Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#131
Well, I agree that Guglielma was a kind of spiritual Franciscan, and Manfreda's beliefs probably twisted by the Inquisition. Whether or not the 1425 manuscript ever got to Milan, it might be close to what Bianca Maria believed of her. But I'm not convinced. There's no getting around that for the Church Manfreda was always a heretic, always correctly burned in 1300, and to believe otherwise made you a heretic, or close to it. That's why the "history" of 1519 was written, to set the record straight, so to speak, after Pulci. Bianca's picture of Manfreda might well have been shaped by the trial transcript, in which, if I'm reading Newman right, she is portrayed as the earthly vicar of the Holy Spirit.

And it remains true that the one family for whom early surviving tarot cards are known to have been made, the Visconti-Sforza (including also Alessandro Sforza, with a different set), happens to have had representatives of two cards, Popess and Hanged Man, in their extended family. Besides Pope Joan, she was the only other Popess around, an extremely rare circumstance for any family--who, to the world, was a heretic.

I've been doing some reading. n this post I will avoid speculative comments as much as possible and concentrate on citing documents and document-based sources recently available in English, notably The Inquisitor's Guide: a medieval manual on Heretics, 2006, a translation of part V of the c. 1323-1325 Pratica Inquisitionis heretice privitatis, autore Bernado Guidonis O.F.P., and Michael M. Tavuzzi's 2007 Renaissance inquisitors : Dominican inquisitors and inquisitorial districts in Northern Italy, 1474-1527.

Here is the translator's summary of the work (p. 18):
Sections 1, 2, and 3 of Gui's text consist of formulae connected with the arrest, sentencing of forgiveness of heretics, and section 4 with the legal powers of inquisitors. Section 5 describes the beliefs and rituals of Cathars, Waldensians, False Apostles and Beguins, together with suggested interrogatories to be used against them and the devious answers they will probably give. The more apparently innocent these are, the less they are to be trusted, as 'they do not really mean' what they say. Apostate Jews and schismatic Greeks, together with sorcerers, fortune-tellers and summoners of demons are also covered.
There is no evidence that this handbook was used in Lombardy. The writer had worked in Toulouse, It merely reflects the time it was written in, and is, as agreed by all, a harbinger of what was to come. (On this see Bailey, “From sorcery to witchcraft : clerical conceptions of magic in the Later Middle Ages," Speculum, Vol. 76, no. 4 (Oct. 2001), pp. 960-990).

Newman suggests that the group around Guglielma were similar to the Beguins on the other side of the Alps. So we should probably know what the inquisitors conception of Beguins was. Here are some passages from Gui I think are relevant, starting p. 92:
From the year of Our Lord 1317 onwards today's Beguins and Beguines - the men and women commonly so called, though they call themselves the Little Brothers of the penitential Third Order of St. Francis, and they wear a coarsely woven brown habit and cloak, some without the cloak - these people have been clearly detected in error in different parts of the provinces of Narbonne and Toulouse. Under trial they have confessed the many errors and opinions they hold, raising themselves up against the Roman Church and apostolic seat, against the primacy of that seat and against the apostolic authority of the lord pope and the prelates of the Roman Church.
Just so, the Inquisition record of Manfreda's trial quotes Saramita as saying that "Guglielma led a 'common life,' that is, she avoided idiosyncrasies in food and dress, and wore a simple brown habit that they too adopted." (quoted in Newman pp. 10-11). This description of the brown habit is from the trial record found in Pavia in the 17th century. It could well have been Bianca Maria’s source.

Gui goes on to describe how they gather on Sundays in their houses:
There they read or listen to readings from these tracts and writings from which they suck poison, not only their own tracts but also from the commandments, from the articles of faith, legends of the saints and from the Summary of Vices and Virtues, as if in the devil's school this supposed virtue were showing forth the school of Christ. Like monkeys they act in imitation, although the teaching and preaching of Christ's commandments and the articles of faith must be exercised within holy Church by her rectors and pastors, by learned men and preachers of the word of God, not by uneducated lay persons, and must be public, not private.
The great heresy is not letting the priests of the Church do the thinking for them, and also doing it away from those persons. And what do they teach? That these are the End Times of which the Apocalypse speaks, with its Antichrist, whom the Beguines expect to arise within the Roman Church itself (p. 111):
They teach that before the proclamation of Antichrist the carnal Church, this the Roman Church, must be destroyed by the war to be waged against it by Frederick, the king now reigning in Sicily. and his accomplices whom they call the ten kings, signified by the ten horns of the beast referred to in the Apocalypse...
They teach too that at the end of the sixth age of the Church which began with St. Francis and in which we now live, this carnal Church, the great harlot of Babylon, must be rejected by Christ, just as the synagogue of the Jews was rejected because it crucified Christ. So too the carnal Church crucifies and persecutes the life of Christ to those they call the poor and spiritual brothers of the order of St. Francis. By this they mean members of the first as well as the third order persecuted int eh provinces of Provence and of Narbonne as was mentioned above.
Thus they themselves are not the agent's of the great harlot's destruction, but the kings who are gathering to oppose the Pope. At the time Gui was writing, the Aragonese Federick in Sicily was resisting papal enfringement. But it could also be the Visconti.
Here is another part (p. 112):
Some of them also say that the Holy Spirit will be poured out more abundantly or at least just as richly upon these chosen men, spiritual and evangelical, who are to establish the benevolent and spiritual Church int he last and seventh age, than it was poured out upon the apostles, Christ's disciples.
I mention this in connection with the emphasis on the Holy Spirit we see in the Visconti and Savoy among other noble houses. It is also noteworthy because the doctrine of the Trinity is one of the topics on which the peasant women of the pre-Alpine valleys in Lombardy were questioned in the early 16th century. I wonder if the Inquisition was projecting onto them the Gui version of the Beguins (who also had been brought into the fold by then, by Eugenius IV, according, without citation, to Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beguines_and_Beghards).

So Gui is saying that these Beguines see the end of the present church, the great harlot, and its replacement by something higher. They themselves are not the agents of the Church's defeat; that will be accomplished by temporal princes. They merely prepare the way spiritually.

The main difference between this critique of the Church, as described by Gui, and that of Boccaccio/Petrarch, is that the latter see the change as a matter of reform, whereas the former, according to Gui, see it as engendering the Antichrist and counsel overthrow. Hence for Gui they are enemies to be dealt with as such. Of course we do not hear from the other side.

