By Vladimir Ivanov
The Discovery of Dante
Dante is one of the most enigmatic
and mystic figures of world history and culture. Despite
the fact that in the middle of the 19th century they
began to call him the Central Man of the World, as early
as the end of the 18th century he remained practically
unknown not only to the reader at large, but even to
specialists. Voltaire's skeptical exclamation in the
"Philosophical Dictionary," that, per se, no one reads
Dante, is well known.
At the end
of the 18th century, he was considered a little known,
medieval Italian poet, the author of a composition under
the name of "Satire" (Filip Nereusz Golanski, "On
Articulation in Poetry," 1808.)
He had neither predecessors (in the
13th century, needless
to say), nor followers all the way to the 17th century, when
Milton, as they think, inspired by the "Divine Comedy,"
created his own immortal "Paradise
"discovery" of Dante for mankind occurs only at the end
of the 18th century, in
the epoch of romanticism. And the Italian
romantic poets Vittorio Alfieri, Vincenzo Monti and,
especially, Ugo Foscolo discovered him. In the period of
the desperate struggle for Italy's freedom,
Dante became a symbol of the independence and dignity of
He ended up just at
the right time and was a spokesman of national
aspirations and a prophet of the country's unity and a
At the same time around the world
Dante comes into fashion, which transitions into
Dantophilia. The vague style of the numerous historic
allusions which are present in "The Comedy," gave birth
to an avalanche of explanations and interpretations, not
one of which one may consider definitive.
But before speaking about them, we
will concentrate on the riddles connected with the
According to the official version,
Dante's course of life ended in 1321. It is considered
that he wandered a lot, having been cast out from his
native Florence. At the
age of 56, while passing through the swampy lowlands of
the Po River, he became ill with malaria. The endless
journeys, disorder in life, longing for Florence, and
finally, work on a poem, which demanded the exertion of
all spirit and physical strengths - all this weakened
the poet's organism. The illness became more severe with
every day, his heart did not endure, and on the night
from 13 to 14
September 1321, Dante
Further, the traditional
historiography says that the great poet was buried "with
great honors." They write, in any event, his official
biographies in full contradiction about what Voltaire
and other universally recognized authorities told us.
Guido Da Polenta supposedly adorned Dante's crown with a
laurel wreath, about which the latter had dreamed during
his life. The most honorable citizens of Ravenna bore
the coffin with the remains of the author of "The Divine
Comedy" to the church of the San Francesco monastery
where the funeral mass took place.
Everything ceremonious and
extremely noble. Impeccable finishing touches were put
on the poet's appearance. And it is completely not
understood how to combine it with the following
In 1329, 8 years after the poet's
demise, the pontifical legate Cardinal Bertrando del
Pogetto demanded from the Ravenna
authorities the surrender of Dante's remains.
for public cremation. It turned out that Dante
had been involved in the notorious Knights Templar
affair and had been found guilty of secret ties with the
Order. The ruler of Milan, Galeazzo
Visconti as early as 1319 introduced Grandmaster Dante
Alighieri (Dante Aleguiro) from Florence as a
Magus. He had achieved the
highest degree of initiation in the Knights Templar
And more mysticism: this degree was established
only in the 17th
century, when the Order was going through a period of
its own revival. How 3 centuries earlier Dante was
conferred with a high honor is inconceivable to the
In the poet's official
biography it is revealed further that as early as the
end of the 14th century,
authorities had begun to realize what a deadly error
their predecessors had committed when they condemned the
great poet to banishment. Thus, they had deprived their
own city of the honor to be the place of his
burial. Florence, and she loved her sons only after
their departure for the other world, requested the
remains from the citizens of Ravenna.
But for some reason they did not
give up the remains. In the beginning of
the 16th century, the
Florentine Leo X put on the papal crown in
Ravenna at that
time had entered into the Vatican's domain,
the Florentines decided to turn to the Pope with a
request to permit them to transfer Dante's remains to
the homeland. It was not possible for the Pope to
refuse, and Ravenna invited
the poet's countrymen to take possession of the
The grave, however, turned out to
The citizens of glorious
that the remains were stolen or that Dante himself had
come for them and took possession of them after his own
demise. The Pope refuted the first hypothesis with
indignation and was inclined to the second. The idea of
the poet's return for his own remains appeared more
ponderable to him.
