10-8-09 - Arab Influence in Sicily

10-8-09 - Arab Influence in Sicily - QUOTATIONS: Every...

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QUOTATIONS: Every culture draws nourishment from its own roots, yet truly blossoms only on contact with other cultures . “Respect for history is a barometer of civilization.” SICILY: OVERVIEW Sicily ( Sicilia ) is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is an autonomous region of Italy. Several much smaller islands surrounding it are considered part of Sicily. Throughout much of its history, Sicily has been regarded as a crucial strategic location due in large part to its importance for Mediterranean trade routes. It was esteemed when it was part of Magna Graecia , with Cicero describing Siracusa as the greatest and most beautiful city of all Ancient Greece. [3] The island was once a city-state in its own right, and as the Kingdom of Sicily ruled from Palermo over southern Italy, Sicily, and Malta. It later became a part of the Two Sicilies under the Bourbons, a kingdom governed from Naples that comprised both the island itself and most of Southern Italy. Italian unification of 1860 led to the dissolution of this kingdom, and Sicily became an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Italy. Sicily is today an autonomous region of Italy. Of all the regions of Italy, Sicily covers the largest land area at 25,708 square kilometers (9,926 sq mi) and currently has just over five million inhabitants, roughly the same size and population as the Commonwealth of MASSACHUSETTS. Sicily has its own unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, cuisine, architecture and language. The Sicilian economy is largely based on agriculture (mainly orange and lemon orchards); this same rural countryside has attracted significant tourism in the modern age as its natural beauty is highly regarded. Sicily also holds importance for archeological and ancient sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica and the Valley of the Temples. It is very mountainous and contains two active volcanoes, Etna and Stromboli. LANGUAGE: Most modern Sicilians speak both Italian and Sicilian which is an Italic blend of Latin, French, Arabic and Greek. ISLAND vs. ISOLATION: Just as New York “begins” at Montauk, Europe can be said to begin in Sicily. Sicily’s strategic position in the center of the Mediterranean has made it been a global player international politics and trade. Although there were prehistoric indigenous people on the island known as Sicily, its documented history began when GREEKS arrived at NAXOS (near Taormina) in 735 BC and quickly settled in Sicily in great numbers. Sicily was part of MAGNA GRECIA and so the influence of Greek culture is quite strong. In fact, Greek would continue to be spoken in Sicily through the middle ages. Other cities were founded soon after Naxos: Syracuse (Siracusa); Zancle (Messina); Megara (or Megara Hyblaea, near Augusta); Katane (Catania); Gela; Selinus (Selinunte) was founded in the following century. Akragas (Agrigento) established around 580 BC by citizens of Gela. Egesta (Segesta) was gradually Hellenized during this same general period.
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10-8-09 - Arab Influence in Sicily - QUOTATIONS: Every...

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