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The third invocation of the poem now adds the attribute 'holy' to the Muses who were unadorned 'Muses' at Inf.

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Most commentators identify Calliope as the ninth and greatest as representative of epic poetry of the Muses. Dante surely was aware of her being summoned both by Virgil Aen. Unwisely, they chose to sing of the rebellion of the giants see Inf. In Ovid's world of divine assertion and vengeance, it is not difficult to imagine who won. The nine girls were turned into raucous-sounding magpies. Identifying himself with the pious Calliope, Dante, fully aware of his potential presumption in singing the world of God's justice, makes a gesture of humility.

That precarious balance that a poet of divine revelation must manage is never far from his or our concern. It will return as an even more evident and central concern at Purgatorio XI. For discussion of Dante's invocations see the note to Inf. Calliope is asked to rise up somewhat more than her eight sisters, perhaps indicating her slight superiority to them or the relative higher poetic level of Purgatorio to that of Inferno yet not as high as that of the cantica still to come.

Poletto's commentary to these verses was perhaps the first to point out that Dante had used the phrase 'sermo Calliopeus' my words in verse to refer to his own appended sonnet in a letter to Cino da Pistoia Epistle III. Do they mean 'dead poetry' i. Or does it mean 'poetry of the dead' i. The commentary tradition is enlightening. All the earliest commentators supported the second interpretation.

It was only among 'prehumanist' commentators and those who wrote in the Renaissance e. From the eighteenth century on nearly every commentator prefers the reading found in our translation: Dante's poetry will rise from the subject of damned souls to sing those of the saved. The exordium and invocation combined, what we would call the introduction to this cantica , occupy a mere twelve lines, where in Paradiso they require thirty-six.

This part of God's kingdom, for all the pain of penance put forward in it, is a brighter, happier place. The word mezzo here has caused some problems. It would seem to mean the air between the lunar sphere and earth, that is, the 'middle zone' between the first lunar celestial sphere and the surface of the earth. There is also debate as to whether the word giro refers to this first heavenly sphere or to the circle of the horizon.

In the eighteenth century Lombardi comm. Just about every other commentator who had dealt with the problem for years had solved it by saying that Dante was referring to the sphere of the Moon. Then, perhaps beginning with Bianchi in , the choice suddenly swerved to the earth's horizon comm. The main reasons for preferring the horizon of the earth to the sphere of the Moon are either that Dante did not believe that there was an atmosphere that reached as high as that sphere or that one could not make out anything at that distance if there were.

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The planet is Venus, whose astral influence 'emboldens love. Further, she is making the east seem to smile by her beauty, the east in which the sun is about to appear, a second reference to one of the constant images for Christ, the rising sun. This tercet has caused consternation in some readers ever since scholars understood that in the spring of Venus was not the morning star, in conjunction with Pisces, but the evening star, in conjunction with Taurus. The astronomical data found in the poem correspond only to the stars' positions during the dates 25 March-2 April If Poulle is right, Dante has privileged those dates in the calendar.

As for , it is inconceivable that the reader is supposed to believe that the date within the poem is other than However, if Dante was using Profacius's work, the star charts for fail to include data for the Sun and for Venus; Dante found March dates for them only in the charts for Since it took years for someone to catch him out, we might surmise that, rather than calculate the missing data himself, he simply appropriated the charts for to his use.

Moore's argument is somewhat weakened by his view that the action of the poem began on 8 April rather than 25 March see the note to Inf. Nonetheless, his conclusion, that the internal date of the vision is , remains difficult to disprove see Edward Moore, Studies in Dante , Third Series: Miscellaneous Essays [Oxford: Clarendon, ], pp.

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Turning to face the south, even though he is at the antipodes, whence every direction is up, Dante looks at the heavens over the southern hemisphere and sees four stars not seen before except by Adam and Eve. Various other explanations of the prima gente those first on earth have been offered, the main one being that they were the inhabitants of the classical Golden Age. However, if one has to be in this spot to see these four stars, the only people ever to see them were, in consequence, the first two human souls, for once they fell from grace, they mysteriously — and Dante never confronts the issue ended up somewhere around Mesopotamia, and there began populating the earth with humankind.

And thus only Adam and Eve knew these stars. For the view, dependent upon a complex and risky series of asseverations, that the phrase refers to 'gli Antichi Romani,' see Cono A.

