COMPANION TO CANTO XXVI
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©Roxana Preda. Canto XXVI, 10 July 2018
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Carroll F. Terrell. A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: U of California P, 1993.
Roxana Preda. The Online Companion to the Cantos of Ezra Pound. The Cantos Project.
- my young youth – In these first lines, serving as a personal entry into the history of Venice, Pound goes back to his personal memories of the city, which he visited as a child with his aunt Frank and where he spent the summer of 1908. See also canto III.
- under the crocodile – St Theodore was the patron saint of Venice before the relics of St. Mark were brought to the city in 828. Theodore was a Greek soldier venerated in the Byzantine Empire and represented as having slain a dragon. In the 9thcentury, as Venice gained her independence from Constantinople, the Greek St Theodore was replaced by the Latin St. Mark. A statue of St. Theodore with spear and crocodile was mounted on one of the two columns at the entrance of the “Piazetta,” next to the column mounted by the winged lion, the symbol of St. Mark.
Looking east, Pound would have seen Palladio’s church San Giorgio Maggiore on its island; south, he would have looked at the Giudecca; and south-west, at the Dogana and Sta. Maria della Salute.
If we extrapolate these coordinates of the gaze to the whole canto, looking east would give a glimpse of Venice’s relations with the Byzantine and Ottoman empires; looking south would include mentions of Venice’s dealings with the Malatesta brothers in Rimini and Cesena; and looking south-west would imply the city’s rapport with Rome and the papacy. All these vectors are present in the canto.
- barche – It. “boats.”
- Relaxetur – L. “Let him be released.” Order of the Council of Ten to release Matteo de Pasti from prison on 11 December 1461 (Soranzo 483). See document in Sources.
- Pasti – Matteo de Pasti was Sigismondo Malatesta’s court artist in Rimini. He was responsible with the building and ornamentation of the Tempio Malatestianoand commemorated Sigismondo and his mistress Isotta degli Atti in a number of medals. As he enjoyed Sigismondo’s trust, in November 1461 he was sent on a mission to Mehmet II, the Sultan of Constantinople, to paint his portrait. However, he had incriminating documents with him, a copy of Roberto Valturio’s De Re Militari (“On the Military Arts”). When the Venetians captured Matteo in Crete, they suspected he was sent on a mission to aid Mehmet invade Italy. Pound first mentions this event in canto X: “and they caught poor old Pasti/ In Venice, and were like to pull all his teeth out” (See also OCCEP X: n. 46).
Mehmet’s portrait was painted by the Venetian painter Gentile Bellini in 1480.
- caveat ire at Turchum – L. “on condition that he does not go to the Turk.” (Soranzo 483). The Turk was Sultan Mehmet II, the new ruler of Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire.
- Constantinople – Capital of the Byzantine Empire. In 1453, it had been conquered by the Turks and become the capital of the Ottoman Empire. In 1930, the name of the city was changed to Istanbul.
- Valturio’s “Re Militari” – Roberto Valturio was one of Sigismondo’s court humanists in Rimini. He wrote a treatise in Latin, called “De re Militari” (On the Military Arts”). The treatise circulated in manuscript during Malatesta’s lifetime, a fact that made it even more valuable (See also OCCEP IX n. 19). It was illustrated by Matteo de Pasti and printed in Verona in 1472 in Latin and in 1483 in Italian. See Metmuseum.org.
- Nicolo Segundino – Niccolò Sagundino (ca. 1410-64), Venetian humanist and diplomat of Greek descent. He served as “advocatus curiae” and translator for the Venetian republic on several occasions. He participated in the Council of Ferrara in 1438 and in the Venetian negotiations with the Ottoman Empire in 1453. (Treccani online). The document no. 28/ 12 October 1462 included in Pound’s source mentions that Sagundino was the Venetian attaché to the Holy See (“secretario nostro apud Summum Pontificem,” Soranzo 489-90).
At the time, Sigismondo had been defeated by papal troops at Senigallia; moreover, he was believed to be shipwrecked and dead, whereas his brother Malatesta Novello was in danger of losing Cesena. Venice, which had employed several generations of the Malatesta as condottieri, decided to intervene. On 12 October 1462, Sagundino received his instructions to negotiate a treaty between Pope Pius II and the Malatesta family in the name of the peace of Italy and the Turkish danger (Soranzo 489-90). See also Timeline.