It seems everyone was content at
this. Another 300 years passed.
Italy became, finally, a nation and, as
is expected for any country that respects itself, became
involved with the search of the great forefathers whose
activity had enabled its birth. Without predecessors,
founding fathers and ancient history, it is somehow
unsound to speak of the grandeur of your own people.
In May of that very
same year, Italy prepared
solemnly to note the 600th anniversary since the day
of Dante's birth. For this event, they began to repair
the monastery complex of San Francesco and to put in
order the adjacent structures. During the restoration
operations, an ancient box, which was buried at the
entrance to the small Braccioforte chapel (not far from
the cloister) was discovered by accident. When they
cleaned it of earth and mould, on the cover appeared the
inscription: "The Monk Antonio Santi placed Dante's
bones here." Thus Santi had kept the poet's remains from
the encroachments of Florence and of the
Pope! What could be done, he didn't love the Pope, and
the slave of God turned out to be altogether
box, actually, were found a skull and parts of a human
skeleton. The ministry of education sent an
archaeologist and anthropologists to Ravenna for
identification of the remains. When the scientists
confirmed that these were the remains of the great man
of letters, the remains were placed into a walnut box,
then into a leaden coffin and placed in a sarcophagus in
the mausoleum. They are located there even up to the
But this still isn't everything.
On 19 July
1999, in Florence's National
Central Library, among the rare books of the 17th century, an envelope was
discovered by accident in which was contained. Dante's
remains. Clearly no one understood from whence the
envelope had appeared. It measured 11.5 by 7
centimeters, was filled with several grams of a gray
matter and inserted in a black frame with seals, which
attest to the authenticity of the relic.
Mazzoni, head of the Italian Dantesque Society and a
professor of Dantesque philology at the
that the find put him into a state of shock. In his
authoritative opinion, the term "Dante's ashes" is
absolutely meaningless, inasmuch as the poet's body was
not cremated. Is it possible, in the envelope are the
ashes from a carpet on which stood the coffin with the
proposal which is not bereft of reasons. The fact is
that when they tested the contents of the box in that
memorable 1865, they placed it on a small carpet. At the
end of the ceremony, the sculptor Enrico Pazzi collected
everything that remained on the carpet and the rug
itself, thinking that there still might be some
particles of the remains. Then he consulted a notary, so
that the latter officially confirmed that the remains
belonged to the great poet in particular. The notary
Saturnino Malagola, not hesitating a second,
exclaimed: "These are the
remains of Dante Alighieri!" and applied the seals.
Everything, as it is said, honest and above board. Once
the notary had pressed his seals, there could be no more
doubts. Pazzi himself divided the remains into six
envelopes and sent them to the director of the National
Since that time, there
had been no information about the envelopes. Until
It is as if everything fell into
place. However, just where are the poet's remains,
anyhow? Is it possible the monks, people who believe
deeply and obey the Vatican unquestionally, were able to dig
up his skeleton and conceal it in some kind of box? To
conceal them in such a way that no one knew about them
for over a century? It is not unlike the divine people
there and then had killed the grave diggers, and they
just stole the skeleton from the grave. And then Antonio
Santi bumped off too the accomplice monks so that they
didn't spill the beans.
All this, of
course, is unlikely, a sort of worthless detective
story. If one adds the strange story to the remains
found among the books, then a seditious thought arises:
Antonio Santi is pure before the Lord. He also was not
able to dream that his descendants would attribute such
a sinister sacrelige to him. Everything is much simpler:
we have an imaginary affair, created by traditional
actually lived on this earth and, perhaps, wrote his own
poem. But only not in the 14th century, but significantly
later. Simply, the adherents of the Scaliger Chronology
sent him to live further in ancient times. They wanted
very much that the history of the Italian nation looked
longer and more solid. Therefore, even the poet's
official grave turned out to be empty, and the box with
the skeleton appeared at the necessary moment, exactly
by the 600th
anniversary, completely whole, even with a clear
inscription, although it had lay in the earth supposedly
300 years. What you would do for the sake of the glory
of the fatherland!..
