Brigandage showcase

The brigandage was the expression of the deep discontent that troubles the South Italy and it was not a plague of political type as many supposed but it was and it is essentially a social plague, so of moral and economic kind.

The brigand is most of the times a poor peasant or shepherd less servile than the others who rebels against injustices and impositions of the powerful and once lost every trust in justice of State laws hides himself in the country and risks his life yearning for revenge on that Society that reduced him to that extreme…

(C. Dotto de Dauli – ‘Sulle condizioni materiali e morali delle province del Mezzogiorno d’Italia’, pag.103 – Napoli, Stab. Tip. Largo Trinità Maggiore 1877)

I deserve to die because I have been cruel with those which fell among my hands but I also deserve pity and forgiveness because against my nature they have pushed me to the crime… I would have lived honestly, if they had left me alone…

(Pasquale Cavalcante, brigand of Corleto Perticara)

You know that for us no writer wastes ink and paper; nobody writes about our illness, our poverty, the abuses, the injustice that they do to us while they call highest writers those that despise us calling us miserable herd…

(memories written by the brigand Carmine Donatelli Crocco, when it was prisoner in the penal colony of Portoferraio)

The ‘brigantessa’ was not just the brigand’s woman, […] she was not just the one that with female astuteness tried to divert the investigations of the force and adventurously succeeded in reaching burrows and dens with provisions and news. She was also a messenger between gang and gang, she had a life of uneasiness, of ‘dark heroism’ for love and devotion to her own man, husband, lover, brother or son.

The brigand’s woman sometimes turned herself into brigand… Sometimes, became even chief and then she showed a character of unimaginable strenght: cunning, strategist and skilled in persuasion and proselytism work; beautiful some times, often cruel…

(M.Restivo – ‘Ritratti di brigantesse’ – R.Fontana editore, 1990 Matera)

…where the populace evils are so ancient that there’s no hope in any medicine or in any better future, there is the brigand…

…where the scythe of the death reaps more lives that the sources of the life would reproduce, there is the brigand…

…where goods are privilege of few, and the most have nothing, neither a roof on their heads, nor huts, plows, garments, but just shoulders and hard work, there is the brigand…

(from the document of the Committee of investigation on the Brigandage read at the Chamber in the secret Committee on August 4th 1863, ‘Pietre Miliari…’, A. Pagano – Ed. Paternoster, Matera)

Related blog posts

13 June 2015 | Cultural subjects
The anti-fascist partisan women of World War II have always been represented surrounded by a positive aura of courage and romance. To define the italian post-unitary brigand women (brigantesse) instead, in the arrest report filled up by the military that captured them, only derogatory terms were used. The peasant women were subjected to violence and […]
17 May 2015 | Cultural subjects
The brigands (briganti): heroes or criminals? Hard to say, and probably neither one nor the other. The italian post-unification brigandage (brigantaggio) was infact a complex phenomenon, used to be defined in the history books as a problem of common crime for many decades, part of the long-standing set of economic and social problems known as […]
Brigandage showcase16