Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Viana a place of rest on the way to Santiago

In AD 1507 Viana was an important stronghold defending the approach to Estella (Lizarra). It was established in 1219 by Sancho the Strong and for a period of time - from 1423 - was the centre of a small princedom. In his Codex Aymeric Picaud still used it's ancient name Cuevas.
In the centre of the city is a square with trees and a fountain with cool water offering a refreshing drink for the traveller on the way to Santiago. The Way of Saint James or the Camino de Santiago leads through the centre of this town to it's final destination Santiago de Compostela, reputedly the last resting place of Saint James the Elder. Viana is a welcome place of recuperation for the weary pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago.
At the square one may also see the beautifully ornamented church of Santa Maria built around 1500.
Not far from the centre is a bust dedicated to Cesare Borgia, who in an inscription is honoured as "Captain of the Navarre army". Cesare died near Viana in 1507 at the age of 31 after attempting to storm the town's castle and overthrow the count of Lerin, Louis de Beaumonte. He commanded an army of 5000 foot infantry and 300 cavalry in the service of the king of Navarra. The king Jean d'Albret was the brother of Cesare's deceased spouse Charlotte d'Albret.
May Cesare find eternal rest in this peaceful town.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Frankly I find it perverse that there is a bust of Cesare Borgia *anywhere* ! This is municipal sentimentality at its absolute worst. This man murdered, raped, and stole. We take such matters as honour and shame lightly in this age for we are ignorant of how the disastrous choices we make will affect the generations to come. What is worse, we just don't care about the future generations.

Putting up a bust of a notorious murderer is unquestionably perverse in that it says "Hey! Just because you slaughtered and inflicted unimaginable suffering on thousands doesn't mean you're bad!"

As a practising Catholic I most certainly do want Cesare Borgia's soul to be saved. I hope to see him in God's kingdom if I make it myself. But he should not be celebrated.

In 500 years time I have no doubt that Braunau-am-Inn in Austria will have a similar bust of Adolf Hitler. And yet were one to ask anyone there today of the likelihood of such a municipal creation they would call it impossible.

Sentimental humans should never be in charge of public governance.