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Ancient & Medieval Chronology
and Sicilian Peoples

X.8000 BC Pleistocene Epoch ends, followed by Holocene (present epoch).
X.5000 BC - Proto-Sicanians present in neolithic Sicily.
X.4000 BC - Early Minoan (Cretan and Aegean) civilisation emerges.
X.3000 BC - Bronze Age in Greece; earliest phase was Copper Age.
X.2000 BC - Sicanian culture.
X.1550 BC - Mycenean and Late Minoan cultures.
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X.1300 BC - Probable period of arrival of Elymians from Anatolia via north Africa.
X.1200 BC - Arrival of Sicels (Sikels) from peninsular Italy. Iron Age begins in Greece.
X.1000 BC - Indo-European languages and societies can be identified based on linguistic similarities.
X.750 BC - First settlements in Sicily by Phoenicians and Greeks.
X.490 BC - Persian wars begin, lasting until 479.
X.415 BC - Athenian invasion of eastern Sicily.
X.264 BC - First Punic War, ending in 241.
X.218 BC -Second Punic War, ending in 201.
X.73 BC - Corrupt Verres governor of Sicily until 71.
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X.AD 52? - Saint Paul preaches in Syracuse on his way to Rome.
X.AD 306 - Constantine the Great rules until 337. Permits open practice of Christian religion.
X.468 - Vandal occupation, lasts until 476.
X.476 - Ostrogoth rule, lasting until 535.
X.535 - Belisarius defeats Goths and annexes Sicily to Byzantine Empire.
X.827 - First major Arab incursions.
X.831 - Balharm (Palermo) occupied by Arabs.
X.878 - Syracuse falls to Arabs.
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X.1060 - Unsuccessful Norman incursion into coastal northeastern Sicily.
X.1061 - Battle of Messina; Normans occupy parts of northeastern Sicily.
X.1072 - Battle of Palermo ends in early January with Norman occupation under Roger and Robert de Hauteville.
X.1101 - Roger II born; first King of Sicily.
X.1154 - Reign of King William I "the Bad."
X.1166 - Reign of King William II "the Good" begins.
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X.1194 - Henry VI arrives.
X.1198-1250 - Reign of Frederick II.
X.1266 - Charles of Anjou reigns.
X.1282 - Vespers revolt makes Peter of Aragon King of Sicily.
X.1492 - Edict against Jews.
X.1516 - Emperor Charles V King of Sicily.
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Peoples of Sicily in order of arrival
X.Sicanians - First 'native' Sicilians, descended from the initial wave of human settlers and identified culturally by 2000 BC; their language probably was not Indo-European and their settlements in Sicily were only loosely unified.
X.Elymians - Settling in western Sicily by 1300 BC, if not somewhat earlier, they were probably an Anatolian people (from present-day Turkey) but used a Phoenician-based alphabet and rapidly assimilated with the Greeks. Main cities were Egesta (Segesta), Entella and Erice; possible link to Etruscans has been theorized.
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X.Sicels - An Italic people who settled in northeastern Sicily about the time of arrival of the Elymians in the west, if not somewhat later (circa 1200 BC), establishing settlements as far west as Enna and southward to Mineo, forcing some Sicanians westward; assimilated with the Greeks only reluctantly.
X.Phoenicians - Coming from what is now Lebanon, they established colonies and trading posts across the central and western Mediterranean, inventing the alphabet adapted by Greeks, Romans, Elymians, Sicels, Etruscans, Lucanians and others. Some finds in Sicily and elsewhere reflect Egyptian artistic styles. Established Mozia, Solunto, Palermo, other cities. Identified with Canaanites. Spoke language called Punic.
X.Greeks - Various similar but rarely unified peoples whose initial presence in eastern Sicily long before mass colonization was Mycenean and Late Minoan. Naxos, near Taormina, established circa 750 BC; Greeks founded Selinunte, Agrigento, Catania, Messina, Himera and numerous other cities, of which Syracuse was most important.
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X.Carthaginians - Descendants of Phoenicians who settled in Tunisia and spoke Punic; re-established communities in western Sicily around 400 BC and fought series of wars against Greeks and then Romans (Punic Wars), who eventually defeated them; Hannibal and Hamilcar best known leaders.
X.Romans - Italic people of Latium (Rome area) who assimilated with Etruscans and accepted Greek cultural influences. Conquered Sicily and then Greece and most of Mediterranean, Egypt and Nile Valley, Germanic areas, Romania and Black Sea coast, Turkey, Spain, Britain, parts of Arabian Peninsula and Persia. Roman culture became cornerstone of Western civilization.
X.Vandals & Goths - Migratory peoples of central and eastern Europe forced out of their own region by Huns and other invading 'Asiatic' tribes following fall of Roman Empire. Soon Christianized, founded short-lived kingdom in Italy. Vandals invaded Sicily in 468, soon succeeded by Goths.
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X.Byzantines - Byzantine Greeks of Constantinople (Byzantium, now Istanbul) annexed Sicily to Eastern Roman Empire (established AD 395) in AD 535 following defeat of Goths. Language was Greek with some Latin; religion Christian. Sicilian capital was Syracuse.
X.Arabs - Loosely related populations of Arabia and other parts of Middle East unified by Islam and Arabic language; challenged Byzantines and then Turks for power. Occupied Tunisia. Invaded Sicily in 827, establishing emirates and many towns. In Sicily the Fatimids, Aghlabids and Khalids were major dynasties and capital was Palermo. Today's Sicilians descend partly from Arabs and Berbers but by 1300 Islam was suppressed.
X.Normans - People of mixed Nordic, Celtic and Frankish origin descended from Norsemen (Vikings) who settled Normandy region of France and amalgamated with local cultures. Landed at Messina in 1061, and at Hastings (England) in 1066, establishing kingdoms; in Sicily allowed free practice of Judaic and Muslim religions but introduced Latin (Catholic) Christian practices which gradually supplanted Eastern (Orthodox) ones. Ruling dynasty until 1194 was Hauteville family, capital was Palermo (formerly emirate).
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X.Swabians - Germanic peoples arrived with Staufen dynasty of Swabia which succeeded Hautevilles; as Holy Roman Emperors Hohenstaufens ruled most of Germany, Austria, northern Italy; Sicilian kingdom's capital was Palermo and included most of southern Italy. Influx of German vassals and advisors during reign of Frederick II (1198-1250).
X.Angevins - So-called 'Angevins' in Sicily were various French vassals and administrators placed in Sicily by Anjou dynasty ruling from Naples; ousted by conspiracy of Sicily's resentful Norman-Swabian nobility through popular uprising, Sicilian Vespers (1282).
X.Aragonese - People of northeastern Spain and (in Middle Ages) parts of southwestern France; arrived with Peter of Aragon following Vespers uprising.
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X.Spanish - Aragonese rights in Sicily were assumed by unified Spain in late 1400s; most Spaniards by then were of mixed Iberian, Punic, Celtic, Roman, Visigothic and Moorish (Arab) blood; many arrivals in Sicily in 1500s were tradesmen.
X.Jews - Semitic people present in Sicily from Roman times, forced to convert to Catholicism in 1492 with Spanish outlaw of Judaism as religion; some, but not all, emigrated.
X.Albanians - Sicily's Arbresh were descended from ancient Ilyrians and Romans, arrived in Sicily as refugees around 1500 due to Ottoman invasion of Balkans and established several towns. Initially Orthodox Christians, now Byzantine Rite Catholics.
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