The Department of French and Italian will sponsor a talk by University of Oslo Professor Unn Falkeid entitled: "Strewn with Ruins: Petrarch, Cola di Rienzo, and the Battle of Rome." Reception to follow.
Rome, Pentecost Sunday, 1347. Hundreds of armed men, joined by the Roman papal vicar, marched through the city and ascended the Senator’s Palace at the Capitoline Hill, encouraged by the chants and praises of
the people lining the streets. From the top of the hill Cola di Rienzo—Roman plebian, son of a tavern keeper and
cleaning woman—delivered the speech “On the misery and the servitude of the people of Rome,” outlining the sins
of the Pope and Roman baronial families against the city of Rome, and declaring himself Tribune of Rome, restorer
of the Roman Republic. With Roman liberty and Italian unification on the horizon, poet laureate Francesco Petrarca
writes a letter to Cola and the Roman people in support of the “young Brutus” and in defiance of his Roman patrons
the Colonna and Orsini, as well as the Pope, hoping to position himself as adviser to the restored Republic.