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Full vertical view of apse mosaic including triumphal arch, portraits of Ravenna's Bishops and altar, Sant' Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna. P: AlinarilArt Resource, N. The Granting of Ravenna's Pri'lliJegia. Left panel, apse mosaic, Sant' Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna. P: Alinaril Art Resource, N. The Symbolic Sacrifices.

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Right panel, apse mosaic, Sant' Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna. The Vision of the Cross with orant Saint Apollinaris. Central axis of apse mosaic, Sant' Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna. P: Art Resource, N. The Good Shepherd and the story of Jonah, with accompanying orant First and foremost I would like to thank my teacher, friend, and colleague John Freccero, without whose encouragement and learning this book would not have been possible.

The Transfiguration of History at the Center of Dante's Paradise

I would also like to express my deep gratitude to my friend Rachel Jacoff, for her valuable readings of the manuscript at various stages. Among the many other friends and colleagues who have contributed directly or indirectly to figures. P: Benedettine di Priscilla, Pont. Roman sarcophagus. Vatican Museum. P: Archi- ous research grant for the academic year , without which Fotografico Vaticano, Vatican :ity.

Christian orant the "Donna Velata tt. Wall painting, chamber of the Noah as orant.

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Ceiling painting. Benedettine di Priscilla, Pont. Sacra, Rome. Veiled Christian orant. Ceiling painting, catacomb of Saint Callixtus, Rome. Saint Agnes as Orant. Altar fat;ade, Sant' Agnese fuori ie Mura, Rome.

AlinarilArt Resource, N. P: would like to thank the Mabelle McLeod Lewis Fund for its generthis work could not have been completed. Vatican City. Pagan Orant. Roman Statue, Vatican Museum. P: Archivio Velatio, catacomb of Priscilla, Rome. Singleton Princeton, N. English translations of all indented quotations from Dante's poem, except where noted, arc by Singlein-text translations are my own. Riccardo Patron, ]. Since Fitzgerald's line numbers diverge from those of the original, they are listed after each quoted passage for the convenience of the reader.

Inf ' I was new in this condition when I saw a Mighty One come here, crowned with sign of victory. To the Christian reader of the Divine Comedy, for whom the identity and significance of the possente in question are hardly insignificant matters, Virgil's words can only seem those of a tragic outsider. Virgil recognizes the power of Christ, just as he recognizes in the cruciform nimbus a sign of victory. Yet it is clear that he is speaking from within the discourse of Classicism, for the specificity of Christ's power and victory go unmentioned.

The harrower of Hell is consequently depicted as the last in an apparently endless series of conquerors, a bolder Theseus, a more powerful Hercules, a more courageous Mars Ultor: a rescuer of souls but not a universal saviour. Nowbere are we reminded that in the Christian. What Dante has Virgil dramatize in his description is that, in. The hopelessness of limbo is the consequent fate of Classicism: without access to the proper name of Christ, without a mastery of the Word, it is forever condemned to a tragic read behind their backs because they gaze directly into the light of the sol Christi: a principle of intelligibility which animates not only individual and collective life, but also the general movement of human history toward those ultimate events in which all creation will be bound up into eternity.

In the course of the present study I show the full extent to which the central cantos of Paradise maybe regarded as Dante's Christian response to the dilemma of Inferno 4. In the heaven of Mars-against an explicitly Virgilian backdrop-Dante reaches the center of his own celestial Elysium: a truly Christian Elysian homeland and Hall of Fame in which the name.

Dante scholarship and such names as Cosmo, del Lungo, Momigliano, Pascoli, Rajna, Rheinfelder, Vallone, Vianello, and Vossler come to mind has tended to divide into two 4 state of hermeneutic suspense, forever alienated from its own words and meanings.

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Like the Virgil that Statius describes in Purgatory 22, Classicism advances like a somnambulant along the path of history, facing the starless immensity of the night, and yet bearing behind its back-and for the exclusive benefit of future men-the very principle that renders it intelligible: the light of Christ. All the more poignant is that, despite the essential role performed by the Aeneid in the disclosure of Christ's historical mission, Virgil remains in death as in life a tragically flawed reader. V irgil's predicament in canto 4 clarifies the central place of Christ in Dante's literary system.

It is not that all linguistic and literary alterity simply vanishes for those who, like the poet-pilgrim, take up their cross and follow Christ. Nor is poetic vision in any way guaranteed in the wake of the Christ-event. On the contrary, the gap dividing sign and signified, letter and spirit, appearance and essence, virtue and reward, persists: indeed it continues to define what Dante saw as the essential dy- namism of human history.

Christians born into the hiatus between Christ's first and second advents thus live in suspense, occupying their own sort of historical limbo. But since they are inhabited by hope, their predicament is not a tragic one. Unlike Virgil, they are even able to 5 camps over these cantos, one emphasizing their "true Flemish miniatures and everyday household scenes," to paraphrase de Sanctisj that is, the concrete poetic particulars of Cacciaguida and of his narrative and prophecies; the other emphasizing their links to the overarching structures and themes of the poem as a whole.

