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HOW MUCH ARABIC BLOOD IS THERE IN CALABRIANS?

 
 

 

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

 

The following chapter has been quoted from the book, THE COIN FROM CALABRIA: DISCOVERING THE HISTORICAL ROOTS OF MY CALABRIAN PEOPLE, by award-winning author, Michael Caputo. The book details many enthralling events in the history of Calabria, a magical Region in Southern Italy, all the way back to the sixth century B.C. THE COIN FROM CALABRIA is a very enlightening book  for people who find their roots in Calabria,  that want to know more about their ancestors' history. It is also enlightening  for anyone who is interested in exotic lands and cultures.

 

The book may be bought from the following merchants:

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Also available on Barnesandnoble.com and ebay.com

NEW BOOK BY M. CAPUTO ABOUT CALABRIA (READ INFO. AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE)

 

 
     
 
     
 

 

THE COIN FROM CALABRIA

DISCOVERING THE HISTORICAL ROOTS OF MY CALABRIAN PEOPLE

 

 

 

 
 

Some Italians, and some North Americans have asserted that we Calabrians are “Moors,” that is Africans. In saying so, they erroneously assume that in the past all of Calabria was conquered by the African Saracens, and that they remained in Calabria in large numbers, after their defeat by the Normans. Furthermore, some erroneously assume that the history of Calabria is essentially the same as that of Sicily, which was, indeed, conquered totally by the Saracens who ruled over it for about two hundred years,  and where some Arabs remained after their defeat. Calabria’s experience with the Saracens was quite different from Sicily's. Although some cities were conquered, and controlled temporarily, the Saracens never succeeded in conquering the whole Region, and colonizing it, as they did in Sicily.                                                              

As stated above, some areas were conquered temporarily by the Saracens,  such as Reggio, in the southernmost part of Calabria; Tropea, Amantea and the Rocca Fortress, on the south-western side; Squillace, Santa Severina, and Catanzaro on the Central-Eastern side and Cosenza, and Rossano on the northern side.                                                     

Reggio was conquered by the Saracens in 902. This conquest lasted a few months, and a new conquest was attempted again in 918, after which they forced the people to pay 22.000 nomismata, yearly, which was later halfed by the year 924. By 934, Reggio stopped the payment. As a result, in 951 the Saracens crossed  the strait and conquered Reggio, and forced them to pay again. In 978-981 Reggio and other centres were sacked again. Finally, all attacks ceased in 1031, with the advent of a civil war in Sicily.

In 906 the Saracens took Catanzaro by night, and, after having butchered part of the population, they took the rest to nearby Squillace as slaves. They plundered all their possessions as well. In spite of the seemingly hopeless state of affairs, Calabrians did not take the invasions lying down. In the some areas, they revolted and fought the invaders bravely.                                                                                                              

In 921 a rebellion by Calabrians forced the Saracens to leave Calabria. The following year, a determined Saracen leader by the name of Mikael (Asklabio), returned with fury, and sacked and destroyed anywhere he could. This continued until 934 when, again, the Calabrians revolted fiercely, and the Saracens were conclusively forced to leave                                                                                                                                                                       

But the invasions did not end. Calabrians were in a state of ongoing fear, for a long time still. The saracens could appear at any time, unannounced, to pillage, destroy, and take young Calabrians away as slaves, until they were finally defeated by Catholic forces, and pushed back to Africa.                                                                                                                         

Therefore, the assertion that Calabrians are in large part “Moors” is unfounded. The Saracens used Calabria as an area to pillage, and to take young people away as slaves. They did not settle there as a people, nor did they create large colonies as they did in Sicily. The reason was simple: Their people would have been in danger by the Byzantines who ruled most of Calabria, by the Normans that followed them, and by angry locals who did not take invasions by non-Christians as acceptable, and rebelled whenever they could.                                                       

Historian, Augusto Placanica synthesizes the struggle between the Saracens, and the Byzantines in Calabria in the following statement: "Calabria…was a systematic battlefield…in the mortal challenge between the Arabs and the Eastern Empire."                                                                                               

The Calabrian areas that were temporarily conquered were simply Arab military “arrowheads” into enemy territory; they were strategic locations from where future expansions were to take place. Some places, like Tropea, Amantea and Rocca Angitola became simply military fortresses kept for strategic purposes. Calabrians' response to the Saracen arrival was to simply move inland, which is the main reason why countless villages were created on the mountainous regions, away from the coast.                                                                                                                                                               

Carmelo Martorana, a 19th-century Sicilian historian who saw the Saracens as part of his ancestry, and who held them in the highest esteem, wrote the following about the Saracens' attitude toward Calabria, in particular, and toward the rest of Italy, in general.

