Readings on the Inferno of Dante

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009 - 616 pages
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CANTO XIX. The Eighth Circle (continued'). The Third Bolgia. The Simonists. Pope Nicholas III. Allusions To Boniface VIII And Clement V. The Poets, at the conclusion of the last canto, were in the act of turning away in disgust from the loathsome slough in which were immersed the Flatterers and Parasites, and we are to understand that they have walked on along the bridgeway, until they can see down into the Third Bolgia or Valley. Benvenuto divides the canto into four parts. In Division I, from v. I to v. 30, the punishment of the Simonists is minutely described. In Division II, from v. 31 to v. 66, Dante relates his conversation with Nicholas III, a simoniacal Pope of the Orsini family. In Division III, from v. 67 to v. 87, Nicholas III speaks of the other simoniacal Popes. In Division IV, from v. 88 to v. 133, Dante reprehends the avarice of the chief pastors of the church. Division I. We may suppose that, while the Poets have been traversing the space between the Second and the Third Bolge, Virgil has told Dante that he is about to witness the punishment of the Simonists, and more particularly that of the simoniacal Popes. No crime would more thoroughly rouse Dante's indignation than corruption among the chiefs of the church. His ideal was upright secular government under the emperor, softened and sanctified by perfect purity in the spiritual guidance of the church under her appointed rulers. Nowhere did he find the realization of his ideal. The Emperors were indifferent, and the hierarchy was corrupt to the very core. He breaks out into a storm of indignation against the latter, calling them the followers of Simon Magus, who (Actsvm, 9 et seq.) offered money to St. Peter to endue him with the faculty of conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost w...

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