Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Thanks for the observation on the word "ridiculous", Ross. I will try to write more professionally. I tend to write informally here.

Thanks also for the information about Corio's 1495 source, for the article to track down (so far no luck) and for the good photo. I don't doubt that the painting was considered good luck for spiritual and physical healing. As Newman says, the legendary Guglielma replaced the real one. But in reading Kovacs ( ... 27-045.pdf) and one of her references (Nancy Black, Medieval Narratives of Accused Queens , 2003), I see that the history is more complex than Newman supposed. I will explain.

Here again is Marco's translation of the passage on p. 37. In brackets I have suggested a few changes for the sake of clarity:
In 1842, Michele Caffi, mentioned the cult of Guglielma in Brunate when discussing another Guglielma, who was thought to be a princess and lived in Milan, her followers were condemned as heretics by the inquistion in 1300. Later, people studying the guglielmite heresy, posed the question of a possible link between the two cults. In the last decade, in various publications appeared the hypothesis that the legend we are discussing was actually based on Guglielma from Milan, and that it was created as a coverage [cover story] to continue her cult prohibited by the inquisition. The authors of these works have formulated their hypotheses without knowledge of the history of the legend (39) that was copied in collections of legends, was documented since the XIV century in Lombardy, Veneto and Tuscany, was diffused among the most various religious orders and was linked to the devotion to Mary, to [omit "to"] an ecclesiastic cult that, as we will see below, already existed when the inquisition processed the guglielmites. This excludes that our legend (and the cult in Brunate) could be a derivation from the heretic tradition of Guglielma from Milan.

(footnote 39) Newman, erroneously thinking that the legend was created by Bonfadini in Ferrara in the XV century, made efforts to build an hypothesis explaining how the heretical cult spread to Ferrara, in order to link it to the origin of the legend.
For the sake of completeness, here is the rest of footnote 39.
Falvay, sviluppando le idee di Karl, riteneva che sotto l'influenza di un topos della "regina/principessa ungherese", fosse modificata nella leggenda la memoria di Guglielma di Milano, e nel suo studio del 2008, ha ribadito la tesi di Newman. Sebbene in una nota (p. 66) abbia elencato diverse fonti della leggenda, non le ha
considerate (il manoscritto parigino, che lui stesso ha citato, essendo copiato nel Trecento in Toscana, confuta la tesi di Newman).

(Falvay, developing the ideas of Karl [Lejos Karl, Budapest 1908], believed that under the influence of a topos of the "queen/Hungarian princess," Guglielma of Milan was changed into the memory of the legend, and in his 2008 study, repeated the arguments of Newman. Although in a footnote (p. 66) he has listed several sources of the legend, he has not considered them (e.g. the Paris manuscript, which although mentioned, being copied in the fourteenth century in Tuscany, refutes the thesis of Newman.)
Now I will go on, more extensively than Marco's brief outline, so as to include the evidence that she offers to rebut Newman. First she gives one original 14th century manuscript, another "14th (?)", and two 15th century ones that seem to be copies of documents done at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Her one certain 14th century document (not known when in that century), BNF Fond Italien 665 Paris, which Kovacs calls P (for Paris), is the one with a miniature of a woman with a crucific praying to Mary.Kovacs sees it as related to another (p. 38f):
Il testo tramandato da questa copia è in strettissima parentela con quello di P, e pare addirittura più arcaico. Potrebbe essere stato copiato da un modello molto più antico della sua età. Sul f. 23 Ov del codice si legge: "Iste lìber est domine Mansuete domine sancte Grate ordinis sancti Benedicti. Egofrater Stephanus de tirabuschis scripsi". Se la soscrizione fu copiata dal modello, il possessore potrebbe essere identificato con Mansueta de Carpionibus badessa tra il 1297 e il 1310, del monastero benedettino Santa Grata di Bergamo.

(The text passed on by this copy is in very close relationship with that of P, and it seems even more archaic. It could have been copied from a model much more ancient than it. On f. 23Ov the codex reads: "Iste liber est domine Mansuete domine sancte Grate ordinis sancti Benedicti. Ego frater Stephanus de tirabuschis scripsi ". If this signature was copied from the model, the owner could be identified with Gentile de Carpionibus, abbess from 1297 to 1310.of the Benedictine monastery Santa Grata in Bergamo.)
The other 15th century ms. is a "lives of the saints" by Andrea Bon, in which, after recounting the legend of Guglielma, we find a sentence in Italian followed by a Latin "Antiphona/Oratio", which I assume is a prayer in the form of a responsive reading. Here is the part in Northern Italian, which I'm sure I don't have translated exactly right (p. 39).
"Questa è una devotissima sancta ala quale puole recorere futi lì infermi et maxime quelli che patìsseno clolia de testa e lei sovviene a chi devotamente se lì recomanda."

("This is a most devout prayer to enable recovery from sickness and especially for those who suffer headache, and she assists those to whom devoutly it is recommended.")
The Latin Antiphona/Oratio mentions Guiglielma often. At the end it has:
Amen. Amen. Deo gratias semper. 1300 1. adi 20Marzo. Finis.

Kovacs says that the numbers mean that the original was from the year 1301. In Budapest there is a 19th century copy of Bon with the same date: "1301 a di 20 marzo". She notes that other manuscripts have copied this same Italian sentence,
La frase relativa alla preghiera in italiano e l'antifona con l'orazione in latino, furono copiate (senza la data) anche in BonVEl. È conservata la stessa frase italiana (senza l'antifona, l'orazione e la data) pure in alcuni manoscritti
della leggenda anonima - sia in veneto (VAT1), sia in lombardo (C), sia in toscano (M) - il che fa supporre che la leggenda originalmente fosse tramandata insieme con questo testo.

(The sentence on the prayer in Italian and the antiphon with the prayer in Latin were copied (without the date) in BonVEl. And the same Italian phrase is preserved (without the Antiphon, Oratio and date) also in some anonymous manuscripts of the legend - and in the Veneto (VAT1), Lombardy (C) and Tuscany (M) - which suggests that the legend was originally passed along with this text.
BonVE1 is another 15th century manuscript of Bon; VAT1 is the "14th (?)"; C is 1491, and M is 15th century. She concludes, as Marco had it:
La data alla fine del manoscritto londinese non solo prova che la nostra leggenda era già conosciuta nel 1301, ma il testo liturgico in latino fa supporre che il culto della santa fosse nato ben prima.

(The date at the end of the manuscript in London not only proves that our legend was already known in 1301, but the liturgical text in Latin suggests that the cult of the saint was born well before.)
Now for my comments. 1301 is Kovacs' earliest manuscript date. This is the same year that Newman gave for the beginning of the "English princess" legend for Guglielma (although in that case a descriptor of the one burned in Milan), so to that extent there is no contradiction with Newman. But if Newman's thesis that the legend was introduced as a cover story to permit devotion to the real Guglielma is correct, it would have had to have been done at the beginning, right after her remains had been burned by the Inquisition, and not after 1425. Yet Kovacs is going even further, and saying that the devotion to the legendary saint preceded the real one, because there was a Latin liturgy to invoke her healing.

