Showing posts with label Colonna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colonna. Show all posts

15 April 2018

Jacopo Riccati – mathematician

Venetian nobleman who was fascinated by Maths

Jacopo Francesco Riccati turned down several important posts to remain with his family
Jacopo Francesco Riccati turned down several
important posts to remain with his family

Respected mathematician, Jacopo Francesco Riccati, who had an equation named after him, died on this day in 1754 in Treviso.

He had devoted his life to the study of mathematical analysis, turning down many prestigious academic posts offered to him. He is chiefly remembered for the Riccati differential equation, which he spent many years studying.

Riccati was born in 1676 in Venice. His father, Conte Montino Riccati, was from a noble family of land owners and his mother was from the powerful Colonna family. His father died when Riccati was only ten years old, leaving him a large estate at Castelfranco Veneto.

Riccati was educated first at the Jesuit school for the nobility in Brescia and in 1693 went to the University of Padua to study law.

After receiving a doctorate in law in 1696 be began to study mathematical analysis.

He was invited to Russia by Peter the Great to be president of the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences, also to Vienna to be an imperial councillor, and he was offered a professorship at the University of Padua, but he declined them all, preferring to remain on his estate with his family studying on his own.

Riccati's works were published in four volumes
Riccati's works were published in four volumes
Mathematician Maria Gaetani Agnesi included some of his work on multinomials in the book on integral calculus within her work, Analytical Institutions.

Riccati married Elisabetta dei Conti d’Onigo and they had 18 children. Nine died during infancy, but nine survived. The two most famous were Vincenzo Riccati, who made important contributions to mathematical physics and Giordano Riccati, who carried out scientific experiments.

After his wife died in 1749, Riccati moved to live at his house in Treviso. He died there in 1754 and was buried in Treviso’s Duomo, where the Riccati family had their own chapel.

Riccati’s Opere - Works - were published in four volumes in 1765, edited by his son, Giordano.

The impressive walls of Castelfranco Veneto
The impressive walls of Castelfranco Veneto
Travel tip:

Castelfranco Veneto, where Riccati had his estate, is an ancient walled town in the Veneto region of Italy. It is also famous for being the birthplace of the Renaissance artist, Giorgione. The Duomo, which is inside the walls, contains one of his finest works, Madonna with St Francis and Liberalis, which was painted in 1504.

Treviso is famed for its picturesque canals
Treviso is famed for its picturesque canals
Travel tip:

Treviso, where Riccati lived towards the end of his life, is an historic, walled city in the Veneto region, with picturesque canals and water wheels. It is the headquarters of the clothing firm, Benetton, and is famous for producing Prosecco wine and the vegetable, radicchio.

More reading:

Tullio Levi-Civita, the mathematician who influenced Einstein

How Vincenzo Viviani was a friend of Galileo and studied the surface of the moon

Francesca Porcellato - inspiring paralympian from Castelfranco Veneto

Also on this day:

1446: The death of architect Filippo Brunelleschi

1452: The birth of the great painter and inventor Leonardo da Vinci


7 September 2017

Kidnapping of Pope Boniface VIII

When the Pope was slapped down by a disgruntled landowner

Boniface VIII had a long-running conflict with Philip IV of France
Boniface VIII had a long-running
conflict with Philip IV of France
An army, representing King Philip IV of France and the anti-papal Colonna family, entered Anagni in Lazio and captured Pope Boniface VIII inside his own palace on this day in 1303.

The Pope was kept in custody for three days and was physically ill-treated by his captors until the local people rose up against the invaders and rescued him.

Boniface VIII returned to Rome, but he was physically and mentally broken after his ordeal and died a month later.

The Pope had been born Benedetto Caetani in Anagni in 1230. He became Pope Boniface VIII in 1294 after his predecessor abdicated. He organised the first Catholic Jubilee Year to take place in Rome in 1300 and founded Sapienza University in the city in 1303, the year of his death.

But Boniface VIII is mainly remembered for his conflicts with Philip IV of France. In 1296 Boniface VIII issued the bull Clericis Laicos which forbade under the sanction of automatic excommunication any imposition of taxes on the clergy without express licence by the Pope. Then in 1302 he issued a bull proclaiming the primacy of the Pope and insisting on the submission of the temporal to the spiritual power.

The 'Anagni slap' as depicted by French  artist Alphonse de Neuville
The 'Anagni slap' as depicted by French
 artist Alphonse de Neuville
Philip IV countered this with an order forbidding all exports of money and valuables from France to the Papal States along with the expulsion of foreign merchants.

The squabble escalated until Boniface VIII excommunicated the King of France and released a decree stating that every human creature was subject to the Roman pontiff.

He sent mercenaries to destroy other people’s castles and declared the anti-papal Colonna family’s property forfeited. He then shared their land out among his own family members.

An army representing the powerful Colonna family and accompanied by Guillaume de Nogaret, Philip IV’s minister, marched into Anagni where the Pope was spending the summer at his palace. They kidnapped the Pope and demanded that he abdicate.

When he refused he was allegedly slapped by Sciarra Colonna, which famously became known as the 'Anagni slap' - lo schiaffo di Anagni. The Colonna family wanted to kill the Pope but de Nogaret wanted to take him to France to try him for his crimes in front of a General Council.

