COMPANION TO CANTO IX
Annotations in the List of Works Cited:
Contributor name. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound, IV: n.gloss number. The Cantos Project. Web. Date of access.
Example: Preda, Roxana. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound, IV: n.13. The Cantos Project. Web. 5 September 2016.
(Contributor name, OCCEP IV: n.no).
Example: (Bressan, OCCEP IV: n.3). If no name is indicated, the gloss was written by Roxana Preda. In this case, the citation will have this format: (OCCEP IV: n.13).
References to The Cantos
As The Cantos Project is numbering the lines of The Cantos, references to cantos already glossed will be by canto number and line(s), as standard with classical works. Example: III: ll.7–17.
For cantos that are not yet glossed within the project, the references will be by canto number slash page number, as standard in the research on the poem. Example: III/12. The page number refers to the American edition of The Cantos by Ezra Pound. New York: New Directions, 1998.
© Roxana Preda. Companion to Canto IX, 26 March 2017.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Pearlman, Daniel. The Barb of Time. On the Unity of Ezra Pound's CANTOS. New York: Oxford UP, 1969.
Terrell, Carroll F. A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: U of California P, 1993.
Pound, Ezra. Guide to Kulchur. New York: New Directions, 1970.
Pound, Ezra. The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound to John Quinn 1915-1924. Ed. Timothy Materer. Durham NC: Duke UP, 1991.
Rainey, Lawrence. “The Malatesta Cantos VIII–XI.” In Modernism. An Anthology. Ed. Lawrence Rainey. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.
Preda, Roxana. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. The Cantos Project.
- One year – in 1440 the floods encircled Rimini (C IX n.1; Hutton 106).
- One year – in 1444 Malatesta set out in a snowstorm to help Sforza and caused Monte Gaudio to surrender (C IX n.1; Hutton 129).
- One year – hailstorm in 1442 wrought great destruction in Rimini and surrounding countryside (C IX n.1; Hutton 118).
- Astorrre Manfredi of Faenza – Astorre was a condottiere, but an enemy of Malatesta and ally of Federico da Urbino. The ambush happened in the winter of 1446-47, while Malatesta was crossing Astorre’s lands near Castello Rossi from a campaign for Filippo Maria Visconti (M n.2 71; Hutton 151).
Sigismondo began remodelling the chapel of Sigismund in the church of St Francis in 1446: in two identical inscriptions in Greek in the Tempio Malatestiano, he specified that he undertook the work because he felt grateful for having escaped dangers to his life:
“Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, son of Pandolfo, having by fortune’s favour escaped with his life from many great dangers in the Italian war, victorious on account of the deeds which he had courageously and successfully accomplished, set up this temple with due magnificence and expense to god immortal and to the city, as he had vowed when he found himself in those circumstances and left behind him a monument both notable and holy” (Hope 52).
- He fought in Fano – town in Le Marche, south of Pesaro. Fano was the domain of Sigismondo’s father Pandolpho, who was lord of Fano. The name of the town comes from L fanum (“temple”).
In November 1431 there was a rebellion in Fano led by a priest, Don Matteo Buratelli de Cuccurano, and Sigismondo came with 300 men to restore order. The Podestà and other noblemen were killed and Sigismondo “had a lucky escape” (Jones 172-73). Since the population did not support the rebellion, Don Matteo surrendered, was taken to Rimini and hanged.
- Emperor came down – Emperor Sigismund V of the house of Luxemburg (1368–1437) travelled to Rome to be crowned by the Pope in 1433. On his way back, he passed through Rimini where he was received with great ceremony. On this occasion, he knighted both Sigismondo and his brother Domenico.
This remarkable event influenced the design of Piero della Francesca’s fresco in the Tempio Malatestiano, in which Sigismondo is kneeling in prayer before his patron saint. Piero took the likeness of the emperor for the saint’s face, keeping the imperial attributes of sceptre and orb (Lavin 354).
- Knighted us – The use of this pronoun in the canto shows that Sigismondo’s younger brother Domenico (Malatesta Novello, 1418–1465), tells the story from his point of view. Pound presents “Novvy” as a companion in arms, a loyal brother whose fate is the same as that of Sigismondo. This point of view is Pound’s own and different from the historical record and evaluation of the brothers’ relationship, which was often adversarial (Jones 178–79).
