Sicilians & Arabs . What Arabs have left behind them in Sicily ?

Any thing you want to tell us about ?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    From wikipedia:

    The Emirate of Sicily was an Islamic state on the isle of Sicily from 965 to 1072.

    Failed invasion

    In 535, Emperor Justinian I made Sicily a Byzantine province, and for the second time in Sicilian history, the Greek language became a familiar sound across the island. As the power of the Byzantine Empire waned, Sicily was invaded by the Arab forces of Caliph Uthman in the year 652. However, the invasion was short-lived and the Arabs left soon after. By the end of the 7th century they had captured the nearby port city of Carthage, allowing the Arabs to build shipyards and a permanent base from which to make more sustained attacks on Europe.

    Invasion due to Euphemius

    In around 700, the island of Pantelleria was captured by Arabs, and it was only discord among the Arabs that prevented an attempted invasion of Sicily coming next. Instead, trading arrangements were agreed with the Byzantines and Arab merchants were allowed to trade goods with them at the Sicilian ports.

    By 826, Euphemius the commander of the Byzantine fleet of Sicily forced a nun to marry him. Emperor Michael II caught wind of the matter and ordered that general Constantine end the marriage and cut off Euphemius' nose. Euphemius rose up, killed Constantine and then occupied Syracuse; he in turn was defeated and driven out to North Africa.He offered rule of Sicily over to Ziyadat Allah the Aghlabid Emir of Tunisia in return for a place as a general and safety; an Islamic army of Arabs, Berbers, Spaniards (then under muslim rule), Cretans and Persians was sent. The conquest was a see-saw affair: with considerable resistance and many internal struggles, it took over a century for Byzantine Sicily to be conquered. Syracuse held for a long time, Taormina fell in 902, and all of the island was eventually conquered by 965.

    Period as an Emirate

    In succession Sicily was ruled by the Sunni Aghlabid dynasty in Tunisia and the Shiite Fatimids in Egypt. The Byzantines took advantage of temporary discord to occupy the eastern end of the island for several years.

    After suppressing a revolt the Fatimid caliph Ismail al-Mansur appointed Hassan al-Kalbi (948-964) as Emir of Sicily. He successfully managed to control the continuously revolting Byzantines and founded the Kalbid dynasty. Raids into Southern Italy continued under the Kalbids into the 11th century, and in 982 a German army under Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor was defeated near Crotone in Calabria. With Emir Yusuf al-Kalbi (990-998) a period of steady decline began. Under al-Akhal (1017-1037) the dynastic conflict intensified, with factions within the ruling family allying themselves variously with the Byzantine Empire and the Zirids. By the time of Emir Hasan as-Samsam (1040-1053) the island had fragmented into several small fiefdoms.

    The Cathedral of Palermo.The Arabs initiated land reforms which in turn, increased productivity and encouraged the growth of smallholdings, a dent to the dominance of the landed estates. The Arabs further improved irrigation systems. A description of Palermo was given by Ibn Hawqal, a Baghdad merchant who visited Sicily in 950. A walled suburb called the Kasr (the palace) is the center of Palermo until today, with the great Friday mosque on the site of the later Roman cathedral. The suburb of Al-Khalisa (Kalsa) contained the Sultan's palace, baths, a mosque, government offices and a private prison. Ibn Hawqual reckoned 7,000 individual butchers trading in 150 shops.

    Throughout this reign, continued revolts by Byzantine Sicilians happened especially in the east and part of the lands were even re-occupied before being quashed. Agricultural items such as oranges, lemons, pistachio and sugarcane were brought to Sicily, the native Christians were allowed freedom of religion but had to pay an extra tax to their rulers. However, the Emirate of Sicily began to fragment as inner-dynasty related quarrels took place between the Muslim regime.By the 11th century mainland southern Italian powers were hiring ferocious Norman merecenaries, who were Christian descendants of the Vikings; it was the Normans under Roger I who captured Sicily from the Muslims. The Norman Robert Guiscard, son of Tancred, invaded Sicily in 1060. The island was split between three Arab emirs, and the sizeable Christian population rose up against the ruling Muslims. After taking Apulia and Calabria, Roger I occupied Messina with an army of 700 knights. In 1068, Roger de Hauteville and his men defeated the Muslims at Misilmeri but the most crucial battle was the siege of Palermo, which led to Sicily being completely in Norman control by 1091. After the conquest of Sicily, the Normans removed the local emir, Yusuf Ibn Abdallah from power, but did so by respecting Arab customs.

    The loss of the cities, each with a splendid harbor, dealt a severe blow to Muslim power on the island. The city of Qas'r Ianni (modern Enna) was still ruled by its emir, Ibn Al-Hawas, who held out for years. His successor, Ibn Hamud, surrendered, and converted to Christianity, only in 1087. Afer his conversion, Ibn Hamud subsequently became part of the Christian nobility and retired with his family to an estate in Calabria provided by Roger I. In 1091, Butera and Noto in the southern tip of Sicily and the island of Malta, the last Arab stongholds, fell to the Christians with ease. By the 11th century Muslim power in the Mediterranean had begun to wane.

    The Aftermath

    The Norman Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II was characterised by its multi-ethnic nature and religious tolerance. Normans, Jews, Muslim Arabs, Byzantine Greeks, Longobards and "native" Sicilians lived in harmony. Arabic remained a language of government and administration for at least a century into Norman rule, and traces remain in the language of the island today. Rather than exterminate the Muslims of Sicily, the Roger II's grandson Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1215—1250) allowed them to settle on the mainland and build mosques. Not least, he enlisted them in his Christian army and even into his personal bodyguards.

    A large scale Muslim rebellion broke out in 1190, triggering organized resistance and systematic reprisals and marked the final chapter of Islam in Sicily. The Muslim problem characterized Hohenstaufen rule in Sicily under Henry VI (1194-97) and his son Frederick II (1197-1250). In the 1220s, in order to stamp out the Muslim rebellion, Frederick adopted a programmatic system to remove Islam from Sicily entirely. This was achieved with the expulsion and forced deportation to the Apulian town of Lucera where they were isolated. The Normans gradually "Latinized" Sicily over the course of two centuries, and this social process laid the groundwork for the introduction of Catholicism (as opposed to Eastern Orthodoxy). The process of Latinization was fostered largely by the Roman Church and its liturgy. The annihilation of Islam in Sicily was completed by the late 1240s, when the final deportations to Lucera took place.

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  • 1 decade ago

    culture building people religion that is why you can see that lots of Sicilians look simular to the arabs

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  • 1 decade ago

    Black hair, nice skin and ragging passion

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