In this context, Manfreda/Maifreda would represent something extremely threatening and dangerous, as recounted in the trial document: as part of the seventh age, half of a joint spiritual-but-embodied Pope/Popess corresponding to the Christ/Bride of the upper world.

The text against the Beguins goes on for many more pages (91-137 of the translation). But I will move on to the sorcerers and fortune tellers; this section is very short ( 149-151).
Here follows discussion of sorcerers, fortune-tellers and those who summon demons.

The error and pestilence of sorcery, fortune-telling and the summoning of demons occur in many forms in many countries and regions, depending on the various inventions and false and worthless assertions of superstitious persons who pay no heed to the spirits of error and to demoniac doctrines.

Interrogation of sorcerers, fortune-tellers and those who summon demons.

The sorcerer, fortune-teller or summoner of demons who is to be examined must be asked what and how many forms of sorcery, fortune-telling or conjuration he knows, and from whom he learned them.

Coming down to details, care must be taken as to the quality and condition of the persons, for not all must be examined in the same way and by just one method or interrogation; men must be questioned in one way and women in another. Interrogations can be formed from what follows:

What do they know, did they know or have they done in connection with children or infants put under a spell or released from one lost or damned souls, thieves who should be imprisoned, quarrels or reconciliation between spouses; making barren women fertile; things given to eat, hairs, nails and so on; the condition of the souls of the dead; foretelling future events; female spirits whom they call Good People who go about, they say, by night; enchantments and conjurations using songs, fruit, plants, straps and other things; whom have they taught to sing or conjure with songs, from whom did they learn or hear these songs or incantations? What do they know of curing diseases by conjuration of the words of songs? Of kneeling to gather plants while facing east and reciting the Lord's Prayer? Of the pilgrimages, masses, offering of candles and generous almsgiving commanded? Of discovering thefts and secret matters?

They must be rigorously questioned as to what they know about any superstition, irreverence or offence connected with the sacraments of the Church, especially the body of Christ and also divine worship and consecrated places. Also about keeping the eucharist, the chrism or the holy oil stolen from a church, about waxen or other images which are baptised, and how is this done and for what purposes?

About making leaden images, how this is done and why. From what persons did he learn or hear of these things?

How long is it since he began to use such things? What persons, how many have approached him asking for advice, especially in the last year?

Has he ever been forbidden to do these things, by whom, and did he renounce them and promise never to use these practices again? Did he subsequently return to them? Did he believe in the truth of what he learned form others? What goods, gifts or rewards did he receive for what he did?
I had not known that fortune-tellers were lumped in with sorcerers. That is something that the secondary sources do not mention, except for saying that Saint Bernardino of Siena combined them. On the whole, Gui is relatively easy on all of them. There is nothing about night-time journeys on broomsticks to remote sabbats, no sex orgies with demons, no pacts with the devil, no eating of babies, or the other cliches to come. All we see is the Good People who come by night. In part, this is a memory of the Cathars, called "Bonhommes" (Gui is writing only a few years after the burning of their last parfait in Languedoc), who came at night to administer their sacraments and healings, and to give their message around a shared meal. In part this is a memory of pagan spirits from Diana or Hecate. Gui had been at Toulouse, where apparently he did not have witch trials. His fellow inquisitors at Carcassonne did see them, and righteously condemned the ones they caught to the flames.

Gui's warnings went unheeded in the face of the Black Death and the schisms in the Church. According to Bailey, Tavuzzi, and many others, the vast majority of the Dominican Inquisitors themselves, at this time, saw those who thought they invoked demons, and sometimes the Lord, to serve their healings or love-charms--people they'd known all their lives--as merely victims of superstition. But others saw it differently. In the Alpine valleys that Nider wrote about, 1437-1438, witches, of both sexes but primarily women, were gaining ground. Nider wrote it down, summarizing the main lessons from there. It fit the agenda of a different kind of Dominican, those who called for "reform," a return to the old zeal. The Papacy was preoccupied with other things until the Peace of Lodi. Then they could turn their attention to the menace they had ignored. In 1458 the offensive began. The reformers were gathered together into a new organization called the Congregation.

A few within the "consensuals", the members of the unreformed Dominican convents, saw the danger of witches. In Lombardy they worked the environs of Como. The district, was that of Vercelli, Ivrea, Novara, and Como, starting from briefly before 1460 to well past 1500 (Tavuzzi p. 149). A successor inquisitor in 1586 wrote of them: "friar Niccolo Constantini da Biella ... an inquisitor who was extremely severe with the witches and by whom over 300 were consigned to the secular arm, ...friar Lorenzo Soleri, equally terrifying to the witches." Tavuzzi adds: "Analogous remarks could well be made on the four inquisitors drawn from the Congregation of Lombardy" who worked from the 1470s to the mid 1520s (p.p 149-150).

It was in this very countryside that Filippo Visconti had provided for the foundation stones of a new convent in 1443, and Bianca Maria provided money and support (Newman p. 31). Brunate overlooks Como. As Newman relates, church there still has the painting, c. 1450, of the nun with two rings on her right hand and one on her left.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xyu9gJtTXao/U ... 10.tif.jpg

I speculate, after reading both Newman and Ross, that it is the portraits of the 1450 donors [kneeling] enacting their favorite people, Guglielma and her disciples Manfredi and Saramita. It is like the Visconti in the role of Anna and Joachim. Newman analyzes the rings: she says the one on the left represents the Holy Spirit, being passed to the woman she is putting hands on. That makes sense to me. In the same footnote Newman tells the story of the three knots: they magically appeared on Sister Manfreda's girdle--another trinitarian sign, Newman says (note p 5). This again is from the trial record, which presumably would be Bianca Maria’s source. Fortunately, the same three knots are on the Poor Clare uniform, so there is nothing to get burned at the stake for in the PMB card.

