Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#111
On the issue of the Poor Clare habit on the PMB Popess, it seems to me that the lack of conformity to Giugelimite practice is not a problem. For one thing, Bianca Maria may not have known what they wore. Marcos Filesi suggests (http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page.aspx?id=272) that Bembo may have been familiar with the Poor Clares' dress from seeing them in Cremona.

I think there is another reason why the dress doesn't matter. To have dressed her as such would have been to risk trouble from the Inquisition, if the wrong people ever saw or heard about the deck. So it is better to dress her in a way that people will clearly associate with humility, poverty, devoutness, and whatever else the three knots represent.

I think people today underestimate the justified fear of the Inquisition. In trying to find out more about its activities in Lombardy, I find, rereading Newman (p. 21, "Heretic Saint") that the Milan Inquisition destroyed its records in 1788. That was a time of much anti-clerical feeling, spilling over from France. It wouldn't have been good for this material to get in the wrong hands. So it is as though their activities never existed! That may be why Lea had so little about the Inquisition in Lombardy. But there must have been something by somebody, at least about Cremona and the area near Piedmont, for Lea to have made his statements.

The document that survived from the time of Matteo Visconti is an abbreviated copy of the anti-Guglielmite document found "in a grocer's shop" in 17th century Pavia. Newman speculates that Matteo confiscated it from the Dominicans when he "violently expelled from Milan four inquisitors of heretics called by the authority of the lord Pope" (Newman, p. 22, quoting Andre-Michele, Le Proces p. 196). She says it likely was kept because the Visconti treasured Guigelema's memory. I don't know; but another reason for keeping it would be to show future Viscontis what can happen if you permit the Inquisition onto your territory: they will use it against you.

I appreciate Phaeded's linking of the Visconti dove with the "children of the Holy Spirit" and other anti-Papal (not necessarily anti-Catholic) organizations promoting that member of the Trinity. I'm not sure if the love-knot is part of that or not. Kirsch writes (p. 23 ofFive Manuscripts):
The first such device was the knot of Hercules (or love-knot) of the Company of the Holy Spirit of Right Desire, informally known as the Company or Order of the Knot, established in 1353 by Louis of Taranto, King of Naples.
I don't know Louis's attitude toward the Papacy, but its symbol, the love-knot, reappeared with Count Amadeus VI of Savoy and then his nephew Giangaleazzo Visconti (all p. 23), for whom it becomes a major symbol in the Hours and elsewhere, along with the Dove (now conflated with the turtledove). Kirsch notes the remarkable similarity of a device of the Order of the Knot to the personal device of Giangaleazzo:

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Image


The cord in the top image is rather similar to that of the PMB Moon card. The bottom image is from the all-Giangaleazzo part of the Hours.

