Saturday, August 29, 2009

And You Thought It Couldn't Get Any Worse...

Fahey's new advertisement for TMC in Human Events:
 At what point do I start lying about where I went to college? 

Mother: "We'd understand each other better if you'd studied some philosophy in college."  

Daughter: "You mean dead white guys like Aeropostale

Don't laugh: that girl's probably the product of some nearby Cliff's Notes College, where all it takes to graduate is half-an-hour a day with Cliff's Notes.

Contrast her sorry education with that of our friend and patron, Robert Novak, who passed away just last week.

In his memoirs, he fondly recalls the values that were instilled in him by his liberal arts education from the very first day he stepped on campus:

"It was a golden moment for a 17-year-old boy from Joliet, leading to four years of exploration in the riches of our heritage: Plato, Aristotle, Chaucer, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Milton, John Donne, Hawthorne, Melville, T.S. Eliot --- dead white men all. How barren would be my life without that background!"

In subsequent decades, armed with his classical Western education, Robert Novak battled --- and defeated --- many formidable, well-educated thinkers. But much of his time was spent swatting lightweight lawmakers who learned pygmy philosophy, politics, history, and foreign policy at their local equivalent of Cliff's Notes College.

Answer me this:

Would you let a Med School Lite surgeon operate on you?

Would you trust a Cliff's Notes Captain to lead your son into battle?

Are you comfortable with congressmen who can't tell Aristotle from Aeropostale deciding whether we legalize gay marriage, fight in Iraq, or let the government take over health care?

 Robert Novak never was.

Not for a second.

Which is why, when he gave large sums of his own money to colleges to carry on his legacy, he turned his back on the Cliff's Notes Colleges that clutter our nation and instead established a scholarship here at Thomas More College . . . . . . the school that provides the kind of education that, so many years ago, laid the foundation for Robert Novak's many strengths and his great wisdom.

As he told our graduates in his Commencement speech here just three short years ago, "You are entering the world as something rare today: educated men and women." 

He saw that on our modest campus of less than ten acres, we've created a gracious community of faculty and students rooted in the virtues that alone make civilization possible and give it the strength to endure.

Students walking around campus

He knew that for four years, we require each of our students to dwell in the Great Books that built Western Civilization in the first place, authors whose study nurtured him, and will once again make our nation a shining city on a hill: Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, Cicero, Plutarch, St. Augustine, Dante, St. Thomas Aquinas, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Jefferson, Madison, de Tocqueville, Hawthorne, Melville, T.S. Eliot, and the other great men and women whose wisdom gives courage its meaning.

He recognized that Thomas More College provides the education our nation needs today --- and countless respected conservatives agree.  

Says Patrick Buchanan: "Excellence in every respect is what Thomas More College offers young people. I do not exaggerate when I say that Thomas More College is exactly the kind of college you want your children and your children's children to attend."  

And National Review: "In all the hundreds of letters National Review received about scores of different schools, none brought with them an eloquence or a passion the equal of the ones from the friends of Thomas More."

Unfortunately, praise doesn't pay the plumber, Great Books don't win big grants, and we've been slammed by the market's collapse, as have the parents of most of our students.

To help our beleagured students continue their education, we've slashed all non-essential expenses, and last Fall some of our professors even went without pay.

Those cuts have not been enough, and now, with just two weeks left before classes start, we need to raise a final $150,000 to provide our students the aid they need this fall.

You know, our graduates don't merely know the difference between Aeropostale and Aristotle: they understand and value Aristotle, and the other great thinkers whose wisdom undergirds all that is great about our nation.

What Robert Novak said about our students a few years ago at Commencement remains true today:

They are entering the world as something rare today: educated men and women.

Consider what that means: consider the impact that just one such educated man --- Robert Novak --- had these past decades, the young boy who recalled with joy his own entry into such a school: "It was a golden moment for a 17-year-old boy from Joliet, leading to four years of exploration in the riches of our heritage: how barren would be my life without that background!"

Suppose lack of money had exiled the young Robert Novak to a Cliff Note's College.

How barren all our lives would have been!

Please help now, so that not one of our students will have to leave here and enroll somewhere in College Lite.

$50 would be very helpful; $100 even better; but we need to raise $150,000 immediately.

No contribution is too small --- or too large!

And please remember to say a prayer for Robert Novak! He was a good and faithful man, and a good friend to all of us here, and to our students.

