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Old September 9th, 2014, 09:23 AM   #511

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From the previous page:

plastron noun \ˈplas-trən\ (Middle French plastron, breastplate, from Old Italian piastrone, augmentative of piastra thin metal plate)

1 a : a metal breastplate formerly worn under the hauberk

. b : a quilted pad worn in fencing to protect the chest, waist, and the side on which the weapon is held

2 : the ventral part of the shell of a tortoise or turtle consisting typically of nine symmetrically placed bones overlaid by horny plates

3 a : a trimming like a bib for a woman's dress

. b : DICKEY 1a

4 : a thin film of air held by water-repellent hairs of some aquatic insects

* * *

Though primarily remembered now as a humour magazine, Punch apparently ran informative articles as well. Below we have a quote from a piece on medieval armour.

Quote:
Coming now to the military costume of this period [the reign of Edward III of England], we would direct especial notice to the beautiful initial letter which our artist has selected to illuminate this chapter, as throwing a clear light upon the armour of the time. The letter we should note is quite correctly copied from one that any antiquary at a glance will recognise; but as some few of our readers may not be so well acquainted with it, we may append a word or two by way of explanation. Looking to the left, then, you will perceive his Gracious Majesty King Edward the Third a-sitting in his easy chair (please observe the cushion on it) and a-holding in his left hand either a sceptre or a sword or else a kitchen poker, it is really rather puzzling to decide precisely which. With his dexter hand the monarch is handing what might possibly be thought to be a newspaper, but which really is the grant of the Duchy of Aquitaine. The figure to the right is Edward the Black Prince, who is a-kneeling on his helmet to receive the Royal gift. Some conjecture that the reason why he chooses that position is simply that his leg armour was made a little tight, and if he had knelt upon the ground he could not have got up again. The spectator will remark the pourpoint over the thigh-piece, a prevalent way of wearing it in this and the next reign. . . .

Plate armour came much more into use during this reign, the body indeed being almost wholly covered by it. The chief cause of its adoption was, that it was much lighter than chain-mail, which, with its appendages, was found so hot and heavy that the knights were sometimes suffocated, or sank beneath its weight. A light steel back-and-breast-plate proved fully as protective as the hauberk and the plastron, and the plate was not so liable to be pushed into a wound as were the links of the chain mail when broken by a lance-poke. This improvement in our armour was, it seems, of a foreign origin. By the Florentine annals the year 1315 is given as the date of a new Horse-guards regulation, whereby every mounted soldier was ordered to have his helmet and his breastplate, his cuisses [armour for the thighs], jambes [also known as greaves—armour for the legs below the knees], and gauntlets, all of iron plate: and as the Italians were famous for the way in which they kept their irons in the fire, we found it worth our while to steal a leaf out of their books.

Punch's Book of British Costumes Throughout The Ages (1860)
Bonus word:

pourpoint noun \ˈpu̇r-ˌpȯint, -ˌpwant\ (Middle English purpoint, from Anglo-French, from Old French porpoint, adjective, quilted, from Vulgar Latin *perpunctus, past participle of *perpungere to perforate, from Latin per through + pungere to prick, pierce)

: a padded and quilted doublet

* * *

Initial referred to in the quote; an illustration for the chapter.

Click the image to open in full size.

* * *

The original, from a medieval manuscript.
Initial E: King Edward III granting the Black Prince the principality of Aquitaine.


Click the image to open in full size.


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cheeseparing noun \ˈchēz-ˌper-iŋ\ (Originally "a paring of cheese rind", something only the most miserly would save)

1 : something worthless or insignificant

2 : miserly economizing

cheese·par·ing adjective

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Old September 15th, 2014, 10:08 AM   #512

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From the previous page:

clochard noun \klō-ˈshär\ (French, from clocher to limp, from Vulgar Latin *cloppicare, from Late Latin cloppus lame)

: vagrant, tramp

* * *

The history of the (admittedly marginal) fascist movement in pre-WWII France is intriguing to me. In the book from which the following quote is taken, Mark Antliff explores that history through the lens of the thinkers, writers, and artists who were either part of the movement, or whose work was co-opted by it.

