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"At some period towards the close of the fifteenth century, a mutilated ancient statue was accidentally dug up in Rome, and it was erected on a pedestal in a place not far from the Ursini Palace. Oppofite it stood the shop of a shoemaker, named Pasquillo, or Pasquino, the latter being the form most commonly adopted at a later period. This Pasquillo was notorious as a facetious fellow, and his shop was usually crowded by people who went there to tell tales and hear news; and, as no other name had been invented for the statue, people agreed to give it the name of the shoemaker, and they called it Pasquillo."--History of Caricature and Grotesque in Literature and Art (1865) by Thomas Wright

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Pasquinade refers to an anonymous lampoon, whether in verse or in prose. Pasquin (Italian Pasquino) was the name ordinary Romans gave to a battered ancient statue dug up in the course of paving the Parione district and erected at the corner of Piazza di Pasquino and Palazzo Braschi, on the west side of Piazza Navona in 1501, by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, who inadvertently gave the statue its first voice, by originating an annual ceremony, the first in 1501, for Saint Mark's Day, April 25. The marble torso was draped in a toga and epigrams in Latin were attached to it.

The decorous event quickly got out of hand when it became the custom for those who wanted to criticize the Pope or individuals in his government—for a pasquinade is first and foremost a personal attack— to write satirical poems in broad Roman dialect (called "pasquinades" from the Italian "pasquinate") and attach them to this statue.


From Middle French, from Italian pasquinata, from Pasquino, name given to a statue in Rome on which lampoons were posted.

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