William Fahey,
President Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
Six Manchester Street
Merrimack, New Hampshire 03054

Recent accolades for Thomas More College  

Ranked as one of the top 50 schools in the country by All-American Colleges: Top Schools for Conservatives, Old-Fashioned Liberals, and People of Faith. 

Ranked as one of the nation's top 100 schools in the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's best-selling college guide, Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth About America's Top Schools. 

Featured by Time Magazine in a cover story titled "Who Needs Harvard?" as a unique alternative to large, ivy-league schools for those seeking a rigorous education in the Western tradition. 

Included in The National Review College Guide: America's Top Liberal Arts Schools and Cool Colleges, and recommended by the Young America's Foundation.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Maps from Books V

by James Branch Cabell

James Branch Cabell's original map of Poictesme.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Genoa: San Lorenzo and the Harbour

  The Palazzo Ducale
 San Lorenzo
The West Facade 
Towards the harbour on Via di San Lorenzo
Medieval shops along the Moro
 Palazzo San Giorgio, the commercial center of medieval Genoa
 Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato beyond the old wallls of the city
 Looking up towards Piazza de Banchi and the Loggia dei Mercanti 
San Lorenzo with Chiesa del Gesu up the street

Chiesa del Gesu

Monday, August 24, 2009

Maps from Books IV

The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Shire, my favorite of Tolkien's maps of Middle Earth.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Unfolding the Earth: Myriahedral Projections

St. Kiven and the Gentle Kathleen

By Thomas Moore
E L's illustrated Version
No. 1
By the lake whose gloomy shore
Skylark never wobbles oer—
Where the cliffs hang high & steep—
Young Saint Kiven stole to sleep.

No. 2
Here at least, he calmly said
Woman ne'er shall find my bed
Ah! the good saint little knew,
What that wily sex can do.—

No. 3
Twas from Kathleens eyes he flew,
Eyes of most unholy blue,
She had loved him well & long—
Wished him her's, nor thought it wrong.

No. 4
Wheresoe'ever the saint could fly,
Still he heard her light foot nigh,

Illustration Lost
No. 5
East or west, where'er he turn'd,
Still her eyes before him burn'd.

No. 6
On the bold cliff's bosom cast,
Tranquil now he sleeps at last;
Dreams of heaven, nor thinks that e'er,
Woman's smile can haunt him there.
But nor earth nor heaven is free,
From her power, if fond she be:—
Even now, while calm he sleeps—
Kathleen o'er him leans and weeps.
Fearless she had trackd his feet
To that rocky wild retreat—
And when morning met his view
Her mild glances met it too.

 No. 7
Ah! yes saints have cruel hearts—
Sternly from his bed he darts
& with rude repulsive shick
Hurls her down the beetling rock.

 No. 8
Glendalough, thy gloomy wave
Soon was gentle Kathleens grave,
Soon the Saint, but ah too late
Felt her love, & mournd her fate;

 No. 9
When he said, 'Heaven rest her soul—
Round the Lake light music stole—
And her ghost was seen to glide,
Smiling — oer the fatal tide.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Maps from Books III

Missee Lee
by Arthur Ransome

One of the more far-fetched Swallows and Amazons stories... "Camblidge" educated, twenty-two gong Chinese pirates, Latin lessons, and the Tiger, Turtle, and Dragon Islands.

Tiger, Turtle and Dragon Islands

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Churchill on Socialism

. . . a socialist policy is abhorrent to the British ideas of freedom. Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the object worship of the state. It will prescribe for every one where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say. Socialism is an attack on the right to breathe freely. No socialist system can be established without a political police. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance.

And another quotation for good measure:
"Although personally I am quite content with existing explosives, I feel we must not stand in the path of improvement."

Maps From Books II

The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame
"The sheep ran huddling together against the hurdles, blowing out thin nostrils and stamping with delicate fore-feet, their heads thrown back and a light steam rising from the crowded sheep-pen into the frosty air, as the two animals hastened by in high spirits, with much chatter and laughter. They were returning across country after a long day's outing with Otter, hunting and exploring on the wide uplands, where certain streams tributary to their own River had their first small beginnings; and the shades of the short winter day were closing in on them, and they had still some distance to go. Plodding at random across the plough, they had heard the sheep and had made for them; and now, leading from the sheep-pen, they found a beaten track that made walking a lighter business, and responded, more-over, to that small inquiring something which all animals carry inside them, saying unmistakably, 'Yes, quite right; this leads home!'"

-From Dolce Domum

Monday, August 17, 2009

Maps from Books I

The Jumblies
by Edward Lear 

"For they'd been to the lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
And the Hills of the Chankly Bore...."

