Et in Arcadia ego. Roma come luogo della memoria nelle culture europee • Et in Arcadia ego. Rome as a memorial place in European cultures
Le strade che portano alla Città eterna • The roads leading to the Eternal City
Et in Arcadia ego is what Goethe writes after his journey to the city of Rome, to denote the ideal Arcadia for writers, artists and intellectuals of modernity. The present collection comprises chapters dedicated to the figure of Rome as an Arcadia-city: like ideal consular roads, these papers develop into varied thematic branches, even though they all have the same starting, or ending, point – the city of Rome, analyzed from the point of view of its architectural, historical or symbolic value. One ideal “road” of discussion starts in Poland, another “road” passes through England, a third ideally combines Greece and Russia; yet another ideal discussion “road” originates from the ancient Roman myths, runs through the 16th century and reaches the fin de siècle and the 20th century.
Table Of Contents
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- 1. Polonia / Poland
- A Dinner with the Pope: Culinary Aspect of Stanisław Miński’s Legation of Obedience to Rome in 1594 (Dawid Barbarzak)
- Jerzy Żuławski’s “Veneri et Romae” and “After Seven Years:” The Circulations Between Literary Creation and Geographical Space (Emmanuella Robak)
- 2. Inghilterra / England
- Papacy, Culture, and Empire: Three British Images of Rome (Krzysztof Kosecki)
- Death in Arcadia / Death of Arcadia: Revisiting Rome in Julie Taymor’s Titus (Magdalena Cieślak)
- The Romans, Latin, Caesar and Hannibal’s Elephants According to Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Eddie Izzard (Agnieszka Izdebska)
- 3. Russia e Grecia / Russia and Greece
- Squarci romani tra l’Ottocento ed il Novecento: l’Urbe raccontata da Nikolaj Gogol’ e Kostas Uranis (Maria Sgouridou, Athanasios Natsis)
- 4. Roma antica e i suoi miti, Roma odierna e la sua leggenda / Ancient Rome and its myths, Rome of the present day and its legend
- Tra la memoria e la scoperta, tra la passeggiata e lo studio. Molteplici visioni di Roma antica nelle stampe antiquarie del Cinquecento (Joanna Pietrzak-Thébault)
- I miti romani e la loro forza creativa. Esempi dei luoghi di Roma che rispecchiano i miti (Aleksandra Makowska-Ferenc)
- La riemersione delle vite coesistenti del Foro e della Suburra latini nelle opere ‘romane’ di Pier Paolo Pasolini (Giovanna Caltagirone)
- Roma in versi. Poeti romaneschi come testimoni della memoria (Julia Krauze)
- La città “alla fine della decadenza”. L’immagine di Roma nella letteratura fin de siècle: Il piacere di Gabriele d’Annunzio (Katarzyna Kowalik)
- “Si valuta una realtà soltanto filtrandola attraverso un’altra”. L’impatto catalitico di Roma sulla visione pavesiana (Patrycja Polanowska)
- L’addio (Antonio Moresco) e Le città invisibili (Italo Calvino): il tema arcadico nel confronto tra “città dei morti e città dei vivi” e la serie delle “città e i morti” (Stefano Cavallo)
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Abstract. The paper presents the role of food and feasting during a Polish ambassador Stanisław Miński’s journey to Rome. After the public act of submitting obedience to the Pope a customary dinner took place. The manual written by Miński titled Sposób odprawowania poselstwa (The Manner of Carrying out a Legation) was based on his experiences from the journey to Rome to see Clement VIII in 1594. In his work he gives detailed instructions and explains the complicated rules of etiquette which had to be followed at the Papal table. Similar rules were also present during the banquets organised by the ambassador in his palace. The essay also discusses the role of table servants and servants hired in Italy for the duration of the stay. In the paper I will also try to reconstruct Miński’s food preferences. The analysis of his poem “Żywot ziemiański” (“Landowner’s Life”) shows that the author, used to simple local Old Polish cuisine, was not an enthusiast of sophisticated court and foreign food.
