Talk:Alessandro Cagliostro

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Comment 1[edit]

I found the day of his death here (in German)

Comment 2[edit]

Following some recent edits, this article has become a paradigm example of how not to handle NPOV. It reads as if someone had gone through and inserted "Some say..." in front of every single claim. This makes a mockery of encyclopedic writing; who says, and how credible are their claims? Is there even any reason to question these claims, or do they merely sound implausible to one or another editor? - Mustafaa 03:30, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I've given the entire article an overhaul, which should fix a number of these problems. I've nonetheless had to fall back to saying 'some accounts hold...' in front of some parts, since the whole history of the man is shrouded in rumour, propaganda and mysticism. --Spudtater 19:30, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Lewis Spence's version[edit]

My main acquaintance until now with a detailed account is in Lewis Spence's Encyclopedia of the Occult, republished by Dover; over a hundred years old by now and perhaps not reliable. I'm wondering if anyone has read it? I'll have to study and compare it and the writeup overleaf for any significant differences, but I'm wondering if it's worth the bother. What's interesting in Spence is that he credits the fortune generated by Cagliostro's swindling as providing the foundation for his patronage of maternity hospitals and orphanages across Europe, i.e. hospitals for the poor, perhaps the foundation, one would think, of the tradition that led to Shrine Hospitals; the con-man as philanthropist in an age when the nobility had no concern at all for anyone lesser than themselves. Spence's account also details his initiation into the Egyptian Rite by the Count St. Germain; and other juicy tidbits.Skookum1 21:46, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Johann Wolfgang Goethe's impact[edit]

see http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Gro%C3%9F-Cophta - I added a reference in the section dealing with Cagliostro's life being a role model for several works of fiction. Goethe wrote the piece "Der Groß-Cophta" in 1791 (see link). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.171.35.180 (talk) 10:00, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Theveneau de Morande[edit]

Obviously Theveneau knew the Palermo dossier, but could not produce it, or a copy of it, in court. So, Cagliostro got away with it, in the oldest politician's manner of "stout denial".... Kraxler 20:29, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Citations needed[edit]

There are any number of statements in this article that need to have citations to reliable secondary sources to back them up. Especially the claims that Cagliostro was a Freemason. Also, please note that I have removed one of the references... it was a personal web page, which is not considered reliable under WP:RS. I am not that happy with the other references on that score... but they are not as clear cut so I have left them in for now. Blueboar 18:55, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

OK, after several days there has been no response to my requests for citations, so I have removed the info on Freemasonry that I found controvercial without anything to back them up. Please add this info back if you locate reliable sources. I will also say that there is a lot more I could cut on for the same reason... the article really is lacking in citations to reliable sources. Please look for them. Blueboar 01:35, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
What'choo talkin' about, Willis?! It looks like this dude was a Mason:
http://www.answers.com/topic/alessandro-cagliostro
"As the Grand Copt of the order of Egyptian Masonry he organized many lodges. His reputation was amazing, particularly at the court of French king Louis XVI. Implicated in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, he was imprisoned, acquitted, and banished..." (Columbia Encyclopedia)
"During his second visit to London Cagliostro was initiated into Freemasonry and conceived his great idea of employing that system for his own gain. He incessantly visited the various London lodges and ingratiated himself with their principals and officials. At this time he supposedly picked up a manuscript at an obscure London bookstall that is said to have belonged to a certain George Gaston. This document dealt with the mysteries of Egyptian Masonry and abounded in magical and mystical references. It was from this, that Cagliostro allegedly gathered his occult inspirations... Cagliostro and his wife succeeded in establishing several Masonic lodges according to the rite of what he called Egyptian Freemasonry. Persons of high rank flocked around the couple, and it is even said that he plotted for the sovereignty of the grand duchy. It is also alleged that he collected a very large treasure of presents and money and set out for St. Petersburg, where he established himself as a physician....the numerous gifts that were showered upon him by the powerful and wealthy for the purpose of furthering his Masonic schemes. Although he lived in considerable magnificence, Cagliostro by no means led a life of abandoned luxury, for there is evidence that he gave away vast sums to the poor and needy, attended the sick, and played the part of healer and reformer... He informed his daughters that the much abused magical art was the secret of doing good to humanity... Masonry was of course anathema to the Roman church; and upon attempting to found a lodge in the Eternal City itself, he was arrested on September 27, 1789, by order of the Holy Inquisition and imprisoned in the castle of Saint Angelo...Cagliostro's manuscript volume entitled "Egyptian Freemasonry" fell with his other papers into the hands of the Inquisition and was solemnly condemned by it as subversive to the interests of Christianity. It was publicly burned; but oddly enough the Inquisition set apart one of its brethren to concoct some kind of life of Cagliostro, which did include particulars concerning his Masonic methods." (Occultism & Parapsychology Encyclopedia)
Fartbucket (talk) 15:36, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Lupin III[edit]