It is considered that "The Comedy"
was incredibly popular in Italy. Despite
immediately after the start of printing, (the Gutenberg
Bible - 1455) in 1472, three editions of Dante's "The
Comedy" appear immediately (Johann in
Germany, and also
in Mantua and
Venice), then in
the 15th century several
more editions - Naples 1477 and
1479, Venice - 1477,
and Milan - 1478.
But the commonly accepted version of the text of "The
Comedy" appears only in the first Florentine commented
edition of 1481.
At the very beginning of the 16th
century, another series of "Comedy" is issued.
Moreover, even before the beginning of printing
there existed numerous illuminated manuscripts of
Dante's "Comedy," many of which survived to our
In 1462, the Florentine cathedral -
Santa Maria del Fiore - which was started as early as
the end of the 13th
century by Filippo Brunelleschi was completed. Not very
far from the center of the temple was situated the
portrait of Dante created by Domenico di Michelino - of
the poet-demiurge robed in scarlet. In one hand, the
demiurge holds an open book (one may guess easily which
one), and with the other hand he points to the walls of
Hell. Glancing at this majestic figure, it is difficult
to believe that only 140 years before this, Dante, who
was damned on the soil of his native Florence, was
banished from here and spent the remaining years of his
life in wandering.
And again there
is a discrepancy with the official version of the poet's
biography. Despite the majestic portrait at Santa Maria
del Fiore, the person Dante gets by with full and
absolute silence from the humanists of the 15th century.
Lorenzo Valla, Marcilio Ficino - the founder of the
Platonic Academy in Florence, and the great Florentine
poet Poliziano, all these pillars of humanism are silent
and not only about Dante. They are silent too about
those who did so much for Dante's popularization -
Boccaccio and Petrarch.
Again, one can explain this somehow -
nevertheless the style and, mainly, the coarse native
tongue (volgare) of Dante are too far from the ideals of
high Latin, in which the humanists of the High
Renaissance wrote and spoke.
what did the Church think?
you see, Dante calls it an undisciplined harlot (puttana
sciolta, Purg. XXXII, 149) and a thief (fuia), he roasts
the Roman Popes on the fire. The church itself portrays
him on the walls of cathedrals.
Protestant views of Dante are well known for 300
years before Protestantism; however, the Catholic Church
in the 16th century,
struggling with the least manifestation of Lutheranism
and Calvinism, modestly closes its eyes at the wrathful
anti-papal critic of "The Divine Comedy," who is, in the
opinion of many specialist Dantologues, a harbinger of
Here is a curious picture of the
appearance of the printed editions of Dante:
1472, Foligno: JOHANN NEUMEISTER
1477, Venice: WINDELIN OF
1481, Florence: NICOLO
DI LORENZO DELLA MAGNA
Venice: OTTAVIANO SCOTO
Brescia: BONINO DE' BONINI
1491, (18 November) Venice: PIETRO
DI PIASI CREMONESE
March) Venice: BERNARDINO BENALI AND MATTEO DI CODECA DA
1493, (29 November)
Venice: MATTEO DI CODECA DA PARMA
1497, Venice: PIETRO QUARENGI
1502, Venice: ALDUS MANUTIUS
1502, [Lyons]: BALTHAZAR DE GABIANO
AND BARTHELEMY TROTH
Florence: FILIPPO GIUNTI
Venice: BARTOLOMEO DI GIOVANNI DA PORTESE
1515, Venice: ALDUS MANUTIUS AND
ANDREA TORRESANI DI ASOLA
, [Venice]: [GREGORIO DE'
GREGORIIS DA FORLI]
Venice: BERNARDINO STAGNINO DA TRINO
[1527/33], [Toscolano]: PAGANINO
AND ALESSANDRO PAGANINI
Venice: JACOPO DA BORGOFRANCO FOR LUCANTONIO GIUNTA
1536, Venice: BERNARDINO STAGNINO
FOR GIOVANNI GIOLITO
Venice: FRANCESCO MARCOLINI DA FORLI
1545, Venice: AL SEGNO DELLA
1547, Lyons: JEAN DE
GIOVANNI ANTONIO MORANDO
Venice: GABRIELE GIOLITO DE' FERRARI
1564/1578/1596 Venice: GIOVANNI
BATTISTA & MELCHIOR SESSA AND BROTHERS
1564, Venice: FRANCESCO RAMPAZETTO
1568, Venice: PIETRO DA FINO
1569/1578, Venice: DOMENICO
1572, Florence: BARTOLOMEO
1716, Naples: FRANCESCO LAINO
It is unbelievable: mankind forgot its own
Titan and genius for 100 years, and they even forgot him
in his native Italy! What's
going on? Most likely, a time
shift also happened here. The editions which appeared in
the 17th century were
attributed to an earlier period.
