• Giacomo Casanova

    by  • February 15, 2018 • Info • 0 Comments

    Giacomo Casanova lived from April 2, 1725 to June 4, 1798. He was an italian man who looked for adventure and often found trouble. Casanova’s biography, Historia de ma vie, is known for being one the the most authentic accounts of the European social life in the 18th century.
    Casanova was born in Venice during the time of luxury. Venice was a trading capital that brought many odd, interesting and provocative items to the streets. For a boy to grow up in this world of exotics, it only makes sense for his adult life to reflect it. Though a life in Venice is a dream to us, Casanova had a rough childhood and claims his parents got rid of him when he was sent to a boarding school in Padua. As he grew so did his knowledge. At age 17 Casanova graduated from the University of Padua with medical knowledge and then proceed to become a lawyer, but his gambling problem set him back. He moved back to Venice and began to work as a abbe, a clergyman.
    Once Casanova was back in the lagoon he built his reputation of scandal. His religious career was short lived due to being in prison for his debt. After the religious route did not work, he changed paths and looked toward the military. As we know, Venice was involved with war by making ships for battle. However, Casanova lost all his money to gambling and found this new career path to be slow and boring so he left his assignment in Constantinople and returned to Venice.
    Back in Venice again Casanova, at the age of 21, felt he had found his true calling of being a professional gambler. Once again he fails by losing all his money and is forced to find another career path. This time he picks a more artistic job as a violinist in the San Samuele Theater. The stories from this part of his life was about late night pranks of making fake calls to doctors and many practical jokes with the other musicians.
    Though Casanova’s life is mostly gambling and changing jobs frequently, he was given a stroke of luck when he saved the life of a Venetian nobleman of the Bragadin family. The nobleman had a stroke and when the physician used mercury to help his condition the nobleman began to rapidly decline. Casanova, who witnessed the stroke, had the the mercury washed off and the man recovered. Saving a nobleman’s life does not go unnoticed. Casanova was taken in by the nobleman and he began to live his life like his new friend. For three years he wore the luxurious clothes and began to gamble his newfound wealth away. Casanova fled from Venice after digging up a corpse, paralyzing a man, and being accused of rape.
    Casanova then fell in love with a French woman but she came to dislike his violent tendencies. Heartbroken he begins his Grand Tour. This is a tradition of the higher class traveling through Europe to become cultured. It was considered a right of passage for the higher class. Casanova was in Paris where he spent most of his time at the theater and then visited his family in Dresden. In Dresden he wrote plays for his mother to perform in and eventually he returned to Venice in 1753.
    On July 26, 1755 Casanova was arrested for affront to religion and common decency and was sentenced to the Leads, the prison in the Doge’s palace. He was first placed in solitary confinement where the conditions were terrible due to the summer heat. Once he was moved in with cell mates Casanova worked on his escape. He found an iron bar and then sharpened it. When he was alone in his cell he would dig a hole under his bed. Casanova was almost done digging though when he was moved to a different cell. After getting over the disappointment of being so close to freedom, he works on his new plan but this time he enlists the help of the prisoner next to him to escape. The other prisoner used the iron spike to dig out a hole above his cell and then a hole over Casanova’s cell. Casanova left a quote in his cell stating “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord”. The two men ran across the roof and broke into the Doge’s palace and slept inside overnight. In the morning the two men found new clothes and walked out the back door.
    Casanova fled to Paris and he prepared to remain there for a long time. He wanted to blend in with the regular people and have self control with his impulses toward gambling. He laid low while he was looking for new patron. He reconnected with his friend who was the Foreign Minister of France. Casanova became a salesman for the French. He began by working with the first ever state lottery and eventually sold bonds in Amsterdam during the Seven Years War. Casanova became very wealthy, but old habits die hard. He could not operate his business well and spent his money on women and was imprisoned for his debts again.
    Casanova traveled around Europe during his 18 year exile from Venice. In 1774 he begged for a pardon to return to his home. After being allowed to return, he was exiled again in 1783, that same year he was in Paris and met Benjamin Franklin. Casanova lived out the rest of his life in Bohemia. In 1797 he learned about the fall of the Republic of Venice but he could not return home. He died on June 4th 1789 at age 73.

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