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Abstract

Seven is a magic number. According to Genesis, God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. We have the seven sacraments,1 the Seven Deadly Sins,2 the Seven Seas, the Seven Against Thebes,3 the Seven Sages or Seven Wise Men of antiquity,4 and the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus.5 We have a constellation of seven stars known as the Pleiades,6 whose name was adopted by seven poets in ancient Alexandria7 and later by seven young poets in the French Renaissance, who called themselves the Pleiade.8 Among these was Joachim Du Bellay, who, in 1558, published a collection of sonnets known as Les Antiquitez de Rome. In this work, Du Bellay contrasts vibrant ancient Rome with the shadowy relics of antiquity visible in Rome of the Renaissance.

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