enlighteners of Italy of the
first half of the 15th
century - Cardinal Nicolai Cusanus (1401 - 1464) and
Lorenzo Valla (1407 - 1457) do not mention one a single
word about Dante. Niccolo Machiavelli
(1469 - 1527) quotes the poet for the first time, as his contemporary.
In his "Comedy," Dante mentions the
mysterious "515, the Messenger of God," which
incomprehensibly is explained by the commentators as
being a rearrangement encoded by the words of the Roman
numerals DXV (=515) in the word DVX, by which he has in
mind some kind of "leader" (Italian: duce).
As a matter of fact, it is a
question, most likely, of the year 1515 - of the Lateran
Cathedral and of Pope Leo X Medici, having introduced
total European censorship. Even Dante himself suffered
from it. Thus, the likely date of Dante's death is
The name Dante is unique and can be
translated as the nickname "accursed and
forbidden by the Catholic Church (Italian: dannato)," which was given to
the author for "The Divine Comedy" by the Inquisition at the end of the 16th century.
We note that Dante's wife Gemma is from the family of Donati, and that it too is
close to the nickname Dannati (= accursed);
Boccaccio published the works of
Dante Alighieri, which were created before "The Divine Comedy,"
which he already had written while in exile, just as too
his biography, for the first time
after Dante's death.
And what is more, Boccaccio was the
first commentator of "The Divine Comedy." Boccaccio
writes (supposedly in 1360), that Dante placed Homer
above all poets, although he didn't read him,
inasmuch as he didn't know the Greek language, and there
still were no translations of Homer to Latin. Such
translations (and, most likely
just the written works of Homer) appeared only after the traditional date of
Dante's death - not earlier than the end of the
Dante refers to the red cardinal's cap; however,
such caps for cardinals were introduced once again after the traditional date of
Dante is often linked to his friend
Guido (Italian: Guido). The nickname Guido in Italian means Tutor or Leader (according to Boccaccio
- Guido Cavalcanti, which means Leader of Singing Horsemen,
that is, a Poet of Poets.) And even
Dante's biography, according to Boccaccio, just abounds
in benefactors with the name of Guido. Guido de Columna wrote a book in Latin
about the Trojan War from which Dante also was able to
derive numerous details of this war. This book became
well-known not earlier than the end of the 15th century in printed form.
Guido de Columna belonged to the famous
Colonna family in Italy (Italian:
Colonna), who keenly competed for power in Italy
in the 14th - 16th centuries with another
family - the Orsini,
the founder of which, Count Orso, Dante mentions. From the
traditional history it is known that the rivalry of
these two families was the reason for the dual papacy
(diarchy) in the 14th century, which ended with the
election of Pope Martin V from the Colonna family in
1417 and the subsequent split of the church.
Austria in the
"Divine Comedy," names of which appeared for the first time
only at the end of the 15th century.
Another biographer of Dante and
Petrarch was named Leonardo Bruni (traditionally he
lived in 1374 - 1444), and he himself wrote the
12-volume "History of Florence," which was published
supposedly in 1439, that is, before the start of
printing, and in actual fact, most likely, not earlier
than the second half of the 16th century. It also is
significant that in "The Divine Comedy" a certain "Sir Brunetto" figures as one of
Dante's tutors. (In the "ancient Roman" history written
in the 16th century, an
imaginary Latin scholar predecessor and dissenting
bishop Donat Eli is found in Dante, who supposedly wrote
100 years earlier than Dante, in the 14th century, the
first Latin grammar.)
