Vespers, Sicilian

Vespers, Sicilian, a term applied to the massacre of the French residents in Sicily by the natives on Easter-day, 1282. The tyranny of the French had become intolerable to the Sicilians, and a plot was formed for their extermination. It was arranged that the massacre should begin at the tolling of the bell for evening vespers, and the work was so thoroughly done that very few of the French escaped. Neither rank, age, nor sex received any quarter. It is said that pope Nicholas III was made acquainted with this plot, but died before its execution.

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