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              By Vladimir Ivanov

The International University. Moscow.

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 Lost."

    The "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 man.

 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 freedom.

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 poet's death.

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 Alighieri died.

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 fact.

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 Order!      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 mind.

 In the poet's official biography it is revealed further that as early as the end of the 14th century, Florence 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 Rome. Since 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 remains.

The grave, however, turned out to be empty!

The citizens of glorious Ravenna assumed 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.

1865 arrived. 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 undisciplined.

    In the 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 present time.

      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.

    Francesco Mazzoni, head of the Italian Dantesque Society and a professor of Dantesque philology at the University of Florence declared 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 deceased? 

     A 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 Library.

 Since that time, there had been no information about the envelopes. Until 1999.

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 histiography.

  Dante Alighieri 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 Voltaire.

   Almost 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 time.

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.

     But what did the Church think?

     For 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 the Reformation.

Here is a curious picture of the appearance of the printed editions of Dante:

1487, Brescia: BONINO DE' BONINI
1491, (18 November) Venice: PIETRO DI PIASI CREMONESE
1493, (29 November) Venice: MATTEO DI CODECA DA PARMA
1502, Venice: ALDUS MANUTIUS
1506, Florence: FILIPPO GIUNTI
1547, Lyons: JEAN DE TOURNES
1551/52/71/75 Lyons: GUILLAUME ROVILLE
1568, Venice: PIETRO DA FINO
1569/1578, Venice: DOMENICO FARRI
1595, Florence: DOMENICO MANZANI
1613, Vicenza: FRANCESCO LENI

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.

    The great 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 approximately 1520.    

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 15th century;

Dante refers to the red cardinal's cap; however, such caps for cardinals were introduced once again after the traditional date of Dante's death.

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.

Dante mentions Spain and 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 Italy.

    Between 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 me,

95 than five and twenty centuries to the emprise

96 That startled Neptune with the shade of Argo!

   The translator Mikhail Lozinskiy explains the meaning:
94-96.  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.

Forms: 6 ragusye, arguze, 6­7 argose, 7 (rhaguse, ragosie,) argosea, argosey, argozee, 6­9 argosie, 7­ argosy.

 [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.

 Before Shakespeare (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!

    And later 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 Italy.

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.

     The 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.

    You ask, 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.

    The 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 Medici.

Thus, Europe's 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.

 Dantologists exploit the subject of "Dante and astrology." A multitude of research has been devoted to it. Even we will dwell on it.


To the right hand I turned, and fixed my mind

Upon the other pole, and saw four stars
Ne'er seen before save by the primal people.

Rejoicing in their flamelets seemed the heaven.

O thou septentrional and widowed site,

Because thou art deprived of seeing these!

         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 Bayer.
      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.
    They also 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 too.
   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 ascended.

. . . 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 windows

These three stars which burn.

Note:  The Southern Triangle constellation (TaA). Introduced by Bayer in 1603. It contains 32 stars which are visible to the naked eye.

    The 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 Cross)

Ne'er seen before save by the primal people.

Rejoicing in their flamelets seemed the heavens;

O thou septentrional and widowed site,

because thou art deprived of seeing these! (it is not visible in the Northern Hemisphere!)

When from regarding them I had withdrawn,

turning a little to the other pole, (that is to the north)

There where 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.

Figure 1.  Jan Gevelius' atlas of the starry sky. Map 48 - The Peacock , the Altar, the Southern Triangle

Figure 2.

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 here.

      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 degrees north.

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 original, for reference (Canto 8 of Purgatory):

E io a lui: A quelle tre facelle
di che 'l polo di qua tutto quanto arde.
Ond'elli a me: Le quattro chiare stelle
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

"The 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.

   The author writes:
"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."
    Further, 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."
   Dante created 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.
    The 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 calends."

     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.
     "We 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."
    One 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 grandeur.
It is 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.

     In 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 exist.

     The well known Russian man of letters and historian, Eduard Radzinskiy writes:

 "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.




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