ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2018 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Monday, September 09, 2019

The first conspiracy theorist

I've been reading Machiavelli's History of Florence and it is intriguing to note the very different way in which he describes the events known as the Sicilian Vespers. Infogalactic has the conventional account provided by Stephen Runciman.
The event takes its name from an insurrection which began at the start of Vespers, the sunset prayer marking the beginning of the night vigil on Easter Monday, 30 March 1282, at the Church of the Holy Spirit just outside Palermo. Beginning on that night, thousands of Sicily's French inhabitants were massacred within six weeks. The events that started the uprising are not known for certain, but the various retellings have common elements. The only town in Sicily not to join the rebellion was a small village called Sperlinga, which protected French soldiers in a castle excavated in sandstone.

According to Steven Runciman, the Sicilians at the church were engaged in holiday festivities and a group of French officials came by to join in and began to drink. A sergeant named Drouet dragged a young married woman from the crowd, pestering her with his advances. Her husband then attacked Drouet with a knife, killing him. When the other Frenchmen tried to avenge their comrade, the Sicilian crowd fell upon them, killing them all. At that moment all the church bells in Palermo began to ring for Vespers. Runciman describes the mood of the night:

To the sound of the bells messengers ran through the city calling on the men of Palermo to rise against the oppressor. At once the streets were filled with angry armed men, crying "Death to the French" ("moranu li Franchiski" in Sicilian language). Every Frenchman they met was struck down. They poured into the inns frequented by the French and the houses where they dwelt, sparing neither man, woman nor child. Sicilian girls who had married Frenchmen perished with their husbands. The rioters broke into the Dominican and Franciscan convents; and all the foreign friars were dragged out and told to pronounce the word "ciciri", whose sound the French tongue could never accurately reproduce. Anyone who failed the test was slain… By the next morning some two thousand French men and women lay dead; and the rebels were in complete control of the city.

According to Leonardo Bruni (1416), the Palermitans were holding a festival outside the city when the French came up to check for weapons, and on that pretext began to fondle the breasts of their women. This then began a riot. The French were attacked, first with rocks, then weapons, and all were killed. The news spread to other cities leading to revolt throughout Sicily. "By the time the furious anger at their insolence had drunk its fill of blood, the French had given up to the Sicilians not only their ill-gotten riches but their lives as well."

There is also a third version of the events that is quite close to Runciman's, varying only in the minor details. This story is part of the oral tradition on the island up to the present time. This oral tradition cannot be verified, but is of interest to sociologists. According to the legend, John of Procida was the mastermind behind the conspiracy. It seems that he was in contact with both Michael VIII Palaiologos and Peter III of Aragon. They were all three later excommunicated by Pope Martin IV in 1282.
Machiavelli's account is very different, and connects it to a similar anti-French uprising in the Emilia-Romagna around the same time, both of which were inspired by a Aragonese-Papal plot against Charles of Anjou, the younger brother of King Louis IX of France.
At this time Adrian died, and Nicholas III, of the Orsini family, became pontiff. He was a bold, ambitious man; and being resolved at any event to diminish the power of Charles, induced the Emperor Rodolph to complain that he had a governor in Tuscany favorable to the Guelphic faction, who after the death of Manfred had been replaced by him. Charles yielded to the emperor and withdrew his governor, and the pope sent one of his nephews, a cardinal, as governor for the emperor, who, for the honor done him, restored Romagna to the church, which had been taken from her by his predecessors, and the pope made Bertoldo Orsino duke of Romagna. As Nicholas now thought himself powerful enough to oppose Charles, he deprived him of the office of senator, and made a decree that no one of royal race should ever be a senator in Rome. It was his intention to deprive Charles of Sicily, and to this end he entered into a secret negotiation with Peter, king of Aragon, which took effect in the following papacy....

To Nicholas succeeded Martin IV, of French origin and consequently favorable to the party of Charles, who sent him assistance against the rebellion of Romagna; and while they were encamped at Furli, Guido Bonatto, an astrologer, contrived that at an appointed moment the people should assail the forces of the king, and the plan succeeding, all the French were taken and slain. About this period was also carried into effect the plot of Pope Nicholas and Peter, king of Aragon, by which the Sicilians murdered all the French that were in that island; and Peter made himself sovereign of it, saying, that it belonged to him in the right of his wife Gostanza, daughter of Manfred.
Remember, the one thing upon which we can rely is that the official story is seldom the true one. And in most cases, that which is claimed to be spontaneous is nothing whatsoever of the kind.

Labels: ,

31 Comments:

Blogger FrankNorman September 09, 2019 7:42 AM  

So... was the uprising due to the French garrison acting French while French? Or due to people in high places scheming and plotting?
Or both of the above?

Blogger D E K September 09, 2019 7:44 AM  

Just relistened today to the great Darkstream 335 - the history of conspiracy.

