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The curious story that became a popular poem of a priest who excommunicated an entire Sardinian town

Sunday 04 june 2017

'Sa decompresses Predi Antiogu, de Masuddas' the satirical poem that made Masullas village, Sardinia, famous all over the world

The curious story that became a popular poem of a priest who excommunicated an entire Sardinian town

In the small town of Masullas, Sardinia, there was a priest who had goats and sheep, Preidi Antiogu. One day his flock was stolen by one or more unknown thieves. Irritated from the incident, from the pulpit of his church, Preidi Antiogu excommunicated all the inhabitants of Masullas to convince them to reveal the guilty. Swearing and excommunicating to the right and the left, the priest, condemning the vices and sins of his parish, turned to anyone who came to his mind without saving anyone: men, beasts, males and females, young and old, saints and demons.

This is the story that seems to have inspired an anonymous author of a very famous satirical poem in Sardinia, the "Sa scomuniga de Predi Antiogu, arrondas de Masuddas", which seems to have been written around 1850 and was first published by the Typography of Corriere di Sardegna in Cagliari over 100 years later. It is a poetic excommunication where only the "official" excommunication part was written using the Latin formulas.

This curious script fascinated several famous persons, including Antonio Gramsci, who, judging the poem "fresh and humorous", urged his mom to send him a copy in prison in a letter from 1927, and Max Leopold Wagner, author of fundamental studies about culture and language of Sardinia, which translated "Sa Scomuniga" into German and published the masterpiece in Germany in 1942. Wagner said about this poem: he has no literary pretensions, but he does not lack "comic vis", precisely because he also reflects the primitive mentality and a language full of nasalizations, transpositions of sounds and disagreements of country side people.
Subsequently, other editions of the poem were published and summarized in the brilliant and thorough work of Antonello Satta published in 1983.
Also recently, the poem inspired Elio Turno Arthemalle and Rossella Faa (photo) to create a theatrical representation called "Predi Antiogu and Perpetua", of which we propose the following clip realized by Buongiorno Regione (RAI).
The German version of Max Leopold Wagner favored the dissemination of this peculiar poem to scholars and universities all over the world.

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