Concerning the 'In Fiction' section. There is a reference to the Lupin III movie titled The Castle of Cagliostro, which states: 'it holds no relation to the historical figure.' This is not entirely true. There are elements in the story that seem to be based on the life of the Count. First is that the character Clarisse (who is to be a young bride to the count) is imprisoned in a tower whose only entrance is a trap door. This parallels the fortress of San Leo where the count was imprisoned. Also, the Count in the movie is an expert forger, as was the Count of Cagliostro.

So in light of this i am proposing that this reference be changed to read as follows:

In the Lupin III movie titled The Castle of Cagliostro, the villain of the story is based upon the historical figure the Count, an expert forger.

I too believe there to be a relationship between Cagliostro and the Count, but most aspects were actually taken from Leblanc's two books involving the Countess of Cagliostro. In the book, Clarisse is the heroine and she marries Lupin.
It would perhaps be better to write that "The Castle of Cagliostro contains several references to Cagliostro—such as it's setting in a medieval town inspired in Italy or the fact the Count, like the real Cagliostro, was a forger—but also to other works of fiction related to Cagliostro, namely The Countess Cagliostro and its sequel The Revenge of Cagliostro, both by Maurice Leblanc, creator of the famous Arsène Lupin character." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ishikawa Minoru (talkcontribs) 02:14, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I was told the "Countess of Cagliostro" is supposed to be this Cagliostro's daughter? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.144.34.210 (talk) 12:35, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Napoleon Investigation?[edit]

I've been doing a lot of Napoleon research for a project of mine in recent weeks and came here though a series of searches. The article mentions that Napoleon held an investigation into Cagliostro's death and that it was by such the rest of Europe accepted his demise. I haven't found any collaborating reference to this claim, or any connection to Napoleon directly to Cagliostro in life or death. Could someone please find some source to cite in this matter? Joeteller (talk) 21:51, 29 November 2007 (UTC)Joeteller


Jewish origins[edit]

I noticed that my edit on Cagliostro being of Jewish ancestry was deleted.Why?The Balsamo family was Jewish.Giuseppe had extensive knowledge of the Jewish Cabbalah.The Best of Sicily magazine also states that Giuseppe Balsamo was born on 2 June 1743 in Palermo's Albergheria,formerly the old Jewish Quarter.jeanne (talk) 08:23, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I reverted your edits because they were unsourced. Please chek WP:RS and WP:CITE. After I read the source you mentioned, I'm even more sure of what I did. The source says he was born in what was the Jewish quarter, not that he was born to a Jewish family. His knowledge of Jewish Cabbalah also doesn't prove that he was born to a Jewish family. Many people have had a profound knowledge of Jewish Cabbalah without being jewish. If you want to mention that he was born in the Jewish quarter citing that source, it is fine by me. But I will dispute any other interpretation from that source as it may constitute an original research from your part.--Legion fi (talk) 05:02, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I must point out that in the middle ages, Jews comprised 8-10% of the Sicilian population; in many towns here in Sicily, one can see the narrow streets and alleys where they resided.jeanne (talk) 06:14, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Again, It has been said to you in your user page, talk pages aren't for general discussion about the topic. You may point out whatever you want, but as I said in the revert summary, source it, or it didn't happened.--Legion fi (talk) 05:30, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

OWNED! lol Since when does living in Jewish parts make someone Jewish??? This article is lacking too many citations, and I can assure the readers that Balsamo is NOT of Jewish decent. How about creating a page for Albergheria before using in this article???

