VI. STRIFE, CRIME AND PEACEMAKING

I' vo gridando: pace, pace, pace. PETRARCA*


I

"THE reasons why God hates you," said Fra Bernardino one day to his congregation in Siena, "are called vanity, curiosity and self-indulgence," and to this list he added, on another occasion, the sins of avarice, sodomy, blasphemy, vindictiveness, fickleness, factiousness and arrogance, as well as the sharp eye for his own interest which is a Tuscan trait to this day. "Whether a Tuscan has given his word or not," he said, "he will never fail to do what suits his own interests best!"1 He deplored the softness and inconstancy of purpose, too, which caused the Sienese to change their mind with every breath that blew. "Sangue senese, sangue dolce" (Sienese blood is soft blood), he quoted, adding, "But I would rather see in you one firm feeling, and not watch you veer about in every matter as you do, for you veer as rapidly towards evil as towards the good." And finally, he told them that they had acquired a universal reputation for treachery. "Hark to the fine name we bear! If a Frenchman or another foreigner comes here, he is always in dread lest an Italian should betray him."2

These remarks were undoubtedly sincere: Fra Bernardino had few illusions about his fellow-citizens, and did not hesitate to say so. But the reason why his words aroused no resentment was that, whatever fault he might find, he never forgot that he was a Senese himself: "O my Sienese citizens," he cried, "I too belong to you, and I speak to you in great love." This, surely, is why his congregation put up with his upbraidings; they knew that his anger was a father's anger; his fear, a brother's fear. "You are better off than any city in Italy. Alas, I am so much afraid that something is brewing under so much good fortune, that it is wasting me away. When I

-131-

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The World of San Bernardino
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi
  • List of Illustrations vii
  • SOURCES OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS ix
  • PRINCIPAL EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF SAN BERNARDINO 1
  • Preface 3
  • I. the False and the True Vocation 11
  • Ii. the World of Women 43
  • Iii. the World of Trade 77
  • Iv. the World of the Poor 99
  • V. the Charge of Heresy 117
  • Vi. Strife, Crime and Peacemaking 131
  • VII- the Preternatural And Supernatural Worlds 159
  • Viii the World of Letters 183
  • Ix. the Reform of the Observants 205
  • X. the Last Journey 229
  • EPILOGUE 241
  • PRINCIPAL ABBREVIATIONS OF TITLES USED IN BIBLIOGRAPHY AND NOTES 257
  • SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY 258
  • NOTES AND ADDITIONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY 263
  • Index 299
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