Sicily

   Largest island in the Mediterranean (q.v.), separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina (q.v.). While Sicily linked Italy to Africa (qq.v.), it also divided the Mediterranean (q.v.) into eastern and western parts. Conquered by Gaiseric (q.v.) in 475, it remained in Vandal (q.v.) hands until the Ostrogoths (q.v.) captured it in 491. Belisarios (q.v.) took the island for Justinian I (q.v.) in 535-536, after defeating the Vandals in North Africa (q.v.). Arab raids on the island began in 652, and when Constans II (q.v.) took up residence in Syracuse (q.v.) from 663-668, it was ostensibly to defend Sicily against the Arabs (q.v.). Despite Sicily's elevation to the status of a theme (q.v.) by ca. 700, Arab raids continued throughout the eighth century. In 826 the Aghlabids (q.v.) invaded the island, capturing Palermo (q.v.) in 831. Syracuse (q.v.) fell in 878 and by 902, when Taormina (q.v.) fell, the Aghlabids had effective control of the island. Byzantine expeditions to recover Sicily, most notably under George Maniakes (q.v.) from 1038-1042, failed. What Byzantium (q.v.) was unable to do the Normans (q.v.) succeeded at. Their conquest began in 1060 and was completed by 1091. Norman rule, which produced such architectural gems as the Capella Palatina and Cefalù (built by Roger II [q.v.]), and Monreale (built by William II [q.v.]), were decorated in the Byzantine style, perhaps using Byzantine artisans. Henry VI of Germany (qq.v.), married to Constance, daughter of Roger II, inherited Sicily after the death of William II in 1189. The death of Frederick II's son Manfred (qq.v.) in 1266 allowed Charles I of Anjou (q.v.), with papal support, to claim Sicily as his own. However, the Sicilian Vespers (q.v.), conspired for by Michael VIII Palaiologos (q.v.), ejected Charles from Sicily in 1282.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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  • Sicily — • The largest island in the Mediterranean Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Sicily     Sicily     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • SICILY — SICILY, largest island in the Mediterranean, S.W. of the Italian peninsula. History There were probably Jews living in Sicily in the period of the Second Temple; the great Jewish rhetorician caecilius of calacte moved from Sicily to Rome about 50 …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Sicily — island off the southern tip of Italy, from L. Sicilia, from Gk. Sikelia, from Sikeloi (pl.) Sicilians, from the name of an ancient people on the Tiber, whence part of them emigrated to the island that was named for them …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sicily — [sis′ə lē] 1. island of Italy, off its S tip 2. region of Italy, comprising this island & small nearby islands: 9,926 sq mi (25,708 sq km); pop. 4,966,000; cap. Palermo …   English World dictionary

  • Sicily — Infobox Region of Italy name = Sicily fullname = it. Regione Autonoma Siciliana isocode = capital = Palermo status = Autonomous region governor = Raffaele Lombardo (MpA) zone = South Italy province = Agrigento Caltanissetta Catania Enna Messina… …   Wikipedia

  • Sicily — Sicilian /si sil yeuhn, sil ee euhn/, adj., n. /sis euh lee/, n. an island in the Mediterranean, constituting a region of Italy, and separated from the SW tip of the mainland by the Strait of Messina: largest island in the Mediterranean.… …   Universalium

  • Sicily — Sicile Sicile Information …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sicily — Recorded in a very wide range of spellings including Cecely, Cysely, Sisley, Sicily, and shortforms Cess, Cesse, Siss, Sise, Syce, Sisse and Size, this is an English surname. It is a nickname form of the popular medieval female name Cecilia,… …   Surnames reference

  • SICILY —    (3,285), the largest island in the Mediterranean, lying off the SW. extremity of Italy, to which it belongs, and from which it is separated by the narrow strait of Messina, 2 m. broad; the three extremities of its triangular configuration form …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Sicily —    The earliest definitive reference to Gypsies on the island dates from 1485 and refers to a horse dealer named Michele Petta. The first Gypsies had probably arrived some years earlier and from the Balkans by sea rather than from the mainland of …   Historical dictionary of the Gypsies

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