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That the four stars may represent the Southern Cross has long been considered a possibility. But how could Dante have known of them? Portirelli, ca. One can surely believe that Dante at least heard from others some of what the voyager reported. Nonetheless, neither Marco nor his book is ever mentioned by Dante. Whatever the literal significance of these stars, their symbolic valence seems plain, and has so from the time of the earliest commentators: they represent the four moral or cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. In his commentary to these verses, Vellutello both insists on Adam and Eve as the 'first people' and nearly gives expression to the fact that, in them, these virtues were infused.

Our northern hemisphere is 'widowed,' deprived of the sight of these stars, because, as Chiavacci Leonardi suggests in her commentary Purgatorio, con il commento di A. Those who argue that our 'widowhood' signifies that we know no goodness are defeated by the fact that some humans are indeed virtuous. What we have lost is more primitive and total than acquired virtue: absolute innocence.

Dante looks north now, where the Big Dipper 'the Wain' is not seeable, given the fact that it is above the equator. The solitary figure of Cato is never named in the two cantos in which he appears he was, however, referred to by name in Inf. Emerging details make his identity unmistakable.

It would seem that Dante was fully aware of the puzzlement and outrage his salvation of Cato would cause; he thus apparently chose to leave the detective work to us, forcing us to acknowledge, from the details that he presents, that this is indeed the soul of Cato of Utica B. At Inferno VI. Here the penitents remark at Dante's condition; his body does not seem to be, like theirs, 'fictitious,' airy about which state we have just heard Statius's lengthy disquisition.

Their impulse, reversing Dante's, is not to leave the searing flames. Again we sense the eagerness of penitents to undergo their purgation. See the remark of Forese Donati, 'I speak of pain but should say solace' Purg. The speaker is Guido Guinizzelli see the note to Purg. While Guido may or may not be correct in thinking Dante is following the two other souls out of reverence rather than from lack of zeal or fear of the flames that he must enter , what he cannot know and never discovers is that these are the great shades of Virgil and Statius.

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We, however, do know that and realize that this scene is the last in a series that began in the cantos devoted to Statius Purg. No other part of the poem is as extensively or as richly concerned with the purposes of poetry. There is some debate among the commentators about the metaphoric or literal nature of the thirst to which Guido refers: 'answer me, since I burn with thirst and fire' verse While hunger and thirst were the natural penalties undergone by the penitent gluttons, there is no such contrapasso here. Further, Guido's description of his co-sufferers' 'thirst' Purg.

On the other hand, the fire of which he speaks is literal enough, as Dante will find out in the next canto Purg. Benvenuto's gloss comm.

Forsennata gridava: “O tu che porte” (Giaches de Wert)

This remarkable simile, a rare medieval manifestation of a moment of fraternal affection between heterosexuals and homosexuals, is striking. The passage probably reflects Paul's admonition in Romans 'Greet one another with a holy kiss,' as was suggested by Scartazzini comm. For the ants, see Virgil's memorable simile in Aeneid IV. Aeneas's men, preparing their ships for departure from Carthage, are described as follows: 'Just so do ants, when winter's on their mind, pillage great stores of grain and fill their houses to the beams.

Over the fields moves a black column, carrying their spoil through the grass along their narrow path; some heave the huge seeds upon their shoulders, some shape up the columns, rebuking their delay. All the path fairly shines with labor. The early commentators have no doubt whatsoever about all this. See, for example, John of Serravalle comm. What has long been problematic is the fact that, in Inferno, we find the heterosexual lustful punished in the realm of Incontinence, while those guilty of homoerotic behavior are in that of Violence against nature, in their case.

Nonetheless, no matter what his intentions, the effect is to make the reader feel that the poet has now softened his views. In Inferno homosexuality is treated as a sin of hardened will, and one would be hard pressed to show that this does not make the 'impulse' that drives it different from that behind the sins of Incontinence.

The child of this union was the Minotaur. The hypothetical nature of this simile is underlined by Dante's use of the subjunctive mood for its main verb volasser. Cranes do not and would not migrate simultaneously in two different directions, north to the Riphaean mountains and also south to the sands of the Libyan? Dante has developed the passage on the model, perhaps, of some of Lucan's similes concerning cranes see the note to Purg. For a meditation upon Dante's cranes here and in Inferno V. The 'former song' of the penitents is the hymn Summae Deus clementiae punctuated by the words of Mary at the Annunciation and those regarding Diana's chaste anger at Callisto Purg.

Dante at last responds to the request of the penitents, if only to some degree, since he does not fully identify himself, in keeping with his avoidance of doing so on other terraces. He tells them what they suspected he is here in the flesh, not in the aerial body , and that Beatrice not named, and decidedly not the sort of woman penitents here 'do time' for draws him heavenward. Thus he admits to his miraculous presence among them, but gives no information that might genuinely satisfy their curiosity.