I had not appreciated the greater significance of this symbol of the Visconti dove until reading what Phaeded wrote.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#112
mikeh wrote: I think there is another reason why the dress doesn't matter. To have dressed her as such would have been to risk trouble from the Inquisition, if the wrong people ever saw or heard about the deck. So it is better to dress her in a way that people will clearly associate with humility, poverty, devoutness, and whatever else the three knots represent.
Hello Mike,
others have thought that tarot was intentionally disguised to represent a socially acceptable content, while indeed its true meaning was something completely different. One of the problems with this approach is that, since it postulates that the apparent meaning of the cards is irrelevant, any “hidden” meaning can be put forward, and the content of the cards can be ignored, because it was not “authentic” in the first place. It was just a disguise to protect some hidden knowledge from the Evil Catholic Church.
Antoine Court de Gebelin wrote:in one quarter of an hour the cards were comprehended, explained, declared Egyptian: and since it was not the play of our imaginations, but the effect of the deliberate and significant connections of this game with all that is known of Egyptian ideas, we promised ourselves to share the knowledge some day with the public; persuaded that it would take pleasure in the discovery of a gift of this nature, an Egyptian book that had escaped barbarity, the devastations of time, fires accidental and deliberate, and the even greater disaster of ignorance.
A necessary consequence of the frivolous and light form of this book, which made it capable of triumphing over all the ages and of passing down to us with a rare fidelity: the ignorance which until now even we have been in concerning what it represented, was a happy safe conduct that allowed it to cross every century quietly without anyone thinking of doing it harm.
From: http://www.paralumun.com/tarot.htm
Lisa Hanna wrote:The exact origins and beginnings of the tarot card are unsure. There is no factual evidence that shows these beginnings. Most of this evidence was long since destroyed during the times of the inquisition and religious persecutions of the times. What we do know, is what was the original purpose and meaning of the tarot card. The tarot card were originally a way of recording the true history of the Celtic church and bloodlines of Jesus. It must be realized that during these times to say or do anything that was against the beliefs of the church would see you tortured and killed. Just being in possession of tarot cards would mean death. The church knew the people were using tarot cards as a form of recording history and as such During the inquisition were people were tortured, burned and killed. As the church rewrote the history of Jesus and the Celtic church to suit their purpose the people kept the true history alive through such things as tarot cards. Famous painters such as Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci painted hidden messages in their paintings recording the truth of the bloodlines of Jesus. The earliest date attributed to the tarot card is seen in European museums is 1390. But the actual origins of the cards is thought to go back far earlier. King Edward the 4th in the 15th century banned the importation of tarot cards. However, many people did keep the Tarot cards, especially the nobility. With the eventual collapse of the inquisition times, freedom swept Europe, and as it did, tarot cards became the fashion.
From: http://www.thecrimsontarot.com/history.html
The history of the Tarot is shrouded in myth and legend. Among the stories of its origins are that the Gypsies, or Rom, brought the cards to Western Europe from Egypt in the early middle ages. Similarly, it is said that the Knights Templar brought them back to Western Europe in the time of the Crusades. It is also told that a group of sages met in Fez , Morocco , and produced the Tarot to preserve the body of ancient mystical wisdom destroyed at the great Library at Alexandria .

There is no evidence to prove that any of these stories are true. But they all contain a kernel of truth. The common thread in all of them and the fact that makes the Tarot’s origins so hard to trace is that all the stories relate to the occult and the heretical. Occult meaning hidden, secret. Heretical, meaning a belief which is at odds with the dogma of the established religion, which in the Middle Ages was the Roman Catholic church. The Tarot is a pictorially camouflaged belief system that needed to be kept hidden from the dominant church because it represented ancient, pagan, pre-Christian wisdom that was thought to be heretical.

...

Upon their return from Jerusalem , the Knights Templar very suddenly gained much wealth and favor from the church, especially the Pope. It is speculated that the Templar used their influence from their secret cache of important Christian relics to gain their wealth and prestige. In the end, nearly two centuries later when the Crusades were waning, they were labeled heretics partly due to their secret initiation rights as well as political reasons and many were tortured by French authorities under the Inquisition. The remaining Templar lived in secrecy. Could it be that part of the Knights Templar’s mysterious treasure was a secret book of symbols representing ancient wisdom, or the Tarot?

We have a tarot card that exactly corresponds to an earlier allegory of Faith painted in a Catholic Chapel (Giotto's Fides).

That card is part of a deck related to the family of the Duke who ordered the burning of the followers of the heretic Guglielma (many thanks to Ross for finding and translating that wonderful passage from Corio's History of Milan). Coins issued by that family often represented St. Ambrose with his typical attribute: the scourge against the heretics.

One possible conclusion is that the tarot card represented an allegory compatible with Catholic orthodoxy, and that the Visconti-Sforza had no particular theological concerns, their conflicts with the papacy being eminently political.

Another possible conclusion is that the card was meant to celebrate Guglielma's heresy and that the Visconti-Sforza had been secretly heretical for more than a century.

The first theory explains the card as something analogous to other images found in similar contexts (Christian allegorical cycles, such as Giotto's Scrovegni Chapel). It tells us nothing new about the Visconti-Sforza.

The second theory interprets the card as an "unicum" (an allegory of heresy, or maybe the portrait of an heretic woman, with papal attributes) and dramatically changes our view of European history. It requires a huge shift in our perception of Italian Renaissance courts: their orthodoxy was only apparent, they were secretly heretical. What does this huge shift buys me? Why do I have to throw away a good part of what I think about Italian history? If I have to pay so much, I want to have A LOT in exchange.

