Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#141
mikeh wrote: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
Hello Mike,
the fact that Guglielma was represented as Saint Catherine is reported both by Barbara Newman and Marina Benedetti. Apparently, this information comes from the confession of Mirano da Garbagnate, during the inquisition processes of 1300. As Newman reasonably writes “the inquisitors would have destroyed these public images of St. Guglielma after the trial”. The Saint Eufemia painting clearly is influenced by Leonardo, so it should be dated to the end of the XV / beginning of the XVI century. It is not the painting mentioned by Mirano.
I confirm that the St. Eufemia painting (from what can be seen) is a normal Mystical Marriage of S. Catherine, like the Lentate fresco. There is no reason to imagine that Guglielma la Boema was represented as Catherine after her condemnation in 1300.

I cannot see any additional ring in the Lentate fresco (and I don't think that detail would be relevant anyway). I reiterate what I proposed in my previous post about Lentate:
If you see anything strange in this fresco, please be specific so that we can discuss it.

The Brunate fresco is about a completely different Saint Guglielma, the English / Hungarian one.

I translate here some sentences from the article I linked in my previous post (“La leggenda di Santa Guglielma, figlia del re d'Inghilterra”, Zsuzsa Kovács):
Zsuzsa Kovacs wrote:p.37 In 1842, Michele Caffi, mentioned the cult of Guglielma in Brunate when discussing another Guglielma, who was thought to be a princess and lived in Milan, her followers were condemned as heretics by the inquistion in 1300. Later, people studying the guglielmite heresy, posed the question of a possible link between the two cults. In the last decade, in various publications appeared the hypothesis that the legend we are discussing was actually based on Guglielma from Milan, and that it was created as a coverage to continue her cult prohibited by the inquisition. The authors of these works have formulated their hypotheses without knowledge of the history of the legend (39) that was copied in collections of legends, was documented since the XIV century in Lombardy, Veneto and Tuscany, was diffused among the most various religious orders and was linked to the devotion to Mary, to an ecclesiastic cult that, as we will see below, already existed when the inquisition processed the guglielmites. This excludes that our legend (and the cult in Brunate) could be a derivation from the heretic tradition of Guglielma from Milan.

(footnote 39) Newman, erroneously thinking that the legend was created by Bonfadini in Ferrara in the XV century, made efforts to build an hypothesis explaining how the heretical cult spread to Ferrara, in order to link it to the origin of the legend.

p.39 At the end of the London manuscript, in Andrea Bon's version of the legend [London, British Museum, Add. Ms. 10051, ff. 47. – Sec. XV] one can read: ... “Deo gratias semper. 1300 1. adi 20 Marzo. Finis.” (forever thanks to God. 1301, the 20th of March. The end)

p. 40 The date at the end of the London manuscript not only proves that our legend was already known in 1301, but the Latin liturgical text suggests that the cult of the Saint had a much earlier origin.
Kovacs' article seems to me serious and well documented, but (even without reading the article) one look at the legend of the English/Hungarian Guglielma makes it clear that it is unrelated to Guglielma from Milan. Newman is right when she writes that the legend of the English / Hungarian Guglielma "bears only the faintest resemblance to" the biography of the Milanese Guglielma.

mikeh wrote: (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.)
Thanks to Ross' interpretation of the two kneeling people as donors, I made a “google images” search for “donatore” on the site were Federico Zeri's collection of photographs is published:
site:fe.fondazionezeri.unibo.it donatore
Without recognizing the donors as such, it is much more difficult to find anything relevant.


About a different subject:
Today I visited the Bembo exhibition at the Brera Museum. I hoped to find out something more about Filippo Maria's fiorino. The exhibition texts and the catalogue by Sandrina Bandera say: “I semi con i Denari presentano ora un lato ora l'altro del fiorino d'oro coniato da Filippo Maria Visconti nel 1442, e in uso fino alla sua morte, nel 1447” (the suit of Coins presents now one side now the other side of the golden fiorino coined by Filippo Maria Visconti in 1442, which remained in use until his death in 1447). Almost the same words we find in Berti. Also in this case, no reference is provided.

