Notes to Stregoni Benefici

Bibliography for Stregoni Benefici

Prologue: Infant Lowly

Author’s Note:  Some stories are best told in order. This is not one of them. To keep you from confusion, I will update as much as I am able, but the only promise I make on that front is that I won’t leave this story unfinished. It is too important to me. It is rated M to give me room to be as graphic in description as the scenes call for, but it is not MA.

Carlisle Cullen is a man of faith, and this tale deals with a major crisis of faith for him (several, really). There will be discussion of spirituality, prayer, Christianity, the Bible, and the like. Their purpose is to reflect Carlisle and his father, not to proselytize, but if you feel the presence of religious themes will bother you, this is not the story for you.

Finally, although I’ve researched this piece carefully and have enlisted the help of several who know more than I, I fully own that I am no historian. If you catch an historical error, please feel free to leave the comment in a review or PM, and I will edit as needed. I don’t bite. As always, I cherish all feedback and will do my best to respond.

Stregoni is betaed by Openhome and Julie, for each of whose help I am unendingly grateful. Viva Viva provided feedback on the early chapters. Any mistakes which remain are entirely my own.

Thank you for reading.

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Chapter 1: Cheater of Death

1. Ether was commonly used as a surgical anesthetic from the mid nineteenth to the mid twentieth centuries. One of its dangerous side effects was that it occasionally caused suffocation as either the tongue would loll back and block the airway, or the glottis would close and not allow respiration. This state usually resulted in the death of the patient unless the surgeon noticed it quickly enough.

2. In Ithaca, I went with canon over historical fact, even where the two contradicted (i.e., a house from the 1600s in New York State.) In Stregoni, I will be choosing history over canon. Twilight cites Edward as having “died” in August; however, in August 1918, there were no identified cases of the influenza in Chicago (although some deaths during that month were undoubtedly overlooked influenza cases). The bulk of deaths in that region occurred during October and November, and it’s reasonable to believe that this was when the Masen family succumbed to the illness. Thus Carlisle meets his first patient here in September, the earliest time that known flu cases were identified.

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Chapter 2: Sarah’s Son

1. Early Modern English (EModE), also known as Elizabethan English, was the language of Carlisle’s time. The seventeenth century was a time of great linguistic shift, and I will be trying to capture some of the tenor of that shift in this story, particularly the gradual loss of the informal/formal distinction in the second person (thou vs. you). However, for the sake of readability, as well as because EModE is certainly not a language I speak fluently, I won’t be writing all the dialog in EModE, but rather using its features just to give the text the flavor of the speech of the day.

2. The Great Fire of London began on September 2, 1666 and burned until September 5. It began in a bakery on Pudding Lane and burned out the homes of nearly 80% of London’s residents. In Stregoni, I am writing Carlisle and his father living to the north and east of the city center, one of the only areas to be untouched by the fire. (It also was slowly becoming rather seedy—a nice place for vampires to hang out.)

3. Coffeehouses were very common places of male bonding in seventeenth century England. They were a place for the men of the town to meet to swap news, do business, and talk politics—in some ways, much as they are today. They were often quite egalitarian in terms of the men who frequented them—every male was welcome who could afford the penny cost of admission (cup of coffee included…eat that, Starbucks). The Spectator is a real circular from the London coffeehouses at the time Carlisle would have gone.

4. Often when I hear discussions of Carlisle’s human life, it is assumed that he was somehow late for the game at 23, with people getting married very early in his day and age. The opposite is actually true. There were so many bastard children and poor parents in that time that the age at which young men came out of their apprenticeships was raised to 24, in an effort to keep them from marrying and fathering children before they were financially prepared to do so. Most marriages in Carlisle’s time were between men and women in their mid to late twenties, not in their teens. So, while Carlisle himself is a bit clueless when it comes to women for a number of reasons, the timing is right—age 23 is right around when he might have been expected to begin to court.

5. The House Built on Rock, Luke 6: 47-49. All biblical quotes are from the 1559 King James Translation; the orthography, however, has been changed to match present-day.

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Chapter 3: The Young One

1. In 1789, the language we now know as Italian had not yet been standardized, and Italy was full of people who spoke dialects that were often mutually unintelligible. However, it was the Florentine dialect of Dante that became the standard Italian language in the nineteenth century.  Because Volterra is part of that region, I am using modern Italian phrases, because they would be somewhat close to what was spoken there. I fully acknowledge the anachronism.

