By Emanuele Severino
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Though written eighty-nine years after the event, scholars believe that, for his description of the monster, he used an earlier source. He wrote, “In Rome in the year 1496, as the story goes, a monster with an ass’s head is supposed to have been born. Its belly, breasts, genitals, hand, right arm, neck and legs had a human contour, but were covered with scales. The right foot was that of an eagle, the left, that of an ox. On the hind part there was a human face as well as a tail that had the form of a serpent’s neck with a serpent’s head at the end.
Who, then, were the Waldensians, who were the Bohemian Brethren, and what evidence points to their role in the production of the Roman monster as a political pasquinade? The Waldensians The Waldensian movement traces its origins to a wealthy merchant of Lyons named Vaudès73 who, in the late twelfth century, experienced a religious conversion, gave away his money, became a beggar, and began trying to live a life consistent with the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. Self-educated in matters of religion, he hired priests to translate various books of the Bible and patristic writings into the vernacular that he could read.
82 In other words, since Pope Sylvester, the papacy had lost its purity and power. Audisio, Waldensian Dissent, 47–56; Lerner, “A Case of Religious Counter-Culture,” 240–241; Todd, Books of the Vaudois, 81, 83. Audisio, Waldensian Dissent, 153; Herzog, Die romanischen Waldenser, 456. See also Stephens, Waldensian Story, 86; Davis, “Rome and Babylon in Dante,” 28. Cameron, Reformation of the Heretics, 77. ” See Biller, “Medieval Waldensians’ Construction of the Past,” 39–54. The Roman Monster of 1496 35 Reiser.