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Giuseppe Marcocci

In 1578, a same-sex community that gathered in a church, performing marriages between men, was discovered in Rome. Documentary evidence now verifies this story, reported by many sources, including a passage of Michel de Montaigne's Travel Journal, but which was for a long time denied by scholars. While briefly reconstructing this affair, this article explores the complex emotional regime surrounding the episode. In particular, it argues that those who participated in the ceremonies did so not only as an expression of affection for their partners, but also in an attempt to legitimize their relationships in a rite that imitated the Counter-Reformation sacrament of marriage. This approach challenges the predominant historiography on the birth of homosexuality and helps us to better understand the sentiments of those who were part of a same-sex community in Renaissance Rome.

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The Decline of Rome

The Never-Ending Crisis in the Capital

Giada Zampano

The first female mayor in Rome’s history, Virginia Raggi, is faced with a dual challenge. First, she must try to solve the chronic problems of a city mired in debt and struggling with an ongoing emergency caused by chronic traffic problems and chaotic waste disposal. Then the young mayor must experiment with new ways of exercising power to establish the transparency required to restore the reputation of a political class that has led Rome to become known as the “Mafia Capital,” with its own “in-between world” made up of corrupt politicians, business people, and criminals. Since assuming office, Raggi has faced a political impasse, and her administration has suffered an embarrassing string of resignations and judicial scandals that have brought into question the city’s future prospects. Rome is now at a crossroads that may lead to either a much-awaited renaissance or a definitive meltdown.

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Giovanni Di Franco

Gianni Alemanno’s 2008 victory in Rome caused great surprise, given

that up until a few hours before the election it seemed certain that he

would become a minister in the new Berlusconi government, as it was

generally assumed that the results of the battle for the Campidoglio

were a foregone conclusion. For the first time, a politician belonging

to a party originating from the old Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI,

Italian Social Movement) took on the role of mayor of Rome. In 1993,

Gianfranco Fini, then leader of the MSI, ran for mayor but was defeated

in the second ballot by Francesco Rutelli himself. For the 15 years

since then, the capital had been a stronghold of the center-left, which

remained in power primarily due to the success of its mayors, Rutelli

and Walter Veltroni (two terms each, even though the second term

of the latter lasted only two years). In 2006, Alemanno was roundly

defeated in the first round by Veltroni, winning barely 37.1 percent of

the votes. How was such a reversal of support among the Roman electorate

possible in little over two years?

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Edward McInnis

This essay explores social and political values conveyed by nineteenth century world and universal history textbooks in relation to the antebellum era. These textbooks focused on the histories of ancient Greece and Rome rather than on histories of the United States. I argue that after 1830 these textbooks reinforced both the US land reform and the antislavery movement by creating favorable depictions of Tiberius and Caius Gracchus. Tiberius and Caius Gracchus (known as the “Gracchi”) were two Roman tribunes who sought to restore Rome's land laws, which granted public land to propertyless citizens despite opposition from other Roman aristocrats. The textbook authors' portrayal of the Gracchan reforms reflects a populist element in antebellum American education because these narratives suggest that there is a connection between social inequality and the decline of republicanism.

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Père Marie-Benoît and Joseph Bass

The Rescue of Jews in Marseille and Nice, 1940-1943

Susan Zuccotti

Père Marie-Benoît was a French Capuchin priest who helped rescue thousands of Jews in Marseille, Nice, and Rome during the Holocaust. Unlike most non-Jewish rescuers, however, he worked regularly with courageous, dynamic Jewish men who became close personal friends. This article examines his cooperation with his first Jewish associate, Joseph Bass, who set up the Service André for Jewish rescue in Marseille. With Bass and his assistants, Père Marie-Benoît hid Jews in small units throughout the region; created networks to supply fugitives with food, documents, money, and moral support; enlisted help from sympathetic local bureaucrats; and avoided dependence on large Jewish assistance organizations. Working together, the Jews and non-Jews were much more effective than either group could have been alone. Père Marie-Benoît later applied these techniques to rescue activities in Rome. This article also examines why Père Marie-Benoît became involved in Jewish rescue in the first place, and shows that his wartime experiences determined his subsequent lifelong dedication to Jewish-Christian reconciliation.