What is also interesting there is the specific mention of her ability to heal headaches. That would seem to explain why, in the Brunate fresco, she has her hand on the kneeling woman's head, long before the 1425 Ferrara ms. recounted her power to do so.

However Kovacs doesn't appear to know that the gesture depicted in the Brunate fresco was also the consolomentum of the Cathars, and the means by which the Holy Spirit was passed from a perfectus so as to perfect another. (Again, I am not saying that Manfreda was a Cathar; it's just that she might have seen people receiving the Consolomentum, seen by them as receiving the Holy Spirit; perhaps she even received it herself and then went her own way.) She doesn't know that Manfreda's monastery was five miles from one of the historical main centers of Catharism, still to a degree protected--until 1268--at the time of Guglielma's alleged arrival in Milan, 1262, certainly within Manfreda's lifetime. Kovacs doesn't know that Cathars passed through the area again shortly before 1388. She doesn't know about the Visconti emphasis on the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, or their habit of putting portraits of themselves in depictions of saints.

So for us, knowing all these things, there remains a fundamental ambiguity to be resolved.

Kovacs does give us the main earlier version of the legend, called the "Empress of Rome". Here she cites Nancy Black, Medieval Narratives of Accused Queens. So I will try to summarize the relevant points in Black, some of which Kovacs omits.

Although the "Empress of Rome" legend existed in obscure 12th century Latin manuscripts (p. 20), it only became popular after a Benedictine monk named Gautier de Coinci (d. 1236) translated one of them into Old French toward the end of his life (p. 22); the manuscripts have numerous illuminations illustrating key parts of the story. A Latin version, for the learned, was included in Vincent de Beauvais' 1244 Speculum historiale; its popularity may be gauged by the 242 extant manuscript copies in European and American libraries (p. 33).

The story concerns a Roman Empress devoted to the Virgin Mary, who suffers false accusations and consequent sufferings paralleling those of the legendary Gulguilma, After the first accusation, she suffers in the woods dressed in rags, is rescued by a lord, and is given the job of caring for the rescuer's young son. The rescuer's brother makes sexual advances to her, which are repulsed, and in revenge kills the young son. The murder is blamed on her. (Kovacs omits a part in which the murderer places the knife in her hand while she is sleeping.) Then, Kovacs says (her summary is better than a lengthy quote from Black):
l'imperatrice viene condannata; i marinai che devono portarla via dal paese, vogliono violentarla, ma poi la lasciano su uno scoglio; le appare la Vergine che le da un'erba per guarire la lebbra; una nave che porta pellegrini, la salva; guarisce lebbrosi; vien da lei il fratello del grande signore malato di lebbra, confessa il suo peccato e vien guarito; l'imperatrice va a Roma, e guarisce anche il fratello dell'imperatore; il marito la riabbraccia e tutta la città festeggia; in certe varianti l'imperatrice rinuncia al suo rango e in povertà continua a guarire malati.

The Empress is condemned; sailors who must take her out of the country want to violate her, but then leave her on a rock; the Virgin shows her an herb for healing leprosy; she saves a ship carrying pilgrims, heals lepers; to her, suffering from leprosy, comes the brother of the great lord, who confesses his sins and is healed; the Empress goes to Rome, and also heals the emperor's brother; her husband embraces her and the whole city celebrates; in some versions the Empress renounces her rank and continues in poverty to heal the sick.
This is very close to the Gulguilma story as related in 1425 Ferrara. The different ending in some versions is how the story ends in the less worldly 14th century versions.

For comparison, here is Kovacs' paraphrase of the 1425 episode aboard ship (p. 28).
E, di nuovo, aiutata dalla Vergine Maria, miracolosamente riuscì a fuggire. Condotta da due angeli a un porto, salì su una nave. Mentre navigava, i marinai, tutti, si ammalavano di mal di testa, e non c'era chi governasse la nave. Allora a Guglielma nel sonno apparse la Vergine, annunciandole che, come premio per le sue virtù e le sue sofferenze, Gesù Cristo le donava poteri taumaturgici. Guglielma infatti riuscì a guarire i marinai, per questo cominciava ad essere rispettata come santa.

(And again, helped by the Virgin Mary, she miraculously succeeded in running away. Conducted by two angels to a port, she climbed on a ship. While sailing, the sailors, all of them, got sick with headache, and there were none who governed the ship. Then to Guglielma asleep the Virgin appeared, announcing that, as a reward for her virtues and sufferings, Jesus Christ gave her miraculous powers. Guglielma in fact succeeded in curing the sailors; for this she began to be respected as holy.)
This paraphrase is not quite the same as Newman's (p. 25). For Newman, the dream comes before she boards ship. Kovacs' version is closer to the Empress legend.

After this episode, for both Newman and Kovacs, Gulgielma continues to heal people, including her two old accusers, whom God has afflicted with leprosy. Newman and Kovacs then finish the story: after the healings aboard ship: she is taken by the captain to the convent, whose abbess is his aunt, where she serves the nuns there. When the two accusers come for healing, she takes a nun's habit, with veils, to hide her identity when the two confess their sins.

In the Empress legend, in contrast, according to Black, she is left abandoned on the island after the ship breaks up in a storm (for Kovacs, the sailors have a change of heart and leave her on a rock rather than violating her--but in the late 13th and 14th centuries there were various versions of the legend), and then after receiving the dream begins healing people. For neither Black or Kovacs does the Empress get to a convent or disguise herself as a nun before hearing her accusers' confessions.

What is strikingly missing in the account of Empress's ordeal with the sailors, compared to Guglielma's, is the bit about the headaches

In either Kovacs' or Newman's paraphrase of the Guglielma, this bit strikes me as a clumsy addition, all those sailors suddenly getting headaches. There seems to me a natural, common-sense explanation: the Church, at the time of the burning of Manfreda, adds that part, so as to account for the gesture of the laying on of the hand--by then already well-known--spreads the word, and the sanitized version of Guglielma is born. The other changes from the Empress legend and Guglielma's can be explained as a desire to make the story fit the particular situation in Italy, including locating her at a convent, and improve its lessons in piety.

What I am hypothesizing is that the Guglielma legend was not adapted from a pre-existing legend (or legends) so as to be useful as a cover for devotees of the real Guglielma, but that a pre-existing legend (or legends) was adapted by the Church as that of Guglielma so as to serve as a substitute for the real Guglielma and thereby eliminate the her gradually from the collective memory.

This was a standard operating procedure for the Church. For example, in the 4th century, faced with the highly popular cult of Mithra among Roman soldiers, whom the Church needed on their side, they simply called Mithra's birthday, December 25, Christ's birthday, and suppressed public mention of Mithra. So the soldiers could still celebrate Mithra's birthday, they just couldn't be open about it and had to endure the outward trappings of Christ. Sooner or later Mithra was forgotten. The same was done everywhere. A church in Milan was erected on the site of a temple of Cybele; it was still possible to worship Cybele there, but quietly. In Mexico, churches were placed on sites sacred to goddesses of the indigenous people, celebrating miracles there by the Virgin Mary. Similarly in 1301 Lombardy, I hypothesize, a legend about a princess-devotee of the Virgin, adapted from legends about an Empress and other pious royals, replaces the real Guglielma and her followers.

