The originis of the name Grifasi

Between 1030 and 1040, the Bizantino General George Maniace lead an army to reconquer Sicily which was lost some years ago, conquered by Arabs. The landing took place near the province of Messina, Maniace many soldiers of venture where between Normanni troops. They took orders from Guglielmo d'Altavilla nicknamed Iron Arm.
Maniace occupied the Oriental Sicily for a long time, restoring the Siracuse's fortifications (the Castle still has his name), and other fortifications along the coast. In the political-military chaos of the period 1035-38, he was unjustly accused of being a traitor when he was at the highest point of his successes, therefore he rebelled, he moved to Greece and he put in route the army sent against him by the Emperor Costantino IX Monomaco, but he died just when success begin to shine on him. (1)
Therefore the Bizantini's attempt to regain all the Sicilian territory was off, but the Normanni continued the conquest of the island definitively, defeating the Arabs.
Maniace left in Sicily his family and his son, Crisafo.
His wife was Teopapa, a noblewoman of the Crisafo-Thessalian house. (2)
He stayed in the zone around Messina, Crisafo married Eudosia.
Crisafo was the first one beginning the CRISAFI families trees - GRISAFI - GRIFASI - CRIFASI.
The family continued to be concentrated in several zones of the Val Demone and Messina for many centuries, carrying out an important role in the history of Sicily in a very hard period, distinguishing itself for the  fidelity and devotion to the Kingdom.
In 1241 Giovanni Grisafi was nominated General Vicario in Sicily for the numeration of the spirits,(census).
Then he lead to the zones of Val di Noto and Val di Mazzara (now province of Agrigento).

In 1392 Nicolo' Crisafi was Getlteman of Gallidoro, Notaro Master and Master Razionale of the Regal patrimony of the Reign of Sicily.
In 1397 Calogero Crisafi was Conte of Bastille. In the 1397 Nicolo' Crisafi was Conte diTerranova.
In 1398 Tommaso Crisafi, Doctor in Law, and Nobleman of the city of Messina, was Baron of Camastra.
In 1402 another, Tommaso Crisafi took the sacerdotal orders, and has become the representative of the city of Messina in Vatican.
In the 1422 Nicola Crisafi was Strategoto of the city of Messina, rational Master of the Reign, Conte of Novara of Sicily. (3)
In 1473 Leonzio Grisafi became Archbishop of Messina. The family possessed and/or directed great land plots and many villages for a long time; it had much influence and their ability to mediation in the conflicts of interest that rose between peasants, campieri and Short representatives of the Direction was really appreciated.
These lands and villages were between the zones laying between Messina and Agrigento: | Limina | Gallidoro (Letojanni) | Nicchiara (Mineo) | Vigliatore (Milazzo) | Linguaglossa | Granvilla (Vizzini) | Pancaldo (Milazzo) | Cartularo (Castroreale) | Camastra | Ramasuli (Lentini) | Piragò | Montalbano | and some others too, many of which, do not exist  anymore.
Many of the Crisafi family fought against the Law in many attempts of revolution  against Spain in Sicily, and were forced to escape from the island. In 1674-78 Antonio and Tommaso Grisafi were between those temerarious. They became high officials of the French army, moved themselves in the New France colonies, North America, and here Antonio came insignited of honour with the charge of Governor of the Onondaga fort. Nowadays there the city of Syracuse rises. In 1693, he assumed the assignment of governor of the fort of Three Rivers, which kept until 1709, the year he died. (4)
In 1717, Father Luigi Germano Grisafi, was born, brother of two Barons of the Cove, and uncle of S.Leone Baron, Don Giuseppe Crifasi, was the glory and the shine of this House. He was illustrious reader, Consultore, a great Orator, famous and full of knowledge, in Philosophical, Scholastic matter, Dogmastica, Canonical and Moral: he was an epic poetry writer, and as one of the Cauloniani Shepherds, had the name of Alan Sinopolita, principal Collega of the Radunanza. But how much sage he was, much humble he lived; he refused more honourable assignments, and hierarchy in Religion in several occasions, like his renunciations: 3 March 1750, and 7 june 1757,: he was Religious, poor,zealous, generous and an orator. He wrote several works in various volumes, like the Philosophy volume 3°, the Theology volume 4°, Quaresimale volume 3°, several Panegiriche orations, volume 1°, Prediche of sacramento, volume 1°, All  the operas are kept near the Treasury of Convent of S. Maria di Jesus di Pietrapersia (Enna).
A Panagerico di S. wrote also Giuseppe, that became part of the Regal Matrix of Modica in the Quaresimale of 1756. He died adorn of the Saint Virtues in the shine of his life at 46 years, 25 April 1763, with public optimal reputation of religious, leaving in the Convent and the entire province, a universal pain. He honoured God as when he died he had obvious signs of Holiness. (5)

In 1758, Giuseppe Antonio Grisafi, was named with noteary's act substitute Captain and also keeper of one of the Towers set to watch and defend the Calabrian coast, against the pirates' raids. (6)
The maxim of the families on the old coat of arms is,

Coat of arms
- He knows how to win and Victory is his fate -
Through the centuries the name went trough many changes.
The first one of these was often the change of the first letter from " C " to " G " and during the past century that the coppers Crisafi and Grisafi have changed the inner consonanti to form the last names Crifasi and Grifasi. Nowadays four modules of the last name exist.

In the older archives from Ravanusa the first last name that appears is "Grisafi" The change of the name can be the result of the general illiteracy of 19° the century in Sicily. In the writing of that period, the very small consonanti " s " and " f " could easy be confused, and the employees  of the archives of the communal registries, could confuse two letters accidentally.


(1) - Michel Mourre ~ Universal History - Edition Mondadori 19974.
(2) - P. J. Geary ~ Medioeval History - Edition 1989.
(3) - Anzalone ~ Its de Familia, sheet 204. - Minutolo ~ Memories of the Great Priorato of Messina, page 87.
(4) - Guardione ~ The revolution of Messina against Spain - Edition of 1906.
    Laloy ~ The Révolte de Messine, Edition de Sicile et la politique francaise en the Italie - Edit. of 1929-31
(5) - Frate Dionigi ~ History of Pietrapersia - Edition 1979 -- pages 362, 363.

(6) - State of Palmi File (Reggio Calabria) ~ Protocol's book of the year 1758.

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