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Sicily's Rebellion Against King Charles : The Story of the Sicilian Vespers (Paperback)
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This is a translation of the chronicle of Athanasius of Iaci written in Sicilian around 1290 as Lu Rebellamentu di Sichilia contra Re Carlu, with accompanying commentary by one of Sicily's leading historians.
The chronicle is a key source in the study of the Sicilian Vespers uprising of 1282, an event that changed the course of European and Mediterranean history.
It is also the earliest known narrative (rather than poetry) in a vernacular Italian language, pre-dating by decades the first works written in Tuscan. Most medieval chronicles were written in Latin, many in verse, but this one was meant for ordinary people.
Here is the memoir of John of Procida, a leader of the revolt that led to the war of 1282. As such, it recounts his efforts to plan the fall of King Charles I of Naples.
Presented by the author of some of the most readable histories of Sicily, the telling of Procida's story in these pages never lacks for style. Mendola's translation, while faithful to the medieval manuscript, makes for an interesting read.
Useful to students of literature as well as those studying medieval history, it also includes the original Sicilian text, a chronology, clear maps, a list of persons mentioned in the narrative, and an introductory chapter setting forth the history of the Kingdom of Sicily up to the time the chronicle begins. It presents a few notes on the Sicilian language and the background of the chronicle and its manuscripts.
Among the supplementary material included is Ciullo of Alcamo's poem The Dialogue with an English translation; composed before 1240, this is the longest complete work in an Italian language known to survive from the reign of Frederick II. Poetry attributed to Frederick himself is also included, published here in English for the first time - along with the original Sicilian (exceptional as very few translators ever present the text in both languages).
There is enough material in this book to make it a useful study guide on the War of the Vespers, and a fine introduction to Medieval Sicilian.
Destined to become a literary and historical reference, this book will also appeal to casual readers interested in the kinds of sources consulted in the writing of history.
Iaci's chronicle is a singular work. Its publication in English, after seven centuries, is a milestone.