Thursday, November 23, 2006


Pius II was an orator of the first rank. He had been poet laureate.

Unlike today, orators did not have speech writers. They wrote their own speeches. What they wrote, they owned. They took responsibility for it.

Oratory was an art. It required study. It required thought. The oratorical effects were secondary to the message. The best oratory moved both hearts and minds.

At the end of Book 2 of the Commentaries, Pius narrates his arrival in Mantua.

In the welcoming ceremonies for him, he was addressed by a thirteen year old girl who delivered an address in Latin which she composed herself. All were spell bound. The master orator himself noted that "her style was so elegant that all who heard her were lost in wonder and admiration."

The girl was Ippolita Maria Sforza, (1446-1488), daughter of Bianca Maria Visconti, and Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan. A beautiful woman who was also learned, a "Renaissance woman". She married married Alfonso, Duke of Calabria in 1465.