Exactly, what does the secret heretic cult of the Visconti explain?
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#113
Hi Mike,
mikeh wrote: I think people today underestimate the justified fear of the Inquisition. In trying to find out more about its activities in Lombardy, I find, rereading Newman (p. 21, "Heretic Saint") that the Milan Inquisition destroyed its records in 1788.
I don't remember having read in Newman that the Inquistion burned its own records in 1788, and I was right - she only says that "[t]he archives of the Milanese inquisition were destroyed in 1788..." without a reference. But the very fact of their destruction intrigued me enough to look into it, and I found an authoritative secondary source -

Luigi Fumi, "L'inquisizione romana e lo stato di Milano" (Archivio Storico Lombardo, XXXVII (1910), pp. 5-124)

"Tutto l'archivio peri nel 1788. Il 3 giugno di quell'anno nel cortile del convento di S. M. delle Grazie si abbruciarono i processi e le denunzie, compresi i corrispondenti registri, alla presenza degli ufficiali della pubblica registratura, dell'archivista della giunta economale e di un delegato della curia ecclesiastica, il canonico ordinario Gambarana. Questi avrebbe desiderato conservare i registri dei processi e le informazioni degli inquisitori alla Congragazione di Roma nell'archivio Arcivescovile; erano venti e più volumi. Anche mons. Vismara, consigliere della I.R. Commissione ecclesiastica, si faceva carico di farli abbruciare; ma il governo non volle che in alcun modo si conservassero. Si temeva l'infamia delle famiglie processate e si preoccupavano delle vendette. Tuttavia, si disse di lasciare soltanto quelle carte che "riguardavano punti di storia e di erudizione, senza discapito dell'onore del terzi.""

http://emeroteca.braidense.it/eva/sfogl ... colo=61532

The entire archive perished in 1788. On 3 June that year in the courtyard of the Monastery of S. Maria delle Grazie, there were burned the transcripts of the trials and the denunciations, including the corresponding registers, in the presence of the officials of the public registry, the archivist of the Supply Council, and a representative of the Church, the canon regular Gambarana. These would have wanted to preserve the registers of the trials and the information of the inquisitors at the Congregation of Rome in the Archbishop's archives; they were 20 or more volumes. Monsignor Vismara, counsellor of the Imperial Regio Church Commission, also took care from burning them; but the governor wished that they were in no way preserved. He feared the shame of the families named in the trials and was worried about retribution. However, he said to leave some of the records which 'concerned points of history and scholarship, without doing damage to the honour of their heritage.'


So it seems you are at least partly right - the Church assented when the secular authority, for what seem to have been legal threats, wanted to burn any reason for one family to gain something from another, by shaming them by what must have been more recent association than the 14th century.

In fact, Fumi tells us on the previous page that the earliest records surviving today are from 1314, but that they originally went back to the beginning of the Inquisition itself at the beginning of the 13th century. We also learn (pp. 14-15) that the Bolognese Inquisition records were similarly destroyed in 1797.

It is truly a shame that they were, and it is indicative of what "history" meant to the governor when he burned everything that might shame a family, and only kept stuff that was of "historical or scholarly interest". I can only imagine what he thought was important, given that our practice of history today relies on every scrap of documentary information available. He probably only wanted summaries of things, as if "history" were a story like any other, arranged in neat paragraphs and told by an authority.

Thanks for making me look into this detail.
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#114
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: Re. Bernardino Corio, L'Historia di Milano (1503)
In sum, insofar as the existence of the sect and its fate survived in the Milanese imagination, it was in a legendary form (boilerplate sex scandal, a tactic used from antiquity to today) which bore almost no relation to the real events and that omitted every detail, including Maifreda herself, and no popess, while presenting a scandalous portrait of the sect.
Since this is now being referenced in this thread, and wrongly (e.g., Marco is citing it as actual history: “[Visconti] Duke who ordered the burning of the followers of the heretic Guglielma”), its relevance needs to be touched on: Guglielma still meant something to someone important enough in 1503 for a spurious history to have been concocted by someone. With a Visconti having been involved in Galeazzo’s assassination and the recent return to power of Massimiliano Sforza there was plenty of political uncertainty that would have lent itself to the type of negative propaganda that ended up in Corio’s work…but the bottom line is someone of importance was still connected to Guglielma at that late date.

