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Say It in Latin, Qui Bono

December 13, 2016 1 Comment

The Borgias

The Borgias

The Latin phrase qui bono means as benefit to whom? In legal cases it is used to determine who might be responsible for criminal acts.  I have been watching the series on Showtime, The Borgias, an accurate portrayal of the family and history of Italy.  The key figure in the drama is Rodrigo Borgia, who reigned as Pope of Rome Alexander VI.  He was Pope from 11 August 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503.  He was a highly controversial figure who ruled the Roman Catholic Church with an iron fist and very little respect for church doctrine.  His personal excesses were epic, and his bastard children were all lavished with money and power.

The politics of Italy were complex and treacherous, with the Vatican serving as king maker and power broker.  Alliances and secret plots were rampant.  They Borgias made enemies of many of the families, the most prominent of which was the Sforza clan.  First the Pope’s daughter Lucrezia is wed to a Sforza, but obtains annulment from her father a few months into the marriage.  Her husband is later murdered by her brother Cesare.  Castles are placed under siege and bloody battles are fought between the Sforzas and the papal army.  Intrigue inside and outside the Vatican was rampant.  The Borgias were known to be masters of the art of lethal poison.  A plot nearly succeeds to kill Rodrigo with a glass of wine, but his daughter administers charcoal and saves his life.  It was a wild game of liar’s poker.

As I watch the crazy politics unfold in 15th Century Rome and the church I can’t help but be reminded of present day politics.  Spies, traitors and terrorists determined the outcome of Borgia power struggles.  It appears we are wrapped in a double or triple plot in real time with much subterfuge and mystery clouding our election results.  When enemies of enemies betray friends we need to ask a basic question: “Who benefits from this?”  This concept was alive in ancient Rome because it points to the cause rather than to the red herrings intended to confuse.

If 400 pound hackers, of Russian or other origin, can change the election results in the United States the question is “Qui bono?”  What do you think, gentle reader?

Qui bono

Qui bono

Citrus Peel Crafts, Who Knew?

February 5, 2015 5 Comments

These Italians have perfected the art of making containers from citrus peels.  They use bergamot, but I have seen this kind of box made out of an orange peel. The scent remains for a few years after the box is created, making it perfect for tea, or other aromatic products.  The specialty here is a tobacco pouch, which is light and fragrant.  I am crazy about this idea, and am the producer of hundreds of grapefruit peels each year.  I have so many that my compost gets full of citrus and hard to digest.  I hate to waste them, but really do not eat candy.  The candied peels are a treat to some, but require as much work as these containers.  I have looked for a way to use these byproducts of my juicy winter crop, and I think I have found one to try.  Martha Stewart does hers in the oven and keeps them right side out.  I like the whole process the Italians use, but do not want a tobacco pouch as a result.  I tried Martha’s oven method with some lemon peels, but they warped after I thought they were done.  Her method is tedious and it requires the use of the oven.  I live in Arizona where ample sunshine should be able to do this job. I will try a simple shape with a lid, and skip the sand step and building of presses.  If they go free form, like my first attempt, I will need to deal with the fit of top to bottom.  My lemon bowls are all wonky because I took them from the oven after 40 minutes.  If I were in survival mode and had to use them, they might hold something, but they are a failure at a design level.  I plan to try some grapefruit peels this week inside out to see if I can be a peel artist.  These Italian ladies are obvious professionals, shaping it around the form like a pice of clay.  I admire their skill, and aspire someday to make a swanky shape.  Like clay, I need to start with a good cylinder and move on from that.  I have at least 100 grapefruit still on the tree, so there will be plenty with which to experiment. Have you ever seen this done, Gentle Reader?

failed lemon box

failed lemon box

as tiny bowls

as tiny bowls

Bonacossa Borri, 20th Great-Grandmother

July 7, 2014 4 Comments

My 20th great-grandmother was the ancestor of many famous people:

The PEDIGREE of
Bonacossa (Bonacosta) BORRI
Born: abt. 1249 Died: 1321

HM George I’s 9-Great Grandmother. HRE Ferdinand I’s 6-Great Grandmother. U.S. President’s 18-Great Grandmother. PM Churchill’s 19-Great Grandmother. HM Margrethe II’s 17-Great Grandmother. Gen. Pierpont Hamilton’s 19-Great Grandmother. Otto von Bismarck’s 15-Great Grandmother. Red Baron' Richthofen's 16-Great Grandmother.
Husband/Partner: Matteo I
the Great’ VISCONTI
Children: Stefano (di) VISCONTI ; Galeazzo I VISCONTI

She and several members of her family are buried in Milan in a chapel. This would be a very special grave to visit.
Bonacossa Borri (1254 – 1321)
is my 20th great grandmother
Stefan Visconti (1289 – 1327)
son of Bonacossa Borri
Bernabo Lord Milan di Visconti (1319 – 1385)
son of Stefan Visconti
Veridis Duchess Austria Visconti (1352 – 1414)
daughter of Bernabo Lord Milan di Visconti
Ernst I “Ironside” Archduke of Austria Habsburg (1377 – 1424)
son of Veridis Duchess Austria Visconti
Katharina Archduchess Austria Von Habsburg (1420 – 1493)
daughter of Ernst I “Ironside” Archduke of Austria Habsburg
Christof I VanBaden (1453 – 1527)
son of Katharina Archduchess Austria Von Habsburg
Beatrix Zahringen (1492 – 1535)
daughter of Christof I VanBaden
Sabine Grafin VonSimmern (1528 – 1578)
daughter of Beatrix Zahringen
Marie L Egmond (1564 – 1584)
daughter of Sabine Grafin VonSimmern
Richard Sears (1590 – 1676)
son of Marie L Egmond
Silas Sears (1638 – 1697)
son of Richard Sears
Silas Sears (1661 – 1732)
son of Silas Sears
Sarah Sears (1697 – 1785)
daughter of Silas Sears
Sarah Hamblin (1721 – 1814)
daughter of Sarah Sears
Mercy Hazen (1747 – 1819)
daughter of Sarah Hamblin
Martha Mead (1784 – 1860)
daughter of Mercy Hazen
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of Martha Mead
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

Bonacossa Borri, also known as Bonaca, or Bonaccossi Bonacosta (1254–1321), was Lady of Milan by marriage from 1269 to 1321.
Biography
Bonacossa was the daughter of Squarcina Borri (1230–1277, also called Scarsini), captain of exiles from Milan fom the advent of the Torriani family, and a loyal supporter of the Visconti, and Antonia (1236 -?), of unknown lineage, who married in 1254. Borri’s family, originally from the town of Santo Stefano Ticino together with some feudal lands of nearby Corby. The Borri family was one of the most respected of Milan, and counted among its ranks a saint, Monas of Milan, Bishop of Milan.
Once the Visconti had conquered Milan, Squarcina Borri gave his daughter in marriage to Matteo I Visconti, Lord of Milan in 1269 to cement those bonds essential to maintaining the rule of the Visconti.
Bonacossa and her husband co-founded of the chapel of St. Thomas in the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio of Milan, where they were buried, along with their son Stefano and his two daughters Beatrice and Catherine, and the brother of Matteo, Uberto III Visconti.
She died in Milan on 13 January 1321 .
Descendents
Galeazzo I Lord of Milan. He married Beatrice d’Es
Beatrice (b. 1280)
Caterina (b. 1282)
Luchino (b. 1285) Lord of Milan, married Violante di Saluzzo
Stefano (b. 1287) Count of Arona , married Valentina Doria
Marco (b. 1289)
Giovanni (b. 1291), Archbishop of Milan
Zaccaria (b. 1295)

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