Basinio – Basinio Basini, or Basinio de Parma (1425–1457), humanist scholar and poet, who, from 1450 on, lived in Rimini under Sigismondo’s patronage. He is the author of Liber isottaeus (three books of ten elegies each, written in the form of Ovid’s Heroides, that is, epistles between Sigismondo and Isotta) and Hesperis (an unfinished epic in 13 books on the battles between Sigismondo and the House of Aragon).
In 1455, he disputed with other two humanists, Tomasso Seneca da Camerino and Poreclio Pandoni, whether it was necessary to know Greek to write good Latin verse. Basinio, who had studied Greek, successfully defended Hellenic studies as a foundation for Latin studies. The dispute took place in the Castel Sismondo (La Rocca) and was presided by Sigismondo and Isotta. Malatesta declared Basinio victorious (C IX n.7; M 72, n.4).
Pound was familiar with Basinio’s work since his calling cards at the Bibliothèque nationale are still preserved. He may have read there the illuminated manuscript of Hesperis. Hesperis.
Basinio is buried in one of the sarcophagi lining the right side of the Tempio Malatestiano. See also Tempio in Resources.
- Madame Ginevra – Ginevra d’Este (1418–1437), Parisina d’Este’s daughter and Sigismondo’s first wife. Having married in 1434, she bore a son who lived only a year. Unwell afterwards, she died at 22. Pius II accused Sigismondo of having poisoned her.
Rocca – Castel Sismondo, the citadel of Rimini, which Sigismondo built on the site of an older fortress between 1437 and 1446. La Rocca served as city fortification and Malatesta’s residence. Corrado Ricci argued that Sigismondo was a military architect and heavily involved with all aspects of the construction. Among other arguments involving Sigismondo’s military expertise and the fortifications he made to other castles in the region, Ricci brings the letters of December 1454 that Pound included at the end of this canto. The letters show that nothing was happening in the building and decoration of the Tempio without his knowledge and consent. Ricci assumed the same for the construction of Castel Sismondo (139-56).
- Monteluro – battle that Sigismondo fought as Sforza’s ally on 8 November 1443 against a coalition led by Niccolo Piccinino, Federico d’Urbino and his own brother Domenico fighting on behalf of the pope (Jones 188; M 72 n.7).
- March 16 – the date of the final contract between Galeazzo the Inept, the Sforza and Federico d’Urbino whereby Galeazzo sold Pesaro to Alessandro Sforza and Fossombrone to Federico (Jones 192-3; Tonini V: 152).
- Alessandro Sforza – Francesco’s brother and Lord of Pesaro through his marriage with Galeazzo the Inept’s niece, Constanza, in December 1444. Galeazzo sold Pesaro to Sforza for 20.000 florins in March 1445 (Jones 191-3).
- Fedricho d’Orbino – Federico da Montefeltro (1422–1482), Lord of Urbino and Malatesta’s bitterest enemy. By the same contract with Galeazzo the Inept, Federico bought Fossombrone in 1445.
- bestialmente – I. “vilely.” The characterisation belongs to Gaspare Broglio, Sigismodo's friend and Pound’s source. In his Cronaca, Broglio says:
“Nel 1444, a dì 16 di marzo, lo illustrissimo signore miser Alesandro Sforza doventò signore di Pesaro per mezenità dello illustrissimo signore miser Federicho conte d’Orbino, il quale tramò dicta facenda col signore Galiazzo, per mezenità dello illustrissimo conte Francesco; la quale trama fu facta: che’l Signore Galiazzo vendè Pesaro al Signore miser Alexandro e la città di Fossambrone al Signore miser Federicho; la qual vendita el signore Galiazzo la fece bestialmente, per modo che non credo che n’avesse delle cento parte l’una di quello che la vendè; e persentito questo lo illustrissimo signore miser Sigismondo ne pigliò grande disdegnio collo illustrissimo conte Francesco, il quale li aviva promesso per capitoli d’aquistarli la città di Pesaro; e per dicta cagione e colli altri disdegni deliberò di discostarsi dalla volontà del conte Francesco e fu tramato l’acordo tra el papa Ugenio e’l Signore miser Sigismondo.”
