Three valli of Sicily

Last updated
Historical map of Sicily showing the three provinces or "valli." Historical-map-of-Sicily-bjs-2.jpg
Historical map of Sicily showing the three provinces or "valli."

During the Muslim rule on Sicily, the island was divided into three different administrative regions: the Val di Noto in the southeast, the Val Demone in the northeast and the Val di Mazara in the west. [1] Each zone has a noticeably different agriculture and topography [2] and they converged near Enna (Castrogiovanni). [1]

Contents

There are many Arab-derived names in the Val di Mazara (and more Christians converted to Islam from this region), [3] are more mixed in the Val di Noto, while Christian (particularly Greek) identities survived strongest in the Val Demone (with the least Arab-derived names), [4] which was the last to fall to the Muslims, where Christian refugees from other parts of Sicily had assembled, and which furthermore remained in contact with Byzantine southern Italy. [5] Even in 21st century Sicily, differences between the east and west of the island are often explained by locals as being due to the Greek and Arab descent of the populations, respectively. [6] Later Christian Lombard settlements would split the remaining Muslims of Sicily in half, separating the Val di Mazara and the Val di Noto. [7]

Even after Muslim rule, the three valli system was still continued up until 1818, when Sicily was divided into seven provinces. [8] From the 16–17th century, the population of Val di Noto expanded the most slowly of the three valli, with Val di Mazara growing the fastest. [9]

The three valli are represented by the three-legged Trinacria symbol, which appears on the flag of Sicily. [10]

Etymology

Generally, the term val or vallo (plural: valli) can be traced back to Siculo Arabic : وَلاية, romanized:  wālāya (based on Arabic : وَلِيّ, romanized:  wālī ), with the administrative meaning of province.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sicily</span> Island in the Mediterranean, region of Italy

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. The Strait of Messina divides it from the region of Calabria in Southern Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions and is officially referred to as Regione Siciliana. The region has 5 million inhabitants. Its capital city is Palermo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Moors</span> Medieval Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Malta

The term Moor, derived from the ancient Mauri, is an exonym first used by Christian Europeans to designate the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Malta during the Middle Ages.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mazara del Vallo</span> Comune in Sicily, Italy

Mazara del Vallo is a town and comune in the province of Trapani, southwestern Sicily, Italy. It lies mainly on the left bank at the mouth of the Mazaro river.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roger I of Sicily</span> Count of Sicily

Roger I, nicknamed Roger Bosso and The Great, was a Norman nobleman who became the first Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was a member of the House of Hauteville, and his descendants in the male line continued to rule Sicily down to 1194.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Noto</span> City in Sicily, Italy

Noto is a city and comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy. It is 32 kilometres (20 mi) southwest of the city of Syracuse at the foot of the Iblean Mountains. It lends its name to the surrounding area Val di Noto. In 2002 Noto and its church were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kingdom of Sicily</span> State in southern Italy (1130–1816)

The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of the Italian Peninsula and for a time the region of Ifriqiya from its founding by Roger II of Sicily in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of the southern peninsula. The island was divided into three regions: Val di Mazara, Val Demone and Val di Noto.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Butera</span> Comune in Sicily, Italy

Butera is an Italian town and a comune in the province of Caltanissetta, in the southern part of the island of Sicily. It is bounded by the comuni of Gela, Licata, Mazzarino, Ravanusa and Riesi. It has a population of 4,653 (2017) and is 49 km (30 mi) from Caltanissetta, the province's capital.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Modica</span> Comune in Sicily, Italy

Modica is a city and comune of 54,456 inhabitants in the Province of Ragusa, Sicily, southern Italy. The city is situated in the Hyblaean Mountains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Emirate of Sicily</span> Period of Sicilian history under Islamic rule from 831 to 1091

The Emirate of Sicily was an Islamic kingdom that ruled the island of Sicily from 831 to 1091. Its capital was Palermo, which during this period became a major cultural and political center of the Muslim world.

Siculo-Arabic, also known as Sicilian Arabic, is the term used for varieties of Arabic that were spoken in the Emirate of Sicily from the 9th century, persisting under the subsequent Norman rule until the 13th century. It was derived from early Maghrebi Arabic following the Abbasid conquest of Sicily in the 9th century and gradually marginalized following the Norman conquest in the 11th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Islam in Malta</span> Overview of the role and impact of Islam in Malta

Islam in Malta has had a historically profound influence upon the country—especially its language and agriculture—as a consequence of several centuries of control and presence on the islands. Today, the main Muslim organizations represented in Malta are the Libyan World Islamic Call Society and the minority Ahmadiyya.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Islam in southern Italy</span>

The history of Islam in Sicily and Southern Italy began with the first Arab settlement in Sicily, at Mazara, which was captured in 827. The subsequent rule of Sicily and Malta started in the 10th century. The Emirate of Sicily lasted from 831 until 1061, and controlled the whole island by 902. Though Sicily was the primary Muslim stronghold in Italy, some temporary footholds, the most substantial of which was the port city of Bari, were established on the mainland peninsula, especially in mainland Southern Italy, though Muslim raids, mainly those of Muhammad I ibn al-Aghlab, reached as far north as Naples, Rome and the northern region of Piedmont. The Arab raids were part of a larger struggle for power in Italy and Europe, with Christian Byzantine, Frankish, Norman and local Italian forces also competing for control. Arabs were sometimes sought as allies by various Christian factions against other factions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Muslim conquest of Sicily</span> Annexation of Byzantine-held Sicily by the Aghlabid Emirate (827–902)

