Loquis: Dante, The Commedia and Viterbo

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Dante, The Commedia and Viterbo


Published on:  2018-03-08 09:38:00


In the Divine Comedy, The Tuscia region is well-represented too. Dante cites important figures from the province of Viterbo, such as San Bonaventura da Bagnoregio. Especially famous is the passage in which he remembers the death of Henry of Cornwall, who was killed by Guy de Montfort (lieutenant to Charles of Anjou in central Italy) at the Chiesa del Gesù in Viterbo. Dante naturally places Guy in Hell (where the Flegetonte river runs, likened to the Bulicame spring in Viterbo), among the murderers; evidence of the extent to which this event shocked public opinion in its day. Another person mentioned by Dante is a great man of the church, who is buried in Viterbo: Ruggieri degli Ubaldini. The Divine Comedy certainly does not lack references to Popes. Among those who lived in Viterbo, in particular, Dante names five: Clement Fourth; Nicholas Third , Adrian Fifth; Martin is placed in Purgatory among the gluttonous, a reference to his passion for Lake Bolsena eels. The only Pope Dante shows any benevolence towards is also the only Portuguese character in the story, John 21, who is placed in Paradise among the wise, thanks to his theological works.

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