Integrarsi nel Regno: da stranieri a cittadini in Sicilia tra attività mercantile, negozio politico e titolo di nobiltà

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This essay is an analysis, over the long period, of the integration process, and its mainfeatures, which affected a very high number of foreign merchants in the Kingdom of Sicily. Its aimis to shed light on some of the social and political conditions that made this integration possibleand eventually successfull. In all the major Sicilian cities, there were permanent colonies ofmerchants, living there «cum domo et familia»; quite a few, among those merchants, couldeventually get the title of citizens, with all the relevant privileges, especially thanks to the marriagewith local women of the upper class. Thus, many of them could climb the social ladder and placethemselves within the local urban ruling classes, and obtain high offices. This was the preliminarystep, that enabled a number of them to get a fief, and a title of nobility in a short time, especiallywhen favorable political events and economic opportunities arose, paving them the way to nobility,wealth, and power. It was also frequent that some of them occupied very high positions in themost prestigious political authorities and bodies of the Kingdom: in most cases, they could occupythese high offices thanks to their financial strenght. Theirs sons, if born in Sicily, were immediatelygranted the status of citizens. In many cases, their assimilation and integration into the Kingdomwas such, that, over some generations, they very “foreign” origins and the memory thereof, wentcompletely lost.
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)259-284
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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