The Missing Third Letter

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The Missing Third Letter: An Analysis of Letters and
Testimony from Sixteenth Century Italian Court
Written in the sixteenth century during the Italian Renaissance, a series of letters and testimonies demonstrated a murder case which involved an affair, a betrayal, and a missing piece of evidence. In a court trial, it is essential to have the whole incident substantially evidenced in order to prove a person guilty. If the court trial has to be reviewed again with the missing third letter, will the decision of the court dramatically change? Dr. Thomas Rust and Dr. Jennifer Lynn said that using the sources effectively could be better than having too many sources. The series of eight letters from the Italian court, without the third letter, …show more content…

First, the information on the letters are sufficient enough to understand the whole picture even without the missing piece. Most of the basic five questions−who, what, when, how and why− were answered sufficiently. For instance, the first letter signified when the murder happened and who were involved. The letter dated on June 24, 1581, and according to Cintia, “Your Lordship says keeping quiet will have been a good thing when this thing has been brought to execution.” These pieces of evidences demonstrated that the murder happened before June 24, 1581, and Cintia and Lelio, the author and the recipient of the letter respectively, were the people who were involved in the case. The name of the victim was revealed in the seventh letter of Lelio to Giacomo. As Lelio wrote, “Your Lordship is acting against me concerning Rocha’s death.” The murder weapon and how the murder was answered by the seventh letter, and Mario Orsini’s and Felice’s …show more content…

For instance, the murder weapon, which was poison, had been mentioned by Lelio in letter seven: “For he will find a bottle of poison with certain powders, also poison.”5 The poison was again revealed by Mario Orsini as he said, “a bottle that was almost full of a water that seemed ordinary, and in a packet she found a certain white powder that had a smell.” In Felice’s testimony before the magistrates, she also confirmed the “little glass bottle” and “a certain white powder in a packet.” The cross reference is a must in order to solidify one of the most important details of the murder. Another example of cross reference is the affair between Cintia and Giacomo. Not only the affair was proved in letter four, but also of how Cintia described Giacomo in letter two. Cintia stated, “Your lordship has shown himself as affectionate as could be…”as well as “my Giacomo is most resolute in this affair.” However, there is a vital information that had been confused when using the cross reference. For example, Lelio, with Domenico’s awareness of the second letter, thought that Giacomo was trying to assassinate the former. On the other hand, the second letter did not indicate that Giacomo was attempting to murder Lelio. Instead, the letter was about Cintia assuring Lelio that she was her “most affectionate sister.” Although there were important details that may have been left off

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