“In 1444, the 16th of March, the very illustrious sir Alessandro Sforza became lord of Pesaro by the offices if the very illustrious lord Federico count of Urbino, who arranged this matter with lord Galeazzo, with the offices of the very illustrious count Francesco; this arrangement was made: That lord Galeazzo sell Pesaro to lord Alessandro and the city of Fossombrone to lord Federico; this sale lord Galeazzo made vilely, because I do not think he had one part in the hundred that he sold; and when he heard this, the illustrious lord Sigismondo was struck by great indignation towards the illustrious count Francesco, who had promised him formally to acquire for him the city of Pesaro. And for this reason, added to the other (causes of) indignation, he decided to distance himself from the desires of Count Francesco and the agreement between Pope Eugenius and Lord Sigismondo was arranged” (Tr. Massimo Bacigalupo.)
- Per capitoli – I. by agreement.
- The Marches – region south of Rimini, containing the towns of Pesaro and Fano, which were domain of the Malatestas. As a result of the sale of Pesaro, Sigismondo obtained the help of Alfonso of Naples, the Duke of Milan Filippo Maria Visconti, and the pope to attack Sforza's possessions in the Marche and he took them one by one, making himself master of the region (Jones 194). Map.
King of Ragona … lamb – In the spring of 1447, Sigismondo was employed by Alfonso, King of Aragon (see OCCEP VIII n. 11) in an alliance of Milan, the papacy and Naples against Venice and Florence. However, the king had not paid the whole balance for Sigismondo’s military services and had roughly handled his envoys asking for the promised payments. Florence “made every effort to detach him from the king” and in December Sigismondo decided to switch sides and sign a condotta with Florence (Jones 198).
Since this was a decision of great public importance, he put it to debate in the town council. Valturio advised him to fight for Florence and not to give back the money advanced to him by the King of Aragon.
Clementini, who recounted the episode, commented:
“Alle quali opinioni s’oppose il Valturio, in ciò troppo Statista, & adulatore, allegando, che Sigismondo Pandolfo tanto restarebbe in disgrazia del Re con la restitutione, quanto senza, si che per allora si poteua ualere del denaro (di già in parte speso) poiche cresceua il bisogno, non mancando poi tempo alla restitutione, e per certo che fù pernicioso conseglio, ruina del suo Signore, e la distruzion dello Stato.”
“Against these views spoke out Valturio, in this case too much an intriguer and flatterer, alleging that Sigismondo would be just as disgraced with the king if he returned the money as he would be if he didn't, so that for now he might just as well make use of it (already partly spent), since the need for it was growing and there was always plenty of time for restitution later: and certainly this pernicious advice was the ruin of his Lordship” (II: 355). (M n.9, 72–73. Tr. L. Rainey).
- Valturio – Roberto Valturio (1414–1489), Italian humanist. After ten years of work as a professor of rhetoric and poetry in Bologna (1427-37) and another decade as apostolic secretary, he became counsellor to Sigismondo in 1446. Valturio is the author of the book De Re Militari, written in Latin between 1446-1455 and printed in 1472. The book is a philological compilation of classical sources, but Sigismondo thought of it highly. The treatise also contains numerous illustrations of weapons and sieges attributed to Matteo da Pasti. It was translated into Italian in 1483; Leonardo da Vinci knew it well.
Valturio is buried in one of the sarcophagi outside the Tempio. See Tempio in Resources.
- Haec traditio – L. this treachery. Pound translates it by “this change–over.” The historian P. J. Jones characterized the situation like this:
“Legally Sigismondo’s defection may have been correct. It may also have conformed to condottiere practice. It was, none the less, politically mistaken. If it provoked no immediate disaster, more than any other single action it contributed to his ultimate downfall. His local quarrels with the Montefeltro were exceptional only in their virulence. The offence he had now given a powerful king could be the ruin of a princeling like himself. As the Florentine Vespasiano da Bisticci later wrote: ‘Fu questa condotta la salute della libertà de’ Florentini e la rovina della casa de’ Malatesti.’” [“this contract was the salvation of the Florentine liberty and the ruin of the House of the Malatesta”] (Jones 199).
Old bladder – Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Pope Pius II (1405-1464). In his Commentaries, he often made references to Malatesta’s career and interpreted everything that he did as criminal and treacherous. The pope’s text would create Sigismondo’s reputation as a criminal, pervert and monster throughout centuries.Pound would return to the Commentaries in canto X, which is dedicated to the nadir of Sigismondo’s fortunes.