Whether the Visconti actively supported Guglielma, at worst they turned a blind eye to her efforts from her base in the large Abbey of Chiaravalle on the outskirts of Milan, they were branded as supporters of Gugleilma/Maifreda in the records of their own heresy trials (carried out by the Dominicans).

But let’s move closer to the time of the creation of the PMB is this Wiki passage (which I am still in the process of verifying, i.e., the godfather claim noted below) for a Visconti/Sforza connection:
In 1430, at the age of six, Bianca Maria was betrothed to the condottiero Francesco I Sforza, a man twenty-four years older than she was. In that year the condotta (contract) between Milan and Sforza came to an end, and the betrothal was a move to keep the powerful general tied with Milan. It has also been suggested that Visconti enticed Sforza with the promise of appointing him as legitimate heir to the duchy. Sforza probably also accepted because of the rich dowry, which included territories in the areas of Cremona, Castellazzo and Bosco Frugarolo. The contract was signed on February 23, 1432, in the castle of Porta Giovia, the Visconti residence in Milan. Bianca Maria's official spokesperson was her godfather, Andrea Visconti, general of the Humiliates order. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bianca_Maria_Visconti
Again my premise, hardly unique, is that the PMB follows quickly upon Sforza’s taking of Milan in 1450. The Love/marriage card from the CY deck is retained here because it plays up to the notion of Sforza’s devotion to his Visconti bride and now we have a reason for why an Umiliati “Papess” was included: the cleric presiding over the all-important marriage contract was the Master General of the Umiliati Order. And why was he Bianca’s godfather to begin with unless Filippo had intimate connections to that order? Also note that nearby to Abbiategrasso, where Bianca was raised and seldom traveled from until she was married, was Morimondo Abbey, a Cistercian foundation, the same order at Chiaravalle where Guglielma had her base. If the Umiliati godfather (master of the order no less) connection to Bianca can be verified then a denial of a Visconti connection to the Umiliati and its most famous representative in Milan is on much shakier grounds.

Moving on to Robert O’Neil’s thesis: he does some literal white-washing in regard to the inconvenient facts of the nuns' habits:
The Poor Clares or Franciscans of the Second Order wore a dull brown tunic and mantle with a white bib and headpiece and a distinctive knotted cord about the waist. …In many images, the white headpiece is covered with a formal black veil but the rest of the habit fits the Visconti-Sforza Papess precisely. In some images, the black veil is missing. I do not know if the lack of the black veil on the Visconti-Sforza Papess indicates that the person was a postulate of the order who had not yet taken final vows, if the veil was replaced by the crown, or if the black veil was only used on certain occasions. The person may also have been a Franciscan Tertiary, members of the lay order, who did not wear the black veil (Kuhns 2003). But the absence of the black veil is a side issue.
First of all, the black veil was the distinctive mark of the order – St. Clare herself is always shown with it on her head; the black veil is certainly not a “side issue” in identifying a nun as a Clare. Secondly, we are to believe a lay person has been elevated to representing “Mother Church”, crowned with the papal tiara, in the PMB “Papess” card??? That’s exactly what O’Neil comes up with.

O’Neil goes on to draw imprecise conclusions about the Umiliati habit:
Early chroniclers place them in communities in and around Milan and note that they wore no colored cloth (Brasher 2003).… An inventory of 1344 indicates that there were 27 houses in Milan and immediately surrounding towns (Bresher 2003)...The habit or dress of the Umiliati was white (Koslin 2002). In most cases, a white cape and scapular were worn over an ashen grey tunic....Clearly the habit of the Umiliati is not what is depicted on the Visconti-Sforza Papess card.
So which is it, “uncolored” or “ashen”…and what exactly would that have looked like? Undyed wool, especially after being worn and washed, can take on any numbers of hues (think of the dispute over what color the Confederate “gray” wool uniforms of the American Civil War were - they ranged from light brown to gray with “butternut” settled on). The tiny miniatures that O’Neil exclusively relies on can be found in this link (which also clearly shows the black veils of the Clares, which were the rule, not the exception): http://web.archive.org/web/200807051005 ... edaGallery
So its finally time to compare the Poor Clare habit to that of the Umiliati in this thread with images. The Clare image, which O’Neill failed to include in his list of images, is the most canonical of all as it is a fresco from the Poor Clare’s “headquarters” in their Chapel of San Damiano, Assisi, showing Saint Clare and the nuns of her Order. I have not been able to find the location/date/painter for the fresco of the Umiliati nuns (14th C?), but it is on the cover of one of O’Neil’s sources, Andrews, F. , The Early Humiliati, Cambridge University Press, NY, 1999 (again, he failed to include this image in his list of images – in this case no doubt because it was so damning to his thesis).
Clares
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Umiliati
Image

