An irresistible thought occurred to me last night that I need to expunge from my system; apologies in advance as I've not really ruminated on this for a short while and probably should distance myself from the idea.
Pizan's comparable Othea
(to my mind) starts off with the four cardinal virtues (Othea herself being Prudence, starting the work off by addressing Hector and throughout, so to some degree Prudence-Othea is the narrator of the material) - the four Cardinals being followed by Perseus-Pegasus/Fama
; then the Seven Planets/Gifts of the Holy Spirit for VI-XII; then the three theological virtues (XIII-XV); the seven deadly sins (XVIXXII); two lessons from the Credo
(XXIII-XXIV); finally, the Ten Commandments and then a hodgepodge of mythological figures exemplifying various non-canonical virtues/vice themes, often illustrated by Trojan war episodes (e.g., LXXXVIII-XCVIII presents the Trojan material more chronologically, but the remaining tales appear to be presented in a random order).
Both the Valois and Visconti trace themselves back to Trojan ancestors, but Marziano does not reference that in his game besides perhaps implicitly selecting gods tied to Aeneas' story's arc (e.g., the suit of Pleasures we have discussed involving the suit of Pleasures: Juno-Neptune-Mars-Aeolus). Contrary to the notion that all 100 stories in Pizan were illustrated, only two manuscripts were done so in her lifetime, with most with no illuminations or just the opening Cardinal virtues, thus placing an emphasis on them. So the impetus for this random thought is not only are the Cardinals illustrated as gods/heroes, but so are the theologicals as heroum in Marziano. More precisely: Could Marziano, as one layer of meaning , have associated the "good" heroum - Virtues/Virginities - with the canonical seven virtues plus humility?
Consider the possible influence of Florence on Marziano in this regard - when he was in Florence Ghiberti's "gates of paradise" on the St. John Baptistery did not yet exist; instead the Andrea di Pizano's bronze doors faced the duomo before getting relocated in 1452. Completed in 1336, these proto-Renaissance doors consist of 28 quatrefoil panels, with the twenty top panels depicting scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist, the eight lower panels depict the eight virtues of hope, faith, charity, humility, fortitude, temperance, justice and prudence. Oddly enough Filippo Visconti was interested enough in this St. John (due to his deceased namesake older brother Giovanni Maria?) to have Filelfo write a life of St. John some years later (Francesco Filelfo, “Prose e poesie volgari di Francesco Filelfo.” Atti e memorie della Reale deputazione di storia patria per le province delle Marche
5, 1901: 1–261). So perhaps the pivotal location of the Florentine doors and their relationship to a saint of some interest to Filippo contributed to Marziano's idea in overlaying the idea of the virtues, based on Marziano's earlier visit to that cultured city.
Where this intriguing idea breaks down a bit is associating which of the 8 "good" heroum
go with which virtue, given the absolute lack of references in the individual god's write ups. The basis of the argument is more in the naming of the suits of the fourfold matrix: Virtues (virtutam
), is plural, not virtù
(or even Virtus
), thus implying more than one virtue, or even that each god in that suit is a virtue. Virginities would be more appropriate to the Theologicals as the Christian-derived virtues, along with Humility (to get to 8), also falling in this group. Humility becomes less popular of a subject as the quattrocentro wore on, but certainly not an odd idea to recognize humility in c.1412. Giotto even painted humility in this panel discussed elsewhere on this webpage, holding the taper in the lower left: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/48/f1/fb ... e1a38e.jpg
Florence baptistery - virtue and attribute(s)
Temperance - Sheathed sword
Fortitude - Hercules
Justice - Sword and sales
Prudence - Snake
Humility - Hand to veil and taper
Hope - Crown
Faith - Cross and chalice (liquid/Actaeon)
Charity - Heart/Cornucopia
The association of pagan gods with the seven or eight virtues, on the other hand, was all but unheard of, and as far as I know we're limited to Dante and Pizan as precedents. Dante associates them with the planetary steps in the Paradiso, but highly confuses matters by alluding to the Theologicals in the three lowest planetary spheres of Luna-Mercury-Mars, but then as "perfected" in the extra-planetary spheres of the starry, crystalline and empyrean; so in Dante the Theologicals don't really have pagan gods associated with them (see Frank Ordiway, “In the Earth's Shadow: The Theological Virtues Marred,” in Dante Studies
100, 1982: 77-92). Some scholars even argue that the theologicals don't exist at all in the lower planetary levels, so we'll just note the cardinals in Dante
(the red replaced in Marziano):
Apollo - Prudence
Pizan, on the other hand, completely wanders off the reservation and comes up with seven (eight if you want to count Fama
in her system) pagan god assignments unique to her:
"Clock" Temperance (no hero or god is named, just the example of the clock given)
Pegasus - Fama
(Perseus and Cassiopeia are depicted when illustrated, but Pizan is explicit in her text in noting Pegasus = fama
[after an interlude of the 7 planets, so uncoupling them from the virtues as in Dante]
Minerva - Faith
Pallas - Hope
It is debatable as to what significance fama
had for Pizan and whether to include that here, but there is no doubt it appears in the list of 100 verses; and her addressee, "Hector", is the model knight and thus fama
can be seen as the "carrot" or inducement for her knightly readership; i.e., be virtuous and do good deeds per this work, and fame will be yours.