- Rem eorum saluavit – L. “this saved their cause.” Quotation from Pope Pius’s Commentaries referring to Malatesta’s changing sides from the Aragonese to the Florentines in 1447. The phrase is an adaption of Pius’s “nec dubium quio ea Sigismundi proditio rem Florentinam salvaverit” (without doubt, Sigismondo’s betrayal saved the Florentine cause) (Comentarii quoted in M n.9, 73). Commentaries.
As a result of his condotta with the Florentines, Malatesta forced Alfonso to raise the siege of Piombino in September 1448 and conquered the fortress of Vada in 1453. These were the pinnacles of Sigismondo’s military career and sung in Basinio’s Hesperis.
- Polixena – Polissena Sforza (1428–1449), Francesco Sforza’s natural daughter and Sigismondo’s second wife. The wedding took place on 29 April 1442, when three days of celebrations took place in Rimini before Francesco and Bianca’s arrival in Rimini on 13 May. This second round of festivities is presented in canto VIII: 99-115. (See MC 81-154 for a detailed treatment of this line.)
Old Wattle-wattle — Francesco Sforza "wattle nose" "slipped" into Milan as the city surrendered to him in 1450 because of starvation. He thus became the Duke and put an end to the war for the Milan succession that had been going on since the death of Filippo Maria Visconti in 1447. Conflicts continued for a while until the Italian powers, Venice and the King of Naples accepted the situation. See also OCCEP VIII: n.16.
- Talked it over with Feddy – Federico de Montefeltro (see n. 14). Although Francesco Sforza had managed to take over Milan in 1450, the Venetians were still continuing the campaign against him, using Malatesta’s services. This is why when he sends the letter to Giovanni de Medici (VIII: 6–46) he is in the pay of the Venetians and besieging Cremona, which belonged to the Sforzas. Francesco then thought of a ruse to sever Sigismondo’s ties with the Venetians by arranging with Federico de Montefeltro to tell Sigismondo that if he chose to lay siege to Pesaro, he, Federico, would give him military aid in exchange for a few castles in the region. Malatesta fell for the ruse, asked for leave from the Venetians and left even when Doge Foscari assured him of help. However, when he reached Pesaro, he found it well defended and Federico told him that military aid would be forthcoming, but not for the attack, but for the defence of the city.
Pound splits the story in two: the first part (lines 56–68), about Sforza’s and Federico’s ruse is interrupted by two other stories, that of the marble from the Basilica St Apollinare in Classe and the rape and murder of the German lady. The second part, (ll. 95–101), the betrayal and aftermath, explains Malatesta’s falling out of favour with the Venetians. The story is recounted in Tonini V: 198–203 (M n.11, 73).
Old Foscari – Francesco Foscari (1373–1457) the Doge of Venice (1423–1457). Pound refers to the Doge’s letter to the city prefect Stefano Trevisan, dated 15 May 1449, responding to Ravenna’s complaint that Malatesta had spoliated the church. Ravenna was under Venetian jurisdiction at the time.
In his article “Marmi ravennati erratici” Corrado Ricci shows that the spoliation of old churches (no less than forty in Ravenna) was a generalised practice. Venice itself carried off stone from St Severus with impunity (“Marmi” 262). That, and the fact that Sigismondo was military commander for Venice at the time, made Foscari react blandly to the complaint, telling Trevisan to make sure that adequate compensation is made and that the church is not allowed to go into ruin (“Marmi” 261).
- Casus est talis – L. “The case is this.” Pound reconstructs the situation from three documents that he found in the archive in Classe, probably when he visited Ravenna on 28-29 March 1923 (see Calendar):
Foscari’s letter to Trevisan, 15 May 1449; a receipt for 200 aurei from the Abbot Luigi Pozzo (Alovisius de Putheo) which Malatesta paid in compensation for the damage to the church, dated 13 August 1450 (Annales 228); a document stating that the despoliation of the church had taken place during the trusteeship of Filippo Calandrini, Cardinal of Bologna, amplifying the number of wagons to a hundred. This document (included in Annales 229) is filed under the year 1480 in the Classe archive.
- Filippo, commendatary – Filippo Calandrini (1403-1476) was the brother of Pope Nicholas V and Cardinal of Bologna. He held the abbey of Sant Apollinare in Classe “in commendam,” that is, “in trust” until a new abbot could be found who would hold the post “in titulo.” Ricci pointed out that Calandrini received the “commenda” in 1454 when Luigi dal Pozzo’s term had ended and held it until 1457 when Pope Pius named a new abbot (Ricci n.21, 238).