Quote:
[Germaine] Krull in her Eiffel Tower images followed the example of Bauhaus photographer Lázlo Moholy-Nagy in eliminating all evidence of human presence to focus our attention on the structure itself. In a text accompanying photographs of the tower reproduced in the magazine Vu, Krull's close friend Florent Fels argued that the photographer's images of "girders and rivets" were comparable to "verse, words, rhyme." Krull's tower photographs reportedly conspired to make us contemplate the "incomparable poet: Eiffel," for one "no longer thinks of the mechanical marvel," "of the forge, of the mine," or of "the engineer, the worker, the laborer." This separation of the poetic or artistic import of the tower from the collective efforts of its manufacturers in effect denies that the process of industrialism could have any aesthetic significance, or that the tower itself could embody the collective sensibility of l'art mécanique. By contrast, for Grand'Route's [a short-lived fascist oriented journal founded by Philippe Lamour] readers, the same images of the tower conjured up visions of "the fire of the factories" and "the daily rotation of turbines." By claiming that the Eiffel Tower represented the poetic sensibility of one man—Gustave Eiffel—rather than of the engineers and workers who participated in the tower's construction, Fels celebrated the very individualism that was anathema to Lamour. Yet in keeping with the productivism of Grand'Route, Krull's images for the journal conveyed the technological dynamism of speeding automobiles, while her montage techniques were subsumed within Lamour's theory of collectivism. Grand'Route celebrated Krull because for Lamour her photographs expressed more than her own poetic sensibility or that of Eiffel: they expressed the dynamism of collective consciousness and the industrial revolution.

Lamour's judicious appreciation of Krull also led him to ignore her photographs of the Parisian homeless (clochards), published in two portfolios in 1928. Krull's focus on the defiant individualism of her subjects effectively fullfilled the popular myth that these victims of urban poverty were poor and itinerant by choice, and thus symbols of resistance to the socioeconomic status quo. One such image, published in a 1928 edition of Vu magazine, was accompanied by a caption by writer Henri Danjou identifying the clochard holding a sack as "un philosophe del la place Maubert," and Krull in her autobiography claimed that the clochards had "a special view of liberty" and consciously chose "to live freely as clochards." Kim Sichel rightly associates the clochard-philosophe reproduced in Vu with another urban "philosopher" eulogized in both painting and poetry, the nineteenth-century chiffonnier, or rag picker, but Krull may also be alluding to the anarchist trimardier, or wandering proselytizer. Krull's images celebrated the individual tenacity of these social outcasts, and nothing could be further from the spirit of collectivism and modern productivism promoted in Grand'Route. Clochards and other marginal figures had no place in a technological society structured around the cult of industrial labor, and such imagery was appropriately absent from the pages of Lamour's journal.

— Mark Antliff, Avant-Garde Fascism: The Mobilization of Myth, Art and Culture in France, 1909-1939 (2007)

Métal #33
Germaine Krull


Click the image to open in full size.

* * *

Un clochard ŕ la place Maubert
Germaine Krull


Click the image to open in full size.

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deracinate verb \(ˌ)dē-ˈra-sə-ˌnāt\ (Middle French desraciner, from des- de- + racine root, from Late Latin radicina, from Latin radic-, radix)

1 : uproot

2 : to remove or separate from a native environment or culture; especially : to remove the racial or ethnic characteristics or influences from

de·rac·i·na·tion noun

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Old September 18th, 2014, 09:08 PM   #513

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Pettifogging:

adjective

1. insignificant; petty: pettifogging details.


2. dishonest or unethical in insignificant matters; meanly petty.
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Old October 12th, 2014, 01:17 AM   #514

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A peek into interactions between John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson:

Quote:
If the presidential election of 1800 was a setback for the Federalist party, that of 1804 was a disaster. Thomas Jefferson was reelected easily, as a Republican tidal wave swept over the nation, even over New England, leaving only Connecticut untouched. Senator Adams, after summering in Quincy, returned undaunted and ready to do battle with the Republicans over the impending trial of Justice Chase.

Chase's "high crime or misdemeanour" was little more than being a bigoted, intemperate, and generally obnoxious Federalist. If the Republicans were successful in removing him on purely political grounds, the next target, so it was said, might well be Chief Justice Marshall himself. Adams, and the handful of Federalist Senators remaining, had hopes of convincing enough moderate Republicans of the dangers in making the judicial system subject to the winds of partisan politics.