Cali-ostro is Albanian...Pelasgian, and so are people in the Arab peninsula and the mediterranean shores....and most of the noble families in the Greek,Italian,French and American civilization the so called phoenix, sun rising or flying from east to west.from Egypt to America, half of the world because the other half is different, but the west is mostly with Egyptian roots,Arabic which are Pelasgian root, present Albanians and so are the so called Jews,Greeks,Italians,French and Spanish and some of the German and English people mixed with Slavic people as in Balkans where the Pelasgians spread as far as Azerbajan(Old Albania).Etrusians or the Tuscany and Rome or papal or Cesarian lands and area were Pelasgian,Albanian....Jewish,Egyptian..Greek,Arabic..Phoenician...is the same root — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.93.56.24 (talk) 14:06, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

minor edit[edit]

Combined the "In Manga" section to the fiction. Since the comic book references are in there, I see no reason why that shouldn't be with them.

208.255.118.242 (talk) 22:38, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

On the Origin section, and Goethe's quotes[edit]

I removed the line following his claim of alchemy, magic and kaballah studies which alluded to the fact that it was a similar claim to many 'charlatans' of the time, and was a "silly fairy-tale" according to Goethe. There were NO CITATIONS for that, and that is clearly opinion, even if it is something we all agree with. This entire wiki page should practically be erased with the prevalence of pure opinion and lack of citations!

This Article is unclear on to many things[edit]

How much of this information is completely dependent on the claim that he was Balsamo? If their not the same person then who did what? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.144.50.78 (talk) 21:27, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

They are the same person. The article plainly says so. Kraxler (talk) 17:00, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
According to at least one of your citations (Faulks and Cooper), the identity of Cagliostro and Balsamo was manufactured by the Inquisition and his enemies in France. Cooper clearly believes that he was NOT Balsamo. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 00:08, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
There is consensus among scholars that Cagliostro was Balsamo. Cooper may believe what he wants. "Enemies" in France? Cagliostro was acquitted of any wrongdoing in the Necklace Affair. He got a fair enough trial, so who would be these enemies? Kraxler (talk) 01:30, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
"Nonetheless, he was asked to leave France" (from article) - you have to concede, he wasn't popular in some quarters. I don't have an opinion on this personally, but I do think that it ought to be at least mentioned that your sources are not unanimous in accepting the identification of Cagliostro with Balsamo. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 10:40, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
The sources are unanimous. Disagreement is possibly voiced by people who make money out of conspiracy theories, or people who swim against the stream on principle. After all, it's easy to disagree and say, no he wasn't Balsamo. But who was he then, does Cooper propose some other identity? To be asked to leave, as a foreigner and being a charlatan (which was, and still is, not forbidden), was common practice at the time, very far-fetched to invoke "enemies" without a name or face, coming frome "some quarters". Kraxler (talk) 15:04, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
At root, Cagliostro = Balsamo comes from the retracted word of a blackmailer, a biography written by a puppet of the inquisition, and Goethe, who visited some people who claimed to be his family, and was nearly parted from a sum of money as a result. Cooper is anything BUT a conspiracy theorist. He spends a great deal of time debunking Templar/Masonic fables. Carlyle was highly dubious about the biography. I do not understand your certainty. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 16:15, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
"At root, Cagliostro = Balsamo comes from the retracted word of a blackmailer" ?? At root, Balsamo = Cagliostro comes from a Palermo lawyer, who on official request forwarded documents to the court in Paris. Please note that Cagliostro was the real name of his godfather/greatuncle. Goethe saw a copy of the file which was sent to Paris. So Cooper goes to great lengths to "debunk"? Without a hint of conspiracy theory? Hhmmmm... Kraxler (talk) 22:19, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Thing is, I want to know what was significant about this Balsamo that Cagliostro would want to deny the identification?

Sarcasm? Really?