- omnem volve lapidem – L. “no stone unturned” (Soranzo 490).
Pound refers to Sagundino’s instructions of 12 October 1462 to implore the Pope to make peace with the Malatesta. The pope had burned Sigismondo’s effigy in Rome in April and the king of Naples had defeated Malatesta’s French allies in August. The situation of both Malatesta brothers, Sigismondo in Rimini and Domenico in Cesena, was desperate. Yet the Venetian intervention was not successful, the pope continued to press forward to destroy both the livelihood and the reputation of the Malatesta brothers, especially of Sigismondo, whom he especially hated. See Timeline.
- Pio – Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (1405-1464) became Pope Pius II in 1458. The conflict started when Pius intervened in Sigismondo Malatesta’s war with Ferdinand, King of Naples over old debts from 1447 that the condottiere still owed Ferdinand’s father, King Alfonso de Aragon. In a meeting at Mantua in 1459, Pius sought to compel Malatesta to pay those debts on onerous terms, by forcing him to surrender domains and castles of his family to papal control as guarantees. Sigismondo agreed at first, but then changed his mind and allied himself with the condottiere Piccinino and the French House of Anjou (who were claiming the throne of Naples) to wage war against Ferdinand. Sigismondo’s disobedience infuriated Pius, who tasked Federico da Urbino to be papal general and conquer Malatesta’s lands. In the wars that ensued between 1459 and 1462, Sigismondo and Domenico Malatesta lost all their domains to the alliance between Pius, Federico and Ferdinand. Owing to the Venetian intervention, Pius eventually allowed Sigismondo to retain Rimini and Domenico to keep Cesena during their lifetimes. Pound covers this story in his Malatesta Cantos, particularly X and XI. See Timeline. See also OCCEP X: 26.
- Faithful sons – Pound here begins to mine another document, the instructions of the Venetian Signoria to Bernardo Giustiniani (Soranzo “Doc N. 32,” 492-95). This detailed brief, issued on 28 October 1462, is Venice’s most important diplomatic effort to help the Malatesta. Written in Latin, it instructs Giustiniani how to plead Malatesta’s case to the pope, what the Venetian position is in the conflict and what specific people to appeal to for support. The letter begins with the deepest and most eloquent assurances of Venice’s obedience to the Holy See. (Soranzo 329).
- Our galleys were strictly neutral – part of Giustiniani’s brief was to reassure Pius that Venice’s four galleys in the Adriatic were not a sign of military pressure on its part, but strictly neutral, in the city’s endeavour to secure protection of commercial vessels (Soranzo 330, 494).
- Borso in Ferrara – Marquis Borso d’Este of Ferrara (1413-71) was an ally and friend to the Malatesta and criticized Pius’ act of burning Sigismondo in effigy (OCCEP X: 35). Part of Giustiniani’s mission was to visit him in Ferrara, greet him and let him know of his instructions (Soranzo 330).
- Bernard Justinian – Bernardo Giustiniani (1408-1480) – Venetian diplomat entrusted with missions to Rome and Paris. Member of the Council of Ten and Procurator of St. Mark. Treccani online.
On 28 October 1462, Giustiniani was sent on a mission to Rome to argue the case for Malatesta. The Venetian line was to implore the pope’s forgiveness for the two Malatesta brothers (“noi imploriamo perdono per i due Malatesti,” Soranzo 329-30; 492-95).
- Segundino is to come back – Giustiniani was to connect to Sagundino in Rome and take over the peace mission from him. Sagundino was to return to Venice after he had advised with Giustiniani (Soranzo 330).
- Senato Secreto – The documents of the “Secret Senate” are included in one section of the Venetian State Archives, called the Secret Chancellery (Cancelleria Secreta, simply called “la Secreta”), which contained documents of a restricted character (da Mosto 1-2). Pound found secret documents concerning the Venetian intervention in the war between Pope Pius II and Malatesta in the Appendix of Giovanni Soranzo’s book, Pio II e la politica italiana nella lotta contro i Malatesti 1457-1463, which had been an important source for the Malatesta Cantos (VIII-XI). Pound uses four Venetian documents from Soranzo’s “Appendix”: the order of Matteo de Pasti’s release from prison (Doc. 20, 11 November 1461); the instructions to Sagundino (Doc. 26, 12 October 1462); Giustiniani’s brief (Doc. 32, 28 October 1462) and the decision on the defence of Cesena (Doc. 33, 28 October 1462) (Soranzo 483-96). See source. All these deliberations and decisions had to be kept secret, so as not to endanger the Venetian delicate political relations with the papacy.
