Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Draughts and La Celestina’s creator Francesch Vicent (Lucena) in Ferrara with Lucrezia Borgia

Draughts and La Celestina’s creator Francesch Vicent (Lucena) in Ferrara with Lucrezia Borgia  -  316 pages
ISBN:   978-0-244-05324-6            -       2018

Writing about the medical student Lucena, the inventor of draughts  and first writer about modern chess was not easy and it took us many years to find out about his activity and what exactly was his name. Today we know much more about him thanks to much research and time spent on it. The explanation of why Diego de San Pedro and Juan de Flores could be pseudonyms of Lucena is fully described in one of our works . That was at the end of the 15th century in Castile. Around 1494 he was working in the printing department of Antonio Nebrija and thanks to him we see new words such as dama and andarraya  appear in the Latin dictionary. In this dictionary we find the new powerful dama in the new draughts (checkers) - and modern chess  as a result of the change of andarraya. The only thing we know is that this latest game was played on a checkered board like draughts. Probably the introduction of the powerful dama, based on Isabella I , changed this game completely to a game known in Valencia as Marro de punta around 1550.

Today most chess historians agree that the weak chess queen, named “dame” in France as from the XIV century, changed to a powerful chess queen in Spain in 1475. Around this year we also see a change of the weak bishop to a strong bishop, according to the chess poem Scachs d’amor . In order to strengthen our hypothesis of Isabella I of Castile (Isabel la Católica) we have written a book about the new bishop  and a book about Scachs d’amor in English.

Concentrating now on Virgin Mary in relationship with Isabella I of Castile  we observe that the Augustinian monastic Martin de Córdoba wrote in 1468 the work El Jardin de las donzellas. It was directed to Princess Isabel I of Castile with the intention to contribute to her education as future Queen. Cordoba was the first writer who draws equivalencies between Isabella I of Castile and Virgin Mary, which became one of her standard portrayals. Shorty thereafter we see the appearance of a new powerful chess queen.

As we know, Juan Ramírez de Lucena worked with the Pope Pius II for several years and perfectly knew the influence of Virgin Mary in many countries. Furthermore Petzold stated that probably around 1300 in England a collection of stories was compiled from the ancient Roman period under the name of "Gesta Romanorum". It narrates the legends about the origins of the game of chess. The chapter "the chess game" reads that the powerful King on the 64 fields of the chessboard could be considered as "our Lord Jesus Christ who is the King of all in heaven and on Earth". He could move to any place. "Finally he also takes with him the Queen, i.e. the religious mother of mercy, Virgin Maria .

The new bishop in chess has been a great mystery from the XV century until now, because not only was the power of the Queen greatly introduced, but so was also the position of the church. Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza was the partisan of Princess (later Queen) Isabella I of Castile and fought for her in the Battle of Zamora and Toro between 1475 and 1476. This warrior churchman had a prominent part in placing Princess Isabella on the throne and served her tirelessly in her efforts to suppress the disorderly nobles of Castile with the money of the church. Cardinal Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza remains one of the most striking and picturesque figures of the XV-century, and was equally great as churchman, statesman and warrior. He was considered as “the third king of Spain” and Isabella’s best adviser .

It is known that the protonotary Juan Ramirez de Lucena was already in the Aragonese court around 1468 and that he was one of the advisers of the young prince Ferdinand II, the future husband of queen Isabella I of Castile. Virgin Mary’s influence was great in those years and the church extended it in Valencia to the chessboard. The man who had influence in the court to change the rules of the chess game was the protonotary Juan Ramírez de Lucena, follower of the pope Pius II.

He was a great admirer of Isabella I of Castile and his protector was the archbishop of Seville and great cardinal of Spain, Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza. Due to his travelling abroad he was aware of the necessary chess manuscripts and chess positions that later resulted in a chess book printed by his son Lucena in 1495. The manuscript of “Scachs d’amor” was written in 1475, precisely in the year of pestilence in Valencia and when the influence of Queen Isabella I of Castile reached the peak of her power against her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon. And so we see appear Isabella I of Castile, as the Virgin Mary, on the chessboard.

Lucena, the son of Juan Ramírez de Lucena, was in charge of translating Historia de duobus amantibus (1444) from Eneas Silvio Piccolomini (Pope Pius II) in order to publish the Estoria muy verdadera de dos amantes, Euríalo franco y Lucrecia senesa in Salamanca in 1495. He could do so since his father was in the service of this Pope between 1560 and 1564 in Rome. His father’s protector in those years was the cardinal Próspero Colonna (1426-1463), who opened the door to our Lucena during his future book activities with Agnesina Montefeltro (married to Fabricio Colonna), her sister Gentile Montefeltro, and Agnesina’s daughter Vitoria Colonna who was married to the Marqies of Pescara, Fernando de Ávalos.

