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Michael Alan Ryan, University of New Mexico

Thu April 28th 2016, 4:30pm
Event Sponsor
Co-sponsored with the CMEMS and the Theoretical Perspectives on Middle Ages workshop
History Department, Building 200 room 307

Discerning Deceit in Late Medieval Venice: On Alchemy and Cristoforo di Parigi

abstract: Fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Venice, a premier mercantile and intellectual crossroads, was a cosmopolitan urban center that attracted individuals from all parts of transalpine Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. In such a world, unscrupulous individuals could--and did--flock to the city to profit. Using the case of the shadowy individual who called himself 'Cristoforo di Parigi,' an alchemist purportedly exiled by the leaders of the Republic for practicing his discipline in the Republic, Michael A. Ryan will discuss the discernment of fraud in late medieval Venice, as well as the liminal place that alchemy occupied within medieval culture writ large. This work-in-progress comprises part of a larger book-length manuscript that investigates the parameters of magical fraud and alchemical charlatanry in Venice prior to the establishment of the Santo Uffizio in the mid-sixteenth century.