Friday, April 11, 2008

The Monster of Ravenna

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
A month before the Battle of Ravenna, Italy (which occurred on this day in 1512), and documented in many publications of the time, the 'Monster of Ravenna' was one of the earliest monstrous births to attain international notoriety. A child was born with severe birth defects (possibly Roberts's Syndrome) in the city of Ravenna, shortly before Italian forces were defeated there. An apothecary named Lucca Landucci recorded in his journal an account of a drawing that had been put on public display in Florence.

The 'monster' was described as having a large horn sticking out of its head and no arms. On its chest were the letters 'XYV', and its scaly leg had an eye on its knee. News of the child was quickly communicated to Rome, and soon all of Europe had heard of it. It is believed that Pope Julius II ordered the baby starved to death, but according to legend the poor child grew to adulthood and proceeded to terrorize peasants in the Italian countryside.

The unfortunate child became a symbol of the Italians' defeat, supposedly brought about by their moral degradation ...

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