Lily for Lelia Corsini

Agamemnon Rex, Master of the Signoria, and Marie Regina, Mistress of the Arti Maggiore, Arti Mediane, and Arti Minori, desire their cities be decked in glory and their people clad in cloth of gold. To this end they have established the guilds and orders of the Kingdom, and judged them not wanting in any quality.

And yet the Consoli of the guilds took census of their numbers, and found them lacking. A great effort was made, and a cry went up to bring one into their fold. The Crown heard the clamor of the people, and sought counsel—for the challenge of wisdom as Crown is to judge the worth of those around them.

The Consoli of the Guild of the Lily spoke: “There is one who has been a patron of our order, and learned well at our hands. She has labored to learn our ways and improve them, even to the detriment of her own body. She has given of her time to teach at your collegia, and those of your cousins. She has been given great wisdom to create, and honors your court.”

Marie, Laurel Queen, took the counsel of her artisans. “Who is the one you seek to add to your number, a golden petal for a treasured flower?”

And the guild spoke once more: “Let Baronessa Lelia Corsini be added to our number, her honor to ours and ours to her. Raised in the Tower, taught by the Bull; a daughter of the Florin lily, now a Calon Lily made.”

And Agamemnon Rex, the artist of the tourney field, agreed. “Let Her Excellency be chosen, called, and confirmed to the order. She is to be given 100 gold florins per year in coin, silk, needle and thread, and is given land near her city to build a palazzo appropriate to her station.”

Thus, it was done in the plains and in the sight of the people, that all things might rejoice on this 20th day of May, in the 58th year of the Society.

Agamemnon                                     Marie

Rex                                                      Regina

(The Signoria was the government of the Republic of Florence, which was subordinate to the Medici during their tenure before being named Dukes and dissolving them. While the Medici were more subtle as de facto ‘Lord of Florence’, His Majesty doesn’t need to be. The three Arti listed were the divisions of the Guilds of Florence – the Major, Intermediate, and Minor guilds.

‘The challenge of wisdom as Crown’ references the great Florentine political writer Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’.

The Consoli were the heads of the guilds. See, e.g., The Guilds of Florence, by Edgcumbe Staley, at 43. “In each Guild were appointed three chief officers: (1) Consul – as the representative of the Guild in the supreme Government of the Republic.”

Lelia is described as a Patron and student of the order to thread the historical line. As a noblewoman she would not have joined a guild or practiced a trade—she only would have patronized their services. But in our modern meritocratic Society, she would be and is a student of the arts. As such I tried to frame it both ways, to honor the historical and the modern

The reference to detriment of her own body references the repetitive stress injury that Lelia is dealing with as a result of hand sewing. Teaching at collegia and those of your cousins refers to her teaching at Calontir events as well as events in other Kingdoms. Given great wisdom to create is a vague reference to Exodus 28:3.

‘Raised in the Tower’ is because Lelia was born and raised in Omaha; ‘taught by the Bull’ her attendance at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where she served as A&S officer of the SCA student group. ‘A daughter of the Florin lily’ to her persona, from Florence and Ferrara.

100 gold florins is a sum equal to about 700 pounds, depending on the exchange rate at the time. This is a significant sum, but not unusual for a noblewoman in Florence in the early 16th century. An English Baron’s income was 200-500+ pounds per annum in the 1300s, so with inflation over the years and the income differences between England and Italy a not unreasonable sum—and one I’ve used before in Italian scroll texts. See, e.g., Kenneth Hodges, List of prices of medieval items, University of California at Berkeley.

Palazzo is the Italian for Palace, but does not necessarily imply a palatial estate—a Palazzo is everything from a Victorian town home to a truly sprawling mansion. By tying it to ‘as appropriate for her estate’, we gloss over any issues of how big that is.

‘That all things might rejoice’ is a reference to Ballad XX by Chrstine de Pizan, an Italian born French poet and proto-Feminist)

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