On the other hand, thanks to the advice I received on lamoneta.it forum, I found a 1426 edict about our golden Fiorino (Giulini "Memorie spettanti alla storia, al governo ed alla descrizione della città e campagna di Milano ne' secoli bassi", 1854 – pag.290).
I translate the first sentences: “Letter from the Masters of Ducal Incomes to the city, about the exchange rate of golden coins. Respectable, Egregious, Learned and Honourable Brothers, our Illustrious Lord ordered that the coin mint of this City of Milan must produce golden fiorini with his own mould. ... June 7th 1426”.
The rest of the edict is also interesting, since it prohibits the export of gold from Milan in order to grant the production of the greatest possible quantity of fiorini.

So I couldn't come to any conclusion about the dating of this coin, since Berti and Bandera seem to contradict the evidence I have found.
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#142
(I wrote what is below before Marco submitted his last post, and when I submitted it, I found that Marco's was there. Somehow I didn't get alerted to that, so I am adding this parenthesis a few minutes afterwards, to explain. I don't think what I say here is affected by his new information, which I appreciate and will digest.)

Given that the rings here (in Brunate) are in a religious context, where the standing lady is performing a definite religious function, it seems to me that they have a religious significance. Here is a fairly inclusive article:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13059a.htm

From this and other articles I understand that nuns wore rings on the same hand and finger that wives in ordinary marriages wore them--on the right in Europe, left in North America-- as part of taking their final vows, to signify their status as brides of Christ. Sometimes an abbess would get an additional ring, but this was not customary. On the male side, bishops had special rings, usually with gems in them. It signified their bond with the Church and the Papacy. Cardinals sometimes got special rings, too, of gold, signifying their bond with the Pope. The Pope had a special ring, "the ring of the fisherman" that was also a seal unique to that particular pope, destroyed and buried with him at his death. I cannot find where ordinary priests had rings,although they might have in some orders--I see mention on the Web of a Spanish order that did. If a bishop became a cardinal, he'd have two rings. If a cardinal became pope, he could have three rings. And they could have other rings, apparently.

In pictures of popes, I see wide variation, including no rings at all. The third finger (not counting the thumb) is most common. I see Sixtus IV, painted by Melozzo da Forli (d. 1494) after 1475, with a ring on the second finger of his left hand (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_1QTrWQOqKxE/T ... C_0294.JPG). Another one puts it on the third finger of his right hand, and one on the fourth finger of his left. (There are other variations, one with a ring on his thumb.) Pinturiccio (1492-5) paints Alexander VI with a ring on the third finger his right hand. Raphael (1511) paints Julius II with rings on all his fingers except the second (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_o ... _(Raphael)). Of non-Popes, there is the famous one by El Greco (d. 1614) of the Grand Inquisitor, with rings on the first and third fingers of both hands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:El_Greco_049.jpg).

It seems to me that so many rings on the standing lady at Brunate indicates a special status, beyond abbess, if indeed abbesses even wore second rings in the Augustinian or Franciscan orders then. I gather that rings had definite rules and protocols; it would not do to wear rings wrongly. However these rules varied considerably.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#143
Marco quoted from Zsuzsa
In the last decade, in various publications appeared the hypothesis that the legend we are discussing was actually based on Guglielma from Milan, and that it was created as a coverage to continue her cult prohibited by the inquisition. The authors of these works have formulated their hypotheses without knowledge of the history of the legend (39) that was copied in collections of legends, was documented since the XIV century in Lombardy, Veneto and Tuscany, was diffused among the most various religious orders and was linked to the devotion to Mary, to an ecclesiastic cult that, as we will see below, already existed when the inquisition processed the guglielmites. This excludes that our legend (and the cult in Brunate) could be a derivation from the heretic tradition of Guglielma from Milan.
I do not understand how the new knowledge not known by Newman about the English Guglielma counts against the thesis that the cult of the English-Hungarian Guglielma was used as a cover for continuing a cult prohibited by the inquisition. It does not have to have been created for that purpose for it to have been used and promoted for that purpose. Newman p. 25 points to enough similarities between the two to make it work: healing powers, adored but claiming to be a mere sinner and never becoming a nun, slander and heresy charges, simple life.