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Woman who art Thou?

So we have a headdress that is of an Umiliate and a knotted cord that is Franciscan. Is it too much to fathom a nun that was painted to represent both orders? O’Neil himself suggests that answer in noting “close ties of the ducal family to both orders.” One encounters cross-order links such as in the figure of Cardinal Guglielmo Fieschi who was both the Protector of the Order of the Umiliati in 1253 and also founded in Chiavari a convent of Franciscan nuns. But’s let’s return to Newman’s salient points here:
• The prophetic ideas of the ex-Cistercian Joachim of Fiore (d. 1202), the basis of St. Guglielma’s teachings, were embraced by Franciscan order’s “Spirituals”.
• If Guglielma was a daughter Queen Constance of Hungary, as Newman posits, then she was a first cousin of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, one of the first members of the newly founded Third Order of St. Francis, and would have also been a full sister of St. Agnes of Prague, a Franciscan abbess.
• When the Dominican inquisitors returned to Milan in the summer of 1300, both the local Franciscans and the abbot of Chiaravalle, where Guglielma was based, rejected the Dominican’s claims papal authority to conduct inquisitions in Milan.
• Newman: “Seen in their historical context, the Guglielmites may stand closest to the persecuted Spiritual Franciscans and their lay affiliates, the beguines of southern France, who shared with them an attraction to Joachite prophecy.”
• The white-washed hagiographic vita of St. Guglielma of c. 1425 was written by a Franciscan

That which connects the Franciscans and Umiliate (whose most vocal mouthpiece in Milan ended up being Manfreda),was Joachim of Fiore’s Holy Ghost movement. The Holy Ghost dove image comes to the fore with Filippo Visconti, selecting that stemma from among the many Visconti options with which to display on himself (e.g., Pisanello’s medal) and features in the second half of the Visconti Hours he had completed (the fourth to last illuminated page in that work, LF 163 Hannah Blessed by Eli, features a large radiant dove in the upper border that Hirsch comments is not simply the Visconti emblem but also has a halo identifyings it as the Holy Spiri, so both meaning conjoined; the radiant dove hovers over the Lamb of the Apocalypse, lying as it does on the bible, with halo and holding Christ’s banner; the Holy Ghost announcing the End Times is precisely the essence of the Age of the Holy Ghost movement). The Holy Ghost movement allowed secular powers to marshal and control the religious focus in their non-Papal state domains; besides Cola Rienzi, we have a comparable example of this with the Angevins in Sicily who saw themselves as apocalyptic soldiers realizing the Age of the Holy Ghost (Alexandra Suda in Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 2012: 203-206). When the Visconti expressed themselves religiously, particularly Filippo, they did so with the symbol of the Holy Ghost labeled with their motto, “with good right”, thus aligning their worldly power as God-given, hardly a unique aspect in medieval courts, but the close focus on the dove/Holy Ghost was fairly particular to them.

Even Petrarch, the putative inventor of the Visconti motto, leads us directly to the Holy Ghost movement via his support of Cola Rienzi: [Rienzi before the Emperor] “till now, God the father and Son have reigned in the world; but for the future it will be the Holy Ghost” ; [He then goes on to offer his prophecy in which if sent to the pope he will be burned and then] “raised again the third day by the power of the Holy Ghost. The people of Avignon will take up arms, and kill the pope and the cardinals; and they will elect an Italian pope, who will transport the holy see to Rome. That pope will crown you king of Sicily, and of Calabria, with a crown of gold; and he will crown me king of Rome, and all Italy, with a crown of silver” (Dobson, Life of Petrarch, Book IV: 325). After Rienzi was sent to Avignon. Petrarch’s response per a letter was “This tribune, formerly so powerful, so dreaded, now the most unhappy of men, has been brought here as a prisoner. I praised and I advised him. I loved his virtue, and I admired his courage. I thought Rome was going to resume under him the empire she formerly held; and that, in exciting the emulation of Rienzi, I should participate his glory. Ah! If he had continued as he began, he would have been praised and admired by all the world.” (Dobson, 326).

