Sunday, July 31, 2016

Shakespeare and Italy - 15 - Florence cont., The St. Francis

Another aside---since it seems the usual Stratfordian supporters are unable to explain the increased evidence of the growing chasm of expected connections between their William and the author Shakespeare, maybe some of you would like to give it a try. When the authorship topic comes up, then instead of the usual rolling of the eyes, or some distracting antic disposition, or the ranting and raving that is still popular among some leading scholars, you might try coming up with some rational explanations of at least some of the new arguments that are elaborated upon here:

The first one I think that I could even explain away. So you should be able to handle that and then move on to the second one which is:

2. We mention that “almost uniquely among Elizabethan poets, Shakespeare remained silent following the death of Queen Elizabeth I.” We should add that equally strange for a Jacobean poet is the author’s silencefollowing the death of Prince Henry, the hugely popular son of King James, and heir to the throne, in 1612.It makes no sense that the retired “lead dramatist of the King’s Men” would have been silent at such a time.

Then, if you think you can explain that too then you’ll have some confidence to try and tackle those that follow it. Good luck and feel free to share any responses you devise!
Shakespeare and Italy, Roe’s Chapter 9 continued:

9D. So when the widow worries that the troops might “approach the City” she is saying that then they would be at the wrong bridge to see the spectacle.  As they try to determine the troops route into Florence they listen for the trumpets for clues. And as they suspect they chose the wrong bridge to see them, Helena arrives, dressed as a pilgrim, and a conversation with a most important clue for Roe is provided. The Widow says:

“Look, here comes a pilgrim. I know she will lie at my house”. 
Helena says that she is bound “to Saint Jaques le Grand” and asks “Where do the palmers lodge?”.  To which the widow answers:
“At the Saint Francis here beside the port.”

So the widow runs an inn, the Saint Francis, where pilgrams normally stay and it is beside “the port”. What Roe discovered through his Italian scholar contact was that there was a specific landing along the Arno river running through Florence that since Roman times became known as “the Port”, as it was not just any port along the river there.  And because we know they were “beside” it, Roe could deduce that the bridge they were at was the Ponte alla Carraia. And again, he calls for the editors to restore the capital “P” to “the Port” as the FF had it.

9E. Even more interesting is that as Roe studied the history of that particular “Port” he found that the church next to it has long belonged to the Franciscans. This suggested that there might actually be a place that had been known as the “Saint Francis” close by. But how to find it? He phoned a Franciscan monastery near where he lived in California and asked them. They quickly sent him a small sketch of the Franciscan symbol – a cross surmounting two crossed arms with stigmata in the palms. Roe then walked the streets near the Port and soon found above one door the exact symbol the Franciscan’s sent him! This is further strong evidence that the author knew this area of Florence in great detail. Even today tourists to Florence are told that the old city is so small that it makes fairly easy to see all the main historic and cultural sights by walking around in it. And the old Saint Francis inn is a bit off this main part of the city, not easily come across by those seeking to see the most interesting sights of the city. So the average visiting traveler or tourist, back in the 16th century and as now, would not likely even pass by and note it. It’s much more likely to have been noted by someone who stayed in the city for some time and knew it fairly well, or at least someone who deeply interrogated travelers or citizens there that knew the city well.

9F. Further than this, and as confirmation, the play continues with Bertram’s troops coming over the bridge where the group of women were waiting. And Roe explains logically why they would come that direction rather than over a different bridge that would have led to the City where a royal reception would be waiting for them. If they had gone directly to the palace in the City they wouldn’t have had a chance to rest, wash, change their clothes, etc. before being welcomed by the Duke. But the route they did take led directly to Fortezza da Basso, Florence’s enormous citadel. And that first destination would be their most sensible goal and fits perfectly with the location of the Port and the Saint Francis.

So the evidence, taken together, again supports the argument that the author had detailed accurate knowledge of Italian geography as well as the area of France where Rossillion was, not to mention of some military customs, though some of these military customs might be expected of average citizens in England too.

As mentioned, Francis Bacon’s closest friend, Sir Tobie Matthew, perfectly fits such a contact. He lived and traveled throughout Italy for about 12 years, even converting to Catholicism (which could help explain Shake-Speare’s Catholic tolerance). He has even been called “the most Italianated of all Englishmen”. He visited Florence on more than one occasion, and as he was welcomed at the royal courts wherever he went, sometimes as a representative of the English government, he seems to have become friends with the Duke of Tuscany there, Cosimo II de’ Medici. They would even be likely to much enjoy each other’s company since they shared common interests, such as in art, literature, and supporting Galileo. Later, Matthew translated into Italian two books of Francis Bacon, his Essays and his Wisdom of the Ancients, and dedicated them to Cosimo II in the format of a personal letter to him, implying a close personal friendship.

Such connections are most valuable to Baconian theory since recent discoveries suggest he did not travel through Italy as had been long thought. Instead, it seems he had been holed up at Gray’s Inn with his legal studies. Since many non-Stratfordians believe Shake-speare very likely saw Italy personally, this is now a hurdle for Baconians and gives other candidates that are known to have travelled there an advantage on this significant branch of the authorship evidence.

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