Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.7-8
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[1.7] There will be another law for those letters in which we strive to obtain something for ourselves or for others. For in letters in which we strive to obtain something, either for ourselves or for others, it must be especially observed that the greeting should first be sweet, delivering in summary the intention of the whole letter. Thereafter the generosity and kindness of the person to whom the petition is addressed should be extolled by laudations and, if some merit of ours preceded or of our predecessors, it should be brought forth.

[1.8] It is adequate or suitable that five points be observed, which should be preserved in every petition,1 namely that the person whom we beseech should possess the capacity to act. Next, that the petition should be just. Third, that there should be moderation in the petition. Fourth, that a repayment must follow, if not human, at least divine. Fifth, that the merits of the petitioner must precede, if not by the performance of a work, at least in a vow to perform. Then it should be added that I confide not in our own merits, but in the kindness and clemency of the person to whom we have directed the petition.


1 For a slightly different list, see below, Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.61.

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© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998
Scrineum © Universitą di Pavia 1999