Many thanks to Starlight Succubus and her friend for the help with the Italian.


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Chapter 4: Motherless Child

1. The tenth plague of Egypt: Exodus 11:1–12:36: “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.’”

2. The Institute for Musical Arts was the name of the school that would be renamed Julliard in 1927.

3. The Selective Service Act, which required registration of adult men for the service was passed in 1917. The conscription age was twenty-one, although it was not uncommon for younger men to enlist for the pay. (The age was dropped to 18 in September of 1918, hence Elizabeth Masen’s worry.) However, there was not much pro-war sentiment among people of Edward’s class—that he was so gung-ho to enlist was actually quite unusual.

4. One of the danger signs of the Spanish Influenza was that the patient would begin to show signs of cyanosis: a blue tinge to his skin as a result of the lack of oxygen caused by the obstruction of breathing. Those who exhibited this symptom often died within hours.

5. Edward’s acne is a fun bit of fanon first introduced by minisinoo in “This is My Son” and perpetuated by thatwritr in In the Blink of an Eye. blondie_AKA_robin is the originator of the idea of Carlisle worshipping on the Solstice in Dark Side of the Moon.

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Chapter 5: Spectator at Tyburn

1. Tyburn was the location in West London (near present-day Marble Arch) where executions were carried out by hanging during much of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It spawned a number of euphemisms—to “go west” was to go to one’s hanging, the “Tyburn jig” described the flailing legs of a person as they were hanged. During the late sixteenth century, the “Tyburn Tree” was constructed, a triangular-shaped gallows where at one point, two dozen were hanged at once, eight to a side.  Apprentices in London were often given holiday to attend a hanging day, and as many as 100,000 people might swarm to Tyburn to watch the executions.

2. “The man in question was a branded thief.” When a person was given clemency by the clergy, he was branded on the right palm with a symbol that indicated the nature of the crime from which he had escaped the punishment. If he came to trial again, his previous crime would be evident by his brand. This is the reason why today, a person is required to raise his right hand before testifying in court.

3. Nursing and breeching—children whose mother had died in childbirth necessitated a wet nurse, and in the seventeenth century, few women of the higher classes nursed their own children. Thus this occupation was a common one among women of childbearing age. Often a child would be sent to the country to nurse, however, it’s probable that William, being of some money and stature, would be able to afford a London nurse for his son. Breeching is the term for the first time a boy was put in pants instead of the skirts and dresses worn by younger boys. It was usually a celebrated occasion, and the time at which a father would begin to take more interest in the upbringing of his sons. For Carlisle, it would have meant the end of having contact with his nurse, and was probably traumatic.

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Chapter 6: Shy

1. Willow bark and cinchona—cinchona is a Peruvian tree whose bark was in wide use in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as a cure for fever, pain, and malaria. An English clergyman, Edward Stone, while suffering from chronic pain, was led by the doctrine of signatures (the idea that an illness particular to a given area will also have its cure in that area) to nibble on the bark of willow. Finding it bitter, like the cinchona, he dried a pound of it and gave it to 50 patients, who found relief from pain. As it turns out, willow is an excellent source of salicylic acid, the primary ingredient in aspirin. Stone published his results in 1763 in a letter to the Royal Society of England.

2. Etruscan Praenomen: One thing missed in SM’s books were the actual names of the Volturi brothers. The Etruscan praenomen that are traceable are few, however, there’s reasonable evidence that “Caius” is a Latinate version of the Etruscan “Cai/e” and “Marcus” was “Marce.” “Aro” apparently came from SM’s mind. However, there was an Etruscan male name “Arruns,” which took the diminutive form “Arnza.”  For the sake of historical accuracy, I’ve done a little dance with Aro/Arruns; and if I have space and it makes sense later, I’ll work in the backstory of why everyone’s names changed.  Thanks to minisinoo for putting me on the right track about this detail.

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Chapter 7: Suitor

1. Ratcliffe Highway is a road in the East End of London (now known simply as The Highway). During the 17th century, it was a place for traders and other ilk to congregate and was known for its seediness, particularly the alehouses and prostitutes who served London’s sailors. It later became infamous for a series of murders that took place on sections of the road in 1811.