Such a strategy is, for humanitarian reasons, preferable to actually going in and rooting out every last believer in the heresy. It is also safer, in terms of dealing with the local nobility. Perhaps, as in the case of Mithra, there is even an agreement, implicit or explicit, with the secular authority about the process. (In the case of Matteo Visconti, it would be to get the inquisitors to leave.)

Reading Black, I can see where the "English/Hungarian" nationality of the princess comes from. In 1234, only four years after her death, Elizabeth, daughter of the king of Hungary, had been canonized. Her story, Black says, has similarities to that of Guglielma. Also, in England c. 1250. the monk Matthew Paris inserted the story of a falsely accused queen into his Latin history of the founders of the Benedictine abbey of St. Albans (p. 6f).

I can see elements of the "Empress of Rome" story even in the "confession" of Manfreda and her friends.The Empress is always shown healing by means of the communion cup in which the herb has been mixed, she standing and the leper kneeling or in bed. Leprosy, Black explains, was associated with lustfulness (p. 27). The ones who come down with leprosy are the ones who attempted to coerce her into sex, and they are given the chalice only after they have confessed their sins publicly--including that one, Similarly, in the Guglielmites' confessed (under torture) rite, it is by swallowing the host, after it has earlier been placed next to Guglielma's body, that the Guglielmites get her salvific power, now a desecration rather than a parallel to the Eucharist. This is of course not the scene in Brunate, Hence the need to introduce the headaches, now revealed as cured by a hand to the head, converted into a prayer to her after her death.

Another indication of the Inquisitors' forethought is Saramita's confession, if it was planted by torture into his mouth, is that she is from Bohemia. Bohemia is a variant on Hungary, Poland, and other central European locations of saintly princesses.

My hypothesis is that the Inquisitors calculated that the refurbished legend would be welcomed by Gulgielma's surviving followers, because it makes Gulgielma both the victim of false accusations and an agent of healing (as surely the real Gulgielma would have been thought to be, as well as Manfreda). In the Empress's devotion to the Virgin, the Empress becomes like her model. Black observes (p. 26):
...the Empress of Rome is a virtuous woman who is empowered to heal and save others. She takes on an aspect of sainthood--the ability to perform miracles--and like the Virgin Mary, becomes an instrument for the salvation of sinners.
The Inquisitors might have hoped that making Guglielma such a latter-day embodiment of the Virgin would be attractive to the remnants of her followers. The Virgin, too, was an agent of healing and salvation.

The danger in such a strategy of co-optation, of course, is that it won't succeed. For their part, the Visconti will not likely forget the real Manfreda, among themselves; they are obsessed with family history. To help them, there is also, later, the trial record, assuming that Matteo grabbed it. There is the return of the Cathars just before 1388, perhaps revealing themselves to certain of the populace. There is Bianca's relationship with Maddelena Abrizzi, whatever it was. In any case, we have the Inquisition back again in the 1450s, grilling old healers in the area, mainly women, about the Trinity and burning them as heretics incessantly for at least the next 70 years.

When the legend of Gulguilma appears in 1425, it follows the changes that have occurred in the legend of the Empress of Rome over the previous 200 years. Instead of, at the end, refusing earthly honors and keeping to her celibate state, the Empress resumes her life at court, once she has converted the Emperor. Likewise Gulguilma, as told in 1425, returns to Hungary and resumes life with her husband. Life is more worldly in the Renaissance than in the Middle Ages. I do not know how the 14th century versions ended Gulguilma's tale, other than the Colmar version that had her burned at the stake.

In one 15th century version of the Empress story, there is an interesting twist. It is one in sculptures done in Norwich Cathederal, England, sometime after 1455, when the roof of the chapel needed to be replaced, as the gift of a man who died in 1460. They stick faithfully to the story except in one regard: they show the Empress wearing the tarot Popess's triple tiara. Below are two of the six photos that Black reproduces. In the top one, she is riding side-saddle: ... k33-34.JPG

Black observes (p. 146):
In most bosses, the empress is immediately recognizable by her unusually tall conical crown, a triple crown such as those used elsewhere to depict the pope. The crown is unlike any known to me from other depictions of the empress. Although its size undoubtedly aids the viewer as a means of distinguishing her from the other figures, it also suggests that in the middle Ages the empress of Rome was a well-known figure, associated not only with false accusation and healing powers but also with religious authority.
I don't know how well known this association was, given that it is the only one of its kind. And it is in the 1460s, which is not the Middle Ages. I can't help wondering if there is somehow an association with 15th century Milan. Here is my reasoning.

First, Black (p. 147) speculates that the sculptures were meant to flatter Edward IV's queen, married to him in 1464 but not the virgin expected of royal marriages:
Joanna Chamberlayne, in her article "Crown and Virgins: Queenmaking during the Wars of the Roses," [in Young Medieval Women, ed. Lewis, Menuge, and Phillips, pp. 47-68] describes a traditional preference among English royalty to choose to choose virgin queens. Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, was a noteworthy exception to the practice. The queen was a widow, the mother of two children, and five years older than her new husband when Edward IV married her secretly in 1464 [p. 47]. Chamberlayne tells us: "Royal image makers adopted two strategems in dealing with Elizabeth's unconventional status. The first was simply to ignore the fact that she did not conform. The second was to construct her motherhood in strikingly Marian terms, so distancing her from ordinary women" [p. 60]. She provides us with a number of examples of the second strategem: depictions of the queen in virginal white and gold clothing, or with the blue cloak associated with the Virgin Mary, or with the loose blond hair associated with virgins [pp. 60-62].
So Black's hypothesis is that the Norwich "Empress of Rome" series is another set of images designed to associate Queen Elizabeth Woodville flatteringly with the Virgin. The episode where the Virgin directs the Empress to pick a certain herb is prominent among the sculptures. Black says that she cannot prove her hypothesis; but the Queen did visit Norwich in 1469 (per Atherton et al, Norwich Cathedral, p. 247), and we do see long, loose hair in the bosses (see above), another unusual feature in her depiction and one associating her specifically with the Virgin (since loose hair is associated with virgins).

It seems to me that the depictions of the donors at Brunate should be seen in a similar way to that in which Black sees the depiction of the English queen of the 1460s: they are literally of the donors, but symbolically also suggesting something else.

So what is the connection to Milan? I have discovered via Google,that in Milan around the same time, another homage to Elizabeth Woodville was being undertaken. A Lombard poet named Antonio Cornazzano wrote a long poem on famous women which included the same Queen Woodville as one of its two contemporary examples. He has her resisting Edward's efforts to make her his mistress, even when he threatens her with the banishment of her family (from London) and finally her own death (I am not sure about the exact details of the threats; it is not only 15th century but in northern dialect. To see Cornazzano's text, untranslated, go to Conor Fahy, "The Marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville: A New Italian Source," in the English Historical Review, 1961, available on Jstor; a fuller account, Fahy says, is his article in La bibliofilia, lxii, 1961. In any event, she is an example of chastity under fire. The poem, including specifically this section, the author says, was meant for Bianca Maria and written between 1466 and her death in 1468 (p. 663). The poem makes reference to a Vitaliano, who Fahy (p. 668) thinks is Vitaliano Borromeo (d. I449), founder of the famous family's fortunes, as well as to the lord of Milan, who at this time, after 1464, would be Galeazzo Maria.
Da quel di in qua costei gli occhi soi bassi
sempre porto, rarissimo apparendo,
42 donde 'l Re ne perdea sospiri e passi.
E per quel che da molti odo et intendo,
di che grado era lei, basso o soprano,
45 daro comparation, se nullo offendo:
quasi el nipote del gran Vitaliano
s'hauesse bella figlia, e la piacesse
48 (com'io son certo) al signior di milano.

