Little Bits of History

Giacomo Casanova

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 2, 2010

Giacomo CasanovaApril 2, 1725: The businessman, diplomat, spy, politician, philosopher, magician, writer, world traveler, and womanizer, Giacomo Casanova is born in Venice, Italy. His parents were actors Zanetta Farussi and Gaetano Giuseppe Casanova, but his true father was probably Michele Grimani, who sponsored his education at Padua. Casanova was not born into a close knit family and carried on the tradition by siring many children that he, in turn, ignored.

According to his autobiography, Histoire de ma vie [Story of My Life], he slept with 122 women during his life. He also slept with a couple of men, just to round out his experiences. Graduating at the age of 16, his education was liberally peppered with the study of moral philosophy, chemistry, and mathematics as well as majoring in law. He began his working life in the Catholic Church as an abate. This did not last.

Casanova had a habit of seducing or preferably being seduced by women, some quite wealthy. Many gave him money. He went from place to place, living by his wits, changing jobs in each location, and then being caught up in scandal and moving on. He was imprisoned for a time when he was thirty for his interest in magic and witchcraft and sentenced to 5 years. He escaped shortly after his incarceration and went to Paris.

His autobiography gives a rich detail of life in the 18th century. He was different from many men of the era because he was intensely concerned that his partners were having as good a time as he was while engaging in their affairs. He also remained friendly with them after the affairs were over. Two constant features of his life were venereal disease and gambling. The latter he pursued almost as lustfully as he did the ladies.

“Casanova was a person who really fell in love with every woman, as opposed to Don Juan, … I also have an appreciation for love — just not that many.” – Heath Ledger

“I have always loved truth so passionately that I have often resorted to lying as a way of introducing it into the minds which were ignorant of its charms.” – Giacomo Casanova

“I don’t conquer, I submit.” – Giacomo Casanova

“I have felt in my very blood, ever since I was born, a most unconquerable hatred towards the whole tribe of fools, and it arises from the fact that I feel myself a blockhead whenever I am in their company.” – Giacomo Casanova

Also on this day, in 1792 the US Coinage Act was passed.

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