In my town, there is a modern Gnostic church that celebrates the 2nd century Gnostic teacher Valentinus on the Sunday nearest St. Valentine's day. They certainly didn't invent St. Valentine; in fact, there's little resemblance between the two, other than the name and their claiming Valentinus as a promoter of love, as reflected in the writings of his disciples. Likewise, the Catholic Assumption of Mary becomes for them the feast-day of the Gnostic Sophia. Another example: I was in Mayan churches in villages outside of San Cristobal, Mexico, once just before Holy Week. The worship and depiction of the saints bore little relation to what I have seen anywhere else and was attributed to assimilation with indigenous practices. If so, in 15th century Lombardy, a cult of the Holy Spirit could easily merge with that of Mary, and two Guglielmas could be celebrated as one.

Perhaps Zsuzsa has material that I do not know, since I have not read the rest of the article. Perhaps you can tell me what this knowledge is that Newman didn't have: specifically, where, when, and what the legend looked like before Bonfadini and the frescoist reported by Monti got hold of it. Otherwise, I will try to translate the article, which may take some time.

I myself would not have imagined that the St. Catherines in Milan churches was of either Guglielma, without the page in Italian that Marcos found and the information from the Manfredi trial record. That the inquisitors destroyed such artwork then does not mean that others wouldn't have kept trying, perhaps in more inaccessible places or safer times. The church in Lentate was built in 1377. I wonder if the page that Marcos found is based on anything except the trial record. But the St. Catherine in Lentate is definitely different from those in Milan, in that there is a ring on the saint's left hand (and possibly another loose between fingers in her right). Surely you can at least see the one on her left hand. Does that appear on other St. Catherines, outside of that area and time?

I don't see how the standing lady in Brunate could be the English-Hungarian princess. There are no knots in that story, no brown habit (unless you count Monti's hairshirt), and I see no explanation for the rings. But then I have not read the legend as it was portrayed independently of Bonfadini, or seen artwork associated with it.

My perspective is that of accounting for the coincidence that two cards among the triumphs correspond to two family members of the only family definitely associated with the four earliest tarot decks with extant cards. Eitehr it is an astounding coincidence or the commissioner of the PMB knew about Manfredi, either orally or through reading the trial record found at Pavia.. That same commissioner, coincidentally sponsored the church at Brunate with its mysterious painting of the lady with the three knots and the three rings that correlate to the fresco in Lentate, which correlates with the trial testimony which survived at Pavia and the Visconti emphasis on the Trinity in general and the Holy Spirit in particular

There is also the coincidence (in regard to heresy) of the gesture of the hand on the head, correlating exactly with the "consolomentum" of the Cathars and is found first, that I can see, in this same area, which was a historic center of Catharism, an area visited by Cathars in 1388, and subject to intense Dominican persecution in the later 15th-early 16th century, in which old peasant ladies were asked about the Trinity.

For me, so far, there are just too many coincidences. But I will keep looking for evidence to the contrary: I keep coming back to Manfredi. And I think I see more clearly the allegorical meaning as well: the Popess as the Church as maternal spirit and inner, and the Pope as the Church as paternal spirit and external. Or something like that. That distinction also fits the way the two PMB cards look.

Addition: thanks for pursuing the coins issue.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#144
mikeh wrote: I do not understand how the new knowledge not known by Newman about the English Guglielma counts against the thesis that the cult of the English-Hungarian Guglielma was used as a cover for continuing a cult prohibited by the inquisition. It does not have to have been created for that purpose for it to have been used and promoted for that purpose.
Hello Mike,
you are right. The thesis that the English-Hungarian Guglielma was used as a cover for continuing a cult prohibited by the inquisition cannot be proven wrong. I think most theses based on the hypothesis of secrecy and deception share this characteristic. Since the thing was meant to be kept secret, all evidence was destroyed or deliberately obfuscated. This is a bulletproof teapot and there is no hope to come to a conclusion about it.