Blogger [Redacted] September 09, 2019 7:54 AM  

Thus follows the modern meme:

"And then one day, for no reason at all, people voted Hitler into power."

Nothing new under the sun. Thank you for this fine data point.

Blogger Silent Draco September 09, 2019 8:25 AM  

Another Norman Conquest, for better reason (remove the Islamic horde). But they has to go back, too. Mafia began as an acronym for a group to get the Franks out of Apulia, if memory serves right.

Blogger Homesteader September 09, 2019 8:44 AM  

"when the French came up to check for weapons, and on that pretext began to fondle the breasts of their women."

I see the T.S.A. has French roots.

Blogger furor kek tonicus ( honkeys are not human so it's okay to hate them, WhiteManBad ) September 09, 2019 8:49 AM  

*noting with amusement the surname 'Norman' casting aspersions upon the Surrender Monkeys*

*am also amused that Machiavelli, of all people, is being termed a "conspiracy theorist". i think he would approve*


as with Captain Bligh or the Boston Massacre, it is entirely probable that the French did nothing unusual at all and that the popular story is a ret-con to provide moral cover for what was done.

because otherwise, the Sicilians would have to admit that they had participated in an unjustified mass murder.

Blogger dc.sunsets September 09, 2019 8:51 AM  

"And in most cases, that which is claimed to be spontaneous is nothing whatsoever of the kind."

Which is why, when a man feels a compulsion to act as part of a mob, it might be wiser to ask who has found his strings to pull.

But a pause for consideration is a rare thing; we are generally creatures of impulsion, and as VD discussed in the post about Brexit, the recent long period of relative political tranquility disguises the fact that when politics diverges far enough from underlying sentiment, the former (the map) gives way to the latter (the territory.)

Our politics are now so sclerotic and meaningless that open morons are sent to Congress. Unless the next phase is electing cartoon characters (Italy, as I recall, had as a political candidate a porn actress whose campaign rallies featured her letting supporters grope her, so we in the USA are not alone), it seems the West's political systems have reached a terminal state.

Whatever we're told about the wider world, we should recall that both "the news" and "history" are at best a digest of a tiny fraction of what actually occurred, and at worst they're both just straight-up fiction, especially when what we're told violates common sense.

Blogger Homesteader September 09, 2019 8:54 AM  

"because otherwise, the Sicilians would have to admit that they had participated in an unjustified mass murder."

De Oppresso Liber.

Blogger furor kek tonicus ( honkeys are not human so it's okay to hate them, WhiteManBad ) September 09, 2019 8:59 AM  

yes, because the Sicilians weren't being 'oppressed' by the Muslim Jihad before the French lifted the mussulman yoke.

there is a reason why i pointed out the absurd and ridiculous 'Boston Massacre', you know.

Blogger Gregory the Great September 09, 2019 9:07 AM  

Macchiavelli was pretty realistic about everything, also he had a lot of access to people who would know, so think he must have gotten it right.

Blogger Doktor Jeep September 09, 2019 9:09 AM  

It's kind of like for every incident or event, there's a rhetorical account and a dialectic account.

Blogger Homesteader September 09, 2019 9:14 AM  

"yes, because the Sicilians weren't being 'oppressed' by the Muslim Jihad before the French lifted the mussulman yoke."

And yet the massacre still occurred.

Perhaps the Gallic yoke lay heavier than the Mussulmans, absurd as that may seem to our sensibilities.

The yellow-vested Parisians seem to be debating the same issue at present.

Blogger CarpeOro September 09, 2019 9:21 AM  

@FrankNorman While it is difficult to say for sure, I'd lean toward the later. The French likely created an atmosphere conducive to an uprising getting broad support, but such uprisings are seldom successful without some kind of prior planning. Successful uprisings usually have some type of leadership structure which is facilitated by planning

Blogger CarpeOro September 09, 2019 9:23 AM  

Normans were not Angevians. The Angevians were invited in by a prior pope to get rid of the Normans... All french are not the same.

Blogger The Masked Menace September 09, 2019 9:27 AM  

When I was a very young man there was a short amount of time that I seriously considered being a history teacher. Now these many years later I 'm glad I didn't take that path. I surely would have wasted many a decade filling young minds with the official narrative (i.e. lies). And I know I would have deeply regretted that today.

Blogger Northwest Watching Thing September 09, 2019 9:30 AM  

I'm reminded of the Monty Python scene "what have the Romans ever done for us?". Despite whatever good they may have done, and even if the chains rest lightly, few people enjoy being ruled over by foreigners. Although fewer have the balls to actually do something about it.

Blogger CarpeOro September 09, 2019 9:30 AM  

To clarify, it was the Normans who ousted the Muslims at one pope's request, then were replaced by the Angevians at a different pope's instigation.