According to many accounts Boniface VIII was subjected to ill-treatment over a period of three days until he was rescued by local people. He survived the attack only to die a month later after he had returned to Rome.

The writer Dante Alighieri had been personally exiled by the Pope for supporting the limitation of papal powers, so when he wrote his Divine Comedy he had his revenge by placing Boniface VIII in hell.

Boniface's papal palace in Anagni
Boniface's papal palace in Anagni
Travel tip:

Anagni is an ancient town in the province of Frosinone in Lazio. It is south east of Rome in an area known as Ciociaria, named after the primitive footwear, named ciocie, favoured for many years by people living in the area. Boniface VIII was the fourth Pope produced by Anagni but after his death the power of the town declined and the papal court was transferred to Avignon. The medieval Palace of Boniface VIII, where he received the Anagni slap, is near the Cathedral.  Close by there is a restaurant named Lo Schiaffo.

Part of the Giotto fresco commemorating the Jubilee
Part of the Giotto fresco
 commemorating the Jubilee
Travel tip:

The Papal Archbasilica of San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome houses a small portion of a fresco cycle painted by Giotto for the Jubilee of 1300, called by Pope Boniface VIII after he was elected to the Papacy.

24 May 2017

Charles Emmanuel IV – King of Sardinia

Monarch who was descended from Charles I of England

Court painter Domenico Duprà's portrait of Charles Emmanuel IV
Court painter Domenico Duprà's portrait of
Charles Emmanuel IV
Charles Emmanuel IV, who was King of Sardinia from 1796 until he abdicated in 1802 and might once have had a claim to the throne of England, was born on this day in 1751 in Turin.

Born Carlo Emanuele Ferdinando Maria di Savoia, he was the eldest son of Victor Amadeus III, King of Sardinia, and of his wife Infanta Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain. From his birth he was known as the Prince of Piedmont.

In 1775, he married Marie Clotilde of France, the daughter of Louis, Dauphin of France, and Princess Marie-Josèphe of Saxony, and sister of King Louis XVI of France.

Although it was essentially a political marriage over which they had little choice, the couple became devoted to one another.

With the death of his father in October 1796, Charles Emmanuel inherited the throne of Sardinia, a kingdom that included not only the island of Sardinia, but also the whole of Piedmont and other parts of north-west Italy.

He took on a difficult political situation along with the throne, only months after his father had signed the disadvantageous Treaty of Paris with the French Republic following the four-year War of the First Coalition, in which Napoleon’s army prevailed. The treaty ceded the Duchy of Savoy and the County of Nice and gave the French army free passage through Piedmont to attack other parts of Italy.

The death of his wife Marie Clothilde was trigger for Charles Emmanuel's abdication
The death of his wife Marie Clothilde was
trigger for Charles Emmanuel's abdication
In December 1798, the French under General Barthèlemy Joubert occupied Turin and forced Charles Emmanuel to surrender all his territories on the Italian mainland and to withdraw to Sardinia.

After an unsuccessful attempt to regain Piedmont the following year, he and his wife went to live in Rome and in Naples as guests of the wealthy Colonna family.

It was the death in 1802 of Marie Clothilde that changed things for Charles Emmanuel, who was so grief-stricken he decided to abdicate in favour of his brother Victor Emmanuel. They had no children.

He retained the title of King but stepped away from responsibility and spent his life in Rome and in the nearby town of Frascati.

In Frascati he was a frequent guest of his cousin, Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York and the last member of the Royal House of Stuart.

Charles was actually descended from Henrietta Anne Stuart, the youngest daughter of King Charles I of England and Scotland, whereas Henry Benedict Stuart was descended from James II, who was the second son of Charles I.

When Henry died in 1807, Charles Emmanuel became the senior heir-general of Charles I, although there is no evidence that he attempted to make a public claim to the title of King of England or Scotland.

The Palazzo Colonna in Rome, where Charles Emmanuel died
The Palazzo Colonna in Rome, where Charles Emmanuel died
In fact, he appeared to have little interest in power. In 1815 at the age of 64, he took simple vows in the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Although he was never ordained to the priesthood, he spent much of the rest of his life at the Jesuit novitiate in Rome.

He died at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome in October 1819 and is buried in the Church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale.

Travel tip:

Sardinia is a large island off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. It has sandy beaches and a mountainous landscape. The southern city of Cagliari, from where Charles’s successor, Victor Emmanuel I, ruled, has a modern industrial area but also a medieval quarter called Castello, which has narrow streets, fine palaces and a 13th century Cathedral and is a fascinating part of the city to explore.

The Cattedrale di San Pietro Apostolo in Frascati
The Cattedrale di San Pietro Apostolo in Frascati
Travel tip:

Frascati, an ancient city 20km (miles) south-east of Rome in the Alban Hills, is notable for the Cattedrale di San Pietro Apostolo, which contains the tombstone of Charles Edward Stuart – Henry Benedict’s brother – who was also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender. Although his body was moved to St Peter’s in Rome, to be laid to rest with his mother and father, his heart was left in Frascati in a small urn under the floor below his monument.

More reading:

Victor Emmanuel I - the King who created the Carabinieri