Decameron

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"The Pot of Basil" by William Holman Hunt, 1867

The Decameron is a collection of 100 short stories. It was written by the Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio around 1350. In the book, ten friends, seven young women and three young men, leave the city of Florence because of the plague and stay in a large house in the countryside. Each day, they entertain each other by taking turns to tell stories. The stories are of different types. Some are romantic, some are erotic, some are comedies and some are tragedies.

Other writers have used the stories for ideas. Many paintings have been done which illustrate the stories. The picture to the right shows a scene from the story of "The Pot of Basil" in which Isabella buries the head of her murdered lover Ferdinand inside a potplant.

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