22 October 2008

Sigismondo Malatesta

The dog and castle in the previous post’s pic belonged to Sigismondo Malatesta, the Wolf of Rimini. Sigismondo was pretty full on. His motto was something like ‘Whatever I do benefits the State’.

He is rumoured to have poisoned his first wife and to have strangled his second with a napkin at the dinner table, though both rumours might well be calumnies spread by his political enemies. He certainly neglected them in favour of the servant girl who became his third wife.

Pope Pius II enacted a special papal Bull enrolling him as a citizen in Hell and burnt him in effigy in Rome. Sigismondo didn’t have much time for religion. He said, ‘Even if God did exist, why would he pay any attention to us?’

The fresco I’ve ripped off is in the Tempio Malatestiano, which was a church that Sigismondo transformed into a kind of pagan temple. I have a theory that it’s actually one great big magic spell, but I won’t go into that here.

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