Kovacs' point is simply that Newman was wrong when she stated that the English-Hungarian Guglielma was created as a coverage for the Milanese Guglielma:
Zsuzsa Kovacs wrote: (footnote 39) Newman, erroneously thinking that the legend was created by Bonfadini in Ferrara in the XV century, made efforts to build an hypothesis explaining how the heretical cult spread to Ferrara, in order to link it to the origin of the legend.
mikeh wrote: Perhaps Zsuzsa has material that I do not know, since I have not read the rest of the article. Perhaps you can tell me what this knowledge is that Newman didn't have: specifically, where, when, and what the legend looked like before Bonfadini and the frescoist reported by Monti got hold of it. Otherwise, I will try to translate the article, which may take some time.
From what I understand, Kovacs description of the legend is very close to the summary provided by Newman. I don't think you would find anything of your interest in Kovacs' article.
mikeh wrote:the St. Catherine in Lentate is definitely different from those in Milan, in that there is a ring on the saint's left hand (and possibly another loose between fingers in her right). Surely you can at least see the one on her left hand. Does that appear on other St. Catherines, outside of that area and time?
I am sorry, in the left hand of Catherine I can only see a faint trace of the palm of martyrdom. Anyway, a few rings more would not make a heretic of this Catherine. The difference in size between what you want to explain (the hypothetical ring) and the explanation (a widespread heresy under the coverage of St. Catherine in the late XIV century) is too huge. I don't want to rewrite the history of Lombardy to explain a tiny detail in a fresco. I would take the rings (if any) as evidence of the royal status of Catherine.
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mikeh wrote:I don't see how the standing lady in Brunate could be the English-Hungarian princess. There are no knots in that story, no brown habit (unless you count Monti's hairshirt), and I see no explanation for the rings. But then I have not read the legend as it was portrayed independently of Bonfadini, or seen artwork associated with it.
I don't follow you about the knots and the brown habit. Pietro Monti says that the legend of the English-Hungarian Guglielma was well known in Brunate, and that the saint was thought to have arrived there "before the X Century". Kovacs lists an edition of the English-Hungarian Guglielma legend written in Brunate in 1642: Andrea Ferrari, Breve relatione della vita di Santa Gulielma figlia del Rè d’Inghilterra, e già moglie del Rè d’Ongaria, Como, per Nicolò Caprani Stampator Episc. In Brunate there has been for centuries a well documented cult based on that legend. Monti briefly describes the fresco cycle that he could see (however damaged) before it was destroyed in 1828. He notes that in the frescoes Guglielma is portrayed as living in the company of a Crucifx and an image of Our Lady. The illustration from BNF Fond italien 665 provided by Kovacs similarly represents the English-Hungarian Guglielma praying Our Lady.
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I don't see how the Brunate Guglielma could not be the English-Hungarian princess. But of course this is irrelevant to your thesis, since the fresco could have represented the English-Hungarian Guglielma and still be a coverage for the heretic cult of the Milanese Guglielma.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#145
marco wrote: The Brunate fresco is about a completely different Saint Guglielma, the English / Hungarian one.

I translate here some sentences from the article I linked in my previous post (“La leggenda di Santa Guglielma, figlia del re d'Inghilterra”, Zsuzsa Kovács):
Zsuzsa Kovacs wrote:p.37 In 1842, Michele Caffi, mentioned the cult of Guglielma in Brunate when discussing another Guglielma, who was thought to be a princess and lived in Milan, her followers were condemned as heretics by the inquistion in 1300. Later, people studying the guglielmite heresy, posed the question of a possible link between the two cults. In the last decade, in various publications appeared the hypothesis that the legend we are discussing was actually based on Guglielma from Milan, and that it was created as a coverage to continue her cult prohibited by the inquisition. The authors of these works have formulated their hypotheses without knowledge of the history of the legend (39) that was copied in collections of legends, was documented since the XIV century in Lombardy, Veneto and Tuscany, was diffused among the most various religious orders and was linked to the devotion to Mary, to an ecclesiastic cult that, as we will see below, already existed when the inquisition processed the guglielmites. This excludes that our legend (and the cult in Brunate) could be a derivation from the heretic tradition of Guglielma from Milan.

(footnote 39) Newman, erroneously thinking that the legend was created by Bonfadini in Ferrara in the XV century, made efforts to build an hypothesis explaining how the heretical cult spread to Ferrara, in order to link it to the origin of the legend.

p.39 At the end of the London manuscript, in Andrea Bon's version of the legend [London, British Museum, Add. Ms. 10051, ff. 47. – Sec. XV] one can read: ... “Deo gratias semper. 1300 1. adi 20 Marzo. Finis.” (forever thanks to God. 1301, the 20th of March. The end)

p. 40 The date at the end of the London manuscript not only proves that our legend was already known in 1301, but the Latin liturgical text suggests that the cult of the Saint had a much earlier origin.
Kovacs' article seems to me serious and well documented, but (even without reading the article) one look at the legend of the English/Hungarian Guglielma makes it clear that it is unrelated to Guglielma from Milan. Newman is right when she writes that the legend of the English / Hungarian Guglielma "bears only the faintest resemblance to" the biography of the Milanese Guglielma.
Marco, thank you very much for reading and translating the relevant passages from Kovacs' article. It has saved me a lot of trouble in finishing my own critique of Newman's theory - now it is proven that there is no basis whatsoever for the association of Guglielma of Brunate with Guglielma of Milan!

