Friday, 18 February 2011

Caravaggio Police Blotter

1. Contra Micalangelum de Caravaggio - This is in Latin. Rome in the 17th Century was a state run by the Roman Catholic church, which used Latin for all official documents. It says "Michelangelo De Caravaggio is charged with illegal possession of a sword and a dagger."
2. Die sabbato 28 maii 1605 - Caravaggio was arrested on Saturday, 28 May 1605. At this stage, the 33-year-old Caravaggio was one of the most admired and sought-after artists in Rome
3. Arresting officer Captain Pino. The Capitoline Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome. - Appeared before me, notary, in my office, Captain Pino, Senior officer of the Capitoline Police who, acting in his official capacity, made the following report, namely:
4. This is in Italian, because the notary, or his clerk, was taking down a verbatim note of the captain's words. Today at the seventh hour (between two and three in the afternoon), I was on duty with my men patrolling near the church of Saint Ambrose on the Via del Corso, when one by the name of Micalangelo came by carrying a sword and a dagger. I stopped him and asked him whether he had a permit to carry the said weapons, and he replied "No". I arrested him and took him to prison and hereby give this report in due and correct form according to the law.
5. Sword and dagger - Why have the sword and dagger been sketched? Possibly because there was some doubt about whether Caravaggio was the real owner. Caravaggio would have carried weapons as style accessories, but also because the streets were dangerous, especially after dark.
6. Released without charge and weapons returned to the accused - Caravaggio was arrested because he had no written permit to carry weapons. However, his patron was Cardinal Francesco Del Monte, the governor of the city, who had verbally instructed the police to allow Caravaggio to carry weapons. Once the police confirmed that this was the case, Caravaggio was released.

from the Beeb

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