The Rise and Fall of Goritz's Feasts

By Gaisser, Julia Haig | Renaissance Quarterly, Spring 1995 | Go to article overview

The Rise and Fall of Goritz's Feasts


Gaisser, Julia Haig, Renaissance Quarterly


At his festival in 1513 the talking statue Pasquino took the character of Apollo to celebrate the election of Leo X and to predict a golden age of patronage and poetry.(1) "I used to be an exile," Pasquino/Apollo remarks, "But I'm back in Leo's reign. / So burn your midnight oil, boys, / And follow in my train, / For no one leaves my Leo / Without a handsome gain. / Bards will sing for prizes, / And they'll not sing in vain."(2) The new era lived up to Pasquino's expectations, for the Roman humanists were rewarded and entertained not only in the papal court but also, less formally, in the vigne of numerous Maecenases and fellow poets, where they came together in literary groups, or sodalities, to dine, exchange their poetry, and celebrate the shared ideals of the humanist community.(3)

The literary and convivial spirit of the age seemed to find its perfect expression in the hospitality of Johannes Goritz. Goritz had arrived in Rome from his native Luxembourg sometime during the reign of Alexander VI and soon became well established in the Curia, first as a registrar of supplications and later as a papal protonotary. Each year he celebrated the feast of Saint Anne (July 26) at the altar he had commissioned in her honor in the church of S. Agostino and feted the humanists with a poetry contest and an elaborate banquet in his vigna. The humanists called him Coricius or Coritius, in allusion both to the Corician cave of the Muses on Mount Parnassus and to the wonderful old gardener in the Fourth Georgic who "was first to pluck the rose of spring and the fruit of autumn" and, though tilling but a poor plot, "in his contentment equalled the wealth of kings."(4) Goritz's garden was magnificent (and his friends claimed that he worked in it himself), but he was not poor and obscure like the old man in Vergil.(5) He had grown wealthy in the Curia, and the fame of his celebration attracted poets from all over Europe.

For many years Goritz enjoyed extravagant popularity among the humanists of his adopted city, as Pierio Valeriano recalls in his notice in De litteratorum infelicitate:

He consecrated his delightful gardens at Trajan's forum to the whole academy and to all who were distinguished for letters. In addition, he established a celebration and a kind of literary contest every year on the feast of Saint Anne and celebrated it in a long succession of years. This won him so much good will that there was no one in our age of princes more celebrated in the poetry of all learned men than Coritius alone, and he was truly called the "father of all festivity and charm."(6)

All this generosity and "the piety of Corycius, attested by the witness of so many poets and rehearsed in the pages of so many scholars,"(7) as Valeriano tells us, were lost with Goritz himself in the sack of Rome in 1527.

Even before the sack, however, Goritz's feasts had lost much of their convivial savor, and Goritz himself was under attack by some of his former friends. Goritz's celebrations, as we shall argue, were rounded on the idea of Rome as the patria communis of the nations; they foundered on the realities of anti-German prejudice brought into the open when the humanists confronted the northerners Christophe Longueil and Pope Adrian VI. The changing attitudes can be charted in the remarks of Pasquino, in various writings of Pierio Valeriano, who both observed and participated in the principal events of the Roman humanist world, and in contemporary poems, some hitherto unpublished.

The Roman humanists took their festivities seriously, for they saw them not only as promoting and embodying their friendships but also as the modern counterparts of the gatherings of the ancient poets whom they so admired. Thus, when Valeriano lectured on Catullus at the University of Rome in 1522, he took the occasion to pronounce a little digression on the word sodalis in Cat. 12 in order to draw a parallel between ancient and modern sodalities.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Rise and Fall of Goritz's Feasts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.