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9. ‘Without Any Violence’1

© Zygmunt G. Barański, CC BY 4.0

Zygmunt G. Barański

Introduction: reflecting (‘vertically’)

I was about to start preparing the written version of my ‘reading’ of the Nines, when two things happened that helped me give better order to my reflections. Among the PhD applications I was reviewing, I came across a powerful defence of interpreting the Commedia ‘vertically’. A few days later, after giving a lecture based on the current chapter at a prestigious North American department of Italian, the idea that Dante’s masterpiece might be read ‘vertically’ was received with a degree of skepticism. Indeed, one colleague launched into an attack that was in every way as forceful as the aspiring doctoral student’s justification. I found the conflicting reactions fascinating: the young Dantist enthused by a new way of approaching the Commedia; the established scholar unconvinced and deeply committed to exegetical methods that have stood the test of time and seem to have been legitimated by Dante himself. My own position, ever since I was kindly invited to examine possible interconnections between the Nines, has been closer to that of the older Dantist – I would not say skeptical, but certainly wary. Indeed, as my research developed, two questions constantly accompanied my efforts to gauge the efficacy of a ‘vertical’ investigation of the Commedia. First, to what degree did Dante actually want his poem to be read in this manner? Second, how might examining three cantos belonging to different canticles yet sharing the same number illuminate our understanding of both the canti and the poem – and we can at least be certain that Dante did want us to take cognizance of the cantos’ numbering: ‘al ventesimo canto / de la prima canzon’ [the twentieth canto / of the first canzone] (Inf., xx. 2-3)?2

The evidence that, in line with medieval ideas about the divinely created universe as numerically harmonious, Dante wished the Commedia to be considered in its totality and in the interplay of its parts is of course overwhelming. However, to maintain this does not also necessarily imply that a privileged relationship unites cantos distinguished by the same number, and hence that this relationship needs to be examined in itself and as a unique determining feature of the whole. In fact, the explicit indications in this regard are at best scant. They seem to be limited to the opening proemial cantos, to the political Sixes, to the closing canti (but one of these has a unique numbering…), and to a few other triads.3 Rather than forcing our readerly attention upwards and ‘vertically’, Dante normally encourages us to reflect and to look backwards: ‘Ricorditi, ricorditi!’ [Remember, remember!] (Purg., xxvii. 22). In my view, Charles Singleton’s work on what he termed the Commedia’s ‘vistas in retrospect’ is just about definitive on this point.4 Equally, it is generally accepted that the poet regularly established meaningful links between different moments of his poem, and that these associations are rarely dictated by numeration. As regards our three cantos, it is enough to remember the evident bonds that tie Inferno ix to the pair of cantos that precede it and the pair that follow it; that, through the figure of St Lucy, connect Purgatorio ix to Inferno ii and Paradiso xxxii; and finally, that join Paradiso ix to Inferno v and Purgatorio xxvi (lust), as well as to Inferno xii (Ezzelino da Romano). Indeed, as Amilcare Iannucci demonstrated, this form of organization recalls the Scriptural exegetical device of the ‘parallel passage’, which not infrequently had recapitulatory functions.5 Yet, as scholars have also noted, interconnections of setting do unite the Nines. Thus, both Inferno ix and Purgatorio ix are set in liminal indeterminate hinterlands where distinct largescale regions of the afterlife meet, where otherworldly guardians protect the gates and walls that separate the different areas, and where celestial messengers come to the pilgrim’s aid. Dante’s aim is obvious: to underscore the differences between the realm of damnation and that of purgation, and to highlight the progress that the viator has made since his panic-stricken confusion outside Dis. Paradiso ix, too, brings to a close a major discrete section of the Ptolemaic universe, the heavens lying in the shadow of the earth. However, given the marvellous concord and unity of the cosmos, issues of partition, transition, and entry, with their attendant corollaries of uncertain liminality, of obstacles, and of miraculous intervention, are quite alien to the effortless harmony of paradisiacal reality. Thus, unlike the other two cantos, Paradiso ix is set in a specific location, the Heaven of Venus, and is structured according to the Commedia’s standard narrative model of the encounter between Dante-personaggio and exemplary inhabitants of that subdivision of the afterlife. In this respect, considering the Nines simultaneously, the effect is to highlight the singularity of the third realm. However, there is nothing exceptional about the contrasts and parallelisms conjoining our three cantos. Throughout the Commedia, Dante employs similar associative techniques to stress the same general points about the nature of the hereafter as emerge from the ‘vertical’ assessment of the Nines. We are dealing with a commonplace, whose one variation in this instance is that it is the product of a rapprochement between three cantos bearing the same number.

This is the danger, I believe, inherent in the ‘vertical’ reading: it can grant priority to what is obvious—and if there is one writer who is rarely obvious, that writer is Dante Alighieri. Thus, despite what might be presumed in light of the basic narrative similarities uniting Inferno ix and Purgatorio ix, the poet appears to have actually been more interested in yoking together Inferno ix and Paradiso ix. Unlike Inferno ix and Purgatiorio ix, whose connections are externally narratological, those between Inferno ix and Paradiso ix are calculatedly formal. The two cantos share several rhymes and rhyme words6 – a sophisticated technique that medieval vernacular poets employed to suggest affinities between texts, and which Dante used with some regularity in the Commedia.7 In addition, the cantos share several other features that distinguish them from Purgatorio ix. Specifically, both make reference to heresy, to cemeteries, to sieges, and, most visibly, to sinful cities. What is thus striking is that rather than present the Nines as a triad, Dante was concerned to organize them into two distinct pairs – on the one hand, Inferno ix and Purgatorio ix; on the other, Inferno ix and Paradiso ix.

Other hermeneutic perils attend the ‘vertical’ critical engagement with the Commedia. In general, the need to avoid flattening out differences between the canti, and so ensuring that each canto’s distinctiveness is maintained, is paramount. Yet, the essential associative nature of the ‘vertical’ approach, with its resultant emphasis on (common) structural, thematic, and ideological concerns, militates against this. For the method to gain currency, it needs also to demonstrate that it can cast light on matters of style and, more vitally, that it contributes to the poem’s sophisticated metaliterary system. Finally, when treating a trio of canti, the temptation ought to be resisted to equate ‘verticality’ with numerology. The latter was unquestionably important in medieval culture; however, its impact on Dante was circumscribed. Indeed, I believe this to be the case even as regards the cantos marked with a nine, the number indicating the miraculous, divine intervention, and the power of God, and whose sacred symbolic valences the poet himself underlined in the Vita nova (xxix. 3). As embodiments of the nine, our cantos fittingly affirm and dramatize the ‘marvellous’ workings of the ‘Trinity’. However, and this is the point, there is nothing extraordinary about this. Every canto of the Commedia, in recounting a unique providentially sanctioned experience, does exactly the same. The spectre of the ‘obvious’ once again looms large.