In return for relatively little he asks to know the identity of those with whom he speaks and the condition of the group that has moved away from them. His evasive behavior here allows him to avoid naming himself uselessly to those who do not know him see his similar avoidance with Sapia [ Purg. Those who recognize Dante in purgatory are as follows: Casella Purg. See Benvenuto's comm. The language here reflects the mode of preparing a manuscript for inscription, the pencilling in of guidelines that can be erased once ink is set to vellum or paper.

Dante imagines, from the vantage point of his progress through the second kingdom of the afterworld, the preparation, by his own hand, of the manuscript of the Comedy once he is back in the world. Here the preparation of the page equates with its completion, the inscription of Guido Guinizzelli in the Book of Life. Bocca is also recorded, but in the Book of the Dead. For a later resonance of the image of the rustic mountainman struck dumb by the sights of the city, see Boccaccio's 'meta- novella ' Decameron IV.

However, and as William Stephany pointed out in a lecture at Dartmouth College on 31 August , Dante's mountainman is a revised version of his own earlier portrait of such rude folk.

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In De vulgari eloquentia II. Here, in a sort of palinode, he chides his younger self for his stylistic and intellectual snobbery, making these saved souls amazed at the presence of this writer of low vernacular texts and thus canceling the prideful assertiveness of his younger self. Guido uses a nautical metaphor to praise Dante's on-loading of this precious cargo of knowledge, paraphrased by Benvenuto comm.

Dante's substitution of the verb 'to die,' where a more conventional thought would have posited 'to live,' brought the following admiring thought from Benvenuto: 'And I do not doubt but that this poet lived better and died better because he compiled this work. Guido now addresses Dante's question Purg. As part of his rather cruel treatment of Julius Caesar, who has already been put forward as a positive exemplary figure of zeal see Purg.

This makes him perhaps the only exemplary figure in Purgatorio to have both positive and negative valences. Again we can see how complex, troubled, and unremitting Dante's response to Julius was. Benvenuto comm. In a similar mode, John of Serravalle comm. Dante's source for poor Julius's escapade in Bithynia may eventually be found in Suetonius's Life of the Caesars ch.

Apparently, when Julius was young and serving in Bithynia, the king, who admired him, got him drunk and had sexual relations with him. Other tales make Caesar a more willing accomplice to the king's desire, e. Later Dante commentators e. The word 'hermaphrodite,' here doubtless means and only means 'heterosexual' from Ovid's tale of Salmacis and the son of Hermes Mercury and Aphrodite Venus , Hermaphroditus [ Metam.

If 'hermaphrodite' here meant other than that, the only souls saved from the sin of Lust would have been homosexual and bisexual, that is, there would be no heterosexual penitents on the mountain. The commentary tradition yields some amusing missteps on this subject.

Francesco da Buti comm. There was still so much confusion three centuries later that even Scartazzini comm. In our own day, however, the confusion has again become manifest. See Bernard Knox, reviewing W. Merwin's translation of Purgatorio New York Review of Books, 21 September , where the word is translated as 'the performance as both sexes,' and the corrective rejoinder by Peter D'Epiro in the same journal 15 November They maintain the geometric rigor, the recursive counterpoint typical of the Sardinian textile tradition, but add to the typographical element, which introduces a further level of reading, surprise and customization.

They are the product of an algebra in which element matrices are subjected to inversion, rotation, symmetry, overlay, etc. A graphic that can be used in its serial abstraction and, at the same time, a typography that can be read and understood. For the moment they are almost monochromatic, but the next which will be realized shortly will play with colors and size scale.

Per il momento sono quasi monocromatici, ma i prossimi che verranno realizzati a breve giocheranno con i colori e con i passaggi di scala. We meet very strong constraints: everything had to be assembled and dismantled in six hours, had to be reusable, must coexist with many fixed and unchangeable parts. Sardinia Dingbats are used in a stencil version for a specially designed shelter entrance, for backlight walls and to drill stools, inside which essences were inserted.

On the walls, a horizontal slot contained a smelling Helichrysum. The central video wall formed colorful tapestries, animated by the group of Alghero, who also created the movies and the music that flowed on the monitors. Daniela Ducato contributed with textural natural panels, used as artworks on the walls. A golden female note was added by Cristiana Collu, which included hundreds of elegantly serial cowbells.