- Messire Hanibal – Annibale di Constantino Cerboni da Castello, an agent (“procuratore”) of Domenico Malatesta in Cesena (Cn. 16).
Decision taken by the Signoria concerning Cerboni’s request for troops under Venetian flag to defend Cesena. The response was negative, as Venice did not want to counteract the pledge of neutrality they had just instructed Giustiniani to convey to the pope. However, the Senato was willing to secretly lend Cesena 2000 ducats to pay for troops (Soranzo 495-96). See source.
- Cesena – Town in Emilia-Romagna, capital of the domain of Domenico Malatesta, also called “Novello.” In October 1462, it was evident that the Malatesta brothers had lost the war with the pope. Domenico Malatesta was lame and had no children , so keeping Cesena in the family beyond his lifetime was especially difficult. Venice was willing to help Cesena diplomatically through its ambassador Giustiniani as well as with a loan to pay for military defence. Its intervention with Pope Pius in October 1462 was helpful, as Malatesta Novello was forgiven and allowed to withdraw from the war. In exchange, Venice got the town of Cervia and its lucrative salt mines just a few months later, in 1463. Timeline.
- flag of St. Mark – The Venetian flag had a winged lion holding his paw on a book (The New Testament) to refer to St. Mark the Evangelist. See also n.32.
- Fortinbras – Carlo Fortebracci (1421-1479) – condottiere from Perugia in the service of the Venetians. Since 1460, he had been married to Sigismondo Malatesta’s daughter, Margherita, so he was part of the family and enjoyed their trust. Treccani online.
- secretissime – It. “in greatest secret.”
- Henry of Inghilterra – Henry the VIthof England (1422-61 and 1470-71) as Pound noted in his autograph draft of the canto. See
- Levant – In its widest sense, the Levant is the region comprising the Eastern Mediterranean and North African countries and islands, from Greece and Egypt to Turkey.
Corfu – Greek island with a strategic position as a gate to the Adriatic. The Venetians controlled Corfu for centuries (1401-1797) and fortified it to rebuff the incursions of the Ottomans. What was “above” Corfu was Venetian domain, the Adriatic Sea.
Selvo – Domenico Selvo (doge 1071-84). He completed the building of St. Mark cathedral and commissioned the marble mosaic in Greek style on the floor, which can still be admired today (Sanudo 477).
- San Marco – The Basilica of St. Mark, the most important church in Venice, dedicated to the city’s patron saint.
- sed aureis furculis – L. “but with golden forks.” Doge Domenico Selvo’s wife was Theodora, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Dukas XI. Sanudo mentions her refinement, but the reference to the gold forks is to be found in another source, Marc’Antonio Sabellico’s Historie rerum venetarum. Sabellicus Liber IIII: 113.
- luxuria – L. “Luxury.” Term found in Sabellico, who remarked “Sed nihil certe est immoderata luxuria brevius, quae quo maior est, eo periculosior.” (“But certainly nothing is more shallow than unchecked extravagance, the bigger, the more dangerous” (PL)) Sabellicus Liber IIII: 113.
- Lorenzo Tiepolo – Doge of Venice, 1268-1275.
- Barbers… – Pound’s source, Pompeo Molmenti, offers a rich description of the parade of the “Confraternite de le Arti,” the Venetian guilds of the luxury trades that greeted the Doge and Dogaressa at Lorenzo Tiepolo’s inauguration in 1268 (107-110). Pound offers a quick survey of these, as a sequel to his remarks on Selvo’s dogaressa, who introduced luxury customs from Byzantium. Pound ignored the comments he found in the sources (Sabellico and Molmenti), about the detrimental, weakening effect of luxury on political power. Source.
- gonfalon – OF “gonfalon.” Banner of Venice with the Lion of St. Mark. See n.20.
- et leurs fioles chargies de vin – Fr. “and their vials filled with wine.”
- 25 April – the day of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice. Pound refers to a tournament on 25 April 1415 between the teams of Ferrara and Mantua. In his typescript, Pound indicated “AD 1415” (Drafts 72/3220).