My methodological words of caution are not meant to undermine the possibility that a ‘vertical’ reading is valid and authorized by Dante himself. Thus, to test out the validity of the approach, it becomes necessary to establish whether elements exist that might confirm a deliberately constructed system of correspondences uniting the Nines. However, it is difficult to find clear textual evidence that permits us to extend such a rapport beyond a few basic narrative motifs at the service of reinforcing a few of the Commedia’s standard fixed points: most notably, the glory and variety of divine creation, whose constituent parts are providentially ordered and unified. In any case, Paradiso ix twice explicitly draws attention to these matters, thereby reminding us just how unexceptional is the ‘vertically’ established relationship between the Nines. Contrasting his earthly to his celestial love, Folchetto describes the divinely ‘ordered’ interplay between this world, Purgatory, the Earthly Paradise, the heavens, and the Empyrean (Par., ix. 103-08). A few tercets earlier, when introducing the Occitan poet, Dante observes: ‘Per letiziar là sù fulgor s’acquista, / sì come riso qui; ma giù s’abbuia / l’ombra di fuor, come la mente è trista’ [By rejoicing up there brightness is gained, as laughter is here; but down there the shade grows dark on the outside, as the mind is sad] (Par., ix. 70-72). Once again, the interconnections and disparities between Paradise, our world, and Hell are made clear. As he does throughout the Commedia, Dante also implies that his own artistic practices are modelled on those of the Deus artifex. Outlining the external signs of emotion that characterize human beings on earth, in Heaven, and in Hell, Dante introduces a new piece of information about the state of the damned which he had not revealed in Inferno: the shades ‘grow dark’ – abbuiare – on feeling sadness (ll. 71-72). Like the ‘worth’ (valor; 105), the poet too carefully organizes the unfolding of his poem, forging meaningful links between its parts. The subtlety of Dante’s presentation is noteworthy. With exemplary concision, he adds to our knowledge of Hell, of the workings of the universe, and of his authorial status. The understated, yet richly connotative intricacy of Paradiso ix. 71-72 stands in contrast to the mechanistic repetition of narrative motifs that unites the Nines. If Dante had indeed intended our cantos to be read ‘vertically’, one cannot but wonder whether he would not have made this apparent in that refined and economical manner that marks his recourse to abbuiare.

Appealing to the reader

Although I am reluctant to grant special importance to the repetition of narrative elements across the canti, nevertheless, there is another feature, common to the Nines, which makes me hesitate before turning my back on the possibility that Dante composed the three cantos in such a way so as to encourage their ‘vertical’ reading. Addresses to the reader are a significant trait of the Commedia. The poet introduces them judiciously, normally for ethical and metaliterary ends, and always at key moments in the text, thereby highlighting their structuring functions. It is precisely this last characteristic of the Dantean address that explains my hesitation, given that each of the Nines includes an appeal to the reader. Even more suggestively, our triad of same-number canti is the only one in the poem that is distinguished in this manner. In Dante, such instances of repetition are rarely without consequence:

O voi ch’avete l’intelletti sani,
mirate la dottrina che s’asconde
sotto ’l velame de li versi strani.

[Oh you who have healthy intellects,
look at the doctrine that is concealed
under the veil of the unusual verses.] (Inf., ix. 61-63)

Lettor, tu vedi ben com’io innalzo
la mia matera, e però con più arte
non ti maravigliar s’io la rincalzo.

[Reader, you see well how I elevate
my subject-matter, and therefore don’t be surprised
if I sustain it with greater art.] (Purg., ix. 70-72)

Ahi anime ingannate e fatture empie,
che da sì fatto ben torcete i cuori,
drizzando in vanità le vostre tempie!

[Ah deluded souls and impious creatures,
who from such created good twist away your hearts,
lifting towards vanities your temples!] (Par., ix. 10-12)

Each address poses substantial critical problems. Regarding the first, scholars disagree as to what value to assign to the ‘unusual verses’. Do these refer exclusively to the figures and events that appear in the second part of the canto; or do they encompass the canto as a whole, or the entire episode outside the walls of Dis, or even the Commedia in its totality? The second appeal is equally allusive and perplexing. In what way is Dante ‘elevating’ his ‘subject-matter’; and again, to which aspects of the text does ‘matera’ specifically refer? Furthermore, how precisely does the poet elevate his ‘art’ to a ‘greater’ level and how does he ‘sustain’ it? Finally, many Dantists dispute that Par., ix. 10-12 is an apostrophe directed at the reader. Given the exegetical difficulties surrounding the addresses, and in light of their possibile numerically sanctioned interconnection, the obvious question arises whether the three invocationes ought to be considered as one. Confirmation that this might be the correct approach would depend on a ‘vertical’ reading casting light on some of the passages’ obscurities.

Bringing together Inf., ix. 61-63 and Par., ix. 10-12 quickly dispels any doubts regarding the latter’s status as an apostrophe. Although Par., ix. 10-12 is an impassioned exclamation, the tercet is an outburst directed at a particular group of readers, those who misuse their reason, just as Inf., ix. 61-63 is addressed to readers who behave in the opposite manner. It is only Purg., ix. 70-72 that involves every reader of the poem. Moreover, putting in contact the terzine from the first and last canticles raises interesting issues relating to the interpretation of the Commedia. The ‘vanities’ towards which the ‘impious’ ‘lift their temples’ are material wealth; and it is the same avaricious desire that leads contemporary intellectuals to practice sinful interpretation (Par., ix., 133-35). Faulty exegesis of canon law is contrasted to the devoted clarification of sacred texts. This, and not the pursuit of earthly advantage, is the proper activity for ‘healthy intellects’; and as a ‘sacrato poema’ [sacred poem] (Par., xxiii. 62), the Commedia too should be studied with due respect and not left ‘derelitt[a]’ [derelict] (Par., ix., 134). Dante regularly relates his poem to the creations of the Deus artifex and to other divinely inspired texts, and Inf., ix. 61-63 and Par., ix. 10-12 essentially constitute another variatio on this theme. On the other hand, as a metaliterary declaration, Purg., ix. 70-72, is rather richer than the other two apostrophes. Similar to Inf., ix. 61-63, where he uses the typical vocabulary of the allegoresis of literary texts (‘doctrine concealed under the veil’ of the lictera of poetry), Dante makes use of conventional critical terminology in Purgatorio ix: ‘subject-matter elevated by greater art’. Yet, in Inferno ix, behind the humdrum language of medieval literary criticism, the poet was intent on boldly establishing that the Commedia is not to be read, as his choice of terms might at first sight be taken to imply, according to the tenets of literary allegoria in verbis but those of providential allegoria in factis. Equally, to grant terms such as innalzare, materia, and arte their normal medieval meanings, as Dante commentators tend to do, involves distorting the key element of the poet’s radically innovative ‘comic’ poetics, namely, his rejection of the genera dicendi and their artificial distinctions between ‘high’, ‘middle’ and ‘low’ subjects and styles.8

