War of the Sicilian Vespers

War Of The Sicilian Vespers

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War of the Sicilian Vespers

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The War of the (Sicilian) Vespers started with the insurrection of the Sicilian Vespers against Charles of Anjou in 1282 and finally ended with the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302. It was fought in Sicily, Catalonia (the Aragonese Crusade) and elsewhere in the western Mediterranean between, on the one side, the Angevin claimants Charles of Anjou and his son, Charles II and the kings of France, their relatives, backed by the Papacy and, on the other side, the kings of Aragon.


<!---More background is probably necessary to explain the complex situation which existed in the Mediterranean at the time, i.e. Byzantines, Latin Empire, Treaty of Viterbo, papacy, Aragonese, etc.--->Sicily had been part of a unified Kingdom of Naples since the early 12th century, when Roger II of Sicily defeated the Italian mainland barons and was elected King by the pope. His reign had been inherited by Frederick II of Sicily, whose son Manfred was however ousted by the French invasion of Charles I of Anjou in 1266. The French rule soon assumed a repressive and ferocious character.

On Easter Monday (30 March) 1282, at the Church of the Holy Spirit just outside Palermo, at evening prayer (vespers), a Frenchman harassed a Sicilian woman. Accounts differ as to what the harassment entailed, who the woman was, and who the Frenchman was.

This single event led to the massacre of four thousand Frenchmen over the course of the next six weeks. The king of Sicily at the time, Charles I, was an......
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