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date: 18 October 2019


  • Paolo Emilio Carapezza
  •  and Giuseppe Collisani


City in Italy, on the island of Sicily. It was originally a Phoenician colony whose culture became hellenized and which underwent periods of Punic and Roman domination. In the Byzantine era (7th–9th centuries) it was the centre of a school of hymn writing. Under the Arabs it became the capital of Sicily. Traces of these periods still remain in the local folksongs.

Palermo reached the summit of its political and cultural power in the Norman period. Under King Roger (1094–1154) the best of the treasures of three cultures was concentrated in the capital of his kingdom: the Byzantine liturgy in the church of La Martorana and the Latin plainchant in the cathedral were matched by Islamic courtly music, which is represented in paradise scenes painted on the ceilings of the Cappella Palatina and of Cefalù Cathedral. The eccellentissimi cantori at the court of William II (1166–89) were particularly famous. In ...

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