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FERRARA

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Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 284 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FERRARA, a city and archiepiscopal see of Emilia, Italy, capital of the province of Ferrara, 30 M. N.N.E. of Bologna, situated 30 ft. above sea-level on the Po di Vomano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po, which is 32 M. N. Pop. (19o1) 32,968 (town), 86,392 (commune). The town has broad streets and numerous palaces, which date from the 16th century, when it was the seat of the court of the house of Este, and had, it is said, 100,000 inhabitants. The most prominent building is the square castle of the house of Este, in the centre of the town, a brick building surrounded by a moat, with four towers. It was built after 1385 and partly restored in 1554; the pavilions on the top of the towers date from the latter year. Near it is the hospital of S. Anna, where Tasso was confined during his attack of insanity (1579–1586). The Palazzo del Municipio, rebuilt in the 18th century, was the earlier residence of the Este family. Close by is the cathedral of S. Giorgio, consecrated in 1135, when the Romanesque lower part of the main facade and the side facades were completed. It was built by Guglielmo degli Adelardi (d. 1146), who is buried in it. The upper part of the main facade, with arcades of pointed arches, dates from the 13th century, and the portal has recumbent lions and elaborate sculptures above. The interior was restored in the baroque style in 1712. The campanile, in the Renaissance style, dates from 1451–1493, but the last storey was added at the end of the 16th century. Opposite the cathedral is the Gothic Palazzo delta Ragione, in brick (1315–1326), now the law-courts. A little way off is the university, which has faculties of law, medicine and natural science (hardly too students in all); the library has valuable MSS., including part of that of the Orlando Furioso and letters by Tasso. The other churches are of less interest than the cathedral, though S. Francesco, S. Benedetto, S. Maria in Vado and S. Cristoforo are all good early Renaissance buildings. The numerous early Renaissance palaces, often with good terra-cotta decorations, form quite a feature of Ferrara; few towns of Italy have so many of them proportionately, though they are mostly comparatively small in size. Among them may be noted those in the N. quarter (especially the four at the intersection of its two main streets), which was added by Ercole (Hercules) I. in 1492–1505, from the plans of Biagio Rossetti, and hence called the " Addizione Erculea." The finest of these is the Palazzo de' Diamanti, so called from the diamond points into which the blocks of stone with which it is faced are cut. It contains the municipal picture gallery, with a large number of pictures of artists of the school of Ferrara. This did not require prominence until the latter half of the 15th century, when its best masters were Cosimo Tura (1432–1495), Francesco Cossa (d. 148o) and Ercole dei Roberti (d. 1496). To this period are due famous frescoes in the Palazzo Schifanoia, which was built by the Este family; those of the lower row depict the life of Borso of Este, in the central row are the signs of the zodiac, and in the upper are allegorical representations of the months. The vestibule was decorated with stucco mouldings by Domenico di Paris of Padua. The building also contains fine choir-books with miniatures, and a collection of coins and Renaissance medals. The simple house of Ariosto, erected by himself after 1526, in which he died in 1532, lies farther west. The best Ferrarese masters of the 16th century of the Ferrara school were Lorenzo Costa (1460–1535), and Dosso Dossi (1479–1542), the most eminent of all, while Benvenuto Tisi (Garofalo, 1481–15J9) is somewhat monotonous and insipid. The origin of Ferrara is uncertain, and probabilities are against the supposition that it oc'cupies the site of the ancient Forum Alieni. It was probably a settlement formed by the inhabitants of the lagoons at the mouth of the Po. It appears first in a document of Aistulf of 733 or 754 as a city forming "part of the exarchate of Ravenna. After 984 we find it a fief of Tedaldo, count of Modena and Canossa, nephew of the emperor Otho I. It afterwards made itself independent, and in 'tor was taken by siege by the countess Matilda. At this time it was mainly dominated by several great families, among them the Adelardi. In 1146 Guglielmo, the last