Author Topic: Did the Mazaua First Mass historians ever talk to one another? - 3  (Read 12440 times)

Joe Carillo

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Did the Mazaua First Mass historians ever talk to one another? - 3
« on: September 30, 2021, 03:38:57 AM »
As I noted in last week’s column, the first printed version of Antonio Pigafetta’s Magellanic voyage chronicles appeared in Paris in 1525. It was a French extract from Pigafetta’s Italian manuscript by Jacques Antoine Fabre that history scholars found “incomplete and inaccurate,” “not very good,” and “unauthorized” for not giving formal credit to both its author and translator.

For his Magellanic voyage chronicles, Pigafetta had obtained in 1524 a 20-year copyright but was unable to get a financier to print it until his death in 1534. Then, two years later in 1536, someone anonymously retranslated and abridged Fabre’s French extract of his chronicles back into Italian. In that printed retranslation, “Il Viaggio fatto dagli Spagnivoli,” Magellan’s Mazaua anchorage, the First Holy Mass, and planting of the Holy Cross were inexplicably transposed to Butuan.

Only in the 1563 edition of Ramusio’s major anthology of explorer’s travels, “Delle Navigationi et Viaggi,” did he acknowledge having done that 1536 Italian retranslation himself. He justified this by saying that his first Italian translation based on Fabre’s French translation provided just a brief summary of the Magellanic voyage story.

      

In 1550, for that anthology’s first edition, Ramusio had written a remakably passionate “Discourse on the journey made by the Spaniards around the world” to introduce his Italian translation of “De Moluccis Insulis,” Maximilianus Transylvanus’ Latin tract about the first circumnavigation of the globe.

The digest of Ramusio’s discourse below is from an 1874 English translation by Lord Stanley of Alderley:

“The voyage made by the Spaniards round the world in the space of three years is one of the greatest and most marvelous things which have been heard of in our times… The voyage was described very minutely by Peter Martyr, who belonged to the Council of the Indies of His Majesty the Emperor… But, as it was sent to be printed in Rome, it was lost in the miserable sacking of that city…

“[Yet] Fortune has not allowed the memory of so marvelous an enterprise to be entirely lost, inasmuch as a certain noble gentleman of Vicenza called Messer Antonio Pigafetta…wrote a very exact and full account of it in a book, one copy of which he presented to His Majesty the Emperor, and another he sent to the most Serene Mother of the most Christian King, the Lady Regent. She entrusted to… [a] Parisian philosopher called Jacomo Fabre the work of translating it into French [but he] made only a summary of it, and this was printed, very incorrectly…and has now come into our hands; and along with it a letter from one called Maximilianus of Transylvania, a secretary of His Majesty the Emperor, to the most Reverend Cardinal of Salzburg. And this we have wished to add to this volume of travels…

“And the city of Vicenza may well boast… that in addition to its nobility and high qualities; in addition to its many rare and excellent geniuses, both in letters and arms, there has been a gentleman of such courage as the aforesaid Messer Antonio Pigafetta, who has circumnavigated the whole globe, and has described it so exactly. There is no doubt that the ancients would have erected a statue of marble to him…

“But if, in this letter or in the summary, there be seen any discrepancy of names or things, let no one be astonished; for the bent of men’s minds is various, and one notices one thing and one another, just as the things appear most deserving of attention. Let it suffice if, in the principal things they agree, and many parts which are left out in one can be read at length in the other…”

(Click this link for the full text of Lord Stanley's 812-word, single-paragraph English translation of Ramusio’s discourse: https://tinyurl.com/thefirstvoyage.)

It should not be difficult to discern from this florid and oblique tribute-cum-apologia from Ramusio his sense of late-in-the-day culpability for distorting Pigafetta’s narrative of the Mazaua First Mass and of Magellan’s sojourn in the Philippine archipelago.

With that thought for the reader I end this three-part series.

(Next: When to use and not to use the future perfect tense)     September 30, 2021         

This essay, 2065th of the series, appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the Campus Press section of the September 30, 2021 Internet edition of The Manila Times,© 2021 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved. 

Read this article online in The Manila Times:
Did the First Mass historians ever talk to one another? - 3

To listen to the audio version of this article, click the encircled double triangle logo in its online posting in The Manila Times.

