Page 233. " If you can keep your head when all about you "

Perhaps Rudyard Kipling's inspiring poem about ideal manhood, "If ", helped the Monsignore to keep his head in this crisis.

Page 244. " the famous bronze horses "

These beautiful horses have an ignoble history, having been looted from Constantinople when it was sacked by the Venetians in 1204. They were later installed on the facade of the basilica, but have now been moved inside the building and replaced by replicas. (These feature in the video under bookmark 20)

The bronze horses of St Mark's
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe bronze horses of St Mark's - Credit: Errabee

Page 244. " Judas Iscariot: the traitor "
The Judas kiss by Giotto di Bendone
Public DomainThe Judas kiss by Giotto di Bendone

Judas Iscariot was a disciple of Jesus Christ. He betrayed Christ with a kiss to the Roman authorities, who crucified him.

With the money he was paid, Judas bought a field and, in remorse, hanged himself there.

Page 247. " the two great granite columns "
Two granite columns, viewed from St Mark's
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeTwo granite columns, viewed from St Mark's - Credit: janmad

These pillars stand on the Piazzetta, near the lagoon, and were once the official gateway of Venice. They are no. 7 on the map at the back of the book (Afterword p.7).


St Theodore
Public DomainSt Theodore
 St Theodore of Amasea was a young soldier stationed in Pontus (now Northern Turkey). He was required by magistrates to venerate the local gods, but responded by burning down the temple to Cybele, the Great Mother goddess, and was martyred for his pains.

St Theodore was the patron saint of Venice until he was ousted by St Mark (see bookmark 325). Perhaps this ousting is why Miss Garnet calls him 'spurious.' On the other hand it could be because he committed arson. Or perhaps, since he seems sometimes to have been confused with St George and with other St Theodores, she simply meant that he didn't really exist.

 St Theodore is also said to have slain a dragon, to prevent it from devouring the children of a Christian woman who had been thrown to it as a sacrifice. The dragon is transmuted into a crocodile on the pillar, and this association with Egypt is perhaps on account of St Theodore's father having been Egyptian.

Page 247. " The story of the great fish's remedial powers was perhaps attributable to the magical properties of crocodiles. "

 According to an article in the Lancet (The Art of Healing in Ancient Egypt by Rosalie David, Vol.372, Issue 9652), the Ancient Egyptians used crocodiles and fish, as well as other animals and plants to treat diseases. The efficacy of of some of these improbable cures is now being confirmed by modern scientific studies.