of the Adelardi, died, and his property passed, as the dowry of his niece Marchesella, to Azzolino d' Este. There was considerable hostility between the newly entered family and the Salinguerra, but after considerable struggles Azzo Novello was nominated perpetual podesta in 1242; in 1259 he took Ezzelino of Verona prisoner in battle. His grandson, Obizzo II. (1264–1293), succeeded him, and the pope nominated him captain-general and defender of the states of the Church; and the house of Este was from henceforth settled in Ferrara. Niccolo III. (1393–1441) received several popes with great magnificence, especially Eugene IV., who held a council here in 1438. His son Borso received the fiefs of Modena and Reggio from the emperor Frederick III. as first duke in 1452 (in which year Girolamo Savonarola was born here), and in 1470 was made duke of Ferrara by Pope Paul II. Ercole I. (1471-1505) carried on a war with Venice and increased the magnificence of the city. His son Alphonso I. married Lucrezia Borgia, and continued the war with Venice with success. In 1509 he was excommunicated by Julius II., and attacked the pontifical army in 1512 outside Ravenna, which he took. Gaston de Foix fell in the battle, in which he was supporting Alphonso. With the succeeding popes he was able to make peace. He was the patron of Ariosto from 1518 onwards. His son Ercole II. married Renata, daughter of Louis XII. of France; he too embellished Ferrara during his reign (1534–1559). His son Alphonso II. married Barbara, sister of the emperor Maximilian II. He raised the glory of Ferrara to its highest point, and was the patron of Tasso and Guarini, favouring, as the princes of his house had always done, the arts and sciences. Ife had no legitimate male heir, and in 1597 Ferrara was claimed as a vacant fief by Pope Clement VIII., as was also Comacchio. A fortress was constructed by him on the site of the castle of Tedaldo, at the W. angle of the town. The town remained a part of the states of the Church, the fortress being occupied by an Austrian garrison from 1832 until 1859, when it became part of the kingdom of Italy. A considerable area within the walls of Ferrara is unoccupied by buildings, especially on the north, where the handsome Renaissance church of S. Cristoforo, with the cemetery, stands; but modern times have brought a renewal of industrial activity. Ferrara is on the main line from Bologna to Padua and Venice, and has branches to Ravenna and Poggio Rusco (for Suzzara). See G. Agnelli, Ferrara e Pont posa (Bergamo, 1902) ; E. G. Gardner, Dukes and Poets of Ferrara (London, 1904). FERRARA-FLORENCE, COUNCIL OF (1438 ff.). The council of Ferrara and Florence was the culmination of a series of futile medieval attempts to reunite the Greek and Roman churches. The emperor, John VI. Palaeologus, had been advised by his experienced father to avoid all serious negotiations, as they had invariably resulted in increased bitterness; but John, in view of the rapid dismemberment of his empire by the Turks, felt constrained to seek a union. The situation was, however, complicated by the strife which broke out between the pope (Eugenius IV.) and the oecumenical council of Basel. Both sides sent embassies to the emperor at Constantinople, as both saw the importance of gaining the recognition and support of the East, for on this practically depended the victory in the struggle between papacy and council for the supreme jurisdiction over the church (see COUNCILS). The Greeks, fearing the domination of the papacy, were at first more favourably inclined toward the conciliar party; but the astute diplomacy of the Roman representatives, who have been charged by certain Greek writers with the skilful use df mdn'ey and of lies, wbn over the emperor. With a retinue of about 700 persons, entertained in Italy at the pope's expense, he reached Ferrara early in March 1438. Here a council had been formally opened-in January by the papal party, a bull of the previous year having promptly taken advantage of the death of the Emperor Sigismund by ordering the removal of the council of Basel to Ferrara; and one of the first acts of the assemblage at Ferrara had been to excommunicate the remnant at Basel. A month after the coming of the Greeks, the Union Synod was solemnly inaugurated on the 9th of April 1438. After six months of negotiation, the first formal session was held on the 8th of October, and on the 14th the real issues were reached. The time-honoured question of the filioque was still in the foreground when it seemed for several reasons advisable to transfer