It is possible Marziano was able to see an artist's copybook, an epitome or even a copy of Pizan's Othea, say from the former Visconti courtier Ambrogio Migli (Pizan's Othea was widespread among the French royals, most notably for the Duke of Orleans, for whom Migli was his secretary),. If he were familiar with it, perhaps Marziano could only shake his head at the odd choices made but retained the idea of associating heroum
with the virtues? Moreover, dispensing with fama
and adding humility back in would have only been logical.
Dante is also of limited help as Marziano dispenses with Saturn; moreover, Mars is not placed in one of the "good" suits (instead is in "Riches"). However, Marziano arguably follows Dante in two cases: Jupiter could still be Justice, as Apollo could be Prudence. Without further ado, Marziano's 8 "good" heroum matched to the virtues
How did I derive these assignments?
are easy to explain- Jupiter/Justice and Apollo/Prudence, again, are explicit in Dante, the author of whom Marziano's special interest was in regard to his chats with Filippo, per Decembrio. Mars is in Riches (arguably because of the Juno-Aeolus complex related to Aeneas, with Mars being the father of Romulus and founding of Rome) and the replacement of Hercules as Fortitude is the least controversial of any of these assignments as that was de rigueur
throughout Europe (and in Giotto's famous scheme). That leaves only Mercury
as problematic - why indeed should he be "temperance", with Saturn (Dante's choice) deleted from the deck altogether? In Pizan, Temperance is effectively made the opposite of the vice of Wrath, just as she is in Giotto's Scrovegni scheme with sheathed sword: "well-tempered, and at no time has ever been touched by anger" (Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Renate, and Earl Jeffrey Richards, trans, Christine de Pizan: Othea's Letter to Hector,
2017: 38). In Marziano Mercury is likewise a tempering peacemaker: "so that spirits would be mitigated on both sides, even if some insolence or strife should arise, the ninth, fairly middle place, we appointed for Mercury" (Caldwell, p. 59). He also placates angry Jove. His oratory skills can rouse men to war when required, "but time after time, so by a tranquil, so by a calm, so by a pleasant speech, he soothed the kings splattered with blood and the bloodstained soldiers; he compelled them to come together in friendship, after throwing down their spears, and to enter eagerly into embrace" (61). Even the "quarreling serpents" of Mercury's caduceus is a symbol of settling lawsuits, and he wears winged sandals "insofar as the speakers of peace are required to be swift" (ibid). Temperance's sheathed sword meets a perfect complement in Marziano's Mercury whose special gift to man is peace.
, in contrast to the Cardinals, are admittedly more of a reach, and I'll accordingly address each one.
