struggle between Greek and Saracen. Of this last came the long connexion between Sicily and southern Italy under several dynasties. Lastly comes the late absorption of Sicily in the modern kingdom of Italy. The result of these various forms of Italian influence has been that all the other tongues of the island have died out before the advance of a peculiar dialect of Italian. In religion again both Islam and the Eastern form of Christianity have given way to its Italian form. Like the British Isles, Sicily came under a Norman dynasty; under Norman rule the intercourse between the two countries was extremely close, and the last time that Sicily was the seat of a separate power it was under British protection.
The Phoenician, whether from old Phoenicia or from Carthage, came from lands which were mere strips of sea-coast with a boundless continent behind them. The Greek of old Hellas came from a land of islands, peninsulas and inland seas. So did the Greek of Asia, though he had, like the Phoenician, a vast continent behind him. In Sicily they all found a strip of sea-coast with an inland region behind; but the strip of seacoast was not like the broken coast of Greece and Greek Asia, and the inland region was not a boundless continent like Africa or Asia. In Sicily therefore the Greek became more continental, and the Phoenician became more insular. Neither people ever occupied the whole island, nor was either people ever able to spread its dominion over the earlier inhabitants very far inland. Sicily thus remained a world of its own, with interests and disputes of its own, and divided among inhabitants of various nations. The history of the Greeks of Sicily is constantly connected with the history of old Hellas, but it runs a separate course of its own. The Phoenician element ran an opposite course, as the independent Phoenician settlements in Sicily sank into dependencies of Carthage. The entrance of the Romans put an end to all practical independence on the part of either nation. But Roman ascendancy did not affect Greeks and Phoenicians in the same way. Phoenician life gradually died out. But Roman ascendancy nowhere crushed out Greek life where it already existed, and in some ways it strengthened it. Though the Greeks never spread their dominion over the island, they made a peaceful conquest of it. This process was in no way hindered by the Roman dominion.
The question now comes, Who were the original inhabitants of Sicily? The island itself, StwXta, Sicilia, plainly takes its name from the Sicels (IuceXoi, Siculi), a people whom we find occupying a great part of the island, chiefly east of the river Gela. They appear also in Italy (see Siculi),Original inhabitants. in the toe of the boot, and older history or tradition spoke of them as having in earlier days held a large place in Latium and elsewhere in central Italy. They were believed to have crossed the strait into the island about 300 years before the beginning of the Greek settlements, that is to say in the 11th century B.C. They found in the island a people called Sicans (cf. Odyssey, xxiv. 306), who claimed to be autochthones (i.e. to have originated in the island itself), but whose name, we are told, might pass for a dialectic form of their own, did not the ancient writers expressly affirm them to be a wholly distinct people, akin to the Iberians. Sicans also appear with the Ligurians among the early inhabitants of Italy (Virg. Aen. vii. 795, viii. 328, xi. 317, and Servius's note). That the Sicels spoke a tongue closely akin to Latin is plain from several Sicel words which crept into Sicilian Greek, and from the Siceliot system of weights and measures - utterly unlike anything in old Greece. When the Greek settlements began, the Sicans, we are told, had hardly got beyond the life of villages on hill-tops (Dion. Hal. v. 6). Hyccara, on the north coast, is the one exception; it was probably a fishing settlement. The more advanced Sicels had their hill-forts also, but they had learned the advantages of the sea, and they already had settlements on the coast when the Greeks came. As we go on, we hear of both Sicel and Sican towns; but we may suspect that any approach to true city life was owing to Greek influences. Neither people grew into any form of national unity. They were therefore partly subdued, partly assimilated, without much effort.
The investigations of Professor Orsi, director of the museum at Syracuse, have thrown much light on the primitive peoples of south-eastern Sicily. Of palaeolithic man hardly any traces are to be found; but, though western Sicily has been comparatively little explored, and the results hardly published at all, in several localities neolithic remains, attributable to the Sicani, have been discovered. The later Siculi do not appear to be a distinct race (cf. P. Orsi in Notizie degli scavi, 1898, 223), and probably both are branches of the Libyco-Iberian stock. Whereas other remains attributable to their villages or settlements are rare, their rock-hewn tombs are found by the thousand in the limestone cliffs of south-eastern Sicily. Those of the earliest period, the lower limit of which is put about 1500 B.C., are aeneolithic, metal being, however, rare and only found in the form of small ornaments; pottery with linear decoration is abundant. The second period (1500-1000 B.C.) shows a great increase in the use of bronze, and the introduction of gold and silver, and of imported Mycenaean vases. The chief cemeteries of this period have been found on Plemmyrium, the promontory south of Syracuse, at Cozzo Pantano, at Thapsus, at Pantalica near Palazzolo, at Cassibile, south of Syracuse, and at Molinello near Augusta. The third period (1000-500 B.C.) in its first phase (1000-700) shows a continual increase of the introduction of objects of Greek origin; the pottery is at first imported geometric, and then vases of local imitation appear. Typical cemeteries are those of Monte Finocchito near Noto, of Noto itself, of Pantalica and of Leontini. In the second phase (700-500 B.C.), sometimes called the fourth period, proto-Corinthian and Attic black figured vases are sometimes, though rarely, found, while local geometric pottery develops considerably. But the form of the tombs always remains the same, a small low chamber hewn in the rock, with a rectangular opening about 2 by 2½ ft., out of which open other chambers, each with its separate doorway; and inhumation is adopted without exception, whereas in a Greek necropolis a low percentage of cases of cremation is always present. Typical cemeteries of this period have been found at Licodia Eubea, Ragusa and Grammichele. After the failure of Ducetius to re-establish the Sicel nationality, Greek civilization triumphed over that of the Sicels entirely, and it has not yet been possible to trace the survivals of the latter. See Orsi in Romische Mitteilungen, 1898, 305 sqq., and Atti del Congresso Internazionale di Scienze Storiche (Rome, April 1903); also Archeologia (Rome, 1904, 167-191).
In the north-west corner of the island we find a small territory occupied by a people who seem to have made much greater advances towards civilized life. The Elymi were a people of uncertain origin, but they claimed a mixed descent, partly Trojan, partly Greek. Thucydides, however, unhesitatingly reckons them among barbarians. They had considerable towns, as Segesta and Eryx, and the history, as well as the remains, of Segesta, shows that Greek influences prevailed among them very early, while at Eryx Phoenician influence was stronger.
But, as we have already seen, the Greeks were not the first colonizing people who were drawn to the great island. As in Cyprus and in the islands of the Aegean, the Phoenicians were before them. And it is from this presence of the highest forms of Aryan and of Semitic man that the history of Sicily draws its highest interest. Of Phoenician occupation there areEarly Phoenician settlements. two, or rather three, marked periods. We must always remember that Carthage—the new city—was one of the latest of Phoenician foundations, and that the days of the Carthaginian dominion show us only the latest form of Phoenician life. Phoenician settlement in Sicily began before Carthage became great, perhaps before Carthage came into being. A crowd of small settlements from the old Phoenicia, settlements for trade rather than for dominion, factories rather than colonies, grew up on promontories and small islands all round the coast (Thuc. vi. 2). These were unable to withstand the Greek settlers, and the Phoenicians of Sicily withdrew step by step to form three considerable towns in the north-west corner bf the island near to the Elymi, on whose alliance they relied, and at the shortest distance by sea from Carthage—Motya, Solous or Soluntum, and Panormus (see Palermo).
Our earlier notices of Sicily, of Sicels and Sicans, in the Homeric poems and elsewhere, are vague and legendary. Both racesGreek colonization. appear as given to the buying and selling of slaves (Od. xx. 383, xxiv. 21). The intimate connexion be tween old Hellas and Sicily begins with the foundation of the Sicilian Naxos by Chalcidians of Euboea under Theocles, which is assigned to 735 B.C. (Thuc. v. 3-5). The site, a low promontory on the east coast, immediately below the height of Tauromenium, marks an age which had advanced beyond the hill-fortress and which thoroughly valued the sea. The next year Corinth began her system of settlement in the west: Corcyra, the path to Sicily, and Syracuse on the Sicilian coast were planted as parts of one enterprise. From this time, for about 150 years, Greek settlement in the island, with some intervals, goes steadily on. Both Ionian and Dorian colonies were planted, both from the older Greek lands and from the older Sicilian settlements. The east coast, nearest to Greece and richest in good harbours, was occupied first. Here, between Naxos and Syracuse, arose the Ionian cities of Leontini and Catana (728 B.C.), and the Dorian Megara Hyblaea (726 B.C.). Settlement on the south-western coast began about 688 B.C. with the joint Cretan and Rhodian settlement of Gela, and went on in the foundation of Selinus (the most distant Greek city on this side), of Camarina, and in 582 B.C. of the Geloan settlement of Acragas (Agrigentum, Girgenti), planted on a high hill, a little way from the sea, which became the second city of Hellenic Sicily. On the north coast the Ionian Himera (founded in 648 B.C.) was the only Greek city in Sicily itself, but the Cnidians founded Lipara in the Aeolian Islands. At the north-east corner, opposite to Italy, and commanding the strait, arose Zancle, a city of uncertain date (first quarter of the 7th century B.C.) and mixed origin, better known as Messana (Messene, Messina).
Thus nearly all the east coast of Sicily, a great part of the south coast, and a much smaller part of the north, passed into the hands of Greek settlers - Siceliots (IcrcfXt&rac), as distinguished from the native Sicels. This was one of the greatest advances ever made by the Greek people. The Greek element began to be predominant in the island. Among the earlier inhabitants the Sicels were already becoming adopted Greeks. Many of them gradually sank into a not wholly unwilling subjection as cultivators of the soil under Greek masters. But there were also independent Sicel towns in the interior, and there was a strong religious intercommunion between the two races. Sicel Henna (Enna, Castrogiovanni) is the special seat of the worship of Demeter and her daughter.
The Phoenicians, now shut up in one corner of the island, with Selinus on one side and Himera on the other founded right in their teeth, are bitter enemies; but the time of their renewed greatness under the headship of CarthageProsperous Greek period. has not yet come. The 7th century B.C. and the early part of the 6th were a time in which the Greek cities of Sicily had their full share in the general prosperity of the Greek colonies everywhere. For a while they outstripped the cities of old Greece. Their political constitutions were aristocratic; that is, the franchise was confined to the descendants of the original settlers, round whom an excluded body (Ffflos or plebs) was often growing up. The ancient kingship was perhaps kept on or renewed in some of the Siceliot and Italiot towns; but it is more certain that civil dissensions led very early to the rise of tyrants. The most famous if not the first is Phalaris of Acragas (Agrigentum), whose exact date is uncertain, whose letters are now cast aside, arid whose brazen bull has been called in question, but who clearly rose to power very soon after the foundation of Acragas. Under his rule the city at once sprang to the first place in Sicily, and he was the first Siceliot ruler who held dominion over two Greek cities, Acragas and Himera. This time of prosperity was also a time of intellectual progress. To say nothing of lawgivers like Charondas, the line of Siceliot poets began early, and the circumstances of the island, the adoption of many of its local traditions and beliefs - perhaps a certain intermingling of native blood - gave the intellectual life of Sicily a character in some things distinct from that of old Hellas. Stesichorus of Himera (c. 632-556 B.C.) holds a great place among the lyric poets of Greece, and some place in the political history of Sicily as the opponent of Phalaris. The architecture and sculpture of this age have also left some of their most remarkable monuments among the Greek cities of Sicily. The remains of the old temples of Selinus, with; their archaic metopes, attributed to the 6th century B.C., show us the Doric style in its earlier state. In this period, too, begins the fine series of Sicilian coins (see Numismatics: Sicily).
