Sicilian Mafia

"Two men can keep a secret,
as long as one of them is dead"

Contrary to legends of the long life of the Sicilian Mafia, it hasn't been around for that many years. The Mafia in Sicily was just born old. The key to it's strength is it's great ability to spread devestation around the world and get away with it, not it's longevity of life.

The term 'Mafia' arose in Italy around 1865 to characterize some powerful Sicilians or Sicilian families engaged in violent and criminal activity who also achieved considerable control of local economic activity

The island of Sicily, with a long tradition of resistance to outside domination, saw the rise of the Sicilian mafia in the second half of the nineteenth century, especially after the unification of Italy in 1870.

Owners of large estates hired gabelloti [custodians] to run the estates in their owners' absence. The mafia put many of its men in gabelloti positions and thus achieved control over products and manufactured goods going to market as well as control of the peasants.
The mafioso played critical roles of mediation among peasants, landowners, and the state and between the countryside and the outside world.

The nobility may not have actually created the Mafia, but they unwittingly permitted the development of social conditions that facilitated its macabre growth.

Between 1925 and 1929 the Italian Fascists made a concerted effort to dissolve the mafia and re-establish government control of the use of violence, but Prefect Cesare Mori - the man implementing this effort - was dismissed when he targeted powerful people supporting the Fascist regime. Mori's effort did replace mafia control of the relationship between peasants and landowners with state control, but it did not eliminate the problem. The mafia reestablished itself when fascism fell and was given a further boost when the Allied occupation in 1943 turned to local powers for assistance in governing.

During the second world war, Whilst American generals contemplated how many Purple Hearts, headless corpses of American soldiers should get, they had no time to think about food distribution and other economical things.
They turned to mafiosos, who returned from prisons where "they were unjustly held by a Fascist regime".

Revenge and Power were the keywords to best describe what happened.

Joining the Sicilian Mafia is like joining a religion, once you're in there, you're in it for life! There is no retirement from the Mafia, the only way is Death.

Four types of Mafia reign in Italy. The greatest of these is the Sicilian Mafia based in Palermo. This Mafia has 186 ruling families with 67 of them located in Palermo. The hierarchy of these 186 families, when united, is as follows:

*Cupola-board of directors

*Caporegime-bosses of the individual families


There is a strict code of silence that reigns over Sicily. This is due to the over 2,000 years of enemy inhabitance. This code is called. "omerta." It reigns especially true in the Mafia.

Omertà literally means "manhood," and refers to the idea of a man resolving his own problems, but the term has become synonomous with the Mafia's code of silence. The Mafia's secret rituals, and much of the organization's structure, were based largely on those of the Catholic confraternities and even Freemasonry, colored by Sicilian familial traditions and even certain customs associated with military-religious orders of chivalry like the Order of Malta. The duel, for example, gave way to the vendetta, but both were known among Sicilian feuding families in times past.

It relates to a person's capacity of maintaing silence in bad conditions. It is held by those who view it as manly. Secrecy and intelligence go hand in have in the Mafia.


The italian MAFIA is supposebly four distinct crime gangs — the Sicilian Mafia or Cosa Nostra, the ‘Ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia, the Camorra and the Sacra Corona Unita (SCU). The Sicilian Mafia remains the most powerful of the four groups, with an estimated 5,000 plus members serving in some 180 factions.
Members of all four rely on a vow of silence and family associations that are reinforced by fear of retribution and even death. That fear has been regularly underscored over the years by brutal murders aimed at either eliminating members of the opposition — including prosecutors and judges — or dispatching a comrade who failed to live up to the “law of silence.”