(From that in here this woman bore her eyes always low, rare appearing, 42 from which the King loses sighs and steps. And of that from many I hear and understand of what degree she was, low or high, 45 I will give comparison, if I do not offend: the nephew of the great Vitaliano has a beautiful daughter, who 48 (as I am certain) pleased the lord of Milan.)
The Borromeo, of course, are associated with the tarot via a famous fresco.

What actual, as opposed to poetic, connection would there have been between Bianca Maria and Norwich? At the time, starting in 1461, there was much ambassadorial contact between Francesco Sforza and Edward; Francesco was even made a knight of Edward's Order of the Garter. Moreover, I see from a footnote of Fahy's (p. 667) that there was a "Borromei" bank in London:
1. G. Biscaro, 'I1 banco Filippo Borromei e compagni di Londra (1436-9)',
Archivio storico lombardo, 4th ser., xix (I913), 37-126, 283-386;...
. "Borromei" is merely a different spelling of the name, and Filippo is the 14th century head of the family, whose death in service to the Visconti elevated the survivors ( But the precise connection to the PMB Popess eludes me. If there is one, then the merging of the two Gulgielmas has run full circle: the Empress of Rome, the source of the legend, now has the papal crown of the real Manfreda.

I can feel people getting impatient with me. What is the point, you ask, of such unnecessary positing of double meanings? I answer, in part: that is the way life is under a totalitarian regime in which anyone can denounce anyone; its heretics learn to speak in the "Aesopian language" of saying one thing to, in a deniable way, mean another. (That there were people considered heretics there in this time period, the third quarter of the 15th century, is abundantly proved.) But in addition, and more significantly for our purpose, it explains the PMB Popess, that is, why, along with the Hanged Man, we have the highly unusual fact that both cards correspond to actual members of the Visconti-Sforza family, for whom this first known deck with these cards happens to have been made. It is as though someone planned it that way, for her family, and now us, to see and remember Manfreda.

It also explains why the legend should have such an absurdly awkward addition to it, that of the entire crew of a ship all coming down with a headache at once. My hypothesis also explains the numerous other coincidences that I have mentioned, even up to the 1460s in England. I think one has to look at these texts that Kovacs cites with the eye of a jury scrutinizing the records of a corporation that has proved itself both highly sophisticated in destroying, creating, distorting, and manipulating evidence, permitted even to torture its rebels, and at the same time genuinely trying to be moral as it interprets morality. What we get is not proof, to be sure, just a string of striking coincidences.

Barring additional texts from before 1300, I think my hypothesis--that the legendary "princess" is the Church's attempt to co-opt the real heretic--is most likely closer to the truth than Kovacs'. Already in Colmar 1301, the English princess was the one burned at the stake. Whoever wrote that didn't get the point of the "English princess" legend, and included the truth as well as part of the legend. The probable or plausible truth, that of the cover-up, however, is also what gives us a way to see the Popess in the tarot: she is someone on an equal footing with the Pope. Just as the tarot Pope is the vicar of Christ, the tarot Popess is the vicar of his feminine equivalent: the Holy Spirit, Mary, Sophia, or what you will. Likewise, if the Popess represents the Church, so does the Pope: two aspects of the Church. What these aspects are is left undetermined in the tarot, which after all is just a series of pictures with titles. Concretely, I think, the masculine side is expressed when a bishop confirms a believer, or elevates someone to major orders, in the laying on of hands, and the other when a woman who isn't even in a recognized order passes on the Holy Spirit, as a form of spiritual healing and the power to heal others, by a similar means.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Ross has brought to my attention a few poems that apparently were written for the 1642 edition of the English-Hungarian Guglielma legend, published in Como by Andrea Ferrari.
I provide here a rough translation of the poems:

D’incerto Autore.
Quanto abbassata più, tanto più m’ergo
Io GULIELMA, ò palma esposta ai venti
All’ingiurie d’infidi, e d’elementi
Fra le calunnie, e’l mar non mi sommergo.
Io del rigor, e del soffrir albergo
Di sensi lagrimosi unqua ridenti;
Sperai solo dal Ciel fossero spenti
Ch’à gl’innocenti il Ciel fassi l’usbergo.
Così in Palaggi, in boschi, in scogli, e fronde
Fui di fortuna in un lubidrio, e giuoco
Et hor stabile in Ciel, non temo l’onde;
Così l’instabilità tien in suo luoco:
Chi hà travagli non ricorra altronde
Che da contrari ancor nasce un bel fuoco.

SONNET by an unknown author

The more I am lowered, the higher I rise,
I am GULIELMA, a palm-tree exposed to the winds,
to the insults of the unfaithful and among the lies
of the elements, I am not submerged in the sea.
I am the house of rigour and sufferance,
of senses that always weep and never laugh;
I only hoped that Heaven could put an end to them
because Heaven is the shield of the innocent.
In palaces, in woods, among the rocks and the leaves
fortune mocked me, playing with me;
now I am safe in heaven and I have no fear of the waves;
such are the ways of instability:
whoever suffers so should not recur to anything else
because also the contraries can generate a beautiful fire.

NON deplorar fortuna
GUGLIELMA regnante,
Che s'Angoli [Agnoli?] al Nocchier furonti avanti
Il VISCONTI non è d'opra importuna;
Che se il Nocchier ti pose alla Cucina,
Quivi sei riverita per Regina,
Se per guadagno lor, là fosti eletta,
Qui per elettion sei BENEDETTA,
Se quelle ti lasciarono mortale,
Queste ti serbaran sempre immortale.

Do not deplore fortune,
because even if angels were before you near the Pilot
VISCONTI's work is not inopportune;
even if the Pilot put you in the Kitchen,
here you are revered as a Queen,
if there they chose you for their advantage,
here you are elected as BLESSED [BENEDETTA],
if those left you mortal,
these will preserve you forever immortal.

Di Donna Maria Elisabetta Coquia,
Monaca in Santa Margarita di Como.
Qual più strano Teatro, e mesta Scena,
Inauditi stupor, opre fatali.
Maraviglie, ò miracoli à mortali
Di GULIELMA plorar può sacra vena.
Donna, qual pur di Donna hà il nome apena
Amazona del Ciel usbergo à strali
Di Satan; prova à gli Aletti infernali
Emula à Giobbe, e bersaglio à pena.
Lasciò il mortal, l’Angel di Paradiso
Trionfatrice al fin illustre, e chiara
Per Dio vagheggiar à viso à viso:
O Sirena del Ciel, pace impetrate
Col canto, à chi se’n vive in guerra amara
Con le cure del cuor di pene armate.

