So project the first that I am working on for this coming 2014 Calontir Kingdom A&S competition is the burial garments of Cangrande I della Scala, the lord Imperial Vicar of Verona and much of the surrounding countryside. Cangrande is an interesting figure for a number of reasons.
- His birth name was Francesco, but he became as Cangrande, or Big Dog, both in homage to his uncle who was known as Mastino, and due to his being a pretty serious badass.
- He is one of the few people in the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance whose legends tell of their tragic deaths by poison to have actually, honest to Jesus been poisoned. At the time, Cangrande had just finally captured the city of Treviso, long the hold out in his conquest of northern Italy. It is reported that he had drunk from a polluted spring, and sickened on entering the city. He died a few days later in July of 1328. At the time, his successor, and nephew, Mastino II, had the physician who attended him hung, though out of actual suspicion of the physician’s guilt or from his own duplicity, no one knows. What we do know is that upon an autopsy done in 2004 by Italian scientists, they found he suffered from mild psoriasis of the liver (common due to a high fat and wine based diet of that age), miner’s lung (common in a time before chimneys were common and charcoal was burned in braziers for heat and light) and a ridiculously large dose of belladonna, also known as digitalis, which would be indicative of nothing other than poisoning.
- When he died, he was buried in a magnificent tomb, which in addition to being an architectural and artistic marvel, kept his body preserved in such a way that most of his grave garments survived.
So what I will be doing is his over tunic (and possibly an under tunic) and definitely his hat. He also had an awesome mantle, but we are on a budget, so that will have to be a wait and see.
If you want to know more about Cangrande, wikipedia has a nice article on him here.
I also recommend the fiction series starting with The Master of Verona, by David Blixt. Its well research, and well written, and weaves history and fiction gloriously.
Stay tuned for our next installment, when we will talk about patterns, and look at some period art that gives a visual to garments that appear to be similar in style to the patterns developed based on the existent pieces.
143 Days until Kingdom A&S