143. Michele Amari (1806-1889)

Historian, politician and orientalist, Amari is considered the founder of modern organization of oriental studies in Italy, he was a scholar of Muslim Sicily and Sicilian “Vespers”, and author of several literary works of international importance.

Born in Palermo, after taking part with his father to the Sicilian uprisings of the twenties of the nineteenth century and have been pardoned by the regime for his minority (while his father was sentenced to life imprisonment), Amary was declared “persona non grata” by the government of Naples and forced to flee to France following the publication of his work “The War of the Vespers”. Once in Paris, he continued his studies working on tracing the history of Sicily under the Muslims -mostly unknown.

During the Sicilian riots of 1848-1849, Amari interrupted his exile and returned to Sicily where he was elected to the Sicilian Parliament and appointed Minister of Finance in the cabinet of Ruggero Settimo. After the end of the experiment of self-government of Sicily, Amari returned to France connecting with Giuseppe Mazzini and participating in the dissemination of his political views.

During the Tuscan Provisional Government (1859), Amari was professor of Arab language and history to the return to Sicily, join the dictatorial government of Garibaldi as Minister (1860). He took part to the political life of the newly united Italy as senator (1861) and in the government Farini he held the office of Minister of Public Education from 1862 to 1864. In 1864 Amari went back to teaching Arabic language in Florence until 1873 .

He never abandoned his studies of the historical void that stretched between the end of the domination of the Byzantine occupation of the island and the arrival of the Angevins.

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Wikipedia, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michele_Amari

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