I believe the source for Petrarch’s writing of the Visconti motto was apparently via Francesco di Vannozzo, a court poet who had a vision of Petrarch stating as much (from Storia di Milano):
Il sole e l'azur fino
che tengon in sua brancha
quella uccelletta bianca
qual “A bon droyt” in dolce becco tene
che la sentenza mia tutta contiene.
http://www.storiadimilano.it/arte/imprese/Imprese05.htm tavola 9

Note the link of the motto to Judgement (sentenza). Even Petrarch’s Triumph of Eternity could be envisioned as centered on the Holy Ghost: here the dove above an orb (= worldly power), centered between Christ and God, with both holding the orb upon which the dove alights (image uploaded to Wiki by Michael Hurst): http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... ernity.jpg

To reiterate, whether true or not, the Visconti were branded in the heretical proceedings as followers of the Age of the Holy Ghost movement and one aspect of their guilt could be seen everywhere in the form of the radiant dove = Holy ghost. It would have been clear to anyone that the Visconti were wearing the emblem of the Holy Ghost so how could one separate them from Joachim’s Holy Ghost movement? But as Ross rightly asked, did any of this matter by 1450?

All that might have publicly persisted was the legend of a Visconti-backed nun who taught the Holy Ghost and Visconti’s devotion to that aspect of the trinity via their dove symbol. The third and final Age of the Holy Ghost need not mean anything more in 1450 than the End Time to come, always suspected as “soon” by each medieval generation, and that was something already represented in the Judgment tarot card. The Visconti would have cast themselves as virtuously helping drive the world towards that day as the most just and religious rulers. Sforza probably just wanted to be cast as a God-fearing leader but threw a symbolic nod to the faith of Bianca and her Visconti family in the form of the “Papess.”

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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#115
Thanks, Phaeded, for the reply to Marco. That "history" of 1503 can't be taken seriously, as Ross says.

Marco: as far as I was concerned, the main thing the Manfreda hypothesis explains is how that card fits into an interpretation of the deck as in part a commemoration of the family, in the same way that other art the Visconti and Sforza commissioned did. But I have another hypothesis: if it was intended as Manfreda, it would have given Bianca Maria an opportunity to teach her children the meaning of Christian charity and true piety. It was an example of why the Dominican Inquisition should be kept out at all costs, because they are mostly monsters. My evidence, so far, is that I have found few reports of persecution in Lombardy, and a description of Cremona in the early 16th century as a hotbed of witches. I am looking for more information. Also, there is what the Inquisition tried to do with Matteo, according to the document found in Pavia that probably dates to that time (which the "historian" in 1503 didn't know was out there).

I have no idea what Bianca Maria's faith was, or what she was told about Manfreda's beliefs. My hypothesis only requires that she have thought that Manfreda was unjustly burned. Plenty of pious Catholics held that view, when the Inquisition showed its ugly head. For example, an anonymous humanist pamphlet in Brescia said in 1505 (quoted p. 8 of Christopher Black, The Italian Inquisition, Yale University Press 2009, p. 8; he adds that the author has been tentatively identified as "Elia Capriolo, a local pious nobleman"):
...You use the office [of Inquisitor] almost as a kingdom and, lest it lie idle, you seize from the Valcamonica certain old women who are stupid and frozen in a kind of mental daze, and you interrogate them about their faith, the Trinity, and other such topics. You bring in scribes and drag out proceedings; you conduct examinations under torture so that, by inflicting pain and torment on women who are admittedly little different from brutish beasts, you may appear as guardians of the Christian faith. (14).