Since it is certain that the poem does not adhere to standard medieval compositional norms, what does Dante mean when he talks about ‘artistic elevation’? In straightforward stylistic terms, it is difficult to discern any major change between the two parts of the canto separated by the apostrophe. If anything, the first half, on account of its reliance on classical elements, is conventionally closer to the ‘high’ than the second, which is strongly Christian in character, and hence tied to the sermo humilis. It is thus clear that when Dante alludes to a ‘higher’ materia he is not referring to the conventions of the genera, but solely to matters of content and value, to the transition to the salvific Christian environment of ‘mercy’ (l. 110). Dante grants new vigour to the hackneyed vocabulary of the genera dicendi. It is no longer a set of literary-critical clichés but is revived to connote the inestimable worth of divinely ordained salvation. Yet, in light of our present purpose, it is striking that Purg., ix. 70-72 achieves its effects without needing to make recourse to the other two apostrophes. Indeed, it is difficult to see how these might enrich its already elaborate system of reference. This fact cannot but call into question the appropriateness of applying a ‘vertical’ interpretation to the Nines, given that their most obvious and unique formal interconnecting feature does not seem to support a unified reading of the apostrophes, and hence of the three canti and, by extension, of the Commedia. At most, we might conclude that the addresses all have both local and broad functions, illuminating the cantos in which they appear and the poem in general. Thus, Inf., ix. 61-63 contrasts ‘healthy’ exegesis with the hermeneutic errors of the heretics while indicating that the Commedia be read according to the ‘allegory of theologians’; Purg., ix. 70-72 marks the shift between two areas of the afterlife and highlights Dante’s rejection of established forms of literary composition; finally, Par., ix. 10-12 adds to the condemnation of contemporary greed while pointing to the divine attributes of the ‘sacred poem’. In light of the apostrophes’ dual function, it is thus probable that ‘unusual verses’, like the address of which it is part, cannot be interpreted narrowly but alludes both to the events around the gate of Dis and to the Commedia in its entirety.9 These are all insights of no little import; however, as I have already noted, they are a constant of the poem.

Texts and violence

While I am convinced that Dante did not intend the Nines to be assessed ‘vertically’, and that, only occasionally, such as the conjuncture of the Sixes, did he envisage the Commedia being read in such a manner, I nevertheless also believe that there might be some advantage in considering together cantos distinguished by the same number. I had better explain myself. If, in philological terms, the evidence is against the ‘vertical’ reading, at the same time, there may be non-philologically sanctioned reasons for associating the Nines, and hence for extending such an approach to other triads of canti too.

Reading the Nines together one cannot but be struck how certain broad concerns connect them: divine power, the organization of the afterlife, the feminine, angels, horror, paganism, the relationship between the classical and the Christian. These are of course motifs that return consistently throughout the Commedia, and that have been extensively explored by Dante scholarship. There is nothing distinctive here. Nevertheless, there is one theme that stretches across the three cantos – a theme that possibly is more insistent than any of the other topics included in them, but which, surprisingly, scholars studying the Nines have largely ignored. And yet, when one isolates our cantos, it is a topic that is almost impossible to disregard. I am thinking of violence – violence broadly understood as the act of inflicting physical and emotional suffering.

It is remarkable that Dantists should have paid little attention to the question of violence in the poet’s oeuvre.10 It is a problem that consistently returns across his works, and is at the core of his presentation of life on earth and in eternity. Furthermore, as much recent scholarship on the Middle Ages has argued, violence profoundly marked the medieval world.11 In particular, from the late eleventh century on, violence became ever more a feature of political, religious, intellectual, and artistic culture. Christianity, traditionally a religion of peace, was especially affected by the increased emphasis on violence.12 Although the language of violence is regularly employed in the New Testament, this is normally for metaphorical ends. Indeed, to guarantee the fundamental role of peace in Christianity, exegetes had interpreted the historical books of the Old Testament not as literal accounts of wars fought by the Jews, but as allegorical descriptions of spiritual struggles against the devil and his hosts.13 However, with the advent of the crusades and with the Church’s growing involvement in secular affairs, the militarization of Christianity passed from being a matter of symbolic representation to becoming a complex fact of life. In addition, violence was a subject variously discussed by clerics: from discussions of the legitimacy of the crusades, of the notion of just war, and of the limits of papal authority to traditional Scripturally inspired defences of caritas and pacifism. A fascination with violence was also ever more graphically visible in religious art and literature, from bloody depictions of Christ’s passion to the vividly evoked tortures of martyr narratives and of descriptions of Hell and Purgatory.14 Such texts, of course, exerted an influence on the Commedia; however, their influence pales before that of the classical epic,15 although their importance for Dante is probably akin to that of the vernacular chivalric tradition and of historical writing. However, what unites all these traditions, whether pagan or Christian, Latin or vernacular, is a persistent concern with violence. Dante’s sources are violent, as was much of his culture, and yet, despite this, we continue to show little concern for his views on the subject.

Each of the Nines repeatedly refers to acts of violence and to violent events. In fact, the range of allusions is remarkable. Thus, without any pretense at offering an exhaustive list, in Inferno ix, the confrontation outside the walls of Dis is presented as a siege,16 and embodiments of violence such as Erichtho, the Furies, and Medusa are evoked; in Purgatorio ix, we find tales of abduction (Tithonus, Ganymede), of rape (Ganymede again, Philomela), and of infanticide and cannibalism (Procne killing and cooking her son Itys before feeding him to his father Tereus);17 finally, in Paradiso ix, the contemporary world is depicted as dominated by violence: Ezzelino III da Romano’s ‘great assault’ (l. 30), Can Grande’s cruel defeat of the Paduan Guelphs in 1314 (ll. 46-48), Rizzardo da Camino’s murder in 1312 (ll. 49-51), and again in 1314 the beheading of four Ferrarese betrayed by the Bishop of Feltre (ll. 52-60). Moreover, the canto’s sense of history is one of neverending viciousness: Dido’s abandonment and suicide, the crucifixion, the crusades in Palestine and in the Languedoc, and the massacres that marked the siege of Marseille in 43 BCE (ll. 91-93) and that of Jericho (ll. 124-25). From the examples just cited, there would seem to be little doubt that Dante can be characterized as a writer drawn to violence and that the Commedia is a catalogue of brutality. Be that as it may; however what exactly was Dante’s attitude to violence? Specifically, what was his intellectual position on violence, a major question in late medieval culture? And what were his views as regards the representation of violence, namely, as regards descriptions of violence, the use of the terminology of violence, the treatment of figures and situations that the tradition categorized and portrayed as violent?