Keywords: travel diaries, food in politics, embassy of obedience, Polish diplomacy, Roman cuisine, baroque cuisine
Abstract. Scopo di questo lavoro è presentare il ruolo del cibo e dei banchetti durante il viaggio a Roma di Stanisław Miński, un ambasciatore polacco. Dopo l’atto della pubblica obbedienza al Papa, l’ambasciatore era invitato a un abituale banchetto. Il manuale scritto da lui, titolato Sposób odprawowania poselstwa (Il modo di eseguire la legazione) fu creato a base della sua esperienza di legazione (1594) a Clemente VIII. Tra le istruzioni dalla sua opera ci sono anche queste sull’etichetta che si applicava alla tavola di Papa. Regole molto similari erano obbligatorie durante i banchetti organizzati dall’ambasciatore al suo palazzo. Il saggio tratta anche del ruolo dei cortigiani responsabili della tavola, assunti durante la legazione a Roma, e i servitori. Cerco di ricostruire il gusto culinario di Miński. L’analisi del suo poema Żywot ziemiański (La vita del proprietario terriero) ci presenta che l’autore, legato alla semplice cucina tradizionale polacca, non era amante delle sofisticate ricette straniera.
Parole chiave: diari di viaggio, cibo in politica, legazioni d’obbedienza, diplomazia polacca, cucina di Roma, cucina del barocco←13 | 14→
An important type of journeys to Rome among the Polish sixteenth-century travellers were legations to pledge obedience. When a new pope or king was elected it was customary to send a royal ambassador to pledge obedience to the Holy See.1 Talking about Rome as a memorial site, it is worth noting that legations to pledge obedience, due to their political nature as well as the rich and ostentatious character of the event of entering the city, made huge impression on both, the participants, the inhabitants of Rome as well as the Poles who stayed at home. As a result, numerous Polish and Italian images and written documents concerning legations have been preserved.2
A historical source deserving a special attention is a manual titled The Manner of Carrying Out a Legation by Stanisław Miński (1561–1607).3 In 1594 the author submitted obedience to Clement VIII in the name of king Sigismund III Vasa. By doing this, he was trying to accelerate the canonization process of St. Hyacinth Odrowąż.4 Miński used his experiences from this journey to write the aforementioned manual for ambassadors. The following paper extends the previous research on Miński’s journey5 by presenting the culinary aspect of the legation and the role of table etiquette in it. I will present and discuss the parts ←14 | 15→of legation in a chronological order. I will follow the chronological order of the embassy, confronting Miński’s text with old cookbooks and a poem written by Miński which can shed light on his food preferences.
The Road to Rome and Preparing the Palace
In Miński’s opinion, a perfect ambassador should be “aware of customs … [should not be] vain and, God forbid, not greedy.”6 The mentioned greed can also refer to food, whereas the need to be aware of customs he talks about may refer also to the awareness of the foreign table etiquette. The ambassador travelled with only several people such a physician, secretaries, a chaplain, the majordomo and maestro di casa. The rest of his numerous retinue was to depart for Rome earlier so as not to overstrain the horses.7 Table servants were being hired in Rome after arrival. During the journey a furier (quartermaster) went ahead of the rest to “get an inn for the servants and horses and set the price per person before they joined him. This way, the innhost was more eager to lower the price because he was afraid that they would stay at some other inn.”8 What is more, Miński suggests that it is wise to write down all the expenses after each stop because the stewards tend to cheat on their master if he lets them write from memory. He notes that there are different prices in Germany and Italy.9 The journey lasted about two months (from mid-November 1593 to January 21, 1594).
At the same time, the ambassador’s secretary who was already in Rome, had to rent a palace10 and “arrange for wine and bread, get the palafranieri and the aforementioned officials [table servants] and give them tasks for a month or two and make arrangements with those from whom they would be buying food.”11 Among the table officer shired in Rome were scalco whose job was to oversee the kitchen, prepare the menu and decorate the table.12 Another servant was ←15 | 16→credenciere who was responsible for tableware and desserts. Coppiero (cupbearer) served drinks and sometimes had to taste them first for his master’s safety. Trinciante (a carver) was responsible for slicing meat, fish and fruits in a very ritual and sophisticated way (Fig. 1).13 Finally, other servants were also hired including dispensiere (a steward supervising the distribution of food), cantiniere and bottiliere (cellarmen), spenditore (responsible for the expenses and food provision), scopatore whose job was to sweep the floor and facchino (a porter) who had to “bring water to the kitchen and to store it for drinking.”14 The author notes that these servants should be given a tip (mancia) of 400 scudos to be divided among them. Other servants helping him during the legation, for example palafranieri were paid with money as well as wine and bread whereas sollicitator could also eat at ambassador’s table every time he wanted.15