Footnote 14. Bowd (ed.), Vainglorious Death, quoting 49, 51 (trans J. D. Cullington) and Bowd's Introduction, esp. xxvii-xl. Bowd's '"Honeyed flies" and "Sugared Rats" ' elaborates on the Brescian events, and widespread hostility to monks and friars, who were themselves blamed for much of the heresy and superstition in the valleys.
Needless to say, this attack didn't slow the Inquisitors down. Black writes (p. 7):
In 1518 the podesta (civil judge) of Brescia, Giovanni Badoer, wrote to the Venetian Council of Ten about the Dominican inquisitors and their vicars:
They are, to speak frankly, overdressed peasants (rustica trasvestii), who have devoured their shame, as well as their conscience. I say this of the greater part of those who are here, and this because the decent friars don't want to come to this city, knowing that they are looked upon worse than Jews on account of their squabblings and bad behaviour...On account of their friars' cloaks, they permit themselves every enormous and nefarious crime...confident that the laity and the temporal lords, as they claim, have no jurisdiction over them. (12)
The Venetian government eventually stopped this persecution...

Footnote 12: Ibid. [Tavuzzi, Renaissance Inquisitors], 194-5, Tavuzzi's translation.
Unfortunately they managed to burn quite a number first. Black has several other examples, and his book isn't even about this period. I will look at Tavuzzi's book next. It's at libraries where I don't have lending privileges.

The people I quoted aren't Guglielmites; they're pious Catholics, and brave ones, too. It's a lesson Manfreda's example would serve to teach young Sforzas. Whatever Manfreda was, she didn't deserve to be burned at the stake.

You compare this thesis to de Gebelin's, Marco. But de Gebelin, unlike in the present case, had no evidence associating the cards with his claimed place of origin, or even that anyone there used such a system of images in any form as the basis for a game or for prognostication (the two uses he knew about for tarot). Also, I am not going back two thousand years and a different continent. Also, this isn't, for me, a thesis about the origin of the tarot, or even of the Popess card. Also, de Gebelin asserted his theory as fact, whereas I am giving mine as part of a hypothesis, in the specific context of family and marriage commemorations. I add "family" because I am not suggesting that the PMB be seen as a marriage commemoration deck. I can't see that what I am doing is any different from what Kirsch was doing, in the context of Visconti art and history. Since I am mostly repeating what I have already said, I suspect that we have methodological differences. I have something written in reply to your very clear presentation about Ross's chart. I hate to interrupt the flow, now that it's going in a certain direction. But perhaps I should.

If what Phaeded is arguing holds up, that to be sure strengthens my point. Perhaps the issue is more important than than I thought. I was attaching little importance to it; for me it is merely an example of a general trend in Visconti art, toward representing the family there and teaching the children what they need to know. I have not supposed that the Popess card as such originated there. I have no position on that point.

For what it's worth, the Fournier version of the Popess has a darker habit (image from http://www.associazioneletarot.it/page.aspx?id=272).
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Ross: thanks for clarifying what from the Milan Inquisition was saved and what wasn't. I should have quoted Newman.

Phaeded: Kirsch (p. 19, Five Manuscripts) says that the claim that the motto originated with Petrarch comes from Petrarch himself in a letter cited in Storia di Milano v, 891.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#116
mikeh wrote:Thanks, Phaeded, for the reply to Marco. That "history" of 1503 can't be taken seriously, as Ross says.
Phaeded and Mike, Corio's History should not be dismissed as irrelevant either. Who do you think ordered the burning of the followers of Guglielma? If you write I am wrong about something, you should also be so kind to correct me with a better documented alternative to what I proposed.
mikeh wrote:Marco: as far as I was concerned, the main thing the Manfreda hypothesis explains is how that card fits into an interpretation of the deck as in part a commemoration of the family, in the same way that other art the Visconti and Sforza commissioned did. But I have another hypothesis: if it was intended as Manfreda, it would have given Bianca Maria an opportunity to teach her children the meaning of Christian charity and true piety. It was an example of why the Dominican Inquisition should be kept out at all costs, because they are mostly monsters. My evidence, so far, is that I have found few reports of persecution in Lombardy, and a description of Cremona in the early 16th century as a hotbed of witches. I am looking for more information. Also, there is what the Inquisition tried to do with Matteo, according to the document found in Pavia that probably dates to that time (which the "historian" in 1503 didn't know was out there).

