Napoleon Series Archive 2016

Re: The Neapolitan Massa...

The Massa not only tortured their prisoners, but they also burned them alive and sometimes ate them...

They tried to perfect their torture by "slowly" burning their victims alive and worse. The Calabrian peasants considered the French godless invaders not deserving of any mercy. At least one French writer relates the Calabrians as closer to American Indians than Europeans. It was a very tough, very isolated, and by every description a backwards country. The English generals Fox, Stuart, and Moore weren't making things up about how primitive these locals were.... they simply weren't English. Sir Sidney had no national prejudices; he was happy to work with anyone willing to fight against the Tyrant.

The only book in English is "The Most Monstrous of Wars" by Milton Finley. The title is most appropriate; it was a monstrous war of terror on both sides. The French gave as good as they got; rebel heads on pikes, executing women and children for the crime of carrying food, burning villages, etc, etc. Like I said, standard Napoleonic terror methods to control population. By 1810, the French finally got things under control by threatening every village with destruction if any rebel action took place in their area, i.e. collective punishment.

Calabria was a preview of what would happen just 2 years later in Spain. The only difference is that in Calabria the English Army abandoned the peasant rebels to the French. In Spain, the English Army supported the rebels.

Today Calabria produces some of the finest wines. There are descriptions in personal accounts of the time of drinking Vino Greco, which is an ancient wine and still available today. From all appearances, it's a wonderful land. Still somewhat under-industrialized but that's not at all a back thing. A lot of the Italian immigration to America and Argentina was from this area.

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