You live as long as you are remembered.
DON ANDREA MUSCARA'
Librizzi claims Don Andrea Muscarà as one of her ‘illustrious sons’. The Muscarà Stemma is found in the Church of Maria SS Della Catena in Librizzi. The Muscarà mentioned inside the Stemma is Don Andrea. The Stemma is located on the wall of the main Altar, above the alcove that houses the famous Gagini statue of the Madonna.
Don Andrea was born in 1599 and died November 11, 1666. I am not a hundred percent sure but I am pretty confident that Andrea was the son of il dottor Giomatteo Muscarà and Gratiosa Mamone. True that Giomatteo’s brother il dottor Francesco and his wife Thomasa also had a son named Andrea, but Francesco and Thomasa’s Andrea was born in 1617 while Giomatteo and Gratiosa’s Andrea was born in 1599. There still exist important Judicial Opinions written by the famous lawyer and Chief Judge don Andrea Muscarà, the earliest date that I have for these documents is 1647. In 1647 one Andrea would be 30 and the other would be 48 years old. It seems to me that the older Andrea would be more experienced and thus more likely to be the one who was appointed to such high offices. One of the documents that is dated 1647 is titled “Defensionem Immutatis Ecclesiasticis. (The book “Librizzi” cites this document but the date recorded is wrong, it should read 1647. All other resources that list Andrea’s Judicial Opinions say 1647).
The book “Librizzi, Documenti, uomini e fatti prima e dopo il mille” by Antonino D’Amico gives the following information about Don Andrea Muscarà:
“Esperto dell’uno e dell’altro diritto, fu uno dei più celebri avvocati e si segnalò per la sua cultura. Meritatamente fu insignito di molte onorificenze, assessore della grande curia arcivescovile di Palermo, e parecchie volte della gran curia regia. Una volta fu giudice del concistoro della regia coscienza e alla fine si distinse come avvocato del fisco dove si mostrò incorruttibile. Cessò di vivere a Palermo l’11 novembre 1666. Fu sepolto nella chiesa dei frati di S. Antonio.” (pages103-104)
Chiesa di Sant'Antonio Abate
The following is a translation of the above paragraph: “Expert in criminal and civil law, he was one of the most famous lawyers and distinguished himself for his knowledge. Deservedly he was bestowed many honors, Assessor of the Bishop’s Supreme Court of Palermo, and several times of the Supreme Royal Court. Once he was Judge of the Consistory of Regia Coscienza and toward the end of his life he distinguished himself as the Public Treasury Lawyer where he proved to be incorruptible. He died in Palermo on November 11, 1666 and was buried in the Chiesa dei Frati di S. Antonio.”
The location of his tomb was verified by officials of the Bishop’s Archives in Palermo who, in a letter to me, confirmed that “Don Andreas is buried in the Church San Antonio di Padova, 90134 Palermo, Corso Tukory n. 2 Palermo, Sicilia.”
I found the same information cited in “Librizzi” in the “Bibliotheca Sicula, sive de scriptoribus Siculis qui tum vetera…”, Vol. I, Antonino Mongitore. The following is the section on Andrea from the Biblioteca Sicula:
Andreas Muscarà – Libritientis; Juris utriusque Doctor, unus excelebrioribus causarum Patronis, doctrina praeclarus; meritò nonnullis honoribus cohonestatus, Magnae Curiae Archiepiscopalis Panormi Assessor, pluries Magnae Regiae Curiae e femel Concistorii Sacre Reg. Conscientiae Judex: tandem Fisci Patronus effulfit (or essulsit?). Vivere deficit (?) Panormi 11 Novembris 1666. E in Ecclesia S. Antonini Fratrum Strictioris Observatiae S. Francisci Sepulturae traditus est. In lucem emifit (emisit?). This paragraph is followed by a list of briefs/judicial opinions by Andrea.
How was Sicily governed under the Spanish Kings? Here is a brief explanation: The Kingdom of Sicily was directly governed by a Viceroy who resided in Palermo at the Royal Court (Palazzo Normanno) and remained in power for three years. He was assisted and somewhat controlled by the Parliamento. The Parliamento was divided into three branches:
a. The Ecclesiastic, formed by Archbishops, Bishops, and Priests.
b. The Baronial or Military, composed by Barons, Nobles, and Military Officials.
c. The Representatives of the Demesnes. This branch was the most powerful.