We shall add that Boccaccio and Petrarch lived around 60 years
according to traditional history, but there is no real evidence of their contact
between them in the 14th century in
the times of Dante, Petrarch and Shakespeare in the
traditional historiography there exists an artificial
300-year gap. Meanwhile, in "The Divine Comedy" there
are lines which speak about another.
They are found in the 33rd Canto:" The Empyrean."
- "the Rose of Paradise" (conclusion)-
94 One moment is more lethargy to
95 than five and twenty centuries
to the emprise
96 That startled Neptune with the
shade of Argo!
Mikhail Lozinskiy explains the meaning:
The meaning: "In the very immediate moment, which
follows after this vision, it became more deeply
conscious in my memory than the trip of the Argonauts
succeeded in becoming conscious in the memory of people
for 25 centuries when Neptune wondered
at the shadow of the Argo, the first ship."
But when and who for the first time
in worldwide literature mentions the Argo? Shakespeare.
6 ragusye, arguze, 67 argose, 7 (rhaguse, ragosie,)
argosea, argosey, argozee, 69 argosie, 7
[App. Ad. Italian
Ragusea, plural Ragusee, i.e. una
(nave or caracca) Ragusea, a Ragusan (vessel or carack),
best repr. by the earliest form ragusye; the
transposition in argosea, arguze, argozee, etc., is no
doubt connected with the fact that Ragusa (in
Venetian, Ragusi) itself appears in 16th c. English as Aragouse,
Arragouese, Arragosa. Cf. also the prec.
word, in which Argosine seems to represent It. Ragusino,
synonym of Raguseo,
That argosies were reputed to take
their name from Ragusa, is stated by several writers of
17th c.; and the derivation is made inductively certain
by investigations made for us by Mr. A. J. Evans,
showing the extent of Ragusan trade with England, and
the familiarity of Englishmen with the Ragusee or large
and richly-freighted merchant ships of Ragusa, 'Argosies
with portly saile, Like Signiors and rich Burgers on the
flood [which] ouer-peere the pettie Traffiquers That
curtsie to them, do them reuerence, As they flye by them
with their wouen wings.' (Shaks. Merch. V. i. i. 9.)
No reference to the ship Argo is
traceable in the early use of the word.
(17th century) there
were no references to the ship Argo in the whole world.
Traditional historians will have to answer how Dante was
able to guess about the ship Argo before Shakespeare.
However, if Dante in
reality was creating at the turn of the 15 - 16th centuries, and his student
Petrarch - in the 16th
century, then there is no stylistic gap in Western
European poetry: the head of the "Pleiades," the
Frenchman Pierre Ronsard (1524-1585) and the Italian
Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) rightfully are considered
students and followers of Petrarch.
And in the '90s of the 16th century,
Shakespeare's sonnets already were being published.
It is typical that in such an
approach the ruler of Florence and poet,
Lorenzo Medici (the Magnificent, 1449 - 1492), the
poetry of whom is incomparably inferior to Dante's
poetry, turns out to be the only predecessor of Dante himself.
The cited example of a
chronological shift is typical for all art of the "Renaissance"
epoch, and, per se epochs of brilliant "remakes,"
that is, the creation of "ancient Roman" and "ancient
Greek" art in the 15th - 19th centuries.
In Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), for example,
a double also is discovered in the 13th century,- the founder of European
mathematics, Leonardo of Pisa, he
himself is a Cadmean (= Florentine!)- Fibonacci, who gave
Europe Arabic numerals. Apparently, Leonardo da Vinci in particular
also was the real founder of the "reborn," and as a
matter of fact the genuine new Italian culture.
