Lombards of Sicily
|Regions with significant populations|
|other parts of Italy||?|
|Gallo-Italic of Sicily, Italian|
|Related ethnic groups|
Lombards of Sicily (Italian: Lombardi di Sicilia) are an ethnic and linguistic group living in Sicily, southern Italy, speaking an isolated variety of Gallo-Italic dialects, the so-called Gallo-Italic of Sicily.
The Lombards of Sicily, coming from the Northern Italy, settled the central and eastern part of Sicily about 900 years ago during the Norman conquest of Sicily. After the marriage between the Norman Roger I of Sicily with Adelaide del Vasto, descendant of Aleramici family of Frank origin, many Lombard colonisers left their homeland, in the Aleramici's possessions in Piedmont and Liguria, to settle on the island of Sicily.
Lombard people continued to migrate and settle in Sicily right up to the reign of Henry VI. Alongside the Lombards, there was continuous migration into Sicily from north-western Europe which was greatley encouraged by the kings of Sicily.
Because of linguistic differences among the Gallo-Italics dialects of Sicily, it is supposed that there were independent immigration routes. From Piedmont, Liguria, Emilia, Lombardy they began to spread south, between the 11th and 14th centuries.
The major centres, called historically Oppida Lombardorum, where these dialects can still be heard today include Piazza Armerina, Aidone, Sperlinga, San Fratello, Nicosia, and Novara di Sicilia. Northern Italian dialects did not survive in some towns in the province of Catania that developed large Lombard communities during this period, namely Randazzo, Paternò and Bronte. However, the Northern Italian influence in the local varieties of Sicilian are marked.
In the case of San Fratello, some linguists have suggested that the gallic-italic dialect present today has Provençal as its basis, having been a fort manned by Provençal mercenaries in the early decades of the Norman conquest (bearing in mind that it took the Normans 30 years to conquer the whole of the island).
- "Following the marriage to his third wife, Adelaide, from the Aleramici clan in Piedmont, many northern Italians (the sources refer to them as lombardi, as opposed to the longobardi from southern Italy) settled on the island of Sicily from the late Eleventh century onwards." From G. A. Loud, Alex Metcalfe, The Society of Norman Italy, Brill, Leiden 2002, p. 323.
- "Western Lombard dialects in Sicily". Ethnologue. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
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