SONNET by Lady Maria Elisabetta Coquia
Nun in St. Margherita in Como.

Which stranger theatre, saddest scene,
incredible amazement, fatal deeds,
marvels or miracles can a sacred inspiration
suggest to mankind than GULIELMA?
A woman, but the name of woman is not appropriate,
a heavenly amazon, shield against the arrows
of Satan; a challenge to hellish devils,
emulating Job, object of pain.
This heavenly angel abandoned mortality,
with a final, bright and clear triumph,
desiring to meet God face to face:
Oh heavenly siren, ask for peace
with your songs, for those who live a bitter war
with a heart full of worries armed with sorrow.

Sol penna di Colomba,
Dalla Prudenza retta
Trattar dee opra Sagra, e BENEDETTA
Quindi à ragion VISCONTI esser dei tromba
Di Gulielma Reina, e casta è Santa
Dell'antico tuo scudo il giovinetto
(C'hor ben intendo il mistico Concetto)
Ch'esce di bocca alla prudente Serpe
Sei tù, che di saper fecondo appieno
Rassembri alla prudenza uscir di seno.

MADRIGAL by the same
Only the feather of a Dove,
held by Prudence
can write a Holy and BLESSED [BENEDETTA] work.
VISCONTI, you must rightfully be the trumpet
of Queen Gulielma, chaste and saint.
The youth on your ancient coat of arms
(now I understand the mystical concept)
coming out of the mouth of a prudent snake
represents you, so fruitful of wisdom that
you seem to be born from the womb of prudence.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Thank you, Marco. To me the 1642 version shows how, unable to get rid of the reverence for Guglielma by such means as the account of 1495/1503, the Church reverted back to the old strategy of imposing the Empress of Rome legend upon her, as in the 1425 manuscript and probably others. Yet there are some things in these poems, which apparently are separate from Ferrari's text, that raise questions.

One thing of itnerest is the references to the Visconti. According to Newman (p. 34), the 1642 version of her legend dates her marriage in Hungary to 795 c. e.
In 1642 a Franciscan curate of Brunate, Andrea Ferrari, republished Bonfadini's legend in modernized Italian.
He gave the Hungarian king a name, Teodoro, and arbitrarily dated his marriage to Guglielma in 795.
There were no Visconti then ruling Milan. So what is this version's account of the Visconti's role? I see in the poems:
...if there they chose you for their advantage,
here you are elected as BLESSED [BENEDETTA],..
Who are the "they", and were is the "here"? I quote this line because the "they" might be the Visconti, and the "here" Brunate. But perhaps I am wrong. And what does it mean, "chose you for their advantage"?

And later:
VISCONTI, you must rightfully be the trumpet
of Queen Gulielma, chaste and saint.
The youth on your ancient coat of arms
(now I understand the mystical concept)
coming out of the mouth of a prudent snake
represents you,...
This suggests the role of some Visconti, as the nurturer of Guglielma (who comes out of the Visconti viper like a newborn from the womb) and the patron (trumpet) of her cult. Is that in virtue of founding the convent in 1350, or expanding it in 1443 (as Newman says Filippo did), or something else, earlier or later?

Perhaps the answers are somewhere in the 1642 text of Ferrari. If not, then perhaps these poem were written without knowing the details there, and come from the popular tradition, already established by the material in the 14th-15th century manuscripts. Yet these poems make no mention of the Queen's return to Hungary (unlike the 1425 version, which, Newman p. 26, has her "returning home at last with her husband") and there living happily ever after; in fact these poems don't mention Hungary at all. But more importantly,they do not seem to recognize a happy ending to the story, other than her going to heaven and the Visconti choosing her, whatever that means--it could have been after her death. Anyway, these are my questions.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Now I find another odd coincidence. I looked in various places for other 15th century images of women with papal-looking crowns. In Florence, the papal hat was represented differently, not a tiara but more of a rounded cone, judging from the Charles VI card ( ... les_05.jpg). From the 1470s, I found four such ladies, part of Baldini's "Prophets and Sibyls" series. Zucker (Illustarted Bartsch, vol. 24 Commentary part 1, p. 163), based on numerous stylistic considerations, gives them an estimated date of 1475-1480.

The coincidence is that an event that Zucker and others think might be related to these images was a mystery play put on in 1471 on the occasion of Galeazzo Maria Sforza's visit to Florence (p. 160). It was a dramatization of the Annunciation by Feo Belcari; its prologue had the Prophets and Sibyls recite their predictions for the virgin birth, two Prophets alternating with one Sibyl, for 24 prophets and 12 Sibyls. The Sibyls thus are all prophetesses. It is the same as with Manfreda and Gulgielma; they, too, are prophetesses, of the next age, that of the Holy Spirit. So the papal crown, here representing prophecy among other things, goes from the one to the others.

What would defeat this line of thought would be if the Sibyls had crowns even before Galeazzo's visit, or more precisely, even before the PMB Popess. In fact, portrayals of the Sibyls were not new in Florence, as I learn from Zucker. The Sibyls had been reported by Lactantius, who listed ten, based on the Roman scholar Marcus Varro. But in 15th century Florence they increased to twelve (pp. 159f):
Apparently standing at the head of the new tradition was an important series of frescoes , now lost, that Masolino and Uccello may have painted, shortly before 1432, in the Palazzo Orsini on Monte Giordano in Rome (see Mode, pp. 369-78). Conceived by the patron himself, Cardinal Giordano Orsini, this vast cycle of uomini famosi comprised as many as three hundred images of full-length standing figures, and among them were the twelve sibyls, including the European and Agrippan, whom Orsini seems to have invented (see Voege, p. 17ff.; Oberhuber, in Levenson et al., pp. 25-26, 38). Access to the frescoes must have always been limited, but knowledge of them was spread through such descriptions as the one preserved in MS. 243 of the Bibliotheque de l'Arsenal in Paris, and especially by means of the Dicta (or Vaticinia) Sibyllarum, one of the several opuscula that follow a treatise on Sts. Jerome and Augustine in the Discordantiae nonnullae inter Sanctum Hieronymum et Augustinum, written by the Dominican theologian and philosopher Filippo Barbieri (ca. 1426-87) and published at Rome in 1481 (See Hind 1938, vol. 1, p. 155, n. 2; Dizionario biografico..., vol. 6, pp. 217-21).
These two, sources, the Arsenal and Barbieri texts, between them describe the Sibyl's depictions in some detail. They, plus the play by Belcari, are the main precedents for Baldini's Sibiyls. None is described in any of them as having a crown of any kind. Yet look at Baldini's Libyan Sibyl:

Not only is there a tiara, but the cloak is much like the papal one, buckling at the top, and like the tarot Popess, she is holding a book. Zucker (p. 201) says that the design is modeled on a "St. John" by Master E.S., which appears in volume 8, p. 64 of the Bartsch series. The St. John has no crown, just a halo, and no top-buckling cloak:


There is a book, to be sure, but all of E. S.'s evangelists carry books or scrolls. Barbieri characterizes this Sibyl as being "adorned with a green and flowering garland on her haead, dressed in an honest cloak, and nor very young" (from Male 1922, pp. 258-59). So we can see where the leaves sticking up from her head come from; but no crown is mentioned. Zucker observes that the cloak is hardly merely "honest"; nor is she "not very young". The prophecy she speaks in Barbieri, Zucker says, is similar to what is inscribed on Baldini's scroll. What the scroll says is "Behold the day is coming and the queen of nations will hold in her lap him who will open hidden things."

