Animals are bad for you – Part II

I am sure you’ve embraced the idea that animals make people suffer from Part I – we talked of ruined sofas, broken electronics, blocked roads, and general harassment by animals that people start experiencing quite early, like illustrated by Filippo Palizzi here:

Fennel Cart attacked by Goats, 1857

Fennel Cart attacked by Goats, 1857

Or here:

Filippo Palizzi, Agnelli e pecore alla fonte, 1957

Filippo Palizzi, Agnelli e pecore alla fonte, 1957

There’s one more real story you need to know to understand why revenge against animals is a good thing.

It took place in Viterbo, Italy, in 1367. Like in the painting above, it is about water, animals, and people.

Viterbo was a place where four popes had been elected by the time it all happened, with the reigning Pope also present at his summer residence there.

The medieval historian who described the event was quite brief, but there’s much to be read between the lines.

“A member of the cardinal’s retinue, whom others might call master of the pope’s household in Viterbo, was washing the cardinal’s pretty little dog in the Fountain of Scarlano. A servant woman of a citizen of Viterbo, who had arrived there just at that moment to fetch water shouted at him. Insulted by her enraged indignation, he killed her, which sparked others of the neighbourhood to take up arms and seek revenge. Whereupon, others of the papal court came out into the fray, which in turn increased still further the number of Viterbesi who came out into the streets.”

Now that’s a lesson in Christian love, isn’t it? Because no one of the religious community wondered if killing a woman for using a few special Italian words to stop the cardinal’s henchman was a bit harsh.

“In great numbers they chanted, “Long live the Pope and death to the foreigners”.

This is something I could not understand at first. I mean, “death to dog-owners who wash their dogs in public fountains” would be more logical. But “death to the foreigners”? Then I learned the Cardinal in question was from Carcassonne. A-ha! A Frenchman! And a French dog!

“With great rioting they stormed the castle where the pope was in residence and there in front of his door killed many soldiers and servants of the cardinals”.

A pretty little doggie brought about a carnage. This riot went down in history as “Riot over the cardinal’s pretty little dog”. 

Remember, pets are very dangerous, especially those pretty little dogs that shake like a street pusher pressed hard by Bruce Willis in a cop movie.

So, when you’re next time in Milan, go to their modern art gallery that has 19th century works by Italian artists, and enjoy Palizzi paintings.

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