It had occurred to me that Bonfadini's Saint Guglielma was completely different from the historical one, since the story is so different and set in so different a time, and that the image of Brunate is clearly a princess (Bonfadini), not a pious laywoman (Guglielma of Milan) but I didn't know anything at all about the history of the legend.

There is no link between Guglielma of Legend and Guglielma of Milan.
There is no link between Maddalena Albrici and Guglielma (of legend or Milan)
There is no link between Bianca Maria and Guglielma (of legend or Milan)
There is no link between Brunate's Guglielma and the historical Guglielma.
The fresco of Brunate, if it portrays a Guglielma, is the legendary Guglielma.

There is a link between Bianca Maria and Maddalena Albrici. BM was a patron of her convent. The two women knew each other. This is unexceptional, however, since BM patronized many religious establishments. Given that there is no proof of Maddalena's devotion to Guglielma, however, a second-hand link between BM and Guglielma of legend (and then extended gratuitously to Guglielma of Milan) becomes even more tenuous.

There IS possibly some evidence of a link between Maddalena and Guglielma of legend, however, if we take the fresco of Brunate to represent Guglielma, where here cult was well established, and Maddalena kneeling. I believe this is so - Maddalena must have received from Guglielma the power of relieving headaches, which became their special miracle power (among other things). This is my opinion - that the Augustinian nun in the fresco is Maddalena, and that, during her life, she reported a vision of the Saint. This has been lost to history, but remains iconographically.

However, to admit this link - the sole, tenuous, one there is! - is also fatal to Newman's theory, since she believes the kneeling woman to be Mandfreda da Pirovano. She nowhere expresses the possibility that it is Maddalena.
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#146
Hello Ross,
I am happy that you found the passage I translated interesting.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: There IS possibly some evidence of a link between Maddalena and Guglielma of legend, however, if we take the fresco of Brunate to represent Guglielma, where here cult was well established, and Maddalena kneeling. I believe this is so - Maddalena must have received from Guglielma the power of relieving headaches, which became their special miracle power (among other things). This is my opinion - that the Augustinian nun in the fresco is Maddalena, and that, during her life, she reported a vision of the Saint. This has been lost to history, but remains iconographically.
This is also Kovacs' opinion: "Il primitivo monastero molto modesto, fondato intorno al 1350 ebbe
una fioritura dovuta alla badessa beata Maddalena Albrici, alla metà del Quattrocento.
In questo periodo fu dipinto nella chiesa il ciclo di affreschi che raffigura la storia di
Santa Guglielma. L’imagine di chiusura di tale ciclo si vede tutt’oggi, la santa è dipinta
vestita da regina, con corona e gloria sulla testa, davanti a lei in ginocchio Maddalena
Albrici e un altro donatore."

(the original very small monastery, founded in 1350, flourished thanks to the abbess Beata Maddalena Albrici, at the half of Quattrocento. At that time, a fresco cycle representing the story of St. Guglielma was painted in the church. The last image of the cycle is still visible: the saint is represented in a queenly dress, with a crown and a glory [?] upon her head, in front of her Maddalena Albrici and another donor are kneeling).

See also the web site of the Brunate church (which also identifies the kneeling nun with Maddalena).

I think we can safely say that there was a link between Maddalena Albricci and the English-Hungarian Guglielma, since they were the most typical and prominent "saints" object of devotion in Brunate.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#147
Marco: Thanks for your interpretation of the palm of martyrdom. I did not know about that symbol. I didn't see it on other St Catherines that I googled.

When we're in a situation where evidence has been destroyed on a massive scale (most of the inquisition records for Lombardy). I do not believe that gives me the right to say whatever I want about things that happened we don't know about. All I can do is look for evidence for various possibilities and evaluate what evidence there is.