I have no idea what Bianca Maria's faith was, or what she was told about Manfreda's beliefs. My hypothesis only requires that she have thought that Manfreda was unjustly burned.
My idea is that a theory is worth for the facts it explains. I will not try to give a complete definition of what a fact is, let us say loosely that a fact is something we can all more or less agree upon. For instance:
“the Visconti-Sforza deck includes a Popess card”
“the Visconti-Sforza Popess is dressed as a nun with papal attributes”
“Manfreda da Pirovano was burned as an heretic”.

If your hypothesis explains an “interpretation” or another “hypothesis” it still does not explain any fact. The hypothesis that Bianca Maria used the example of an heretic burned on the stake for the moral instruction of her children still is a pretty big one. Is there any fact that this hypothesis explain?
mikeh wrote:Whatever Manfreda was, she didn't deserve to be burned at the stake.
Here we are moving on a tricky ground. Of course I agree with you: we both belong to 21th Century Western culture. From Corio's passage, I get the impression that he did not share our point of view. Is it more reasonable to assume that Bianca Maria Visconti shared our 2013 opinion or Corio's 1503 opinion?

Personally, I think it likely that the point of view of the Visconti was not so far from what was later codified by Machiavelli, considering religion as one of the many tools to be used in order to obtain and keep political power: “uno principe, e massime uno principe nuovo, non può osservare tutte quelle cose per le quali li uomini sono tenuti buoni, sendo spesso necessitato, per mantenere lo stato, operare contro alla fede, contro alla carità, contro alla umanità, contro alla religione. E però bisogna che elli abbi uno animo disposto a volgersi secondo ch'e' venti e le variazioni della fortuna li comandono, e, come di sopra dissi, non partirsi dal bene, potendo, ma sapere intrare nel male, necessitato” - “a prince, especially a new one, cannot observe all those things for which men are regarded as good, being often forced, in order to maintain the state, to act contrary to fidelity, friendship, humanity, and religion. Therefore it is necessary for him to have a mind ready to turn itself accordingly as the winds and variations of fortune force it, yet, as I have said above, not to diverge from the good if he can avoid doing so, but, if compelled, then to know how to enter evil”.
In my opinion, Renaissance princes would not mess with the heretics unless they thought that could give them some political advantage.

For those who can read Italian, this Treccani article is worth reading. It is unrelated to what is discussed in this post, but it seems to me a good biography of Guglielma:
www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/guglielma- ... a-la-boema

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#117
Hi Phaeded!
You said..
So we have a headdress that is of an Umiliate and a knotted cord that is Franciscan. Is it too much to fathom a nun that was painted to represent both orders?
Yes it is too much.
The reason being that Francescan Nuns ie Poor Clares are under the Rule of Saint Francis, and The Umiliates are under the Rule of Saint Benedict. I think also you place too much reliance on the Black Veil in the 15th Century.
It is true that various orders would stay at Convents/Abbeys etc from different groups within their own rule.
The variation described by image in for example illuminations and fresco- are by what was seen outside the convent, not from within.The variation is everywhere. I will give you two extremes.
Saint Catherine early 15th Century...
Catherine of Siena.jpg
Catherine of Siena.jpg (39.56 KiB) Viewed 8937 times
A Nun from Venice 15th Century
Nun of San Secondo.jpg
Nun of San Secondo.jpg (70.84 KiB) Viewed 8936 times
A Humialti
Humiliati.jpg
(205.54 KiB) Not downloaded yet
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#119
marco wrote:Just to point out that Corio's passage quoted by Ross mostly is a translation from the Latin Chronica by Donato Bossi (printed in 1492), page 210. Both the unlikely story of the ring and the role of Matteo Visconti in the punishment of the heretics are there.
Thank you very much Marco, how did you find this? Maybe I should have read Corio's introduction. Corio's story is, of course, an exact Italian translation of Bossi's account (at least, I can't see any significant differences between Bossi and Corio).

The Wolfenbuttel site unfortunately doesn't allow full download of Bossi's chronicle, but Gallica has one -
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k59530g/f210.image


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/visc ... 921300.jpg[
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