(After having subjugated Sicily, the Saracens) …put forth such strength, that the riches of the Italic territory and its peoples waited for two centuries as prepared prey of the Sicilian Saracens as a meal specifically destined to fatten those our peoples. Thus the Sicilian Emirs invested ever-increasing concern to denuding that land with incursions and thefts instead of subjugating them with sieges and with judiciously prepared battles. Furthermore the Arab historians especially praise the Sicilian governors, for having enriched the nation (Sicily) and filled the treasury with ransacking and the tributes they oppressed Calabrians with.

The Saracens, therefore, proved to be more interested in sporadic pillaging than conquering; pillaging that went on for decades, which impoverished the Calabrians, and enriched  the Sicilian Saracens.                                       

In spite of the relentless incursions, Calabria stood firm against the brutal Saracens. The Orthodox Byzantines, the Catholic Normans and the fiery Calabrians, created a barrier the Saracens tried to totally penetrate in vain. Finally, they were pushed back into their ships, and were forced to go back to where they originated from.

Michael Caputo

Author of, UNDER A LION SUN: Childhood Days of Joy and Sorrow in Old Calabria (Available on Amazon.com)

 
 

 

Under a Lion Sun: Childhood Days of Joy and Sorrow in Old Calabria     (M. Caputo)

Available as paperback and downloadable versions on Amazon in several countries. If not available in your country, you may order from AMAZON.COM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter another world through the eyes of Michelino (Meekehleeno), a boy who grew up in Calabria, the southernmost Region of Italy, during the fifties and sixties. Discover a society built on rigid expectations, where family and honor were paramount and where violence was all-too-often the favourite way to solving some of the painful challenges of life.

In this book you will also learn about Calabrians' attitude toward food, discipline, education, destiny, the supernatural, exorcism, suicide, mental illness, the handicapped, crime, etc.

You will also meet, among others, the following unforgettables: Maestro Fera, the teacher who had been an officer in Mussolini's army, who ran his class like a battalion. Nino, the Mafia Boss, who collected lovers like trophies and who was feared and revered by young and old. Toto' the brilliant mind who will never have the opportunity to excel, due to having been born on the wrong side of the fence. Salvatore, who was tortured by life since childhood, in ways that most people will never imagine. Tommasino, the gentle giant whose life was ended in a most shocking and horrendous way.

If you are a descendent of Calabria you will return in time to the moments when your ancestors were torn apart by the curse of emigration, and you will become aware of the forces that shaped your ancestors that may have also contributed to shaping you.

But the book does much more. It also traces how Calabrian customs and beliefs have evolved up to our time and how Calabrian society has moved forward in some respects while remaining fixed and immutable in others.

By the end of this book, you will know Calabrians--their strengths and their weaknesses. You will grow to appreciate a people undaunted by life's many challenges; a people who takes pride in their stubborn spirit and their unwillingness to admit defeat, even if confronted by penury and great suffering.

M. Caputo

 
 

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[i] "Ducato di Calabria." Wikipedia. n.d. n. page. Web. 16 July 2012. <http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ducato_di_Calabria>.

 

[ii] Sinopoli, Cesare, et al. La Calabria: storia, geografia, arte. Soveria Mannelli, Italy: Rubettino, 2004. 29. Google Books. Web. 22 May 2013.

 

[iii] Sinopoli et al. 29.

 

[iv] Placanica, Augusto. Storia della Calabria, dall’antichita` ai nostri giorni. Roma: Donzelli Editore, 1993. 75. Google Books. Web. 22 May 2013.

 

[v] Martorana, Carmelo. Notizie storiche dei Saraceni Siciliani. Palermo: Pedoni e Muratori, 1832. 128. Google Books. Web. 22 May 2013.

 

THE COIN FROM CALABRIA

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

A BOY IN CALABRIA

RENOIR IN CAPISTRANO?

GOING TO "AMERICA"!

UNCOVERING THE PAST

EARTHQUAKES: CALABRIA'S ONGOING APOCALYPSE

NAPOLEON: THE SCOURGE FROM THE NORTH

THE VILLAGE BEGINS

ROCCA ANGITOLA: THE UNRELENTING FORTRESS

THE SARACENS: THE DEMONS FROM AFRICA

HOW MUCH SARACEN BLOOD IS THERE IN CALABRIANS?

THE CHILDREN OF THE ANGITOLA FORTRESS

FILADELFIA: THE CALABRIAN UTOPIA

THE BIZANTINES: MORE GREEK-SPEAKING IMMIGRANTS ARRIVE IN CALABRIA

THE MIGHTY ROMANS CONQUER CALABRIA

THE ANCIENT GREEKS DISCOVER CALABRIA

BACK TO WARS -- JUST LIKE HOME

BACK TO CENTRAL GREECE

SEARCHING FOR CRISSA

MORE ABOUT THE PHOCIANS

CONCLUSION

WORKS CITED

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© Copyright, Michael Caputo, 2011 (This work may not be reproduced in part or in full without the permission of the author.)

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