This first period of Sicilian history lasts as long as Sicily remains untouched from any non-Hellenic quarter outside, and as long as the Greek cities in Sicily remain as a rule independentGrowth of tyrannies. of one another. A change begins in the 6th century and is accomplished early in the 5th. The Phoenician settlements in Sicily become dependent on Carthage, whose growing power begins to be dangerous to the Greeks of Sicily. Meanwhile the growth of tyrannies in the Greek cities was beginning to group several towns together under a single master, and thus to increase the greatness of particular cities at the expense of their freedom. Thus Thero of Acragas (488-472), who bears a good character there, acquired also, like Phalaris, the rule of Himera. One such power held dominion both in Italy and Sicily. Anaxilaus of Rhegium, by a long and strange tale of treachery, occupied Zancle and changed its name to Messana. But the greatest of the Siceliot powers, that of the Deinomenid dynasty, began at Gela in 505, and was in 485 translated by Gelo (q.v.) to Syracuse. That cityGelo. now became the centre of a greater dominion over both Greeks and Sicels than the island had ever before seen. But Gelo, like several later tyrants of Syracuse, takes his place—and it is the redeeming point in the position of all of them—as the champion of Hellas against the barbarian. The great double invasion of 480 B.C. was planned in concert by the barbarians of the East and the West (Diod. xi. I; schol. on Pind., Pyth. i. 146; Grote v. 294). While the Persians threatened old Greece, Carthage threatened the Greeks of Sicily. There were Siceliots who played the part of the Medizers in Greece: Selinus was on the side of Carthage, and the coming of Hamilcar was immediately brought about by a tyrant of Himera driven out by Thero. But .the united power of Gelo and Thero, whose daughter Damarete Gelo had married, crushed the invaders in the great battle of Himera, won, men said, on the same day as Salamis, and the victors of both were coupled as the joint deliverers of Hellas (Herod. vii. 165-167; Diod. xx. 20-25; Pind. .Pyth. i. 147-156; Simonides, fr. 42; Polyaenus i. 27). But, while the victory of Salamis was followed by a long war with Persia, the peace which was now granted to Carthage stayed in force for seventy years. Gelo was followed by his brother Hiero (478-467), theHiero I. special subject of the songs of Pindar. Acragas H meanwhile flourished under Thero; but a war between him and Hiero led to slaughter and new settlement at Himera. These transplantings from city to city began under Gelo and went on under Hiero (q.v.). They made speakers in old Greece (Thuc. vi. 17) contrast the permanence of habitation there with the constant changes in Sicily.
None of these tyrannies was long-lived. The power of Thero fell to pieces under his son Thrasydaeus. When the power of Hiero passed in 467 B.C. to his brother Thrasybulus the freedom of Syracuse was won by a combined movement of Greeks and Sicels, and the Greek cities gradually settled down as they had been before the tyrannies, only with a change to democracy in their constitutions. The mercenaries who had received citizenship from the tyrants were settled at Messana. About fifty years of great prosperity followed. Art, science, poetry had all been encouraged by the tyrants. To these was added the special growth of freedom - the art of public speaking, in which the Sicilian Greeks became especially proficient, Corax being the founder of the rhetorical school of Sicily. Epicharmus (540-450), carried as a babe to Sicily, is a link between native Siceliots and the strangers invited by Hiero; as the founder of the local Sicilian comedy, he ranks among Siceliots. After him Sophron of Syracuse gave the Sicilian mimes a place among the forms of Greek poetry. But the intellect of free Sicily struck out higher paths. Empedocles of Acragas is best known from the legends of his miracles and of his death in the fires of Aetna; but he was not the less philosopher, poet and physician, besides his political career. Gorgias of Leontini had a still more direct influence on Greek culture, as father of the technical schools of rhetoric throughout Greece. Architecture too advanced, and the Doric style gradually lost somewhat of its ancient massiveness. The temple at Syracuse, which is now the metropolitan church, belongs to the earlier days of this time. It is followed by the later temples at Selinus, among them the temple of Apollo, which is said to have been the greatest in Sicily, and by the wonderful series at Acragas (see Agrigentum).
During this time of prosperity there was no dread of Carthaginian inroads. Diodorus's account of a war between Segesta and Lilybaeum is open to considerable suspicion. We have, on the other hand, Pausanias's evidence for the existence in his day at Olympia of statues offered by Acragas out of spoil won from Motya, assigned to Calamis, an artist of this period (Freeman ii. 552), and the evidence of contemporaryCondition of Sicels and Skan. inscriptions (1) for a Selinuntine victory over some unknown enemy (possibly over Motya also), (2) for dealings between Athens and Segesta with reference to Halicyae, a Sican town. The latter is important as being the first appearance of Athens in Sicily. As early as 480 (Freeman iii. 8) indeed Themistocles seems to have been looking westward. Far more important are our notices of the earlier inhabitants. For now comes the great Sicel movement under Ducetius, who, between force and persuasion, came nearer towards uniting his people into one body than had ever been done before. From his native hill-top of Menae, rising above the lake dedicated to the Palici, the native deities whom Sicels and Greeks alike honoured, he brought down his people to the new city of Palicae in the plain. His power grew, and Acragas could withstand him only by the help of Syracuse. Alternately victorious and defeated, spared by the Syracusans on whose mercy he cast himself as a suppliant (451), sent to be safe at Corinth, he came back to Sicily only to form greater plans than before. War between Acragas and Syracuse, which arose on account of his return, enabled him to carry out his schemes, and, with the help of another Sicel prince of Herbita, who bore the Greek name of Archonides, he founded Kale Akte on the northern coast. But his work was cut short by his death in 440; the hope of the Sicel people now lay in assimilation to their Hellenic neighbours. Ducetius's own foundation of Kale Akte lived on, and we presently hear of Sicel towns under kings and tyrants, all marking an approach to Greek life. Roughly speaking, while the Sicels of the plain country on the east coast became subject to Syracuse, most of those in other parts of the island remained independent. Of the Sicans we hear less; but Hyccara in the north-west was an independent Sican town on bad terms with Segesta. On the whole, setting aside the impassable barrier between Greek and Phoenician, other distinctions of race within the island were breaking down through the spread of the Hellenic element, but among the Greek cities themselves the distinction between the Dorian and the Ionian or Chalcidian settlements was still keenly felt.
Up to this time the Italiot and Siceliot Greeks have formed part of the general Greek world, while within that world they have formed a world of their own, and Sicily hasInterference of Athens. again formed a world of its own within that. Wars and con conquests between Greeks and Greeks, especially on the part of Syracuse, though not wanting, have been on the whole less constant than in old Greece. It is even possible to appeal to a local Sicilian patriotism (Thuc. vi. 64, 74). Presently this state of Sicilian isolation was broken in upon by the great Peloponnesian War. The Siceliot cities were. drawn into alliance with one side or the other, till the main interest of Greek history gathers for a while round the Athenian attack on Syracuse. At the very beginning of the war the Lacedaemonians looked for help from the Dorian Siceliots. But the first active intervention came from the other side. Conquest in Sicily was a favourite dream at Athens (see Peloponnesian War). But it was only in 427 an opportunity for Athenian interference was found in a quarrel between Syracuse and Leontini and their allies. Leontini craved help from Athens on the ground of Ionian kindred. Her envoy was Gorgias; his peculiar style of rhetoric was now first heard in old Greece (Diod. xii. 53, 54), and his pleadings were successful. For several years from this. time (427-422) Athens plays a part, chiefly unsuccessful, in Sicilian affairs. But the particular events are of little importance, except as leading the way to the greater events that follow.
The far more memorable interference of Athens in Sicilian affairs in the year 415 was partly in answer to the cry of the exiles of Leontini, partly to a quite distinct appeal from the Elymian Segesta. That city, an ally of Athens, asked for Athenian help against its Greek neighbour Selinus. In a dispute, partly about boundaries, partly about the right of intermarriage between the Hellenic and the Hellenizing city, Segesta was hard pressed. She vainly asked for help at Acragas—some say at Syracuse (Diod. xii. 82)—and even at Carthage. The last appeal was to Athens.
The details of the great Athenian expedition (415-413) belong partly to the political history of Athens (q.v.), partly to that of Syracuse (q.v.). But its results make it a markedAthenian expedition. epoch in Sicilian history, and the Athenian plans, if successful, would have changed the whole face of the West. If the later stages of the struggle were remarkable for the vast number of Greek cities engaged on both sides, and for the strange inversion of relations among them on which Thucydides (vii. 57, 58) comments, the whole war was yet more remarkable for the large entrance of the barbarian element into the Athenian reckonings. The war was undertaken on behalf of Segesta; the Sicels gave Athens valuable help; the greater barbarian powers out of Sicily also came into play. Some help actually came from Etruria. But Carthage was more far-sighted. If Syracuse was an object of jealousy, Athens, succeeding to her dominion, creating a power too nearly alike to her own, would have provoked far greater jealousy. So Athens found no active support save at Naxos and Catana, though Acragas, if she would not help the invaders, at least gave no help to her own rival. But after the Spartan Gylippus came, almost all the other Greek cities of Sicily were on the side of Syracuse. The war is instructive in many ways. It reminds us of the general conditions of Greek seamanship when we find that Corcyra was the meeting-place for the allied fleet, and that Syracuse was reached only by a coasting voyage along the shores of Greek Italy. We are struck also by the low military level of the Sicilian Greeks. The Syracusan heavy-armed are as far below those of Athens as those of Athens are below those of Sparta. The quasi-continental character of Sicily causes Syracuse, with its havens and its island, to be looked on, in comparison with Athens, as a land power (ἠπειρῶται, Thuc. vii. 21). That is to say, the Siceliot level represents the general Greek level as it stood before the wars in which Athens won and defended her dominion. The Greeks of Sicily had had no such military practice as the Greeks of old Greece; but an able commander could teach both Siceliot soldiers and Siceliot seamen to out-manœuvre Athenians. The main result of the expedition, as regards Sicily, was to bring the island more thoroughly into the thick of Greek affairs. Syracuse, threatened with destruction by Athens, was saved by the zeal of her metropolis Corinth in stirring up the Peloponnesian rivals of Athens to help her, and by the advice of Alcibiades after his withdrawal to Sparta. All chance of Athenian dominion in Sicily or elsewhere in the west came to an end. Syracuse repaid the debt by good service to the Peloponnesian cause, and from that time the mutual influence of Sicily and old Greece is far stronger than in earlier times.