Let us begin by considering Dante’s presentation of the crucifixion, the event that, by the early-fourteenth century, had become symptomatic of his world’s fascination with graphic depictions of bloody violence and acute suffering:

[…] pria ch’altr’alma
del trïunfo di Cristo fu assunta.

Ben si convenne lei lasciar per palma
in alcun cielo de l’alta vittoria
che s’acquistò con l’una e l’altra palma.

[[…] before any other soul
of the triumph of Christ she [Rahab]was taken up.

It was apt indeed to leave her as a palm
in any heaven of the lofty victory
that was achieved with one and the other palm.] (Par., ix. 119-23)

In sharp contrast to the grisly detail of standard descriptions of Christ’s passion,18 Dante’s treatment is brief, allusive, and bloodless. There is no lingering here on the horrors and viciousness of Jesus’ torture and death. Indeed, this aspect of Dante’s portrayal is made more striking as it is accompanied by the martial imagery of the Christus triumphans, since this too is used with discretion and without violent overtones: the focus is entirely on the ‘lofty victory’ and its effects. Dante’s other references to the crucifixion, whether in the Commedia or in his other works, are equally restrained.19 It is clear that the poet was intent on distinguishing his presentation of Jesus’ sufferings from those of his contemporaries – a culturally significant fact that appears to have eluded Dante scholarship. Furthermore, if we assess Dante’s treatment of blood in the Nines, we discover additional evidence of the restraint with which he tackles matters that involve the spilling of blood. Sangue appears four times in our canti:

tre furïe infernal’ di sangue tinte.

[three infernal furies stained with blood.] (Inf., ix. 38)

Lo terzo, che di sopra s’ammassiccia,
porfido mi parea, sì fiammeggiante
come sangue che fuor di vena spiccia.

[The third, which from above was amassed,
seemed to me of porphyry, as flaming
as blood that gushes from a vein.] (Purg., ix. 100-02)

Troppo sarebbe larga la bigoncia
che ricevesse il sangue ferrarese,
e stanco chi ’l pesasse a oncia a oncia.

[Too broad would be the vat
that would receive the Ferrarese blood,
and tired he who would weigh it ounce by ounce.] (Par., ix. 55-57)

Ad un occaso quasi e ad un orto
Buggea siede e la terra ond’io fui,
che fé del sangue suo già caldo il porto.

[On one sunset almost and on one sunrise
Bougie sits and the land from which I was,
that once made warm with its blood its port.] (Par., ix. 91-93)

It is striking that Dante employed sangue literally only in the first of the above passages, and that he should have done so without embellishment. The other three occurrences are figurative. Sangue is used in a simile to establish the precise hue of the ‘flaming’ colour of the third step; while the remaining two instances are incorporated into short, yet highly allusive periphrases to describe respectively the brutal decapitation of four Ferrarese exiles and the blood-soaked horror of the sea battle that brought to an end the siege of Massilia. The poet’s purpose in fashioning the circumlocutions is clear: to avoid itemizing in literal terms the violent events that he was recalling, and hence to curtail the dramatic force, sensationalism, and gruesome detail that frequently accompanied descriptions of brutality in classical and medieval texts.20 The measured restraint of Dante’s approach to representing violence is immediately obvious when Par., ix. 91-93 is compared to its source in Book iii of Lucan’s Pharsalia: ‘That once made warm with its blood its port’ tones down ‘Blood foamed deep upon the wave, /and a crust of gore covered the sea’ (ll. 572-73). However, the real difference lies in each poet’s individual treatment of the naval engagement: Dante restricts it to one verse, Lucan extends it over 225 lines (ll. 538-762) chock-full of mutilation, slaughter, a gallery of excruciating deaths and bloodletting everywhere.

One might not unreasonably claim that I am not comparing like with like: Lucan was writing a historical epic about an uncompromising civil war; Dante, on the other hand, was recalling his providentially sanctioned journey through the Christian other world. Putting to one side that it is Dante himself who encourages us to compare his poem to Lucan’s (Inf., xxv. 94), what is rather more significant here is that the brevitas and reticentia that characterize the four ‘bloody’ passages are typical of the manner in which the poet handled violence. Thus, in Paradiso ix, he alluded to another brutal event, Can Grande’s slaughter of the Paduan Guelphs near Vicenza, by means of a periphrasis that makes no direct mention of even a single drop of blood:

ma tosto fia che Padova al palude
cangerà l’acqua che Vincenza bagna,
per essere al dover le genti crude.

[But soon it will happen that Padua at the swamp
will change the water that bathes Vicenza,
because its people are resistant to their duty.] (Par., ix. 46-48)

In fact, as if to ensure that his presentation of Can Grande’s actions is as sober as possible, Dante constructs it out of a series of interconnecting tropes: a mix of circumlocution, metonymy, and antonomasia. The poet acknowledged the reality of human brutality; however, he was determined to avoid doing so graphically.21 He consistently took the same approach, relying heavily on metaphorical displacement, single words, or a single qualifying epithet to refer to violent persons, acts of violence, and violent events. This representational diminutio is especially obvious in Dante’s treatment of one of the most macabre moments in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (vi. 412-676), the barbaric story of Procne and Philomela – a tale which so fascinated the medieval imagination that it received elaborations that went beyond even the viciousness of the original.22 Conversely, Dante merely mentions Philomela’s existence as a ‘rondinella’ [swallow], the transformation that allowed her to escape the horrors in which she had become embroiled – horrors, which the poet distilled into the vaguest of vague ‘primi guai’ [first woes] (Purg., ix. 13-15).23