Apart from parades, jousting was another form of public event which enacted and displayed luxury, this time in the number of horses and the glorious spectacle of chivalry. Pound makes the ligature to his preceding lines by seeming to revert to the 1268 parade of guilds, now introducing the goldsmiths and jewellers, who were responsible for the award of a precious collar to the winner. The Mantuan team won because of an African rider (Sanudo 894-95).
- Nicolo Este – Niccolò d’Este III (1383-1441), Marquis of Ferrara. Pound’s canto XXIV is dedicated to his life and includes mentions of Ferrara winning in the various horse races in Italian cities. We are reminded of Parisina Malatesta, Niccolò’s wife, who after her marriage to the marquis in 1418 took care of the horses and competitions and was very proud of a jockey from Rimini who won them (XXIV ll.3-9). Pound’s source, Marin Sanudo, refers to a tournament on 25 April 1415, before her time, when Niccolò jousted with Gianfrancesco Gonzaga (and lost) (Sanudo 894-95).
Uggacion dei Contarini – Uguccione dei Contrari (1379-1448), Ferrarese nobleman, general and friend of Niccolò d’Este’s. Treccani online.
- Francesco Gonzaga – Gianfrancesco Gonzaga (1395-1444), Marquis of Mantua. Gianfrancesco was a Malatesta on his mother’s side and married into the Malatesta family. Like Carlo Malatesta (who had raised him and Parisina), he was a condottiere for Venice. The same Emperor Sigismund who knighted Sigismondo Malatesta and who became the patron saint of Rimini made him a marquis of Mantua in 1433.
- pellande – I. “pellanda” derived from Fr. “houpellande,” “a robe or long tunic that is worn belted or with a fitted bodice often having full long sleeves and lined with fur.” Wiktionary.
- cendato – I. cendado or zendado, “silk cloth,” taffeta (Cn.36).
- (’38) – The year 1438, when the Greek delegation disembarked in Venice, en routefor the Council of Ferrara in order to discuss a harmonization of the Latin and Greek Churches. The Greek Emperor John Paleologus desired this agreement in order to secure Italian military aid against the Turks. (Sanudo 1054)
Marquis of Ferrara – Niccolò d’Este, see note 35 above. He arrived in Venice on 12 February, four days after the emperor and his delegation, to invite them to Ferrara for political and theological talks.
“A’ 12. del detto mese giunse in questa terra il Signor Marchese di Ferrara, venuto praecipuèper visitare l’Imperadore di Constantinopoli, e venne con una nobile compagnia, e andò a visitarlo, offerendogli il suo Stato, e come il Papa colà voleva fare il Concilio.” (Sanudo 1053).
- greek Emperor – John Palaiologus VIII (1392-1448). The Greek emperor arrived in Venice on 8 February 1438.
- archbishops – the list below is a short survey Pound took from his source, Marin Sanudo, who lists all the members of the Greek delegation, as well as the important personalities who came to Venice to greet it. However, Pound’s list includes both Catholic and Orthodox prelates. At the time of the Council of Ferrara, large parts of Greece, as well as important islands in the Aegean were under Catholic jurisdiction. This was largely due to the events of the Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople in 1204-1205, which had all but destroyed the Byzantine Empire and divided it among French and Italian aristocratic families. Pound thus implicitly suggests that a great part of the Greek delegation was not Greek orthodox at all. The list of archbishops also makes clear that the Italians had as much interest in stopping the advance of the Ottoman Empire as the Byzantines did. Sanudo 1054.
- Morea Lower – Peloponnese. Morea was divided at the time between a Latin and a Greek zone. The Lower Morea with its capital at Mistra was Byzantine. However, Venice owned the southwestern part of Morea around the town of Methoni (Modon). See map.
- Sardis – Ancient city in Anatolia, in the Manisa region, Turkey; the capital of the kingdom of Lydia, destroyed by the Mongols in 1402. Britannica online.
Recent excavations at the site have revealed several Byzantine churches. See map.
- Lacedaemon – also called Laconia. District of the Peloponnese, largely under Byzantine control. See map.
- Mytilene – capital of the Greek island Lesbos. At the time of the Council, it was a possession of Genoa. See map.
