Sicilian Vespers. A massacre of 3,000–4,000 French in Sicily, 30 Mar. 1282, initiated when the bell for vespers was rung. It marked the end of the plans of Pope Martin IV and Charles of Anjou to reconquer Constantinople, and led indirectly to the decline of papal power. The theme supplied (remotely) the libretto for Verdi's I vespri siciliani.
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