There thus seems little doubt that Dante had strong reservations about explicit and sustained descriptions of violence. There are two principal and interconnected reasons for this, one literary, the other ideological. First, as ever, he was keen to distinguish his Christian comedía from classical tragedia and by extension, from the vernacular chivalric epic, contemporary chronicles, and accounts of the afterlife. Consequently, Dante drew attention to and called into question the frequently drawn-out, elaborate, and excessive treatment of carnage typical of epic and historical writing.24 It is thus suggestive that the only Latin ‘tragedy’ that is unambiguously remembered in each of the Nines – perhaps a new hint at their ‘vertical’ interconnectivity? – is the notoriously violent Pharsalia: Erichtho in Inferno ix, Caesar’s looting of the public treasury in Purgatorio ix, and the siege of Massilia in Paradiso ix.25 Yet, Dante reworked Lucan in a radically contrastive pianissimo and minor key. Furthermore, thanks to his obliquely restrained allusion to the siege of Jericho  ‘la prima gloria / di Iosüè in su la Terra Santa’ [the first glory of Joshua in the Holy Land] (Par., ix. 124-25) , the poet drew attention to the rather more tempered language of war characteristic of the Old Testament (Joshua 6. 20-21). Nonetheless, as is evident fom Par., ix. 124-25, when it came to violence, Dante felt the need to downplay even the solutions of Scripture.26 In any case, his misgivings as regards the validity of detailed evocations of cruelty and aggression were more than just metaliterary in nature. He rejected them for time-honoured ideological and moral reasons. In part, Dante seems to have been motivated by the standard view that words are the precursors of actions: the representation of violence, and especially the ‘tragic’ celebration of warfare and heroism, can lead to real brutal behaviour.27 More substantially, his ideas were shaped by his fundamental sense that God is Amore, and hence the antithesis of violence, and all-powerful. The divine Will asserts itself effortlessly (Inf., ix. 95-96), as is evident from the token energy that the messo exerts to defeat the massed infernal hordes defending Dis (ll. 89-90). Equally, the ‘lofty victory of Christ’s triumph’ is not presented as the result of a bloody sacrifice involving every fibre of Jesus’ body and personality – a view that had achieved considerable currency by the early fourteenth century , but as a feat that had involved merely ‘one and the other palm’ (Par., ix. 123). Ultimately, Dante was affirming his belief in Christ’s message of love with its stress on charity, respect for others, and the sanctity of human life. When Dante composed the Commedia, given the Church’s and Christianity’s increasing involvement with and legitimation of violence, to express reservations about this fraught rapprochement, even if subtlely, was a matter of no small purport. It aligned Dante with contemporary pacifist and minority opinion. At the same time, as his approval of Joshua’s victory makes clear, the poet was not against aggression that was divinely sanctioned, what the Old Testament termed ‘God’s wars’ (Numbers 21.14; I Samuel 18. 17, 25. 28).28

Dante’s position hints at the tensions inherent in late-medieval Christianity’s attitude to violence. Even if the Commedia’s primary emphasis is on an ordered universe ruled by a loving Creator and on a vision of earthly existence as ideally predicated on peace, Dante never ignored the reality of violence. Indeed, he accepted it as part of divine and mortal being. However, unlike the pagan deities, God’s use of force is a manifestation not of willful cruelty and aggression but of power perfectly exercised as love, wisdom, and justice (Inf., iii. 4-6). Divine violence is proportionate, as evidenced by the faultlessly calibrated nature of otherworldly punishment, a solution of last recourse, and executed at just the right moment (Par., xxii. 16-17). On the other hand, throughout the Commedia, human violence, like that of the ancient gods, is portrayed as arbitrary, excessive, and unjust. In particular, Paradiso ix provides ample evidence of this sad fact. Indeed, the strong bonds with which Dante bound the canto to Inferno ix highlight the infernal character of the contemporary world: the monstrous defenders of Dis find their earthly counterparts in rulers and clerics selfishly and bloodily safeguarding their own interests. Naturally, Dante acknowledged that, as with the conquest of the Holy Land, there were circumstances when violence was necessary; however, such acts of human violence are normally depicted as either endorsed by God or in defence of His divine order.29 Moreover, the quintessential miles Christi is a figure of peace, like the pilgrim and Virgil who, unarmed yet protected by God, succeed in besting an enemy that seems immeasurably superior. Indeed, as the ‘triumph of Christ’ established, those who belong to the celestial ‘militia’ achieve victory not through the exercise of violence but by having violence inflicted on them (Par., ix. 139-41).


One of the most accessible marks of Dante’s Christian pacificism, the point where poetics and ideology, form and ethics merge, is his reluctance to present directly even those acts of violence that have God’s approval. Emblematic in this respect is his treatment of the crusades. In general, Dante pays relatively little direct attention to crusading;30 however, and this is suggestive in ‘vertical’ terms, references to the crusades, albeit highly allusive, appear in each of the Nines. Although not all scholars agree, it is hard to imagine that the repeated mention of the Church’s neglect of the ‘Holy Land, / which little touches the Pope’s memory’ (‘la Terra Santa, / che poco tocca al papa la memoria’) (Par., ix. 125-26), an accusation which is almost immediately reiterated (ll. 136-38), is not supposed to evoke the crusades of the past, while appealing to the Pope to call for a new military effort to liberate Jerusalem. Indeed, lines 124-26 and 136-41 recall commonplaces of crusader literature, in particular of sermons in support of the crusades and of Occitan poetry commenting on their failure.31 Thus, the correspondences between the close of Paradiso ix and Guiraut Riquier’s bitter recrimination, ‘Charity and love and faith’, are noteworthy:

It would have been recovered, if this had been desired,
The place where Jesus Christ was born
And lived and was raised on the cross,
And the holy sepulchre, where he was placed.
But the wealthy have turned it into a marketplace,
Engaging only in operations for profit,
So God has not helped them. (41-47)32

Equally, remembering Joshua and Rahab,33 attacking the greed of the powerful for the crusaders’ lack of success,34 invoking St Peter,35 condemning those who ‘do not care about the Holy Land’,36 alluding to abandoned flocks and ‘shepherds’ as ‘wolves’ (Par., ix. 131-32),37 and mentioning Christ’s hands and victory through the cross38 are typical of the tropes employed by preachers (and poets) to build support for the crusades.