When much later, in the 18th century, French poetry
flowers, suddenly in the monasteries here the works of
the trouveres, French singers of
the early Middle Ages, are discovered, and a collection
of Vagants' songs "is discovered
accidentally" with the Bavarian Benedictine monks
generally only at the start of the 19th century, during Goethe's
time, and there and then dated to the 13th century!
a religious brotherhood - the fraternitas - makes its
own contribution to the muddle with dates and centuries
in the traditional historiography of Dante's times. They
appear in Italy in the
14th century, but they
acquire most development in the 15th century when more than 400
of them were counted in Northern and Central
In Florence, the
brotherhoods were called by the beautiful word "company"
(compagnia.) Members of the brotherhoods establish in
private residences collective praying, hear sermons,
celebrate religious rituals, and sing religious chants.
Magi brotherhood (Compagnia del Magi) became the most
significant. And the incomprehensible example of Dante,
who lived supposedly more than 100 years before this,
was its member.
how the Church was concerned about the fact that
religious ceremonies were celebrated not in the premises
of the churches, but heaven knows where? It was in no
way concerned, as if there weren't any of them. There
was nobody to react: only in 1487 is the "Hammer of the
Witches" of Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Institoris
published, in 1480 the Inquisition is established in
Spain, and in
1542 - in Italy that is
only in the middle of the 16th century. In 1559 the
"Index of Forbidden Books" is introduced.
charters of the brotherhoods are approved by the secular
authorities, and the secular authorities govern and
control their activity. The Brotherhood of the Magi
availed itself of the special patronage of House of the
religious life proceeded again within the framework of
spontaneously organized formations, and the mysteries
from the life of Christ were played out on the streets
as plays, which the people loved very much. These plays
bore the name "Comedy," and were not yet hammered into
the walls of the temples. By the way, the Gospel words
that the curtain was torn in two, still bear the traces
of these popular medieval public activities.
the subject of "Dante and astrology." A multitude of
research has been devoted to it. Even we will dwell on it.
PURGATORY. CANTO I
To the right hand I turned, and
fixed my mind
Upon the other pole, and saw four
Ne'er seen before save by
the primal people.
Rejoicing in their flamelets seemed
O thou septentrional and widowed
Because thou art deprived of seeing
In the opinion of Dantologists, "the four stars
symbolize the four 'main' ('natural') virtues of the
ancient world: wisdom, justice,
fortitude, and temperance."
But it is no
more than, as musicians say, "a fantasy on a theme by."
It is a question of the real four stars of the Southern
Cross (Crux), the most well known constellation of the
Southern Hemisphere. The long "cross bar" of the Cross
points almost precisely at the South Pole.
The whole point is the fact that while being in
the Northern Hemisphere, we are NOT ABLE to see it. But,
according to astronomers (because of the phenomenon of
precession), 2,000 years ago the ancient Greeks (who
else?) and the ancient Jews (on the territory of modern
Israel) were able
to observe and describe it.
However, in those days, the Southern Cross WAS
NOT CONSIDERED AN INDEPENDENT CONSTELLATION. It was part
of Centaurus (the Centaur). It, Centaurus, was shown in
Ptolemy. Who picked out the Southern Cross as a separate
constellation is where the opinions diverge.
Some think that Johann Bayer did it in 1603 in
"Uranometria," having used for it the data and not very
precise observations of travelers and sailors who had
visited the Southern Hemisphere. One of them, Pieter
Dirckszoon Keyser (Latin name - Petrus Theodori), it is
probable, provided reports about new constellations
which were situated near the South Pole. According to
other information, there is no Southern Cross in the
number of new constellations that were introduced by
Other sources indicate that Louis de LaCaille
introduced the Southern Cross constellation, having
compiled the first large catalog of southern stars -
"Coelum Australe Stelliferum" (1763.) Although, on the
other hand, among the constellations of the southern
sky, about which they usually say that de LaCaille
introduced them, again there is no Southern Cross.
say that the French astronomer Augustin Royer singled
out this constellation in 1679, and also one Mollineux
of England as early as 1592, from where Bayer took it
On the whole,
the situation is rather muddled.