But back to Como. The inquisitor Constantini was preceded by another inquisitor there, Batolomeo da Omate, "himself a renowned prosecutor of witches," whose hunting ground had been in Vendrisio, to the north of Como, in the 1450's (p. 156). In Cremona briefly in 1460, he wrote Francesco Sforza that the people there disliked their bishop. Then back to Como. I will quote an entire paragraph:
Constantini soon made his mark as an insistent inquisitor. So much so, that in 1463, while conducting trials in Como, the populace there reacted violently, insulting him and threatening him and severely beating some of his assistants. Constantini must have complained about this to Francesco Sforza, because the Duke wrote to Constantini expressing his regrets about the events and then wrote to the podesta of Como, whom he severely reprimanded and commanded that he discover and punish those responsible. (Fumi, “L’Inquizione Romana e lo Stato di Milano” 1910, partially reproduces the letters of Francesco Sforza to Constantini and to the podesta of Como.) A further letter, that might be the response of the podesta of Como to Francesco Sforza, accused Constantini of having proceeded in an entirely arbitrary manner: he acted with great cruelty and without sufficient reason, sentencing several unfortunates to be burned and others to be banished. The writer concluded that if he were to know the truth of the matter, the duke would realize the inquisitors like Constantini deserved to be punished themselves even more harshly than the manner in which they treated their ill-fated victims. (footnote: the letter is in Motta, “Inquisitori in Como...” 1888, p. 126).
There is a trial record for one victim in 1470, an extremely rare example anywhere in this period. A woman had been named in another trial in a nearby village, the woman there saying she had been seen at sabbats. (These gatherings were well away from human habitations; fortunately witches could fly.) First several villagers testified that she was a witch. Tavuzzi (p. 159):
Most of these witnesses were close relatives; the substance of their combined testimony adds up to little more than that she was probably much given to malicious invective and irreverent cursing when feeling harassed
. Hearing that she was being charged with witchcraft, she attempted to flee. She was caught and detained. The inquisitor went through a standard list of yes-no questions: sect membership, repudiation of the Christian faith, pact and sexual congress with the devil, abuse of the sacraments, diabolical magic. For two days she steadfastly denied all charges. Then torture was applied, and she began admitting to everything and adding shape-shifting and transvection (i.e. flying through the air; these abilities seem to have failed her in her escape attempt). On the next day she named names, including that of a local priest. Later she retracted the names of people still living. She was burned by the secular arm in 1471. The trial record in Italian translation was most recently published in M. Craveri, 1981, Sante e streghe

If I may be allowed some speculative psychology, I can vaguely reconstruct the process, although it is quite irrelevant to what I am doing here. There are the usual garden-variety sins, now seen in a new light. But perhaps the woman remembers saying the lord's prayer while gathering healing herbs. She feels guilty for doing things not condoned by the priests, even though it seemed to help people. Then comes the torture, to help them remember that it was they themselves who made them sick through magic. Under trauma, people identify with the perpetrator, as according to studies in the 20th century of the Stalinist show trials, the bank-robbing Patty Hearst, etc. Perhaps some of these women have been traumatized in the past. Perhaps there has been emotional or sexual abuse by relatives, a pregnancy, the infant's removal, and its being said to have died, another occasion for guilt. Or it is a parent on trial who in fact did kill it; Tavuzzi says that infanticide was common. Although baby-killing is not mentioned in this case, many confessions did include that item, as part of the sabbats, i e. a confession in 1485. Perhaps the victims in Como said it spontaneously, without prompting, to the inquisitor's horror. With leading questions, a kind of catechism of the devil's ways is said by the Inquisitor, and in the dissociation produced by torture, similar to previous dissociation from trauma, results are forthcoming. There is also the possibility of delusions from eating rotten grain, and the need for scapegoats for the ominous turn in the weather (the "little ice age").

The terror went on for 70 years, with Francesco Sforza and his heirs apparently doing nothing. There is little data about witch-hunts elsewhere in his domains. Francesco was on good terms with the chief inquisitor in Milan, a man named Castiglione (p.52), This was an unreformed convent, one that steadfastly refused reform even at the end, when in 1530 its inquisitorial duties were transferred to another Dominican convent. It was briefly in the hands of the Congregation in 1511, but was retaken by the consensuals in 1512 in an armed assault (p. 229). In Milan, chronicles note 1 burning in the 2nd half of the 15th century; it was an old hermit. There was another in the first quarter of 16th century. This is nothing compared to further north. Inquisitors were required to investigate complaints, and it would have been too suspicious to do nothing in a region near legions of documented witches.

Cremona was taken by the reformers in 1486; reports of what happened before then are incomplete. A letter by Francesco Sforza refers to an “enterprising” (Tavuzzi’s phrase) inquisitor for Pavia-Cremona-Piacenza who in 1463 went around guarded by 300 soldiers. Sforza called him “inquisitore di li Guizari” (p. 154). For him two burnings are recorded, in San Nazario 1455 and Casteggio 1463 (p. 253), near Pavia. Later with a different inquisitor there is one in Pavia, 1479. The only Cremona/Piancenza witch-hunt is in 1502-1503. Prierias or Priero, himself an intransigent witch-hunter (50 executions in 3 years in Brescia, but best known for calling Luther a “drunken German”) describes it in his Summa silvestrina (p. 74). The Cremona inquisitor, da Casale, immediately found a whole group of witches near Cremona. I mentioned in an earlier post Lea's report that the witch-hunt was met with strong resistance by clerics and townspeople alike in Cremona. Tavuzzi uses precisely the same language. Prierias adds that one Franciscan superior in Piacenza was particularly outspoken. It was said that he was influenced by the family of one of the burnt witches. By the end of the year he was set upon and strangled by his fellow friars, Prieras says (which seems to be the moral of the story, Tavuzzi comments). Then da Casale moved on to do the same elsewhere. The Congregation was using its firebrands in the most efficacious way (p. 149).

I will survey other cities. Bologna, as the city with leading Italian Thomist university, offered a “studium that might well be considered the principal nursery of would-be inquisitors in the Italian Renaissance" (p. 109). In 1497 a physician was sentenced to be burned for denying the divinity of Christ and saying he died for his own sins; the Bentivoglio intervened and he was released (p. 114). Two witches were not so lucky, one staunchly defended by Ginevra Sforza, wife of first Sante and then Giovanni II Bentivoglio. I give Tavuzzo's account of her end:
When she was finally executed she met her end serenely, quite convinced that with the devil's aid no harm could come to her.
The serenity could not be denied. But for others, perhaps, she was filled with the Holy Spirit. I wonder how many other of these victims died with serenity.

