Casanova: Adventurer, Libertine, Spy, Writer, "Influencer"
The first child of an actor and actress, Casanova was born in Venice. He set out to play the comedy of life with a short role as an ecclesiastic but was expelled from the seminary in 1743. He found refuge in Rome with Cardinal Acquaviva, the first of his many powerful protectors. By 1745 he had returned to Venice, where he practiced magic. Forced to flee prosecution for engaging in the black arts, Casanova drifted from city to city. In Lyons in 1750 he joined the Free Masons, an allegiance that gave him support in the noble, free thinking circles of cosmopolitan Europe. Gambling, profiteering, and amorous activities marked his first stay in Paris (1750-1753). His luck held until 1755, when he was imprisoned in Venice for "black magic, licentiousness, and atheism." His spectacular escape is chronicled in the only portion of his memoirs to appear during his lifetime (1788).
The years 1756-1763 brought Casanova his most brilliant successes in a society dedicated to games of love and chance. Voltaire, whom he met briefly, judged him to be a "mixture of science and imposture," a suspect combination which nevertheless brought Casanova in contact with Frederick II and Catherine the Great.
Casanova himself divided his life into "three acts of a comedy." The second, which he thought of as lasting from 1763 to 1783, was less droll than the first. Protectors were less willing, and as the adventurer's brilliance faded, his charlatanism became more evident. From 1774 to 1782 Casanova added to his repertoire the role of "secret agent" for the Republic of Venice, but he was less a spy than an informer.
Again obliged to leave Venice, Casanova began the third act of his comedy penniless and on the road. But in 1785 he gained the protection of the Count of Waldstein, in whose château at Dux (Bohemia) he stayed until his death in 1798. There he wrote his celebrated History of My Life, ending with the events of 1774, after which he had "only sad things to tell." Written in sometimes imperfect French, this work moves rapidly and frankly through vast amounts of personal and social detail. Besides tales of the 122 women whose favors he claims to have enjoyed, Casanova offers a chronicle of social extravagance and decline and a vision of Europe as complex and colorful as the bawdy, elegant, naively rational, desperately pretentious, and comic figure of "Seingalt" (one of his many pseudonyms) himself.
Casanova's writings also include miscellaneous gallant verse, several treatises on mathematics, a three-volume refutation of Amelot de la Houssaye's history of Venetian government (1769), a translation of the Iliad (1775), and a five-volume novel of a fantastic adventure to the center of the Earth, Icosameron (1788).
31 Facts About Casanova
Casanova and the Freemasons
- Casanova joined Freemasonry on his first trip to Paris. He was fascinated by the rituals of the fraternity. He used his masonic connections over and over again as he traveled around Europe and tried to ingratiate himself to the local nobility. Casanova was a member of Lodge of the Duke of Clermont.
- Freemasonry, the teachings and practices of the fraternal (men-only) order of Free and Accepted Masons, the largest worldwide secret society—an oath-bound society, often devoted to fellowship, moral discipline, and mutual assistance, that conceals at least some of its rituals, customs, or activities from the public (secret societies do not necessarily conceal their membership or existence). Spread by the advance of the British Empire, Freemasonry remains most popular in the British Isles and in other countries originally within the empire. Estimates of the worldwide membership of Freemasonry in the early 21st century ranged from about two million to more than six million.
- Freemasonry evolved from the guilds of stonemasons and cathedral builders of the Middle Ages. With the decline of cathedral building, some lodges of operative (working) masons began to accept honorary members to bolster their declining membership. From a few of these lodges developed modern symbolic or speculative Freemasonry, which particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries adopted the rites and trappings of ancient religious orders and of chivalric brotherhoods. © Britannica and Masonry Today
- OVERVIEW: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry
- OVERVIEW: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Freemasonry
- OVERVIEW FROM A MASONIC WEBSITE: https://beafreemason.org/masonic-life
- OVERVIEW FROM A MASONIC WEBSITE: https://www.masonrytoday.com/index.php?new_month=6&new_day=4&new_year=2016#:~:text=Casanova%20joined%20Freemasonry%20on%20his,of%20the%20Duke%20of%20Clermont.