Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt (April 2, 1725 † June 4, 1798) was a Venetian adventurer and author. His main book Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), part autobiography and part memoir, is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century.

So famous a womanizer was he that his name remains synonymous with the art of seduction and he is sometimes called "the world's greatest lover". He enjoyed the company of European royalty, popes and cardinals, along with men such as Voltaire, Goethe and Mozart; but if he had not been obliged to spend some years as a librarian in the household of Count Waldstein of Bohemia (where he relieved his boredom by writing the story of his life), he would probably be forgotten today.

Scandals tainted Casanova’s short church career. After his grandmother’s death, Casanova entered a seminary for a short while, but soon his indebtedness landed him in prison for the first time. An attempt by his mother to secure him a position with bishop Bernardo de Bernardis was rejected by Casanova. Instead, he found employment as a scribe with the powerful Cardinal Acquaviva in Rome. On meeting the Pope, Casanova boldly asked for a dispensation to read the “forbidden books” and from eating fish (which he claimed inflamed his eyes). He also composed love letters for another cardinal. But when Casanova became the scapegoat for a scandal involving a local pair of star-crossed lovers, Cardinal Acquaviva dismissed Casanova, thanking him for his sacrifice, but effectively ending his church career.

In search of a new profession, Casanova bought a commission to become a military officer for the Republic of Venice. His first step was to look the part:

Reflecting that there was now little likelihood of my achieving fortune in my ecclesiastical career, I decided to dress as a soldier … I inquire for a good tailor … he brings me everything I need to impersonate a follower of...