Tuesday 17 May free with Corriere della Sera the first title of the series on the families that have played (between wars and intrigues) a decisive role over the centuries
The success of
and, if we go back over the years, of
e Dynastydemonstrates that the idea of dynasty is the perfect ingredient in a narrative, whether it is blatantly popular or of higher quality. Even the most disenchanted today glimpse the events of the Windsors on paper and online,but the series Great dynasties of history – which Corriere della Sera and Oggi will offer from tomorrow – is something else. Another story, we can say, with a play on words, comments the curator Barbara Biscotti. She teaches Roman Law at the Bicocca University of Milan and has decided here to tackle the subject with an exquisitely historical, albeit popular, slant. Convinced, she says, that the cultural heritage of the dynasties has profoundly influenced our way of seeing things.
The first volume, signed by Franco Cardini, on the Medici family. A classic of dynastic narratives and a perfect synthesis of the basic idea of the project.In these territories, where the concept of family is intertwined with that of dominion – reflects Biscotti -, power is transmitted by inheritance. Therefore, there is no longer only the desire for affirmation in the present, but we begin to look to the future, with the aptitude to perpetuate a vision of the world. A way of avoiding human transience that we also find in an unconventional man like the emperor Hadrian, to whom Marguerite Yourcenar makes him say: I have no children and I do not regret them. Of course, in the hours of weariness and weakness, when we deny ourselves, I sometimes reproached myself for not having bothered to father a child who would continue me.
Dynasty, therefore, as the continuation of a project through the most radical riverbed, that is, the blood. A form of control over death – observes the author – and, together, a form of transmission of power that excludes, filters and that we still find today,for example, with reference to some professional categories. It is no coincidence that in common language we tend to say heir to a dynasty of lawyers. Sometimes the idea extends to the whole category, marking borders, barriers, linguistic codes (the family of journalists, for example). And, of course, there are the industrial and entrepreneurial lineages, well rooted in the last century and still today largely assimilated to royal families. Suffice it to say that in Italy gossip magazines dedicate and have always dedicated more or less the same space to the Agnellis (or to the Berlusconi) and to the Windsors.
The series is an exploration of power through the centuries: from the Medici to the Gonzagas and the Bourbons to land in the House of Savoy, York, Windsor, Doria. Different eras, people, different sensitivities. But reading the list of volumes against the light also comes to mind old Europe, what Stefan Zweig called the world of yesterday, which preceded the First World War: an intertwining of dynasties that were taken by surprise– as many historians now agree – from the violence of the conflict.
A question arises: perhaps this interpenetration of family ties and interests represented a safety net that made everyone more impervious to fear, transforming the ruling classes into sleepwalkers, to quote a good book by Christopher Clark? I disagree – Biscotti replies -. Of course, the fact that they were all related could lead to a special feeling of trust,the war broke out for political and geopolitical reasons. Retracing the great families, what emerges as a great design is a sort of European identity.
A plot of power whose threads flow from one to the other in an incessant multidirectional motion,making and undoing alliances that are parental relationships – continues the specialist -. People, ways, customs, tastes circulate along these threads: cultural models of that quarrel that was reaching the top of the political life of Europe and which ended up constituting, up to the great twentieth century crisis of sovereignty, the articulated but substantially unitary skeleton. Therefore, the dynasty as a gigantic declaration of imperishable life, which for, Biscotti recalls, is played out on a non-political, but personal territory. With all the moral risks that this entails.
And each family is eternalized in its own way. The Medici ended up being remembered for their works of art, for example.The Romanovs have found a tragic destiny which, at the same time, has opened the way to a new page of twentieth-century history. The phenomenon of polarization that accompanied the rise and affirmation of the great dynasties – notes Biscotti – almost always manifested itself on multiple levels, implying their involvement not only as actresses of the political, military and economic destinies of the territories that constituted their domains, but also invariably as collectors of cultural instances present in the
protagonists and promoters of artistic movements, supporters of intellectual cenacles, subsidiaries of those urban reformulations and architectural enterprises that have left us wonderful legacies.
In conclusion, one cannot fail to observe that the most famous (and talked about) dynasty that of the Windsors, was forced into a Copernican revolution in order to survive: the film by Stephen Frears,
tells well the turning point of Queen Elizabeth who accepts, although reluctant, to pay homage to the body of Lady Diana because the people ask her to. With all due respect to the divine investiture. true – concludes the curator – for this turning point it falls within a broader concept of loss of the sense of sovereign power. In the last century, many monarchies have emptied themselves of their original meaning and icons have remained. This is the only form today in which a monarchy can survive. And so we understand Elizabeth’s total dedication to firmthat is to the company, therefore to a sort of mission that transcends the people themselves.
The volume comes out on Tuesday 17 in the newsstands with the Corriere della Sera Medici by the historian Franco Cardini. This is the first title of the new series Great dynasties of history, directed by Barbara Biscotti, which offers thirty volumes (the complete list in the graph on the right page) each of which is dedicated to one of the illustrious families who forged European politics in the over the centuries. We therefore begin with the lords of Florence, who gave three Popes to the Church and two queens consorts to France. Note Barbara Biscotti about the Medici that in the history of this dynasty of bankers, patrons and fine political strategists summarized the paradigm of the emergence from the late medieval political scenario (…) of unprecedented models of power management. From Tuesday 24 May, the volumes of the series will be on newsstands with Corriere and Oggi at a price of € 7.90 plus the cost of the daily or weekly newspaper. The second volume will be Romnov by Cristiano Ragni, who will be followed by: Giuseppe Mrozek Eliszezynski, Borgia (May 31); Gian Luca d’Errico, Gonzaga (7 June); Paolo Formiconi, Bourbon (June 14); Patrizia Biscarini, Montefeltro (June 21st); Emanuele Melilli, Tudor (June 28); Beatrice Del Bo, Visconti (July 5).
May 15, 2022 (change May 15, 2022 | 19:44)