However, already in Inferno ix, Dante had delicately evoked the crusades and the liberation of Jerusalem, an event that is prefigured in the canto both by means of hints to earlier sieges of Jerusalem and through the viator’s and Virgil’s entry into Dis, which is presented as a Muslim stronghold (Inf., viii. 70-73).39 The infernal city is a grotesque parody of the contemporary earthly Jerusalem, a distortion that hints at the latter’s perverted state under Islamic rule. Inside its walls, there is no trace of the Holy Sepulchre; instead the ‘great plain’ (‘grande campagna’) (l. 110) is full of ‘sepulchres’ (‘sepulcri) (l. 115) housing the souls of heretics who denied the Resurrection, one of whom, in addition, appears as an abnormal embodiment of the dead Christ standing in the tomb, the so-called Imago pietatis (Inf., x. 32-33). By ‘entering’ (‘’ntrammo’) (Inf., ix. 106) the ‘fortress’ (‘fortezza’) (l. 108) thanks to God’s grace, the pilgrim and Virgil can be viewed as symbolizing crusaders who have successfully achieved their goal – and it ought to be noted here that it was another commonplace to present fighting in the Holy Land as a peregrinatio rather than as an act of war.40 The crusaders were the crucesignati, those who were ‘signed with the cross’, and their sacred endorsement was supported by two Scriptural auctoritates, Ezekiel 9. 3-11 and Revelation 7. 2-3, 9.41 Significantly, the same two Biblical passages are the principal sources behind the pilgrim’s own ‘signing’:

Sette P ne la fronte mi descrisse
col punton de la spada, e ‘Fa’ che lavi,
quando sè dentro, queste piaghe’ disse.

[Seven Ps on my forehead he inscribed
with the tip of his sword, and ‘Ensure you wash,
when you are inside, these wounds’ he said.] (Purg., ix. 112-14)

Purgatorio ix thus intertextually confirms Dante-personaggio’s status as a ‘crusader’,42 which the poet had first adumbrated in Inferno ix, although it is not until Paradiso ix that he referred to the crusades more directly. This set of ‘vertical’ correspondences is unquestionably striking, and cannot but require that I partially modify my earlier position as regards the validity of undertaking a ‘vertical’ reading of the Nines. While I remain convinced that Dante did not intend the cantos to be read ‘vertically’, it does nonetheless seem to be the case that he introduced into each of them references to the crusades – a coherent and consistent structure whose full meaning is best appreciated when the three cantos are examined together. Thus, on the basis of the evidence offered by the Nines, I should like to suggest that, if a ‘vertical’ reading at the macro level of the canto does not seem to be authorially endorsed, on the other hand, such a reading does seem to be authorized by Dante at the micro level of the theme of the crusades. In fact, the events at the gate of Purgatory bring to mind another important crusader motif. The Church promised soldiers who died fighting to free the Holy Sepulchre that the portae Paradisi would be miraculously opened to them without their having to confess their sins and undergo purgation.43 In contrast, Dante affirms the need for his unarmed living ‘crusader’ to pass through the ‘sacred door’ (‘porta sacrata’) (Purg., ix. 130) of Purgatory, and so fully repent his sins and purge his sinful dispositions, before being permitted to proceed to Heaven. The question thus arises whether the poet’s juxtaposing treatment implies a veiled criticism of the Church’s use of indulgences to convince people to fight on its behalf. In light of his normal reservations regarding violence – as with other acts of war, Dante’s treatment of the crusades in the Nines is typically understated and cursory , such a censure would not be out of place. Once again, the contradictions inherent in late-medieval Christianity’s approach to violence leave their ‘sign’ on the fabric of the Commedia.


‘Without any violence’ (‘sanz’alcuna guerra’) (Inf., ix. 106), the expression with which Dante fixed the manner of the viator and Virgil’s miraculous entry into the ‘fortress’ (l. 108) of Dis, effectively captures the principal drift of my argument as regards the poet’s attitude to violence, which the Nines, helpfully though not systematically, illustrate. What the phrase cannot do, naturally, is cast light on the efficacy of reading the Commedia ‘vertically’. I remain unconvinced that Dante intended the three canti to be assessed ‘vertically’, or that he judged this a hermeneutic approach normally appropriate for his poem. Nonetheless, as far as the crusades are concerned, I do think that the poet deemed our cantos’ allusions to these as constituting a single system. This would imply that Dante may have deliberately introduced partial ‘vertical’ interconnections between canti distinguished by the same number. Mine is nothing more than a tentative suggestion; although I hope that some of the other essays in this and future volumes of Vertical Readings in Dante’s ‘Comedy’ may provide corroborating evidence for my proposal. In some ways, what I found most fruitful about evaluating the Nines ‘vertically’ was the unexpected insights this mode of reading offered into Dante’s compositional practices which, otherwise, I would undoubtedly have missed. Thus, while the repetition of palma, -e in Inferno ix  ‘battiensi a palme’ [struck themselves with their palms] (l. 50) – and in Paradiso ix – ‘con l’una e l’altra palma’ [one and the other palm] (l. 123) – seems calculated to establish a vivid contrast between the Furies and Christ, as well as their respective military prowess, a thin, almost invisible thread also connects the term to Purgatorio ix. As commentators observe, the dream of the eagle with its evocation of Ganymede (ll. 19-27) finds its precedent both in Aeneid v. 254-57 and in Metamorphoses x. 155-61. Virgil’s vignette includes the detail that ‘his aged guardians in vain stretch out their palms to the stars’ (ll. 256-57). Treating the cantos ‘vertically’, the upraised palmae of the ‘guardians’ are eye-catching. Do their ‘palms’ offer a clue as to how, as Dante composed a canto, other canti characterized by the same number could, at a deep structure, exert an influence on his formal choices? Indeed, since Dante’s verses are closer to Virgil’s than to Ovid’s, could ‘le feroci Erine’ [the fierce Erinyes] (Inf., ix. 45) have exercised some sort of pull on his opting for the former? It is for this and the other unexpected and highly alluring glimpses44 into how Dante may have woven the fabric of the Commedia that I am most grateful to have been granted the opportunity to read the Nines ‘vertically’.

1 The video of this lecture is available at the Cambridge Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy website,

My aim in this chapter is to recapture something of the range and energy of my spoken presentation. In order to do this and keep to the assigned word-limit, I am not able to document fully some of my claims. For a broader and better-documented ‘vertical reading’ of the Nines – approximately double the length of this one – see my ‘Reading the Commedia’s IXs “Vertically”: From Addresses to the Reader to crucesignati and the Ecloga Theoduli’, L’Alighieri 44 (2014), 5-36.

2 All translations are my own. My aim is syntactic and semantic accuracy rather than elegance.

3 For an excellent discussion of the tradition of reading the Commedia ‘vertically’, see, in this collection, Simon A. Gilson, ‘The Wheeling Sevens’.

4 See Charles S. Singleton, ‘The Vistas in Retrospect’, Modern Language Notes 81:1 (1966), 55-80.

5 See Amilcare A. Iannucci, ‘Autoesegesi dantesca: la tecnica dell’“episodio parallelo”’, Lettere italiane 33 (1981), 305-28.

