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Bill Thayer

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A Web-enhanced edition of
The Rulers of the South

by F. Marion Crawford

published by The Macmillan Company
London, 1901

Text, maps and black & white illustrationsº are in the public domain.
Any color photos are © William P. Thayer.

A History of Southern Italy
by Francis Marion Crawford

The work presented here, published in 1901, covers Southern Italy and Sicily from prehistoric times thru the rule of Charles V in the mid-sixteenth century.

Though the author viewed his book as "romantic history" (p62) and wrote in a pleasant, light discursive style, it is essentially a military history, and faithfully follows its ancient sources. The title of the book, though, is well chosen: the rulers of the South are the subject matter rather than economic and social history, or art and literature. Yet even in a military and political history it's impossible to ignore these other aspects altogether: there's a good deal of information in this book — all the more inevitably in that, by his own account, the author lived "half a life" in southern Italy, which we would easily divine even had he not told us so. He obviously loves Sicily in particular, especially Palermo, and his book gives us a very good feel for that city and some of the other towns and landmarks of the island.

Technical details on how this site is laid out are given following the Table of Contents.

Volume I


The Earliest Time

The Greeks (in 3 webpages)

The Romans (in 2 webpages)

Volume II


The Goths and the Byzantines

The Saracens

The Normans (in 3 webpages)

In Later Times

The Mafia

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Technical Details

Edition Used, Copyright

The book was published in England and copyright is therefore governed by the laws of the United Kingdom. Francis Marion Crawford died in 1909, and thus the work has been in the public domain since Jan. 1, 1980: details here on the copyright law involved.


Photography was still fairly new when Crawford wrote, and, more to the point no doubt, expensive. The Rulers of the South therefore has few actual photographs, some of which are of excellent quality, others less so; the need to illustrate the book was filled with what appear to be charcoal drawings, some of them in turn clearly based on photographs, others not. In the print copy the effect of these atmospheric images, for a book of its time, is more than adequate; we in the twenty-first century, on the other hand, are spoiled, and will count them a shortcoming.

Still, I couldn't omit them; the unambiguous photographs I've reproduced as faithfully as possible, the drawings I've sepia-toned. I've also moved several of them from where they appear in the print edition, but their original page is given in the sourcecode.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere on this site, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The printed work was exceptionally well proofread. The six errors I found in its nearly eight hundred pages, — and for the most part rather subtle ones, at that — I corrected, of course, marking the correction each time with one of these: º. (Bullets before measurements, though, provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.) A number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic ‑‑> in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked. Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is indicated by local links in the sourcecode. In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the book's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the book, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.

[image ALT: A hexastyle Doric temple, almost intact, in a scenery of low brush and cactus. It is the temple of Concord at ancient Agrigentum, in Sicily.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is the photo of the Temple of Concord at ancient Agrigentum, found in Vol. I, p282.

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Page updated: 21 Apr 08