The different branches needed the Royal approval for its legal power. In those times Legal Justice in Sicily was in the hands of the Judges. There were three administrative organs, Il Tribunale del Patrimonio which dealt with civil affairs; the Gran Corte which dealt with court appeals; and the Concistoro della Sacra Coscienza del re, the Supreme Tribunal presided by the Viceroy and three Judges who served for two years at a time.
As seen above, Don Andrea Muscarà had several important roles in the various legal and civil branches of the Kingdom of Sicily, including the Ecclesiastic branch of Parliament. Three of the specific positions in the Kingdom of Sicily that Don Andrea held were:
1. Assessore della Grande Curia Archivescovile di Palermo.
The Curia was the body of congregations, tribunals, and offices through which the Bishops administered their law. Don Andrea was a judge in the Bishop’s Courts.
2. Assessore della Gran Curia Regia. Don Andrea was a judge of the Gran Curia Regia also known as the Magna Curia. This office was the highest controlling body in financial matters and had the highest jurisdiction in the Kingdom of Sicily-Royal financial matters. Some of the departments controlled by the Magna Curia were the general Treasury which controlled the income and expenditures of the Kingdom; Customs; la Secrezia; Commerce of grains; assisted the Viceroy in affairs that dealt with other administrative offices including the administration of the Crusades; etc.
3. Giudice del Concistoro della Regia Coscienza. This tribunal comes from the ancient institution of Judex Sacrae Regiae Consciencieae. The King, via the Viceroy, delegated to the Concistoro the appeals of controversial judicial sentences made by the judges of the Gran Corte in civil cases. The decisions made by the Judges of this Supreme Court of Appeals were binding.
Titles of books that contain Don Andrea Muscarà Judicial Opinions:
Defensionem Immutatis Ecclesiasticis. Palermo, tipografo Nicola Bua e Michele Portanova 1647.
In folium: Consilium in Causa Competenctia Iurisdizionis Vertente Inter Eminentis. Dom. Card. Montalto Archepiscopum, tipografo Nicola Bua e Michele Portanova 1647.
In folium Consilium in Causa Competenctie Iurisdizionis Vertente Inter Eminentis. Dom. Card. Montalto Archiepiscum Montis Regalis Ex Una, Illustris Inquisitores Partes Ex Altera. Edito da Francesco Baronio
In Consiliis Diversorum Siculorum Super Privilegio Felicis Urbis Panormi, Quod Fiscus Non Possit Principaliter Agere Contra Cives. Panormi apud Maringum 1656. In 4
Allegationes apud Paululm Franciscum Berramut In Costictu Iureconsultorii par. 3 to. 2. à p. 290. plurimorimum manibus teritur
Consultatio Iuridica Extactione Tanadarum In Donativo Per Tria Brachia Impositum, Ill. E Eccell. D. Ferdinando De Ayala Comiti, Ayale E C. Proregi. m. s. in fol. (1).
4. Avvocato del Fisco. Toward the end of his life, don Andrea was the lawyer for the Royal Patrimony. Once again, according to several different sources, don Andrea distinguished himself for being incorruptible.
In addition to the information that I cited from the book “Librizzi”, and the “Biblioteca Sicula” by Mongitore, I have found other sources that mention Don Andrea Muscarà. One piece of information is found in the official Annals of Patti. Currently these records are part of the Archivio Storico Messinese, managed by Società Messinese di Storia Patria. References to il dottor Andrea Muscarà are found in the Patti Annals, pages 313 and 314. The following is a quote from those pages:
“Del resto, i Pattesi non si erano ancora dato pace per il distacco della Montagna, come si può vedere dalla lettera che il 10 dicembre 1642 i giurati scrivevano a Palermo al dottor Andrea Muscarà per ringraziarlo specialmente per la consulta della Montagna e per altri affari, come aveva loro riferito il canonico don Benedetto Florio. Egli saggiungevano che non essendo ancora spedita l’ultima consulta si ponevano sotto l’ale della sua protettione dalla quale si promettevano ogni buon successo e forse che la ragione di quella povera città dalla mano di un tanto padrone e signor loro superasse ogni potenza. Per le spese di procuratore e altre che occorressero i giurati avevano scritto al procuratore della città Antonio Marescalco per provvedere.
