In other European states, they attempted to impress the

In the early modern Rome, carriages were a novelty and a powerful
pretention for the city’s elites and aristocrats. The ambassadors invested a
large amount of money in purchasing and decorating the carriages as it was to
claim authority in the streets of Rome. As much as the carriages were
recognized as projection of power and claiming city’s spatial rule, it also led
to violent quarrels between two parties and their retinues.  This paper will point out that the ambassadors
broadcasted their power and prestige by asserting their spatial and ceremonial hegemony
in the streets of Rome.(Hunt 181)

             A new pope after being elected, has to
ritually lead a procession from St.Peter’s Basilica to St. John Lateran to
signal his papal authority and as the Bishop of Rome. This procession is called
possesso as the pope is taking possession of the papal capital. However, in
early modern Rome, Popes were not the only one to claim their space on the
stage of Roman streets but elites, aristocrats and ambassadors representing
other European states would mark their honor and power.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

In the research article, Laurie Nussdorfer elaborated that city’s
space was dominated through competition and aggression by Roman elites.
Competition between rich and renowned families in the city resulted by
showcasing their strength and building huge facades that overshadowed their
enemies’ houses, investing to build chapels, tombs and buildings decorated with
their family’s coat of arms. (Nussdorfer) All the investments by Roman elites
were to impress the papal power and gain possession and power in the city. Same
special domination was craved by the ambassadors of other European states, they
attempted to impress the papal court and the city by investing in palaces for their
residence and conducting processions and hosting ceremonies.

In the seventeenth century,
ambassadors embodied the power of their princes and state, and the most common
way to represent their power to the common people were on the street of Rome
through their lavish and splendor carriages.  In mid-sixteenth century, carriages were often
used as a mode of transportation by aristocratic women in Rome, later to
dominate the streets of Rome and to project their command and reputation on the
urban fabric of Rome, elite and noble men started to own a number of carriages.
 Ambassador utilized the carriages when
they entered the city through Porto del Popolo for papal audiences and their
excursions throughout the city. (Nussdorfer) These mobile representations were
used to assert power and were decorated rather lavishly. These carriages were “gilded
with gold and silver, draped in silk and velvet, which displayed his family’s
coat of arms. The carriage’s horses had to have ribbons tied to their manes and
tails.” (Hunt 180).  Through the
carriage, ambassador assert their power at the papal capital which resulted in
conflicts and rivalry. Conflicts and fights over precedence occurred on the stage
of public theatre which are the streets of Rome. Example of these rivalry are
the quarrel between Taddeo Barberini, the nephew of Pope Urban VIII and the
ambassador of Venice. (Hunt 189).  Ambassadors understood the significance of spatial
dominance and magnificence was through the streets of Rome, through formal engagements
and leisurely movement on the streets. These carriages were an extension of the
luxurious palaces.  And the ambassadors
made sure that they were decorated to the fullest and sported their coat of
arms. The cost of decorations was said to be very expensive and to keep up the lavish
lifestyle the Roman elites gave up their small pleasures in their lives and
took out loans to maintain their lifestyle and prestige. (Hunt 181)  The diarist, Giacinto Gigli, followed these
processions and ceremonies on the stage of Roman streets and enthusiastically
made journal entries of the cost of the entourages of the cardinals and
ambassadors entering the Roman city. He witnessed that the French ambassador
enter the gates of Rome with three carriages which were drawn by six horses.
(Hunt 180) The baroque pomp and prestige was very important just like the facade
of a baroque palace.  

The ambassadors would take over the city with their entourages,
sometimes only for fun, just for the purpose to be seen. Certain streets such
as Via del Corso would allow them to display their magnificence to those looking
from the windows of the houses situated on the street. Via del Corso is long
street, wide enough to provide passage to two carriages at a time. It is
situated betweem the Piazza del Popolo to the Piazza di Venezia. (Hunt 182)
However, no event was of more significance than the official entry made by the
ambassadors. This ritualistic entry of an ambassador entering the city to gain
his position in office had two parts. The first entry was the official entry
into the city through Porto del Popolo, the ambassador entered with his train
of carriages containing his luggages and his household members. (Hunt) He is
welcomed by the papal staff and other elites in the city. The second enter is
the official visit to the pope at the Quirinal Palace. The ambassadors were
accompanied by the carriages and horses. In the visit, the ambassador showed
his obedience to the pope. Competitions were ensued among the Spanish and the
French rivals often regarding the number of the carriages. As the number of the
carriages reflected the power and prestige. Episodes of arguments and
competition would break into street battles and diplomatic arguments. Which occurred
on everyday bases.  (Hunt) Rome was the
hub of international politics in the seventeenth century, occasional arguments and
street squabbles among dignitaries and ambassador regarding the precedence
would affect their diplomatic relations. The incident involving Taddeo
Barberini and the Venetian ambassador ended up breaching the diplomatic
relations between the involved parties.

In conclusion, through the carriages and cavalcades, ambassadors laid
claim in the spatial fabric of the city and broadcasted their honor and magnificence
 to their audience.