Council of Mantua (1459)

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Pius II, convenor of the council. Pintoricchio 012.jpg
Pius II, convenor of the council.

The Council of Mantua of 1459, [1] or Congress of Mantua, was a religious meeting convoked by Pope Pius II, who had been elected to the Papacy in the previous year and was engaged in planning war against the Ottoman Turks, who had taken Constantinople in 1453. His call went out to the rulers of Europe, in an agonized plea to turn from internecine warfare [2] to face Christendom's common enemy.

Pope Pius II pope

Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini was Pope from 19 August 1458 to his death in 1464. He was born at Corsignano in the Sienese territory of a noble but impoverished family. His longest and most enduring work is the story of his life, the Commentaries, which is the only autobiography ever written by a reigning pope.

The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı, from the house of Osman I, the founder of the dynasty that ruled the Ottoman Empire for its entire 624 years. After the expansion from its home in Bithynia, the Ottoman principality began incorporating other Turkish-speaking Muslims and non-Turkish Christians, becoming the Ottoman Turks and ultimately the Turks of the present. The Ottoman Turks blocked all land routes to Europe by conquering the city of Constantinople, the capital city of the Byzantine–East Roman Empire, and Europeans had to find other ways to trade with Eastern countries.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, and also of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261), until finally falling to the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.

Contents

Process of the Council of 1459

Ludovico Trevisan, participant in the war congress. Andrea Mantegna - Cardinal Lodovico Trevisan - WGA13953.jpg
Ludovico Trevisan, participant in the war congress.

Pius entered Mantua on 27 May; his long progress to the place of assembly resembled a triumphal procession. He opened the council on 1 June and waited in Mantua as the guest of Ludovico III Gonzaga until September for the various representatives to assemble. On 26 September he called for a new crusade against the Ottomans. The refugee Cardinal Bessarion and Cardinal Juan de Torquemada were in attendance. The Duke of Burgundy was represented at the Council by the duke of Clèves, who brought in his train the young Burgundian cleric Ferry de Clugny. The humanist Isotta Nogarola wrote and dispatched to Pope Pius an oration favoring a crusade.

Mantua Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy, and capital of the province of the same name.

Juan de Torquemada (cardinal) Catholic cardinal

Juan de Torquemada, O.P., , Spanish ecclesiastic, was born at Valladolid, and was educated in that city.

Philip the Good 15th-century Duke of Burgundy

Philip the Good was Duke of Burgundy as Philip III from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty, to which all the 15th-century kings of France belonged. During his reign, Burgundy reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, his patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck and Franco-Flemish composers such as Gilles Binchois, and the capture of Joan of Arc. In political affairs, he alternated between alliances with the English and the French in an attempt to improve his dynasty's position. As ruler of Flanders, Brabant, Limburg, Artois, Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, Friesland and Namur, he played an important role in the history of the Low Countries.

The painter Mantegna had been invited to Mantua by Ludovico in 1457; although remaining in Padua, he painted the Agony in the Garden that is in the National Gallery, London, for its Podestà; in Mantegna's picture, the disciples sleep in Gethsemane, while Jerusalem is envisaged as Constantinople, with the rising crescent moon signifying its capture by the Turk. [3] Long after the pope's death, the artist Pinturicchio painted the convocation of the council among the scene's from Pius' life on the walls of the Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral.

Andrea Mantegna Italian Renaissance painter

Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son-in-law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g. by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality. His flinty, metallic landscapes and somewhat stony figures give evidence of a fundamentally sculptural approach to painting. He also led a workshop that was the leading producer of prints in Venice before 1500.

Padua Comune in Veneto, Italy

Padua is a city and comune in Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 214,000. The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE) which has a population of c. 2,600,000.

Podestà high officials in many Italian cities beginning in the later Middle Ages

Podestà is the name given to certain high officials in many Italian cities beginning in the later Middle Ages. Mainly it meant the chief magistrate of a city state, the counterpart to similar positions in other cities that went by other names, e.g. rettori ("rectors"), but it could also mean the local administrator, who was the representative of the Holy Roman Emperor. Currently, Podestà is the title of mayors in Italian-speaking municipalities of Graubünden in Switzerland.

Criticism and effects

Not all the leaders of the Church were in favor of a Crusade. The Venetian Cardinal Ludovico Trevisan, patriarch of Aquileia, met Pius in Siena, 16 March, and followed the pope to Mantua, although he opposed the aims of the Council. [4]

Ludovico Trevisan Catholic cardinal

Ludovico Trevisan was an Italian catholic prelate, who was the Chamberlain of the Apostolic Camera, Patriarch of Aquileia and Captain General of the Church. He succeeded his rival Giovanni Vitelleschi, a fellow cardinal of military talent and inclination, as bishop of Traù and metropolitan bishop of Florence. Trevisan was also known as the Cardinal of Aquileia and the Cardinal Camerlengo.

By the time the Council was disbanded in January 1460, an ineffectual call for a new crusade against the Infidel had been decided upon, and proclaimed by Pius on 14 January. One of the only European rulers to fully endorse the Crusade was Vlad III, though he was too preoccupied defending his native Wallachia to contribute troops. [5] The paper crusade was to last for three years and was to prove ineffectual. Pius would die in Ancona, making one last effort to launch this campaign by his own example.

Crusades Military campaigns of Western Christians in the Middle Ages against Muslims and others

The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The most commonly known Crusades are the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at recovering the Holy Land from Muslim rule, but the term "Crusades" is also applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns. These were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage. At the time of the early Crusades the word did not exist, only becoming the leading descriptive term around 1760.

Infidel term used in certain religions for one who has no religious beliefs

Infidel is a term used in certain religions for those accused of unbelief in the central tenets of their own religion, for members of another religion, or for the irreligious.

Wallachia Historical and geographical region of Romania

Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Lower Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians. Wallachia is traditionally divided into two sections, Muntenia and Oltenia. Wallachia as a whole is sometimes referred to as Muntenia through identification with the larger of the two traditional sections.

Historians of the Tarot like Heinrich Brockhaus [6] have asserted that the so-called Tarocchi di Mantegna were devised and made during the sitting of this council.

Tarot Cards used for games or for divination

The tarot is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini, French tarot and Austrian Königrufen. Many of these tarot card games are still played today. In the late 18th century, some Tarot packs began to be used in parallel for divination in the form of tarotology and cartomancy and, later, specialist packs were developed for such occult purposes.

Notes and references

  1. There was a Council of Mantua in 1064 and a Council of Mantua in 1537.
  2. Though the Wars in Lombardy had been ended by the Peace of Lodi (1454), England was convulsed in the Wars of the Roses, and the Thirteen Years' War was pitting the Prussian cities and the local nobility against the Teutonic Knights, whose support would be crucial in any concerted action against the Turk.
  3. J. H. Whitfield, "Mantegna and Constantinople" The Burlington Magazine119 No. 886 (January 1977), p. 41.
  4. Salvador Miranda, "The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church": Ludovico Trevisano
  5. Treptow, Kurt W. (2000). Vlad III Dracula: the life and times of the historical Dracula. The Center for Romanian Studies. ISBN   973-98392-2-3
  6. Brockhaus, "Ein edles Geduldspiel: "Die Leitung der Welt oder die Himmelsleiter" die sogenannten Taroks Mantegnas. Vom Jahre 1459-60" Miscellanea di Storia dell'arte in onore di Igino Benvenuto Supino, (Florence) 1933,pp 397-416 (On-line text (German)). "Placed edge to edge, they form a symbolic ladder leading from Heaven to earth", wrote Jean Seznec (The Survival of the Pagan Gods, Princeton University Press, 1940:139).

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