6 See ‘pianto’/‘tanto’ (Inf., ix. 44, 48 and Par., ix. 5, 9); ‘alto’/‘assalto’ (Inf., ix. 50, 54 and Par., ix. 28, 30); ‘sembiante’/‘davante’ (Inf., ix. 101, 103 and Par., ix. 64, 66); ‘bagna’ (Inf., ix. 114 and Par., ix. 47); ‘cruda’ (Inf., ix 23) and ‘crude’ (Par., ix. 48); ‘chiuso’ (Inf., ix. 55), ‘chiudessi’ (Inf., ix. 60) and ‘richiude’ (Par., ix. 44); ‘disio’ (Inf., ix. 107) and ‘disii’ (Par., ix. 79).

7 See Roberto Antonelli, ‘Tempo testuale e tempo rimico. Costruzione del testo e critica nella poesia rimata’, Critica del testo 1 (1998), 177-201.

8 See Zygmunt G. Barański, ‘Magister satiricus: Preliminary Notes on Dante, Horace and the Middle Ages’, in Language and Style in Dante, ed. by John C. Barnes and Michelangelo Zaccarello (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013), pp. 13-61.

9 See Dante Alighieri, Inferno, ed. by Robert M. Durling and Ronald L. Martinez (New York and London: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 150.

10 But see Zygmunt G. Barański, ‘“E cominciare stormo”: Notes on Dante’s Sieges’, in ‘Legato con amore in un volume’. Essays in Honour of John A. Scott, ed. by John J. Kinder and Diana Glenn (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2013), pp. 175-203; Roberto Gigliucci, Lo spettacolo della morte. Estetica e ideologia del macabro nella letteratura medievale (Anzio: De Rubeis, 1994), pp. 47-52, 171-79; Robert Hollander, ‘Dante and the Martial Epic’, Medievalia 12 (1986), 67-91; Anne C. Leone, ‘Sangue perfetto’: Scientific, Sacrificial and Semiotic Blood in Dante (PhD dissertation, University of Cambridge, 2010), pp. 68-121; Luca Marcozzi, ‘“La guerra del cammino”: metafore belliche nel viaggio dantesco’, in La metafora in Dante, ed. by Marco Ariani (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2008), pp. 59-112; Jeffrey T. Schnapp, The Transfiguration of History at the Center of Dante’s ‘Paradise’ (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), pp. 14-69; War and Peace in Dante, ed. by John C. Barnes and Daragh O’Connell (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015).

11 See, for instance, Christiane Raynaud, La Violence au moyen âge, XIIIe-XVe siècle (Paris: Léopard d’Or, 1990); Hannah Skoda, Medieval Violence: Physical Brutality in Northern France, 1270-1330 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), esp. pp. 1-49; ‘A Great Effusion of Blood’? Interpreting Medieval Violence, ed. by Mark D. Meyerson, Daniel Thierry, and Oren Falk (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004); La Violence dans le monde médiévale (Aix-en-Provence: CUER MA, Université de Provence, 1994). See also footnotes 12, 14, and 20.

12 On Christianity and violence in the Middle Ages, see at least Caroline Walker Bynum, ‘Violent Imagery in Late Medieval Piety’, Bulletin of German Historical Institute 30 (2002), 1-36; Franco Cardini, “Introduzione”, in San Bernardino da Siena, La battaglia e il saccheggio del Paradiso, cioè della Gerusalemme celeste, ed. by Franco Cardini (Siena: Edizioni Cantagalli, 1979), pp. 5-62; Jean Flori, La Guerre sainte. La Formation de l’idée de croisade dans l’Occident chrétien (Paris: Aubier, 2001); Frederick H. Russell, The Just War in the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975); ‘Militia Christi’ e Crociata nei secoli XI-XIII (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1992).

13 See Réginald Grégoire, ‘Esegesi biblica e “militia Christi”’, in ‘Militia Christi’, pp. 21-45 (p. 25); Katherine Allen Smith, War and the Making of Medieval Monastic Culture (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2011), pp. 11-13.

14 See, for instance, Jérôme Baschet, Les Justices de l’au-delà: Les Répresentations de l’enfer en France et en Italie (XIIe-XVe siècle) (Rome: École Française de Rome, 1993); Brigitte Cazelles, The Lady as Saint: A Collection of French Hagiographic Romances of the Thirteenth Century (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991), pp. 43-61; Gigliucci, Lo spettacolo, pp. 119-45; Sarah Kay, ‘The Sublime Body of the Martyr: Violence in Early Romance Saints’ Lives’, in Violence in Medieval Society, ed. by Richard W. Kaeuper (Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2000), pp. 3-20; Larissa Tracy, Torture and Brutality in Medieval Literature (Cambridge: Brewer, 2012), pp. 31-69. On medieval attitudes to blood, see Bettina Bildhauer, Medieval Blood (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2006); Caroline Walker Bynum, Wonderful Blood. Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

15 See Gigliucci, Lo spettacolo, pp. 15-35.

16 See Barański, ‘“E cominciare stormo”’, pp. 182-93.

17 See Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, ed. by Robert M. Durling and Ronald L. Martinez (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 153.

18 See, for instance, Sarah Beckwith, Christ’s Body: Identity, Culture and Society in Late Medieval Writings (London: Routledge, 1993); Caroline Walker Bynum, ‘The Body of Christ in the Later Middle Ages: A Reply to Leo Steinberg’, in her Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (New York: Zone Books, 1992), pp. 79-117, and ‘The Blood of Christ in the Later Middle Ages’, Church History, 71 (2002), 685-715; Gavin I. Langmuir, ‘The Tortures of the Body of Christ’, in Christendom and its Discontents, ed. by Scott L. Waugh and Peter D. Diehl (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 287-309.

19 See, for instance, Purg., vi. 118-19, xxiii. 74-75, xxxiii. 63; Par., xi. 32-33, xiii. 40-42, xx. 105, xxxi. 2-3, xxxii. 128-29; Mon., ii. 11.

20 See, for instance, Jody Enders, The Medieval Theater of Cruelty: Rhetoric, Memory, Violence (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999); Gigliucci, Lo spettacolo; Kathryn Gravdal, Ravishing Maidens: Writing Rape in Medieval French Literature and Law (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991); Leone, ‘Sangue perfetto’, pp. 80-88; Tracy, Torture and Brutality: Violence Against Women in Medieval Texts, ed. by Anna Roberts (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1998); Violence in Medieval Courtly Literature: A Casebook, ed. by Albrecht Classen (New York: Routledge, 2004); Writing War: Medieval Literary Responses to Warfare, ed. by Corinne Saunders, Françoise Le Saux, and Neil Thomas (Cambridge: Brewer, 2004).

