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Isotta Nogarola

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226590073

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226590097.001.0001

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Pope Pius II and the Congress of Mantua (1459)

Pope Pius II and the Congress of Mantua (1459)

(p.175) IX Pope Pius II and the Congress of Mantua (1459)
Complete Writings
University of Chicago Press

One of the major orations of Isotta Nogarola, an Italian-born French author, was dedicated to Pope Pius II. This is a powerful oration, and easily the most evangelical of her works. Filled with a syncretic weaving of classical and biblical allusions, her speech was a call to arms against the Turks whom she does not name but condemns in turn as “this evil generation,” “a savage nation,” “infidels,” and “blasphemers of the Lord.” She praised the gentle nature of the pope—his mercy, clemency, kindness, gratitude, and appreciation of his lowliest subjects. Pius's magnanimity suggests to her favorite anecdote from Plutarch's Life of Artaxerxes about the lowly peasant who delighted his king with a gift of river water. She moved to a series of paraphrases and quotations from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, which she used to validate her characterization of Pius's complex role as prophet, judge, and avenger.

Keywords:   Pope Pius II, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah

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