Ricci assumed that the document mentioning how Malatesta had sent the hundred wagons to despoil the church was transferred to Filippo’s name out of hate (212). The despoliation had taken place in 1448, at the time when Luigi dal Pozzo was abbot, therefore before Filippo’s time.
- Classe – old Roman port outside Ravenna, famous for the Byzantine church St. Apollinare in Classe, built in 534.
- Quadam nocte – L. “On a certain night.” This phrase and the reference to the 100 wagons is taken from an anonymous document in the archive in Classe which is dated 1480 (Annales 7:229). The sentences that caught Pound’s eye are the following:
“In tantum ut predictus Illustrissimus dominus quadam nocte ultra centum plaustra ad monasterium classense transmissa, ex decrustatis ecclesie parietibus oneraret; ac de illis postea ecclesiam sancti Francisci, quam Arimini aedificaverat, decoraret.” (Annales 7:229; Ricci 212; M n. 12, 74)
“Insofar as the aforesaid most illustrious lord, on a certain night over one hundred wagons having been sent to the monastery in Classe, loaded materials taken from the church’s denuded walls, and with these decorated the church of St. Francis which he had built in Rimini. (M n.12, 73. Tr. L. Rainey).
- Santa Maria in Trivio – Romanic church in Rimini built in the 9th century, which was demolished to make space for the church dedicated to San Francesco in the 13th century (Ricci 164). Alberti superimposed a classical structure onto this older Gothic church to build the Tempio. See also Tempio in Resources.
- Plaustra – L. “wagons.” See also note 28 (“quadam nocte”).
- Aloysius Purtheo – Aluvisius de Putheo, Latin form of the name Luigi dal Pozzo (Louis of the Well), the abbot of St. Apollinare in Classe at the time Malatesta’s depredation took place. He accepted the 200 aurei (“ducentos aureos”) as compensation for the damage to the church, as attested by a receipt of 13 August 1450 (Annales 228). See also note 27 (casus est talis).
- German – Burgundian female – The case of the rape of a beautiful German lady on pilgrimage for the Jubilee year. Though the culprit could not be found, Pius in his Commentaries accused Malatesta (C IX n. 36; M 74).
From the short, disparaging treatment Pound gives to the episode, it is clear he considered the story a calumny. Pound’s letter to Quinn on 10 August 1922 (see Calendar) shows that he gave importance to and researched the tale, but then dismissed it because of the unreliability of the contemporary accounts:
“Authorities differ as to whether Sigismund Malatesta raped a german girl in Verona, with such vigour that she ‘passed on’, or whether it was an Italian in Pesaro; and the pope says he killed her first and raped her afterwards; also some authorities say it was Farnese and not Malatesta who raped the bishop of Fano, and in fact all the minor points that might aid one in forming an historic rather than a fanciful idea of his character seem ‘shrouded in mystery’ or rather lies” (L/JQ 217-18; BT 302).
- Poliorcetes – L. “taker of cities.” Epithet traditionally given to Demetrius, King of Macedonia (294-288 BC) (Liebregts 152).
- Polumetis – L. “many–minded, versatile.” Pound saw analogies between Malatesta and Odysseus, commenting:
"The things that the polumetis knew were the things a man then needed for living. The bow, the strong stroke in swimming, the how-to-provide and the high hat, the carriage of the man who knew how to rule, who had been everywhere, Weltmensch, with 'ruling caste' stamped all over him, so that a red, cracked skin and towseled hair as he came out of the underbrush left him “never at loss” (GK 146).
- M’l’ha calata – I. “he’s tricked me.” (Broglio in Tonini 5: 198-203).
- Wattle – “wattle-nose” Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan. The contract with the Florentines, which Pound quotes from in canto VIII is made with the approval of the Duke, which means that in 1452, Sigismondo had a previous condotta with him. See VIII: ll.57-76.
- Vada – scene of Malatesta’s victory against the Aragonese troops in 1453. He set up the bombards in the mud and was still able to break the fortress. (Broglio 178-80; M n.18, 75).