In 1481 Ferrara, Ercole d'Este could pick the Inquisitor of his choosing. The one he picked served for 33 years, half of it under Ercole's son Alfonso. Tavuzzi suspects, from the silence about him in the chronicles, that
Rafanelli was a mild if not totally inactive inquisitor and certainly not one given to any ostentatious, public display of his responsibilities. Certainly Rafanelli’s most conspicuous pubic duties were to his ties with the ducal court.
.
Modena, under his jurisdiction, is the only place in Northern Italy where the inquisition archives were not totally destroyed (even in 1788 it was a d'Este city), a few years somehow remaining unburnt. Under the jurisdiction of Ercole’s inquisitor, 8 cases of sorcery and 1 of blasphemy were investigated in the 5 years that can be seen, none of them successfully. In the record for the period after 1515, the cases and conviction rate went up dramatically.

In Parma, the Congregation succeeded in driving out the consensuals in 1507. After Cremona and then some years in Bergamo, de Casale came and succeeded in condemning a witch to be burned alive in 1510, but the podesta refused to do so. And the episcopal vicar demanded to see the trial records first. Casale excommunicated both and appealed to the French governor in Milan, who upheld him (p. 68). Casale went to Como in 1513, where he succeeded in having 30 "heretics," presumably witches, burned in one year (p. 68: sources: Smagliati, Cronica, Alberti, De Viris Illustribus).

In Brescia, where the same Congregation inquisitors that terrorized Como operated, starting in 1505, I have quoted in a previous post the letter of complaint in that year from one noble. In 1516 an entire nearby town rose up against the inquisitors, but I forget which. In 1518 the podesta of Brescia complained to the Venetian Council of Ten; I quoted the letter. The Council, after much resistance, was able to review the trial records and hear testimony from the inquisitor, who brought a confessed witch with him. After review, there was “yet another debate on the reality of diabolical witchcraft, on which most of the Council were skeptical” (p. 192). The Pope threatened the Venetians with excommunication for interfering in his domain. The Council withdrew its order but was able to stop the inquisitors the following year, 1521. The main source here is the diarist Sanudo.

There were exceptions to this relatively sane practice (given the times and the lack of understanding of the witch-phenomenon). In Piedmont, the regent, one Duchess Iolanda, in 1476 got inquisitors reluctantly to persecute Waldensian heretics in the western Alpine valleys (p. 125). In Mirandola, Giovan Francesco Pico got inquisitors to burn witches there in 1523, with so much local opposition that he wrote a pamphlet, the Stryx[ in his defense (p. 71). In Lombardy, I notice a few inquisitors with the name "Visconti": Domenico Visconti da Novara (p. 27); Giralomo Visconti da Milan. I think the latter wrote a pamphlet against witches in 1462, but I can’t find the page reference.

Tavuzzi mentions an article by S. Fasoli, 1992, “Tra riforma e nueve fondazioni,” about the political calculations of the Visconti and Sforza regarding the Congregation.

It seems to me that Francesco was making the best of a bad situation. He was compromised by his wife and could only try to confine the persecutions to one area. He succeeded in that.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#132
I added one word to the above, to make something clear that might not have been: the word "kneeling" as to who I it is I am combining, from Ross's and Barbara Newman's analysis of the Brunate painting. However I now see that my thesis that Ross and Newman are both right is in need of more discussion

So here I have a short, I hope, addition. I didn't go into the identification of the standing figure in that painting, or what she is doing. I'm not sure anyone here would disagree that it is Guglielma, but let me recap one argument for the identification. Marcos Filesi, at viewtopic.php?f=14&t=581&start=20#p8410 found a 1377 fresco which he and Ross agreed was by a follower of Guglielma painting her in the guise of St. Catherine, on the website http://www.comune.lentatesulseveso.mi.i ... mocchirolo
The baby Jesus is putting a ring on the female saint's third finger of her right hand. And there might already be a ring on the lady's second finger, which she keeps from falling off with her little finger. She clearly has a ring on the first finger of her left hand.

Image


The Brunate standing lady has similar rings, except that the rings on the right hand are on the first and third. I suspect that that was where they are supposed to be in the other one, too, but the artist felt nervous about being that bold. The kneeling lady has a ring on the first finger of her right hand and none on her left. We can't see the rest of her right hand.


This was posted by Ross, viewtopic.php?f=14&t=581&start=30.

And Ross's analysis, from the current thread, with the most important part in bold:
Moakley only went so far as to suggest - actually, to insist upon - the identification, but Newman has taken it much further into speculation (as she admits), although she expresses no doubt, either in 1995 or in 2005, that the card represents Maifreda. This is the central premise upon which her interpretation of the fresco at Brunate hangs (and the nun in the fresco is most surely not Maifreda, but rather Maddalena Albricci herself, looking like her tomb effigy, and dressed in her black Augustinian habit; the man behind her must be Pierio Albricci, her cousin, who donated heavily to the convent for her sake (and her cult's sake)), including commissioning the tomb sculpture. I am surprised that Newman doesn't mention him or the startling resemblance of the effigy with the fresco, or the fact that she is in Augustinian habit).
So we would seem to have Guglielma doing something special with the kneeling figure, here painted in black, (Albricci reminiscent of Manfreda, with her male cousin reminiscent of Saramita. or perhaps just the Albriccis). For the moment let us hold in suspense who they are.

So one question I have is, what else might the rings signify, besides the Trinity, with the one by itself on the left being the Holy Spirit? And what would the one on the kneeling lady's finger mean. Also, it seems to me that the left side is conventionally feminine, as the weaker side. So wouldn't this be implying that the Holy Spirit is feminine? If so, that might explain why, although Visconti art is full of doves, Sforza art lacks them in places they normally would be, namely, in Coronations of the Virgin, where the Virgin herself might represent the Holy Spirit.

Then my next question is, what is Guglielma doing? What action is being suggested? Newman's caption, which I linked to in my previous post, says
Guglielma blessing Sister Maifreda da Pirovano and Andrea Saramite, circa 1450.

In the text, she says more than that (p. 5):
The three rings, hardly a standard iconographic attribute, probably symbolize Guglielma's special relationship to the Trinity: two on her right hand to signify Father and Son, one on her left to represent the Holy Spirit - and with this hand she consecrates her earthly vicar. Behind Sister Maifreda, who kneels in
prayer, Saramita with his arms piously crossed over his breast awaits a blessing.
So for Newman this is an act of consecration, making Maifreda/Manfreda her earthly vicar, i.e. her Popess. That's pretty strong stuff to see in a painting that has been there through thick and thin since whenever (I assume the "circa 1450" is accurate). If that is what she is doing, then of course it is Manfreda, or someone impersonating her, in But is it justified to say that? And would people then have seen the same thing?

