Surely no more peculiar consideration has ever helped to save a man’s life!

From Iris Origo’s biography of Cola Di Rienzo, Tribune of Rome (~pg 220).  Cola, fallen from power and transferred from imperial prison to papal prison, chances into a curious pardon:

If, however, we are to believe Petrarch’s account, Cola’s preservation from death was owed to an entirely different – and surely very odd – circumstance.  A rumour was current in Avignon that the man who lay in prison, awaiting his trial before the Inquisition, was an illustrious poet; and such was the honour paid to this calling that to execute a man dedicated to it appeared nothing less than sacrilege.  Surely no more peculiar consideration has ever helped to save a man’s life!