And I do think I have the right to consider a cover-up as one possibility. Many heretics were in fact burned in the Como-Bresca area and surroundings. Even though the archives were burned, in the period 1460-1525 at least one a month is documented anyway, mostly from the inquisitors' own tracts, boasting of their success. I gave the documentation earlier in this thread, including Italian references (see my summaries and quotations from Black's and Tavuzzi's books at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13702 and viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&p=13727) . From this, there is justification for theorizing that there were people considered heretics in that area, possibly even in established churches (local priests were sometimes implicated in confessions), and even for considering the possibility that certain paintings reflect their beliefs, regardless of what legends written 1425 or later say, in so far as hypotheses can be formed based on documents. Given the mass destruction of trial records in 1788 (right before the French Revolution), the travesty of justice shown in the one or two trial records that did survive, and the resistance even at the time to showing civil authorities such records, the hypothesis of a cover-up is no teapot. The surviving trial record from Pavia mentions St. Catherine paintings, for one thing. So they need to be investigated. The Brunate painting does, too. And I really do want to know of weaknesses in my evidence, as well as evidence to the contrary.

I don't remember reading about BNF 665. or the 1642 history, before your last post. Maybe I missed something. Either of the Guglielmas could have a crucifix and pray to Mary. But maybe there's more. What is needed is documentation of the non-heretical Guglielma before 1425. What documentation is there in the 1642 History? I'm not saying there isn't any; I'm just suspicious, based on the track record of the Lombard Inquisition (I gave some references to Italian publications). I feel like I have to read Kovacs.

As far as the English-Hungarian vs. the Milanese, the Annals of Colmar, as quoted by Newman, say that the English one was the one with the heresy:
In the preceding year there came from England a very beautiful virgin, as eloquent as she was fair, saying that she was the Holy Spirit incarnate for the redemption of women; and she baptized women in the name of the Father and of the Son and of herself. After death she was brought to Milan and burned there.
So consider that one as the one pictured in the Brunate. I don't care where she was from; all I care is that she said she was the Holy Spirit incarnate and that her remains were burned in Milan around the same time as Manfreda's, so that she wasn't the sanitized one promoted by the Franciscan in Ferrara and later Pulci in Florence. The striking part about the Milan Guglielma ("she baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of herself", as opposed to the "beautiful English virgin" part, which is not very original) in the Annals matches what is in the trial record (see below). (Why Colmar, in Alsace, would want to write about an English virgin in Milan is another question.)

My point about the three knots is that in the trial testimony the habit of one member of the sect had three "gruppi"--bunches, knots--appeared as if by "miracle". Here is Marcos's transcription of the Italian translation, on both the knots and the Holy Spirit:
«In questa camera alla presenza di tutte le summentovate persone suor Maifreda disse che la signora santa Guglielma aveva ordinato a lei suor Maifreda di dire a tutti gli astanti che ella era lo Spirito Santo, vero Dio e vero uomo; che pertanto tutti i predetti là presenti non avrebbero comparsi alla presenza di lei. E aggiungeva la predetta suor Maifreda: "Sia di me quel che può essere". Added the aforementioned Sister Maifreda: "Let be for me what can be." E del pari disse l'Allegranza di ricordarsi che la predetta signora Carabella in quella casa sedeva allora sul suo propio mantello, e che quando ella si fu levata, trovò che nella cintura o corda del suo mantello s'eran fatti tre gruppi che prima non v'erano: e si fecero intorno a ciò le maraviglie e le bisbigli fra di loro, e molti fra essi e la stessa testimone credeva ciò essere un gran miracolo»E del pari disse l'Allegranza di ricordarsi che la predetta signora Carabella in quella casa sedeva allora sul suo propio mantello, e che quando ella si fu levata, trovò che nella cintura o corda del suo mantello s'eran fatti tre gruppi che prima non v'erano: e si fecero intorno a ciò le maraviglie e le bisbigli fra di loro, e molti fra essi e la stessa testimone credeva ciò essere un gran miracolo».
I have some trouble in the translation, toward the end of the first sentence:
"In this room in the presence of all the summoned people Sister Maifreda said that the lady St. Guglielma had ordained the sister Maifreda to say to all those present that she was the Holy Spirit, true God and true man, and that therefore all of the aforesaid there present would not have appeared in her presence. Also, Allegranza said to remember that the above mentioned lady Carabella in that house then sat on her own habit, and when she got up, she found that the belt or cord of her habit had made three bunches that had not been there: and there grew around them then marveling and whispering among them, and many from this same testimony what was believed to be a great miracle.
My point is that for the Milan sect three knots signify the Trinity, emphasizing the Holy Spirit. So we see the three rings in the 1450 painting and perhaps three rings in the St. Catherine. That is in the context of the Visconti emphasis on the Trinity and especially the Holy Spirit.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#148
I have read the Kovacs article as much as I can via Google Translate, enough so that I can see that the legend of the Hungarian-English princess named Guglielma existed as far back as 1301. That much was clear from Newman's quote from the Annals of Colmar, actually. However three questions remain:

(1) Was the legendary princess actually called Guglielma before 1301?