21 In this regard, it is striking that in the Nines the most sustained and striking descriptions of violence all relate to natural phenomena: the storm (Inf., ix, 64-72), the ‘biscia’ (Inf., ix. 76-78), and the eagle (Purg., ix. 20-30).

22 See Mark Amsler, ‘Rape and Silence: Ovid’s Mythography and Medieval Readers’, in Representations of Rape in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, ed. by Elizabeth Robertson and Christine Rose (New York: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 61-96; Jane E. Burns, Bodytalk: When Women Speak in Old French Literature (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), pp. 115-50; Madeleine Jeay, ‘Consuming Passions: Variations on the Eaten Heart Theme’, in Violence Against Women, pp. 75-96.

23 Dante’s treatment of the two sisters is equally understated elsewhere in the Commedia: see Purg., xvii. 19-20.

24 Marcozzi examines ‘il rifiuto dantesco dell’ideale eroico della guerra e della rappresentazione letteraria a essa legata’ (‘“La guerra”’, p. 81, and see also p. 82).

25 On Lucan as the key model for medieval depictions of the horrors of war, see Jessie Crosland, ‘Lucan in the Middle Ages: With Special Reference to the Old French Epic’, The Modern Language Review 25 (1930), 32-51.

26 In doing this, Dante was not calling into question God’s actions but the manner in which the scribae Dei had chosen to describe these. Since the twelfth century, it had become increasingly recognized that, while God was the ‘author’ of the events recorded in, and the senses of, Scripture, its human authors were responsible for the lictera, the form in which these were granted expression. See Alastair Minnis, Medieval Theory of Authorship: Scholastic Literary Attitudes in the Later Middle Ages (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2nd revised edn 2010).

27 See Edwin D. Craun, Lies, Slander, and Obscenity in Medieval English Literature: Pastoral Rhetoric and the Deviant Speaker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 51-52, 160-61. See also Marcozzi, ‘“La guerra”’, pp. 80-81.

28 On Inferno xxviii as constituting the limit case of Dante’s representation of violence and bloodshed, as well as its moderate treatment of bloody warfare when compared to standard classical and medieval descriptions, see Barański, ‘“E cominciare stormo”’, pp. 186-87.

29 On the pilgrim having recourse to violence against Pier delle Vigne and Bocca, see Barański, ‘Reading’, p. 25, n. 51.

30 See Brenda Deen Schildgen, Dante and the Orient (Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2002), pp. 45-91; Lawrence Warner, ‘Dante’s Ulysses and the Erotics of Crusading’, Dante Studies 116 (1998), 65-93; Mary Alexandra Watt, The Cross that Dante Bears (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2005).

31 On preaching and the crusades, see Christoph T. Maier, Crusade Propaganda and Ideology: Model Sermons for the Preaching of the Cross (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000; all references to crusade sermons are taken from this edition). On the troubadours, see Saverio Guida, ‘Le canzoni di crociata francesi e provenzali’, in ‘Militia Christi’, pp. 403-41.

32 Monica Longobardi, ‘I vers del trovatore Guiraut Riquier’, Studi mediolatini e volgari 29 (1982-83), 17-163 (p. 69). Compare too ‘and the Sepulchre is completely forgotten/and the land where Jesus Christ was born’ (49-50), in ‘Even if I have no joy or pleasure’, in Il trovatore Peire Cardenal, ed. by Sergio Vatteroni, 2 vols (Modena: Mucchi, 2013), II, p. 661. See also Elizabeth Siberry, Criticism of Crusading, 1095-1274 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985).

33 Rahab: James of Vitry, Sermo ii. 5 (p. 102); Gilbert of Tournai, Sermo i. 20 (p. 188). Joshua: Eudes of Châteauroux, Sermo ii. 10 (p. 150); Bertrand de la Tour, Sermo iii (pp. 244-46). On Joshua see also Smith, War and the Making, pp. 12, 14, 17; Warner, ‘Dante’s Ulysses’, p. 82.

34 Eudes of Châteauroux, Sermo v. 11, 13 (pp. 172-74). See also, tellingly, Folchetto’s crusade song: ‘Singing becomes painful for me’ (25-60), in Le poesie di Folchetto di Marsiglia, ed. by Paolo Squillacioti (Pisa: Pacini, 1999), pp. 328-30; Peire Cardenal, ‘Even if I have no joy or pleasure’ (45-48), in Vatteroni, p. 661. See also Guida, ‘Le canzoni’, p. 418.

35 Eudes of Châteauroux, Sermo iv. 14 (p. 164). See also Guida, ‘Le canzoni’, pp. 422, 439.

36 James of Vitry, Sermo i. 8 (p. 88). See also Folchetto’s ‘From now on I don’t know a reason’, in Squillacioti, pp. 370-75, esp. ll. 1-33 (pp. 370-73).

37 See, for instance, Humbert of Romans, Sermo i. 3 (p. 222); Huon de Saint-Quentin, ‘Jerusalem weeps’ (12-20), in Arié Serper, Huon de Saint-Quentin: Poète satirique et lyrique. Étude historique et édition des textes (Potomac, Studia Humanitatis, 1983), pp. 84-85; Peire Cardenal, ‘Clerics pretend to be shepherds’ (1-12), in Vatteroni, I, pp. 472-73.

38 James of Vitry, Sermo ii. 6 (p. 104), 14 (p. 110). See also Gilbert of Tournai, Sermo iii. 7 (p. 200).

39 See Barański, ‘“E cominciare stormo”’, p. 183; Warner, ‘Dante’s Ulysses’, p. 65.

40 See Cole, The Preaching, pp. 2-4 and passim. See also Picone, ‘Paradiso IX’, p. 80.

41 James of Vitry, Sermo i. 5, 6 (p. 86), 9 (p. 88), 13 (p. 92); Eudes of Châteauroux, Sermo v. 1, 2, 3, 4 (pp. 166-68), 7, 8 (p. 170), 11 (p. 172); Gilbert of Tournai, Sermo i. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (pp. 176-78), 10 (p. 180), 25 (p. 190), ii. 1 (p. 192), iii. 1, 2 (p. 198), 7 (p. 200).

42 See also Schildgen, Dante, pp. 81-82; Schnapp, The Transfiguration, p. 103; Watt, The Cross.

43 James of Vitry, Sermo ii. 18-19 (p. 112); Gilbert of Tournai, Sermo i. 20 (p. 188). See Cole, The Preaching, p. 208.

44 See Barański, ‘Reading’, pp. 5-35.