In 1495, through the print of the first chess book in the world in Valencia, Lucena let us know that his name was Francesch Vicent and he was born in Segorbe.  Two years later he adopted the name Lucena, son of the prothonotary Juan Ramírez de Lucena . He was an illegitimate son of the prothonotary who was at the court of prince Ferdinand in Valencia in 1468-1470. We can therefore stipulate Francesch Vicent’s date of birth to around 1469, thus a birthdate more or less equal to his great friend Juan del Encina, who was a law student in Salamanca.   Lucena mentions in his work Arte de Ajedrez con CL juegos de partido that he visited Rome, many places in Italy, and other places in France. Lucena’s chess book from 1497 is a proof that he indeed had visited Italy – Ferrera - because Lucena used the Civis Bononiae of the Estense library of Modena known as Tractatus partitorum Schachorum Tabularum et Merelorum Scriptus anno 1454.

Perez de Arriaga let us know that considering the Modena manuscript allows us to clarify that Lucena literally copied the game Mod 487 that there is to be seen. This party game and its solution is not found in any other known manuscript. This case alone would be sufficient to assert that Lucena disposed of a manuscript similar to that of Modena. Another clear case is the game Luc 12.

So far researchers have considered its origin in the game Picc 20, but it is also found in the manuscript of Modena Mod 374 from which it could have been copied by Lucena since it is not in any other manuscript of the Civis Bononiae Family . In other words Lucena had already established contacts with scholars in Ferrara before staying there in 1505.

It is clear that Lucena had acquired very good knowledge of chess thanks to his travels abroad. He must have been a very good chess player at the time, because we knew various manuscripts in relation to Lucena. Notwithstanding this he must also have been a strong admirer of the new powerful dama piece in chess, seeing the fact that he discussed draughts in his manuscript and gave it the name Ludus Dominarum.

One of the chess manuscripts written by Lucena is known as Göttingen and only bears the name of Lucena, and it is clear from the texts that it was addressed to a prince: Dominatio vestra, Serenissime princeps, Magnifice domine. The letter of the manuscript is similar to the letter of another chess manuscript known as Les Éches amoreux which was copied and illustrated on behalf of Luisa de Saboya (1476-1547) between 1500 and 1515 with about 30 games. Another one is the Paris/Place chess manuscript that includes chess problems taken in their entirety from Arte de Ajedrez (1497), in this case 28 games.

He published Repetición de amores and Arte de Ajedrez in Salamanca in 1497 in the name of Lucena. In 1499 and 1502 he published his father’s book Vita Beata in Burgos, where he also published the first work La Celestina in 1499 or 1500. This was a beautiful copy of Calisto y Melibea and Lucena himself was the proofreader of this work, because we see the medical terms of the physicians Eras and Crato. Lucena could do so, because he was a medical student and the author of the first act (and the following 5 acts). Since thereafter these physicians were changed to Crato and Galieno it is clear that the editions from 1500 (Toledo), 1501 (Seville), Zaragoza (1507) were proofread by others, such as Alonso de Proaza and probably Fernando de Rojas.

One of the future characteristics of Lucena would be that he always edited very beautiful books and if possible, with beautiful images. On the other hand if we observe an author criticizing the works and languages of other proofreaders, we should take into account that this author’s name could be a pseudonym of Lucena. This is the case of, for example, the proofreader Francisco Delicado, but also the author of La Celestina printed by Antonio Blado in 1520. This edition showed the year 1502, and complained severely about other printers. It was Lucena’s habit to complain about printers who changed words and texts in his books.

In the meantime Lucena’s friend Juan del Encina became friends with Cesar Borgia and could introduce himself to the Papal court in Rome. In 1503 Lucena had to help his father by writing a protest letter to king Ferdinand in Zaragoza for him, because the brother of his father was put in prison in Zaragoza without taking into account that the prothonotary and his brothers and sisters were exempt from Zaragoza’s jurisdiction and that of any other inquisitor. His father probably died around 1504, because in 1505 we see that Francesch Vicent (Lucena) adapted the name Francesco and became the chess teacher of Lucrezia Borgia. In those years an anonymous author dedicated a poem to Lucrezia that was published in 1522 in the book Arnalte y Lucenda. Again this is going in the direction of Lucena, because as we know, the books of Diego de San Pedro were introduced by Lucena in Ferrara.  Lucena did not waste his time in Ferrara and took charge of two chess manuscripts - one in Modena and another in Perugia, which were copies of his Valencian chess book from 1495. In these two chess manuscripts we see the first diagram of a draughts game of twelve pawns for each player, as must have been the case in the book of 1495 Ludus Dominarum. This draughts game is the alquerque-12, popular in Spain , Portugal , and Italy, placed on a chessboard with obligatory capture. Francesch Vicent had time to get to know the professor of Greek and Latin Caelius Calcagninus in Ferrara, who learned from him and years later wrote about alquerque-12 . 

