Friday, July 17, 2015

Diavolo, Fra - sometimes the encyclopedia is inaccurate

I originally started this article because Britannica's account of Fra Diavolo, an Italian guerrilla fighter, is somewhat exciting. It portrays him as a bandit who plundered the countryside and ferociously victimized the peasants before becoming a mercenary for Queen Maria.

However, Britannica's article appears to be based on inaccurate French accounts of him. The wikipedia article talk page indicates that no sources other than Britannica for the charges of banditry against him.

For example, Britannica says his nickname "Brother Devil" came about because of his victimization of peasants while acting as a bandit. Wikipedia indicates that the nickname actually came about when he was a young child acting naughty. The charges of banditry appear to be entirely made up by the French.

Nevertheless, he was quite ruthless in war. He tortured and murdered hundreds of prisoners of war, including a French general.

I'd say that this is an example of history being written by the winners, but the French don't currently control Sicily, so it seems that ultimately, the French didn't win that war.

No comments:

Post a Comment