Il dottor Andrea Muscarà rispondeva ai giurati di Patti, con lettera del 22 dello stesso mese, accettando con piacere la difesa dell’ultima consulta che essi dovevano spedire al vicere per il negozio della Montagna, e promettendo di attendervi con la maggiore diligenza. Più tardi fu incaricato il ...”
In essence the above paragraph refers to a letter that had been written to Andrea Muscarà and sent to him on December 10, 1642. In the letter the Giurati (governing body) of Patti thank Andrea for the consultation on the territory of Montagna and about other legal affairs. The Giurati added that they were placing themselves ‘under the wings of his protection’ in the hope that a favorable outcome would be attained. They added that perhaps the rights of the town of Patti could be preserved through the intercession of the ‘powerful’ Andrea. Il dottor Andrea Muscarà sent a reply to the Giurati on the 22nd of the same month. In the letter he accepted with pleasure the defense of the last Patti petition and urged them to send the written petition about the territory of Montagna to the Viceroy. He also promised to attend to the matter with great diligence.
It seems to me that Andrea was a re-known figure who worked closely with the Viceroy. The Viceroy of Sicily in 1642 was Juan Alfonso Enriquez de Cabrera (1642-1644). The King of Sicily was Philip III (1621-1665).
The historical background to the Montagna-Patti ‘dispute’ is as follows. Patti ‘Urbis Magnanima, one of the oldest demesnes of the Kingdom of Sicily, fought frequently to keep the privileges given to Patti in 1312 by King Federico and confirmed in 1402 by King Martino. The problems began during the reign of King Philip III of Spain (Philip II of Sicily and Naples) who died in 1621 leaving the Kingdom in disarray, and were further exacerbated during the reign of King Philip IV of Spain (Philip II of Sicily and Naples) who disregarded the long standing demesne rights and sold the territories to the first bidder. The territory of Montagna, which for centuries had been part of the city of Patti, was one of the territories affected by the Spanish greed and in 1637 decided to separate itself from Patti and form an independent ‘università’ (territory), thus began the territorial conflict between Patti and Montagna. Andrea Muscarà was one of the influential people approached by the Giurati of Patti to plead their cause at the Royal Court in Palermo; the documented correspondence is in regard to the issues of territorial rights.
Another source for information on don Andrea Muscarà is found in the “Biblioteca storica e letteraria di Sicilia”, Gioacchino Di Marzo, published in 1870. Volume 5, ‘Diari della città di Palermo dal Secolo XVI al XIX , years 1653-1675. The following is the entry for the 17th of January, 1664:
“Mancava ancora in Messina il dottor D. Andrea Muscarà, giudice della Gran Corte, il quale fu mandato dal viceré in Catania a prendere possesso dello spoglio ed informazioni della morte del cardinal Astalli , vescovo di detta città , morto con sospetto di veleno. E questo pure era in quella materia contrario de' Messinesi, benché nato nella terra di Librizzi del costretto di Messina. Mancavano pure in Messina due maestri razionali palermitani, cioè D. Lancellotto Castelli marchese di Capizzi, e D. Stefano Riggio principe di Campofranco , pretore di Palermo , come ancora D. Vincenzo Galofaro, palermitano, duca di Rebottone, ch'era maestro portolano del regno , il quale ha pur voto nel consiglio. E finalmente mancava D. Diego Joppulo, presidente del real Patrimonio, il quale fu lasciato in Palermo d' ordine del viceré , per dar gusto ai Messinesi, essendo egli dichiarato da essi lor nemico. In somma si servirono i Messinesi dell' occasione del tempo, cioè ritrovandosi la partita della città di Palermo assai debole verso quella di Messina, per più gran numero di ministri messinesi, come ancora per esser tutti nella lor città , e molto più con l'aura favorevole del viceré e del suo segretario , ambidue capitalissimi nemici di Palermo.”, pages 112-114.
The entry relates that Il Signor duca di Sermoneta, Viceroy of the Kingdom of Sicily, was on this day in Messina in an effort to discuss the ‘unjust privilege’ enjoyed by the Messinesi in regard to the extraction of silk. At the time, silk was a major industry in Sicily, and Messina was the only city that had the right to process the silk cocoons. The Viceroy wanted to revoke this longstanding privilege. The entry includes a long list of the Council members who represented both sides of the issue. The list is followed by the paragraph that mentions Andrea Muscarà. Part of the paragraph says the following: Still absent in Messina was il dottor don Andrea Muscarà, Judge of the Gran Corte, who had been sent by the Viceroy to Catania to take possession of the body of Cardinal Astalli, Bishop of Catania, and obtain information about his suspicious death. The Bishop’s death was attributed to poisoning. The entry also notes that Andrea did not agree with the Messinesi about the silk issue even though he was born in Librizzi which was in the jurisdiction of Messina.
