The Carbonari ("charcoal burners""CARBONARI (an Italian word meaning charcoal-burners)" from the [http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/CAL_CAR/CARBONARI_an_Italian_word_meani.html Carbonari article] in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica] ) were groups of secret revolutionary societies founded in early 19th-century
Italy. Their goals were patriotic and liberal and they played an important role in the Risorgimentoand the early years of Italian nationalism.
They were organized in the fashion of
Freemasonry, broken into small cells scattered across Italy. They sought the creation of a liberal, unified Italy.
The membership was separated into two classes—apprentice and master. There were two ways to become a master, through serving as an apprentice for at least six months"apprentice could rise to the grade of a master before the end of six months." From [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03330c.htm Carbonari] in the
Catholic Encyclopedia] or by being a Freemason on entry."Freemasons could enter the Carbonari as masters at once." From [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03330c.htm Carbonari] in the Catholic Encyclopedia] Their initiation rituals were structured around the trade of charcoal-selling, hence their name.
Although it is not clear where they were originally established"It is not certain whether the Carbonari, as a political society, had its first organization in France or Italy." From the [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03330c.htm Carbonari] article in the
Catholic Encyclopedia] , they first came to prominence in the Kingdom of Naplesduring the Napoleonic wars."The Carbonari were probably an offshoot of the Freemasons, from whom they differed in important particulars, and first began to assume importance in southern Italy during the Napoleonic wars." From the [http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/CAL_CAR/CARBONARI_an_Italian_word_meani.html CARBONARI] article in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica]
They began by resisting the French occupiers, notably
Joachim Murat, the Bonapartist King of Naples. However once the wars ended, they became a nationalist organisation with a marked anti-Austrian tendency and were instrumental in organising revolutionin Italy in 1820–1821 and 1831. The 1820 revolution began in Naples against King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, who was forced to make concessions and promise a constitutional monarchy. This success inspired Carbonari in the north of Italy to revolt too. In 1821, the Kingdom of Sardiniaobtained a constitutional monarchy as a result of Carbonari actions. However, the Holy Alliancewould not tolerate this state of affairs and in February, 1821, sent an army to crush the revolution in Naples. The King of Sardinia also called for Austrian intervention. Faced with an enemy overwhelmingly superior in number, the Carbonari revolts collapsed and their leaders fled into exile. In 1830, Carbonari took part in the July Revolution in France. This gave them hope that a successful revolution might be staged in Italy. A bid in Modenawas an outright failure, but in February 1831, several cities in the Papal Statesrose up and flew the Carbonari tricolour. A volunteer force marched on Rome but was destroyed by Austrian troops who had intervened at the request of Pope Gregory XVIAfter the failed uprisings of 1831, the governments of the Italian states cracked down on the Carbonari, who now virtually ceased to exist. The more astute members realised they could never take on the Austrian army in open battle and joined a new movement, Giovane Italia("Young Italy") led by Mazzini.
Relations with the Church
The Carbonari were
anti-clericalin both their philosophy and program. The Papal constitution Ecclesiam a Jesu Christoand the encyclical Qui Pluribuswere directed against them. The controversial document, the Alta Vendita, which called for a modernist takeover of the Catholic Church, was attributed to the Sicilian Carbonari.
Prominent members of the Carbonari included:
Silvio Pellico(1788–1854) and Pietro Maroncelli(1795–1846) :both were imprisoned by the Austrians for years, many of which they spent in Spielberg fortressin Brno, Southern Moravia. After his release, Pellico wrote a book "Le mie prigioni", describing in detail his ten-year ordeal. Maroncelli lost one leg in prison and was instrumental in translating and editing of Pellico's book in Paris (1833).
Marquis de Lafayette(hero of the American and French Revolutions),
*Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (the future French emperor
*French revolutionary Blanqui.
The Carbonari in Portugal
The Carbonari (
Carbonária) was first founded in Portugalin 1822 but was soon disbanded. It was founded again in 1896 by Artur Augusto Duarte da Luz de Almeida. This organization was active in efforts to educate the people and was involved in various antimonarchist conspirations. Most notably, Carbonari members were active in the murder of King Carlos I of Portugaland his heir, Prince Luís Filipe, Duke of Braganzain 1908. Carbonari members also played a part in the republican revolution of October 5, 1910
Carbonari in Literature
Vanina Vaniniby Stendhalinvolved a hero in the Carbonari and a heroine who became obsessed by this. It was made into a film in 1961. Robert Louis Stevenson's story " The Pavilion on the Links" features the Carbonari as the villains of the plot. Katherine Neville's novel The Fire (book)features the Carbonari as part of a plot involving a mystical chess service.
The carbonari are also mentioned briefly in the book "Ressurection Men",by T. K. Welsh, where the main character's father is a carbonari.
the carbonari are also mentioned briefly in the book "Ressurection Men", where the main character's father is a carbonari
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