The Chase trial was presided over by the lame-duck Vice President Aaron Burr, who had shot and killed former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel the previous summer. Adams had little use for either man, but had grudging admiration for the fair and fastidious way in which Burr handled the trial, which resulted in a defeat for the Administration. Enough Republicans joined with Adams and the Federalists to prevent the necessary two-thirds vote needed for Chase's removal. He carefully recorded the vote of each Senator on each of the charges against Chase, in what he obviously regarded as one of the key events of his senatorial term. The Republican assault on the judiciary did not raise Jefferson in Adams' estimation.

Three days later he was present as Thomas Jefferson took his second oath of office and delivered his second inaugural address "in so low a voice that not half of it was heard by any part of the crowded auditory." In spite of his father's defeat, and his own removal as Bankruptcy Commissioner, the personal relationship between the two remained polite, even friendly. Adams often found himself an invited guest at Jefferson's dinner table. This was an invitation few refused, regardless of politics. Not only did the President serve the best food in town, but it was backed up by a wide variety of the choicest wines and champagne. "I wish his French politics were as good as his French wines," grumbled one Federalist after leaving Jefferson's house.

When Adams went, there was usually a mix of Republican and Federalist guests; politics was usually avoided in favor of conversation on historical or scientific matters. The President, a notoriously poor public speaker, was an excellent coversationalist in small groups. His anecdotes often stretched credulity. "Mr. Jefferson tells large stories," Adams recorded one evening after the President declared that he had learned Spanish in nineteen days and that he knew a man in Paris who could make artificial wine. Jefferson seemed to be cured of his early Francophilia, speculating that it might be a good idea for the French people to replace Napoleon with the old royal family. Senator Adams reported these and other conversations to his father in Quincy, who was still licking his wounds of 1800.

Like many who interacted with Jefferson over the years, Adams came to believe that however brilliant, the Virginian could not always be trusted. Jefferson was intensely partisan, but concealed it under a veneer of genial hospitality, such as he practiced upon Adams. For his part Adams remained a critic of Jefferson's domestic politics, not only for his attack on the judiciary, but for his cheese-paring budgets. Adams believed that Jefferson's thirst for popularity let him to weaken dangerously the government's authority and its ability to defend the nation in case of a threat from abroad. It was partly for this reason that in 1807 Adams sponsored a resolution calling upon Treasury Secretary Gallatin to report a plan for the purpose "of opening roads, of removing obstructions to rivers; and of making canals . . . which, as objects of public improvement may require and deserve the aid of the government." Already, Adams had a more ambitious view than most of his colleagues of federal responsibility for what later would be called "internal improvements."

— Lynn Hudson Parson, John Quincy Adams (1998)
Though Jefferson was known to be somewhat profligate in his own finances, apparently when it came to the general finances of the nation his approach (other than the Louisiana Purchase) was tight-fisted enough to earn the description of cheeseparing, as shown above.

The most common portrait of John Quincy Adams that one sees is of a somewhat dour looking bald man. Below, I've used a portrait from his earlier years, more like he probably looked during the time described in the quote for today.


Click the image to open in full size.

John Quincy Adams

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rutilant adjective \ˈrü-tə-lənt\ (Middle English rutilaunt, from Latin rutilant-, rutilans, past participle of rutilare to glow reddish, from rutilus ruddy; probably akin to Latin ruber red)

: having a reddish glow

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Old October 25th, 2014, 07:09 AM   #515

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inc View Post
Pettifogging . . .
Thanks for your contribution to this thread, Inc. I hope you don't mind, but since there was no attempt to include a historical usage of "pettifogging," nor the other words previously supplied, I'm going to deviate from the theme of the thread as well, and indulge my interest in etymology regarding "pettifogging."

One very intriguing source I found, John Bellenden Ker's An Essay on the Archaeology of Our Popular Phrases, and Nursery Rhymes, gives a rather strange etymology by reference to a Dutch phrase with some similar sounding words, and a vaguely related meaning. Apparently, that was the theme of his entire book, which failed to gain much of a following in the long run, and with good reason.