the council to Florence: Ferrara was threatened by condottieri, the pest was raging; Florence promised a welcome subvention, and a situation further inland would make it more difficult for uneasy Greek bishops to flee the synod. The first session at Florence and the seventeenth of the union council took place on the 26th of February 1439; there ensued long debates and negotiations on the filioque, in which Markos Eugenikos, archbishop of Ephesus, spoke for the irreconcilables; but the Greeks under the leadership of Bessarion, archbishop of Nicaea, and Isidor, metropolitan of Kiev, at length made a declaration on the filioque, (4th of June), to which all save Markos Eugenikos subscribed. On the next topic of importance, the primacy of the pope, the project of union nearly suffered ship-wreck; but here a vague formula was finally constructed which, while acknowledging the pope's right to govern the church, attempted to safeguard as well the rights of the patriarchs. On the basis of the above-mentioned agreements, as well as of minor discussions as to purgatory and the Eucharist, the decree of union was drawn up in Latin and in Greek, and signed on the 5th of July by the pope and the Greek emperor, and all the members of the synod save Eugenikos and one Greek bishop who had fled; and on the following day it was solemnly published in the cathedral of Florence. The decree explains the filioque in a manner acceptable to the Greeks, but does not require them to insert the term in their symbol; it demands that celebrants follow the custom of their own church as to the employment of leavened or unleavened bread in the Eucharist. It states essentially the Roman doctrine of purgatory, and asserts the world-wide primacy of the pope as the " true vicar of Christ and the head of the whole Church, the Father and teacher of all Christians "; but, to satisfy the Greeks, inconsistently adds that all the rights and privileges of the Oriental patriarchs are to be maintained unimpaired. After the consummation of the union the Greeks remained in Florence for several weeks, discussing matters such as the liturgy, the administration of the sacram.gnts, and divorce; and they sailed from Venice to Constantinople in October. The council, however, desirous of negotiating unions with the minor churches of the East, remained in session for several years, and seems never to have reached a formal adjournment. The • decree for the Armenians was published on the 22nd of November 1439; they accepted the filioque and the Athanasian creed, rejected Monophysitism and Monothelitism, agreed to the developed scholastic doctrine concerning the seven sacraments, and conformed their calendar to the Western in certain points. On the 26th of April 1441 the pope announced that the synod would be transferred to the Lateran; but before leaving Florence a union was negotiated with the Oriental Christians known as Jacobites, through a monk named Andreas, who, at least as regards Abyssinia, acted in excess of his powers. The Decretum pro Jacobites, published on the 4th of February 1442, is, like that for the Armenians, of high dogmatic interest, as it summarizes the doctrine of the great medieval scholastics on the points in controversy. The decree for the Syrians, published at the Lateran on the 3oth of September 1444, and those for the Chaldeans (Nestorians) and the Maronites (Monothelites), published at the last known session of the council on the 7th of August 1445, added nothing of doctrinal importance. Thoughthe direct results of these unions were the restoration of prestige to the absolutist papacy and the bringing of Byzantine men of letters, like Bessarion, to the West, the outcome was on the whole disappointing. Of the complicated history of the " United " churches of the East it suffices to say that Rome succeeded in securing but iragments, though important fragments, of the greater organizations. As for the Greeks, the union met with much opposition, particularly from the monks, and was rejected by three Oriental patriarchs at a synod of Jerusalem in 1443; and after various ineffective attempts to enforce it, the fall of Constantinople in 1453 put an end to the endeavour. As Turkish interests demanded the isolation of the Oriental Christians from their western brethren, and as the orthodox Greek nationalists feared Latinization more than Mahommedan rule, a patriarch hostile to the union was chosen, and a synod of Constantinople in 1472 formally rejected the decisions of Florence.
End of Article: FERRARA
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