The rooms of the rented palace needed proper arrangement: furniture and equipment was bought and servants received their rooms.16 There was a “fenced botileria” in the entrance hall i.e. wine or water storage, next to a sideboard (credenza) with a gilded canopy.17 They also had to prepare “another room for dining. In winter it should be covered with big tapestries, whereas in summer with some light silk fabric material or furs as well as many leather and wooden stools.”18 Miński suggests preparing plenty of “velvet stools for the ambassador’s guests and at least 4 better ones with golden fringe for cardinals and ambassadors.”19 They also prepared a smaller dining room for servants, tinello. It was better to buy all the necessary furniture and kitchen utensils “than to rent [them] because they could be sold for good money upon leaving.”20 ←16 | 17→A palace arranged like that was visited by the local nobility. According to the later accounts from other legations, the ambassador’s silverware was particularly admired, which is why Miński recommends taking it with when leaving the country.21
Solemn Entry and Consistory
When the ambassador officially entered Rome with his retinue (familia) and numerous church and civil dignitaries, he went along the city’s main streets as Corso and passed by palaces such the Apostolic Palace and other residences until he reached his palace. The official arrivals of ambassadors always took place on Sunday to allow as many people to admire the cavalcade as possible. The event was a visual spectacle with riders dressed in wealthy attire accompanied by the sound of trumpets, drums and cannon shots. Among the people who walked in the procession were those responsible for the ambassador’s and the pope’s table service.22 The ambassador did not host anybody that day, but according to Miński, it was customary to treat the Swiss guard:
It is not customary to invite anyone for dinner, nor do they bother him with visits that day because he has to rest and spend some time sending away the ones who were leading. It is customary to give some cold food to the Swiss downstairs in tinello, as pâtés, saucissons, prosciutto and other things. They will drink a barrel of wine, and give 400 scudos for trumpeters, drummers, officials from the Capitol.23
There is no evidence that Miński received any refreshments from the Pope during his legation, even though it happened during later Polish legations.24
After a few days a public consistory took place during which Miński handed in a letter from the Polish king to Clement VIII, whereas a hired speaker had a speech. During the break he and the pope could change their clothing and rest for a while. After that, at midday, the ambassador stayed for a customary dinner in Sala Regia. Miński devoted a whole chapter titled “About staying this day for a dinner with the Pope,” in which he writes: “They commonly do it, almost always, except when the Pope is ill, that the ambassador eats with the Pope that ←17 | 18→day after the audience.”25 In Italian accounts we can find only a brief mention in Latin from January 27, 1594: “Orator pransus est hodie mane cum Summo Pont[ific]e, a quo invitatus fuit”26 [today in the morning the ambassador had dinner with the Supreme Pontiff]. Another source notes that: “Papa retinuit secum in prandio dictum oratorem Poloniae”27 [the Pope invited the aforementioned Polish ambassador for dinner].
Most often, the consistory was organised on Thursdays as it was in the case of Miński’s legation and later journeys.28 Perhaps they tried to avoid days of fasting as the dinner had a festive character. However, the baroque chefs were so creative that the fast-day dishes were equally attractive, and the Poles were known for their taste for fish.29 The feast at the Apostolic Palace had a religious character not only due to the place where it was held and the presence of numerous clergymen, but also due to other religious elements present during it. It began with a Pope’s blessing and ended with a thanksgiving prayer. Miński does not mention in his work whether or not the dinner was accompanied by music or any religious reading as it was customary in the following years.30 During the dinner the ambassador had to apply particular principles of etiquette. Breaking these rules would be a grave offense against the seriousness of the place.31 Even though the table service was present, Miński ritually served the Pope himself through some small but ritual and important gestures:
←18 | 19→When the Pope leaves the anticamera to the place he is going to dine at, the ambassador receives a towel to hold [for him] and when the Pope has washed himself, the ambassador will kneel on one knee and give him the towel, and he will dry himself and give it back, and the ambassador will kiss the ring on his hand … then he will give the towel back to the cupbearer and has to stand when the Pope is saying Benedicte. Once the Pope has taken his seat, they will give water to the ambassador and a seat at the table which stands next to the Pope’s one, both tables are similar and they are standing together close to each other, and the dishes are equal, the only difference is that the Pope sits on a stool, whereas the ambassador on a painted bench so close to the Pope that only the papal copiero, who has to kneel, has some room to give a drink to the Pope.32
Apart from the gestures showing humbleness, there were also gestures of familiarity. For example: “there is a separate carver who slices for the ambassador but the Pope himself hands him the dishes on his own plate. During the dinner the Pope talks to him.”33 Miński does not mention anything about making a toast to the king’s or the Pope’s health, which can be found in later legations. He only says: “You should not drink before the Pope. The ambassador’s cupbearer gives a drink to his master, however without a tray, he simply hands him a glass.”34 Then, there was time to talk about some diplomatic matters:
After the dinner, when the water is returned, everyone leaves the room, and the Pope talks to the ambassador until the officials have eaten up. When Maestro di Camera comes in, the ambassador should already know that everyone downstairs has eaten up, and then it is time to let the Pope rest. Thus, he stands up and kneels on one knee to show reverence to the Pope.35
The way the tables were spaced out as well as the order of eating reveal the social ladder and the relationship of power. In later legations, the Pope’s stool stands under a canopy and is placed higher than others. It is also placed in some distance from the ambassador. The courtiers are served later in some other room to give priority to the Pope and his guests as well as to provide space for private conversation. For centuries, the position of the people at the table had a deep social significance. Dinner, after pledging obedience, can be interpreted as a ritual, a communicative system in which certain acts, clothes and gestures were seen as signs. Expressing them, allowed to present and consolidate the social structure. As Lothar Kolmer proves in his reflections on Medieval rituals:
←19 | 20→All these things were used to present the existing hierarchy and structure, and allowed people to express their view of themselves, the society and the world, thus, contributing to its consolidation. The king was sitting alone, on a platform and it was him who first started to eat the dishes. During particularly sublime ceremonies the dishes were served to him by magnates. This way, the relations of sovereignty and subordination were expressed, as well as the recognition of the ruling authority.36
The aforementioned remarks can be compared to the relations between the ambassador and the Pope. The ambassador’s table service gestures are the reflection of the real Christian country’s subordination to the Holy See (even though this did not entail the whole political or military dependence in practice).37 The dinner was also a way of expressing respect and hospitality towards the representative of the king. It is worth noting that Miński gave a certain amount of money for the organization of consistory, so he probably incurred the expenses for the dinner as well.38
Miński instructs ambassadors to visit cardinals (including the Polish protector) and to take them for brief, sometimes with several of them at the same time. These were courtesy visits without any meal. Nevertheless, Miński in the chapter titled “About Banquets and Ambassador’s Table” claims that although “it is not customary for the ambassador to organize banquets,”39 it is good to invite one or two officials or bishops in particular if they have already come to the palace. The unwillingness to accept more people could be explained by an attempt to avoid potential conflicts over priority. Needless to say, taking the lowest place at ←20 | 21→the table according to the evangelical rule (Luke 14: 7) was difficult to apply in practice among Christian diplomats.
The ambassador took the first place at the table unless he hosted a cardinal or some other ambassador. In such a case he had to give up his seat to them. It was not right to keep the guests waiting for too long: “You should either have a drink on time so that others could ask for drinks as well or you could say to them: demand something to drink yourselves because I do not drink early.”40 Even the jesters should be treated well: “Jesters come to the master’s table and although they are ordinary people, order to treat them well and serve them from the table and give them some scudos per uno after the dinner.”41 Moreover, Miński notes that the ambassador should control his statements at the table: “they listen to the ambassador’s talks and sometimes they come to spy so the ambassador must be careful when he speaks.”42 He warns “engage in conversation only with respectable and honest people since on the basis of that the ambassador’s position and manners are judged.”43
Was there any difference between Italian (Papal) and Polish table etiquette? According to the complicated Roman ceremonial, which was popularized by the Spanish influence, a diplomat in Italy was expected to be “courteous and with good manners, because there are continuous disputes over courtesy and etiquette out there.”44 Some authors claim that Polish etiquette was simpler or even uncouth and allowed for direct contact with the king himself.45 During the legation of cardinal Enrico Caetani to the royal court in Warsaw (1596), many faux pas were noted on the part of Germanico Malaspina, who was an apostolic nuncio in Poland. Staying abroad, perhaps he may have forgotten the rules of Roman etiquette and even later, after his return to Rome, he had problems with it.46 On the other hand, the court of Sigismund III Vasa followed strict rules ←21 | 22→of etiquette, which were also inspired by the Spanish baroque ceremonial. The same account of cardinal Caetani’s legation proves that there were many similarities between table etiquette at the Papal and Polish royal court. During the dinner the king and the cardinal were sitting at separate tables: the cardinal under a canopy, on a red velvet chair with armrests made of gold-plated silver, “similar to the chair on which the Pope is carried.”47 Separately, at the two twenty-person long tables, sat prelates and Polish nobility. After the act of blessing, water was served. Giovanni Paolo Mucante, the author of the relation (who was the master of ceremony during Miński’s legation two years earlier) was surprised by the number of bows made during the dinner as well as the time the cardinal spent waiting for the meal:
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- 2021 (May)
- città / city memoria / memory mito / myth Grand tour i classici / the classics
- Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2021. 224 pp., 6 fig. b/w.