Ker, with supreme confidence in his idea, takes a swipe at Samuel Johnson's etymology for the word. As it happens, Johnson's etymology (French petit + voguer) has also fallen by the wayside. In the Oxford English Dictionary, the etymology shows petty + fogger, where "fogger" is "a person given to underhanded practices for the sake of gain." The Online Etymology Dictionary basically follows this.

An interesting aside: In Cornwall, a pettifogger is both a rockling (a type of fish) and a sea anemone, with an etymology possibly coming from Cornish pednvagas "bushy-headed."

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Old October 25th, 2014, 10:58 AM   #516

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The ugly attitude of some American pioneers toward the Indians, and the French voyageurs who lived with the Indians and often even intermarried, is displayed in the following excerpt.

Quote:
Timothy Flint insisted that, although Frenchmen fathered children with Indian women, they were never really fathers to them, in the sense of guiding them toward Anglo manhood and leadership. His argument begins with a denial of Anglo sexual attraction to Indian women but moves on to a subtler analysis of divergent concepts of marriage:

Quote:
I have already hinted at the facility with which the French and Indian intermix. There seems to be as natural affinity of the former people for them, as there is repulsion between the Anglo-Americans and them. Monstrous exceptions sometimes occur, but it is so rare athat a permanent connexion is formed between an American and an Indian woman, that even the French themselves regard it as a matter of astonishment. The antipathy between the two races seems fixed and unalterable. Peace there often is between them when they are cast in the same vicinity, but affectionate intercourse never.
In this passage from Recollections of the Last Ten Years (1826), Flint refers to a previous account of two interracial couples in Illinois: "No words can describe the filthiness and apparent misery of this wretched place." Flint cannot account for why "the man persisted in declaring himself happy in his condition and his wife." Flint also notes that these mixed families live among other such families in communal villages up and down the Mississippi. Such communities, however, would of necessity give way, according to Flint, with the coming of patriarchal Anglos like himself and their emphases on racial purity and material comfort. Finally, his biological distinction between the French and American "races" reflects the same pattern of deracination we have seen throughout this book.

Still, the French and Indian marriages fascinate him: "The French settle among them, learn their language, intermarry, and soon get smoked to the same copper complexion. A race of half-breeds springs up in their cabins. A singular cast is the result of these intermarriages of these half-breeds, called quarteroons. The lank hair, the Indian countenance and manners predominate, even in these. It is a singular fact, that the Indian feature descends much farther in these intermixtures and is much slower to be amalgamated with that of the whites, than that of the negro." Flint reduces the difference between the French and the Anglo colonial models to opposed attitudes toward racial interbreeding: Anglos are repulsed by it; the French accept it. In the end, interbred or not, the French become "copper complected," while the Anglos stay white. Worse yet, Indian genes seem to persist longer than "negro" genes, posing a more lingering threat to uniform whiteness in the settlements.

— Edward Watts, In This Remote Country: French Colonial Culture in the Anglo-American Imagination, 1780-1860 (2006)

Click the image to open in full size.

Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall
Frances Anne Hopkins

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baldachin [also, baldachino, baldaquin] noun \ˈbȯl-də-kən, ˈbal-\ (Italian baldacchino, from Baldacco, the Italian name for Baghdad, where the embroidered silk and gold fabric originally came from)

1 : a cloth canopy fixed or carried over an important person or a sacred object

2 : a rich embroidered fabric of silk and gold

3 : an ornamental structure resembling a canopy used especially over an altar [or throne]

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Old November 3rd, 2014, 05:55 AM   #517

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The author of the book from which the following excerpt comes says that the Cham people are of "Indian descent." Though they apparently adopted "elements of Indian political and religious culture" it seems that the more common theory is that they actually came from Borneo. On the other hand, the second source linked above says that Vietnamese archaeologists have found evidence that they are descended from the Sa Huynh people. Whatever the truth of the matter, thier presence and influence are very interesting elements in Southeast Asian history.

Quote:
Across many of Danang's streets stretched a high green canopy of thick tree foliage through which only pieces of sunlight were able to fall, giving many scooterists a flickering, film-stock aura as they drove along. Once our car had passed throught the central part of Danang, we came upon an open riverside area where the city's famous Museum of Cham Sculpture sat across from the glass cube that was the state television station's new building. Like most of Vietnam's French-built administrative buildings, the museum was a Cheez Whiz orange-yellow and had grotty growths of moss and mold over much of its facing.

