Fallen from Grace
The Structure of a Sicillain Cosa Nostra
A Cosa Nostra (or Mafia) is traditionally organized into a strong hierachy, heavily influenced by the ancient Roman army. A soldier, or made man, is a full time worker of a family who will be accepted into the family through a ceremony, often carried out by the boss. The made man has to be of Italian descent, but rules are different from family to family (some families includes only full-blooded Italians into their family whereas some might only demand that the father of the made man is of Italian descent). The largest families can have between 200-300 made men
.A family is the term for a Mafia clan, in essence, a Legion.
The Don or boss is the head of a family, he controls the family’s business and his word is law, none may refuse to carry out his will. In Roman terms, he would be the dictator.
The Capo Bastone or underboss is the general for the family – he organizes the family and carries out the Don’s orders. He is often the one to take over the family if the Don should die, or be out of commission.
The consiglieré or counselor is the right hand of the Don. He acts as an advisor for the Don, giving advise on how plans should be carried out etc., and often also have knowledge of the law, to guide the Don on how to avoid prosecution by the police.
The capo or captain leads the soldati, the soldiers of the family and is often the one who carries out the Don’s orders (i.e. a hit, a racket etc.) and earns money from the rackets and other sources of income that he controls and gives a certain percentage to the Don. There are often several capos in a family, each leading a group of soldiers called a regime.
The soldato or soldier is a member of the family, and carries out hits, racket collecting etc. for the Don and the capo. A soldato is the lowest (official) rank in a family and can be only of Italian background.
The associate is not a made man, but is an outsider working for the family (i.e. a drug dealer, the owner of a racket, hitmen etc.) and is mostly controlled by the capo or soldier that he is connected to. The largest families can have between 1,000 and 2,000 associates.
A summary of this system is shown in the picture below: