Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
Tristão da Cunha
Tristão da Cunha was a Portuguese explorer and naval commander. In 1514, he served as ambassador from king Manuel I of Portugal to Pope Leo X, leading a luxurious embassy presenting in Rome the new conquests of Portugal, he became a member of the Portuguese privy council. Da Cunha was born in c. 1460. He was nominated as first viceroy of Portuguese India in 1504, but could not take up this post owing to temporary blindness. In 1506 he was appointed commander of a fleet of 15 ships sent to the east coast of Africa and off India, his cousin, Afonso de Albuquerque, was in charge of a squadron of five vessels in this fleet that subsequently detached. Their mission was to conquer Socotra Island and build a fortress there, hoping to close the trade in the Red Sea, they sailed together. In the Mozambique Channel they found his friend captain João da Nova stranded while returning from India, they rescued the ship Frol de la mar, both joining the fleet. After a series of successful attacks on Arab cities on the east coast of Africa, they headed to Socotra.
On this voyage Tristão da Cunha discovered a group of remote islands in the south Atlantic Ocean, 2,816 km from South Africa. Although rough seas prevented a landing he named the main island after himself, Ilha de Tristão da Cunha, anglicized to Tristan da Cunha, he set his eyes on Ajuran Empire territory, where the Battle of Barawa was fought. After a long period of engagement, the Portuguese soldiers looted it. However, fierce resistance by the local population and soldiers resulted in the failure of the Portuguese to permanently occupy the city and the Portuguese would be decisively defeated by the Somalis from Ajuran Empire, the inhabitants who had fled to the interior would return and rebuild the city. Tristão da Cunha was severely wounded and sought refuge in Socotra islands after losing his men and ships. After losing the war with the Ajuran Empire over the fail attempt to capture Barawa, he decided to re-group his men in Socotra islands and Tristão would set sail for Mogadishu, the richest city in Africa.
But word had spread of what had happened in Barawa, a large troop mobilization had taken place. Many horsemen and battleships in defense positions were now guarding the city. Tristão still opted to storm and attempt to conquer the city, although every officer and soldier in his army opposed this, fearing certain defeat if they were to engage their opponents in battle, he decided to leave the Somalis in peace after he realized that they were difficult to subdue and that it would require a larger mobilization thus leaving Ajuran Empire independent. After a while, he distinguished himself in India in various actions, such as the Siege of Cannanore: the Portuguese garrison was on the verge of being overwhelmed, when on 27 August the fleet of 11 ships under Tristão da Cunha coming from Socotra appeared and relieved them with 300 men. After returning to Europe, Tristão da Cunha was sent as ambassador from king Manuel I to Pope Leo X in 1514 to present the new conquests of the Portuguese Empire, having Garcia de Resende as his secretary.
The huge, luxurious embassy of one hundred and forty persons made its way through Alicante and Majorca, arriving at Rome outskirts in February. They walked the streets of Rome on March 12, 1514 in an extravagant procession of exotic wildlife and wealth of the Indies, with many dressed in "Indian style"; the procession featured an elephant named Hanno, as a gift to the pope, forty-two other beasts, including two leopards, a panther, some parrots and rare Indian horses. Hanno carried a platform of silver on its back, shaped as a castle containing a safe with royal gifts, including vests embroidered with pearls and gems, coins of gold minted for the occasion; the pope received the procession in the Castel Sant'Angelo. The elephant knelt down thrice in reverence and following a wave of his Indian mahout, used its trunk to suck water from a bucket and sprayed it over the crowd and the Cardinals. By 29 April 1514, the Portuguese had depleted their funds, but they sought a bull signed by the pope, who sent back rich gifts to king Manuel.
The king responded with a ship full of spices and an indian rhinoceros sent to him from the sultan Muzaffar Shah II of Gujarat. The boat that transported it was wrecked off Genoa on early February 1516, the Rhinoceros was portrayed by Albrecht Dürer in his famous Rhinoceros woodcuts in 1515. Although Tristão da Cunha had never assumed the post of Viceroy of India, his son Nuno da Cunha was the 9th Governor of Portuguese India in 1529; the tomb of Tristão da Cunha is located at the Church of Sra. da Encarnação in Olhalvo. Rua do Cunha Tristan da Cunha island article in Italian
Fresco is a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly laid, or wet lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the dry-powder pigment to merge with the plaster, with the setting of the plaster, the painting becomes an integral part of the wall; the word fresco is derived from the Italian adjective fresco meaning "fresh", may thus be contrasted with fresco-secco or secco mural painting techniques, which are applied to dried plaster, to supplement painting in fresco. The fresco technique has been employed since antiquity and is associated with Italian Renaissance painting. Buon fresco pigment is mixed with room temperature water and is used on a thin layer of wet, fresh plaster, called the intonaco; because of the chemical makeup of the plaster, a binder is not required, as the pigment mixed with the water will sink into the intonaco, which itself becomes the medium holding the pigment. The pigment is absorbed by the wet plaster; the chemical processes are as follows: calcination of limestone in a lime kiln: CaCO3 → CaO + CO2 slaking of quicklime: CaO + H2O → Ca2 setting of the lime plaster: Ca2 + CO2 → CaCO3 + H2O In painting buon fresco, a rough underlayer called the arriccio is added to the whole area to be painted and allowed to dry for some days.
Many artists sketched their compositions on this underlayer, which would never be seen, in a red pigment called sinopia, a name used to refer to these under-paintings. Later,new techniques for transferring paper drawings to the wall were developed; the main lines of a drawing made on paper were pricked over with a point, the paper held against the wall, a bag of soot banged on them on produce black dots along the lines. If the painting was to be done over an existing fresco, the surface would be roughened to provide better adhesion. On the day of painting, the intonaco, a thinner, smooth layer of fine plaster was added to the amount of wall, expected to be completed that day, sometimes matching the contours of the figures or the landscape, but more just starting from the top of the composition; this area is called the giornata, the different day stages can be seen in a large fresco, by a sort of seam that separates one from the next. Buon frescoes are difficult to create because of the deadline associated with the drying plaster.
A layer of plaster will require ten to twelve hours to dry. Once a giornata is dried, no more buon fresco can be done, the unpainted intonaco must be removed with a tool before starting again the next day. If mistakes have been made, it may be necessary to remove the whole intonaco for that area—or to change them a secco. An indispensable component of this process is the carbonatation of the lime, which fixes the colour in the plaster ensuring durability of the fresco for future generations. A technique used in the popular frescoes of Michelangelo and Raphael was to scrape indentations into certain areas of the plaster while still wet to increase the illusion of depth and to accent certain areas over others; the eyes of the people of the School of Athens are sunken-in using this technique which causes the eyes to seem deeper and more pensive. Michelangelo used this technique as part of his trademark'outlining' of his central figures within his frescoes. In a wall-sized fresco, there may be ten to twenty or more giornate, or separate areas of plaster.
After five centuries, the giornate, which were nearly invisible, have sometimes become visible, in many large-scale frescoes, these divisions may be seen from the ground. Additionally, the border between giornate was covered by an a secco painting, which has since fallen off. One of the first painters in the post-classical period to use this technique was the Isaac Master in the Upper Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. A person who creates fresco is called a frescoist. A secco or fresco-secco painting is done on dry plaster; the pigments thus require a binding medium, such as egg, glue or oil to attach the pigment to the wall. It is important to distinguish between a secco work done on top of buon fresco, which according to most authorities was in fact standard from the Middle Ages onwards, work done a secco on a blank wall. Buon fresco works are more durable than any a secco work added on top of them, because a secco work lasts better with a roughened plaster surface, whilst true fresco should have a smooth one.
The additional a secco work would be done to make changes, sometimes to add small details, but because not all colours can be achieved in true fresco, because only some pigments work chemically in the alkaline environment of fresh lime-based plaster. Blue was a particular problem, skies and blue robes were added a secco, because neither azurite blue nor lapis lazuli, the only two blue pigments available, works well in wet fresco, it has become clear, thanks to modern analytical techniques, that in the early Italian Renaissance painters quite employed a secco techniques so as to allow the use of a broader range of pigments. In most early examples this work has now vanished, but a whole painting done a secco on a surface roughened to give a key for the paint may survive well
The State of India referred as the Portuguese State of India or Portuguese India, was a state of the Portuguese Overseas Empire, founded six years after the discovery of a sea route between Portugal and the Indian Subcontinent to serve as the governing body of a string of Portuguese fortresses and colonies overseas. The first viceroy, Francisco de Almeida, established his headquarters in Cochin. Subsequent Portuguese governors were not always of viceroy rank. After 1510, the capital of the Portuguese viceroyalty was transferred to Goa; until the 18th century, the Portuguese governor in Goa had authority over all Portuguese possessions in the Indian Ocean, from southern Africa to southeast Asia. In 1752 Mozambique got its own separate government and in 1844 the Portuguese Government of India stopped administering the territory of Macau and Timor, its authority was confined to the colonial holdings on the Malabar coast of present-day India. At the time of the British Indian Empire's dissolution in 1947, Portuguese India was subdivided into three districts located on modern-day India's western coast, sometimes referred to collectively as Goa: namely Goa.
Portugal lost effective control of the enclaves of Dadra and Nagar Haveli in 1954, the rest of the overseas territory in December 1961, when it was taken by India after military action. In spite of this, Portugal only recognised Indian control in 1975, after the Carnation Revolution and the fall of the Estado Novo regime; the first Portuguese encounter with the subcontinent was on 20 May 1498 when Vasco da Gama reached Calicut on Malabar Coast. Anchored off the coast of Calicut, the Portuguese invited native fishermen on board and bought some Indian items. One Portuguese met with a Tunisian Muslim. On the advice of this man, Gama sent a couple of his men to Ponnani to meet with ruler of Calicut, the Zamorin. Over the objections of Arab merchants, Gama managed to secure a letter of concession for trading rights from the Zamorin, Calicut's Brahman ruler. But, the Portuguese were unable to pay the prescribed customs duties and price of his goods in gold. Calicut officials temporarily detained Gama's Portuguese agents as security for payment.
This, annoyed Gama, who carried a few natives and sixteen fishermen with him by force. Gama's expedition was successful beyond all reasonable expectation, bringing in cargo, worth sixty times the cost of the expedition. Pedro Álvares Cabral sailed to India, marking the arrival of Europeans to Brazil on the way, to trade for pepper and other spices and establishing a factory at Calicut, where he arrived on 13 September 1500. Matters worsened when the Portuguese factory at Calicut was attacked by surprise by the locals, resulting in the death of more than fifty Portuguese. Cabral was outraged by the attack on the factory and seized ten Arab merchant ships anchored in the harbour, killing about six hundred of their crew and confiscating their cargo before burning the ships. Cabral ordered his ships to bombard Calicut for an entire day in retaliation for the violation of the agreement. In Cochin and Cannanore Cabral succeeded in making advantageous treaties with the local rulers. Cabral started the return voyage on 16 January 1501 and arrived in Portugal with only 4 of 13 ships on 23 June 1501.
The Portuguese built the Pulicat fort with the help of the Vijayanagar ruler. Vasco da Gama sailed to India for a second time with 15 ships and 800 men, arriving at Calicut on 30 October 1502, where the ruler was willing to sign a treaty. Gama this time made a call to expel all Muslims from Calicut, vehemently turned down, he captured several rice vessels. He returned to Portugal in September 1503. On 25 March 1505, Francisco de Almeida was appointed Viceroy of India, on the condition that he would set up four forts on the southwestern Indian coast: at Anjediva Island, Cannanore and Quilon. Francisco de Almeida left Portugal with a fleet of 22 vessels with 1,500 men. On 13 September, Francisco de Almeida reached Anjadip Island, where he started the construction of Fort Anjediva. On 23 October, with the permission of the friendly ruler of Cannanore, he started building St. Angelo Fort at Cannanore, leaving Lourenço de Brito in charge with 150 men and two ships. Francisco de Almeida reached Cochin on 31 October 1505 with only 8 vessels left.
There he learned. He decided to send his son Lourenço de Almeida with 6 ships, who destroyed 27 Calicut vessels in the harbour of Quilon. Almeida took up residence in Cochin, he strengthened the Portuguese fortifications of Fort Manuel on Cochin. The Zamorin prepared a large fleet of 200 ships to oppose the Portuguese, but in March 1506 Lourenço de Almeida was victorious in a sea battle at the entrance to the harbour of Cannanore, the Battle of Cannanore, an important setback for the fleet of the Zamorin. Thereupon Lourenço de Almeida explored the coastal waters southwards to Colombo, in what is now Sri Lanka. In Cannanore, however, a new ruler, hostile to the Portuguese and friendly with the Zamorin, attacked the Portuguese garrison, leading to the Siege of Cannanore. In 1507 Almeida's mission was strengthened by the arrival of Tristão da Cunha's squadron. Afonso de Albuquerque's squadron had, split from that of Cunha off East Africa and was independently conquering territories in the Persian Gulf to the west.