- Rhodos – Rhodes, Greek island near the Turkish coast. From 1310 to 1522, the island was ruled by the Knights Hospitalier. See map.
- Modon Brandos – Methoni, Greek town where Venice had established a Latin colony during the Fourth crusade. The name in Pound’s source is “Modon Brandis” (Sanudo 1054). See map.
- Archbishop of Athens – In 1438, Athens was a duchy governed by the Acciaioli family in Florence.
- Corinth – city in the Isthmus of Corinth, in the Peloponnese. French knights had conquered the region during the Fourth Crusade in 1205 and founded the Kingdom of Achaea, which survived until the Byzantines managed to reconquer it in 1403 and integrate it into the Despotate of Morea. See map.
- Trebizond – Trabzon, Turkey. Greek successor state after the fourth crusade, under Byzantine control. See map.
- stonolifex – sacristan, ecclesiastic official.
“Il grande sacristano, il grande stonolifex, il Porteutico per nome Schifax.” (Sanudo 1054).
- Cosimo Medici – Cosimo I de Medici called Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464). Florentine banker who travelled to Venice to greet the Greek delegation. When it was found that Ferrara had the pest, Cosimo invited the Greek guests to Florence, where the resolutions of the Council were negotiated in July 1439.
- Sigismondo da Rimini – On the 25 January 1438, Sigismondo Malatesta came to Venice on business with the Signoria, then returned to camp. At the time, he was a condottiere in the service of Venice.
“A dì 25. del detto mese giunse in questa Terra il Signor Sigismondo Malatesta di Rimini venuto per visitare la Signoria, e poi tornò in campo” (Sanudo 1054).
- decide on the holy ghost – One of the most important theological differences between the Eastern and Western Churches was the dispute on whether the holy ghost proceeds from the Father only (the Orthodox view) or from Father and Son (the Catholic view, established in the Council of Nicaea in 325).
- Gemisto – Gemisthus Plethon, (1355-1452) Greek philosopher and theologian. Pound considers him a key figure in the Italian Renaissance, especially in the transmission of Greek learning and Platonic philosophy into Italy. Pound imagined his unofficial conversations at the Council of Ferrara and the impact Gemisto must have had on Cosimo de Medici, who tasked Marsilio Ficino to study Greek and translate Plato and the Neoplatonist philosophers into Latin. Gemisto died in Mistra, Peloponnese, a year before the Turks conquered Constantinople. Fighting the spread of the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Venice in 1464-66, Sigismondo Malatesta did not want to leave Gemisto’s bones in Ottoman ground. He brought them to Rimini and put them in one of the sarcophagi of the Tempio Malatestiano, as witness to his legacy and importance to Italian culture (See also OCCEP VIII: nn.36-40; XXIII: nn.4-7).
- Te fili Dux, tuosque succesores/ Aureo annulo – L. “Thee, my son the Duke and your successors/ gold ring.”
One of the central public myths of Venice is the origin of its annual wedding to the sea. In gratitude for the Venetian naval victory at Piran (also called Battle of Salvore, 1176), against Otto, the son of Frederick Barbarossa, Pope Alexander III gave Doge Sebastiano Ziani a golden ring to throw into the lagoon as a token of “marrying” the sea. This event is celebrated on the Feast of Ascension, 40 days after Easter (C n.54).
- Emperor Manuel – Pound is in error here, as the battle of 1176 was not fought against Manuel, the Byzantine Emperor (1120-80), but between the Pope Alexander III in alliance with Venice and the Holy Roman Emperor Frederic Barbarossa. Manuel and Venice had been on the brink of war in 1171 because the Byzantine Emperor wanted to punish “Venetian arrogance” by imprisoning all the Venetian population in Constantinople and the Byzantine provinces. Doge Michiel, though receiving the mission from the Venetian people to make war on the Byzantines to take revenge and free the captives, sought to solve the problem by negotiations. Meanwhile, the plague irrupted in the Venetian navy while Manuel procrastinated, and Michiel returned home with nothing achieved. He was assassinated as punishment. The events around Emperor Manuel were the deepest disgrace the city had to go through, the darkest hour (Madden 85-93).
- Rialto – L. “Rivoaltus,” (“high bank”) was an island where the commercial district of Venice was situated. Doge Sebastiano Ziani is remembered for having commissioned the first wooden bridge connecting the Rialto and the San Marco islands in 1175. Now Rialto is part of the district of San Polo, but has retained its importance as commercial heart of the city.