Guiglielma is making a gesture. My understanding of gestures in religious art of the time is that they are stereotyped, meaningful by association with a similar gesture elsewhere. Is this really a gesture of consecration? Are there images at this time of a Pope, say St. Peter, being so consecrated, so that people could easily make the connection? If so, where? Looking on the Web, I see Jesus handing Peter the keys in c. 1481-2, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gesupietrochiave.jpg. There are other paintings of Peter and Jesus, but the only way I see Jesus making Peter his earthly vicar is by handing him keys. Perhaps Guglielma doesn't consecrate via keys. If not, how else would her gesture be understood as consecration--or any more than merely a blessing?

So my question is: where, in medieval/early Renaissance art or ritual, do we see that gesture, a standing figure putting his or her hand on the head of a figure kneeling in front of the standing one? And especially a female figure with a female figure. Well, what I see is the laying on of a hand. Since the other hand is being used to bless the male figure, perhaps it symbolizes the laying on of hands, plural. I know very little of Roman Catholic ritual, and I see nowhere, at least on Wikipedia, where this ritual is depicted in medieval or early Renaissance art. Looking at Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laying_on_of_hands, I see that the Roman Catholic Church uses laying on of hands in two circumstances: ordination of someone into higher orders, and confirmation of someone, preferably by a bishop, in which case it signifies "the outpouring of the Holy Spirit." Of course this is only done by males. So perhaps the one hand is to make it possible to be exhibited in a Roman Catholic Church, because if there were two, it would be heretical. So are two hands necessary, for it to be official? Also, are there situations, in the Roman rite of that time, in which a woman, such as an abbess or a woman who hasn't taken vows, can lay on a hand or two in a meaningful way? And finally, does the one administering it have to be sitting, or can he stand?

The image is somewhat similar to depictions of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. The difference is that in depictions that I see, both are standing, and second, of course, there is water. On the other hand, the baptism of Jesus is often represented in art of the time. And it seems to be done with one hand. Could that be what is suggested? And is there any hand to head contact in that rite, besides with water? Or in any other rite of the Church?

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#133
mikeh wrote:Marcos Filesi, at viewtopic.php?f=14&t=581&start=20 found a 1377 fresco which he and Ross agreed was by a follower of Guglielma painting her in the guise of St. Catherine, on the website http://www.comune.lentatesulseveso.mi.i ... mocchirolo
The baby Jesus is putting a ring on the female saint's third finger of her right hand. And there might already be a ring on the lady's second finger, which she keeps from falling off with her little finger. She clearly has a ring on the first finger of her left hand.

Image
Hello Mike,
I can't find the passages where Marcos and Ross state that this Saint Catherine represents Guglielma. The fresco seems to me a conventional representation of the mystical marriage of Saint Catherine (see also Lorenzo Salimbeni). Moreover, this specific Catherine is holding the palm of martyrdom, which would be inappropriate for Guglielma.
mikeh wrote:The Brunate standing lady has similar rings, except that the rings on the right hand are on the first and third. I suspect that that was where they are supposed to be in the other one, too, but the artist felt nervous about being that bold. The kneeling lady has a ring on the first finger of her right hand and none on her left. We can't see the rest of her right hand.
I cannot see any ring on the hands of the kneeling figures. Could you please highlight the relevant detail on the image? I am just curious, I am not sure this detail is meaningful, but it resonates with the “ring story” in Corio's and Bossi's report. Maybe there actually was some connection between Guglielma and rings.
mikeh wrote:Then my next question is, what is Guglielma doing? What action is being suggested? Newman's caption, which I linked to in my previous post, says
Guglielma blessing Sister Maifreda da Pirovano and Andrea Saramite, circa 1450.
The kneeling persons in the fresco are the donors: those who paid for the painting. Guglielma is blessing them in sign of protection. People commissioned sacred art in order to get the protection of the represented saints (and in order to be portrayed in a painting that would be seen by many people). Donors were typically represented as kneeling next to the main subjects. Newman fails to identify the donors, but her description of Guglielma's gesture is correct.

Vitale da Bologna
Cesare Da Sesto
Antonello da Messina
Macrino D'Alba

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#134
Mike h wrote:
So my question is: where, in medieval/early Renaissance art or ritual, do we see that gesture, a standing figure putting his or her hand on the head of a figure kneeling in front of the standing one? And especially a female figure with a female figure. Well, what I see is the laying on of a hand. Since the other hand is being used to bless the male figure, perhaps it symbolizes the laying on of hands, plural. I know very little of Roman Catholic ritual, and I see nowhere, at least on Wikipedia, where this ritual is depicted in medieval or early Renaissance art.
I'll have to dredge up the source, but the key parallel of the hand upon the head is in infant Jesus doing this to the three Magi (specifically the one kneeling before Jesus with his gift, but applicable to all three) who at a certain point in pictorial representation appear with halos - i.e., Jesus has consecrated/"sainted" them. The reciprocal symbolism is that Jesus' own kingship is being recognized by fellow kings.
Image

Fabriano's 1423 altarpiece for the Strozzi Chapel

Marco,
The key difference of the other donor pictures you provided is the lack of the laying of hands on the head gesture.

I will say that there is no denying the Augustinian habit on the woman being "consecrated", but the meaning of that word must be in the contemporary context of where it used elsewhere - Jesus and wordly kings recognizing each other's holiness/kingship; i.e., Guglielma's bestowing her "vicar on earth" benediction (now a Augustinian abbess vs. a Umiliati one). Need it matter which order the donor-cum-vicar was in light of the Papess card showing both Umiliati and Franciscan attributes? Guglielma could simply stand for the spreading of the penecostal descent of the Holy Ghost, first to Mary and then to Guglielma and her successive "vicars", as a sign of the last Holy Ghost age leading to the final Judgement.