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“I satt and saw”

Negotiating the Gaze in the Travel Writings of Anthony Munday and Thomas Dallam

Chloë Houston

In “eyewitness” accounts of the Mediterranean by Anthony Munday and Thomas Dallam, assertions of allegiance to Elizabethan England are destabilized by the physicality of “looking.” Early modern theories of vision and post-Reformation constructions of the viewed contributed to conceptualizations of objectified spectacle as a source of physical threat to the viewer. This article explores Munday's and Dallam's negotiations of the physicality of visual experiences as the authors participate in interactive modes of viewing demanded by the rituals and ceremonies of strangers. Witnessing a Jesuit whipping himself before devotional objects at the English college in Rome in 1578, Munday's emphasis on his physical difference to the Jesuit reproduces the idolatrous interaction with the viewed that this author critiques. Describing his presentation of a mechanical organ to the Sultan Mehmed III in Constantinople in 1599, Dallam's spectatorship is distorted as he becomes a functional part of the ceremonial display of this instrument.

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Mater Litigans

Mothering Resistance in Early Eighteenth-Century Rome

Caroline Castiglione

This microhistory analyzes the efforts of a widowed mother, Teresa Boncompagni, to maintain custody of her only daughter, Cornelia. Teresa protested her brother-in-law's legal right to Cornelia's custody. The mother's resistance combined a savvy understanding of the Roman judicial system with an insistence upon the centrality of motherly affection and maternal daily care to the child's well-being. She argued that the concept of free will necessitated a period of childhood exempt from family pressure to marry the man her brother-in-law had chosen. Although Teresa's adversaries pronounced her views outrageous, and maternal affection and advocacy would later be sanitized to include affection but to exclude women's resistance, Teresa's efforts succeeded in convincing even her enemies that a good mother knew how to fight legally and that the emotional bond epitomized by affective mothering was paramount to the healthy development of the child.

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Rome's Disgrace

The Politics of Rape in Shakespeare's Lucrece

Peter J. Smith

Diana Fuss questions the "tendency to psychologize and to personalize questions of oppression, at the expense of strong materialist analyses of the structural bases of exploitation." While Shakespeare's poem acts in the opposite direction, it is a brave critic who will argue that their depersonalised readings of rape must be recognised to be more progressive or radical than those that focus on the victim. Rape is after all not a literary event, but a terrible reality with real-life casualties.

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Christopher Hill, Sara Silvestri and Elif Cetin

The migration crisis is analyzed here in the context of the challenges that Italy faces as a country of immigration during a period of recession. It is argued that there has been no serious debate in Italy on multiculturalism or on religious freedom, despite the growing sociocultural and religious diversity arising from population movements and international conflict. The analysis begins with the Italian government’s attempts in 2015 to deal with migration and diversity and the associated domestic conflicts at the levels of both party politics and civil society. The external dimension of Italian politics is examined in terms of Rome’s impatient calls for EU help and the weak political position of Italy in relation to the root causes of migration. After discussing the meaning of the Christian/Catholic identity of the country in its present state, the chapter concludes that Rome has little choice but to develop a more long-term view with regard to diversity and integration.

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Mario Caciagli and Alan S. Zuckerman

The Jubilee of the Catholic Church is the most frequently mentioned

event in the chronology that precedes this introduction to

the sixteenth edition of Politics in Italy. It could not have been otherwise,

in light of its impact on Italian public life and visibility in

the mass media throughout the year 2000. The “first planetary and

media jubilee,” as Gianfranco Brunelli terms it in his contribution

to this volume, stands at the center of this book’s section on Italian

society. Consider only some of the salient events that marked

this celebration: May Day, which the trade unions left nearly

entirely for the Pope to celebrate; the Gay Pride demonstration and

the attendant protests from the Vatican; Haider’s visit; the arrival of

tens of millions of pilgrims to the Eternal City, the impressive

amount of public works brought to completion in Rome, and the

added visibility of Rome’s mayor Francesco Rutelli. In the imagination

of most Italians, the year 2000 will remain the Jubilee year.