In order to
muddle it even further, we will add the list of
"discoverers." As usual in the traditional history, the
constellation supposedly was "again discovered" in the
16th century by
seafarers who visited the Southern Hemisphere and used
the constellation as a reference point. Amerigo Vespucci
wrote that he had seen "the four majestic stars" in
1502, and Antonio Pigafetta, sailing with Magellan,
wrote about the "fine cross, the most glorious of all
the constellations in the heavens."
There exists a serene,
"pastoral" engraving, which depicts Vespucci who is
observing the Southern Cross in the still of night,
while his crew sleeps, and alongside the image of Dante,
who is rigorously motioning that, it is said, "I foresaw
and described this several centuries ago."
But - How? How was he
on the whole able to know about the Southern Cross from
that century in which he supposedly lived?
And now is the time itself to
remember about THREE stars. Dante supposedly also saw
them from his distant century.
. . . It was late at night, in the
sky the stars twinkled: there appeared, approached and
disappeared the Southern Cross, there appeared and
disappeared the Three Marias, and the morning start also
. . . The Three Marias ("Las Tres
Marias" is a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere)
Oh, high - high,
To where the eye is not enough,
for the call of those native
These three stars which burn.
The Southern Triangle constellation (TaA).
Introduced by Bayer in 1603. It contains 32 stars
which are visible to the naked eye.
Southern Triangle is very beautiful.
Dante renders it its due:
To the right hand I turned, and
fixed my mind upon the other pole
and saw four stars, (the Southern
Ne'er seen before save by the
Rejoicing in their flamelets seemed
O thou septentrional and widowed
because thou art deprived of seeing
(it is not visible in the Northern
When from regarding them I had
turning a little to the other
pole, (that is to the north)
the Wain had disappeared already; (Ursa Major)
And he to me: "The four resplendent stars thou
sawest this morning,
are down yonder low;
And these have mounted up to where
those were." (The Southern Cross has set, the
three stars of the Three Marias have risen.)
One would think
everything is clear. The four stars of the Southern
Cross, which is not visible in the Northern Hemisphere
(the admiring author, not keeping it to himself,
describes the Southern Cross, where Purgatory is
located), are replaced by the bright Southern Triangle.
Traditional historians do not agree with
this. If in the first case,
as we already know, it is a question supposedly of the
four virtues, then in the second, no more, no less,
arise in the sky... Truth, Hope, and Love.
1. Jan Gevelius' atlas
of the starry sky. Map 48 - The Peacock , the Altar, the
On the left of the Octant is the
tail of the Southern Hydra, on the right is the Bird of
Paradise, beyond is the Southern Triangle and the Altar,
above is part of the Archer constellation and the
Southern Crown. On the left side is the head of the
Toucan and part of the Crane. In the center are the
constellations the Indian and the Peacock.
However, the verses themselves do not leave the
slightest doubts of the fact that Dante is describing
the southern starry sky. And there is no allegory
The last time one was able to observe the
Southern Triangle at the latitude of Jerusalem was just
about 2,700 years ago. Ptolemy does not have it. The
Arabs also were not able to see it from their time and
territory. It is mentioned by the Europeans for the
first time in the 16th
century. Today one may observe it only south of 20
And he to me: The four resplendent
Thou sawest this morning
are down yonder low,
have mounted up to where those were.
The original, for reference (Canto
8 of Purgatory):
E io a
lui: A quelle tre facelle
che 'l polo di qua tutto quanto arde.
Ond'elli a me: Le quattro chiare
che vedevi staman, son
di l basse,
e queste son
salite ov'eran quelle
That's it, the Southern Triangle has risen there
where the Southern Cross was earlier.
We note that nowhere does Dante call the Southern
Cross a cross directly, but the Southern Triangle is a
triangle. This means that, apparently, he already knew
about these constellations, but how they were named -
no. It is logical to suppose that this is the end of the
16th century, when they
already had seen these constellations, but were not yet
introduced into scientific use.
The Forged Dante
Question of Water and Earth." Such is called Dante's
treatise which also is worth looking at in order to
determine at last just when he lived.
"Dante Alighieri, the Florentine,
who is the least among those who genuinely are
philosophical, greets in the name of He who is the
source of knowledge and light each and everyone who
shall see this writing."