2. Medicine in the 17th century was just barely beginning to move away from the theory of the four humors, that is, that blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile controlled the health of the body, and that instability and lack of good health were a sign of an excess or deficit of one of the humors. Bloodletting was a common medical treatment for a number of issues, as excess blood was considered to make one hyper, feverish, prone to anger, and a host of other problems. The act of bloodletting was delegated by the educated physicians to the barber-surgeons.

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Chapter 8: Psalmist

1. During the influenza, drastic measures were taken to stop person-to-person transmission. These included the closure of public venues like churches and theaters. Often people who still wanted to seek spiritual comfort would hold church meetings outside.

2. The mass graves were a reality in almost every major city; they were often dug with steamshovels and yet still rarely managed to keep up with the mortality rate. The forty percent rate for Cook County Hospital Carlisle reports in this chapter is a real statistic, as is Elizabeth’s observation that about a quarter of people in each ward died on any given night.

3. Alma, in addition to being a reasonably common name in the 1910s, means “fostering” or “nurturing” in Latin, and “soul” in Spanish.

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Chapter 10: Layman

  1. “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen.” Benediction from the Book of Common Prayer, 1662 (Spelling modernized.)
  2. Bundling was a common practice for courting couples in the seventeenth century. The suitor would be permitted to spend the night with his intended under the supervision of her parents. The suitor would be wrapped securely in bedclothes so that he was not able to reach the girl, and sometimes a board would be placed between them. However, rules regarding bundling could often be very lax, and in Carlisle’s time, something north of a quarter of all brides arrived at the altar pregnant (likely a low estimate, as the bride would either have to be showing or be willing to admit).
  3. Pottage is a thick stew which was common food in Great Britain from the middle ages into the eighteenth century. It could be kept over the fire for a few days as some would be eaten and more ingredients added. Although the poor ate pottage for almost every meal middle class families like the Cullens ate it frequently also, although they could afford to add more expensive ingredients, like meat.
  4. One courtship custom in seventeenth-century England was for the man to buy a pair of gloves for the woman. By wearing them in public, the woman signified the acceptance of her man’s affections.

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Chapter 12: Friend

  1. Although Jamie Campbell Bower and Christopher Heyerdahl have, by their casting, gotten this quite backwards (or SM changed her mind about how these characters appear—never an impossibility), I’m relying here on the data from The Official Illustrated Guide, which lists Caius’s physical age in his mid-fifties and Marcus’s age as in his teens. I found this image to be a rather intriguing add-on to the dynamic between the brothers and wanted to include it, as Carlisle’s friendship with a young Marcus also goes a long way in explaining why he chose a seventeen-year-old as his first companion a few centuries later.

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Chapter 15: The Fourth Brother

  1. Cucciolo is Italian for “pup.” That it might be a term Aro would use for Carlisle is a nod to my favorite Aro/Carlisle one-shot, “Seraphim,” by duskwatcher2153.
  2. The Etruscan language is a dead language, and all its relative languages in its language family, Tyrsenian, died out fully by around 300 AD.
  3. The Fourth Brother, the title of this chapter, was the original title of Stregoni Benefici (well the second original, after I decided that Absolution, my fic that was going to barrel straight through Carlisle’s history from 1644-2005 was not going to work as a coherent narrative.)

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Chapter 16: Improper

  1. “At the gaol in Southwark.” Newgate Prison was the main prison in London during Carlisle’s time. It was here that people were held awaiting trial; a great many crimes during his time were punishable by death. However, it was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and not rebuilt until 1672. During that time, prisoners were held at one of the prisons in Southwark, across the Thames, where the fire did not reach. (And yes, for those who wonder, this means there’s an anachronism in Chapter 5. I’ll be fixing that shortly…)
  2. Matthew Hopkins, AKA the “Witchfinder General,” was a real witch hunter born in the 1620s. He was the son of a minister, and a zealous witch hunter, who over the course of his lifetime was responsible for the execution of over 250 people. Hopkins’s witch hunting was very much carried out according to law at the time; he would find suspected witches, gather evidence, and then that evidence would be presented before a judge. However, Hopkins died in 1647, which, in this story, would put him out of the picture right around the time Carlisle was being weaned, and after the English Civil War and the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, there was a sharp decline in skepticism of witch hunting more generally. Thus by the 1650s and 1660s, when Carlisle was becoming a man, witch hunting had largely fallen out of favor; and it is no surprise that Carlisle, who would’ve encountered more enlightenment-style ideas in his own schooling, would reject it.
  3. Witch trials and familiars — during the heyday of witch hunting, a witch was determined so based on the evidence provided by her neighbors. Often this included things such as miscarriage or boils, or a cow which refused to give milk or some such affliction. Women were also examined for the “mark of the Devil,” a mole or spot which was considered to be a sign that they were touched by evil. Hopkins kept a woman in his employ so as to conduct such examinations while respecting the dignity of the woman being accused. In addition, one other thing used to identify a witch was her “familiar,” a cat or dog or other animal which was loyal to her and thought to be a conduit for her power. Once accused, women were often held and tortured for information via starvation or being kept awake for several days, as is Rev. Cullen’s technique in this chapter.