I thought this was an appropriate map to begin this series of posts. Edward Gorey illustrated a version of The Jumblies published in 1968 with this wonderful image of the the far side of the Western Sea. It measures 14 x 42 cms.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

From "The Marble Faun"

Miriam's View of the Precipice:

. . . "I fancy," remarked Miriam, "that every person takes a peep into it in moments of gloom and despondancy; that is to say, in moments of deepest insight."
"Where is it then, asked Hilda. "I never peeped into it."
"Wait and it will open for you," replied her friend. "The chasm was merely one of the orifices of that pit of blackness that lies beneath us, everywhere. The firmest substance of human happiness is but a thin crust spread over it, with just reality enough to bear up the illusive stage scenery amid which we tread. It needs no earthquake to open the chasm. A footstep, a little heavier than ordinary, will serve; and and we must step very daintily, not to break through the crust at any moment. By and by we inevitably sink! It was a foolish piece of heroism in Curtius to precipitate himself there, in advance; for all Rome, you see, has been swallowed up in that gulf, in spite of him. The Palace of the Caesars has gone down thither, with a hollow rumbling sound of its fragments! All the temples have tumbled into it; and thousands of statues have been thrown after! All the armies and the triumphs have marched into the great chasm, with their martial music playing, as they stepped over the brink. All the heroes, the statesmen, and the poets! All piled upon poor Curtius, who thought to have saved them all! I am loath to smile at the self-conceit of that gallant horseman, but cannot well avoid it." . . .

. . . "Not soon, I am afraid," acquiesced the sculptor." "You are right, excellent Tomaso; the world is sadder now!"
And in truth, while our friend smiled at these wild fables, he sighed in the same breath to think how the once genial earth produces, in every successive generation, fewer flowers than used to gladden the preceding ones. Not that the modes and seeming possibilities of human enjoyment are rarer in our refined and softened era,--on the contrary, they never before were nearly so abundant,--but that mankind are getting so far beyond the childhood of their race that they scorn to be happy any longer. A simple and joyous character can find no place for itself among the sage and somber figures that would put his unsophisticated cheerfulness to shame. the entire system of man's affairs, as at present established, is built up purposely to exclude the careless and happy soul. the very children would upbraid the wretched individual who should endeavor to take life and the world as--what we might naturally suppose them meant for--a place of opportunity and enjoyment.
It is the iron rule in our day to require an object and a purpose in life. It makes us all parts of a complicated scheme of progress, which can only result in our arrival at a colder and drearier region than we were born in. It insists in everybody's adding somewhat--a mite, perhaps, but earned by incessant effort--to an accumulated pile of usefulness, of which the only use will be to burden our posterity with even heacier thoughts and more inordinate labor than our own. No life now wanders like an unfettered stream; there is a mill wheel for the tiniest rivulet to turn. We go all wrong, by too strenuous a resolution to go all right. . .

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pieces of Picus

I just revisited this wonderful insight from Rainscape this evening, and, being an admirer of Pico della Mirandola thought it worth posting, especially with regards to the patrimony of Thomas More.

This (The Life of John Picus) delights and instructs, and is moreover good! I've had the feeling that this is important for while, but finally have read it and selected some notable passages for you, my friends. More translated/wrote this life of Pico della Mirandola, one of his earliest works, while discerning his vocation, studying and praying in a small cell within the Carthusian "Charterhouse". He chose Pico as a model man of recent times, and what a choice! Even though More chose a different path in life than the eccentric Mirandola, his endorsement of Pico represents something he adopted to his temper and certainly never let go of.

Earl of Mirandula, a great lord of Italy, an excellent cunning man in all sciences, and virtuous of living ; with divers epistles and other works of the said John Picus, full of great science, virtue, and wisdom : whose life and works be worthy and digne to be read and often to be had in memory.

Translated out of Latin into English by Master Thomas More.
Selected by Scrivener Adam Cooper.