- He signed on with Siena – After the peace of Lodi in 1454, the military jobs for Sigismondo were becoming scarce and the patrons smaller. He took up a contract with Siena to fight against Count Pitigliano, who had seized the fortress of Sorano belonging to the commune. Sigismondo did not take the job seriously, calling it “two lumps of tufa.” As the siege dragged on, Siena began to suspect Malatesta of double dealing and hired other condottieri to help him. Finally, in 1454 Malatesta made a truce with Pitigliano and raised the siege. The Sienese now persuaded of his betrayal, raided his headquarters and grabbed his postbag containing about 50 letters. Pound quotes from 8 of these that he found in Yriarte.
- Pitigliano – Aldobrandino Orsini, Count of Pitigliano, (1420–1472), minor condottiere defending his new conquest, the castle of Sorano. Pound makes it appear that Sigismundo took pity on Orsini.
- Poor devils were dying of cold – The real reason why Sigismondo raised the siege at Sorano was not a secret understanding with Pitigliano, but care for his soldiers. As Broglio wrote in his Cronaca: “gli uomini morivano dal freddo” [“the men were dying from the cold.”] (Broglio 194; also quoted in Kimpel and Eaves 408).
- Ex Arimino ... singularissime – From Rimini 22 December Magnificent and powerful, my most excellent Lord – letter 1 from Matteo Nuti, an architect that Malatesta Novello had sent to help with the building of the Tempio in Alberti’s absence. (Yriarte 421-22. M n.20–21, 75).
- Master Alwidge – Luigi Alvise, overseer of carpenters and masons at work on the Tempio.
- Jhesus / Magnifico exso… Mio – magnificent Excellency, my Lord. Letter 2, from Luigi Alvise’s son written at his father’s dictation (Yriarte 420–21).
- Mr Genare – Pietro di Genari, Sigismondo’s chancellor and supervisor of the works at the Tempio.
- Sagramoro – Jacopo Sagramoro da Soncino, secretary to Sigismondo. Postscript to Letter 2 said that S had examined all the works.
- Illustre Signor mio – My Illustrious Lord, letter 3, 17 December 1454, from Matteo da Pasti and Pietro di Genari saying: “Messer Batista deli Alberti me mando un disegno de la faciada et un capitello belissimo” (Messer Batista Alberti sent me a splendid design for the façade and a capital”). Yriarte 419-20.
- Messire Battista – Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472), the architect of the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini. He designed the outer cladding of the Tempio, which covered an older Gothic church dedicated to Saint Francis with a stone structure having columns on both sides, an arch at the front, and a cupola. His design for the Tempio could not be carried out because of the disastrous turn that Malatesta’s life and finances took after 1455. At Sigismondo’s death in 1468, the front of the church was unfinished and the cupola not even begun. During the work, Alberti could not supervise, leaving the construction in the care of local master-builders like Matteo Nuti and Matteo da Pasti. Since Alberti was in the service of Pope Nicholas V, he was recalled to Rome and was often consulted by letter on specific problems.
It is interesting to note that Alberti’s design has never been completed in all the intervening centuries. Though the church was bombed during WWII and restored afterwards, the design was still not completed. The tower at the back of the church is new, yet the front was left unfinished. See also Tempio Malatestiano in Resources.
- First – List detailing the materials needed for the balustrades of the chapels in the Tempio. (Yriarte 398–99). The list in included in a contract between Sigismondo’s representatives (Antonio da Pasti and Francesco Marangoni) and Antonio and Jacopo da Milano for the furnishing of marble, 5 June 1455.
- Monseigneur – My lord. Letter 4, 21 December 1454, dictated by Isotta to her secretary, where she details her encounter with “Galeazzo’s daughter” who was presumed to be Sigismondo’s mistress (Yriarte 396–97).
- Mi pare che avea decto hogni chossia – I. “It seems to me that she said it all.”
- sagramoro… derricks – reference from Matteo da Pasti’s letter of 17 December 1454 quoted above (Letter 3).
Matteo wrote: “Apresso, io mandai… de la facenda a senagaglia per ser Battista a Sagramoro, che le mettese in lo riuelino di sopra el cordone, come scrissi a la S. V. a cio ne sia in tutti li luochi che ora se lavora.” Yriarte 419-20.
Pound translated “rivelino” (ravelin) with “derricks.” As shown from the quote above, Sagramoro is the name of Sigismondo’s secretary and should be capitalized.
