Atanasiu di Iaci

Atanasiu di Iaci

Frate Atanasiu di Iaci or Athanasiu da Jaci ( _it. Atanasio) was a Benedictine monk and historiographer from Aci. He wrote "Vinuta di lu re Iapicu in Catania" (c.1295), a Sicilian chronicle (or romance) of the arrival and stay of James I in Catania in May 1287. [G. Cusimano (1962), "Atanasiu di Iaci," "Dizionario biografico degli Italiani", vol. 4 (Rome: Società Grafica Romana), 519. This makes it one of the earliest chronicles of the War of the Vespers, c.f. Pasquale Castorina (1882), [ "Le vespro siciliano: Cronaca siciliana anonima intitolata Lu rebellamentu di Sichilia",] vii–x.] He may also be the author of another Sicilian history, "Lu rebellamentu di Sichilia", written circa 1290, by an anonymous of Messina. [This attribution was put forward by Pasquale Castorina in 1883, [ "Catania e Dante Alighieri".] ] Vincenzo di Giovanni suggested that Atanasiu was of Saracen ancestry. [Vincenzo di Giovanni (1865), [ "Cronache siciliane dei secoli XIII, XIV, XV"] (G. Romagnoli). See also his [ "Filologia e letteratura siciliana: studii"] (L. P. Lauriel, 1871).]

Vincenzo de Gaetano first expressed doubt about the authenticity of the "Vinuta" and the historicity of Atanasiu. The "Vinuta" appears in no earlier work than Pietro Carrera, "Delle memorie historiche della città di Cantania" (1639). [This work has also been dated to 1640 or 1641, c.f. Cusimano.] He claimed to have found it in a manuscript of San Nicolò l'Arena, now lost. It was first published by the Pietro Bentivegna of Palermo in their "Opuscoli di autori Siciliani" (1760). Its authorship was also treated by Antonio Mongitore "Biblioteca Sicula" (1708). The "Vinuta" was accepted as authentic by Enrico Sicardi for his 1917 edition. [Enrico Sicardi (1917), "La vinuta e lu suggiornu di lu re Japicu in la gitati di Catania, l'annu MCCLXXXVII", "Due cronache del Vespro", in Lodovico Muratori, "Raccolta", XXXIV.] Kenneth Setton follows him, but notes that though it sometimes adds valuable details to the history of the War of the Sicilian Vespers, it is frequently untrustworthy. [Kenneth Meyer Setton (1976), "The Papacy and the Levant, 1204–1571: The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries" (DIANE Publishing), 140.] Giulio Bertoni considered it authentic, pointing to the antiquity of its language. [Giulio Bertoni (1910), "Il Duecento" (Milan), 426, who reads "Jacumu" instead of "Japicu".] If authentic, the "Vinuta" is an important source for the influence of the Italian languages on Sicilian.

Below is a passage describing James' arrival in Catania, then occupied by the Angevins, mostly Frenchmen, followers of Charles of Anjou:The French ("franzisi") had landed on the same day between Catania and Syracuse and had begun to besiege Augusta. By June their supplies were running short. In July they were forced to lift their siege of Augusta and their garrison fled Catania.


*Biondelli, Bernardino (1856). [,M1 "Studi linguìstici"] . G. Bernardoni.


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