He was of feature and shape seemly and beauteous, of stature goodly and high, of flesh tender and soft, his visage lovely and fair, his colour white intermingled with comely reds, his eyes grey and quick of look, his teeth white and even, his hair yellow and not too picked.
. . .
Under the rule and governance of his mother he was set to masters and to learning, where with so ardent mind he laboured the studies of humanity that within short while he was (and not without a cause) accounted among the chief orators and poets of that time, in learning marvellous swift and of so ready a wit that the verses which he heard once read he would again both forward and backward to the great wonder of the hearers rehearse, and over that would hold it in sure remembrance; which in other folks wont commonly to happen contrary, for they that are swift in taking be oftentimes slow in remembering, and they that with more labour and difficulty receive it, more fast and surely hold it.
. . .
He was of cheer always merry and of so benign nature that he was never troubled with anger, and he said once to his nephew that whatsoever should happen (fell there never so great misadventure) he could never, as him thought, be moved to wrath, but if his chests perished in which his books lay that he had with great travail and watch compiled. But forasmuch as he considered that he laboured only for the love of God and profit of His Church, and that he had dedicated unto Him all his works, his studies and his doings, and since he saw that, since God is almighty, they could not miscarry but if it were either by His commandment or by His sufferance, he verily trusted, since God is all good, that He would not suffer him to have that occasion of heaviness.
. . .
Some man hath shone in eloquence, but ignorance of natural things hath dishonested him; some man hath flowered in the knowledge of divers strange languages, but he hath wanted all the cognition of philosophy; some man hath read the inventions of the old philosophers, but he hath not been exercised in the new schools; some man hath sought cunning, as well philosophy as divinity, for praise and vainglory and not for any profit or increase of Christ's Church. But Picus all these things with equal study hath so received that they might seem by heaps as a plenteous stream to have flowed into him. For he was not of the condition of some folk (which to be excellent in one thing set all other aside) but he in all sciences profited so excellently that which of them soever ye had considered in him, ye would have thought that he had taken that one for his only study. And all these things were in him so much the more marvellous in that he came thereto by himself with the strength of his own wit, for the love of God and profit of His Church, without masters; so that we may say of him that Epicurus the philosopher said of himself, that he was his own master.
. . .
And oftentimes in communication he would admonish his familiar friends how greatly these mortal things bow and draw to an end, how slipper and how falling it is that we live in now; how firm, how stable it shall be that we shall hereafter live in, whether we be thrown down into hell or lifted up into heaven. Wherefore he exhorted them to turn up their minds to love God, which was a thing far excelling all the cunning that is possible for us in this life to obtain.
. . .
"But now behold, 0 my well-beloved Angel [his friend], what madness holdeth us. Love God (while we be in this body) we rather may, than either know Him or by speech utter Him. In loving Him also we more profit ourselves, we labour less and serve Him more ; and yet had we liefer, always by knowledge never find that thing that we seek, than by love to possess that thing which also, without love, were in vain found."
. . .
Liberality only in him passed measure : for so far was he from the giving of any diligence to earthly things that he seemed somewhat besprent with the freckle of negligence. His friends oftentimes admonished him that he should not all utterly despise riches, showing him that it was his dishonesty and rebuke when it was reported (were it true or false) that his negligence and setting naught by money gave his servants occasion of deceit and robbery. Nevertheless, that mind of his (which evermore on high cleaved first in contemplation and in the ensearching of nature's counsel) could never let down itself to the consideration and overseeing of these base, abject, and vile earthly trifles.
. . .
His lovers and friends with great benignity and courtesy he entreated, whom he used in all secret communing virtuously to exhort to Godward, whose godly words so effectually wrought in the hearers that where a cunning man (but not so good as cunning) came to him on a day for the great fame of his learning to commune with him, as they fell in talking of virtue he was with two words of Picus so throughly pierced that forthwithal he forsook his accustomed vice and reformed his conditions. The words that he said unto him were these : "If we had evermore before our eyes the painful death of Christ which He suffered for the love of us, and then if we would again think upon our death, we should well beware of sin."
. . .
Wedding and worldly business he fled almost alike. Notwithstanding, when he was asked once in sport whether of those two burdens seemed lighter and which he would choose if he should of necessity be driven to that one, and at his election; which he sticked thereat a while, but at the last he shook his head and a little smiling he answered that he had liefer take him to marriage, as that thing in which was less servitude and not so much jeopardy. Liberty above all he loved, to which both his own natural affection and the study of philosophy inclined him; and for that he was always wandering and flitting and would never take himself to any certain dwelling.
. . .
“Nephew;" said he, “ this will I show thee, I warn thee keep it secret ; the substance that I have left, after certain books of mine finished, I intend to give out to poor folk, and fencing myself with the crucifix, barefoot walking about the world in every town and castle I purpose to preach of Christ."
. . .
In the year of our Redemption, 1494, when he had fulfilled the thirty-second year of his age and abode at Florence, he was suddenly taken with a fervent access which so far forth crept into the interior parts of his body, that it despised all medicines and overcame all remedy, and compelled him within three days to satisfy nature and repay her the life which he received of her.
. . .
After that he had received the holy Body of our Saviour, when they offered unto him the crucifix (that is the image of Christ's ineffable passion suffered for our sake, that he might ere he gave up the ghost receive his full draught of love and compassion in the beholding of that pitiful figure as a strong defence against all adversity and a sure portcullis against wicked spirits) the priest demanded him whether he firmly believed that crucifix to be the image of Him that was very God and very man: which in His Godhead was before all time begotten of His Father, to Whom He is also equal in all things, and Which of the Holy Ghost, God also, of Him and of the Father coeternally going forth (which three Persons be one God) was in the chaste womb of our lady, a perpetual virgin, conceived in time; Which suffered hunger, thirst, heat, cold, labour, travail, and watch; and Which at the last for washing of our spotty sin contracted and drawn unto us in the sin of Adam, for the sovereign love that He had to mankind, in the altar of the cross willingly and gadly shed out His most precious blood :-when the priest inquired of him these things and such other as they be wont to inquire of folk in such case, Picus answered him that he not only believed it but also certainly knew it.
. . .
He showed also to the above-named Albertus and many other credible persons that the Queen of heaven came to him that night with a marvellous fragrant odour, refreshing all his members that were bruised and frushed with that fever, and promised him that he should not utterly die.
. . .
Now since it is so that he is adjudged to that fire from which he shall undoubtedly depart unto glory, and no man is sure how long it shall be first, and maybe the shorter time for our intercessions, let every Christian body show their charity upon him to help to speed him thither where, after the long habitation with the inhabitants of this dark world (to whom his goodly conversation gave great light) and after the dark fire of purgatory (in which venial sins be cleansed) he may shortly (if he be not already) enter the inaccessible and infinite light of heaven, where he may in the presence of the sovereign Godhead so pray for us that we may the rather by his intercession be partners of that unspeakable joy which we have prayed to bring him speedily to. Amen.
Here endeth the life of John Picus, Earl of Mirandula.


