“Qui vive la pietà quando è ben morta.
Chi é più scellerato che colui
che al giudicio divin passion porta?”
– Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.

“Here pity only lives when it is dead:
for who can be more impious than he
who links God’s judgment to passivity?”
– Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.

Williams, Hugh William. View of Thebes. Benaki Museum, 1819. Watercolor..jpg
Williams, Hugh William. View of Thebes. Benaki Museum, 1819. Watercolor.

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“Ella sen va notando lenta lenta:
rota e discende, ma non me n’accorgo
se non ch’al viso e di sotto mi venta.”

“Slowly, slowly, swimming, he moves on;
he wheels and he descends, but I feel only
the wind upon my face and the wind rising.”

Botticelli, Sandro. The Violent and Geryon. 1495.

Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.
Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.
Botticelli, Sandro. The Violent and Geryon. 1495.

Botticelli, Sandro. Violent against others. 1495.

“Non ti rimembra di quelle parole
con le quai la tua Etica pertratta
le tre disposizion che il ciel non vuole,
incontinenza, malizia, e la matta
bestialitade?”

“Have you forgotten, then, the words with which
your Ethics treats of those three dispositions
that strike at Heaven’s will: incontinence
and malice and mad bestiality?”

“‘Filosofia’, mi disse, ‘a chi la intende,
nota, non pure in una sola parte,
come natura lo suo corso prende
dal divino intelletto e da sua arte:
e se tu ben la tua Fisica note,
tu troverai, non dopo molte carte,
che l’arte vostra quella, quanto puote,
segue, come il maestro fa il discente:
sì che vostr’arte a Dio quasi è nepote.
Da queste due, se tu ti rechi a mente
lo Genesì dal principio, conviene
prender sua vita ed avanzar la gente;
e perché l’usuriere altra via tiene,
per sé natura e per la sua seguace
dispregia, poi che in altro pon la spene.”

“‘Philosophy, for one who understands,
points out, and not in just one place,’ he said,
‘how nature follows—as she takes her course–
the Divine Intellect and Divine Art;
and if you read your Physics carefully,
not many pages from the start, you’ll see
that when it can, your art would follow nature,
just as a pupil imitates his master;
so that your art is almost God’s grandchild.
From these two, art and nature, it is fitting,
if you recall how Genesis begins,
for men to make their way, to gain their living;
and since the usurer prefers another
pathway, he scorns both nature in herself
and art, her follower; his hope is elsewhere.”

“God creates nature, and human art springs from and imitates nature [Aristotle]. Usury thus offends both nature (God’s ‘child’) and art (His ‘grandchild’).”

“And to the man he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’”

3.17.19.png

1. Botticelli, Sandro. Violent against others. 1495.
2. Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.
3. Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.
4. Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.
5. Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.
6. Notes by Peter Armour
7. Genesis 3:17-19 (NRSV).
8. Crumb, Robert, and Robert Alter. The Book of Genesis Illustrated.

“O sol, che sani ogni vista turbata,
tu mi contenti sì quando tu solvi,
che, non men che saper, dubbiar m’aggrada.”

“O sun, that heals all sight that is perplexed,
when I ask you, your answer so contents
that doubting pleases me as much as knowing.”

Michelangelo. The Creation of the Sun, Moon and Vegetation. Sistine Chapel, Vatican City. 1511. Fresco..jpg

Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.
Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.
Michelangelo. The Creation of the Sun, Moon and Vegetation. Sistine Chapel, Vatican City. 1511. Fresco.

“e quivi, per l’orribile soperchio
del puzzo che il profondo abisso gitta,
ci raccostammo dietro ad un coperchio
d’un grand’avello, ov’io vidi una scritta
che diceva: ‘Anastasio papa guardo,
lo qual trasse Fotin della via dritta’.”
– Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.

“And here, because of the outrageous stench
thrown up in excess by that deep abyss,
we drew back till we were behind the lid
of a great tomb, on which i made out this,
inscribed: ‘I hold Pope Anastasius,
enticed to leave the true path by Photinus.'”
– Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.

“Anastasius II, Pope from 496-8, at a time when the doctrine of Christ’s two natures, as God and man, was the subject of a growing rift between the Western (Latin) and Eastern (Greek) Churches. By showing favor to the Greek cleric Photinus, who had been sent to negotiate with him, Anastasius revealed his support for the heretic Acacius of Constantinople (died 481), who had denied Christ’s divinity.” – Notes by Peter Armour

Botticelli, Sandro. The punishment of the heretics. 1495.
Botticelli, Sandro. The punishment of the heretics. 1495.

Fortune

“Colui lo cui saper tutto trascende,
fece li cieli, e diè lor chi conduce,
sì che ogni parte ad ogni parte splende,
distribuendo egualmente la luce:
similemente, agli splendor mondani
ordinò general ministra e duce
che permutasse a tempo li ben vani
di gente in gente e d’uno in altro sangue,
oltre la difension di senni umani;
per che una gente impera ed altra langue,
seguendo lo giudicio di costei
che è occulto come in erba l’angue.
Vostro saver non ha contrasto a lei;
ella provvede, giudica, e persegue
suo regno come il loro gli altri Dei.”
– Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.

“Who made the heavens and who gave them guides
was He whose wisdom transcends everything;
that every part may shine unto the other,
He had the light apportioned equally;
similarly, for worldly splendors, He
ordained a general minister and guide
to shift, from time to time, those empty goods
from nation unto nation, clan to clan,
in ways that human reason can’t prevent;
just so, one people rules, one languishes,
obeying the decision she has given,
which, like a serpent in the grass, is hidden.
Your knowledge cannot stand against her force;
for she foresees and judges and maintains
her kingdom as the other gods do theirs.”
– Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.

Kuntze, Taddeo. Fortune. 1754. Oil on canvas.Kuntze, Taddeo. Fortune.

Blake, William. Cerberus. 1827. Chalk, ink, pen, pencil, and watercolour on paper..jpg

. . . “Ciacco, il tuo affanno
mi pesa sì, che al lagrimar m’invita:
ma dimmi, se tu sai, a che verranno
li cittadin della città partita;
s’alcun v’è giusto; e dimmi la cagione
perché l’ha tanta discordia assalita”.

. . . “Ciacco, your suffering
so weighs on me that I am forced to weep;
but tell me, if you know, what end awaits
the citizens of that divided city;
is any just man there? Tell me the reason
why it has been assailed by so much schism.”

“Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”

18.23

Blake, William. Cerberus. 1827.
Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.
Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.
Genesis 18:23 (NRSV)
Crumb, Robert, and Robert Alter. The Book of Genesis Illustrated.