Blogger furor kek tonicus ( honkeys are not human so it's okay to hate them, WhiteManBad ) September 09, 2019 9:34 AM  

12. Homesteader September 09, 2019 9:14 AM
And yet the massacre still occurred.


i'm on the side of the National Guard at Kent State.

the actions of the mob at the Boston Massacre were far, FAR more egregious than a couple of hippies tossing mud clods. read up on it. the Colonists were WRONG in every single aspect of the incident.

thus, being principled, i acknowledge that the so called 'Boston Massacre' should have resulted in a LOT more Colonists getting shot.

the fact that a massacre occurred does NOT mean that the massacre was "deserved". otherwise, all lynchings are also "deserved", a lynching simply being the massacre of one or two individuals.

as a fer instance, Marie Antoinette was widely hated by the people.

in large part, due to 'The Affair of Diamond Necklance'.

only, Antoinette had nothing to do with the Diamond Necklace at all. the Diamond Necklace was a scam enacted by a little vixen tart with no actual connection to the Royal Court. yet the populace placed the entire blame upon Antoinette ( because they believed the tarts lies ), eventually murdering both her and the King for it.

and giving us the wonders and civility of the French Republic for their trouble.

Blogger Homesteader September 09, 2019 9:39 AM  

"the fact that a massacre occurred does NOT mean that the massacre was "deserved". otherwise, all lynchings are also "deserved", a lynching simply being the massacre of one or two individuals."

In the immortal words of William Munny-

"Deserves got nothin' to do with it."


Blogger xevious2030 September 09, 2019 10:46 AM  

“it is entirely probable that the French did nothing unusual at all”

The French may or may not have done anything unusual. Two things stick out. One being the astrologist, and the question of (((astrologist))). The second being Purim. In relation to a plotting and organizative foreign presence, which has the habit of working in secret, away from laws, and through conspiracy, through lies, while bringing social justice. And what is also mentionable is Friday the 13, 1307 in France, in October, against the Knights Templar 25, years later.

Blogger Dave Dave September 09, 2019 10:48 AM  

Machiavelli essentially wrote the handbook on why you should scheme. He knows a conspiracy plot when he sees one.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd September 09, 2019 11:13 AM  

Gregory the Great wrote:Macchiavelli was pretty realistic about everything, also he had a lot of access to people who would know, so think he must have gotten it right.

Machiavelli may have known the truth. That doesn't mean he told us the truth.

Blogger Blume September 09, 2019 12:26 PM  

@northwest watching thing. This didn't end rule by foreigners

Blogger Amy September 09, 2019 12:48 PM  

It’s as though we’re supposed to think History Begins With The Holocaust, but Human Nature doesn’t care much about history.

Blogger SciVo September 09, 2019 3:56 PM  

dc.sunsets wrote:Which is why, when a man feels a compulsion to act as part of a mob, it might be wiser to ask who has found his strings to pull.

Every single day, I have to resist the urge to kick a domino that I found while looking for something else. Vox is a rare voice of sanity, neither limp-wristed cuck nor impatient demagogue.

Blogger map September 09, 2019 8:54 PM  

It's funny. People say that those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.

This should actually be modified:

Those who fail to learn history correctly, are simply doomed.

Blogger PG September 09, 2019 10:38 PM  

I like the first account. The barbarians would favour it.

Blogger PG September 09, 2019 11:01 PM  

@7. dc.sunsets

"Which is why, when a man feels a compulsion to act as part of a mob, it might be wiser to ask who has found his strings to pull."

Or perhaps it's more important to ask, am I in a mob that can win?

Blogger John Rockwell September 10, 2019 12:24 AM  

furor kek tonicus ( honkeys are not human so it's okay to hate them, WhiteManBad ) wrote:*noting with amusement the surname 'Norman' casting aspersions upon the Surrender Monkeys*

*am also amused that Machiavelli, of all people, is being termed a "conspiracy theorist". i think he would approve*

as with Captain Bligh or the Boston Massacre, it is entirely probable that the French did nothing unusual at all and that the popular story is a ret-con to provide moral cover for what was done.

because otherwise, the Sicilians would have to admit that they had participated in an unjustified mass murder.


This is why courts and police exist. To prevent mass murder and only indicting and destroying the guilty.

And military discipline exists to ensure proper application of violence

Also why it is an instrument of divine wrath.


You know that kind of story sorta makes me want to want to wipe out those responsible for the massacre.

Blogger Daniele Grech Pereira September 10, 2019 5:04 AM  

Tutti li francisi sunnu morti.

Blogger Paul M September 12, 2019 5:10 AM  

According to Leonardo Bruni (1416), the Palermitans were holding a festival outside the city when the French came up to check for weapons, and on that pretext began to fondle the breasts of their women. This then began a riot.

Machiavelli said that while it is better for a ruler to be feared than loved, it is nevertheless the simplest thing in the world to avoid being hated - all you have to do is keep your hands off your subjects' possessions and their women.

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts