Archive for March 5th, 2008

1644: Ferrante Pallavicino, more caustic than elusive

Add comment March 5th, 2008 Headsman

On this date in 1644, Italian satirist Ferrante Pallavicino was beheaded by the papacy at Avignon for apostasy for his witty attacks on the Roman curia.

Pallavicino, himself a cleric, was a notable producer of pasquinades, the politically-charged mockeries named for one of the “talking statues” in Rome to which they were often affixed.* Pallavicino’s expertise at this art found something affixed to him: a bounty, which a Frenchman earned by luring him from the safety of Venice to papal territory in France and betraying him.

The pontiff upon whom Pallavicino poured his execrations, Urban VIII, only survived the beheaded man by a few months. There were more than Pallavicino found distasteful his decidedly terrestrial politics — he fought wars of conquest (the last pope to do so), practiced rampant nepotism, and buried the Church in debt. Urban’s family was forced to leave Rome after he passed.

A minor figure — his body of work was truncated in its springtime, of course — Pallavicino is rather better covered in Italian than in English; this biography page, for instance, expands somewhat upon his career.

* A number of Pallavicino’s works had posthumous printings elsewhere in Europe. One of them, La retorica delle puttane is available online in an English interpretation (it’s a bit more intervention than a mere translation) of the equivalent title, The Whores Rhetorick.

Part of the Themed Set: The Written Word.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 17th Century,Artists,Arts and Literature,Beheaded,Entertainers,France,Heresy,Italy,Papal States,Popular Culture,Power,Public Executions




Execution Playing Cards

Exclusively available on this site: our one-of-a-kind custom playing card deck.

Every card features a historical execution from England, France, Germany, or Russia!

Recent Comments

  • lo han: The civilian clad VC terrorist had just murdered many family members of S.VN soldiers along with the serving...
  • RD: Kevin, Yes, I read the entire book after work. Carlisle caught Bundy in several contradictions. He gets us a...
  • Kevin M. Sullivan: I wanted a paper copy for my library, so I didn’t get mine immediately lol! And yes,...
  • RD: I just devoured the kindle edition til the wee hours. This work is about as close an explanation of Bundy and...
  • Johan Louis de Jong: The Qajar dynasty , the ancestors of Prime Minister Mossadeq, have been accused of ethnic...