In March 1508 a Portuguese squadron under command of Lourenço de Almeida was att
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I, the Fortunate, King of Portugal, was the son of Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, by his wife, the Infanta Beatrice of Portugal. His name is associated with a period of Portuguese history distinguished by significant achievements both in political affairs and in the arts. In spite of Portugal’s small size and population in comparison to the great European land powers of France and Spain, the classical Portuguese Armada was the largest in the world at the time. During Manuel's reign Portugal was able to acquire an overseas empire of vast proportions, the first in world history to reach global dimensions; the landmark symbol of the period was the Portuguese discovery of Brazil and South America in April 1500. Manuel's mother was the granddaughter of King John I of Portugal, whereas his father was the second surviving son of King Edward of Portugal and the younger brother of King Afonso V of Portugal. In 1495, Manuel succeeded his first cousin, King John II of Portugal, his brother-in-law, as husband to Manuel's sister, Eleanor of Viseu.
Manuel grew up amidst conspiracies of the Portuguese upper nobility against King John II. He was aware of many people being exiled, his older brother Diogo, Duke of Viseu, was stabbed to death in 1484 by the king himself. Manuel thus would have had every reason to worry when he received a royal order in 1493 to present himself to the king, but his fears were groundless: John II wanted to name him heir to the throne after the death of his son Prince Afonso and the failed attempts to legitimise Jorge, Duke of Coimbra, his illegitimate son; as a result of this stroke of luck, he was nicknamed the Fortunate. Manuel would prove a worthy successor to his cousin John II for his support of Portuguese exploration of the Atlantic Ocean and development of Portuguese commerce. During his reign, the following achievements were realized: 1498 – The discovery of a maritime route to India by Vasco da Gama. 1500 – The discovery of Brazil by Pedro Álvares Cabral. 1505 – The appointment of Francisco de Almeida as the first viceroy of India.
1503–1515 – The establishment of monopolies on maritime trade routes to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf by Afonso de Albuquerque, an admiral, for the benefit of Portugal. The capture of Malacca in modern-day Malaysia in 1511 was the result of a plan by Manuel I to thwart the Muslim trade in the Indian Ocean by capturing Aden, blocking trade through Alexandria, capturing Ormuz to block trade through the Persian Gulf and Beirut, capturing Malacca to control trade with China. All these events made Portugal wealthy from foreign trade as it formally established a vast overseas empire. Manuel used the wealth to build a number of royal buildings and to attract scientists and artists to his court. Commercial treaties and diplomatic alliances were forged with Ming dynasty of China and the Persian Safavid dynasty. Pope Leo X received a monumental embassy from Portugal during his reign designed to draw attention to Portugal's newly acquired riches to all of Europe. In Manuel's reign, royal absolutism was the method of government.
The Portuguese Cortes met only three times during his reign, always in the king's seat. He reformed the courts of justice and the municipal charters with the crown, modernizing taxes and the concepts of tributes and rights. During his reign, the laws in force in the kingdom of Portugal were recodified with the publication of the Manueline Ordinations. Manuel was a religious man and invested a large amount of Portuguese income to send missionaries to the new colonies, among them Francisco Álvares, sponsor the construction of religious buildings, such as the Monastery of Jerónimos. Manuel endeavoured to promote another crusade against the Turks, his relationship with the Portuguese Jews started out well. At the outset of his reign, he released all the Jews, made captive during the reign of John II. For the Jews, he decided that he wanted to marry Infanta Isabella of Aragon heiress of the future united crown of Spain. Ferdinand and Isabella had expelled the Jews in 1492 and would never marry their daughter to the king of a country that still tolerated their presence.
In the marriage contract, Manuel I agreed to persecute the Jews of Portugal. In December 1496, it was decreed that all Jews either convert to Christianity or leave the country without their children. However, those expelled could only leave the country in ships specified by the king; when those who chose expulsion arrived at the port in Lisbon, they were met by clerics and soldiers who tried to use coercion and promises in order to baptize them and prevent them from leaving the country. This period of time technically ended the presence of Jews in Portugal. Afterwards, all converted Jews and their descendants would be referred to as "New Christians", they were given a grace period of thirty years in which no inquiries into their faith would be allowed. During the course of the Lisbon massacre of 1506, people invaded the Jewish Quarter and murdered thousands of accused Jews. Isabella died in childbirth in 1498, thus putting a damper on Portuguese ambitions to rule in Spain, which various rulers had harbored since the reign of King Ferdinand I. Manuel and Isabella's young son Miguel was for a period the heir apparent of Castile and Aragon, but his death in 1500 at the age of two years, ended these ambitions.