The Chams are a people of Indian descent who had the great misfortune to migrate to—and for a while, flourish within—one of the most contested areas on earth. The Chams' kingdom, called Champa, endured in varying sizes from the second century to the 1800s, when the Vietnamese, after working at it for six centuries, drove the last of the landholding Chams from their final hectares of ancestral territory. Yet throughout the upheaval the Chams developed an elaborate, sophisticated, and extremely violent culture: one scholar calls them "the Norsemen of the South China Sea" due to their fondness for conducting raiding parties. Inside the Cham Museum itself was a good deal of phallic and mammillate sculpture. The real Cham treasures were found outdoors, all along Vietnam's coast. These were the ancient towers of Champa—rutilant stone temples that from a distance often looked like spaceships perched atop a hill. A curiously large number of U.S. military bunkers were built on hilltops near Cham towers, probably due to very similar security fears, and to climb a hill on which either stood was to gaze from one structure to the other and marvel at the sad iterations of history.

— Tom Bissell, The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam (2007)
Bonus word:

mammillate adjective \'ma-mə-ˌlāt\ (Latin mamilla, mammilla breast, nipple)

1 : having nipples or mammillae

2 : shaped like a nipple or mammilla


Click the image to open in full size.

Po Klong Garai Cham Temple Towers
Credit: Poklong Garai Showroom

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enceinte adjective \äⁿ(n)-'sant\ (French, perhaps from Vulgar Latin incenta, alteration of Latin incient-, inciens being with young, modification of Greek enkyos pregnant, from en- + kyein to be pregnant)

: pregnant

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Old November 3rd, 2014, 12:16 PM   #518

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enceinte: in an interesting condition (definitely my favourite euphemism for this).

Wayzgoose : 'a printing house's annual festivity
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Old May 23rd, 2015, 01:15 PM   #519

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I love the word "wayzgoose"! The Oxford English Dictionary's entry gives an interesting look at how the study of word origins has evolved, but refrains from actually putting forward any attempt at an authoritative etymology. However, it does say that the current form is "probably a figment invented in the interest of an etymological conjecture," and that the original term was most almost certainly "waygoose." The Wikipedia entry, on the other hand, is full of lively speculation.

Onward.

Quote:
In 1606, before Bernini's intervention, Paul V (Camillo Borghese) had had the altar [of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican] covered with a wooden baldachin of the kind used in processions, nine metres high and borne by four angels, the work of Ambrogio Buonvicino and Camillo Mariani. It was an unassuming construction, with a provisional appearance certainly not in keeping with the grandiose nature of the basilica. Urban VIII remained keenly aware of this problem from the moment of his election in 1623 and, on 12 July of the following year, engaged Bernini to create a prestigious new ciborium, sparing no expense to ensure the work was appropriate for its place and function. The artist repaid the trust placed in him by creating the most important bronze structure in the history of Roman Baroque sculpture which, despite its originality and bulk (it is more than twenty-eight metres high), fits harmoniously into the vastness of the basilica. The baldachin does not diminish but rather increases the perceived depth of the basilica, making the apse, framed between its columns appear even farther away to visitors entering the building. It is a spectacular work, anti-classical in its formal aspects, yet in many ways linked to tradition.

— Daniele Pinton, Bernini: Sculptor and Architect (2009)
Bonus word:

ciborum
noun \s?-'bo?r-e-?m\ (Medieval Latin, from Latin, cup, from Greek kiborion)

1 : a goblet-shaped vessel for holding eucharistic bread

2 : baldachin; specifically : a freestanding vaulted canopy supported by four columns over a high altar


Click the image to open in full size.

St. Peter's Baldachin
Gian Lorenzo Bernini

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restive adjective \ˈres-tiv\ (Middle English restyf, from Anglo-French restif, from rester to stop, resist, remain)

1 : stubbornly resisting control : balky

2 : marked by impatience or uneasiness : fidgety

res·tive·ly adverb

res·tive·ness noun
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Old May 25th, 2015, 02:42 PM   #520

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A story about the eruption of Vesuvius which took place in 1779.

