Ciro Annunchiarico

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Ciro Annunchiarico (in Italian: Ciro Annicchiarico) (also known as: Papa Ciro) (Born: Grottaglie, 16 December 1775 – Died: Francavilla Fontana, 8 February 1817) was an Italian cult leader.

Early life[edit]

He was the son of wealthy parents. He entered the priesthood at a young age and seemed destined for priesthood.

Murder of Giovanni Montolesi[edit]

He seduced a young woman who was engaged to Giovanni Montolesi, the son of a wealthy merchant. When Montolesi learned of the affair, he sought out Annunchiarico and reproached him for bringing shame to the priesthood and dishonor to his fiancée. Without a word, Annunchiarico drew a dagger from his belt and stabbed Montolesi in the heart. He later swore a blood-feud against the entire Montolesi family, declaring that the man whom he had murdered had insulted him and the entire Roman Catholic priesthood. Over the next few months he ambushed and murdered thirteen members of the Montolesi clan. Pursued by the authorities, he then fled with some friends into the mountains.[1]

Gang leader[edit]

He organized in late 1816 and 1817, the confederation of robbers with a strength of 20,000 people. The name they used for themselves was The Decided Ones of Jupiter the Thunderer. Their leader Ciro Annunchiarico claimed to be the earthly avatar of the ancient Roman god Jupiter.[2]


He seemed to have had an extraordinary if not mysterious power of charisma, as tens of thousands of hardened bandits readily obeyed him and acknowledged his bizarre claims.[3]

Further murders[edit]

He is supposed to have killed between sixty and seventy men by his own hand.[4]


His bandit group was eventually attacked by a force of German and Swiss mercenaries under the command of an Englishman, General Church.[5]

He was later executed by a firing squad.


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