Sicily: An Island at the Crossroads of History

2016 Paul Mellon Lecture

Join us on Tuesday, February 9 for World Monuments Fund’s 2016 Paul Mellon Lecture.

Cocktails at 6:15 PM
Lecture begins promptly at 7:00 PM

The stepping stone between Europe and Africa, the gateway between the East and the West, at once a stronghold, clearinghouse, and observation post, Sicily has been invaded and fought over by Phoenicians and Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, Goths and Byzantines, Arabs and Normans, Germans, Spaniards, and French for thousands of years. It has belonged to them all— and yet has properly been part of none.

John Julius Norwich was inspired to become a writer by his first visit, in 1961, and his recent book, upon which this lecture is based, traces the history of the island. The lecture covers everything from erupting volcanoes to the assassination of Byzantine emperors, from Lord Nelson’s affair with Emma Hamilton to Garibaldi and the rise of the Mafia. It takes in the key buildings and towns, and is packed with unforgettable stories and characters.

About the speaker

John Julius Norwich has written more than 20 books, including the New York Times bestseller, Absolute Monarchs, and histories of the Normans in Sicily, Venice, Byzantium, the Mediterranean, and the Papacy. His most recent book, Sicily: An Island at the Crossroads of History, offers a complete history of the island that flourished as one of the major cultural centers of the world.

After education at Upper Canada College, Eton, the University of Oxford, and the lower deck of the Navy, John Julius Norwich joined the Foreign Service, serving in Belgrade, Beirut, and Geneva. He left in 1964 to become a writer. He is a Chairman Emeritus of World Monuments Fund and World Monuments Fund Britain; he is also the former Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund.