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Beyond Joachim of Fiore: Pietro Galatino's Commentaria in Apocalypsim
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BEYOND JOACHIM OF HORE: PIETRO GAIATINO'S COMMENTARIA IN APOCALYPSIM^ From research on the Middle Ages, especially the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, there emerges a picture of active and widespread Joachimism, much of it traceable to the Franciscan movement. The question of Joachim's influence, and the nature and extent of that influence in different periods and cultural spheres, has been addressed in an increasing number of studies. For the early sixteenth-century, the process really began with the writings of Reeves and has been continued by others. Its fruits are best summarized in the recent volume of essays on high Renaissance Rome.2 Many of these studies have searched primarily for Joachimism and hence have found it. To some extent, this has prevented us looking further or exploring beneath that Joachimism to the full variety of potential prophetic sources.3 It is time to look beyond Joachim. Recent research on the millennium in Renaissance Rome has cast new light on the issue of Joachimist influence. In this context many interesting texts and images have emerged but one of the most striking is the Commentaria in Apocalypsim of Pietro Galatino. This work, and its author, illuminate a number of themes relating not only to the nature of Joachimist influence but also to the broader question of medieval prophetic traditions in Renaissance apocalypticism, in particular the Franciscan tradition. My intention here is to focus on two closely related questions: the nature of 1THs paper is drawn from my doctoral thesis, Millenarian Thought in Renaissance Rome with special reference to Pietro Galatino and Egidio da Viterbo (Bristol, 1996) supervised by Dr A. V. Antonovics and funded by the British Academy, the British School at Rome, the University of Bristol and the Leverhulme Trust. Thanks are also due to Dr. Roger Middleton for reading an earlier draft of this paper. 2M. Reeves (ed.), Prophetic Rome in the High Renaissance Period (Oxford, 1992). See also G. Podestà, ed., // Profetismo gioachimita tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento (Genoa, 1991). important exceptions are R. Lerner, "Refreshment of the saints: the time after the antichrist as a station for earthly progress in medieval thought," Traditio 32 (1976): 97-144; and B. McGinn, "Influence and importance in evaluating Joachim of Fiore," in // Profetismo gioachimita, 15-36. Reeves has refined and defended her ideas in "The originality and influence of Joachim of Fiore," Traditio 36 (1980): 269-316. 137 Franciscan Studies, 55 (1998) 138SHARON LEFTLEY Joachim's influence on Galatino; and the extent to which Galatino was working within a Franciscan tradition. The Commentaria reveals not only the very diffuse nature ofJoachimist influences, but also, I would suggest, the influence of a specifically Franciscan tradition which extended into the sixteenth century. Galatino was born c. 1465 and educated in or around Galatina in Puglia, southern Italy.4 His family were humble and possibly Albanian refugees. He entered the Friars Minor at an early age in his home province of St Nicholas of Bari in the Observant monastery of St Caterina at Galatina. He was called to Rome c. 1511 and remained there apart from a short period for the rest of his life, living in the monastery of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli. As Chaplain to first Cardinal Lorenzo Pucci of SS. Quattro Coronad, from possibly 1516, certainly 1519, and then to Cardinal Francisco Quiñones (de Angelis) of Santa Croce after the death of Pucci in 1531, and an Apostolic Confessor in the Basilica of St Peter's from c.1523, he was attached to high levels of Roman ecclesiastical society. He also had contacts with scholars such as Egidio da Viterbo, Giorgio Benigno Salviati, and Reuchlin although probably not extensive ones. Details of his career are sparse (he rose no higher than a provincial minister) but most of his writings survive. His works were primarily concerned with the state of the Church and its prophetic future, although he also wrote on cabbalism and theology. It was as a cabbalist that he first aroused the interest of historians (because of his work De Arcanis and its role in the Reuchlin dispute) and then as a Joachimist.5 However, more recently his prophetic ideas have been given more serious consideration. Having...