Vico - A Chronology


Monsignor Piazza


Academy of Investigati revived. (Fisch, "Chronological Table")

"Agostino Mazza, a priest employed in teaching philosophy, was thrown into prison by the Commissioner of the Inquisition and humiliated by having to abjure in public two propositions which to the ordinary mind have the least possible bearing on the faith -- "The definition of man is not that he is a reasoning animal' and 'Brutes have a kind of imperfect reason" (Lea 98).


Inquisition prosecutes "atheists" (1686-93). (Fisch, "Chronological Table")


Academy of Infuriati revived. (Fisch, "Chronological Table")


Papal delegate expelled. (Fisch, "Chronological Table")

"A pettifogging Neapolitan lawyer had accused Basilio Giannelli and Giacinto de' Cristoforo, two young Neapolitan intellectuals, of propagating libertine ideas, that is, of maintaining that Jesus was nothing but an ambitious political impostor, of denying the literal reading of the Holy Scriptures, of denying the truth of miracles and the existence of hell, heaven and purgatory. Clearly the attach on the two young men was aimed higher, in so far as the whole of the Accademia degil Investiganti was involved in the accusation of atheism. [Giuseppe] Valletta intervened with his Lettera in difesa della moderna filosofia e dei coltivatori di essa, written between 1691 and 1697. This letter should be seen in the context of a fierce political struggle between Church and State. The local clergy and the Roman Curia tried to use the trial to justify the intervention and organisation of the Inquisition in Naples. This was answered both by the municipality and its institutions and by the representatives of the ceto civile and the ministero togato, among whom were Amato Danio and Serafino Biscardi [V. refers to Biscardi as the Grand Chancellor who, a week before the visit of King Philip V (Apr 17 - Jun 02, 1702), communicated a request from the Duke of Escalona, then governing Naples, to compose an oration in honor of the King's arrival (Autobiography 174]. The lawyers' arguments dealt more than anything else with the question of the Holy Office and they aimed to exculpate the city from any accusations wihich might give credibility to the terrible and sinister ecclesiastical tribunal." (Giuseppe, "Renewal" 81)


Academy of Infuriai recognized as Academy of Uniti. (Fisch, "Chronological Table")

V. elected to the Academy of Uniti. (Fisch, "Chronological Table") V.'s friends Cristofaro, Galizia, and Giannelli stigmatized by the inquisition. (Fisch, "Chronological Table") How does Fisch know that these three were friends of Vico; none of them are mentioned in the Autobiography.

"The pope threatened an interdict and the Piazze threatened to rise; the latter danger was to Carlos II the most imminent and, in 1692, he prohibited all further residence in Naples of papal delegates or commissioners. To render secure the fruits of this victory, the Piazze took the decided step of appointing a permanent deputation whose duty it was to guard the city from further dangers of the same nature" (Lea 100).


Inquisition condemns V.'s friends. (Fisch, "Chronological Table"). Is this the trial of the atheists that Fisch dates as having begun in 1686? Are these "friends" Cristofaro, Galizia, and Giannelli?

"Trials for heresy continued in the archiepiscopal court, conducted in inquisitorial fashion and not by the via ordinaria. This caused renewed dissatisfaction and, in hopes of reaching some terms of accommodation, envoys were sent to Rome in 1693 to ask that the procedure should be open, the names of the witnesses and the testimony being communicated to the accused; that no one should be imprisoned without competent proof against him; that the city should be aallowed to supply an advocate for the poor and that two lay assistants should be appointed to see that these provisions were enforced" (Lea 100-01).


Feb 01 - "There was little prospect of reaching an agreement when Naples was startled with a wholly novel aggression. February 1, 1695, there was published in Rome by the Inquisition and Edict of Denunciation which, under its orders, was similarly published in at least one of the Neapolitan dioceses. . . . it included the episcopal ordinaries as well as inquisitors, as the parties to whom every one was required, under pain of excommunication latae sententiae, removable only by the Inquisition, and other penalties, to denounce whatever cases might come in any way to his cognizance, of a list of offences ranging from apostacy to bigamy, blasphemy and sorcery. (Lea 101)



Mar 20 - L'Accademia Medina Coeli (Academy of Medinaceli) , also known as "L'Accademia Palatina, holds its first meeting. (Fisch, "Chronological Table")

V. competes for chair of rhetoric. (Fisch, "Chronological Table")


Oct 18 - "Oratio I" (On Self-Knowledge)]


Carlos II dies resulting in the War of Spanish Succession (1700-13).

[Oct 18 - "Oratio II (On Virtue and Wisdom)]


Sep 23 - Conspiracy of Macchia [Oct 18 - "Oratio III" (On True Learning)] Capece and Sangro executed. (Fisch, "Chronological Table")




[Oct 18 - "Oration IV" (On Education for the Common Good)]


[Oct 18 - "Oratio V" (On the Liberal Arts and Political Power)]



Philip V abandons Naples to Charles of Austria. "during the interval the Inquisition suceeeded in re-introducing a commissioner, who made free use of his powers. The new monarch sought to secure the loyalty of his subjects and from Barcelona sent orders to his viceroy, Cardinal Grimani to support the Deputati in their efforts to uphold the privileges of the kingdom." (Lea 102)

Oct 18 - "Oratio VI" (On the Proper Order of Studies)


Oct 18 - "Oratio VII" (On the Study Methods of Our Time)


Jul 31 - "In spite of this the Deputati were obliged to appeal to him, in a petition of July 31, 1709, representing that, after the publication of his despatch to Grimani, the ecclesiastics proceeded to the greatest imaginable oppressions and violence, so that their condition was worse than ever, wherefore they prayed for relief at his hands, so that trials should be conducted in the via ordinaria" (102)

Sep 15 - "To this Charles replied, September 15th, to Grimani, commanding that matters of faith should be confined stricly to the bishops, to be handled by the via ordinaria; any departure from this was to be severly punished and teh authorities wee to use the whole royal power, through whatever means were necessary, for the enforcement of his orders [n. Amabile, II, 74-80. -- Acampora, Ragioni a pro della Fidelissima Citt� di Napoli (Napoli, 1709).] (Lea 100)


[De antiquissima italorum sapientia ex linguae latinae originibus eruenda. Liber primus: metaphysicus]


Dec 03 - "It was probably some special outrage that induced the Deputati, in 1711, to employ Nicol� Capasso to draw up a report on inquisitorial methods. The work is a storehouse of inquisitorial principles as set forth by accredited inquisitorial authorities -- papal decretals and manuals of practice such as those of Eymerich, Pe�a, Simancas, Albertino, Rojas, the Sacro Arsenale etc., admirably calculated to excite abhorrence by laying bare the complet denial of justice in every step of procedure, the pitiless cruelty of the system and teh manner in which the lives, the fortunes and the honor of every citizen were at the mercy of the malignant and the the temper of the tribunal. Yet so far from being an advocate of toleration, Capasso commences by arguing against it at much length. Religion, he says, is the foundation of social order and the principle of toleration infers toleration of irreligion. Protestants are intolerant between themselves and the Catholic system cannot endure toleration. That which is taught by the philosophers is chimerical, and a community to be stable must be united in faith, but the enforcement of this unity is a matter for the secular power. Punishment must be corporal and the Church has authority over the spirit alone, not over the body. An allusion to the gravissime agitazioni of the people would indicate that his labors were called forth by some action which had aroused especial resentment. [n. - Ragionamenti del Sig. D. Niccol� Campasso colli quali istanza degl' Eccmi Sigri della Citt� di Napoli prova no doversi ricevere in questo Religiosissimo Regno l'odios Tribunale dell' Inquisizione. I am not aware that this work has ever been printed, but it must have had a considerable cirulation in MS. I have three copies, of which one is a Latin version. In one of them the prefatory address to the Deputati is dated December 3, 1711, which fixes the time of its composition. The other copies were made respectively in 1715 and 1717, indicating that it continued to be referred to.] (Lea 103)


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