At Siena

in The Man Who Believed He Was King of France

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780226145259
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226145273 | DOI:
At Siena

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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While Giannino di Guccio was becoming a wealthy merchant in Siena, a businessman at the top level of city government, he grew increasingly convinced that he was a king as well. With the help of Cola di Rienzo, a new version of how he came into the world had to be entirely rewritten. This new version was embodied in a letter composed in Latin and attributed to the chancellery of Cola di Rienzo. The letter begins with a detailed review of the recent generations of the royal house of France. It then recounts how, at the death of Louis X, it became known that his wife, Queen Clémence, daughter of Charles Martel of Anjou, the titular king of Hungary, was expecting his posthumous child. Giannino did not stop there. At some undetermined point he also created seven letters from the preceptor of Altopascio and, early in 1357, fabricated seven letters from the senators of Rome.

Keywords: Giannino di Guccio; Cola di Rienzo; Rome; France; merchant; Siena; Louis X; Queen Clémence; Charles Martel of Anjou; king

Chapter.  9011 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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