Siena, the City of the Virgin

Siena, the City of the Virgin

Siena, the City of the Virgin

Siena, the City of the Virgin

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to depict the destiny of a town in which the spiritual development of the Christian Western world from the Middle Ages up to the present day is exemplified, by drawing on the evidence of the most direct contemporary witnesses. These include not only written reports, chronicles, letters, documents, and sermons, but also works of art in so far as these reflect the spirit of a given period or throw into relief the character of particular persons or events, or else tell the story of a great communal achievement, such as the building of the Cathedral, and thereby illustrate a particular side of civic history. In order to connect the statements of all these contemporary witnesses a general commentary was needed, ranging local events alongside the great march of European history: at least an attempt has been made to indicate that these local events -- above and beyond their own special momentary effects -- were demonstrations of a great spitirual destiny.

For the title of the book we have used the words', The City of the Virgin', corresponding to the name given to their city by its inhabitants at the moment of its greatest flowering: the story of the town's adherence to the Holy Virgin in fact runs like a thread throughout the years of Siena's history. It is possible that to many readers the continual references to Mary almost as if she were a divine Person may seem strange: if so, we would ask them to consider the unfathomable truth which radiates from the person of the Mother of God -- quite apart from Her personal actuality, which we in no wise wish to 'explain away' -- and to remember that She represents a never-failing, indestructible source of maternal power to be found at one and the same time in the depths of the human soul and in the whole of the world itself.

The author acknowledges with grateful thanks the advice and co-operation of the following persons: Professor G. Cecchini, former director of the State Archives of Siena; Professor G. Garosi, director of the City Library of Siena; Signor Dario Neri, Professor R. Bianchi-Bandinelli, and Professor Enzo Carli, director of the Picture Gallery of Siena . . .

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