Dante argues what is higher - earth or water:
"...A more noble place befits a
more noble body. And since the more noble the place, the
higher it is, since it is closer to the sky.
. . . "The premise is proven on the
basis of the experience of sailors, who, being at sea,
see the hills are lower than they: and they prove,
referring to the fact that they see these hills, having
climbed the mast, but from the very deck of the ship
they do not see; and this, it need be supposed, results
from the fact that the earth is significantly lower and
does not reach the crest of the sea."
such a remarkable philosophical work. From it, in
particular, it follows that the poet still did not know
that they usually use the adduced fact as an argument in
the version about the earth's sphericity.
treatise concludes with the phrase:
"This philosophy was set forth with the
government of the invincible ruler, Sir Can Grande della
Scala, governor-general of the Holy Roman Empire, by me,
Dante Alighieri, the least and so on. . . in the year since the
birth of the Lord our Jesus Christ one thousand three
hundred twenty, on the day of the Sun, the seventh after
the January Ides and the thirteenth before the February
Comments as regards this treatise of Dante's are
categorical in the extreme. Specialists are disturbed:
the author of "The Comedy" has one system of the
universe, and the author of the treatise - a principally
different one (the Northern Hemisphere is chief in the
author's treatise, and the Southern in the author's of
"The Comedy.") This means in no way is this Dante.
are coming, thus, to the conclusion that the treatise
'Question of Water and Earth' is simply a counterfeit, a
forgery of some home-grown scientist of the 14th century, who was striving
to support the theory of the swelling of the inhabited
part of the earth. If the forger had not ascribed this
booklet to Dante, it long ago would have been forgotten.
"We do not know one
work, the author of which is acknowledged as Dante,
where the style would be so tedious and not one phrase
be found, worthy of Alighieri."
The commentator concludes:
"One has to be
surprised that as yet Dantologists are found who do not
want to make note of this."
need be surprised most of all at the persistent
reluctance of the traditional historian to look soberly
at the facts. The researchers Franticelli, Giuliani,
Schmidt, Biagi, Madzoni, the adherents of the treatise's
authenticity, are resting on the conformity of the
treatise to the spirit of the epoch, and even on the
reality everything was written out absolutely clearly.
They refer to Dante,
once again, as the author by the direct text. As regards
the INTERNAL dating, it, most likely, is true - 1320.
So about which Dante
are we talking, then? All the data coincides with the
fact that a certain Dante, author of a workaday
treatise, actually lived at the turn of the 13th - 14th centuries.
And "The Divine
Comedy" was written after several centuries, which was
ascribed to him, having been transformed thereby into a
great poet. The reason was valid:
It followed to have in Italy's past at
any cost a rising country's agent of freedom and
not said above for nothing that
Dante, perhaps, wrote "The Divine
Comedy." A thin thread connects him with the work.
It is the well-known letter to Can Grande della
Scala. In it, Dante is called the author of "The
Comedy." But the authenticity in particular of this
thread is over the course of 2 centuries a subject of
violent disputes. Such visible Dantologists as Giosu
Carducci, Scartazzini, Bruno Nardi and many others
consider the letter spurious.
their opinion, that part of the letter in which is
contained a comment on "The Comedy" with the
interpretation of it in four senses, "was written not by
Dante, but some idle priest in the 15th century." The letter had reached the
records in the 15th - 16th centuries - earlier ones do not
well known Russian man of letters and historian, Eduard
"One day there was a
flood in Florence.
And there in some kind of cathedral
Donatello, Ugo Foscolo and, it seems, Dante, and perhaps
Michelangelo are buried - in short, a large number of
well-known deceased. So, this flood played a merry prank
on us: all the ashes of the great men of genius rose as
one along with the graves. And when the water
went away, their bones lay every which way on the floor.
Thus, we had to
separate them by graves in a very arbitrary way. And
now, it is possible, Ugo Foscolo's jaw rests together
with the phalangeal bone of Donatello's fingers and the
pelvic bone of Michelangelo."
And altogether it is called Dante.
discuss it on our
New Tradition , 2003.