But before the war in old Greece was over, seventy years after the great victory of Gelo (410), the Greeks of Sicily had to undergo barbarian invasion on a vaster scale than ever. The disputes between Segesta and Selinus called in these enemies also. Carthage, after a long Phoenician invasion under Hannibal. under period of abstention from intervention in Sicilian affairs, and the observance of a wise neutrality during the war between Athens and Syracuse, stepped in as the ally of Segesta, the enemy of her old ally Selinus. Her leader was Hannibal, grandson and avenger of the Hamilcar who had died at Himera. In 409, at the head of a vast mercenary host, he sailed to Sicily, attacked Selinus (q.v.), and stormed the town after a murderous assault of nine days. Thence he went to Himera, with the object of avenging his grandfather. By this time the other Greek cities were stirred to help, while Sicels and Sicans joined Hannibal. At last Himera was stormed, and 3000 of its citizens were solemnly slaughtered on the spot where Hamilcar had died. Hannibal then returned to Carthage after an absence of three months only. The Phoenician possessions in Sicily now stretched across the island from Himera to Selinus. The next victim was Acragas, against which another expedition sailed in 406 under Hannibal and Himilco; the town was sacked and the walls destroyed.
Meanwhile the revolutions of Syracuse affected the history of Sicily and of the whole Greek world. Dionysius (q.v.) the tyrant began his reign of thirty-eight years in the first months of 405. Almost at the same moment, the new Carthaginian commander, Himilco, attacked Gela and Dionysius I. Camarina. Dionysius, coming to the help of Gela, was defeated, and was charged (no doubt with good ground) with treachery. He now made the mass of the people of both towns find shelter at Syracuse. But now a peace, no doubt arranged at Gela, was formally concluded (Freeman iii. 587). Carthage was confirmed in her possession of Selinus, Himera and Acragas, with some Sican districts which had opposed her. The people of Gela and Camarina were allowed to occupy their unwalled towns as tributaries of Carthage. Leontini, latterly a Syracusan fort, as well as Messana and all the Sicels, were declared independent, while Dionysius was acknowledged as master of Syracuse (Diodorus xiii. ir4). No war was ever more grievous to freedom and civilization. More than half Sicily was now under barbarian dominion; several of its noblest cities had perished, and a tyrant was established in the greatest. The 5th century b. c, after its central years of freedom and prosperity, ended in far deeper darkness than it had begun. The minuter account of Dionysius belongs to Syracusan history; but his position, one unlike anything that had been before seen in Sicily or elsewhere in Hellas, forms an epoch in the history of Europe. His only bright side is his championship of Hellas against the Phoenician, and this is balanced by his settlements of barbarian mercenaries in several Greek cities. Towards the native races his policy varied according to momentary interests; but on the whole his reign tended to bring the Sicels more and more within the Greek pale. His dominion is Italian as well as Sicilian; his influence, as an ally of Sparta, is important in old Greece; while, as a hirer of mercenaries everywhere, he had wider relations than any earlier Greek with the nations of western Europe. He further opened new fields for Greek settlement on both sides of the Adriatic. In short, under him Sicily became for the first time the seat of a great European power, while Syracuse, as its head, became the greatest of European cities. His reign was unusually long for a Greek tyrant, and his career furnished a model for other rulers and invaders of Sicily. With him in truth begins that wider range of Greek warfare, policy and dominion which the Macedonian kingdoms carry on.
The reign of Dionysius (405–367) is divided into marked periods by four wars with Carthage, in 398–397, 392, 383–378 and 368. Before the first war his home power was all but overthrown; he was besieged in Syracuse itself in 403; but he lived through the storm, and extended his dominion over Naxos, Catana and Leontini. AllHis war with Carthage. three perished as Greek cities. Catana was the first Siceliot city to receive a settlement of Campanian mercenaries, while others settled in non-Hellenic Entella. Naxos was settled by Sicels; Leontini was again merged in Syracuse. Now begin the dealings of Dionysius with Italy, where the Rhegines, kinsmen of Naxos and Catana, planned a fruitless attack on him in common with Messana. He then sought a wife at Rhegium, but was refused with scorn, while Locri gladly gave him Doris. The two cities afterwards fared accordingly. In the first war with Carthage the Greek cities under Carthaginian dominion or dependence helped him; so did Sicans and Sicels, which last had among them some stirring leaders; Elymian Segesta clave to Carthage. Dionysius took the Phoenician stronghold of Motye; but Himilco recovered it, destroyed Messana, founded the hill-town of Tauromenium above Naxos for Sicels who had joined him, defeated the fleet of Dionysiusoff Catana and besieged Syracuse. Between invasion and home discontent, the tyrant was all but lost; but the Spartan Pharacidas stood his friend; the Carthaginians again suffered from pestilence in the marshes of Lysimelia; and after a masterly combined attack by land and sea by Dionysius Himilco went away utterly defeated, taking with him his Carthaginian troops and forsaking his allies. Gela, Camarina, Himera, Selinus, Acragas itself, became subject allies of Dionysius. The Carthaginian dominion was cut down to what it had been before Hannibal's invasion. Dionysius then planted mercenaries at Leontini, conquered some Sicel towns, Henna among them, and made alliances with others. He restored Messana, peopling it with motley settlers, among whom were some of the old Messenians from Peloponnesus. But the Spartan masters of the old Messenian land grudged this possible beginning of a new Messenian power. Dionysius therefore moved his Messenians to a point on the north coast, where they founded Tyndaris. He clearly had a special eye to that region. He took the Sicel Cephaloedium (Cefalii), and even the old Phoenician border-fortress of Solous was betrayed to him. He beat back a Rhegine expedition; but his advance was checked by a failure to take the new Sicel settlement of Tauromenium. His enemies of all races now declared themselves. Many of the Sicels forsook him; Acragas declared herself independent; Carthage herself again took the field.
The Carthaginian war of 392-391 was not very memorable. Both sides failed in their chief enterprises, and the main interest of the story comes from the glimpses which we get of the Sicel states. Most of them joined the Carthaginian leader Mago; but he was successfully withstood at Agyrium by Agyris, the ally of Dionysius, who is described as a tyrant second in power to Dionysius himself. This way of speaking would imply that Agyrium had so far advanced in Greek ways as to run the usual course of a Greek commonwealth. The two tyrants drove Carthage to a peace by which she abandoned all her Sicel allies to Dionysius. This time he took Tauromenium and settled it with his mercenaries. For new colonists of this kind the established communities of all races were making way. Former transportations had been movements of Greeks from one Greek site to another. Now all races are confounded.
Dionysius, now free from Phoenician warfare, gave his mind to enterprises which raised his power to its greatest height. In the years 390-387 he warred against the Italiot cities in alliance with their Lucanian enemies. Rhegium, Croton, the whole toe of the boot, were conquered. Their lands were given to Locri; their citizens were taken to Syracuse, sometimes as slaves, sometimes as citizens. The master of the barbarians fell below the lowest Hellenic level when he put the brave Rhegine general Phyton to a lingering death, and in other cases imitated the Carthaginian cruelty of crucifixion. Conqueror of southern Italy, he turned his thoughts yet further, and became the first ruler of Sicily to stretch forth his hands towards the eastern peninsula. In the Adriatic he helped Hellenic extension, desiring no doubt to secure the important trade route into central Europe. He planted directly and indirectly some settlements in Apulia, while Syracusan exiles founded the more famous Ancona. He helped the Parians in their settlements of Issa and Pharos; he took into his pay Illyrian warriors with Greek arms, and helped the Molossian Alcetas to win back part of his kingdom. He was even charged with plotting with his Epirot ally to plunder Delphi. This even Sparta would not endure; Dionysius had to content himself with sending a fleet along the west coast of Italy, to carry off the wealth of the great temple of Caere.
In old Greece men now said that the Greek folk was hemmed in between the barbarian Artaxerxes on the one side and Dionysius, master and planter of barbarians, on the other. These feelings found expression when Dionysius sent his embassy to the Olympic games of 384, and when Lysias bade Greece rise against both its oppressors. Dionysius vented his wrath on those who were nearest to him, banishing many, among them his brother Leptines and his earliest friend Philistus, and putting many to death. He was also once more stirred up to play the part of a Hellenic champion in yet another Punic war.
In this war (383-378) Dionysius seems for once to have had his head turned by a first success. His demand that Carthage should altogether withdraw from Sicily was met by a crushing defeat. Then came a treaty by which Carthage kept Selinus and part of the land of Acragas. The Halycus became the boundary. Dionysius had also to pay moo talents, which caused him to be spoken of as becoming tributary to the barbarians. In the last years of his reign we hear dimly of both Syracusan and Carthaginian operations in southern Italy. He also gave help to Sparta against Thebes, sending Gaulish and Iberian mercenaries to take part in Greek warfare. His last war with Carthage, which began with an invasion of western Sicily, and which was going on at his death in 367 B.C., was ended by a peace by which the Halycus remained the boundary.
The tyranny of Dionysius fell, as usual, in the second generation; but it was kept up for ten years after his death by the Dionysius II. and Dion.energy of Philistus, now minister of his son Dionysius the Younger. It fell with the coming back of the exile Dion in The tyranny had lasted so long that it was less easy than at the overthrow of the elder tyrants to fall back on an earlier state of things. It had been a time of frightful changes throughout Sicily, full of breaking up of old landmarks, of confusion of races, and of movements of inhabitants. But it also saw the foundation393-337 B.C. of new cities. Besides Tyndaris and Tauromenium, the foundation of Halaca marks another step in Sicel progress towards Hellenism, while the Carthaginians founded their strong town and fortress of Lilybaeum in place of Motya. Among these changes the most marked is the settlement of Campanian mercenaries in Greek and Sicel towns. Yet they too could be brought under Greek influences; they were distant kinsfolk of the Sicels, and the forerunners of Rome. They mark one stage of migration from Italy into Sicily.
The reign of Dionysius was less brilliant in the way of art and literature than that of Hiero. Yet Dionysius himself sought fame as a poet, and his success at Athens shows that his compositions did not deserve the full scorn of his enemies. The dithyrambic poet Philoxenus, by birth of Cythera, won his fame in Sicily, and other authors of lost poems are mentioned in various Siceliot cities. One of the greatest losses in all Greek history is that:of the writings of Philistus (436-356), the Syracusan who had seen the Athenian siege and who died in the warfare between Dion and the younger Dionysius. Through the time of both tyrants, he was, next to the actual rulers, the first man in Sicily; but of his record of his own times we have only what filters through the recasting of Diodorus. But the most remarkable intellectual movement in Sicily at this time was the influence of the Pythagorean philosophy, which still lived on in southern Italy. It led, through Dion, to the several visits of Plato to Sicily under both the elder and the younger Dionysius.