So, our man's "family" are shown portraits of Cagliostro, and say its Balsamo. The one portrait from the period that is positively identified as Balsamo doesn't look like Cagliostro at all. Cagliostro had a hook nose, Balsamo's turned up. Plastic surgery? This bombshell was not used while Cagliostro was suing two officials for improbable sums of money, or when his open letter to the French people denouncing their government was selling like hot cakes in the streets of Paris (you noted earlier, this did not make him any powerful enemies). We have the word of liar and a swindler against the word of the Inquisition and a duplicitous government whose grateful citizens would shortly put their heads on sticks. If I was a betting man, I'd run a mile. I still do not understand your certainty. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 23:50, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

You mean Cagliostro was photographed, in the 19th century? How odd. Oh, you mean people had to identify sketches or paintings? See here (especially the "Controversies" section) how the same man was depicted by different artists. It's unbelievable. Not much basis for an argument. Kraxler (talk) 01:12, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Good point. This makes the Balsamo family's identification of little Giuseppe from paintings/sketches/prints worthless as evidence, and the documents of the Palermo lawyer (who was probably paid by results) similarly suspect. Discounting the blackmailer, this leaves us with the official Inquisition biography, published in the face of outrage that a celebrity had been condemned to death for practicing Freemasonry. Returning to the original posting, it seems it did not deserve the self-referential dismissal it received. Of two sources for Cagliostro before he came into the public eye, Cagliostro's own account, and that written at the behest of his persecutors, both are likely to be a pack of lies, and probably need separated from the facts of his later life verifiable from third party reports. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 17:48, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Identification worthless, lawyer bribed, Inquisition not trustworthy, blackmailers without leverage, enemies who provide a fair trial in an absolutist regime, no hint by Cooper to Cagliostro's true identity if not Balsamo, and still no hint of conspiracy theory? Really? A historian has to do better than to call the whole world a pack of lies. Sorry, Fiddlersmouth, but give me a link to reliable sources (see WP:RS), or accept the article as it is. Kraxler (talk) 02:04, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Accepted. Thanks for the discussion. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 11:21, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Category "Freemasons"[edit]

This is a general category, and two subcategories are added. Thus the general category should not be added. WP:DIFFUSE mentions specifically the diffusion by country: "Although there is no limit on the size of categories, a large category will often be broken down ("diffused") into smaller, more specific subcategories. For example, Category:Rivers of Europe is broken down by country into the subcategories Rivers of Albania, Rivers of Andorra, etc." To state that Freemasons by country (subcategories listed at "Freemasons") is "non-diffusing" is absurd. Kraxler (talk) 15:53, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

There is no consensus at the moment on the value of these subcategories of Freemasonry, and the deletion issue remains unresolved. In spite of this, and repeated requests to seek consensus before further recategorising articles in WP:Freemasonry, editor Biruitorul continues to "fix" categorisations that were not broken in the first place.
In the case of Cagliostro, he sold his own brand of Freemasonry across Europe, especially in Italy, France, and England. In his case, and a few others, it is argued that the purpose of categorisation in best served by leaving him in the general category, rather than giving him multiple nationalities. His brand of Freemasonry did not conform to the standards of regularity of French, Italian, or English Freemasonry, so the issue of diffusion is complicated. In view of this, I believe Cagliostro should remain in the top level category, at least until the issue of the Freemasonry sub-categories is settled. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 01:38, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Ok, so he remains in the top category, I fixed it. By the way, categories are not info. They are not necessarily perfectly correct mirrors of the page content, they should just help readers to find related subjects, see WP:Categorization. Like "Category:Yale University alumni" contains Yale College graduates before Yale became a university; "Category:County district attorneys in New York" contains Assistant Attorneys General in office before 1818 when every county became a district, and Paul Bern is categorized as a suicide victim, because the coroner found this verdict, but Bern was certainly murdered. So, I still don't understand why Cagliostro's subcategorization is so problematic. Kraxler (talk) 13:46, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. It isn't just Cagliostro, there is no general consensus on how to use Category:Freemasonry, particularly where the masonic career spans jurisdictions, and where the original nationality of the individual isn't always helpful. Cagliostro sits on the edge of this group. There is also nothing to distinguish men who joined lodges because it was the social norm in their peer group from those who influenced, or attempted to influence the development of the craft. Biruitorul's prodding should provoke some sort of resolution in the fairly near future. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 00:17, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

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