Thereafter there is no more information about draughts in Spain and Italy and we have to wait until 1547 when according to the Spanish scholars Antonio de Torquemada wrote a draughts book. Although Garzon  and we ourselves  have written about the fact that Antonio de Torquemada never could have written this book, scholars continue believing in Torquemada. The real situation is different, because the author of the draughtsbook from 1547 was Juan de Timoneda. In spite of the fact that there is no more information about draughts we continue stating the life of Lucena in Spain and Italy, because one day documents related to Lucena and draughts may appear in future. The humanist influence of Lucena in Ferrara is noted in Baldassare Castiglione’s Courtier book. Did Castiglione  not say in his book: "Spagnoli Guardate i, i quali maestri che siano della par Cortegiania?"

Without Lucena Castiglione could never have written his book. The Courtier's book was dedicated to Alfonso Ariosto (1475-1525) of Ferrara, a cousin of Ludovico Ariosto, since he had given the idea to Castiglione. Logically speaking, it was Alfonso Ariosto who was in contact with Francesch Vicent (Lucena) in Ferrara.

Baldassare Castiglione wrote his work between 1504 and 1506 when he was in the service of the Duke of Urbino Guidobaldo of Montefeltro who was married to Isabel Gonzaga. Elizabeth Gonzaga had a brother Francisco who was married to Isabella d'Este. In the court of Urbino we find Pietro Bembo, Lucrezia Borgia’s platonic lover, between 1506 and 1512. Then we have Emilia Pio, the widow of Antonio de Montefeltro. Furthermore Federico Fregoso, Ottaviano Fregoso, and Constance Fregoso, sons of Gentile da Montefeltro (Gentile Feltria of Campo Fregoso). She was the widow of Agostino Fregoso and financed the Italian version of La Celestina. 

The chess contacts between Federico Fregoso with Francesch (Lucena) resulted in Federico instructing Marco Girolama Vida to write a chess poem. And as stated before, we see that his mother Gentile da Montefeltro financed Lucena’s work La Celestina. After some years in Ferrara Lucena started a new life in Rome under a pseudonym. It was not easy to find out what one, but it appeared to be Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi. Strangely enough, nobody knew about his life before 1508, and as we see, in his pseudonym he used the letters “Vicent” that had a connection with chess and his first name disclosed the first name of Lucena: Ludovico . This new research resulted in a book  that was published some time ago and in another new book .  Around 1510 Lucena, now using the pseudonym Ludovico Vicentingo degli Arrighi, was a bookseller in Rome. Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) who was in Urbino in 1506 moved to Rome in 1512 where he was appointed Secretary to Pope Leo X. That was good news for Arrighi, who had started working in the Papal Chancery under Bembo’s supervision  as papal scribe and type designer. Researchers cannot understand how Arrighi, an unknown youth from the provinces, could attain this important position in the papal Curia and enter a network that allowed him to publish for some of the most powerful people in Rome.

It is clear that Lucena’s father must have been a very important person in Rome, thus opening the doors with ease to our Lucena. In 1510 a ten-year privilege was granted to Ludovico di Varthema and his heirs for his Itinerario which was printed by Stephano Guillereti in collaboration with Hercole Nani at the expense of Lodovico de Henricis da Corneto Vicentino. Researchers think that Lodovico de Henricis da Corneto Vicentino  was the same person as Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi. The book was printed on 6 December 1510 in Rome and dedicated to Agnesina Feltria, sister of Gentile Feltria and mother of Vittoria Colonnna. It should be observed that Fernando de Rojas had this book in his collection. Bernardino López de Carvajal y Sande (146-1523) had a translation made into Latin in 1511. The translation from Latin into Spanish was made by Cristóbal de Arcos in 1523. A Latin chess manuscript known as the Göttingen (1505-1515) only bears the name of Lucena and from the texts it clearly appears that it was addressed to a prince: Dominatio vestra, Serenissime princeps, Magnifice domine.