Pallas - Humility
. Relying strictly on Marziano's text, we read "She restrained with remarkable viguor the movements of all sensate pleasures and charms" (35), which is certainly fitting with the modest virtue of Humility. Moreover, all her gifts can be attributed to someone else ("God"), the ultimate act of humility: "...they assert her birth from the head of of Jupiter. And it is right and very fittingly written, because every mode of duty, or political work, and civil business, would seem to have the beginning and birth from Jupiter himself" (ibid). Not much else to go on here and quite frankly humility fell to her because the other three had stronger claims on the Theologicals proper. This seemingly negligible virtue attached to the highest female of the heroum
, needs to be put into context: the presence of humility speaks to the older tradition where that virtue actually was the root of all virtues in Tress of Life - springing from a pot labeled humilitas
, of which Jupiter's head would be the cognate for Pallas (Wisdom, from which all other gifts proceeded), as in this Tree of Life (Beinecke MS 416)
http://brbl-archive.library.yale.edu/ex ... ges/3v.jpg
MS 416 begins with a diagram of the Tower of Wisdom, which again points to why Pallas may have been associated with this genre. One might also note Trees of Life, while providing a stemma of the virtues, would parallel the genealogical line also depicted as tree-like, with oak leaves in the case of the Eulogy version of the Visconti line.
Diana - Faith
. Certainly a surprising selection, I admit, yet two attributes point to Faith: Diana is explicitly linked to the moon and is covered in a "white mantle" (53) - white is of course the color associated with Faith. Furthermore she has "triple aspect", "three faces" and "reflects" the light of the sun - all of this parallels the trinity reflected in the mirror held by Faith in the Ambrogio Lorenzetti altarpiece, for instance (pasted below; note that the trinity's reflection in the mirror held by faith appears to hold just a Janus-like head but the Holy Ghost dove was only discovered in a recent restoration, but is usually not clear in on-line reproductions; at all events Faith symbolized by the trinity is of course standard).
Vesta - Charity
. Besides the nun-like order described by Marziano for the Vestals and their link to charitable works (applicable to any Christian religious order), the only specific attribute would be Vestals tending to the flame in Vesta's temple ("consecrated the first fires", Marziano, 69), the flaming heart being the symbol of Charity, held by Charity/love in the same Lorenzetti painting (albeit flames are missing here, but usually featured as in this c. 1405 Parisian workshop manuscript example: https://art.thewalters.org/images/art/l ... p_dd-2.jpg
). No color is associated with Vesta but presumably the flames on the altar she would be before would be red, which is the color associated with this theological virtue (again, as depicted in the Lorenzetti painting).
Daphne - Hope.
Sticking with the theological colors schema, I'll immediately point out Daphne not merely matches Hope's green but is turned into
green as laurel. Marziano merely notes Daphne's perpetual
nature - a byword for evergreen - in describing Daphne in her section proper, but in the Apollo section, the cause of her transformation, Marziano notes "his gift of the laurel is always green" (45). As for Daphne and spes
/Hope, that link goes back to the source material of Ovid:
Particularly illuminated in the theme of spes, i.e., the tireless hope of the elegiac lover that the puella will finally yield to his erotic devises. Ovid creates an evident irony from the moment he depicts Apollo, the god of oracles, who is able to reveal ‘what will be, what was, and what is’ ([Met]. 517-518), as an amator sperans. Given that hope, by nature, derives from uncertainty about future happenings, to make Apollo ‘foster hope’ underscores his undignified character and further identifies him, consequently, with the elegiac lover, who can only long for the reciprocation of his desire. The following table illustrates this point with elegiac passages that exemplify the frequent association of the concept of spes with the amator [he goes on to cite examples in: Ovid, Am. 2.19.5; Propertius 2.22b.45-46; Propertius 3.17.11-12; Ovid, Am. 2.9b.43-44; Tibullus 2.6.27] (José Manuel Blanco Mayor, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, 2017: 160).
The Lorenzetti painting referenced above:
If any of the above holds water, to what extent did it figure into Marziano's design and how communicated to Filippo? Was the latter just supposed to divine the Virtues/Virigiities heruom
as the canonical virtues while contemplating the deck, or did Marziano "play a hand" with him as it were, pointing out some of the polyvalent meanings one could extract from the game? One has to keep in mind that neither "Virtues" (nor "Virginites") were associated with a group of entities or iconographical tradition....outside of the canonical virtues. Without any specific reference other than the suit of "Virtues" in Marziano, this necessarily remains speculative.