1555 Lyon Bonhomme

Trenché le ventre, naistra auec deux testes,
Et quatre bras:quelques an s entier viura:
Iour qui Alquilloye celebrera ses festes
Foussan, Turin, chief Ferrare fuyura.

Born of the cut, with two heads,
And four arms: several years it will live intact:
That day on which Aquileia will celebrate its feasts,
Turin city and the Ferrara capital embracing Fossa will follow.

Line 1, OF ‘trenché/tranchet’ meant cut at the base, cut out, cut off.

Line 2, OF ‘ans/an’ was a year or a woe or part of a life. OF ‘entier/s’entier’ means whole/it is full.

Line 3, Aquileia was a place in Italy with its own Patriarch. If, as has been suggested, we should guess it to be the Jewish Aquila of Sinope who produced a too stiff translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek during the Second Century then his day would be the the Sabbath which would rule out any feasting.

Line 4, OF ‘chief/chef’ is literally the head or else a periodic, fixed Medieval fee. By analogy it is the upper bout or upper part of something. Placed beside a noun it suggests being either at the height of the biggest in a series or else the main city of a county.

Who or what was born of the cut? Julius Caesar? A river, a military structure, a State, a Kingdom, a Republic, a Union, an Alliance or a holiday?

Fossanova San Marco/Fossanova San Biagio/Melica Bridge/Torre della Fossa is a small suburban part of Ferrara the main city of the eponymous province. Its Latin noun ‘fossa’ means a trench or a drainage gutter, dike or canal, in fact a cut. Written as ‘fous San’ (crazy Saint) it is reminiscent of the sentence ‘”Je m’en fous” coined by Saint Antonio.’ (” I’m not crazy about it”.)

Turin, however, is the capital of the province of Piedmont.

The second couplet may relate to this excerpt from the Article ‘ADDENDUM AU SUJET DE L’HOMME NICE: Thursday’s Child’:

Some say that the Carnival of Venice started because of ‘Giovedi Grasso’ or ‘Fat Thursday’ which was an annual holiday that lasted until the VenetianRepublic failed. This feast, commemorated at Piazzetta San Marco, was created inadvertently from a Bull by Pope Adrian IV that dates back to February 22nd 1155. The Papa had made a geopolitical change that threw two parties at odds with each other. In 1162 the Patriarch of Grado invaded the territory of the Patriarch of Aquileia. The Doge of Venice reacted swiftly, capturing all.

At that time the Doge was already battling with the Paduans and Ferraresi so his swift response surprised everyone. The rather whimsical outcome was an undertaking by Aquileia to supply festive food every year on the Thursday that Grado was seized. But there is no Turin involvement here other than that they may have incorporated such a Feast Day into their own Shrove Thursday arrangements, as others have done.

Having exhausted the alternatives, how about Germany being managed in defeat by quartering it after WWII? Four occupation zones were established for administration and security purposes during 1945–49. Although these political arrangements only lasted a few years, Germany is and was four distinct regions by natural and administrative design despite that it was ultimately divided in half; West Germany under Allied control and East Germany placed under Soviet communism. An unnatural birth of two heads ruling four arms?

                                                        Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012