In many societies there is nothing more humiliating than to
receive a brutta figura - a loss of face in society.
The fear of public humiliation informs every choice, every argument,
every decision - in 15th century Italy.
During the Medici's feud with the Albizzi in the 1430s, rumors were
spread by a poet called Filelfo, a ‘friend’ of the Albizzi
family. Filelfo claimed Cosimo was a traitor and a cheat. Filelfo's
words were instrumental in turning the government against the leader
of the Medici. When Cosimo returned to power, Filelfo was terrified,
but unlike his friends he was allowed to escape with his life.
But one day, down a dark alley, a different kind of justice caught up with him. Filelfo was attacked by a group of men,
armed with a blade. When they had finished with him, Filelfo had a fresh wound, stretching right across his face, from ear
to ear - a loss of face indeed.
Che brutta figura! - humiliation as revenge.
Next: Private Lives
- God's Bankers
- Losing Face
- Private Lives
- Other Families
- Medieval Murder
Quiz - Who are you?