The time following the Dionysian tyranny was at Syracuse a time full of the most stirring local and personal interest, under her two deliverers Dion and Timoleon. It is less easyTimoleon. to make out the exact effect on the rest of Sicily of the three years' career of Dion. Between the death of Dion in 354 and the coming of Timoleon in 344 we hear of a time of confusion in which Hellenic life seemed likely to die out. The cities, Greek and Sicel, were occupied by tyrants. The work of Timoleon (q.v.), whose headquarters were first at Tauromenium, then at Hadranum, was threefold - the immediate deliverance of Syracuse, the restoration of Sicily in general to freedom and Greek life, and the defence of the Greek cities against Carthage. The great victory of the Crimissus in 339 led to a peace with Carthage with the old frontier; but all Greek cities were to be free, and Carthage was to give no help to any tyrant. Timoleon drove out all the tyrants, and it specially marks the fusion of the two races that the people of the Sicel Agyrium were admitted to the citizenship of free Syracuse. From some towns he drove out the Campanians, and he largely invited Greek settlement, especially from the Italiot towns, which were hard pressed by the Bruttians. The Corinthian deliverer gave, not only Syracuse, but all Greek Sicily, a new lease of life, though a short one.
We have unluckily no intelligible account of Sicily during the twenty years after the death of Timoleon (337-317). His deliverance is said to have been followed by greatAgathocles. immediate prosperity, but wars and dissensions very soon began again. The Carthaginians played off one city and party against another, and Agathocles, following the same policy, became in 317, by treachery and massacre, undisputed tyrant of Syracuse, and spread his dominion over many other cities. Acragas, strengthened by Syracusan exiles, now stands out again as the rival of Syracuse. The Carthaginian Hamilcar won many Greek cities to the Punic alliance. Agathocles, however, with Syracuse blockaded by a Carthaginian fleet, formed the bold idea of carrying the war into Africa.
For more than three years (310-307) each side carried on warfare in the land of the other. Carthage was hard pressed by Agathocles, while Syracuse was no;less hard pressed by Hamilcar. The force with which Agathocles invaded Africa was far from being wholly Greek; but it was representatively European. Gauls, Samnites, Tyrrhenians, fought for him, while mercenary Greeks and Syracusan exiles fought for Carthage. He won many battles and towns; he quelled mutinies of his own troops; by inviting and murdering Ophellas, lord of Cyrene, he doubled his army and brought Carthage near to despair. Meanwhile Syracuse, all but lost, had driven back Hamilcar, and had taken him prisoner in an unsuccessful attack on Euryelus, and slain him when he came again with the help of the Syracusan exile Deinocrates. Meanwhile Acragas, deeming Agathocles and the barbarians alike weakened, proclaimed freedom for the Sicilian cities under her own headship. Many towns, both Greek and Sicel, joined the confederacy. It has now become impossible to distinguish the two races; Henna and Herbessus are now the fellows of Camarina and Leontini. But the hopes of Acragas perished when Agathocles came back from Africa, landed at Selinus, and marched to Syracuse, taking one town after another. A new scheme of Sicilian union was taken up by Deinocrates, which cut short his dominion. But he now relieved Syracuse from the Carthaginian blockade; his mercenaries gained a victory over Acragas; and he sailed again for Africa, where fortune had turned against his son Archagathus, as it now did against himself. He left his sons and his army to death, bondage or Carthaginian service, and came back to Sicily almost alone. Yet he could still gather a force which enabled him to seize Segesta, to slay or enslave the whole population, and to settle the city with new inhabitants. This change amounts to the extinction of one of the elements in the old population of Sicily. We hear no more of Elymi; indeed Segesta has been practically Greek long before this. Deinocrates and Agathocles came to a kind of partnership in 304, and a peace with Carthage, with the old boundary, secured Agathocles in the possession of Syracuse and eastern Sicily (301).
At some stage of his African campaigns Agathocles had taken the title of king. Earlier tyrants were well pleased to be spoken of as kings; but no earlier rulers of Sicily put either their heads or their names on the coin. Agathocles now put his name, first without, and then with, the kingly title, though never his own likeness - Hiero II. was the first to do this. This was in imitation of the Macedonian leaders who divided the dominion of Alexander. The relations between the eastern and western Greek worlds are drawing closer. Agathocles in his old age took a wife of the house of Ptolemy; he gave his daughter Lanassa to Pyrrhus, and established his power east of Hadria, as the first Sicilian ruler of Corcyra. Alike more daring and more cruel than any ruler before him, he made the island the seat of a greater power than any of them.
On the death of Agathocles tyrants sprang up in various cities. Acragas, under its king Phintias, won back for thePerido after Agathocles. moment somewhat of its old greatness. By a new after depopulation of Gela, he founded the youngest of Siceliot cities, Phintias, by the mouth of the southern des. Himera. And Hellas was cut short by the seizure of Messana by the disbanded Campanian mercenaries of Agathocles (c. 282), who proclaimed themselves a new people in a new city by the name of Mamertines, children of Mamers or Mars. Messana became an Italian town—"Mamertina civitas."
The Campanian occupation of Messana is the first of the chain of events which led to the Roman dominion in Sicily. AsPyrrhus. yet Rome has hardly been mentioned in Sicilian story. The Mamertine settlement, the war with Pyrrhus, bring us on quickly. Pyrrhus (q.v.) came as the champion of the western Greeks against all barbarians, whether Romans in Italy or Carthaginians in Sicily. His Sicilian war (278-276) was a mere interlude between the two acts of his war with Rome. As son-in-law of Agathocles, he claimed to be specially king of Sicily, and he held the Sicilian conquest of Corcyra as the dowry of Lanassa. With such a deliverer, deliverance meant submission. Pyrrhus is said to have dreamed of kingdoms of Sicily and of Italy for his two sons, the grandsons of Agathocles, and he himself reigned for two years in Sicily as a king who came to be no less hated than the tyrants. Still as Hellenic champion in Sicily he has no peer.
The Greek king, on his way back to fight for Tarentum against Rome, had to cut his way through Carthaginians and Mamertines in Roman alliance. His saying that he left Sicily as a wrestlingground for Romans and Carthaginians was the very truth of the matter. Very soon came the first war between Rome and Carthage (the "First Punic War"). It mattered much, now that Sicily was to have a barbarian master, whether that master should be the kindred barbarian of Europe or the barbarian of Asia transplanted to the shore of Africa.
Sicily in truth never had a more hopeful champion than Hiero II. of Syracuse. The established rule of Carthage in western Sicily was now something that could well be endured alongside of the robber commonwealth at Messana. The dominion of the freebooters was spreading. Besides the whole north-eastern corner of the island, it reached inland to Agyrium and Centoripa. The Mamertines leagued with other Campanian freebooters who had forsaken the service of Rome to establish themselves at Rhegium. But a new Syracusan power was growing up to meet them. Hiero, claiming descent from Gelo, pressed the Mamertines hard. He all but drove them to the surrender of Messana; he even helped Rome to chastise her own rebels at Rhegium. The wrestling-ground was thus opened for the two barbarian commonwealths. Carthaginian troops held the Messanian citadel against Hiero, while another party in Messana craved the help of the head of Italy. Rome, chastiser of the freebooters of Rhegium, saw Italian brethren in the freebooters of Messana.
The exploits of Hiero had already won him the kingly title (270) at Syracuse, and he was the representative of Hellenic life and independence throughout the island. Partly in this character, partly as direct sovereign, he was virtual ruler of a large part of eastern Sicily. But he could not aspire to the dominion of earlier Syracusan rulers. The advance of Rome after the retreat of Pyrrhus kept the new king from all hope of their Italian position. And presently the new kingdom exchanged independence for safety. When Rome entered Sicily as the ally of the Mamertines, Hiero became the ally of Carthage. But in the second year of the war (263) he found it needful to change sides. His alliance with Rome marks a great epoch in the history of the Greek nation. The kingdom of Hiero was the first-fruits out of Italy of the system by which alliance with Rome grew into subjection to Rome. He was the first of Rome's kingly vassals. His only burthen was to give help to the Roman side in war; within his kingdom he was free, and his dominions flourished as no part of Sicily had flourished since the days of Timoleon.
During the twenty-three years of the First Punic War (264-241) the rest of the island suffered greatly. The war for Sicily was fought in and round Sicily, and the Sicilian citiesFirst Punic War. were taken and retaken by the contending powers (see Punic Wars). The highest calling of the Greek had now, in the western lands, passed to the Roman. By the treaty which ended the war in 241 Carthage ceded to Rome all her possessions in Sicily. As that part of the island which kept a national Greek government became the276-210 B.C. first kingdom dependent on Rome, so the share of Carthage became the first Roman province. Messana alone remained an Italian ally of Rome on Sicilian soil.
We have no picture of Sicily in the first period of Roman rule. One hundred and seventy years later, several towns within the original province enjoyed various degrees of freedom,. which they had doubtless kept from the beginning. Panormus, Segesta, with Centoripa, Halesa and Halikye, once Sicel but now Hellenized, kept the position of free cities (liberae et immunes, Cic. Verr. iii. 6). The rest paid tithe to the Roman people as. landlord. The province was ruled by a praetor sent yearly from Rome. It formed, as it had even from the Carthaginian period, a closed customs district. Within the Roman province the new state of things called forth much discontent; but Hiero remained the faithful ally of Rome through a long life. On his death (216) and the accession of his grandson Hieronymus, his dynasty was swept away by the last revolution of Greek Syracuse. The result was revolt against Rome, the great siege and capture of the city, the addition of Hiero's kingdom to the Roman province. Two towns only, besides Messana, which had taken the Roman side, Tauromenium and Netos, were admitted to the full privileges of Roman alliance. Tauromenium indeed was more highly favoured than Messana. Rome had a right to demand ships of Messana, but not of Tauromenium. Some towns were destroyed; the people of Henna were massacred. Acragas, again held for Carthage, was for four years (214-210) the centre of an active campaign. The story of Acragas ended in plunder, slaughter and slavery; three years later, the story of Agrigentum began.
The reign of Hiero was the last time of independent Greek culture in Sicily. His time marks the growth of a new form of local Sicilian genius. The spread of Hellenic culture among the Sicels had in return made a Greek home for many Sicel beliefs, traditions and customs. Bucolic poetry is the native growth of Sicily; in the hands of Theocritus it grew out of the germs supplied by Epicharmus and Sophron into a distinct and finished form of the art. The poet, himself of Syracuse, went to and fro between the courts of Hiero and Ptolemy Philadelphus; but his poetry is essentially Sicilian. So is that of his successors, both the Syracusan Moschus and Bion of Smyrna, who came to Sicily as to his natural school.