The Muslim conquest of Sicily began in June 827 and lasted until 902, when the last major Byzantine stronghold on the island, Taormina, fell. Isolated fortresses remained in Byzantine hands until 965, but the island was henceforth under Muslim rule until conquered in turn by the Normans in the 11th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norman–Arab–Byzantine culture</span> High Mediaeval cultural confluence in north Africa, southern Italy and Sicily

The term Norman–Arab–Byzantine culture, Norman-Sicilian culture or, less inclusively, Norman–Arab culture, refers to the interaction of the Norman, Latin, Arab and Byzantine Greek cultures following the Norman conquest of Sicily and of Norman Africa from 1061 to around 1250. The civilization resulted from numerous exchanges in the cultural and scientific fields, based on the tolerance shown by the Normans towards the Greek-speaking populations and the Muslim settlers. As a result, Sicily under the Normans became a crossroad for the interaction between the Norman and Latin Catholic, Byzantine–Orthodox and Arab–Islamic cultures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lombards of Sicily</span> Linguistic minority living in Sicily, Italy

The Lombards of Sicily are an ethnolinguistic minority living in Sicily, southern Italy, speaking an isolated variety of Gallo-Italic languages, the so-called Gallo-Italic of Sicily.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Al-Maziri</span> 12th-century Tunisian jurist

Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Omar ibn Muhammad al-Tamimi al-Maziri, simply known as Al-Maziri or as Imam al-Maziri and Imam al-Mazari, was an important Arab Muslim jurist in the Maliki school of Sunni Islamic Law. He was one of the most important figures in the school and his opinions are well known and respected to this day. Al-Maziri was one of four jurists whose positions were held as authoritative by Khalil ibn Ishaq in his Mukhtassar, which is the most important of the later texts in the relied upon positions of the school. It is for this reason that he is referred to simply as al-Imam within the Maliki school.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Cerami</span> Main battle in the Norman conquest of Sicily

The Battle of Cerami was fought in June 1063 and was one of the most significant battles in the Norman conquest of Sicily, 1060–1091. The battle was fought between a Norman expeditionary force and a Muslim alliance of Sicilian and Zirid troops. The Normans fought under the command of Roger de Hauteville, the youngest son of Tancred of Hauteville and brother of Robert Guiscard. The Muslim alliance consisted of the native Sicilian Muslims under the Kalbid ruling class of Palermo, led by Ibn al-Hawas, and Zirid reinforcements from North Africa led by the two princes, Ayyub and 'Ali. The battle was a resounding Norman victory that utterly routed the opposing force, causing divisions amongst the Muslim aristocracy which ultimately paved the way for the eventual capture of the Sicilian capital, Palermo, by the Normans and subsequently the rest of the island.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of the Straits</span>

The Battle of the Straits was fought in early 965 between the fleets of the Byzantine Empire and the Fatimid Caliphate in the Straits of Messina. It resulted in a major Fatimid victory, and the final collapse of the attempt of Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas to recover Sicily from the Fatimids.

Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi al-Husayn al-Kalbi, known in Byzantine sources as Boulchasenes and Aboulchare (Ἀβουλχαρέ), was the first Kalbid Emir of Sicily. A member of an aristocratic family within the ruling circle of the Fatimid Caliphate, he helped suppress the great revolt of Abu Yazid in 943–947 and was sent as governor of Sicily from 948 until 953, when he returned to Ifriqiya. He was succeeded in Sicily by his son Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Kalbi, but led several campaigns in Sicily and southern Italy against the Byzantines in 955–958, as well as the raid against Almeria that sparked a brief conflict with the Caliphate of Córdoba in 955. He died at Palermo in 964, during another campaign against the Byzantines.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Val Demone</span>

Val Demone or Val di Demona is a historical and geographical region encompassing the north-eastern third of Sicily. Historically, it was one of the three valli of Sicily.

References

  1. 1 2 Bill Nesto; Frances Di Savino (9 Feb 2013). The World of Sicilian Wine. University of California Press. p. 154. ISBN   9780520955073.
  2. Sarah C. Davis-Secord (2007). Sicily and the Medieval Mediterranean: Communication Networks and Inter-regional Exchange. ProQuest. p. 42. ISBN   9780549515791.
  3. Stefan Goodwin (1 Jan 2002). Malta, Mediterranean Bridge (illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 20. ISBN   9780897898201.
  4. Isaac Taylor (1865). Words and Places: Or, Etymological Illustrations of History, Ethnology, and Geography. Macmillan. pp.  101–2.
  5. Metcalfe (2009), pp. 34–36, 40
  6. Helena Attlee (2014). The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit. Penguin UK. ISBN   9780141967868. Catania is a slower-moving, gentler place than Palermo. Most explain the difference between palermitani and catanesi by saying that people on the west of the island are descended from Arabs and those on the east from the Greeks.
  7. Ann Katherine Isaacs (2007). Immigration and Emigration in Historical Perspective. Edizioni Plus. p. 71. ISBN   9788884924988.
  8. George Dennis (1864). A handbook for travellers in Sicily. John Murray. p. xiv.
  9. Stephan R. Epstein (13 Nov 2003). An Island for Itself: Economic Development and Social Change in Late Medieval Sicily (revised ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 68. ISBN   9780521525077.
  10. Dana Facaros; Michael Pauls (2008). Sicily (illustrated ed.). New Holland Publishers. p. 222. ISBN   9781860113970.