Cardinal Camillo Astalli-Pamphilj, 1616-1663, was nominated Archbishop of Catania during the reign of King Philip IV of Spain. Astalli had been adopted by the Pamphilj family so that he could fill the role of Cardinal-Nephew for Pope Innocent X (The former Cardinal Gianbattista Pamphili.) As Cardinal-Nephew, Camillo would receive titles and honors, and he would be the Pope’s confidant as well as the Pope’s Secretary of State. (The word nepotism is derived from the practice of creating Cardinal-Nephews). Eventually Astalli fell into disgrace for disobeying Pope Innocent X, who had prohibited him to visit the Spanish ambassador in Naples. Astalli had discovered a conspiracy by the Pope and his supporters to invade the Spanish-ruled Naples. Horrified, Astalli warned the Spanish ambassador of the impending invasion. The Cardinal was demoted and stripped of all titles and honors, eventually he was sent to Catania in Sicily. Within a few years he died and was buried in the Cathedral of Catania. At the bidding of the Spanish King, Diego de Velazquez painted Astalli’s portrait which today is part of the art collection of the Hispanic Society of America located in New York.
Cardinal Astalli Camillo, 1616-1663
Painting by Diego de Velazquez
The following are additional sources for information about Andrea Muscarà:
From the ‘Diari della citta di Palermo’ we learn that in 1664 Andrea Muscarà was ‘Giudice della Gran Corte’. The ‘Diari della citta di Palermo’ also document the Messina-Palermo conflict, and the fact that Andrea Muscarà was absent from the meeting and why.
One of Andrea’s manuscripts can be found at the “Biblioteca Comunale di Palermo”. It is titled: “Consultatio juridica in causa pro exactio ne tandarum in donativo per tria brachia impositarum” – Ms. Del sec. XVII o del XVIII, in-fog. Qq E 48, n. 5.
“Dizionario topografico della Sicilia, tr. Ed annotato da G. DiMarzo” by Vito Maria Amico e Statella , on page 601 talks about Librizzi and Andrea Muscarà. The following is part of the information given in the ‘Dizionario’ “... Vi sorsero egregii: Andrea Muscarà giureconsulto e celeberrimo avvocato, fregiato di meriti e onori, poichè presiedette più volte giudice della M. R. C. e fu promosso nel 1666 a Patrono del fisco ove mostrossi incorrotto”, pages 600-601. The other ‘important’ Librizzi person mentioned is Antonio Collurafi, a contemporary of Andrea.
M.R.C. means Magna Regia Curia
This is the translation of the paragraph: ‘In Librizzi were born the distinguished: Andrea Muscarà juris-consult and renown lawyer, decorated with many awards and honors, since several times he presided as judge of the M.R.C. and was promoted in 1666 to the position of Patrono del Fisco where he proved to be incorruptible.’ I think that Patrono del Fisco means Counsel for the Royal Revenue.
Andrea Muscarà is included in “Consuetudini della città di Palermo”, Vito LaMantia (First honorary president of Court of Appeals). The ‘Consuetudini della città di Palermo’ is a collection of legal documents from Medieval times. One of the volumes included in Consuetudini (Fonti del Diritto) is “Consilia diversorum Siculorum super privilegio felicis urbis Panormi quod Fiscus non possit principaliter agere contra cives (Panormi 1656)” compiled by Francesco Baronio. This volume includes the consigli of Pietro Corsetto, Tobia Benfari, Ottavio Corsetto, Giuseppe e Lorenzo Faraci, and Andrea Muscarà.
The Judicial Opinions by Andrea became the precedent for future Civil and Criminal legislations. His Opinions are included in “Storia della legislazione civile e criminale di Sicilia comparata con le leggi italiane e straniere, dai tempi antichi sino al presente”, Vito La Mantia. Andrea is found inVolume Secondo, Parte Prima, Libro Terzo of the “Storia della legislazione...”. This volume deals with Sicily under the Viceroys, 1409-1806. The Capitolo Secondo deals with ‘Leggi civili e criminali, ordine giudiziale e rito’. The section on ‘Leggi Civili’ discusses specific cases that deal with “condition of the people, contracts made by minors and women, marriages, guardianship, dowries, etc.