With the incorporation of the kingdom of Hiero into the Roman province independent Sicilian history comes to anSicily Roman. end for many ages. In one part of the island the Roman people stepped into the position of Carthage, in another part into that of King Hiero. The allied cities kept their several terms of alliance; the free cities kept their freedom; elsewhere the land paid to the Roman people, according to the law of Hiero, the tithe which it had paid to Hiero. But, as the tithe was let out to publicani, oppression was easy. The praetor, after the occupation of Syracuse, dwelled there in the palace of Hiero, as in the capital of the island. But, as a survival of the earlier state of things, one of his two quaestors was quartered at Eryx, the other being in attendance on himself. Under the supreme dominion of Rome even the unprivileged cities kept their own laws, magistrates and assemblies, provision being made for suits between Romans and Sicilians and between Sicilians of different cities (Verr. ii. 16). In Latin the one name Siculi takes in all the inhabitants of the island; no distinction is drawn between Greek and Sicel, or even between Greek and Phoenician cities. It is assumed that all Siculi are Greeks (Verr. ii. 3, 2 9, 49, 5 2, 65; iii. 37, 40, 73). Even in Greek, /itKEXoL is now sometimes used instead of nKE%L&rat. All the persons spoken of by Cicero have Greek names save - a most speaking exception - Gaius Heius of Mamertina civitas. Inscriptions too from Sicel and Phoenician cities are commonly Greek, even when they commemorate men with Phoenician names, coupled perhaps with Greek surnames. The process of Hellenization which had been so long going on had at last made Sicily thoroughly Greek. Roman conquest itself, which everywhere carried a Greek element with it, would help this result. The corn of the fertile island was said even then to feed the Roman people. It was this character of Sicily which led to its one frightful piece of localSlave revolts. history. The wars of Rome, and the systematic piracy and kidnapping that followed them, filled the Meditteranean lands with slaves of all nations. Sicily stood out before the rest as the first land to be tilled by slave-gangs, on the estates both of rich natives and of Roman settlers. It became the granary of Rome and the free population naturally degenerated and died out. The slaves were most harshly treated, and even encouraged by their masters to rob. The land was full of disorder, and the praetors shrank from enforcing the law against offenders, many of whom, as Roman knights, might be their own judges. Of these causes came the two great slave revolts of the second half of the 2nd century B.C. The first lasted from 134 to 132, the time of Tiberius Gracchus and the fall of Numantia. Enna and Tauromenium were the headquarters of the revolt. The second (the centre of which was Triocala, the modern S. Anna, 9 m. N.E. of Sciacca) lasted from 102 to 99, the time of the Cimbrian invasion. At other times the power of Rome might have quelled the revolt more speedily.
The slave wars were not the only scourge that fell on Sicily. The pirates troubled the coast, and all other evils were out done by the three years' government of Verres (73-70 B.C.)Later Roman rule in Sicily. Besides the light which the great impeachment throws on the state of the island, his administration seems really to have dealt a lasting blow to its Sicily prosperity. The slave wars had not directly touched the great cities; Verres plundered and impoverished everywhere, removing anything of value, especially works of art, that took his fancy, and there is hardly a city that had not to complain of what it suffered at his hands. Another blow was the occupation of Messana by Sextus Pompeius in 43 B.C. He was master of Sicily for seven years, and during this period the corn supply of Rome was seriously affected, while Strabo (vi. 2, 4) attributed to this war the decayed state of several cities. To undo this mischief Augustus planted Roman colonies at Palermo, Syracuse, Tauromenium, Thermae, Tyndaris and Catana. The island thus received another Italian infusion; but, as elsewhere, Latin in no way displaced Greek; it was simply set up alongside of it for certain purposes. Roman tastes now came in; Roman buildings, especially amphitheatres, arose. The Mamertines were Roman citizens, and Netum, Centuripae and Segesta had become Latin, perhaps by a grant of Caesar himself, but in any case before the concession of Latin rights to the rest of Sicily; this was followed by M. Antonius's grant of full citizenship to the whole island. But Sicily never became thoroughly Roman; no roads were constructed, so that not a single Roman milestone has been found in the whole island. In the division of provinces between Augustus and the senate, Sicily fell to the latter. Under the empire it has practically no history. Few emperors visited Sicily; Hadrian was there, as everywhere, in A.D. 126, and ascended Etna, and Julian also (C.D. 10). In its provincial state Sicily fell back more than some other provinces. Ausonius could still reckon Catana and fourfold Syracuse ("quadruplices Syracusas") among the noble cities; but Sicily is not, like Gaul, rich in relics of later Roman life, and it is now Egypt rather than Sicily that feeds Rome. The island has no internal history beyond a very characteristic fact, a third revolt of slaves and bandits, which was quelled with difficulty in the days of Gallienus. External history there could be none in the central island, with no frontier open to Germans or Persians. There was a single Frankish attack under Probus (276-282). In the division of Constantine, when the word " province " had lost its meaning, when Italy itself was mapped out into provinces, Sicily became one of these last. Along with Africa, Raetia and western Illyricum, it became part of the Italian praefecture; along with the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, it became part of the Italian diocese. It was now ruled by a corrector, afterwards by a consular under the authority of the vicar of the Roman city (Not. Imp. 1 4, 5).
Sicilian history began again when the wandering of the nations planted new powers, not on the frontier of the empire, but at its heart. The powers between which SicilyTeutonic masters. now passed to and fro were Teutonic powers. The earlier stages of Teutonic advance could not touch Sicily. Alaric thought of a Sicilian expedition, but a storm hindered him. Sicily was to be reached only by a Teutonic power which made its way through Gaul, Spain and Africa. The Vandal now dwelt at Carthage instead of the Canaanite. Gaiseric (429-477) subdued the great islands for which Roman and Phoenician had striven. Along with Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearic Isles, Sicily was again a possession of a naval power at Carthage. Gaiseric made a treaty with Odoacer almost like that which ended the First Punic War. He gave up (Victor Vitensis i. 4) the island on condition of a tribute, which was hardly paid by Theodoric. Sicily was now ruled by a Gothic count, and the Goths claimed to have treated the land with special tenderness (Procopius, Bell. Goth. iii. 16). The island, like the rest of Theodoric's dominions, was certainly well looked after by the great king and his minister; yet we hear darkly of disaffection to, Gothic rule (Cass. Var. i. 3). Theodoric gave back Lilybaeum to the Vandal king Thrasamund as the dowry of his sister Analafrida (Proc. Bell. Vand. i. 8). Yet Lilybaeum was a Gothic possession when Belisarius, conqueror of Africa, demanded it in vain as part of the Vandal possessions (Proc. Bell. Vand. ii. 5; Bell. Goth. i. 3). In the Gothic war Sicily was the first land to be recovered for the empire, and that with the good will of its people (535). Panormus alone was stoutly defended by its Gothic garrison. In 550 Totila took some fortresses, but the great cities all withstood him, and the Goths were driven out the next year.
Sicily was thus won back to the Roman dominion. BelisariusSicily under the Eastern Empire. was Pyrrhus and Marcellus in one. For 430 years some part of Sicily, for 282 years the whole of it, Eastern again remained a Roman province. To the Gothic count again succeeded, under Justinian, a Roman praetor, in Greek 6rparrj'yos. That was the official title; we often hear of a patrician of Sicily, but patrician (q.v.) was in strictness a personal rank. In the later mapping out of the empire into purely military divisions, the theme (thema) of Sicily took in both the island and the nearest peninsula of the mainland, the oldest Italy. The island itself was divided for financial purposes, almost as in the older times, into the two divisions of Syracuse and Lilybaeum. The revolutions of Italy hardly touched a land which looked steadily to the eastern Rome as its head. The Lombard and Frankish masters of the peninsula never fixed themselves in the island. When the Frank took the imperial crown of the west, Sicily still kept its allegiance to the Augustus who reigned at Constantinople, and was only torn away piecemeal from the empire by the next race of conquerors.
This connexion of Sicily with the eastern division of the empire no doubt largely helped to keep up Greek life in theEcclesiastical relations with Italy. island. This was of course strengthened by union with a power which had already a Greek side, and where the Greek side soon became dominant. Still the connexion with Italy was close, especially the ecclesiastical connexion. Some things tend to make Sicily look less Greek than it really was. The great source of our knowledge of Sicily in the century which followed the reconquest by Belisarius is the Letters of Pope Gregory the Great, and they naturally show the most Latin side of things. The merely official use of Latin was, it must be remembered, common to Sicily with Constantinople. Gregory's Letters are largely occupied with the affairs of the great Sicilian estates held by the Roman church, as by the churches of Milan and Ravenna. But they deal with many other matters. Saint Paul's visit to Syracuse naturally gave rise to many legends; but the Christian church undoubtedly took early root in Sicily. We hear of Manichaeans (C.D. 163); Jews were plentiful, and Gregory causes compensation to be made for the unlawful destruction of synagogues. Many Christian catacombs and Byzantine rock-cut villages, churches and tombs have been explored of recent years. See the comprehensive work by the late J. Fuhrer and V. Schultze, "Die altchristlichen Grabstatte Siziliens" (Berlin, 1907, Jahrbuch des K.D. archtiologischen Instituts, Erganzungsheft vii.): and several articles by P. Orsi in the Notizie degli scavi, and in Byzantinische Zeitschrift (1898, r; 1899, 613). Of paganism we find no trace, save that pagan slaves, doubtless not natives of the island, were held by Jews (C.D. 127). Herein is a contrast between Sicily and Sardinia, where, according to a letter from Gregory to the empress Constantina, wife of the emperor Maurice (594-595), praying for a lightening of taxation in both islands, paganism still lingered (C.D. 121). Sicily belonged to477-829. the Latin patriarchate; but we already (C.D. 103) see glimmerings of the coming disputes between the Eastern and Western Churches. Things were changed when Leo the Isaurian confiscated the Sicilian and Calabrian estates of the Roman Church (Theoph. i. 631).
In the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries the old drama of Sicily was acted again. The island is again disputed between Europe and Asia, transplanted to Africa between Greek and Semitic dwellers on her own soil. Panormus and Syracuse are again the headquarters of races and creeds, of creeds yet more than of races. The older religious differences were small compared with the strife for life and death between Christendom and Islam. Gregory and Mahomet were contemporaries,Early Saracen inroads. and, though Saracen occupation did not begin in Early Sicily till more than two centuries after Gregory's death, Saracen inroads began much sooner. In 655 (Theoph. i. 532) part of Sicily was plundered, and its inhabitants carried to Damascus. Then came the strange episode of the visit of Constans II. (641-668), the first emperor, it would seem, who had set foot in Sicily since Julian. After a war with the Lombards, after twelve days' plunder of Rome, he came on to Syracuse, where his oppressions led to his murder in 668. Sicily now saw for the first time the setting up of a tyrant in the later sense. Mezetius, commander of the Eastern army of Constans, revolted, but Sicily and Roman Italy kept their allegiance to the new emperor Constantine Pogonatus, who came in person to destroy him. Then came another Saracen inroad from Alexandria, in which Syracuse was sacked (Paul. Diac. v. 13). Towards the end of the 8th century, though Sicily itself was untouched, its patricians and their forces play a part in the affairs of southern Italy as enemies of the Frankish power. Charlemagne himself was believed (Theoph. i. 736) to have designs on Sicily; but, when it came to Saracen invasion, the sympathies of both pope and Caesar lay with the invaded Christian land (Mon. Car. 323, 328).