(2) Was it claimed that she cured headaches before 1301? And if so, how? I mean, by means of herbs or by putting her hand on the person's head?

(3) In the other 14th century accounts, besides that of Colmar mentioned by Newman, is she identified with the heretic burned in Milan?

I think you can see where I am going. I can see that the story of the legendary Guglielma would have to have been created before 1425, I don't have a fully worked-out theory of why, because I don't know the available facts. One possibility is that the Church wanted to replace the memory of the heretical Guglielma with that of a non-heretical one. My paranoia is justified by my knowledge that it did distort this and other heresies, although usually in a negative direction. There are two accounts from 1301--Newman's in Colmar, and Kovacs', which I think is Bergamo (actually, it's what claims to be a copy of a 1301 document; but I'm not so paranoid as to discount that claim). The question is whether the story with the relevant details (above) was created in 1301, after the burning of Guglielma's body, or before. One document, in Colmar, actually identifies the one Guglielma (heretical, Milan) with the other (English). On my theory, that would be a slip on the Church's part. Do any others say this?

The idea put forward by Monti that the fresco we see was the last in the series of frescoes on the life of Guglielma, in that church, now destroyed, seems to me refuted by Newman, if her facts are right. She says that even in 1745 it was in a frame (p. 32):
But we must question Pietro Monti's belief that the extant painting had once formed part of the narrative cycle. In the first place, we know that this painting had already been installed in its baroque marble frame in 1745, since the sculptor's contract happens to survive. (104) Thus the fresco had been detached from the wall that initially held it long before the whitewashed cycle paintings were disclosed to Monti...[Footnote 104: Giussani, La Chiesa parrocchiale, 22.
Also, where it is now, it doesn't fit the rest of the wall. Newman says (p. 2 footnote 4):
The bottom of the painting is damaged, and there is a hole in the plaster beneath the lower right section of the frame. Both the damage and the architecturally odd placement indicate that the painting was originally in a different location.
Also, I still have a doubt about the fresco in Lentate. Why is it that the palm is the only thing in the painting that somehow has been lost to view, so that there is only a trace? I am wondering whether might have been done on purpose, so as to leave what would appear to be rings on the fingers. We need to know the status of the rest of the frescoes there, to know if that is a strange thing that needs to be accounted for, or typical of the condition of the frescoes there. (I know that you think my paranoia is misplaced, but given the time and place I think it is justified.)

We know from the trial record that depictions of St. Catherine were somehow thought suitable for representing the Guglielma of Milan. Given that the representations in Milan now, the replacements, show her accepting a ring from the Christ Child, it seems reasonable to conclude that the choice of St. Catherine had something to do with rings. For example, it would be easy to add a couple.

There is even a ring in that ridiculous account of 1503, although the writer may not have remembered how to finish the story, or more likely, a copyist left out a page. A merchant Corrado follows his wife to the place where the Guglielmites have their orgies (this is an example of distortion in the negative direction):
...since not a small suspicion had entered his head, he decided bring it to light; and so one night, rising, followed his wife secretly to the meeting, and there, when the lamp was hidden, he had intercourse with his wife, following the practice of the others, and removed from her finger a sapphire she was wearing and went out together with the others from the infamous site. After four days he asked his wife for the ring, pretending he needed it to make a deposit: she pretended to have lost it and finally, after pretending to have looked for it in different ways, said she could not find it. Corrado thereafter gave a solemn banquet, inviting many of his relatives and friends along with their wives, whom he had seen in the consortium. To these, after dinner, Corrado began to say: each man will play the game with his wife as I intend to do it with mine, and later I will show the reason, and all promised that they would. Then, parting the tie of the hair of the wives, they found a bald spot on their heads, at which, greatly marveling, they demanded the reason. Corrado explained it all clearly. So they reported those events of unprecedented wickedness to Matteo Visconti, the Prince of the city;...
It's a standard ingredient in many tales, the most well known example being the story of the prostitute Tamar with Judah in the Old Testament. Shakespeare uses it in All's Well That Ends Well, with Helen getting the ring from Bertram.The ring identifies who the sex act was consummated with, when one of the pair pulls it out later in a public setting.