In 1511 appeared a chess manuscript of Joannes Chachi  and in 1512 the chess book of Pedro Damiano  in Rome. Both works have a connection to Francesch Vicent (Lucena) and it is clear that the names of the authors are simply pseudonyms of Francesch Vicent (Lucena), who did not like to disclose his real name. Some years later - in 1517 - appeared the book Propalladia and thanks to recent research we could confirm that texts in the book have a connection to Juan del Encina and Lucena, as we suspected years ago . However, we could not confirm that Juan Ramírez de Lucena was the ancient author of La Celestina, because our latest research showed this to be Lucena. Since the foreword to Propalladia was written by Lucena, it is logical to suppose that this work was edited by Lucena. This book was in the possession of Fernando de Rojas, because Lucena and Fernando de Rojas kept close contact. In 1518 Lucena (Luis de Lucena) was back in Rome and had again printed the chess book of Pedro Damiano. On its front page there are two chess players - one of them should be Lucena and the other was probably Juan del Encina. Antonio Blado printed the chess book of Pedro Damiano in 1524 and was involved in the tricky printing of La Celestina (Tragicomedia) in 1520, which bears the year 1502 and was destined for Antonio de Salamanca who was an editor in Rome. Between 1520 and 1530 Lucena was in France, because we see his activities and influence on other highly positioned people due to the appearance of French editions of Cárcel de amor and La Celestina.

On the other hand there is a chess manuscript of those years signed by Lucena. Since 1991 this manuscript has been in the possession of the New York bibliophile David DeLucia  and NEBEA  thinks that the date of the manuscript was around 1530.

As already indicated, Federico Fregoso was the son of Gentile Feltria, the noblewoman who funded Francesch Vicent (Lucena’s) La Celestina. Federico took many years to complete the chess poem and we see that Francesch Vicent (Ludovico Vicentino) published it at the papal court years later in 1527 in gratitude for his friendship. Lucena, who had the advantage of being at the papal curia as scribe, survived the sack in Rome. Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi (Lucena) had to escape Rome and went to Venice in 1528, where he started to work. However, he was not sure about his life and therefore our mysterious author adopted another pseudonym - Francisco Delicado - and continued working in his field in his new residence. There he reunited with old friends and was soon back in the highest cultural sphere. Francisco Delicado stayed in Venice for four years - from 1530 till 1534.

Lucena went to Spain in 1535 according to Beltrán de Herrera . Surely to help in one way or another his familiar Diego de Castillo who was put imprisoned by the inquisitors. We see that Lucena was again involved in several books in Spain, because books were his life.   There he worked under other pseudonyms which will be explained in forthcoming books.  In 1543 Lucena was in Brussels and apparently returned to Rome in 1549 where he was well placed, so as to become a doctor of Claudio Tolomei and even then the chief physician of Pope Julius III. Lucena never stopped travelling and was in Rome again from 1533 with interruptions to his continual stay in Spain. Tolomei considered Lucena to be an expert in Vitruvius and that may be the reason why Lucena could compose Il Commentario al Libro IX di Vitruvi .  In this respect we must be aware that Lucena could have known Bernardo Bembo, who was also involved with the Vitruvius. The contact must have been established through his son Pietro Bembo, Lucena’s friend from the time in Ferrara.

That Luis de Lucena was fully aware of the situation of Vitruvio becomes clear when we take into account that Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi (Luis de Lucena’s nickname) worked with Fabio Calvo and  Raphael Sanzio da Urbino in earlier years and printed Antiquae urbis Romae cum regionibus simulachrum in 1527. We should also bear in mind that Luis de Lucena (under the nickname of Ludovico Vicentino) knew Claudio Tolomei. Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi (Lucena) printed the work De le lettere nuovamente aggiunte libro di Adriano Franci da Siena intitolato Il Polito in 1525 for Adriano Franci. However, Adriano Franci is wrongly attributed as the author of the work, because its real author was Claudio Tolomei, a friend of Adriano Franci.

Although there is some reason to believe that Lucena must have known the printer Juan de Timoneda in Valencia, it is possible that there was an earlier contact between them in Tolosa when Lucena wrote his Latin medical work in 1523. Whatever it be, there is a draughts book printed in 1635 that bears Juan de Timoneda  as its author. We always thought that this was the lost draughts book of Antonio de Torquemada from 1547 who never could have written this book. Our hypothesis  was confirmed in 2010 by the best Spanish chess historian José Antonio Garzon Roger . In this book the reader will find our analysis of the ancient texts that figure in Timoneda’s book and which we think to be from around 1518. On the other hand we include the texts of the whole book which we have in our possession and does not exist in any Spanish library. The first analysis by JGAAP showed that Lucena had  a hand in the texts of this draughts book. We do not know if Lucena was the proofreader of this book, but considering his age it is possible that he looked for a quieter life. He found it in Venice and Rome, where he was held in high esteem.

Lucena’s latest nickname that we could detect was that of Alonso Núñez de Reinoso in Venice. The final word about Lucena has still not been pronounced. One thing is clear  - that he remains a mysterious unknown and fascinating person to whom Spain is greatly indebted for his many discoveries in draughts, chess, and literature.


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