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Friday, April 27, 2018

Turin-Paris: Age of massacres

E. Delacroix, The Massacre at Chios, 1824.
It had happened in 1822

G. B. Marino's third (but chronologically first) 'lay sermon' ends with a description of the consequences of the Turks' attacks against the Christian lands. The situation remained tense, now that the rather symbolical victory of Lepanto, 1571, was a memory of almost four decades before. Actually, however, the Ottoman Empire was slowly getting weaker and weaker, a "giant with clay feet"; and precisely in the 17th century, it was often defeated in its battles against the Western countries, though of course a lot of time would pass before its final collapse because of WWI. Marino's words, while echoing the European propaganda, surely mirror many tragic facts. At the same time, Christian conquerors were giving the same treatment to native American peoples, or even to one another during the Thirty Years' War.

Dicerie sacre, III. Il cielo, 127
What might be worthier of our compassion than seeing the little, innocent virgins kidnapped from our bosoms and led to brothels, and the children torn off from our breasts, stolen away from the sacred water of Baptism, and carried to a profane residence in evil mosques? How many priests have been sneered at? How many temples [churches] desecrated? How many holy pictures ruined? How many venerable relics trodden on? Who will be able to count the crops set on fire, the stolen herds, the ransacked farms, the people taken prisoners? O plague all the more distressing as unavenged!