Quote:
In the month of August, 1779, which will be remembered, for their lives, by all those who chanced to be in Naples at that period, happened one of the most terrific irruptions of Vesuvius that ever was recollected by man. At that time, a great fair was held in the Piazza St. Ferdinando, and the Largo di Castello; I was at the fair when the mountain first began to throw forth its lava, and, during the whole duration of the irruption, I was permitted to be near Sir William Hamilton, and this was indeed a most fortunate circumstance for me, for, independent of his scientific knowledge, he was respected by all the better classes, and a favourite with the Lazzaroni into the bargain, who often lamented that so good a man must be eternally punished, since he was a heretic.

Vesuvius continued to throw up such abundance of lava, that had the wind been in a different direction, Naples and Portici must have been swallowed up; for, on the opposite side, whole villages, vineyards, &c. were destroyed. During two days the scene was most appalling,—horror and dismay were in every countenance, and despair in every heart.

The Lazzaroni, as usual, appealed to their patron saint and protector, St. Gennaro, and went in a body to the palace of the Archbishop of Naples, to demand the keys of the church where the figure of the saint is kept, that they might carry him off, and place him vis-ŕ-vis to the villainous mountain; well convinced, that at the bare sight of his wooden countenance, it would cease roaring! The Archbishop, however, having intimation of their approach, and thinking, with Falstaff, that "the better part of valour is discretion," retreated by a private way in his carriage, and set off for his palace at Capua, too far distant to be followed by the Lazzaroni on foot. Indeed, his Eminence had good reasons for supposing, that had these mirrors of integrity got possession of the saint, they might, when he had quelled the mountain, have carried their gratitude so far as to ease him of the weight of diamonds and other precious gems with which his head and body were covered; a species of toilette to which his Excellency was wisely unwilling to subject his Saintship.

The Lazzaroni finding themselves disappointed, held a council, and I saw them in an immense body march to Posilipo, whither the King and Queen had retired, determined to force the King to order the Saint to be given up to them. The King appeared on the balcony to address them, but in vain; the Queen also (enciente) came forward, but without avail. The royal guard and a Swiss regiment were ordered to disperse them; but they were not to be intimidated; neither entreaties nor menaces could divert them from their purpose. "The Saint! the Saint! give us up our Saint!" was the universal cry. Just as popular fury was at its height, a man appeared, whom, the moment they saw, the wolves became lambs; the mob fell on their knees before him bareheaded and in total silence. He addressed them in the following conciliatory manner:—

What do you come here for, ye infamous scoundrels? Do ye want to disturb your Saint, in his holy sanctuary, by moving him? Think ye, ye impious rascals, that if St. Gennaro had chosen to have the mountain silent, ere this, he would not have commanded it to be so? Hence! to your homes, ye vagrants! away! be off! lest the Saint, enraged at your infamous conduct, should order the earth to open, and swallow you up!"

This soothing speech, aided by a kick to one, and a knock on the head to another, (fairly dealt to all within his reach,) dispersed them without a single murmur! So that what the supplication of their Sovereign, backed by the soldiery, could not effect, was accomplished by one man, armed indeed with superstition, but with nothing else!

This man was Father Rocco, well known to have possessed the most unbounded power over the lower orders in Naples; of no Saint in the calendar (St. Gennaro excepted,) did they stand in such awe as of Father Rocco. He was a sensible shrewd man, and used the power he possessed with great discretion.

— Michael Kelly, Reminiscences of Michael Kelly, of the King's Theatre, and Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Including a Period of Nearly Half a Century (1826)
Father Rocco was apparently responsible for the proliferation of street shrines in Naples, which was (according to several sources I consulted) a scheme he developed in order to help light the streets at night.


Click the image to open in full size.

The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Naples 1779
Jacob Philipp Hackert

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inveigle verb \in-ˈvā-gəl sometimes -ˈvē-\ (Anglo-French enveegler, aveogler, avogler to blind, hoodwink, from avogle, enveugle blind, from Medieval Latin ab oculis, literally, lacking eyes)

1 : to win over by wiles : entice

2 : to acquire by ingenuity or flattery : wangle

in·vei·gle·ment noun

in·vei·gler noun

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