In 813 a peace for ten years was made between the Saracens and the patrician Gregory. A few years after it expired Saracen settlement in the island began. About this time CreteSaracen conquest. was seized by Spanish adventurers. But the first Saracen settlers in Sicily were the African neighbours of Sicily, and they were called to the work by a home treason. The story has been tricked out with many romantic details (Chron. Salern. 60, ap. Pertz, iii. 498; Theoph. Cont. ii. 272; George Cedrenus, ii. 97); but it seems plain that Euphemius or Euthymius of Syracuse, supported by his own citizens, revolted against Michael the Stammerer (820-829), and, when defeated by an imperial army, asked help of Ziyadet Allah, the Aghlabite prince of Kairawan, and offered to hold the island of him. The struggle of 138 years now began. Euphemius, a puppet emperor, was led about by his Saracen allies much as earlier puppet emperors had been led about by Alaric and Ataulf, till he was slain in one of the many sieges. The second Semitic conquest of Sicily began in 827 at Mazzara on the old border of Greek and Phoenician. The advance of the invaders was slow. In two years all that was done was to occupy Mazzara and Mineum - the old Menae of Ducetius - strange points certainly to begin with, and seemingly to destroy Agrigentum, well used to destruction. Attacks on Syracuse failed; so did attacks on Henna - Castrum Ennae,829-1060. now changing into Castrum Johannis (perhaps Karrpocitvvri), Castrogiovanni. The actual gain was small; but the invaders took seizin alike of the coast and of the island.
A far greater conquest followed when new invaders came from Spain and when Theodotus was killed in 830. The next year Panormus pased away for ever from Roman, for 230 years from Christian, rule. Syracuse was for fifty years, not only, as of old, the bulwark of Europe, but the bulwark of Christendom. By the conquest of Panormus the Saracens were firmly rooted in the island. It became the seat of the amir or lord of Sicily. We hear dimly of treasonable dealings with them on the part of the strategos Alexius, son-in-law of the emperor Theophilus; but we see more clearly that Saracen advance was largely hindered by dissensions between the African and the Spanish settlers. In the end the Moslem conquests in Sicily became an Aghlabite principality owning at best a formal superiority in the princes of I K airawan. With the Saracen occupation begins a new division of the island, which becomes convenient in tracing the progress of Saracen conquest. This is into three valleys, known in later forms of language as Val di Mazzara or Mazza in the N.W., Val di Noto in the S.E. and Val Demone (a name of uncertain origin) in the N.E. (see Arrari, Musulmani in Sicilia, i. 465). The first Saracen settlement of Val di Mazzara answers roughly to the old Carthaginian possessions. From Panormus the amir or lord of Sicily, Mahommed ibn Abdallah, sent forth his plunderers throughout Sicily and even into southern Italy. There, however, they made no lasting settlements.
The chief work of the next ten years was the conquest of the Val di Noto, but the first great advance was made elsewhere. In 843 the Saracens won the Mamertine city, Messana, and thus stood in the path between Italy and Sicily. Then the work of conquest, as described by the Arabic writers, went on, but slowly. At last, in 859, the very centre of the island, the stronghold of Henna, was taken, and the main part of Val di Noto followed. But the divisions among the Moslems helped the Christians; they won back several towns, and beat off all attacks on Syracuse and Tauromenium. It is strange that the reign of Basil the Macedonian (867), a time of such renewed vigour in the empire, was the time of the greatest of all losses in Sicily. In Italy the imperial frontier largely advanced; in Sicily imperial fleets threatened Panormus. But in 875 the accession of Ibrahim ibn Ahmad in Africa changed the face of things. The amir in Sicily, Ja`far ibn Ahmad, received strict orders to act vigorously against the eastern towns. In 877 began the only successful Semitic siege of Syracuse. The next year the city passed for the first time under the yoke of strangers to the fellowship of Europe.
Thus in fifty-one years the imperial and Christian territory in Sicily was cut down to a few points on or near the eastern coast, to the Val Demone in short without Messana. But between Moslem dissension and Christian valour the struggle had still to be waged for eighty-seven years. Henna had been the chief centre of Christian resistance a generation earlier; its place was now taken by the small fort of Rametta not far from Messina. The Moslems of Sicily were busy in civil wars; Arabs fcught against Berbers, both against the African overlord. In goo Panormus had to be won by a son of Ibrahim from Moslem rebels provoked by his father's cruelty. But when Ibrahim himself came into Sicily, renewed efforts against the Christians led to the first taking of Tauromenium (908), of Rametta and of other points. The civil war that followed his death, the endless revolutions of Agrigentum, where the weaker side did not scruple to call in Christian help, hindered any real Saracen occupation of eastern Sicily. The emperors never gave up their claims to Sicily or their hopes of recovering it. Besides the struggle with the Christians in the island, there was often direct warfare between the empire and the Saracens; but such warfare was more active in Italy than in Sicily. In 956 a peace or truce was made by the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. A few years later, Otho the Great, the restorer of the Western empire, looked to Sicily as a land to be won back for Christendom. It had not yet wholly passed away; but the day soon came. Strange to say, as Syracuse fell in the reign of Basil the Macedonian, the Saracen occupation was completed in the reign of Nikephoros Phokas (Nicephorus Phocas), the deliverer of Crete. In the year of his accession (963) Tauromenium was taken, and became for a hundred years a Mahommedan possession. Rametta was the last stronghold to fall (965).
Thus in 138 years the Arab did what the Canaanite had never done. The whole island was a Semitic, that is a Mahommedan, possession. Yet the complete Saracen possession of Sicily may seem a thing of a moment. Its first and longest period lasted only 73 years. In that time Mahommedan Sicily was threatened by a Western emperor; the Arabic writers claimReconquest by the Eastern Empire. the Saracen army by which Otho II. was beaten back by in 982 as a Sicilian army. A mightier enemy was threatening in the East. Basil II. planned the recovery of Sicily in good earnest. In 1027 he sent a great army; but his death stopped their progress before they reached the island. But the great conqueror had left behind him men trained in his school, and eleven years later the eagles of the new Rome again marched to Sicilian victories. The ravages of the Sicilian Saracens in the Greek islands were more frightful than ever, and George Maniaces, the first captain of his time, was sent to win back the lost land. He too was helped by Saracen dissensions. The amir Abul-afar became a Roman vassal, and,In 1038. like Alaric of old, became magister militum in the Roman army. His brother and rival Abuhafas brought help from Africa; and finally all joined against the Christians. Four years of Christian victory (1038-1042) followed. In the host of Maniaces were men of all races - Normans, who had already begun to show themselves in south Italy, and the Varangian guard, the best soldiers of the empire, among whom Harold Hardrada himself is said to have held a place. Town after town was delivered, first Messana, then Syracuse, then a crowd of others. The exact extent of the reconquest is uncertain; Byzantine writers claim the deliverance of the whole island; but it is certain that the Saracens never lost Panormus. But court influence spoiled everything: Maniaces was recalled; under his successor Stephen, brother-in-law of the emperor Michael, the Saracens won back what they had lost. Messana alone held out, for how long a time is uncertain. But a conqueror came who had no empresses to thwart him. In 1060 began the thirty years' work of the first Roger.
Thus for 263 years the Christian people of some part or other of Sicily were in subjection to Moslem masters. But that subjection differed widely in different times and places.Sicily under Saracen rule. Sicily The land was won bit by bit. One town was taken by storm; another submitted on terms harsher or Saracen more favourable. The condition of the Christians varied from that of personal slaves to that of communities left free on the payment of tribute. The great mass were in the intermediate state usual among the non-Mahommedan subjects of a Mahommedan power. The dhimmi of Sicily were in essentially the same case as the rayahs of the Turk. While the conquest was going on, the towns that remained unconquered gained in point of local freedom. They became allies rather than subjects of the distant emperor. So did the tributary districts, as long as the original terms were kept. But, as ever, the condition of the subject race grew worse. After the complete conquest of the island, while the mere slaves had turned Mahommedans, there is nothing more heard of tributary districts. At the coming of the Normans the whole Christian population was in the state of rayahs. Still Christianity and the Greek tongue never died out; churches and monasteries received and held property; there still are saints and scholars. It would be rash to deny that traces of other dialects may not have lingered on; but Greek and Arabic were the two written tongues of Sicily when the Normans came. The Sicilian Saracens were hindered by their internal feuds from ever becoming a great power; but they stood high among Mahommedan nations. Their advance in civilization is shown by their position under the Normans, and above all by their admirable style of architecture (see Palermo). They had a literature which Norman kings studied and promoted. The Normans in short came into the inheritance of the two most civilized nations of the time, and allowed them to flourish side by side.
The most brilliant time for Sicily as a power in the world begins with the coming of the Normans. Never before or after was the island so united or so independent. Some ofNorman conquest. the old tyrants had ruled out of Sicily; none had ruled over all Sicily. The Normans held all Sicily as the centre of a dominion which stretched far beyond it. The conquest was the work of one " man, Count Roger of the house of Hauteville (see Roger I.). The conquests of the Normans in Italy and Sicily form part of one enterprise; but they altogether differ in character. In Italy they overthrew the Byzantine dominion; their own rule was perhaps not worse, but they were not deliverers. In Sicily they were welcomed by the Christians as deliverers from infidel bondage.
As in the Saracen conquest of Sicily, as in the Byzantine recovery, so in the Norman conquest, the immediate occasion was given by a home traitor. Count Roger had already made1060-1090. a plundering attack, when Becumen of Catania, driven out by his brother, urged him to serious invasion. Messina was taken in 1060, and became for a while the Norman capital. The Christians everywhere welcomed the conqueror. But at Troina they presently changed their minds, and joined with the Saracens to besiege the count in their citadel. At Catania Becumen was set up again as Roger's vassal, and he did good service till he was killed. Roger soon began to fix his eye on the Saracen capital. Against that city he had Pisan help, as the inscription on the Pisan duoino witnesses (cf. Geoff. Mal. ii. 34). But Palermo was not taken until 1071, and then only by the help of Duke Robert, who kept the prize to himself. Still its capture was the turning-point in the struggle. Taormina (Tauromenium) was won in 1078. Syracuse, under its amir Benarvet, held out stoutly. He retook Catania by the help of a Saracen to whom Roger had trusted the city, and whom he himself punished. Catania was won back by the count's son Jordan. But progress was delayed by Jordan's rebellion and by the absence of Roger in his brother's wars. In 1085 Syracuse was won. Next year followed Girgenti and Castrogiovanni, whose chief became a Christian. Noto held out till 1090. Then the whole island was won, and Roger completed his conquest by a successful expedition to Malta.
