Study Sheet #1|
You are part of an ambassadorial entourage. Even if you are not a diplomat, it pays to be diplomatic. You don't like it when foreigners visit Firenze, behave rudely and cause trouble; realize you are a foreigner in England. Our environmental area is an embassy, and as such is Italian soil. (The concept of exterritoriality was accepted by this time.) Inside the embassy, non-Italians are our guests and "foreign". However, once you leave the gate you are in England again. This can be a fun idea to play with, especially if some peasant rogue is trying to make off with your goblet (in Italy) and take it outside the gate (to England).
As an Italian, you are Catholic. Perhaps you may not fully believe all the church tells you, but with the Inquisition in your neighborhood, are you really going to discuss your doubts? The English are, of course, Anglican, even the Catholic ones. It's not polite to discuss religion, especially with English nobles; it could cost them their heads. As a Catholic, you believe in the Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is the Supreme Being and Creator of the Universe; Jesus Christ was his only son, who was born of the Virgin Mary, lived among men, died for our sins and was resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of God in His celestial throne. I do recommend reading the Christian Bible for character background, if you haven't read it already. Some of it is rather good storytelling, and there's even some romance/erotica in the Song of Solomon. Violence, sex, death, greed, corruption - check it out. You are not required to actually profess the Catholic faith, simply be able to portray a Catholic in a convincing manner. You could also check out a Catholic bookstore for a basic catechism (the beliefs lined out neatly and concisely for study by persons awaiting confirmation or wishing to convert to Catholicism).
You should have at least three names; your given name, your confirmation name (which should be a saint's name), and your family (father's) name. The higher your rank, the more names you would have. One way to make your name longer is to add "di Firenze" (or wherever you're from) at the end. So instead of being Francesco Paolo Giannini, you would be Francesco Paolo Giannini di Firenze -a much better effect! You can also add your mother's maiden name to your name to further establish your social significance. See the Names List in the Notebook for name ideas, as well as the Catasto of Florence on our web site.
Excerpted from The Courts of the Italian Renaissance, Sergio Bertelli, Facts on File Publications, 1986.