Call for Papers  

Edina Eszenyi

Edina Eszenyi

Python and the Angels: Greek Mythology Lost and Found in the Cinquecento Veneto


The presentation explores the rediscovery of the Greek Python in context of the angelology of Vincenzo Cicogna (1519? - after 1596), a controversial Catholic reformer of Greek origins.

My PhD thesis analyzed Cicogna's c. 1587 Angelorum et daemonum nomina et attributa... (Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute MS 86-A866), a work the author dedicated to Cardinal Giulio Antonio Santori (1532-1602), Italy's Grand Inquisitor. Besides interpreting Scriptural references to angels and demons, the work voiced critical views concerning the Church.

Cicogna approached Biblical interpretation in search for the harmony between Christianity and pre-Christian philosophical systems, which the presentation offers to illustrate with his re-discovery of the mythological Python. Cicogna used the Greek myth to explain the origins and limits of the diabolic ability to foresee the future, and he arrived at similarities between the negative and positive manipulative powers of fortune-telling and preaching.

The presentation traces this reinterpretation of Greek mythology in a Christian context by further references Greek philosophy in contemporaneous Italian angelological writings in the Vatican Library's collection.


I hold a Ph.D. in Medieval and Early Modern History from the University of Kent Canterbury, UK; a Medieval Studies postraduate MA with Distinction from Central European University, and MAs in Art History and English Studies from the Pázmány Péter Catholic University of Hungary. I live and work in Rome as Resident Art Historian - Professor of Art History at the Rome Art Program, a New York-based, HE-level, non-profit international art education institute. My research field is angelology and my first book is going to be published by the Vatican (Libreria Editrice Vaticana) in June 2017.



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