The Lord, The Slave cover

William H. Matheson Reception and Lecture Featuring Craig Monson

The Lord, The Slave, & The Tailor’s Son: A Case of Identity Theft in Renaissance Italy

This year's Matheson lecture will be held in celebration of Dr. Gerhild Scholz Williams


Featured Speaker

Craig A. Monson

Paul Tietjens Professor Emeritus Of Music

Washington University



Andrea Casali, "the handsomest cavalier there was in Bologna," pampered endling of a preeminent noble family, heir to fabulous wealth and works by Michelangelo and Raphael, a skilled athlete and man-at-arms, but also a poet and pupil of Guido Reni, was elevated to the Bolognese senate before he turned sixteen. Implicated in a fatal quarrel, the 19-year-old secretly left town in 1603 to fight at the Siege of Ostend. The following year, reports reached Bologna that a sniper's bullet had struck him down.


Thirty years later, a grizzled, ransomed galley slave of the “Infidel Turk” turned up in Rome, claiming to be Casali. His attempt to reclaim his inheritance provoked an uproar that resonated throughout Italy. ["It is true that many believe it is not he," a contemporary remarked, "but of a hundred, ninety-nine say that it is."] One eminent jurist, keen to get the self-styled Casali hanged, described the case as "the most serious, the most notorious, and the greatest deception that Christendom has ever known."


Even without such hyperbole, it is a tale worth reexamining, in which the promotion of “fake news,” the presentation of rumor as fact, the distortion of evidence to manipulate public opinion, but also witness intimidation and insurrection by thousands of true believers sound as familiar as the practice of identity theft.




Goldberg Formal Lounge

5:30pm to 6:30pm

Beverages and light snacks will be provided



DUC 276

6:30pm to 7:30pm


RSVP below!