The letters of Giannettino Giustiniani to the Court of Turin had hitherto remained without the set of primary sources on the plague in Genoa in 1656-57 (probably the gravest epidemic in the ancient Genoese regime). Although the collection of letters is incomplete because of the plague itself, it is still a source of great interest. As Savoy agent and one of Cardinal Mazarin’s most valuable informants, Giustiniani was a figure of high political profile: he was France’s representative and the leader of the pro-French faction in Genoa; he was part of a vast information and intelligence network that included numerous Italian Courts, the Principality of Monaco, and the Barberini family. This corpus of letters provides several angles on the plague, though the running theme is that of Giustiniani’s anguish at being cut off from his interlocutors, as indeed many of his letters never reached their destination or fell into the hands of his enemies. The darkness and silence, of which he speaks became his greatest torment: it was a veritable plague of letters. From his villa in Santa Margherita Ligure, in the Gulf of Rapallo, he recounted the course of the epidemic but provided a greatly mitigated version of it, for reasons at once of self-interest and public interest

So long and tormenting is the silence. The Great Plague of Genoa through the Letters of Giannettino Giustiniani to the Court of Turin (1656-59)

Alessia Ceccarelli
2022

Abstract

The letters of Giannettino Giustiniani to the Court of Turin had hitherto remained without the set of primary sources on the plague in Genoa in 1656-57 (probably the gravest epidemic in the ancient Genoese regime). Although the collection of letters is incomplete because of the plague itself, it is still a source of great interest. As Savoy agent and one of Cardinal Mazarin’s most valuable informants, Giustiniani was a figure of high political profile: he was France’s representative and the leader of the pro-French faction in Genoa; he was part of a vast information and intelligence network that included numerous Italian Courts, the Principality of Monaco, and the Barberini family. This corpus of letters provides several angles on the plague, though the running theme is that of Giustiniani’s anguish at being cut off from his interlocutors, as indeed many of his letters never reached their destination or fell into the hands of his enemies. The darkness and silence, of which he speaks became his greatest torment: it was a veritable plague of letters. From his villa in Santa Margherita Ligure, in the Gulf of Rapallo, he recounted the course of the epidemic but provided a greatly mitigated version of it, for reasons at once of self-interest and public interest
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/1651901
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