It is similar for the other three. The Delphian Sibyl ( ... ldinil.jpg) is modeled on Master E. S.'s "St. Mark" ( ... ESMark.JPG); the horn comes from Barbieri's description, and the words of her prophecy on the scroll are similar to what he records: "A prophet will be born of a virgin without human corruption." Barbieri has the Phrygian Sibyl ( ... aldini.jpg) as "middle-aged" and, though virgin, wearing a "red dress and mantle in the fasino of married woman". She does indeed appear middle-aged. The Bibliotheque de l'Aresenal describes her as "wearing a red dress, bare armed, with an old 'saturnine' face, spreading hair, [and] pointing finger", which Baldini followed fairly faithfully. Again there is no crown. She has no northern European model.The prophecy is, "The son of God will come from above and a plan will be confirmed in heaven, and a virgin will be announced." The Tiburtine Sibyl ( ... aldini.jpg) is a helmet variant on the papal crown. She is modeled on Master E.S.'s "St Matthew" ( ... atthew.JPG); her prophecy is "There will be born in Bethlehem, in Nazareth will be announced, during the reign of the peaceful bull" (p. 213).

There are also no crowns on the Sibyls at the Carducci Palace, c. 1450, or in Michelangelo's series of five in the Sistine Chapel. The only other Sibyl series with crowns is the engravings of Rosselli, c. 1480-1500, which were based on Baldini's.

It seems to me likely that the crowns were either Baldini's innovation, from the play (for which we have only the words, no description of the costumes), or from Florentine Popess cards. In any case, the crowns in Baldini--and hence also the Popess's--would seem to signify at least some sort of female prophetic spiritual authority comparable to that of the Prophets, and not merely the Church. Many of Baldini's Prophets do have crowns. The only Christian parallels that I know of are Guglielma and Manfredi as prophets of the age of the Holy Spirit. This connotation, whether as a result of Galeazzo Maria's visit or earlier, as well as the absence of other similarly crowned ladies in Florentine art and the late date of this one, suggests to me, unless I am missing something, that the Popess was an import to Florence from Milan. People in Florence just didn't feel comfortable with that papal crown on a woman, and no wonder. But on a pagan prophetess it was acceptable.

This adds to the explanatory power of the Manfredi hypothesis. Besides explaining the rare occurrence of both a Popess and a Hanged Man in the family for whom the first known examples were made, and the awkward insertion of a dream about curing headaches in the legend of the Empress of Rome as adapted to Guglielma, we now have the appearance of the Popess's crown in post-PMB depictions in Florence of pagan prophetesses who predicted Jesus's birth. The Manfredi explanation for all of these is in the context of other facts about the Visconti reverence for the Holy Spirit and the known practices of the Church in dealing with heterodox ideas.

Note: I have added some thoughts to post viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13643, based on checking the book that Kirsch cited for its portrait of Galeazzo resembling the second king in the Cremona Adoration fresco. The information about that illumination given in the 1958 book she cites is now considered wrong, for compelling reasons. The new information weakens her point, but not much.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

Mike, you might be interested by a paper by Christophe Poncet : "Un gioco tra profezia e filosofia : i tarocchi di Marsilio", in "Il linguaggio dei cieli, astri e simboli nel Rinascimiento", Carocci Editore 2012. ... 8843060764
that deals exactly with the serie of prints you're talking about, Ficin, Florence and the Tarot de Marseille, with quite adventurous comparisons but nevertheless a very interesting light on the use of models for the engravers - (I haven't read it yet but only met the author).


"rearing horse" coins: pre-1378?

I am back on coins again, picking up from the discussion that started at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13470&hilit=1442#p13460

I have been looking for numismatic sources for the dating of the "rearing horse" design that we see on the Cary-Yale Coins. Here is one: Le monete di Milano da Carlo Magno a Vittorio Emanuele II by F. and E. Gnecchi (Milan, 1884), with a link to the first relevant page: ... 3/mode/1up

I don't know whether this will show up outside the USA or not. In any case, I have uploaded the relevant images, as best I can.

On p. 273 (linked to above) we see the "rearing horse" design used during the reign of Galeazzo II Visconti, 1354-1378;


Compare this to the one for Filippo Maria Visconti, 1412-1447, on p. 279:


In between we have, on p. 275, Giangaleazzo Visconti, 1385-1402;


And on p. 277 that of Giovanni Maria Visconti, 1402-1412:


Given that Filippo's three predecessors all used the "rearing horse design", it seems to me that when the numismatists say "1412-1447" for Filippo's coin with that design, it probably means the entire period. Or was there some subtle change that happened in 1442 that we're not being shown?
Here, for comparison, are the coins on the cards again (lower level), together with the Filippo Maria (upper left) and Francesco Sforza (upper right) designs.


And the Francesco in the same series as the rest:


It would obviously help to have clearer images of the coins. Another numismatic source is C. Crippa, Le monete di Milano dai Visconti agli Sforza (Milan, 1986), but I can't seem to access it. And there is also the Corpus nummorum italicorum: primo tentativo di un catalogo generale delle monete medievali e moderne coniate in Italia o da italiani in altri paesi. Vol. 5 deals with Milan.

Re: "rearing horse" coins: pre-1378?

mikeh wrote: Another numismatic source is C. Crippa, Le monete di Milano dai Visconti agli Sforza (Milan, 1986), but I can't seem to access it. And there is also the Corpus nummorum italicorum: primo tentativo di un catalogo generale delle monete medievali e moderne coniate in Italia o da italiani in altri paesi. Vol. 5 deals with Milan.
Hello Mike, CNI 5 is available here:
At page 118/119 it lists 16 different variants of the florin, but no dates are indicated.

I have checked Crippa as well, but I could not find any chronological indications in it either.

Heresy in Lombardy at the time of Manfreda

Thanks for the link, Marco. No pictures, either. That's what I liked about the Gnecchi.

Now I am back to the Manfreda and the Guglielmites. It seems to me that accounts of them suffer from failing to take into account other heresies of the same time and place, notably the Cathars and the Waldenses--which were really mass movements--as well as of the Inquisition's efforts to stamp out these heresies and the responses of the secular authorities.

So for this post I have constructed a time-line pertaining mostly to Lombardy, derived from Lea, History of the Inquistion of the Middle Ages, I omit discussion of the Beguins and the Spiritual Franciscans, as they have already been discussed in this thread. I also omit Lea's footnotes, but do include page numbers, as all three of Lea's volumes are in Google Books. Except for a few places clearly indicated in which I cite volume 1, all the citations in this post are to volume 2. Lea's book was published in 1887, and while he does not hide his Protestant beliefs his information is based on documents copied for him in Europe. As far as I have been able to compare it with other sources, what follows here has not been superseded by later works. If anyone knows of errors, I would certainly appreciate having them pointed out. I am omitting the events surrounding the trial of Matteo Visconti and his sons of 1317-1324, for which I will have another post.