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Chapter 18: Englishman

  1. In May of 1789 amid political turmoil and fiscal disaster, the general assembly representing the people of France, called the Estates-General, met in Versailles. The Estates General consisted of one group representing the nobility, one representing the clergy, and one representing the commoners. As each group voted equally, the commoners were consistently outvoted, and, as they were the largest of the three estates, became enraged. This Third Estate in June declared themselves their own assembly, and while they invited the other two estates to join them with voting apportioned to the size of the groups, they vowed to set France’s laws with or without the nobles and clergy. In June, this new National Assembly took the “Tennis Court Oath” (so-called because the king attempted to close the salon where the Estates-General met, forcing the National Assembly to meet in a nearby indoor tennis court in the palace), declaring that they would not separate until they gave France a constitution.
  2. The ideals of the French revolution drew heavily from the ideals of, and success of, the American revolution. During the time of the Estates General, the American Minister to France Thomas Jefferson was nearing the end of his five-year visit in France, and directly counseled the French king on his actions. Although Jefferson did not initially side with the National Assembly, he did correspond regularly with several pamhpleteers and others who would go on to be instrumental in the promulgation of the ideals which drove the French Revolution.

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Chapter 19: Tempest

  1. “the banns not yet read” In the Church of England, it was customary that two people intending to marry announce their intent via the public announcement of the banns, which were read aloud in the home parishes of both parties, usually for the three Sundays prior to the wedding. This allowed others to come forward and indicate if there were reasons the couple should not marry; for instance, if one were already married, had taken a vow of celibacy, or if they couple was too closely related. The practice was codified by Lord Hardwicke’s Act of 1753, in order to prevent clandestine marriages—any marriage which was not preceded by the reading of banns and a the obtaining of a marriage license was void. While no longer a formal necessity, the banns survive in the marriage rites of the Book of Common Prayer (and derivations from it, such as those used by the Lutheran church) as the well-known line, “If any man sees reason why these two should not be joined, may he speak now or forever hold his peace.”

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Chapter 20: Miracle Worker

  1. The ten plagues of Egypt. Exodus chapters 5-12.
  2. Luke 12:48 (King James Version) “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

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Chapter 21: Taoist

  1. In 1789, one of the first steps the French government took was to send the French army into the streets of Paris and Versailles. This actually didn’t work nearly as well as they’d have liked, as many of the enlisted were unwilling to take aim at their own people and defected, leaving the streets guarded mostly by foreign mercenaries. This did little to stop the violence in the streets of Paris, and looting was widespread (also driven, as Carlisle notes here, by the dire financial straits into which France’s economic situation forced its people.)
  2. Jacques Necker, the finance minister of France. He was beloved by the people for being forthright about France’s finances (and disliked by the King for the same reason). He also advocated for greater representation of the people in the Estates-General, although he offered them two votes as opposed to the head-count vote the people called for. He was dismissed by the King on 11 July 1789, and the ire this action provoked heavily contributed to the storming of the Bastille three days later.
  3. The Tao Te Ching, or “The Book of the Way,” by Lao Tzu, is a book of Chinese philosophy (you could call it Taoist philosophy, but as the philosophy comes from the book, the term is a bit circuitous here), about living life in harmony with the world and with oneself. Evil is not seen as an outside force, but rather the result of disharmony with the universal process. Perhaps this is a bit of me interpreting too much, but as I personally consider the Tao, I surmise it would be a document which would speak to Carlisle, especially as it contrasts so thoroughly with the judgmental, self-deprecating Puritan beliefs which he was taught growing up. The chapter quoted here is the 33rd; I use Stephen Mitchell’s New English Version translation, though I retranslated it back into the Early Modern English in which Aro might have considered the words.