But here ye will say to me thus: “I am content ye study, but I would have you outwardly occupied also. And I desire you not so to embrace Martha that ye should utterly forsake Mary. Love them and use them both, as well study as worldly occupation." Truly, my well-beloved friend, in this point I gainsay you not; they that so do I find no fault in nor I blame them not, but certainly it is not all one to say we do well if we do so, and to say we do evil but if we do so . . . Shall a man then be rebuked because that he desireth and ensueth virtue only for itself, because he studieth the mysteries of God, because he ensearcheth the counsel of nature, because he useth continually this pleasant ease and rest, seeking none outward thing, despising all other thing, since those things are able sufficiently to satisfy the desire of their followers? By this reckoning it is a thing either servile, or at the leastwise not princely, to make the study of wisdom other than mercenary. Who may well hear this, who may suffer it? Certainly he never studied for wisdom which so studied therefor that in time to come either he might not or would not study therefor. This man rather exercised the study of merchandise than of wisdom. Ye write unto me that it is time for me now to put myself in household with some of the great princes of Italy, but I see well that as yet ye have not known the opinion that philsosophers have of themselves, which (as Horace saith) repute themselves kings of kings; they love liberty; they cannot bear the proud manners of estates; they cannot serve. They dwell with themselves and be content with the tranquillity of their own mind; they suffice themselves and more; they seek nothing out of themselves; the things that are had in honour among the common people, among them be not held honourable. All that ever the voluptuous desire of men thirsteth for, or ambition seeketh for, they set at naught and despise. Which while it belongeth to all men, yet undoubtedly it pertaineth most properly to them whom fortune hath so liberally favoured that they may live not only well and plenteously, but also nobly. These great fortunes lift up a man high and set him out to the show, but oftentimes as a fierce and a skittish horse they cast off their master. Certainly always they grieve and vex him and rather tear him than bear him. The golden mediocrity, the mean estate, is to be desired, which shall bear us as it were in hands a more easily, which shall obey us and not master us. I therefore, abiding firmly in this opinion, set more by my little house, my study, the pleasure of my books, the rest and peace of my mind, than by all your kings palaces, all your common business, all your glory, all the advantage that ye hawk after, and all the favour of the court. Nor I look not for worldly business, but that I may once bring forth the children that I travail on; that I may give out some books of mine own to the common profit which may somewhat savour if not of cunning yet at the leastwise of wit and diligence. And because ye shall not think that my travail and diligence in study is anything remitted or slackened, I give you knowledge that after great fervent labour with much watch and indefatigable travail I have learned both the Hebrew language and the Chaldee, and now have I set hand to overcome the great difficulty of the Arabic tongue. These, my dear friend, be things which do appertain to a noble prince, I have ever thought and yet think. Fare ye well.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cazarza Ligure

The work of Mario Gallarati, a Genoese architect and student of Caniggia of the Muratori school of urban design and architecture.


