The Strolling Saint

Being the Confessions of the High & Mighty Agostino D'Anguissola Tyrant of Mondolfo & Lord of Carmina, in the State of Piacenza

Publication date: 1913

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The central event of this novel is the assassination of Pier Luigi Farnese by Pallavicini, Landi, Anguissola, and Confalonieri.  From this and related events we can date everything at least approximately.

We learn in Chapter 1.I that Agostino was born approximately two months after the Battle of Pavia, which took place on February 24 1525.  Although we don't know the exact date, it must have been in May—not late in April—because in Chapter 1.IV he describes the incident of Luisina as happening in May as he is approaching his birthday.  And of course it must have been early May if it really was about two months after Pavia.  (He gets his age wrong, claiming to be two years younger than he is, but presumably he knows his own birthday.)

Agostino mistakes his own age on two other occasions.  After the death of Pope Clement VII, when his father raises an army, Agostino describes himself as "a little lad of seven".  But Clement VII died on September 25, 1534, and Agostino was nine at the time.  Similarly, he declares himself "in my thirteenth year", i.e. twelve years old, in October 1540, when he was in fact fifteen.  Here he is no doubt exaggerating his swordfighting talent by trying to seem younger than he is.

In other places Agostino gives his age correctly, e.g. "not yet twenty" in September 1544 and "in my twenty-first year", i.e. twenty years old, in September 1545.

Agostino also has difficulty estimating the age of others.  He says of Annibale Caro that "his age may have been forty" in May 1544, when Caro was only 36.

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Copyright © 2007 Larry Denenberg