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Companion Feature:
A DISCOURSE ROAMING AROUND IN TIME AND SPACE

The facsimile below of  “The  Letter from Maximilianus Transylvanus to the Most Reverend Cardinal of Salzburg, Mathaus Lang von Wellenburg” is a screen shot of a Wikisource webpage on “The First Voyage Round the World/Letter of Maximilian, the Transylvan” from the 1874 English translation of Lord Stanley of Alderley.




That letter, sent by Transylvanus to the Cardinal of Salzburg on October 23, 1522, was evidently part of a campaign strategy to drumbeat public interest in Transylavus’ tract “De Mollucis Insulis,” by which he wanted to beat Pigafetta and everyone else in coming up with the very first published book on the historic first circumnavigation of the globe.

My first encounter with that Wikisource webpage (there are several of them eager to pounce on the uninitiated in propaganda) was early this year while I was researching the chronology and history of the First Holy Mass in Mazaua. Whether deliberate or simply owing to carelessness by the webmaster, the first such webpage I found clearly sounded bizarre, out-of-time, and out-of-this-world when I started reading it. This was because it had surreptitiously inserted Giovanni Battista Ramusio’s undated “Discourse on the journey made by the Spaniards around the world” right after Transylvanus’s preliminary remarks (“very delightful to read concerning the Molucca Islands, and also many other wonders, which the latest voyage of the Spaniards has just discovered”).

The insertion made it appear that Ramusio was roundly endorsing Translvanus’ tract “De Mollucis Insulis” that very same year in 1522 (“The voyage made by the Spaniards round the world in the space of three years is one of the greatest and most marvellous things which have been heard of in our times; and, although in many things we surpass the ancients, yet this expedition far excels every other that has been made up till now.”) Ramusio’s discourse also strangely talked of events that anyone with even just a rudimentary grasp of history would realize soon enough had not happened yet at that time, like the loss in Rome of the Peter Martyr manuscript about the Magellanic expedition owing to the miserable sacking of that city, etc.

For the truth of the matter was that Ramusio had not written yet that discourse in 1522, far from it. Someone who could not have been Ramusio himself (a Filipino historian confounded by the phenomenon described the culprit  as “an unseen hand in history”) just saw it perfect to insert Ramusio’s still nonexistent introduction to his still unpublished Italian translation of Translvanus’ book “De Mollucis.” In fact, Ramusio was still to write it 1550 or 28 years later for his major anthology of explorers’ travels, “Delle Navigationi et Viaggi”!

There is no knowing for sure whether Ramusio himself was aware of or agreed with this devious strategy, but I think what has been done here is part of an audacious, aggressive, and long-term promotional campaign for Transylvanus’ first-person narrative of the first circumnavigation of the globe against that of Pigafetta’s chronicles of the Magellanic voyage. It hit a major hump when Pigafetta’s long lost manuscript of his Magellanic voyage chronicles surfaced in 1797, but I think that stategy will continue to forge ahead until historians take aggressive action against such devious distortions of history that conflate events so far apart in time and space.

« Last Edit: October 01, 2021, 12:41:26 PM by Joe Carillo »

Miss Mae

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Re: Did the Mazaua First Mass historians ever talk to one another? - 3
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2021, 01:51:15 PM »
I'm sorry but I still believe that Maximillanus Transylvanus shouldn't have tinkered with Antonio Pigafetta's journal on the Magellanic voyage because he wasn't among the fleet. If he had given weight to what happened in Mazaua, the succeeding authors might have noted it.

Joe Carillo

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Re: Did the Mazaua First Mass historians ever talk to one another? - 3
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2021, 06:02:24 PM »
This is regarding your sentiment that "Maximillanus Transylvanus shouldn't have tinkered with Antonio Pigafetta's journal on the Magellanic voyage because he wasn't among the fleet." I don't think that we should adopt a blaming mode for that distortion of world history that happened over 500 years ago. I think Transylvanus was entitled to his own understanding of that episode based on the testimonies of the Magellan fleet crewmembers who harvested rice from Butuan to augment the fleet's food provisions. It must also be taken into account that Transylvanus based his narrative of the Magellanic fleet's Mindanao sojourn not just on Pigefetta's chronicles but primarily on those crewmembers' testimonies and those provided by Sebastian Elcano and the ship pilot Francsico Albo to the royal court upon their return to Spain in 1522.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2021, 07:26:23 PM by Joe Carillo »