Like the condition of the Greeks under the Saracens, so the condition of the Saracens under the Normans differed in differentSaracens under Norman rule. places according to the circumstances of each conquest. The Mahommedan religion was everywhere tolerated, in many places much more. But it would seem that, just as under the Moslem rule, conversions from Christianity to Islam were forbidden. On the other hand, conversions from Islam to Christianity were not always encouraged; Saracen troops were employed from the beginning, and Count Roger seems to have thought them more trustworthy when unconverted. At Palermo the capitulation secured to the Saracens the full enjoyment of their own laws; Girgenti was long mainly Saracen; in Val di Noto the Saracens kept towns and castles of their own. On the other hand, at Messina there were few or none, and we hear of both Saracen and Greek villeins, the latter doubtless abiding as they were in Saracen times. But men of both races were trusted and favoured according to their deserts. The ecclesiastical relations between Greeks and Latins are harder to trace. At the taking of Palermo the Greek bishop was restored; but his successors were Latins, and Latin prelates were placed in the bishoprics which Count Roger founded. Urban II. visited Sicily to promote the union of the church, and he granted to the count those special ecclesiastical powers held by the counts and kings of Sicily as hereditary legates of the Holy See which grew into the famous Sicilian monarchy (Geoff. Mal. iv. 2 9). But Greek worship went on; at Messina it lingered till the 15th century (Pirro, Sicilia sacra, i. 420, 431, 449), as it has been since brought back by the Albanian colonists. But the Greeks of Sicily have long been united Greeks, admitting the authority of the see of Rome.
In its results the Norman conquest of Sicily was a Latin conquest far more thorough than that which had been madeLinguistic elements in Sicily. by the Roman commonwealth. The Norman princes protected all the races, creeds and tongues of the island, Greek, Saracen and Jew. But new races came to settle alongside of them, all of whom were Latin as far as their official speech was concerned. The Normans brought the French tongue with them; it remained the court speech during the 12th century, and Sicily was thrown open to all speakers of French, many of whom came from England. There was constant intercourse between the two great islands, both ruled by Norman kings, and many natives of England filled high places in Sicily. But French was only a language of society, not of business or literature. The languages of inscriptions and documents are Greek, Arabic and Latin, in private writings sometimes Hebrew. The kings understood Greek and Arabic, and their deeds and works were commemorated in both tongues. Hence comes the fact, at first sight so strange, that Greek, Arabic and French have all given way to a dialect of Italian. But the cause is not far to seek. The Norman conquest opened Sicily to settlers from Italy, above all from the Norman possessions in Italy. Under the name of Lombards, they became an important, in some parts a dominant, element. Thus at Messina, where we hear nothing of Saracens, we hear much of the disputes between Greeks and Lombards. The Lombards had hardly a distinct language to bring with them. At the time of the conquest, it was already found out that French had become a distinct speech from Latin; Italian hardly was such. The Lombard element, during the Norman reign, shows itself, not in whole documents or inscriptions, but in occasional words and forms, as in some of the mosaics at Monreale. And, if any element, Latin or akin to Latin, had lingered on through Byzantine and Saracen rule, it would of course be attracted to the new Latin element, and would help to strengthen it. It was this Lombard element that had the future before it. Greek and Arabic were antiquated, or at least isolated, in a land which Norman conquest had made part of western Europe and Latin Christendom. They could grow only within the island; they could gain no strength from outside. Even the French element was in some sort isolated, and later events made it more so. But the Lombard element was constantly strengthened by settlement from outside. In the older Latin conquest, the Latin carried Greek with him, and the Greek element absorbed the Latin. Latin now held in western Europe the place which Greek had held there. Thus, in the face of Italian, both Greek and Arabic died out. Step by step, Christian Sicily became Latin in speech and in worship. But this was not till the Norman reigns were over. Till the end of the 12th century Sicily was the one land where men of divers creeds and tongues could live side by side.
Hence came both the short-lived brilliancy of Sicily and its later decay. In Sicily there were many nations all protected by the Sicilian king; but there was no Sicilian nation. Greek, Saracen, Norman, Lombard and Jew could not be fused into one people; it was the boast of Sicily that each kept his laws and tongue undisturbed. Such a state of things could live on only under an enlightened despotism; the discordant elements could not join to work out really free and national institutions. Sicily had parliaments, and some constitutional principles were well understood. But they were assemblies of barons, or at most of barons and citizens; they could only have represented the Latin elements, Norman and Lombard, in the island. The elder races, Greek and Saracen, stand outside the relations between the Latin king and his Latin subjects. Still, as long as Greek and Saracen were protected and favoured, so long was Sicily the most brilliant of European kingdoms. But its greatness had no groundwork of national life; for lack of it the most brilliant of kingdoms presently sank below the level of other lands.
Four generations only span the time from the birth of Count Roger, about 1030, to the death of the emperor Frederick II. in 1250. Roger, great count of Sicily, was, at hisRoger I. death in 1101, succeeded by his young son Simon, and he in 1105 by the second Roger, the first king. He inherited all Sicily, save half Palermo - the other half had been given up - and part of Calabria. The rest of Palermo was soon granted; the Semitic capital became the abiding head of Sicily. On the death of his cousin Duke William of Apulia, Roger gradually founded (1127-1140) a great Italian dominion. To the Apulian duchy he added (1136) the Norman principality of Capua, Naples (1138), the last dependency of the Eastern empire in Italy, and (1140) the Abruzzi, an undoubted land of the Western empire. He thus formed a dominion which has been divided, united and handed over from one prince to another oftener than any other state in Europe, but whose frontier has hardly changed at all. In 1130 Roger was crowned at Palermo, by authority of the antipope Anacletus, taking the strange title of "king of Sicily and Italy." This, on his reconciliation with Pope Innocent II., he exchanged for "king of Sicily and of the duchy of Apulia and of the principality of Capua." By virtue of the old relations between the popes and the Normans of Apulia, he held his kingdom in fief of the Holy See, a position which on the whole strengthened the royal power. But his power, like that of Dionysius and Agathocles, was felt in more distant regions. His admiral George of Antioch, Greek by birth and creed, warred against the Eastern empire, won Corfu (Korypho; the name of Korkyra is forgotten) for a season, and carried off the silk-workers from Thebes and Peloponnesus to Sicily. But Manuel Comnenus ruled in the East, and, if Roger threatened Constantinople, Manuel threatened Sicily. In Africa the work of Agathocles was more than renewed; Mandia and other points were won and kept as long as Roger lived. These exploits won him the name of the "terror of Greeks and Saracens." To the Greeks, and still more to the Saracens, of his own island he was a protector and something more. His love for mathematical science, geography, &c., in which the Arabs excelled, is noteworthy.
Roger's son William, surnamed the Bad, was crowned in his father's lifetime in 1151. Roger died in 1154, and William's William I. and II. sole reign lasted till 1166. It was a time of domestic rebellions, chiefly against the king's unpopular 'ministers, and it is further marked by the loss of Roger's African conquests. After William the Bad came (1166-1189) his son William the Good. Unlike as were the two men in themselves, in their foreign policy they are hardly to be distinguished. The Bad William has a short quarrel with the pope; otherwise Bad and Good alike appear as zealous supporters of Alexander III. and as enemies of both empires. The Eastern warfare of the Good is stained by the frightful sack of Thessalonica; it is marked also by the formation of an Eastern state under Sicilian supremacy (1186). Corfu, the possession of Agathocles and Roger, with Durazzo, Cephalonia and Zante, was granted by William to his admiral Margarito with the strange title of king of the Epeirots. He founded a dynasty, though not of kings, in Cephalonia and Zante. Corfu and Durazzo were to be more closely connected with the Sicilian crown.
The brightest days of Sicily ended with William the Good. His marriage with Joanna, daughter of Henry of Anjou andTancred. England, was childless, and William tried to procure Tancred. the succession of his aunt Constance and her husband, King Henry VI. of Germany, son of the emperor Frederick I. But the prospect of German rule was unpopular, and on William's death the crown passed to Tancred, an illegitimate grandson of King Roger, who figures in English histories in the story of Richard III.'s crusade. In 1191 Henry, now emperor, asserted his claims; but, while Tancred lived, he did little, in Sicily nothing, to enforce them. On the death of Tancred (1194) and the accession of his young son William III., the emperor came and conquered Sicily and the Italian possessions, withWilliam III. an amount of cruelty which outdid any earlier war or revolution. First of four Western emperors who wore the Sicilian crown, Henry died in 1197, leaving the kingdom to his young son Frederick, heir of the Norman kings through his mother.
The great days of the Norman conquest and the Norman reigns have been worthily recorded by contemporary historians. For few times have we richer materials. The oldest is Aime or Amato of Monte Cassino, who exists only in an Old-French translation. We have also for the Norman conquest the halting hexameters of William of Apulia, and for the German conquest the lively and partial verses of Peter of Eboli. Of prose writers we have Geoffrey Malaterra, Alexander abbot of Telesia, Romuald archbishop of Salerno, Falco of Benevento, and above all Hugo Falcandus, one of the very foremost of medieval writers. Not one of these Latin writers was a native of the island, and wehave no record from any native Greek. Occasional notices we of course have in the Byzantine writers, and Archbishop Eustathius's account of the taking of Thessalonica is more than occasional. And the close connexion between Sicily and England leads to many occasional references to Sicilian matters in English writers.
The relations between the various races of the islands are most instructive. The strong rule of Roger kept all in order. He called himself the defender of Christians; others, on account of his favour to the Saracens, spoke of him as a pagan. He certainly encouraged Saracen art and literature in every shape. His court was full of eunuchs, of whom we hear still more under William the Bad. Under William the Good the Saracens,. without any actual oppression, seem to be losing their position. Hitherto they had been one element in the land, keeping their own civilization alongside of others. By a general outbreak on the death of William the Good, the Saracens, especially those of Palermo, were driven to take shelter in the mountains, where they sank into a wild people, sometimes holding points of the island against all rulers, sometimes taking military service under them. The Jews too begin to sink into bondmen. Sicily is ceasing to be the land of many nations living side by side on equal terms.
The Germans who helped Henry to win the Sicilian crown did not become a new element in the island, but only a source of confusion during the minority of his son.Emperor Frederick II. Frederick - presently to be the renowned emperor Frederick II., "Fridericus stupor mundi et immutator mirabilis" - was crowned at Palermo in 1198; but the child, deprived of both parents, was held to be under the protection of his lord Pope Innocent III. During his minority the land was torn in pieces by turbulent nobles, revolted Saracens, German captains seeking settlements, the maritime cities of Italy, and professed French deliverers. In 1210 the emperor Otto IV., who had overrun the continental dominions, threatened the island. In 1212, just when Frederick was reaching an age to be of use in his own kingdom, he was called away to dispute the crown of Germany and Rome with Otto. Eight years more of disorder followed; in 1220 the emperor-king came back. He brought the Saracens of the mountains back again to a life in plains and cities, and presently planted a colony of them on the mainland at Nocera, when they became his most trusty soldiers. His necessary absences from Sicily led to revolts. He came back in 1233 from his crusade to suppress a revolt of the eastern cities, which seem to have been aiming at republican independence. A Saracen revolt in 1243 is said to have been followed by a removal of the whole remnant to Nocera. Some, however, certainly stayed or came back; but their day was over.
