by The Other Guy | March 8, 2020
Many historians believe that the mafia started in the late-eighteenth century. But the FBI and other many knowledgeable historians argue its existence may go back much further than that. It is thought that what would become known as the Mafia actually germinated in the year 1282 with a pivotal event known as “The Night of the Sicilian Vespers”.
Since I was a young boy, I have always heard that the true origins of what would become known as the Mafia throughout the world had its seeds in what was called “The Night of the Sicilian Vespers”!….. a purge over several weeks by the Sicilian townspeople of Angevin invaders to Palermo City. And that this “groundswell” of underground Sicilian “partisans” began to form across all of Sicily and mainland Southern Italy, from Calabria upward through the Campania region.
Many subscribe to this “theory”, and this version of its history has been handed down generation after generation, not only in my family but that of most Italians families I’ve ever known. It’s like part of our accepted history…… what follows below is taken from another site, which in turn was the official theory of the FBI also. (I know that some discount this theory as fantasy but I for one, and again I say, most Italian families, accept this theory outright).
[1282 Mar 29 Palermo, Palermo, Sicily Citizens of Palermo Sicilian Vespers revolution against the occupying Angevins is traditionally viewed as the birth of the Sicilian Mafia. There are no contemporary mentions of the name “Mafia,” a term which comes into being hundreds of years later, but the underground movement against Anjou may be seen as the ancestor of a later Mafia. The revolution began on Easter Sunday in 1282 – March 29 by the Julian calendar then in use. Source: FBI Mafia Monograph, July 1958, section I,p.5]
Either way, whichever theory you subscribe to, it is an ancient organization. From its first embryonic seeds in Sicily, to it’s earliest expansion to Calabria (N’drangheta) and the Campania region (Camorra), Italian organized crime, has in one form or another, arguably permeated the very fabric of society at every level for over 700 years. Within Italy it is almost like a second government, and indeed throughout many other countries in the world, if not a second government, then it is at least a self-perpetuating major force to be reckoned with.
There is an age-old tale recited from Italian to Italian, family to family, through the ages that retells the story of the French occupation of our homeland. And our reaction to take up arms against these invaders who raped our land and our women, pilfering our resources and attempted to enslave our people…. and a funny tale at that, amid all the carnage. As a young boy, my dad on occasion would recite the following story.
That once we decided to band together and take up arms to drive these invaders out of Sicily, the French soldiers ran like thieves in the night for their lives. As the underground Sicilian partisans slaughtered their would-be captors in droves, many Frenchmen abandoned their military uniforms and attempted to hide among the Sicilian townspeople, pretending to be natives.
And although many could speak the Italian/Sicilian language very well, they were able to be flushed out and killed…. how you might ask?
Because the one word that no Frenchmen could ever pronounce like a Italian or Sicilian, is the word for the Garbanzo bean or chickpea… In Italian we call it a “Ceci” bean.
Upon approaching a suspected French soldier, the Sicilians would demand he say the word “Ceci” with a Stiletto to his throat. And with a roll of their tongues” as Frenchmen do, they’d say “Kekia” instead of “Ceci”….. and that would be that. Many a French throat would be slit ear to ear.
…Such was the way of life in thirteenth century Sicily.
Original Post https://thenewyorkmafia.com/night-of-vespers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=night-of-vespers