Then when the ample season
Warmed us, waned and went,
We gave to the leaves no graves,
To the robin gone no name,
Nor thought at the birds' return
Of their sourceless dim descent,
And we read no loss in the leaf,
But a freshness ever the same.

The leaf first learned of years
One not forgotten fall;
Of lineage now, and loss
These latter singers tell,
Of a year when the birds now still
Were all one choiring call
Till the unreturning leaves
Imperishably fell.


Camogli & San Fruttuoso

The fishing village of Camogli
The harbour
The active fishing fleet
Mending nets
The only way of reaching San Fruttuoso
San Fruttuoso
The Abbey and Church

The whole inlet is thick with the sound of cicadas in the olive trees above the Abbey

The church beneath which the Pamphilij are buried
Fishing nets and anchors under the Abbey

The Cloister

The Doria Pamphilij Tower

San Fruttuoso
When one speaks of San Fruttuoso with someone who knows this splendid locality on the promontory of Portofino, few are aware that the complete name of the nuclear abbey of this little village is San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte. Capodimonte explains the name; San Fruttuoso explains the legend which we will briefly relate.

Arriving from Spain, the priests Giustino and Procopio of Terragona wanted to reach the coast of Liguria and bring the bones of San Fruttuoso, the archbishop of Braga and founder of monasteries in Spain and Portugal. He would later be mart yered in 262.

A strong tempest surprised them in the area of Portofino and it was here that an angel of the Lord appeared to Giustino and promised to bring him to safety in a narrow’avine in the cliffs and from which he would chase away a pestiferous dragon. The priests would then have to construct a church there among the rocks by a gushing spring.
It was thus that the locality where the church was constructed and later the monastery, first of thefollowers of Saint Colombano and then of the Benedictines, came to be called San Fruttuoso. Here the Abbey that was to have such great importance for the Tigullian Gulf until the twelfth century developed.

The Abbey exercised rights over hunting and fishing on the entire promontory and in addition fostered agriculture, mostly on the eastern slope of the promontory of Portofino which was more suitable for cultivation.

The submission of many coastal and inland parishes reaching as far as the dio- ceses of Tortona, Bobbio, and Brugnato, were the consequences of many donations. Anticipating the fatal year 1000 that was supposed to represent the end of the uorld, many feudal lords and even emperors deprived themselves of land to be given to the church.

In particular the empress Adelaide or Adalgisa of Bourgogne must be remembered for having donated the land of the “oltregiogo” for her spiritual salvation and that of the emperor Otto I and in appreciation for the physical salvation of her son Otto II’s escape from a grave danger. Even the island of Sestri Levante belonged to the Abbey and so we can confidently talk about its supremacy over the lands of Tigullio.

Since San Fruttuoso belonged to the “marca januensis“ constituted by Berengario II in 950 and entrusted to the Obertenghi family, the relationship between the Abbey and the aristocracy was such that the existence of numerous feudal landlords such as the Fieschi, the Este and the Malaspina did not pose a serious danger to the Abbey. The Fieschi were established in eastern Tigullio while the other two were dominant in the Appenine mountains and in the Po valley and plain.

The year 1133 is a very important date in the history not only of the Genoese church but for the abbey at San Fruttuoso as well. Since Pope Innocent Il separated the diocese of Genoa from the seat of Milan, establishing it as an archdiocese with Siro II, it became necessary to reorganize the territory. The monasteries no longer had the certainty of being able to protect the borders of their property from the incroachments of lay forces and even other organs of the diocese and thus be- gan to look to Genoa for support. Genoa, looking to expand in the riviera levante, was interested in cultivating good relations with the abbey and thus eager to protect its interests on the promontory of Portofino.

In 1162 Pope Alexander III, in order that he might enjoy the support of the still wealthy and powerful Abbot of San Fruttuoso, reconfirmed the privileges of the abbey over the territories subjected to it. It was the time when he was fighting with Federico Barbarossa who had opposed him with the anti-pope Victor V.

Taken from Portofino World

Departing from Camogli train station