Before starting the time-line itself, I will try to say why the Cathars and the Waldenses in particular are relevant to a discussion of Manfreda.


The Cathars were a heretical movement that spread from the Balkans to much of Western Europe south and west of the Rhine starting c. 1000. They were most solidly implanted in Languedoc and Northern Italy. "Milan had the reputation of being their center," says Lea (vol. 1 p. 114). They are important to an examination of Manfreda because of the painting in Brumante showing Guglielma placing her hand on a female follower's head. This gesture is explained in one Catholic texts about the non-heretical Guglielma as signifying how she cures headaches; others simply say that this was a special ability she had, given to her by the Virgin Mary. However, according to Bernard Gui (The Inquisitor's Guide, trans. Janet Shirley, p. 41), a similar gesture--a hand on the head, or just above it if the person was of the other gender--was used by the Cathars in the Consolomentum, by which a Cathar Perfect passes the Holy Spirit to a new Perfect. It differs from the Catholic rite of christening or admission to holy orders in that only one hand was used, rather than both. If Manfreda considered Guglielma the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, the gesture could be part of the rite by which Manfreda becomes vicar of the Holy Spirit, in preparation for replacing the Pope in the Holy See. It is evident from the data below that until 1268 the Cathars were able to practice fairly openly in Lombardy. Since Guglielma was said to have arrived in Milan in 1262, there was ample time for her to see and understand the gesture.


The Waldense, according to Lea, started in Rome with a pupil of Abelard's named Arnald of Brescia (vol. 1 p. 72f), who was burned in 1145. But they did not become a large movement until his views were taken up by Peter Waldo of Lyons, from whom they were called the Waldense and "Poor Men of Lyons." The Waldense differed from the Cathars in that they retained the Eucharist as one of their sacraments. According to Bernard Gui the Waldense allowed women to perform the rite:
Also they believe that the consecration of the body and blood of Christ can be performed by any good person, even a layman, not ordained to the priesthood by a Catholic bishop, as long as this person belongs to their sect, and they even believe this of women providing they belong to this sect, and they teach that all the saints are priests. (p. 54)
, This is important because one of Manfreda's crimes was that she conducted the Eucharist. Gui says that the Waldense disavowed the Roman Catholic hierarchy and had their own hierarchy of bishops, priests, and deacons.

It is true that Manfreda was a member of the Umiliati rather than the Waldense. The Umiliati professed to orthodoxy and had received papal approbation in 1201 ( In the 1300 transcript of Manfreda and the other Guglielmites, too, the Umiliati as such are not considered heretical . However as we will see in the time-line, at times the Umiliati were treated with much suspicion, almost as much as the Waldense to whom they were compared. Wikipedia observes:
The Chronicon Urspergense (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores, xxiii, 376-377) mentions the Humiliati as one of the two Waldensian sects and a decretal promulgated in 1184 by Pope Lucius III at the Council of Verona against all heretics condemns both the "Poor Men of Lyons" and "those who attribute to themselves falsely the name of Humiliati". Though orthodox, the Order of the Humiliati was always tainted by a certain suspicion.
Now here is my time-line, deriving from Lea. When he speaks of "heretics," unless otherwise specified, he means Cathars, following the convention of the records he is drawing from.

1206-1212. Lea vol. 2 p. 194:
The remains of the Arnaldists and Umiliati had eagerly welcomed the missionaries of the Poor Men of Lyons, and had not only adopted their tenets, but had joined them to a further development in antagonism to Rome. As early as 1206 we see Innocent III alluding to Umiliati and Poor Men of Lyons as synonymous expressions, and, endeavoring with little success to effect their expulsion from Faenza, where they were spreading and infecting the people. In Milan they had built a school where they publicly taught their doctrines; this was at length torn down by a zealous archbishop, and when, in 1209, Duran de Huesca sought to bring them back to the fold, a hundred or o more of them consented to be reconciled if the building were restored to them. Evidently they had little to dread from active persecution, and subsequent letters of Innocent show them to be still flourishing there. The Waldenses who were burned at Strassburg in 1212 admitted that their chief resided in Milan, and that they were in the habit of collecting money and remitting it to him.
1232. (Lea vol. 2 p. 201):
The earliest name I have met with bearing the title of Inquisitor of Lombardy is that of a Fra Alberico in 1232.
1233. (p. 208):
In 1233 he [Peter of Verona] was sent to Milan, where...the laws [against heresy] which, in 1228, Cardinal Geoffredo had inscribed on the statue-book had remained a dead letter. All this was changed when Piero da Verona made his influence felt. Not only did he cause Gregory's Legislation of 1231 to be adopted in the municipal law, but he stimulated the podesta, Oldrado da Tresseno, and the archbishop, Enrico da Settale, to work in earnest. A number of heretics were burned, who were probably the first victims of fanaticism which Milan had seen since the time of the Cathari of Monforte. [Lea vol. 1 p. 109, says that this had been in c. 1040, when a group was brought to Milan from the Castle of Monforte, near Asti, including the Countess herself, where most were burned.]
Late 1230s-early 1240s
Piero likewise founded in Milan a company or association for the suppression of heresy, which was taken under immediate papal protection...We may safely assume that his fiery activity continued unabated, though we hear nothing of him until in 1242 we again find him in Milan so vigorously at work that he is said to have caused a sedition which nearly ruined the city.
c. 1250. vol. 2, p. 193: Rainerio Saccone, a converted Cathar become Inquisitor for Lombardy, gives an enumeration of the Cathar churches of that time. Lea (193f):
In Lombardy and the Marches there were five hundred perfected Cathari of the Albanensian sect, more than fifteen hundred Concorrenzenses, and about two hundred Bajolenses. ...with a countless congregation of believers...they constituted a notable portion of the population. Lombardy, in fact, was the centre whence Catharism was propagated throughout Europe. ...Milan was the headquarters whither every year delegates were sent from the churches throughout Christendom, bringing contributions for the support of the central organization.
1252. (pp. 212, 222). After working in Florence, Peter is first in Cremona and then Milan. .
Within nine months after he had been summoned to action he had already become such an object of terror that in despair a plot was laid for his assassination.. Carino acted as executioner, laying open Piero's head with a single blow...As for the conspirators, I have already alluded to the strange delay which postponed for forty-three years the final sentence of Stefano Confaloniero, and to the repentance and beatification of Carino, who became St. Acerbius. He [Manfredo] was simply ordered to present himself to the pope for judgment, but in place of obeying he very naturally fled and there is no record of his subsequent fate. No one seems to have been put to death, and common report asserted that the assassins found a safe refuge among the Waldenses of the Alpine Valleys, which is not improbable.
1253-1255. Lea (p. 216) describes how the Church made even more effective use of Peter's martyrdom than they had of him when he was alive. Inquistors now traveled with a company of armed knights. Raniero Saccone is Peter's successor.