I If the persistence of Croce's distinction between the "poetry" and "structure" of Dante's text can still be felt in this divi- sion, I have tried to bypass any such dichotomy. For a general bibliography of Italian and German scholarship on the Cacciaguida cantos; see the entry on "Cacciaguida" by Fiorenzo Forti in the Enciclopedia Dantesca 1.

MISTERELE UNIVERSULUI cu Minerva 2019 09 14

A list of the principalltalian lecturae Dantis is given on pp. For additional bibliographical sources, see the bibliography of secondary sources at the conclusion of this study.


While this reconstruction begins with an in-depth inquiry into Dante's rewriting of Book 6 of Virgil's Aeneid, the central relay from the Classical to the Christian is provided, not by a literary work, but rather by a visual one. Dante's vision, I suggest, is modeled not only after Virgil and, to a lesser extent, Cicero's Dream of Scipio , but also after the apsidal mosaics of Sant' Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna: mosaics in which the iconographies of Christ's Transfiguration or Metamorphosis and of the Exaltation of the Cross are uniquely blended in a celebration of the victorious Christ.

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These sixth-century mosaics Dante modifies and adapts for his reworking of the Elysian encounter of Aeneas and Anchises in a Christian key. Such contrasts serve to underscore the centrality of the cross in the scheme of things:. Yet the central message of the crOSS in cantos remains a more immediate and personal one as well: it exhorts the poet-pilgrim to persevere, to rise up and conquer the adversities of history, and, most of all, to complete without hesitation or fear the exemplary act of faith which is the writing of his Commedia.

Each involves an exchange of contrasting paternal and filial views whose ultimate objective is the conversion of the son-the "protagonist of history"-to an epic task: a sacrificial endeavor occupying a special place in the providential ordering of history; In the chapter that immediately follows, I explore this complex of themes with respect to Aeneid 6 and Anchises' representation of Roman history, concentrating on a number of unre- , solved tensions in Virgil's text which make it available to a "tragic" Christian reading. Dante's "tragic" reading of Book 6 does not, as does that of Saint Augustine, lead to a refutation of the entire Virgilian construct, but it does insist on the anarchic presence within Roman history of Mars: the most politically corrosive and destabilizing of the planets and Gods but-paradox of paradoxes-the mythical founder of the city and the presiding force behind its rise.

Yet Mars's role in Book 6, as in cantos , extends far beyond this propagation of political flux, for Mars becomes the symbolic bearer of an even deeper more elemental negativity. His grip on human history is ultimately revealed as the tyrannical reign of death and of its blinding perspectives over the human city. This presence of Mars at the heart of the human city condemns Rome and Florence alike-the latter is the subject of my third chapter-to the incessant cycles of natural history: the city rises, it falls, it is regenerated, it is corrupted, but most of all it undergoes the constant cycle of transmutations known to the Middle Ages as Fortune.

If in Classical political theory and historiography such naturalist metaphors arise as a matter of course, here is in Virgil, as in Dante, a powerful will to uncover a higher logic, a providential pattern, an overarching moral in the text of history. It is this desire that lends the particular pathos to both texts which is so distinctively Virgilian and Dantean: the history of the city must be more than just eternal cyclicality, and it is this symbolic more that both texts set out to uncover and represent. But the supplement required to remedy this situation could not come from "within" an urban order in which Mars himself was the city-father.

The central portions of chapters 2 and J are concerned with the remedy to this founding negativity that Virgil and Dante propose: the father's prophetic intervention from the beyond, whether Classical Elysium or Christian Paradise. With the father's fictional intrusion into the text of history comes the supplement that is required if history is to transcend its own hermeneutic and epistemological limitations. For Providence's plan to be fulfilled, the son must see beyond the tragic immediacy of the present. Yet the effect of Mars is precisely to render this impossible.

Only the "eternalized" father can supply the necessary perspective: a prophetic yision of the otherworld, of the ultimate rewards that await the son, and of the meaning of the task assigned him. The father's role is to bridge the gap between history anLl eternity, present and future, present and past; making plain the logos that underlies the apparent anarchy of historical events, and revealing history's ohstades to the achievement of the epic endeavor as what they "truly" are: mere shadows, temporary detours on a road to eternal glory.

The paradigm then that emerges in the course of chapters 2 and 3 is one structured around a number of polarities: father and son, eternity and history, reward and sacrifice. Bridging the gap between each opposing pair is the father's prophetic intervention, the success or failure of which hinges on his conversion of the son to his own otherworldly perspective.

In chapter 4 I explore Dante's own solution to the apparent negativity of human history and to the incompleteness of Virgil: the sign of the cross, a sign which in the course of cantos will indeed provide a definitive bridge between history and eternity right at the center of Dante's celestial paradise. The cross of light which appears over Dante's heaven of Mars plays a number of highly charged symbolic roles in cantos 18 , and it is these that I explore in my fourth chapter.

The chapter is divided into three distinct sections: Exaltation; Transfiguration, and Revelation--each concerned with a specific dimension of Dante's cross of light.