Rome Should Be Proud Of Its Fall

Petrarch, Against a Man Who Slandered Italy (15):

But what will our detractor do? I know. He will praise the taverns of Gaul – quite fine praise for a teetotaler. I recently went by and saw them entirely wrecked and deserted. He will praise the peace of his fatherland, which I for my part have seen disturbed and anything but peaceful. “But the change there is not as great as in Rome.” Who does not know this and also know the reason for it? The ruin of insignificant things cannot be great, and the people of Gaul are spared this fear. Nothing can fall from the heights if it forever lies in the dirt. Rome therefore fell from on high, but Avignon will never fall. Where could it fall from, or how would it suffer any loss, when it is already nothing?

Roman Capriccio The Pantheon and Other Monuments by Giovanni Paolo Panini.jpg
Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Roman Capriccio

Sed quid aget? Scio. Laudabit Gallie tabernas – pulcra laus sobrii hominis -, quas ego tamen illac nuper transiens et eversas vidi et desertas. Laudabit patrie quietem, quam profecto turbidam inquietamque prospexi. Sed non est ibi mutatio, quanta est Rome. Quis hanc rem reique causam non videt? Minutarum rerum ruina magna esse non potest, procul absunt ab hoc metu: nunquam cadet ex alto, qui in imo iacet. Roma igitur ex alto cecidit, non cadet Avinio. Unde enim caderet, aut quomodo decresceret, que est nichil?

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