Pax tibi marketing, declaims Pieralvise Zorzi ironic retouching the invocation Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus (Peace to you, Marco, my evangelist) engraved on the pages of the Gospel on which the winged lion, symbol of the Republic of Venice, rests. And perhaps the writer who was the son of the great Alvise could not have chosen a happier incipit for the Unconventional history of Venice, the book just released by Neri Pozza in which he explains how the Serenissima planned its myth. Wisely using intelligence, creativity and the ability to innovate to apply marketing mechanisms and tricks long before this name existed.
Suffice it to recall how the hoax of the foundation of the city was built in 421 AD, hoax that will allow the mayor Luigi Brugnaro, alleluja alleluja, to celebrate the 1,600 years since the birth of what was once one of the great capitals of the world and remains the most beautiful city. Early birthday a Sunday In from Dogaressa Mara Venier.
Toast. And best wishes to all tour operators who, after the Aqua Granda on 12 November 2019 with the tide at 187 centimeters and the disastrous pandemic still in progress, they finally dream of a return, perhaps less invasive, of the visitors of the past. The recovery is well worth a cin-cin. Purch citing Marin Sanudo, the extraordinary diarist who for decades wrote down every detail of Venetian life, the municipal site 1600.venezia.it and the singers of the feast not only remember his words in support of 421 as if it were an irrefutable fact, but also certain details on the date contained in the work Of origin from 1493.
He works where, specifies the medievalist and president of the Veneto Institute Gherardo Ortalli in the book Venice invented going out to the Mill, Sanudo listed among the prodigies of March 25 how on that date God had created Adam, there was the announcement of the Angel to Mary, Christ was conceived by the Virgin and, finally, “still in this zorno , according to some theologians, Iesu Christo our redemptor fo da Hebrei in Mount Calvary crucefixo, sich zorno very memorable ”. More than that! So as the date for the birth of Venice it was fine, the historian smiles, and Sanudo even takes care to make it an astrological figure: everything happened “in the zorno of Venus around the hour of ninth ascending degrees 25 of the sign of Cancer”. With these imposing quarters of nobility why give up ?.
But it’s worth starting from the beginning. From Venice before Venice (Salerno editrice), book by another historian of Ca ‘Foscari author of numerous essays on Venice and Byzantium, Giorgio Ravegnani: The origins of Venice are a dark chapter in the history of the Middle Ages. Narrative sources do not abound, archeology has told us little so far and other material evidence useful for defining an overall picture is completely lacking. In the early Middle Ages, little is usually written, as the times are quite difficult, and the little that is produced is often confused and equally frequently mixes the real and the fantastic with ease. And here are the references to the indomitable fugitives of ancient Troy, to the golden season of Aquileia, to the Roman cities of Iulia Concordia, Opitergium, Altinum, to the arrival of the Huns who pushed the inhabitants of the Adriatic coast to take refuge en masse in Torcello and in the surrounding islands … Myths, certainties, doubts … Truly the city would have been founded in 421 by the people fleeing Attila if the Scourge of God was then fifteen and would have sowed terror in the lands of the Veneto today thirty years later , in 452?
In reality, says Ravegnani, the islands where Venice would have formed were already inhabited in Roman times, even if we are not able to say whether they were settlements of a certain importance or simply a few isolated houses or at most small villages. A difficult but beautiful lagoon environment, as a letter from Cassiodorus says that tells how men and goods moved along the canals on boats pulled by horses: From a distance it almost seems as if they are moving on the meadows.
It was certainly a very slow process, of accelerations and stagnations, tensions and pacts with Byzantium, with the Lombards (when a kind of network of twelve islands grows: Grado, Bibione, Caorle, Eracliana, Equilo cio Iesolo, Torcello, Murano, Rivoalto, Metamauco then Malamocco, Poveglia, Chioggia minor and Chioggia major), with the Franks of Pippin … A process that began in the second half of the sixth century and lasted for about seventy years or even more until at least the ninth century.
The fact is that the first reference to 421, Ortalli writes, leads to a manuscript preserved in France, in Metz, perhaps from the end of the 12th century. Seven centuries after the alleged foundation: Briefly he says: In the 421 building of the current state of Venice. End. Then silence. Up to Martino da Canal, a practically unknown chronicler who The estories of Venice of 1275, after having recalled the raids of Attila and the flight of the populations, states: I want you to know that the beautiful city called Venice was built in the year 421 by the incarnation of our lord Jesus Christ. The naive and false Time.news (copyright of Giorgio Ravegnani) made around 1334, that is, nine centuries after the presumed birth of Venice, by the (perhaps) Paduan doctor Jacopo Dondi, who in the Chronicled some gestures of Padua … cites an ancient document contained in the archives kept at the Palazzo della Ragione that would attribute the foundation of Venice to the Paduan. Who, taking into account the multitude and the fury of the Goths who in the year of Christ 413 with their king Alaric came to Italy and left this province devastated by iron and fire, had decreed to build a city in the area of the waters of Rivo Alto port and refuge which is indicated as Rialto, and they did so having gathered many islands of sea and lagoon and people from the province of Venice, and that city they wanted to call Venice, and sent the three consuls who supervised the development for two years of the work, on the 25th of March around noon the first foundation was laid.
And here is the Chronicon Altinate: The aforementioned year 421 on the 25th day of March in the midday of Holy Monday, to this Illustrissima et Eccelsa Citt Christiana, and marvelous is given beginning by finding at the hour Heaven in a singular disposition …. Can we trust? Well …
Michele Savonarola, grandfather of the arsonist preacher Girolamo, I will write in 1446 in his petition that he saw that decree. With his eyes. Unfortunately, explains Gerardo Ortalli, on February 2, 1420, with the fire of the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua, the archive also went to ashes. Goodbye tests. Assuming they existed. After that, for heaven’s sake, historians smile good-naturedly, the hoax of these times does no harm. Myths can also be cultivated. As long as they’re not taken too seriously …
Pieralvise Zorzi, expert popularizer of Venetian history, author of the essay Unconventional history of Venice, as the Serenissima planned its myth, just released by Neri Pozza (pages 256, € 18). Gherardo Ortalli (center), Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at the Ca ‘Foscari University and President of the Veneto Institute, author of Venice invented, leaving for the Mill. Giorgio Ravegnani (below) teaches Medieval History, History of Byzantine Italy and Military History of the Middle Ages at Ca ‘Foscari. Among his essays Venice before Venice (Salerno, 2020)
March 24, 2021 (change March 24, 2021 | 21:40)