Of interest to me are the pages that discuss the opinions given by Francesco Baronio, lawyer and magistrate. His opinions clarify legal ‘doubts’ from previous cases, and questions concerning minors. An example is the case of the minors Emanuele Muscarà Longobardo, Pensabeno, Berruso, Magretti, “De Inimicitia eiusque causis, et effectibus Palermo 1655. ( CLII – p. 264 and p. 265-280)”. (Emanuele is a new Muscarà for me, and the last name Longobardo is a total surprise. More research will be done in regard to Emanuele, a contemporary of Andrea. Is he Andrea’s son? Is Longobardo Andrea’s wife? Emanuele’s mother?)
Quote: ” Paolo Francesco Perramuto dotto giureconsulto da Caltagirone e magistrato in Palermo, imprese una laboriosa comparazione di infinite contrarie opinioni di commentatori e di giudicati, che riusciva comoda per la indicazione delle opposte dottrine nella citazione delle decisioni della rota romana e delle opinioni degli scrittori legali di varie nazioni, e di taluni sicoli. Trovansi in quell'opera due allegazioni e consigli del termitano Giuseppe Faraci e di Andrea Muscarà di Li brizzi”. ***
Andrea is included in the Nobiliario Di Sicilia by Dott. A. Mango di Casalgerardo. Along with Andrea other Muscarà people, who appertained to the same Librizzi family, are mentioned in the ‘Nobiliario’. The “Nobiliario” can be found on the following site of the internet:
Dott. A. Mango di Casalgerardo
NOBILIARIO DI SICILIA
da Muscarà a Muzio
“Un Andrea fu giudice della Gran Corte del Regno negli anni 1654-55-56 e 57, 1663; governatore della Tavola di Palermo nel 1711 e del Monte di Pietà della stessa città nel 1713; un Pietro fu senatore di Palermo nel 1688-89 e consigliere della nobile compagnia dei Bianchi di detta città negli anni 1686-87 e 1690-91.
Non sappiamo se sia appartenuto a questa stessa famiglia quel Giuseppe, dottore in leggi, che fu giudice capitaniale di Marsala nel 1812-13.”
The ‘Nobiliario’ confirms that Andrea was Judge of the Gran Corte del Regno. We also are told that a different Andrea Muscarà from Librizzi was Governatore della Tavola di Palermo in 1711, and later in 1713 he was Governatore del Monte di Pietà. Another Muscarà from Librizzi, whose first name was Pietro, was senator of Palermo in 1688-89, and consigliere of the Palermo Nobile Compagnia dei Bianchi in 1686-87 and 1690-1691.
The above institutions are interesting in themselves and I will write about them in a future essay.
The Muscarà Stemma (Coat of Arms/Family Crest) can be found in the Church of Maria Santissima della Catena in Librizzi. The name of Don Andrea Muscarà is carved within the Stemma. The Stemma is located right above a niche where the famous and beautiful Gagini statue of the Madonna resides. On either side of the niche is the date 1664, 16 is on the left hand side and 64 on the right hand side. The Stemma consists of a lamb with the paws and tail of a lion. In one of the paws the lamb is holding a Chalice. Above the Chalice there is an eight point star. The letters within the Stemma are SPE F, they might stand for Speranza e Fede (Hope and Faith), or they could be part of his titles. I think that the symbols of the lion and the lamb are based on the Bible, Revelations 5. The Stemma has a crown with seven visible points. In heraldry the seven visible points indicate the title of Barone. Dario de Judicibus in his “L’Araldica Italiana” states that “con la cimatura di dodici perle (sette visibili), collocate sul margine del cerchio o sostenute da altrettante punte” indicate the title of Barone.
My research indicates that the surname Muscarà is derived from the Greek word Moschari (Muskarion/Muscarion), it means “colui che possiede vitelli”, “he who owns calves”. The Greek word for vitello (calf) is Moskos.
The words Muscarion and Moskos are found in the ancient Greek Bible when referring to the “calf”, that was sacrificed at the altar.
The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.
Palazzo Normanno in Palermo
Residence of the Spanish Kings and Viceroys