I see that Kovacs says that Bonfidini should not be credited with the 1425 manuscript, but rather a certain "Friar Antonio." If necessary, I will use that designation in future. Also, I see from Kovacs that there is much other literature on the subject. I will get what I can. Thanks for the Kovacs.

Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#149
mikeh wrote: Also, where it is now, it doesn't fit the rest of the wall. Newman says (p. 2 footnote 4):
The bottom of the painting is damaged, and there is a hole in the plaster beneath the lower right section of the frame. Both the damage and the architecturally odd placement indicate that the painting was originally in a different location.
Here's a picture showing the fresco at San Andrea in Brunate in its current context.


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/brunate/IMG_6991.jpg

Sorry there is no one standing there to illustrate scale, but by the pews you can see that the base of the frame is about neck/head height, so that the worn-away part is probably from people touching it over the ages for luck or healing.
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Re: Visconti marriage & betrothal commemorations

#150
mikeh wrote: There is even a ring in that ridiculous account of 1503, although the writer may not have remembered how to finish the story, or more likely, a copyist left out a page. A merchant Corrado follows his wife to the place where the Guglielmites have their orgies (this is an example of distortion in the negative direction):
...since not a small suspicion had entered his head, he decided bring it to light; and so one night, rising, followed his wife secretly to the meeting, and there, when the lamp was hidden, he had intercourse with his wife, following the practice of the others, and removed from her finger a sapphire she was wearing and went out together with the others from the infamous site. After four days he asked his wife for the ring, pretending he needed it to make a deposit: she pretended to have lost it and finally, after pretending to have looked for it in different ways, said she could not find it. Corrado thereafter gave a solemn banquet, inviting many of his relatives and friends along with their wives, whom he had seen in the consortium. To these, after dinner, Corrado began to say: each man will play the game with his wife as I intend to do it with mine, and later I will show the reason, and all promised that they would. Then, parting the tie of the hair of the wives, they found a bald spot on their heads, at which, greatly marveling, they demanded the reason. Corrado explained it all clearly. So they reported those events of unprecedented wickedness to Matteo Visconti, the Prince of the city;...
It's a standard ingredient in many tales, the most well known example being the story of the prostitute Tamar with Judah in the Old Testament. Shakespeare uses it in All's Well That Ends Well, with Helen getting the ring from Bertram.The ring identifies who the sex act was consummated with, when one of the pair pulls it out later in a public setting.
The account actually dates from at least 1492, when it was published in Donato Bossi's chronicle. We discussed it on this thread, here -
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=917&start=110#p13705

Corio's version of it is just a straight translation of Bossi's Latin.

Generally, historians nowadays don't use emotionally laden and bias-betraying value judgments such as "ridiculous" when describing the content of primary sources. For instance, although the battle of Roncevaux Pass/Battle of Roncesvalles did happen in 778, I'm pretty sure you won't read historians of Charlemagne or literary students describing the Song as Roland as "that ridiculous Song of Roland".

It is what it is. We let readers have their private chuckle, if they need to chuckle at all. There is no need to call attention to the fact that we now know better.

It might be appropriate to qualify a text as "ridiculous" if contemporary audiences could be expected to have known better, or if it is so intrinsically absurd that we might have good reason to think that it was not intended to be taken seriously at the time. But Bussi/Corrio's version of the nature of the Guglielmite sect was probably what most people at the time believed.

There is a paper that traces the development of the accounts of the Guglielmites, which I have not been able to get - Paulette L'Hermite-Leclercq, "Historiographie d'une hérésie : Les guillelmites de Milan (1300)", in Revue Mabillon 9 (1998), pp. 73-96 - http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1560442

Maybe you can get it?
I see that Kovacs says that Bonfidini should not be credited with the 1425 manuscript, but rather a certain "Friar Antonio." If necessary, I will use that designation in future. Also, I see from Kovacs that there is much other literature on the subject. I will get what I can. Thanks for the Kovacs.
"Friar Antonio" is Friar Antonio Bonfadini.
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