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agreea OP t1_iub2sx6 wrote

Early mafia history is so weird and surprising relative to what we understand of the modern mafia.

For example, here's how mobsters in Sicily in 1875 introduced themselves to each other as "made" men (aka formally inducted to the mafia):

A: God's blood! My tooth hurts! (pointing to one of the upper canines)

B: Mine too

A: When did yours hurt?

B: On the day of our Lady of the Annunciation.

A: Where were you?

B: Passo di Ragano

A: And who was there?

B: Nice people.

A: Who were they?

B: Antonino Giammona, number 1. Alfonso Spatola, number 2, etc.

A: How did they do the bad deed?

B: They drew lots and Alfonso Spatola won. He took a saint, colored it with my blood, put in the palm of my hand, and burned it. He threw the ashes in the air.

A: Who did they tell you to adore.

B: The sun and the moon.

A: And who is your god?

B: An 'Air'.

A: What kingdom do you belong to?

B: The index finger.


Compare that to mafiosos in the US today:

A: "[B] is a friend of ours"


Edit: Source: John Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 46-47


re_nonsequiturs t1_iub83n9 wrote

In your first example, A did not know B, but in your second, A knows B. The first is clearly a series of passwords to test an unknown claimant.

How would the introduction go today if A didn't know B?

In 1875, how would B have been introduced to C if A knew B?


agreea OP t1_iub93eu wrote

Very good point, the comparison isn’t 1:1. As I understand it (not at all a mobster myself just a voracious consumer of mob content), today A would say to B “I’m with Z’s family/crew” if they were from the same area, and might specify the location if they weren’t from the same area. But generally they wouldn’t talk Cosa Nostra stuff if they were strangers, even if they were both in the mob. There would need to be an intro made between them.

In 1875, B would likely have introduced themselves to C using the same ritual above, but perhaps with A hinting to C to kick it off by… complaining about a toothache to B lmao.


VoodooMagic13X t1_iucfjhy wrote

A B C, It's easy as 1 2 3, as simple as Do re mi, A B C, 1 2 3 Baby you and me girl