Banquet of Chestnuts
The Banquet of Chestnuts, known more properly as the Ballet of Chestnuts, refers to a fête in Rome, and particularly to a supper held in the Papal Palace by Don Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI on October 30, 1501. An account of the banquet is preserved in a Latin diary by Protonotary Apostolic and Master of Ceremonies Johann Burchard (it is entitled Liber Notarum).
The banquet was given in Cesare's apartments in the Palazzo Apostolico. Fifty prostitutes or courtesans were in attendance for the entertainment of the banquet guests. After the food was eaten, lamp stands holding lighted candles were placed on the floor and chestnuts strewn about. The clothes of the courtesans were auctioned; then the prostitutes and the guests crawled naked among the lamp stands to pick up the chestnuts. Immediately following the spectacle, members of the clergy and other party guests together engaged with the prostitutes in sexual activity. According to Burchard, "prizes were offered--silken doublets, pairs of shoes, hats and other garments--for those men who were most successful with the prostitutes".
According to William Manchester, "Servants kept score of each man's orgasms, for the pope greatly admired virility and measured a man's machismo by his ejaculative capacity." Another source states that Pope Alexander VI was also in attendance, and himself suggested the scorekeeping method. Manchester also refers to the use of sex toys; Burchard, however, makes no reference to this in his account of the banquet.
 See also
- ^ Lee 2005 p. 192
- ^ Mundt 2006, p. 239
- ^ Burchard 1963, p. 194
- ^ Manchester 1992, p. 79.
- ^ Wiegand 2008, p. 196
- ^ The Spanish film Los Borgia (2006) includes this banquet among its scenes.
- William Manchester, A World Lit only by Fire. Little, Brown and Company; Boston, New York and London, 1992. ISBN 0-316-54556-2
- John (Johann) Burchard, Pope Alexander VI and his Court: extracts from the Latin diary of the Papal Master of Ceremonies, 1484–1506; ed. F. L. Glaser, New York, 1921
- Johann Burchard, Liber Notarum, translated by Geoffray Parker as At the Court of the Borgia, Folio Society, London, 1963
- Barbara W. Tuchman, The March of Folly. New York: Knopf, 1984; p. 106 ISBN 0394527771; another issue has ISBN 0-349-13365-4
- Terence Lee, Time Camera, Trafford Publishing, 2005 ISBN 1412053900, 9781412053907
- Phil Mundt, A Scientific Search for Religious Truth, BookPros, LLC, 2006 ISBN 1933538619, 9781933538617
- Burgo Partridge, A History of Orgies, Bonanza Books, 1960, p.106
- Marquez Comelab, The Tyranny of God: Liberating Ourselves From Our Own Beliefs, p. 184. Oranges and Lime Publishing, 2008 ISBN 0646501690, 9780646501697
- Steve Wiegand & Erik Sass (2008) The Mental Floss History of the World New York: Harper
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