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Chapter 23: Savior

  1. “Black Thursday:” In Stregoni, I have chosen to go with history over canon where the two conflict. Meyer has Edward dying in August, but in August 1918, there were no known cases of Spanish Influenza (though there were no doubt a handful of deaths that no one knew the cause of.) The vast majority of influenza deaths were in October of that year, which is when I’ve chosen to place it for Stregoni. On Thursday, October 17, 1918 (ironically, basically exactly 94 years ago today) the greatest number of deaths in the entire influenza were recorded; 381 people died in Chicago in that 24-hour period alone.
  2. Although legends of vampire-like creatures date back to prehistory, vampire lore as we know it, including the idea that vampires die in the sun, was not common in Western Europe until the eighteenth, and really the nineteenth century. You may have noticed that it is not a concept that 1667 Stregoni Carlisle is familiar with; this would’ve been true for his time, and while his father certainly would have been on the lookout for the possessed and for corporeal demons, the idea of a “vampire” would not have been on either of their radars.

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Chapter 24: Doctor

  1. On the morning of July 14, 1789, Paris was in chaos. The people had gathered a great deal of arms (somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty to forty thousand), but were largely without gunpowder or shot. This, in addition to the symbolic capital of taking down the main prison, formed the reasons for attacking the Bastille—although it held only a handful of prisoners, it was home to a great deal of ammunition. The attack began mid-morning, escalated throughout the afternoon, and finally ended when the Governor of the prison, Bernard-René de Launay, surrendered around five o’clock. The crowd which attacked the Bastille likely numbered less than a thousand, and of those, ninety-eight were killed in the fray. Though the French Revolution had been bubbling up to that point, and truly began with the Tennis Court Oath in Versailles, the Storming of the Bastille is recognized as the official event which snapped the revolution into full force.
  2. In 1789, little was known about germ theory, although Leeuwenhoek first observed microorganisms almost a hundred years before. However, papers were beginning to be published which anecdotally observed that soldiers who washed their wounds fared better against infection than those who did not. Carlisle undoubtedly would have found these writings, and, given his general inclination toward scientific discovery, implemented these ideas as soon as he was able.

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Chapter 25: William’s Son

I know that some of this doesn’t match the story Carlisle tells in Twilight. Unfortunately, Stephenie Meyer isn’t the greatest researcher, and she often inserted anachronisms when she didn’t have her facts correct. So there are several historical corrections present in this chapter.

  1. The existence of vampires. The lore of vampires did not become popular in England until the middle of the nineteenth century, and they were unheard of until the eighteenth century. In the seventeenth century, Carlisle would’ve had no knowledge of a creature which sucked the blood of its victims. Hence he refers to them only as “demons” and has no other knowledge as to what might happen to him and his companions.
  2. Witch-hunting raids. In the seventeenth century, especially the latter half, witch hunts were very much going out of vogue. As England entered the Age of Enlightenment, fewer and fewer people were willing to persecute others on the basis of hunches alone. Thus here, instead of the mob that Meyer describes, I had Carlisle hunting with only two people, both of whom might be willing to help him simply out of a gesture of friendship, rather than out of a desire to hunt witches themselves (which they likely did not have).
  3. London sewers. The London sewer system as it exists today was not developed until the mid-nineteenth century, with the first large sewers being laid in 1859. In the 1660s, the only sewer system were open trenches which ran in the streets and directed sewage to the river Thames. These were hardly a place where a fully-grown vampire could hide. But in 1667, there were many ruined buildings from The Great Fire, and so I picked one which would have a little bit of dramatic irony.
  4. “Blessed are they which doe hunger and thirst after righteousnesses: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6, 1611 King James Version

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Chapter 26: Sire

In 1901, King Camp Gillette invented a razor with removable, disposable blades. It quickly took over the market from old straight-blade razors. And of course this would be the beginning of Gillette Co. I always figure that Carlisle is a bit like Mr. Weasley in that respect—that he has a great appreciation and fascination for new inventions, and thus it would make sense for him to have some human accouterments around the house.

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Chapter 27: Stregone Benefico

Stregoni benefici is plural for stregone benefico. Stregone might be translated as ‘witch doctor,’ benefico as an adjective means beneficent or benign. Thus the stregoni benefici = the beneficent witch doctors—a very suitable adjective for Carlisle.

Many years ago when I was starting this piece, kittandchips commented, “Man, Carlisle must’ve done something spectacular to ignite that particular legend.” She had a point, and I ran with it all the way through these 1789 chapters.

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