I will say the Augustinians were quite important to Sforza - his Augustinian brother was made archbishop of Milan and it was an Augustinian brother from the Veneto who brokered the Peace of Lodi in 1454. I would also hasten to point out that the Paduan prototype for at least the "star" in the PMB was depicted in the choir of the Augustinian Eremitani church there. See L. Bourdua, Art and the Augustinian Order in Early Renaissance Italy, 2007. Whomever was behind the design of the PMB knew Paduan artistic innovations/traditions quite well (also see Ross's brilliant detective work in uncovering the meaning of the design of the PMB Strength card as well, connecting that to the Paduan Pietro d'Abano: http://www.trionfi.com/0/i/r/11.html).

Mikeh,
Exactly who was keeping Guglielma/Manfreda's memory alive as Heretics from c.1400-1492? The "Church" in its local manifestations, desparately poor and plague-stricken along with the rest of the city in 1450 and thereafter for a few years, was beholden to Sforza's generosity. The latter date, 1492, is the first time in the quattrocento we see one of their memories invoked in a negative light. Given the Visconti backing (again, Bianca's godfather and the master general of the Umiliati was a Visconti), it would make sense for all religious orders in Milan's greater contado to profess a faith in the Holy Ghost/End Times (certainly nothing heretical about that - hell that would have been "good business" in obtaining soul-saving alms from the flock) in order to curry favor with the Visconti-Sforza dynasty.

Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#135
Phaeded wrote: Marco,
The key difference of the other donor pictures you provided is the lack of the laying of hands on the head gesture.
Like in this painting by Jacopo de Barbari or this one by Andrea Previtali or this Saint Catherine. I don't think these gestures have a specific meaning. They are simple displays of affection, like the hand on the shoulder of the donor in the Macrino D'Alba painting in my previous post. Anyway, all paintings are different, gestures are never exactly the same, but the representation of the donors is so conventional that it seems to me easy to recognize.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#136
Thank you for those last pictures, Marco, and also for the Strozzi Chapel one, Phaeded. Those are what I couldn't find, looking on Google. The last ones Marco gave us show that there's nothing heretical about that gesture; it's not as though a woman were tking on the function of a priest. However, I agree with Phaeded, that it's not mere affection when a female saint, especially the Madonna, lays her hand on someone's head. There's a transfer of spiritual energy going on, just as when the bishop confirms someone. So far, the only heresy going on isn't in the picture, but in Como and the villages around it, the witch-trials and executions that went on almost continuously (well, at least monthly) for at least 75 years after the painting was done, focusing mainly on women.

For Marcos's and Ross's discussion of it as Guglielma, I may have linked to the page and not the actual post, which is of Aug. 14, at viewtopic.php?f=14&t=581&start=20#p8410. It continues on the next page, I think. There is also a ring on St. Catherine's left hand, and possibly a second one on her right hand; but I can't make that picture any clearer. On the next page is Ross's enlargement that shows what I took to be the kneeling woman's ring, in the Brunante picture, but on closer inspection, I see that while it is the same color as the other rings, the detail is smudged, so that you can't actually make out a ring. How nice!

The St. Catherine church was erected by a Visconti official (somehow also connected to a della Scala) in 1377, in the small hamlet of Lentate sul Seveso, very much in the area with intense persecution later. I see that the blurb references heretics (http://www.comune.lentatesulseveso.mi.i ... mocchirolo). Here is the sentence. Please correct my translation:
Sulla parete sinistra del presbiterio è stato affrescato sant’Ambrogio in cattedra che flagella gli eretici - oltre alle nozze mistiche di santa Caterina - che hanno corroso la dedicazione del nome, tanto che oggi è erroneamente riportata anche a Brera.

On the left wall of the presbytery was painted St. Ambrose in the chair that flogs heretics - in addition to the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine - which has damaged the dedication of the name, so that even today it is erroneously reported in Brera.
It would be something, if the heretics managed to plant something in plain sight of the "chair that flogs heretics." Probably they didn't, or it's ambiguous; I'll be interested in what you think, Marco, of that and all the rings.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#137
marco wrote:I don't think these gestures have a specific meaning. They are simple displays of affection, like the hand on the shoulder of the donor in the Macrino D'Alba painting in my previous post.
I'll have to find the relevant passages, but the specific gesture of laying the hand on the head in the context of the three Magi and infant Jesus is argued for in this work: Moshe Barasch, Giotto and the Language of Gesture (Cambridge Studies in the History of Art), 1990.

Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#138
Phaeded wrote:
… Guglielma's bestowing her "vicar on earth" benediction (now a Augustinian abbess vs. a Umiliati one). Need it matter which order the donor-cum-vicar was in light of the Papess card showing both Umiliati and Franciscan attributes? Guglielma could simply stand for the spreading of the pentecostal descent of the Holy Ghost, first to Mary and then to Guglielma and her successive "vicars", as a sign of the last Holy Ghost age leading to the final Judgement.
More relevant info:
The Augustinians were extremely connected to the Holy Ghost movement to the degree that they saw their very order as the fulfillment of the “new order dressed in black” predicted by Joachim himself (L. Bourdua, Art and the Augustinian Order in Early Renaissance Italy, 2007:1). Thus there is no question as to why an Augustinian abbess at Como, dressed in the black habit, would align herself with Guglielma’s beliefs (G. herself living in a Cisternian abbey that was the same order that Joachim was in). See also: M. Reeves, “Joachimist Expectations in the Order of Augustinian Hermits,’ Researches de theologie ancienne et medieval 25 (1958): 111-41.

The Franciscan Cord of the papess appears in fifteenth century illustrations of Dante in a Franciscan Spiritual eschatological context (Franciscan Spirituals being the Holy Ghost strain of that order), where they believed in two Antichrists, one disguised (mysticus) and one revealed (apertus), who would appear and be defeated by the followers of Dominic and Francis. John Friedman argues that the figure of Geryon in Dante’s inferno, fished out of the deep with a cord about Dante’s waist, is a symbol of the Antichrist per Joachimite eschatology (John Block Friedman, “Antichrist and the Iconography of Dante's Geryon”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol. 35, (1972), 108-122). Dante was influenced by Joachim, placing him in the sphere of the Sun in his Paradiso, XII.117, and by followers of Joachim whom he all but quotes in his Commedia. A Franciscan Spiritual, Ubertino da Casale, whose Arbor Vitae Crucifixae Jesu identifies Geryon as the Antichrist, also shows an “exact verbal correspondence between Dante’s description of Dominic and Francis in Par xi, 37-39 and Ubertino’s Arbor Vitae, Bk V iii, p. 421” [p.113, footnote 19). Also: “In a commentary on Apocalypse by the Franciscan Spiritual Peter John Olivi, who lectured in Florence during Dante’s young manhood, we find offered in explanation of the two Antichrist beasts of Apocalypse xiii, if, 11f….” (118); and in regard to the cord: “…it is not by a hook that Geryon is brought up, but rather by the corda which Dante wears around his waist – a cord depicted as a Franciscan friar’s cord by a number of fourteenth and fifteenth illustrations” (118, footnote 37: “Though this cord is described as ‘aggroppata e ravvolta,’ it is shown as the knotted cord of St. Francis in British Museum Additional MS 19587, fol 26r; Florence, Laur. Strozzi 152, fol 14r, and Vat. Lat 4776, fol. 56v.) .

