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Huck  Huck is offline
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
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"Pen" in 2010 had found this ...

From: Isabella d'Este: Marchioness of Mantua 1474-1539 a Study of the Renaissance Vol. 1
On the Marchesa's return home, the alarming increase of the plague compelled her to leave Mantua and take her children to the villa of Sacchetta, where they spent the summer months. Here, on her birthday, the 16th of May, she received a present of exceptional interest in the shape of a treatise, composed by Mario Equicola, on her favourite motto, Nec spe nec metu.

The Marchesa, as we have already seen, in common with most Italian lords and ladies of the age, was in the habit of adopting special devices and mottoes. The musical notes which gave expression to her love of music, the candelabra bearing the motto Sufficit unum in tenebris which Paolo Giovio suggested, and which were embroidered in gold on her festal robes, may still be seen among the decorations of her camerini at Mantua. There too, inscribed in quaint characters, we may read the words of her favourite motto, Nec spe nec metu, by which she expressed that serene equanimity and philosophic frame of mind to which she aspired, neither elated by hope nor cast down by fear. She chose this motto for her own as early as 1504, when, at the request of her friend Margherita Cantelma, she gave one of the Imperial ambassadors who visited Mantua and Ferrara gracious permission to use the words in writing and in his armorial bearings and on the liveries of his servants, "we ourselves," she wrote at the time, "being the inventor of this motto, and having adopted it as our peculiar device." In the following autumn Mario Equicola, the Calabrian secretary of Margherita Cantelma, who had followed her and Sigismondo to Ferrara, and was often employed by the Este princes, wrote from Blois to inform Isabella that he had written a book on this device, and only awaited her permission to publish the work.

"Most illustrious Lady, -- It was the custom of ancient authors to seek for noble and excellent subjects in order to render their works immortal. Signora mia, although I am only a poor man of letters, I thank God, who has allowed me to serve Your Excellency, from whose rare talents and lively wit I hope some of my writings may acquire fame and authority. In this firm hope, I have composed a book of some forty sheets, in interpretation of Nec spe nec metu, making mention of the words on every page. In the said book I introduce discussions on the meaning of this motto, which will show Your Signory the methods of ancient poetry, philosophy, and theology, connecting Nec Nec nec metu with each in turn, and praising this motto above all others ever composed. I beg you to give me leave to publish and print this little work, and if you wish, will send it to you before it is published. I await your pleasure, certifying that the twenty-seven chapters on this inscription are nearly finished, after which I will illustrate the musical signs."

Mario had apparently divided his book into twenty-seven paragraphs, in allusion to the mystic number XXVII., vinte sette, another device adopted by Isabella, which, we learn from Paolo Giovio, signified that all the sects (sette) of her enemies were conquered (vinte). Isabella readily gave the desired permission, and the book, printed and bound in elegant covers, was presented to her by Margherita Cantelma on her next birthday. "Your letter and the book which Madonna Margherita sent us," wrote Isabella in reply, "are a more delightful birthday present than any gift of gold or other precious things,since you have thereby exalted our little device to sublime heights."
See ...

Well, this looks satisfying ... I'd forgotten, where I did see this.

A year later (2011) I replied:

I earlier searched a longer time for somebody else, who might have used the relevant motto "Nec spe nec metu". I didn't found somebody ... which somehow led to the conclusion, that these cards might be later than the time, when Isabelle adapted the motto (which is generally said to have happened 1504/05).

With this we're very near to the period, when Alfonso in 1505 ordered the Taroch cards in June 1505, also near to the death of Ercole d'Este (father of Isabelle and Alfonso) in January 1505, and the whole d'Este brother crisis, which shocked Italy in 1505/06 (two brothers went to prison for nearly all their later life) - a general phase of new orientation in the family.
Isabella had then the custom to play with cards in the evenings. In her studiolo she had a sort of writing desk, in which she collected - between other worthwhile small objects - nice playing cards. So Isabella was one of the earliest known playing card collectors, another, who is known for a playing card collection is Hartmann Schedel, who made 1493 Nurremberg world chronic.
.... (and more)
Ross noted then ...

Originally Posted by Ross G. R. Caldwell
Apparently John Shephard once argued that the card [with nec spe nec metu] was actually the World!

He also apparently found connections between the Este and Colleoni families (the shield is Bartolomeo Colleoni - 1400-1475).

"Shephard maintains that the pack from which these four cards come was a baptismal gift. The father of Isabella, Ercole d'Este, duke of Ferrara, was the uncle of Niccolò da Correggio, whose wife was Cassandra, daughter of the famous condottiero Bartolomeo Colleoni (1400-1476). In 1492, at the baptism of Isotta, daughter of Niccolò and Cassandra, the marquis Francesco II Gonzaga, husband of Isabella, held the baby in his arms at the baptismal font. Shephard believes that this occasion is the reason for which these cards were made."
(Dummett, Il Mondo e l'Angelo (1993), p. 60. (my translation))

... (and more)
... and from the momentary perspective it's an interesting detail, that Niccolo da Correggio (son of Beatrice d'Este, the 3rd girl in Ferrara 1.1.1441) and Cassandra (daughter of Colleoni) called her daughter Isotta (Isotta had been the name of Beatrice's half-sister, the 2nd girl in Ferrara 1.1.1441, earlier studied in this thread) in the year 1492.

Cassandra lived till 1519, surviving her husband (+1508), I don't know, what happened to the daughter.

Ross had then added ...

The following discussion of Isabella's use of the motto is from Stephen John Campbell, The Cabinet of Eros: Renaissance Mythological Painting in the Studiolo of Isabella d'Este, (Yale UP, 2004), pp. 77-78.

... which gives a date of the first use.

On own research Ross had then found ...

The phrase "nec spe nec metu" occurs in a Latin translation of Lucian (of Samosata), "Life of Demonax" (Demonactis Vita), of which the earliest I can find was made by Lapo da Castiglioncho (he only lived 1405-1438).

Interrogatus a quodam Demonax, quis nam suo iudicio faelicitatis Terminus haberetur, Dixit solum liberum esse faelicem. Illo dicente multos esse liberos, "At illum, inquit, puto qui nec timet aliquid nec sperat". "Qui istud, inquit, ille fieri potest? ut plurimum enim omnes istis servimus" . "At vero, respondit Demonax, Si animadvertas hominum res invenies Vtique eas nec spe nec metu dignas.
Lapo - as far I remember - had been in Ferrara (council) in 1438, possibly he died there (there was a plague in autumn). The young girls Isotta and Beatrice might have known him. Lucian is "funny" and perhaps Lapo was also funny.

Ross added a translation and asked a question...

Lucian, Life of Demonax,
“Asked for a definition of Happiness, he said that only the free was happy. 'Well,' said the questioner, 'there is no lack of free men.'--'I count no man free who is subject to hopes and fears.'--'You ask impossibilities; of these two we are all very much the slaves.' 'Once grasp the nature of human affairs,' said Demonax, 'and you will find that they justify neither hope nor fear, since both pain and pleasure are to have an end.'”
(trans. Fowler, 1905)

Who first translated Lucian into Latin? This might suggest where both Bartolomeo Colleoni and Isabella d’Este got it.
(it might be in Gianolo’s footnote, but I can’t see that)
As far I know it, Lucian wasn't completely translated. Somehow he was detected around this time. Guarino made his texts known to Alberti, and Alberti translated two texts(I think, short after 1440. Further he wrote then in longer years his "Momus" (till 1450), reflecting a Lucian theme.

Ross gave then pictures to show, that the Ace of Cups had also Colleoni heraldry.

Isabella naturally should have known her aunt Beatrice d'Este, who was a great Lady at the Sforza court, and she naturally should have known Cassandra (Niccolo da Correggio's wife).

Cassandra wrote, and a text has survived, with a focus on Penelope and Ulysses.


Searching for Cassandra I find this person ...

... Veronica Gambara, a writer ...

... and she appears in this book about the painter Antonio da Correggio ...

... and in this book
"Antonio Allegri da Correggio, his life, his friends, and his time"; from the Italian by Florence Simmonds.
... is a note:

Among the friends of her [Veronica Gambara] own sex who were often with her were
Ginevra Rangoni, the widow of Gian Galeazzo, who married Luigi
Gonzaga some time after 1517, and Cassandra, daughter of the great
captain, Bartolomeo Colleoni. On the death of her husband, Nicolo
da Correggio, in 1508, Cassandra had retired to a convent founded by
him, taking with her her daughter Isotta. She was afterwards joined
by her other daughter, Beatrice, who returned from Parma on the
death of her husband, Nicolo Sanvitale. Both Beatrice (whom Ariosto
sang under the name of Mamma) and her sister enlivened the solitude
of the cloistral cell with poetry and song
. Well might it be said, in the
words of Messer Lodovico :

" Oh ' di che belle e sagge donne veggio,
Oh ! di che cavalieri il lito adorno !
Oh ! di che amici, a chi in eterno deggio
Per la letizia ch' 'an del mio ritorno !
Mamma e Ginevra, e 1' altre da Correggio
Veggo del molo in su 1'estremo corno ;
Veronica da Gambara e con loro
Si grata a Febo e al santo aonio coro."

Many others sang her praises besides the great Ferrarese poet.
Among the most famous of her eulogists were Vittoria Colonna, Casio,
Sannazaro, Trissino, Ruscelli, Lilio Giraldi, Bernardo Tasso, who
spoke of her as " the glory of the feminine sex," Bandello, Varchi, who
lauded her " fluent and agreeable" speech, Dolci, Bembo, Molza, and
Giovanni della Casa. Later, Possevino called her the " Italian Sappho."
Charles V. told her she was dear to him for many reasons, but chiefly
for " her virtue and renown."
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