- Seal your acts with lead – the lead seal was a token of sovereign power on a par with the emperor and the pope. The myth goes that this is a privilege derived from Ziani’s role in the conflict between Alexander III and Frederic Barbarossa. (C n.57). Historians disagree, pointing out that Venice sealed documents with lead before Ziani’s time. (See C n.57; Madden 105).
“it should be noted that all letters in the name of the Doge of Venice are written on parchment, and the seal on them is one of the said metals (gold, silver or lead) but almost always lead. And on one side of the seal is engraved St Mark in the form of a man, and on the other side is written the Doge’s name and these words in Latin: [e.g.] Sebastianus Ziani, Dei gratia Dux venetorum” (Chambers 200110).
- Ziani – Doge Sebastiano Ziani (1172-1178). The successor of the unfortunate Doge Michiel (see n. 59), Ziani was one of the most important doges of Venetian history. Venice was a strong ally of Pope Alexander III in his conflict with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. After Frederick was defeated on land and his son Otto was vanquished and captured at sea, Venice became a key player in the peace negotiations between the pope and the emperor in July 1177. On this occasion, according to myth, Ziani received from the Pope significant tokens of political power: the lead seal, a white candle, a sword, the gold ring to wed the sea, a ceremonial umbrella, banners and silver trumpets. (Madden 105).
- Uncle Carlo Malatesta – Carlo Malatesta (1368-1429), condottiere from Rimini, was hired together with his brother Pandolfo (Sigismondo’s father) to lead the Venetian army in the war against Hungary in 1412. He was Sigismondo Malatesta's uncle. He was also Parisina's, the wife of Niccolò d'Este. After being severely wounded three times at the Battle of La Motta (August 1412), Carlo Malatesta was forced to surrender his command to Pandolfo.
- ballista – a combination of crossbow and catapult to throw objects (darts or stones) at a distance.
“Il Capitan Generale Signor Carlo Malatesta fu ferito di tre ferrite, una di balestra Unghera, una di punta di Lancia, ed una di spade sopra il fianco. Ma per gratia di Dio nessuna fu di pericolo” (“The General Commander Lord Carlo Malatesta had three wounds, one from a Hungarian ballista, one from a lance and one from a sword to his flank. But by God’s grace, none was dangerous.” Sanudo 870).
- general Pandolfo – Pandolfo Malatesta (1369-1427), Lord of Fano, the father of Sigismondo and Domenico Malatesta. Pandolfo was condottiere for Venice in the war against Hungary and took over as General Commander after his brother Carlo was wounded in the battle of La Motta in 1412.
“Furono mandati tre Ambasciadori al Signor Pandolfo Malatesta con presenti, argenti, velluti, panni di seta, vini, e confezioni. I quali furono Bartolomeo Nani, Sante Venieri, e Lorenzo Bragadini per animarlo, e per consultare quello che s’avesse a fare.” (“Three ambassadors were sent to Lord Pandolfo Malatesta with gifts, [objects of] silver, velvet, and silk, wines and sweets to inspire him and to consult with him about what is to be done.” Sanudo 874).
- young ladies – It. “le meretrici” (“whores”). This is an entry in Pound’s source, Marin Sanudo, of March 1422:
Nota, che nel 1422. tra uomini e femine furono trovate anime numero 190000. Fu presa parte, che le meretrici, che stanno a San Samuele nelle case da Cà Rampan, e nella Corte d’Elia, tutte debbano andare a stare a Rialto al luogo pubblico, e portare un facciuolo giallo, e così le ruffiane, sotto grandi pene. (“Note that in 1422 there were found 19000 souls, men and women. It was decided that the whores who reside by San Samuele in the houses of Cà Rampan and in the Court of Elia have all to go to Rialto, stay in a public place and wear a yellow kerchief and so do the matrons, under great penalties.” Sanudo 942).
- ruffiane – It. “ruffiana,” procuress, matron of a brothel.
- Pater – L. “Father.” During his life, Cosimo the Elder was the richest man in Florence and its ambassador. After his death, he was declared “Pater Patriae,” the Father of the State. See also n.54. See also Canto XXI ll.9-21.
- Lampascus – Lampsacus, Greek city in Troad, a peninsula in north-western Turkey.