The Third Age of the Holy Ghost was closely linked to the appearance of the Antichrist, sometimes associated with the Pope (particularly Urban VI) and thus we have the Franciscan cord linked to revealing whom the Antichrist was. The point is that multiple orders were to be associated with the End Times and that the cord itself, while explicitly Franciscan, could be associated with an almost talismanic symbolism in revealing whom the Antichrist was, the pivotal figure for signaling the End Time. The inclusion of the Franciscan cord on a polyvalent nun cannot simply refer to the Franciscans but to an aspect of that order…explained above.

Phaeded

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#139
mikeh wrote:The St. Catherine church was erected by a Visconti official (somehow also connected to a della Scala) in 1377, in the small hamlet of Lentate sul Seveso, very much in the area with intense persecution later. I see that the blurb references heretics (http://www.comune.lentatesulseveso.mi.i ... mocchirolo). Here is the sentence. Please correct my translation:
Sulla parete sinistra del presbiterio è stato affrescato sant’Ambrogio in cattedra che flagella gli eretici - oltre alle nozze mistiche di santa Caterina - che hanno corroso la dedicazione del nome, tanto che oggi è erroneamente riportata anche a Brera.

On the left wall of the presbytery was painted St. Ambrose in the chair that flogs heretics - in addition to the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine - which has damaged the dedication of the name, so that even today it is erroneously reported in Brera.
It would be something, if the heretics managed to plant something in plain sight of the "chair that flogs heretics." Probably they didn't, or it's ambiguous; I'll be interested in what you think, Marco, of that and all the rings.
Hello Mike,
your translation is correct. The erroneous dedication reported in Brera (where the Mocchirolo di Lentate frescoes currently are) is “Oratory of Saint Catherine”, while the correct original dedication was “Oratory of Saint Mary Nascent”, like the Milan Cathedral.
Marcos Filesi's post does not say that the fresco represents Guglielma, I guess he mentioned it as an example of a Saint Catherine from roughly the same time and place as the pseudo-Catherine Guglielma frescoes in Milan. This beautiful work of art seems to me a perfectly normal representation of the Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine. I think it is unambiguously orthodox. If you see anything strange in this fresco, please be specific so that we can discuss it.

About the rings, I thought that one of the analogies between Guglielma and Catherine is that both “saints” were thought to be princesses. So Catherine is usually represented richly dressed, actually she wears the royal ermine and a crown in Lentate. Also the Guglielma in Brunate is richly dressed in red brocade. Possibly the rings are present as something typical of noble women. See for instance the donor represented as Saint Catherine in David's Tryptic.

This Italian wikipedia page suggests a different interpretation for Guglielma in Brunate (a legendary VIII Century English princess).

PS: I see that these other English Guglielma is the suject of Bonfadini's Vita. She seems to me totally unrelated to the Milanese Guglielma.

PPS: This Italian paper provides a list of sources for the English / Brunate Guglielma. Bonfadini's life was actually copied from more ancient sources. The English Guglielma, venerated in Brunate, is already documented as object of a cult in 1301. She is unrelated to the Milanese Guglielma
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#140
Good research, Phaeded and Marco.

For Marco, I have more questions. Re-reading Marcos's post, I see
I found a curious fact. The guglielmiti painted hidden images of Guglielma in the guise of Santa Caterina. They did this, at least in:

- Santa Maria Maggiore
- Santa Eufemia

[both in Milano]

*****

In c. 1377, Lanfranco Porro -a noble which working for Visconti- pay the works of "L’Oratorio di santa Maria di Mocchirolo"

http://www.comune.lentatesulseveso.mi.i ... mocchirolo

Among the frescoes, a painting of Santa Caterina, now in Brera...
Followed by the picture of St. Catherine. That looks to me that he is proposing the one in Lentate as being like the ones in Milan, all hidden images of Guglielma. For the ones in Milan, he just gives us a text, not a picture.

And Ross responds,without qualification to exclude the one in Lentate:
Yes, Guglielma's followers did paint her disguised as St. Catherine.
I admit that Marcos is only proposing that the one in Lentate is Guglielma in disguise, like the other ones, not asserting it as a fact. But it is a proposal he thought worth considering, and so do I. Ross did not seem to reject it.
Looking at the fresco in St. Eufemia, it seems to me to paint the same scene as in Lentate, but without the additional rings, and so even less like the one in Brunate.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... ilan_5.jpg

Likewise for St. Maria Maggiore: http://books.google.com/books?id=LQV4UP ... ne&f=false.

Yet the text Marcos reproduces says both are Guglielmas disguised as Catherines: download/file.php?id=652
Strangely, in one of Ross's pictures of Pope Joan, above Marcos's post, c. 1488-1496, I seem to see a ring on her second and fourth fingers!
http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/imag ... afr599.jpg
So I wondered where the popes had theirs. It seems to have been at least the third finger--for their marriage to the Church, I assume--and sometimes the first. But on the right hand or the left? The ordinary marriage ring was on the third finger of the left hand, which explains one of the rings from Bruges. The one that the Christ child is putting on St. Catherine is on the third finger of the right hand. And I seem to see another, very faint, as well as the ring on the first finger of her other hand--another place the popes liked to have a ring. The lady in Brunate has hers on the the first and third fingers of the right hand, plus one on the first finger of the left hand. I suspect a comparison with the Pope, but I will have to do more checking. The images I find on Google aren't clear enough.

