The Inferno (Signet Classics)
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Belonging in the company of the works of Homer and Virgil, The Inferno is a moving human drama, a journey through the torment of Hell, an expression of the Middle Ages, and a protest against the ways in which men have thwarted the divine plan.
read Greek and therefore did not read Homer’s Iliad or any of the Greek tragedies dealing with the aftermath of the Trojan War. His knowledge of the Trojan War comes primarily from the Aeneid (which contains far more information about what happened in the aftermath of the war than the Iliad does). He also knew a number of sources that were popular in the medieval period, such as Dictys the Cretan’s Diary of the Trojan War (a Latin version of what was supposedly a Greek diary written by a soldier
unmade”: That is to say, “You were born before I died.” The shade expects Dante the Pilgrim to recognize him, since they were both alive at the same time in Florence. 6 (P.32) Ciacco: We know little about this figure, except that he was a Florentine and Dante’s contemporary. The name is probably a nickname for “pig” or “hog” and, by implication, “filthy” or “swinish.” Boccaccio’s Decameron, Day IX, Story 8, contains a character by the same name, but he was probably inspired by Dante. Several
6 (p. 37) “unto all discernment dim”- Virgil explains why the Pilgrim is unable to recognize anyone in the group of the avaricious and the prodigal, many of whom are men of the Church: Since they accomplished nothing in their lives except thinking about money, here their sordid earthly nature renders them anonymous. Avarice is completely contrary to the directives of Christ to embrace poverty, a virtue exemplified by that most remarkable Italian saint of the Middle Ages, Saint Francis of Assisi,
members of the groups were often connected to each other by ties of family, religion, and friendship, conflicts often turned into violence, riot, and warfare, with financial ruin and exile being the favorite punishment for those who lost the struggle. Constant internal conflict led quite naturally to a search for outside allies, further complicating the situation within Florence. In the fourteenth century, the Florentine florin served as the standard currency for the entire European economy. Its
processions. Moreover, the city’s clerics provided much of the education and religious confraternities supplied much of the social assistance before the advent of a welfare state. One of Tuscany’s wealthiest citizens in the next century, Francesco Datini, began his ledger book with the telling phrase: “In the name of God and profit.” The relationship between economic wealth and moral corruption, the latter caused by a society that avidly pursued profit and tried to retain its religious devotion,