Manuel's next wife, Maria of Aragon, was his first wife. Maria died in 1517 but the two sisters were survived by an older sister, Joanna of Castile, born in
Pietro Aretino was an Italian author, poet and blackmailer, who wielded influence on contemporary art and politics. His father was a shoemaker from Arezzo, who abandoned his family to join the militia; the father returned to Arezzo dying in poverty at the age of 85, unforgiven by his son, who never acknowledged the paternal name, taking'Aretino' as a surname. His mother was Margherita, known as Bonci. Either before or after the abandonment, she entered into a lasting relationship with a local noble, Luigi Bacci, who supported Tita and his two sisters and brought up Pietro as part of his own family. Aretino spent a formative decade in Perugia, before being sent recommended, to Rome. There Agostino Chigi, the rich banker and patron of Raphael, took him under his wing; when Hanno the elephant, pet of Pope Leo X, died in 1516, Aretino penned a satirical pamphlet entitled "The Last Will and Testament of the Elephant Hanno". The fictitious will cleverly mocked the leading political and religious figures of Rome at the time, including Pope Leo X himself.
The pamphlet was such a success that it started Aretino's career and established him as a famous satirist known as "the Scourge of Princes". Aretino prospered, living from hand to mouth as a hanger-on in the literate circle of his patron, sharpening his satirical talents on the gossip of politics and the Papal Curia, turning the coarse Roman pasquinade into a rapier weapon of satire, until his sixteen ribald Sonetti Lussuriosi written to accompany Giulio Romano's exquisitely beautiful but utterly pornographic series of drawings engraved by Marcantonio Raimondi under the title I Modi caused such outrage that he had to temporarily flee Rome. After Leo's death in 1521, his patron was Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, whose competitors for the papal throne felt the sting of Aretino's scurrilous lash; the installation of the Dutch pope Adrian VI instead encouraged Aretino to seek new patrons away from Rome with Federico II Gonzaga in Mantua, with the condottiero Giovanni de' Medici. The election of his old Medici patron as Pope Clement VII sent him back to Rome, but death threats and an attempted assassination from one of the victims of his pen, Bishop Giovanni Giberti, in July 1525, set him wandering through northern Italy in the service of various noblemen, distinguished by his wit and brilliant and facile talents, until he settled permanently in 1527, in Venice, the anti-Papal city of Italy, "seat of all vices" Aretino noted with gusto.
He was a lover of men. In a letter to Giovanni de' Medici written in 1524 Aretino enclosed a satirical poem saying that due to a sudden aberration he had "fallen in love with a female cook and temporarily switched from boys to girls...". In his comedy Il marescalco, the lead man is overjoyed to discover that the woman he has been forced to marry is a page boy in disguise. While at court in Mantua he developed a crush on a young man called Bianchino, annoyed Duke Federico with a request to plead with the boy on the writer's behalf. Safe in Venice, Aretino became a blackmailer, extorting money from men who had sought his guidance in vice, he "kept all, famous in Italy in a kind of state of siege", in Jakob Burckhardt's estimation. Francis I of France and Charles V pensioned him at the same time, each hoping for some damage to the reputation of the other. "The rest of his relations with the great is mere beggary and vulgar extortion," according to Burckhardt. Addison states that "he laid half Europe under contribution".
"His literary talent, his clear and sparkling style, his varied observation of men and things, would have made him a considerable writer under any circumstances, destitute as he was of the power of conceiving a genuine work of art, such as a true dramatic comedy. —Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 1855. Apart from both sacred and profane texts—a satire of high-flown Renaissance Neoplatonic dialogues is set in a brothel — and comedies such as La cortigiana and La talenta, Aretino is remembered above all for his letters, full of literary flattery that could turn to blackmail, they circulated in manuscript and he collected them and published them at intervals winning as many enemies as it did fame, earned him the dangerous nickname Ariosto gave him: flagello dei principi. The first English translations of some of Aretino's racier material have been coming onto the market recently. La cortigiana is a brilliant parody of Castiglione's Il Cortegiano, features the adventures of a Sienese gentleman, Messer Maco, who travels to Rome to become a cardinal.
He would like to win himself a mistress, but when he falls in love with a girl he sees in a window, he realizes that only as a courtier would he be able to win her. In mockery of Castiglione's advice on how to become the perfect courtier, a charlatan proceeds to teach Messer Maco how to behave as a courtier: he must learn how to deceive and flatter, sit hours in front of the mirror. Aretino was a close friend of Titian; the early portrait is a psychological study of alarming modernity. Clement VII made Aretino a Knight of Rhodes, Julius III named him a Knight of St. Peter, but the chain he wears for his 1545 portrait may have been jewelry. In his strictly-for-publication lett