Charles V and the banker

August 25, 2011

Charles V by Titian

The Emperor set out from Valladolid on the 4th of November, 1556, at half-past three in the afternoon, after having dined in public, and forbidding absolutely that anyone besides his servants should take leave of him beyond the Puerta del Campo. In this second march he took an escort of cavalry and forty halberdiers.

The home of Don Rodrigo de Dueñas built in the 16th century.

The first stop was at Medina del Campo, in the house of a celebrated money-lender named Rodrigo de Dueñas, who, like all those who unexpectedly become rich, was vain and ostentatious and wished to make a parade of his wealth, putting in the Emperor’s room a brazier of massive gold, and instead of ordinary fuel, fine cinnamon from Ceylon. This show, however, displeased the Emperor, and the smell of the cinnamon affected his throat, so he ordered the brazier to be taken away, and the money-lender to be paid for his hospitality, to humble his ostentatious, vulgar vanity.


Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912),  p. 44.


Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 103


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