Women of Sicily: Saints, Queens and Rebels

Women of Sicily: Saints, Queens and Rebels

by Jacqueline Alio

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Overview

Women of Sicily: Saints, Queens and Rebels by Jacqueline Alio

Rarely have women found their place in the chronicles of Sicily's thirty-century history. Here one of Sicily's most popular historians introduces seventeen women of varied backgrounds who defied convention to make their mark in the annals of the complex history of the world's most conquered island.

Meet a timeless sisterhood of pious Roman maidens, steadfast Sicilian queens, and a Jewish mother who confronted the horrors of the Inquisition. Theirs are inspiring stories of the courage of conviction bursting forth to overcome the challenges of adversity. The lengthier ten biographies constitute full chapters, while seven are concise sketches of a few paragraphs each.

In addition to these profiles - most of these women lived before 1500 - the author presents a general survey and chronology of Sicilian history. Significantly, the book treats Sicily as the sovereign nation most of these women knew, and not as a 'region' of the unified Italy or a tiny piece of Europe. The chronology (timeline) reaches into the present century, and there's an appendix dedicated to Sicilian women today.

Until now, biographies of Sicilian women written in English (as the original language) have been the work of foreign authors. This one is a milestone, the first book about the historical women of Sicily written in English by a Sicilian woman in Sicily. It reflects a special passion and an astute understanding of its subject.

Some of the information is the result of original (scholarly) research, and a few facts were garnered from unique sources. The chapter on Queen Maria Sophia of the Two Sicilies, who died in 1925, is the lengthiest treatment of her ever published in English, and it was based in part on an unpublished interview with somebody who knew the Queen, namely her niece, the late Princess Urraca. Living links of this kind are precious in historical writing.

While the concise overview of the status of women in twenty-first century Sicily is provided merely for the benefit of readers who wish to compare the past and present, the pages dedicated to that topic are a rare occurrence in book publishing, especially in English. Here the author's statements are based on facts and statistics rather than anecdotes or stereotypes. It is clear that she knows her subject.

With its chronology and reading list, this volume is useful as a reference, but its narrative makes for an interesting read.

Jackie Alio is an insightful author, one of Sicily's most talented historians, and this book was long overdue.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780991588602
Publisher: Trinacria Editions, LLC
Publication date: 03/23/2015
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jacqueline Alio is one of Sicily’s leading historians, and part of a new wave that is writing the history of Sicily's women. Over the last decade, she has been consulted by The History Channel, The Discovery Channel and other media. An accomplished medievalist, she has published the results of her original research while writing insightful articles for a general readership. Online, her articles have captivated millions, gaining her a special place as one of the Sicilian historians with the most readers around the world. In print, scholarly works like her translation of the Ferraris Chronicle have earned her kudos in academic circles. Margaret Queen of Sicily, the first biography of that regent, is the lengthiest published work of original scholarship written in English by a historian in Sicily. She co-authored the first book in English to outline the emerging field of Sicilian Studies. Her most recent book, the result of years of research, is a compendium of biographies of the queens of Sicily into the middle of the 13th century.

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Maps
1. A Brief History of Sicily
2. Women of Myth
3. Saint Agatha
4. Saint Lucy
5. Judith of Evreux
6. Elvira of Castile
7. Margaret of Navarre
8. Joan Plantagenet
9. Constance of Hauteville
10. Constance of Aragon
11. Caterina de Monteverdi
12. Maria Sophia of Naples
13. Seven Sisters
Appendix 1: Chronology
Appendix 2: Suggested Reading
Appendix 3: Sicily’s Women Today
Appendix 4: Sicily in 1859
Appendix 5: Women Quoted
Sources, Bibliography, Historiography
Index

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