- Cyprus – island in the Aegean, near the Turkish coast. In 1438, it was the property of the Lusignan family. After 1453, it was transferred to Venetian control. Wikipedia.
- March 8 – Sigismondo left Mantua ill contented on 8 March 1438 (Sanudo 1056). The reason was that the condottiere Niccolò Piccinino was raiding his lands, so he had to return home in hurry (Jones 183).
Pound is careful to chart Malatesta’s movements in connection to the Council of Ferrara. His Venetian source, Marin Sanudo, is reliable in this respect, as it traces the movement of important persons almost by day. However, Pound found only two mentions: Sigismondo was briefly in Venice in February and in Mantua in March 1438.
- Albizi – The Albizzi were a powerful Florentine family who had Cosimo de Medici exiled in 1433 in an attempt to stop the growth of the Medici’s financial and political power. Cosimo managed to return the next year and re-assume control of the city.
Pound refers to an entry of May 1438 in Sanudo 1059. A member of the Albizzi family was made Podestà in Bologna and the rumour was that the branch of the Medici bank in the city was sacked.
- Venetians may stand – chapters of the peace treaty between Venice and the Ottoman Empire on 18 April 1453 (Sanudo 1156).
- Year 6962 of the world – In the Byzantine Empire, the calendar started with the creation of the world (Anno Mundi), which was established as having taken place on 1 September -5509. Year 6962 of the world is thus 1453, the year Constantinople fell to the Turks and the Byzantine Empire ended. Anno Mundi.
- Illmeac exme – L. “Illustrissime ac excellentissime princeps et domine” (“Most illustrious and excellent Prince and Lord”). Form of address in Pisanello’s letter of 14 August 1453 from Bologna to his patron, who had sent him to evaluate and buy horses. Pound found the letter in the Ambrosiana Library in Milan and assumed it was addressed to Francesco Sforza, though the name is not mentioned in the letter. (Bacigalupo 349) See facsimile in Pound 1961, 238-39.
- farrier – a smith who shoes horses.
Pisanellus – Antonio di Puccio Pisano, called Pisanello (1395-1455), painter, medallist, and sculptor. The reason for including his letter into the canto may be found in Pound’s ABC of Reading: “Pisanello painted horses so that one remembers the painting, and the Duke of Milan sent him to Bologna to BUY horses” (30).
- Vittor Capello – Vettore Cappello, Venetian naval commander (1400-1467). Pound transcribes from an entry in Sanudo relating how Capello had brought the head of St. George to Venice.
“A dì 13. di Dicembre Vittore Cappello, ch’ era Capitano di mare di Galere 20. venne a disarmare, e portò con sè la Testa di San Giorgio Martire, tolta dall’ Isola di Liesina, la qual Testa era coperta d’argento, e colla sua medesima Galera arrivò al Monastero di San Giorgio Maggiore, e l’Abate e i Monaci con grandi cerimonie e onore vennero a togliere di Galera tanta Reliquia, la quale egli volle che dovesse stare ivi.”
(“On the day of 13 December Vittore Cappello, who was naval commander of 20 galleys, disarmed and carried with him the head of St. George the Martyr, taken from the Island of Liesina, which head was covered in silver and with the same galley he arrived to the Monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore and the abbot and monks came with great ceremony to take from the galley such a relic which they wanted to keep.” Sanudo 1171).
- Siesina – Pound wrote Siesina, his source wrote Liesina. The name should be Aegina, an island in the Saronic gulf, 27 kilometres from Athens. After the Fourth Crusade in 1204-05, it was controlled by Venice.
“Aegina obtained money for its defences against the Turks by reluctantly sacrificing its cherished relic, the head of St. George, which had been carried there from Livadia by the Catalans. In 1462, the Venetian Senate ordered the relic to be removed to St. Giorgio Maggiore in Venice and on 12 November, it was transported from Aegina by Vettore Cappello, the famous Venetian commander. In return, the Senate gave the Aeginetes 100 ducats apiece towards fortifying the island” Wikipedia.
- San Giorgio Maggiore – island in the Venetian lagoon, the site of a Benedictine monastery. The cathedral of St. Giorgio Maggiore that we see today was built on Palladio’s plans in 1566-1610, more than a century after the head of St. George was brought to the island.
