-- Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne@...
She gave him a look that indicated that her capacity for Not Putting People
Through Walls No Matter How Much They Deserve It had been exhausted.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 04 Feb 2004 14:02:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: TMR 04.02.05, Santonino, Initerario in Carinzia (Hundsbichler)
Santonino, Paolo. <i>Itinerario in Carinzia, Stiria e
Carniola (1485-1487)</i>. Trans. Roberto Gagliardi.
Biblioteca de "l'Unicorno," vol. 1. Rome: Istituti
editoriali e poligrafici internazionali, 1999. Pp. 239.
(pb). ISBN: 88-8147-202-3.
Reviewed by Helmut Hundsbichler
Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institut fur
In the second half of the fifteenth century the Turks
seriously tried once more to invade Central Europe in order
to wipe out Christianity. In the end those invasions were
not successful, but they impaired ecclesiastical life
heavily: The "Itinerarium" under review focuses on a large
number of churches, chapels, altars, and churchyards which
had to be rebuilt and reconsecrated after the invasions in
the southern parts of Austria and in the north of Slovenia.
In some places a bishop had not been seen for many decades.
The bishop who was sent from northern Italy to make up that
huge backlog in ecclesiastical necessities was accompanied
by his secretary, Paolo Santonino, a lawyer who composed on
that enterprise a private report in medieval Latin:
Santonino's "Itinerarium" covers 114 days spread over the
years 1485, 1486, and 1487. For those knowing this evidence,
it is famous for quite unique details on cultural life in
the regions visited; above all, descriptions of persons,
landscapes, buildings, and settlements; traces of Roman
antiquity; the authentic horary; daily practice of travel;
Christian mentality and devotion; hospitality within local
clergy and lower nobility (including table manners, food and
meals, wines, housing), and many other topics. Moreover the
text includes much indirect information on Paolo Santonino's
mentality and personality.
The "Itinerarium" is handwritten and remained in the
Biblioteca Vaticana until it was published by Giuseppe Vale
in 1943. In 1946 followed a German translation by Rudolf
Egger, 1987 a Japanese one (!), 1992 a Slovenian translation
and 1999 the Italian translation which is part of the book
The German translation has extraordinarily popularized the
"Itinerarium" within the German speaking regions it
describes. Since that publication, two totally different
strings of "Santinono reception" can be observed: on the one
hand the popular and rather uncritical one, which is highly
satisfied by reading so many "interesting" and striking
details about a remarkably foreign culture; and on the other
hand the scholarly one, which partly follows the same
voyeuristic attitude, partly intends understanding and
explaining the "Itinerarium's" foreigness in the sense of
mental history and historical anthropology.
The reviewer's numerous individual publications show clearly
that the "Itinerarium" first of all fascinates as "thickly"
written evidence of late medieval material culture.
According to this utilitarian interpretation, the German
translation of 1946 was incorrectly entitled "travel
journals." Just so the Italian translation introduces the
"Itinerarium" as "un racconto di viaggio" (5). But recently,
it was found that the "Itinerarium" should rather be
assigned to the literary type <I>historia</i>: In this type,
an allegoric component "behind" the mere narrative of facts
and reality is constitutive. In the "Itinerarium," this
essential characteristic is represented by the elevating
message that the successfully re-established ecclesiastical
order after the Turkish devastations would prove the will
and advice of God.
To confirm the reliability of this <I>historia</i>,
Santonino utilized a simple facility which was nearly
exclusively accessible only for him: He apparently grounded
the composition of his "Itinerarium" on the official
documents which he himself as secretary had written in the
The now published Italian edition was directed by Fabio
Cavalli and was produced by the "Accademia Jaufre Rudel di
studi medievali" in Gradisca, a town close by Santonino's
former place of activity. Roberto Galgiardi's well-versed
Italian translation is page by page opposite the text of the
medieval Latin original. However, the original's numerous
marginal notes have been left out in both versions, although
many of them would be essential to understand the structure
and the meaning of the text. On the other hand, the text is
commented on and explained by numerous footnotes. After
their frequency decreases throughout the "Itinerarium," they
apparently came into being rather coincidentally. Many of
them point out Santonino's idiomatic parallels to classical
Latin. These footnotes are contributed by Angelo Floramo,
Harald Krahwinkler, Fabio Cavalli, Marialuisa Cecere, G.
Paolo Cecere, Donata Degrassi and Gianna Paolin. Most of
these authors also give short introductory remarks
concerning certain characteristics of the "Itinerarium" and
its time. Oddly enough, the remarkable number of
publications in German concerning Santonino's "Itinerarium"
have been regarded rather incompletely, in the introductions
as well as in the footnotes.
However, the editors' intention was not to work out a
critical or a "definitive" translation but to unfold that
plentiful historical evidence to readers amongst its
author's cultural offsprings. In consequence, for the
interests of scholars none of the translations available can
replace the original edition. Even more inadequate would be
reading or using Santonino's "Itinerarium" as evidence of
daily life and common reality. Because in fact Santonino got
in touch with the upper classes mainly, and nowhere he
experienced or described normal conditions but explicitly
the festive mood of all these hosts and their extraordinary
hospitality towards a strongly desired bishop. After this
szenario happened day by day in other places, uncritical
readers would easily drop into errors and wrong conclusions;
for example, Germans would have daily eaten and drunk
excessively. In this respect, the editors should have paid
more attention to the confrontation with foreigness.
Nevertheless, or probably better: therefore, the Italian
translation might provide Santonino's precious and lovely
"Itinerarium" a lot of new friends.