As you say, Marcos, the lady in Bruges' rings are probably just personal display, since one is her wedding ring. A frustrating thing about Bruges is that there, too, people liked to put in hidden symbolism. Here is Laurinda Dixon, in Bosch (p. 35, my emphasis)
The innovative Northern Renaissance school of painting is credited with introducing worldly realism and human emotion into the predominantly religious subjects inherited from the Gothic tradition. More importantly for the question of meaning in Bosch's works, the Northern Renaissance style, which Erwin Panofsky described as an Ars nova, [new style], employed hidden meanings and symbolism to a greater extent than ever before...
And of course the Beguines and other movements quasi-independent of the Church were rampant there. Bosch's art has much in it that is similar to what Phaeded has been talking about, e.g. a Pope as well as an Emperor following the haywagon into the abyss (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Haywain_Triptych) and many more mysterious images. Perhaps other examples, from different times and places, might clarify the issue. I don't see any rings in Bosch, just long fingernails (in the Stone Operation, http://www.art-wallpaper.com/1937/Bosch ... 0-1937.jpg); but his altarpieces are all lost (http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/bosch/).

And perhaps needless to say, the same fascination with hidden symbolism was evident in Italy as well, including Milan. There was much interchange between Italy and what is now Belgium.

I need to turn again to the gesture of the saint's putting her hand on the kneeling donor, in the paintings Marco found last. The first two (of three) are the most similar, the third more casual. I checked the biographies and dates of the artists. Andrea Brevitali was in Bergamo, one of the main centers of Dominican persecution at exactly his time, the early 16th century, and so might be expected to have similar iconography. If the iconography is related to the persecution, it would not be surprising if an artist in Bergamo and one in Como had the same imagery.Jacopo de Barbari was Venetian, but might well have been influenced by Bergamo iconography, because Bergamo was ruled by Venice. I The third work is anonymous and from Umbria, apparently later. I would expect that by then, in that place far to the south, the meaning of the imagery was not appreciated. So it would again be useful to find more examples, to see if there is a pattern. (I have no idea how you do it, Marco, because when I look on Google nothing comes up. Maybe I should put my search terms in Italian.)

Moreover, another family of artists came from Brescia, part of that same area: the Bembo.

While the gesture itself is not heretical, it may have been part of what was seen as a heretical milieu, hence the persecution, and the change from witchcraft as a harmless superstition to being diabolical. (Rather than assuming that they thought they were making pacts with the devil, it seems more likely to me that these people were herbal healers who also believed in what Ficino called "natural magic" of stones, fragrances, etc. as well as charms, and they acted somewhat independently of the church, although priests seem to have been involved, too. The rest is the result of torture, and/or ergot poisoning.)

It strikes me that the hand gestuer might have been a remnant of Catharism. The Cathars had the "consolomentum," which included the same gesture but in the rest of the rite made one a perfectus or perfecta. The inquisitors would have been instructed about that. Here is Bernard Gui, in his manual for inquisitors again, this time about the Cathars (p. 36):
Furthermore they declare that all the sacraments of the Roman Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, that is to say the eucharist or sacrament of the altar, baptism with material water, confirmation, extreme unction, penance and marriage of a man with a woman, are each and every one of them vain and useless. And like monkeys they invent others which appear similar, as for instance, replacing water baptism by a spiritual baptism which they call the consolamentum, consolation, of the Holy Spirit, or as when they use their execrable rite of the laying on of hands to receive a person healthy or sick into their sect.
Later he is more specific (p. 40f):
This is the method or rite by which they receive the sick or dying into their sect and order: If he or she can speak, the heretic asks the person to be received if they want to be made a good Christian and receive holy baptism. He or she answers 'Yes', and says, "benedicite'; then the heretic puts his hand on the sick person's head, but without touching it, if it is a woman, and holding the book he reads out the Gospel from 'In principio erat verbum' to 'Verbum caro factum esi et habitavit in nobis[/i]'. (Translator's footnote: St. John's Gospel, 1, i. xiv, 'In the beginning was the Word...The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us".
Then there is much solemn reciting of the Pater Noster, first by the sick person or someone else, then by the perfectus "over and over as he bows down and rises up." So much for this "execrable rite." The reason the perfectus does not touch a woman's head is that, as Gui says, they are not allowed even to touch a woman (p. 39). I notice that it is "hand" in the singular; I had thought it was both hands, but I guess not. Perhaps fortunately for our paintings, Gui never says that the Cathars had women perfecti, their equivalent of priests, as well as male ones, who would have indeed touched the head of a member of their own gender. The most famous one was Esclarmonde, wife of the Count of Foix. But by Gui's late time, when it was much harder to be an effective perfectus, maybe they discouraged women from becoming one. Before then, it seems to me probable that in the case of a sick woman, a female perfecta would have been brought in, if one was available.

Another thing not mentioned by Gui is that in some places, early on, the Gospel of John was put on the head, between the hand and the head. In Bosch's Stone Operation we have the lady with the long fingernails brown outfit, and I'm not sure what else, in what might be a satire of the Cathars, who indeed were in Bosch's area centuries before, or their spiritual descendants (http://www.art-wallpaper.com/1937/Bosch ... 0-1937.jpg).

The relationship of all this to Bergamo, Brescia, etc. is this. Uberto Pallavacini in the 1260s expanded his territory from Cremona to Brescia, Bergamo and ultimately Milan. He refused to let the Inquisition in; thus this was the last region of Italy that protected the Cathars, until Uberto's death in 1268 (p. 177 of http://books.google.com/books?id=bclfdU ... ni&f=false). The main Cathar headquarters (two of them) were in that area (p. 176). After that the only other safe place was Sirmione, in an area under della Scala jurisdiction. When the Pope put Verona under interdict, they finally, in 1276, made the arrests. Even then it took the assassination of the della Sala lord to bring about the burnings. Dante some decades later began his Divine Comedy as a guest of the della Scala in Verona. Later, Cathars were known to be in Piedmont in c. 1325, where they were burnt, and again in 1388, this time said by them to be converts by missionaries coming from Bosnia (same source above). Bergamo, etc., would have been on their way, and they may have done the consolomentum for a few dying people.

I am not at all saying that Guglielma was a Cathar; just that her cult may have spontaneously incorporated memories of them. A projection of Catharism onto them would explain the intensity of the persecution, and its localization in the more remote areas north, east, and west of Milan. And also the hand gesture.

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