Giuseppe Musolino

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Giuseppe Musolino.

Giuseppe Musolino (24 September 1876 - 22 January 1956), also known as the "Brigante Musolino" or the "King of Aspromonte", was an Italian brigand and folk hero.

Biography[edit]

Musolino was born in Santo Stefano in Aspromonte, in a rugged area of Calabria, in southern Italy.

He worked as a woodcutter in the Aspromonte area of Calabria, an isolated and mountainous region near the "toe" of the Italian "boot". Musolino, much like Robin Hood in English folklore, was reputed to have turned outlaw when he was falsely accused of attempted murder in 1897. False testimony was brought forward against him and he was sent to prison in Gerace[citation needed]. In 1899, he escaped from jail, and for the next three years conducted his own brigand version of justice.

While hiding among the hills of Aspromonte, Musolino killed off the two alleged traitors who had borne witness against him; but "in expiation of their sins and his own"[citation needed], he kept busy as well at a multitude of good works. Among his good deeds, it was said he assisted peasants and gave large sums of money stolen from the rich to monasteries and churches. He also kept King Victor Emmanuel posted by letter on the need for local reforms.

Musolino was captured, while heading to seek pardon from King Victor Emmanuel in 1901, near Urbino,[1] apparently caught in some wire while fleeing two Carabinieri that recognized him[citation needed]. He was tried and sent to prison for life, where he was declared insane twelve years later. He died in Reggio Calabria's mental hospital at the age of 79.

Musolino as legend[edit]

It can be said that Musolino was seen by his countrymen as a symbol of the injustice Calabria was facing at the time. As an elusive fugitive, always managing to escape traps, Musolino stirred the imagination of many people in Italy and in short order he became a legend throughout Italy and abroad. He became the subject of many Calabrian folk tales and popular songs. The 1950 film Il Brigante Musolino, by Mario Monicelli, was based on his life.

See also[edit]

  • Eric Hobsbawm's concept of the social bandit (see also Hobsbawm, Primitive Rebels, 1959)
  • Cesare Lombroso's "The Last Brigand" (1902)
  • Dan Possumato's book (paperback edition) "King of the Mountains. The Remarkable Story of Giuseppe Musolino, Italy's Most Famous Outlaw" (2013) Kindle edition (2012)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Italian Brigand Musolino Captured, The New York Times, October 17, 1901

External links[edit]