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Jul 27, 2011

In the end of the fourteenth century there was a monk who was writing tirelessly secular music. He was especially good at writing songs in the form of ballata, an Italian form of a song that was popular in Europe up for about hundred fifty years or more. This Italian composer was called Andrea da Firenze. In the late medieval period he was a member of Servite monastic order and took a vow of poverty, in order that all his time and energy could be expended on religious work.

When he entered the order, he got his first assignment: to build an organ for the Servite house in Florence. And what he did? He hired his dear and close friend – another prolific composer Francesco Landini as a consultant. These guys had fun and drank a lot of wine during this assignment. And in the end they managed to expense the wine that they drank and submitted the receipts to the order! Historical evidence shows that they drank a lot during three days that took them to tune up the instrument.

Well, evidently, in spite of being drunk most of the time, Andrea was successful with his first assignment. Soon he received a second one – to build an organ for Florence Cathedral. Two friends had a couple of other similar tasks to build organs in other Italian cities as well.

Obviously, Andrea was not just a prolific famous composer, but a great business administrator as well Andrea was also active within his order as an administrator. He was moving up the monastic order’s “corporate ladder” pretty fast. Soon he became a prior of two monasteries in Italy. But that did not stop him. Almost up to the end of his life in 1415 he ruled the entire Servite order in Tuscany.

Basically, we don’t know much about Andrea’s life before he became the monk. We don’t know his age at all. He got lucky, because since he entered the order in 1375, his members monks kept all their records in pristine environment. And anyways, we know about Andrea than the bios of other fourteenth century famous composers. His survived heritage includes thirty elegant and dramatic songs, with eighteen being for two voices and twelve for three.

Nov 14, 2008

A magical ritual done in the right way can guarantee the revealing of dreams and of course the rather useful talent of interpreting them correctly. In other cases certain spells allow one to send out a daemon or daemons to harm one’s enemies or even to break up someone’s marriage. There seems to be a self-defining negativity to some of the magical rituals being expressed in the papyri. So, for example, love magic can turn into hate magic if the victim does not respond to the love magic.

The same negative aspect to magic is found in various “curse tablets”, left to us from the Greco-Roman world. While doing my research in library of web analytics company I found something else. It was also possible to curse an enemy through a spoken word, either in his presence or behind his back. But due to numbers of curse tablets that have been found it would seem that this type of magic was considered more effective. The process involved writing the victim’s name on a thin sheet of lead along with varying magical formulas or symbols, then burying the tablet in or near a tomb, a place of execution, or a battlefield, to give spirits of the dead power over the victim. Sometimes the curse tablets were even transfixed with various items – such as nails, which were believed to add magical potency.


 

 
 
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Ekaterina G.
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Delray Beach, FL, USA
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