Under Frederick the Italian or Lombard element finally prevailed in Sicily. Of all his kingdoms Sicily was the best-beloved. He spoke all its tongues; he protected, as far as circumstances would allow, all its races. The heretic alone was persecuted; he was the domestic rebel of the church; Saracen and Jew were entitled to the rights of foreigners. Yet Frederick, patron of Arabic learning, suspected 'even of Moslem belief, failed to check the decline of the Saracen element in Sicily. The Greek element had no such forces brought against it. It was still a chief tongue of the island, in which Frederick's laws were put forth as well as in Latin. But it was clearly a declining element. Greek and Saracen were both becoming survivals in an island which was but one of the many kingdoms of its king. The Italian element advanced at the cost of all others. Frederick chose it as the court speech of Sicily, and he made it the speech of a new-born literature. Sicily, strangely enough, became the cradle of Italian song.
Two emperors had now held the Sicilian crown. On Frederick's death in 1250 the crown passed to his son Conrad, not emperor indeed, but king of the Romans. He wasManfred. nominally succeeded by his son Conradin. The real ruler under both was Frederick's natural son Manfred. In 1258, on a false rumour of the death of Conradin, Manfred was himself crowned king of Palermo. He had to found the kingdom afresh. Pope Innocent IV. had crossed into Sicily, to take advantage of the general discontent. The cities, whose growing liberties had been checked by Frederick's legislation, strove for practical, if not formal, independence, sometimes for dominion over their fellows. The 5th century B.C. seemed to have come back. Messina laid waste the lands of Taormina, because Taormina would not obey the bidding of Messina. Yet, among these and other elements of confusion, Manfred succeeded in setting up again the kingly power, first for his kinsmen and then for himself. His reign continued that of his father, so far as a mere king could continue the reign of such an emperor. The king of Sicily was the first potentate of Italy, and came nearer than any prince since Louis II. to the union of Italy under Italian rule. He sought dominion too beyond the Adriatic: Corfu, Durazzo, and a strip of the Albanian coast became Sicilian possessions as the dowry of Manfred's Greek wife. But papal enmity was too much for him. His overlord claimed to dispose of his crown, and hawked it about among the princes of the West. Edmund of England bore the Sicilian title for a moment. More came of the grant of Urban IV. (1264) to Charles, count of Anjou, andCharles of Anjou. through his wife sovereign count of Provence. Charles, crowned by the pope in 1266, marched to take possession of his lord's grant. Manfred was defeated and slain at Benevento. The whole Sicilian kingdom became the spoil of a stranger who was no deliverer to any class of its people. The island sank yet lower. Naples, not Palermo, was the head of the new power; Sicily was again a province. But a province Sicily had no mind to be. In the continental lands Charles founded a dynasty; the island he lost after sixteen years. His rule was not merely the rule of a stranger king surrounded by stranger followers; the degradation of the island was aggravated by gross oppression, grosser than in the continental lands. The continental lands submitted, with a few slight efforts at resistance. The final result of the Angevin conquest of Sicily was its separation from the mainland.
Sicilian feeling was first shown in the support given to the luckless expedition of Conradin in 1268. Frightful executions in the island followed his fall. The rights of the Swabian house were now held to pass to Peter (Pedro), king of Aragon, husband of Manfred's daughter Constance. The connexion with Spain, which has so deeply affected the whole later history of Sicily, now begins. Charles held the Greek possessions of Manfred and had designs both on Epeiros and on Constantinople. The emperor Michael Palaeologus and Peter of Aragon became allies against Charles; the famous John of Procida acted as an agent between them; the costs of Charles's eastern warfare caused great discontent, especially in an island where some might still look to the Greek emperor as a natural deliverer. Peter and Michael were doubtless watching the turn of things in Sicily; but the tale of a long-hidden conspiracy between them and the whole Sicilian people has been set aside by Amari. The actual outbreak of 1282, the famous Sicilian Vespers, was stirred up by the wrongs of the moment. A gross case of insult offered by a Frenchman to a Sicilian woman led to the massacre at Palermo, and the like scenes followed elsewhere. The strangers were cut off; Sicily was left to its own people. The towns and districts left without a ruler by no means designed to throw off the authority of the overlord; they sought the good will of Pope Martin. But papal interests were on the side of Charles; and he went forth with the blessing of the church to win back his lost kingdom.
Angevin oppression had brought together all Sicily in a common cause. There was at last a Sicilian nation, a nation for a while capable of great deeds. Sicily now stands out as a main centre of European politics. But the land has lost its character; it is becoming the plaything of powers, instead of the meeting-place of nations. The tale, true or false, that Frenchmen and Provencals were known from the natives by being unable to frame the Italian sound of c shows how thoroughly the Lombard tongue had overcome the other tongues of the island. In Palermo, once city of threefold speech, a Greek, a Saracen, a Norman who spoke his own tongue must have died with the strangers.
Charles was now besieging Messina; Sicily seems to have put on some approach to the form of a federal commonwealth.Peter of Aragon. Meanwhile Peter of Aragon was watching and preparing. He now declared himself. To all except the citizens of the great cities, a king would be acceptable; Peter was chosen with little opposition in a parliament at Palermo, and a struggle of twenty-one years began, of which Charles and Peter saw only the first stage. In fact, after Peter had helped the Sicilians to relieve Messina, he was very little in Sicily; he had to defend his kingdom of Aragon, which Pope Martin had granted to another French Charles. He was represented by Queen Constance, and his great admiral Roger de Loria kept the war away from Sicily, waging it wholly in Italy, and making Charles, the son of King Charles, prisoner. In 1285 both the rival kings died. Charles had before his death been driven to make large legislative concessions to his subjects to stop the tendency shown, especially in Naples, to join the revolted Sicilians. By Peter's death Aragon and Sicily were separated; his eldest son Alphonso took Aragon, and his second son James took Sicily, which was to pass to the thirdJames. son Frederick, if James died childless. James was crowned, and held his reforming parliament also. With the popes no terms could be made. Charles, released in 1288 under a deceptive negotiation, was crowned king of Sicily by Honorius I V.; but he had much ado to defend his continental dominions against James and Roger. In 1291 James succeeded Alphonso in the kingdom of Aragon, and left Frederick not king, according to the entail, but only his lieutenant in Sicily.
Frederick was the real restorer of Sicilian independence. He had come to the island so young that he felt as a native. He defended the land stoutly, even against his brother.Frederick. For James presently played Sicily false. In 1295 he was reconciled to the church and released from all French claims on Aragon, and he bound himself to restore Sicily to Charles. But the Sicilians, with Frederick at their head, disowned the agreement, and in 1296 Frederick was crowned king. He had to defend Sicily against his brother and Roger de Loria, who forsook the cause, as did John of Procida. Hitherto the war had been waged on the mainland; now it was transferred to Sicily. King James besieged Syracuse as admiral of the Roman Church; Charles sent his son Robert in 1299 as his lieutenant in Sicily, where he gained some successes. But in the same year the one great land battle of the war, that of Falconaria, was won for Sicily. The war, chiefly marked by another great siege of Messina, went on till 1302, when both sides were thoroughly weakened and eager for peace. By a treaty, confirmed by Pope Boniface VIII. the next year, Frederick was acknowledged as king of Trinacria for life. He was to marry the daughter of the king of Sicily, to whom the island kingdom was to revert at his death. The terms were never meant to bePeter. carried out. Frederick again took up the title of king of Sicily, and at his death in 1337 he was succeeded by his son Peter. There were thus two Sicilian kingdoms and two kings of Sicily. The king of the mainland is often spoken of for convenience as king of Naples, but that description was never borne as a formal title save in the 16th century by Philip, king of England and Naples, and in the 19th by Joseph Buonaparte and Joachim Murat. The strict distinction was between Sicily on this side the Pharos (of Messina) and Sicily beyond it. Thus the great island of the Mediterranean again became an independent power. And, as far as legislation could make it, Sicily became one of the freest countries in Europe. By the laws of Frederick parliaments were to be regularly held, and without their consent the king could not make war, peace or alliance. The treaty of 1302 was not confirmed by parliament, and in 1337 parliament called Peter to the crown. But Sicily never rose to the greatness of its Greek or its Norman days, and its old character had passed away. Of Greeks and Saracens we now hear only as a degraded remnant, to be won over, if it may be, to the Western Church. The kingdom had no foreign possessions; yet faint survivals of the days of Agathocles and Roger lingered on. The isle of Gerba off the African coast was held for a short time, and traces of the connexion with Greece went on in various shapes. If the kings of Sicily on this side the Pharos kept Corfu down to 1386, those beyond the Pharos became in 1311 overlords of Athens, when that duchy was seized by Catalan adventurers, disbanded after the wars of Sicily. In 1530 the Sicilian island of Malta became the shelter of the Knights of Saint John driven by the Turk from Rhodes, and Sicily has received several colonies of Christian Albanians, who have replaced Greek and Arabic by yet another tongue. (See Naples, Kingdom of.) (E. A. F.; T. As.)
- The name TpcvaKpia was no doubt suggested by the OpcvaKln of Homer (which need not, however, be Sicily), and the geography was then fitted to the apparent meaning given to the name by the change. But of these three so-called promontories the last is not a true promontory, and it is more accurate to treat Sicily as having a fourth side on the west.
- A general account of the geology of the island will be found in L. Baldacci, Descrizione geologica dell' isola di Sicilia (Rome, 1886), with map. For fuller and later information reference should be made to the publications of the Reale Comitato Geologico d'Italia.
- The high proportion of shipping entering Messina is due to its position in the Straits.
- Steamships only.
- Leontini, Megara, Naxos, Syracuse, Zancle are all recorded as sites where the Sicel gave way to the Greek (in regard to Syracuse [q.v.] this has recently been proved to be true), while many other towns remained Sicel longer, among them Abacaenum, Agyrium, Assorus, Centuripae, Cephaloedium, Engyum, Hadranum, Halaesa, Henna, Herbessus, Herbita, Hybla Galeatis, Inessa, Kale Akte, Menaenum, Morgantina. The sites of several of these towns are doubtful.
- Panaetius of Leontini (608 B.C.) is said to have been the earliest tyrant in Sicily.
- See Tillyard, Agathocles (1908).
- For the ensuing years cf. Rome: History, II. " The Republic."
- Petri Ansolini de Rbulo de rebus Siculis carmen (republished in the new edition of Muratori's Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, by E. Rota, tom. xxxi., Citta di Castello, 1904).