The Black Swan: Two Orations for Ermolao Barbaro (1453)

in Complete Writings

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780226590073
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226590097 | DOI:
The Black Swan: Two Orations for Ermolao Barbaro (1453)

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Isotta Nogarola, an Italian-born French author dedicated two orations to Ermolao Barbaro when he came to Verona as the city's bishop in 1453, the first of these an encomium congratulating him on his new appointment. Although she again pays tribute to his full panoply of Roman virtues—his gravitas, prudentia, magnanimitas, iustitia (gravity, prudence, magnanimity, justice)—what she now emphasizes is the forty-three-year-old cleric's severity and his extraordinary and, she implies, the joyless diligence in his studies. The second oration, in praise of Saint Jerome, explicitly addresses the citizens of Verona and is clearly a public oration delivered in Verona in 1453 shortly after Barbaro took office. In the first third of the oration, she stresses two qualities of her own—obedience and humility—as her motivation in accepting Barbaro's charge. She lauds the exceptional virtue of “true humility, which is obedient not to its own but another's will.”

Keywords: Ermolao Barbaro; Verona; Roman virtues; Saint Jerome

Chapter.  7420 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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