September 1, 2018

This Month in History (September)

Historical events from each month of the year
September 1
To the Champion of Champions: Rocky Marciano the Undefeated
By Niccolò Graffio
During the time our people have spent living here in America, a number of figures, both real and imagined, have risen from our ranks to achieve icon status. These figures in turn helped to inspire future generations, either for good or bad. Of all of them, one of the most popular and enduring is the fictional boxer Robert “Rocky” Balboa, created and portrayed by actor Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky series of movies (1976-2006). Continue reading
September 2
The Sicilian of the Sicilians: The Life and Works of Giovanni Verga
By Niccolò Graffio
The travesty that produced the modern country of Italy worked to suppress in no small way the native cultures of Southern Italy, but it could not destroy them.  As the advocates of Risorgimento moved to center the political life of the nascent state around Rome (and the economic life in the north) they likewise tried to stifle the art, music and literature of Due Sicilie by denigrating them as ‘inferior’. Many Southern Italian culture producers of note, such as the great opera composer Vincenzo Bellini, were relegated to obscurity in favor of those born and bred in the north.  In Bellini’s case, his obscurity would last until he was ‘rediscovered’ in the middle part of the 20th century in large part thanks to the efforts of a non-Italian, the legendary soprano Dame Joan Sutherland. Continue reading
September 5
Plato’s Stepson: Tommaso Campanella – Renaissance Philosopher
By Niccolò Graffio
With the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD large swaths of territory in that part of Europe suffered massive political, economic and social upheavals that were to last centuries. Cities emptied either due to migrations or disease. Trade between various parts of Western and Southern Europe declined dramatically. Hordes of uncivilized Germanic tribesmen left their ancestral homelands in the north to settle the warmer climes farther south.  Under these circumstances, it was hardly surprising the production in art, music and literature suffered. Many to this day remember this time as the “Dark Ages”. Continue reading
September 16
The Warrior Prelate: Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Today we remember and honor the great counter-revolutionary hero Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo, the warrior prelate who liberated the Kingdom of Naples from Franco-Jacobin tyranny. 
When Napoleon’s Grande Armée invaded the Kingdom of Naples in December 1798 and installed the Jacobin satellite state (Repubblica Partenopea), Ruffo followed the Bourbon Royal Family to Palermo, Sicily. Named vicar-general on January 25th, 1799, the grey-haired Cardinal crossed the Strait of Messina to his native Calabria with just seven companions to recapture the Kingdom. Continue reading
September 20
Sophia Loren – a Living Symbol of Art
By Niccolò Graffio
The late philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand defined art as “…a selective recreation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments.” Since early modern humans first appeared in Europe approx. 40,000 years ago, mankind has “selectively recreated reality” in numerous ways for many different purposes.
Many early civilizations, like Ancient Egypt and Minoan Crete, produced artworks (now mostly in museums) which continue to amaze people to this day. Each culture developed their own style of art. Continue reading
September 27–30
The Last Days of September: The "Four Days of Naples" Remembered
By Niccolò Graffio
The city of Naples is one of the oldest, continually inhabited cities in all of Italy, if not Europe. Tradition has it Greek settlers from Euboea founded a colony at the site sometime in the 8th century BC. Archaeologists, however, believe the earliest settlers were Greek sailors from Rhodes who established a mercantile colony on the tiny island of Megaride almost 100 years earlier. They named this colony Parthenope. Continue reading