- Messire Malatesta – Malatesta de Malatestis (1449–1458), Isotta’s and Sigismondo’s son (Yriarte 176). Yriarte wrongly identifies the boy with Sallustio (1448-1470), who was Sigismondo’s son with Vanetta dei Toschi.
- Lunarda da Palla – Malatesta de Malatestis’ tutor. His letter of 20 December 1454 tells Sigismondo about the boy and the joy he has with his pony. (Letter 5). Yriarte 446.
- Gone over it – extract from the letter by Matteo da Pasti and Pietro de Genari on 17 December 1454 (Letter 3). (Yriarte 419–420).
- Magnifice ac potens – L. “Magnificent and powerful.” Another extract from Matteo Nuti’s letter, which dealt with the walls and the roof of the Tempio (Letter 1). Yriarte 421-22.
- Malatesta de Malatestis ad Magnificum Dominum Patremque suum – L. Malatesta of the Malatestas to his Magnificent Lord and Father” (Yriarte 445). Form of address in the boy’s letter of 22 December 1454 (Letter 6).
- Illustrious Prince – form of address of the court poet Servulo Trachulo, who on December 18, 1454 wrote Sigismondo a letter advising him to win the trust and good-will of the Sienese and bide his time until they are divided, so that he may appear as a good alternative to home rule (Yriarte 444). The Sienese, who grabbed Malatesta’s postbag, may have found this letter a proof that the condottiere had betrayed them. (Letter 7).
- Hannibal – Hannibal Barca (247–183 BC), Carthaginian general considered to be one of the greatest in history and Malatesta’s role model. During the second Punic war, Hanibal crossed the Pyrenees and the Alps and invaded Italy. In his army he had elephants, which became Malatesta’s emblem, since he deemed himself to be descended from Scipio Africanus, who defeated Hannibal. Trachulo’s comparison would not have seemed farfetched to Sigismondo.
- Magnifice ac potens domine… premissa – L. “Magnificent and powerful Lord, my most esteemed, I send you my most humble greetings.” Letter from Pietro de Genari, Sigismondo’s secretary, 18 December 1454, is included in Yriarte 406–7. (Letter 8).
- Amava perdutamente – Italian translation of Cardinal Jacopo Ammanati’s Latin phrase “perdite amaverat,” meaning literally “loving loosely” i.e., outside marriage This reference to Isotta is found in Ammanati's own Commentaries appended to those by Pius. Pound found the phrase in his source, Yriarte, translated into French as “[il] a aimé éperdument Isotte et elle en était digne” ("he desperately loved Isotta and she was worthy of his love"). (Yriarte 155; M n.36, 77–78).
Isotta degli Atti - Sigismondo’s mistress and third wife.
- Ne fu degna – I. “she was worthy” [of his love].
- Constans … grata – L. “firm in her resolve / she pleased the eyes of the prince / lovely to behold / dear to the people.” (M n.37, 78) Yriarte quotes from the Chronicle of Pseudo–Alessandro: “Erat haec pulchra aspectu, plurimis dotibus locupletata, fœmina belligera et fortis, et constans in proposito, grata populo et placita oculis principis” (Yriarte 155).
- Italiaeque decus – L. “and the honour of Italy.” Aeneid 11, 508 where Turnus addresses the warrior princess Camilla as “O decus Italiae virgo.” (M 78 n.38). The Latin “decus” means honour and dignity, but also splendour and beauty (L&S). This is why the legend of Matteo da Pasti’s medal is Isote Ariminensis. Forma et Virtute Italie decori. On the reverse of the medal, Matteo put the emblem of the Malatesta, the elephant.
The inscription on the medal was initially put on Isotta's tomb, then covered by a bronze plaque with another legend (“D Isottae Ariminensi BM sacrum MCCCCL”). Corrado Ricci discovered this older inscription and showed it to Pound (MC 195-96).
- “Past ruin’d Latium” – A reminder of W. S. Landor’s line “Past ruined Ilion Helen lives” in his poem To Ianthe.
- Filigree hiding the gothic – Pound refers to the colonnade along the two lateral sides of the Tempio Malatestiano, hiding the windows of the old Gothic church. He compares the sarcophagi placed neatly between the columns with the ones in the Ravenna church of San Vitale, which are outside the complex of buildings in a small park. See also Tempio in Resources.
- San Vitale – Byzantine church in Ravenna, built in the 6th century. The old sarcophagi are placed outside, not inside the church.