1250s. Lea describes a revolt in Bergamo where the papacy had burned the houses known to host heretical preachers. The Pope then tried to impose a tax to recompense Catholics for their losses in the struggle, but this was defeated through the intervention of Milan.

1250s (p. 219): In 1253 Saccone summons Egidio, Count of Cortennova, to tribunal for first turning the castle of Cortennova over to the heretics, and then when the inquisitors had it razed, seizing the castle of Mongano. In 1254, Lea continues:
Innocent IV ordered the authorities of Milan, under pain of ecclesiastical censures, to take the castle by force and deliver its inmates to the inquisitors for trial. The count, however, was in close alliance with [Uberto] Pallavicino, "that enemy of God and the Church," and the Milanese appear to have had no appetite for the enterprise at the time.
1256. Inquisitors in Lombardy are increased from four to eight (p. 222).

1260. Year in which Joachim de Flore had said the Age of the Holy Spirit would begin ( It is also the year that Uberto Pallavicino is chosen by the ruling della Torre in Milan to be Captain of the People (p. 229) for a five year term, Saccone denounces Uberto. But the citizens
in wrath ...assembled and rushed to the Dominican convent, where they gave Rainerio the alternative of leaving the city or faring worse. He chose the wiser alternative and departed. ...Uberto was now the most powerful man in Lombardy, and wherever his influence extended he prohibited inquisitors from performing their functions. Heretics were safe under his rule, and they flocked to his territories from othjer parts of Lombardy and from Languedoc and Provence.

1262. Year in which Guglielma is said to have come to Milan with her son.

1266 (p. 231). The Pope declares a crusade against deceased emperor Frederick's son Manfred and all those who defy the Papacy. When no rulers offer to lead, he offers Charles of Anjou all the Church's revenues for three years in France, Flanders, and Italy, plus 80 thousand livres cash, for his assistance. Charles enters Italy and defeats the Ghibellines at Benevento, killing Manfred .

1267. Lombardy and Uberto join with the next emperor-apparent, the boy Conradin, who is defeated in 1268. "Henceforth there was to be no refuge for heresy," Lea says (p. 233).

1268. (p. 235) Piacenza " said to have found the burning of twenty-eight wagon loads of heretics necessary." Lea gives no information on what happened to heretics in Milan at that time,

1269. (p. 220) "The Milanese were at last stimulated to undetrake the siege [of the castle at Mongano], and on capturing it handed it over to the Dominicans."

1277. (p. 237) An expedition of 3 inquisitors and 2 notaries to the Valtelline (north and east of Lake Como), meets with an ambush that slaughters the whole party, perpetrated by the local Count, Corrado da Venosta. Corrado in 1279 is brought to justice.

1279. (p. 237f). In Parma, the Dominican convent is sacked, the inquisition records destroyed and the friars mistreated, causing the death of one. The Dominicans leave, and "the magistrates showed singular indifference as to punishing this misdeed," despite the resulting interdict.

1300s: a paraphrase by Lea (p. 240) from the inquisitor Bernard Gui:
Until the 14th century was well advanced, the Cathari of Languedoc still looked to Italy as to a haven of refuge; that pilgrims thither had no trouble in finding their fellow-believers in Lombardy, in Tuscany, and in the kingdom of Sicily; that when the French churches were broken up those who sought to be admitted to the circle of the Perfect, or to renew their consolomentum, resorted to Lombardy, where they could always find ministers authorized to perform the rites.
1340-1403. About Cathars: (p. 255): "Driven from the plains of Lombardy and central Italy, they took refuge in places less accessible." In Corsica, Lea finds inquisitorial activity in 1340, 1372-3 and 1397; in Piedmont,1388: torture of Giacomo Bech reveals the names of many noble families--the Patrizi, Bertoni, Petiti, Narro, and ancestors of Balbi and Cavour. There were also missionaries: "Giacomo Bech was converted by a Slavonian missionary." Piero Patrizi goes to Bosnia in 1377, and Berardo Rascherio in 1380. Regarding persecution (p. 258),
The Count of Savoy, Amadeo VIII, was not disposed to second it with zeal. The last definite reference west of the Adriatic occurs in 1403.
1318-1346. About the Waldense: (p. 269f)
the Inquisition in Lombardy pursued certain heretics who are described as Lollards--whether Beghards or Waldenses does not appear, but probably the latter, as we are told that when concealment became impossible the men escaped to Bohemia ...In 1344 we hear of a great popular excitement, caused by the belief that a number of victims of the Inquisition had suffered unjustly. Matters went so far that the Imperial Vicar, Luchino Visconti, asked Clement VI to order an investigation, which was duly held, though we do not know the result. It was possibly the feeling thus aroused which led, in 1346, to the murder in the Milanese of a Franciscan inquisitor conspicuous for his persecuting zeal. The perpetual troubles during the century between the Holy See and the Visconti cannot but have greatly interfered with the efficiency of persecution.
1343-1495. (p. 270)
In the collected statues of the Dukes of Milan from 1343 to 1495 there is no allusion of any kind to the Inquisition, or to the punishment of heretics. There is, however, on record a decree of 1388 placing the civil officials at the service of the Inquisition, but it enforces the conditions of the Clementines, which require episcopal consent to the use of torture and harsh prison, and to the final sentence. It moreover threatens inquisitors with punishment for using their office to extort money or gratify malice; and it further significantly commands them not to abuse the privilege of armed familiars, or to unnecessarily multiply their officials.
1400s. It is now difficult to distinguish the Waldense from the Lombard Cathari, who both believed in so-called "moderate dualism". The Waldenses in Savoy are persecuted sporadically--somewhat, by the Amadeo who became Pope Felix V, and more so by Duchess Yolande starting in 1475 (p. 265).

1457 (p. 271):
"In 1457 Brescia we hear of a new heresy concerning Christ, the Virgin, and the Church Militant, infecting both clergy and laity, and including suspicion of sorcery.
I have cited other sources about this development earlier in this thread, although not as Lea describes it, but as concerning views on the Trinity.

1530. The Waldense negotiate with the Protestants in Switzerland, resulting n their final incorporation with the Calvinists (p. 267). "In Calabria, in 1530, it was estimated that they numbered ten thousand souls, in Venetia, six thousand" (p. 268).

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

What I get from the “Corpus Nummorum Italicorum” is that the coin on the cards does not match any of the listed variants.


On the 9 of coins from the Yale library photographs, I can read:
FILIPV' is not actually readable in this image, but it is not necessary to the point.
“MARIA” is between the legs of the horse. The A of “Anglus” is between the hind legs and the tail. The closest variant in the CNI is the last one (number 16) which has:
The disposition of the letters that we see on the cards is not documented.

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The other florin above (from has:
Which seems to be the most common arrangement (corresponding for instance to Variant number 3 in the CNI).

Also the shape of the letters is different: for instance, the M of Maria in the cards is rounded, like the M in FI-MA on the back of the coin. In all the actual florins I have seen, the M of Maria is not rounded as a “Gothic” “M”, but it looks like a “Latin script” “M”.
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