- Cardinal Gonzaga of Mantua – Ercole Gonzaga (1505-1563). Son of Francesco Gonzaga and Isabella d’Este, Ercole was cardinal from the time he was twenty until his death; he assumed both theological and political duties for the papacy, for his diocese and for his own family in Mantua. As he had been papal ambassador to the Holy Roman Court, he could be depended upon to assist in Charles V’s plans to have Lorenzino’s assassins escape unpunished. See also n. 82 below.
- ultimo febbraio – last day of February.
- Lorenzo de Medicis – Lorenzino de Medici (1514-1548) also nicknamed Lorenzaccio (“the bad Lorenzo”) had murdered his cousin, Duke Alessandro de Medici, in 1537 in Florence, a story Pound told in Canto V (See OCCEP nn.31-36). As Alessandro was not only the Pope’s nephew, but also the son in law of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Lorenzino fled Florence and took on a nomadic existence, hiding in various cities. In Venice, Charles’s assassins caught up with him and murdered him on the last day of February 1548 (Ferrai 380-90). See also C n.85 and Mendoza’s letter relating the event in Sources.
- Hnr. de Mendoςa – Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y Pacheco (1505-1575), Spanish diplomat and ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire to Venice. See letter in Sources.
- To Francesco Gonzaga – Francesco II Gonzaga Marquis of Mantua (1484-1519). Carpaccio’s letter to Francesco Gonzaga requesting payment for a painting which had been taken from his workshop by a court painter of Mantua.
- a Jerusalem – The picture Carpaccio is referring to could be the lost work “Views of Jerusalem” which disappeared in the Sack of Mantua in 1630 (Chambers 1970: 122).
However, his architectural vision can still be observed in the existing St. Stephen Preaching in Front of the Gates of Jerusalem, painted at the time of the letter (1511, Paris, Louvre).
“I still prefer Carpaccio and the Bellini in Rimini and Piero della Francesca and in general painting with clearly defined outlines to any with muzzy edges. I know these clean edges will not serve for all painting. This is my personal angle” (Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts 305; Mamoli Zorzi 158).
- berettino – It. “small beret, cap.”
- Messire Lorenzo– Lorenzo Costa (1509-1535) or Lorenzo Leonbruno (1506-1524). Both were court painters in Mantua at the time of the letter.
History of Ancona – The painting Carpaccio is referring to is known as The Consignment of the Umbrella, illustrating an event that happened in Ancona after the Peace of Venice in 1176. The protagonists are Pope Alexander III, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederic Barbarossa, and Doge Sebastiano Ziani. After the ceremony in Venice, the Doge accompanied the Pope back to Rome. Stopping in Ancona, The Emperor and the Pope both received ceremonial umbrellas – not the Doge. The Pope insisted that Ziani receive an umbrella as token of his great role in the Peace.
Carpaccio was painting this fresco for the Great Hall of the Ducal Palace in 1511, at the time he was writing the letter. The painting was lost in the great fire that engulfed the Doges’ Palace in 1577. It survives in two preparatory drawings (Fortini Brown 84-86).
- Victor Carpatio – Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1520) Venetian painter. His work, usually in narrative series, like the Legend of St. Ursulaof the Life of St Stephenwere meant for the so-called “scuole” in Venice, which were charitable confraternities. The work Carpaccio did for the Palazzo Ducale was lost in the 1577 fire.
- Venetijs – from Venice.
- inter lineas – between the lines. Pound rewrites the original letter, which is humble, almost grovelling, with the true feelings that must have animated Mozart at the time. As the Archbishop of Salzburg Hieronymus Colloredo was not paying Mozart’s father and son a sufficient income for their work, they had to go on tour to make ends meet. The archbishop would not allow them this leave of absence, as he needed Leopold Mozart to organize his concerts. Wolfgang’s work was part time, so he solicited permission to go on tour alone. Source.
- little Miss Cannabich – Mozart's appeal to the Archbishop of Salzburg was successful and he was allowed to go on tour with his mother, leaving his father behind to continue working for the archbishop. Mozart wrote to him from Mannheim, where he finished his piano sonata (no. 7) in November-December 1777. He had already written the Allegro before arriving in the city; but after meeting Miss Rose Cannabich, who at 15 played his work with grace and skill, he was inspired to make her musical portrait in the second part, the Andante. See Sources.