Dante: Learned Scholar or wise genius?

(veja em Português)

First, take a look at what  have said and it is a perfect piece of common sense and judgement, to frame up what we are going to discuss here.

One unforeseen consequence of my dwellings with Dante’s works is (or was),at the end of the day,  to picture out what Dante really was, better yet, really is and what does he want?

My strategy was to start the same way you use in Main Frame Computers to re start the machine if it is down. It is done through what is called bootstrap for system restarts and requires reading the log of information related to it to function. To do that you use a sort of communication procedure which contains information that is necessary to restart processing, after what you read from the machine the log it has accumulated.

In other words, it doesn’t matter where you are, after you have the machine running, you can go anywhere, including to the adequate starting point, which, obviously, you don’t know a priori where it is.

Dante present to us the same problem: you got to be on board to see where it starts and ends, and where and how he wants to go.

I started to think about this after boot strapping the subject at the first blog post, which is the address I point out as the starting point, My bootstrapping on Dante was imagined like that:

I gave two addresses with a complete annotated text of The Divine Comedy, University of Texas and the amazing site of Columbia University headed by one of the most renowned specialists in Dante which is Dr. Teodolinda Barolini.

I moved a little bit with what can be read at Why Comedy? mentioning again both Universities for English readers and Helder Rocha for Portuguese readers and a Spanish abstract, which can be also read by Portuguese speaking persons.

I then added a summarized version at the youtube and left aside the Problem of Beatrice as his muse, once that Dante was already married and also left aside the obvious problem of concupiscence which is apparent throughout, specially considering the midlife crisis he was stuck with.

Provisorily, I lived with the following which seemed to me enough, i.e., the whole thing was an Medieval Allegory, which typically had four aspects, thinking in Christian faith:

  1. The first is simply the literal interpretation of the events of the story for historical purposes with no underlying meaning.
  2. The second is called typological: it connects the events of the Old Testament with the New Testament; in particular drawing allegorical connections between the events of Christ’s life with the stories of the Old Testament.
  3. The third is moral (or tropological), which is how one should act in the present, the “moral of the story”.
  4. The fourth type of interpretation is anagogical, dealing with the future events of Christian history, heaven, hell, the last judgment; it deals with prophecies.

It seemed to me, then, that the commentators of the Divine Comedy point to three aspects:

  • The poetic-literary account
  • The psycho-philosophical-theological sense
  • The political-social sense
The fourth aspect would be Wisdom, specially in the metaphysical sense, which also seemed to me that was lost for good reason: at the time of Dante it was initiatory, i.e., requires initiation, and involves concepts dating from paganism or earlier, its variations through so-called “hidden” visions of wisdom. These knowledge aimed, or aim, for those who still practise them, such as Masons, Rosicrucians, Kabala, etc., Wisdom, which is not knowledge or Intelligence, but to know how to judge. By no means I do not want to imply that Catholicism doesn’t have it, but it is sort of limited by salvation or damnation only and Science, which would be today the option, didn’t exist at Dante’s time. Galileo would take 320 years to use his text and give the world a scientific way of understanding the Universe, as explained in the Introduction to this paper. The problem is that as for Modern Science, any philosophy, esoterism, occult sciences, the human being wants to know what is going to happen, or what is the result of doing this or that. The occult involves prediction of the future and divination, which for obvious reasons is condemnable. Human thought systems are not and have never been cut black and white, and it took a long time to arrive as it is today, reasonably determined what is “true” or what is “false”,  if we arrived at all at that pointIt is in quotation marks because in fact, whether science or religion, we tend to distinguish between “good” and “bad”. The Bible and the religions that support it condemn magic of any nature, including divination and foresight. The knowledge that engages in this has become, for this reason, “hidden.” Of course, driven by the Holy Office that sent to the fire anyone who disagreed with Rome.

But Dante would not be Dante if he were superstitious. He was far more subtle than it seems at first sight. His wisdom has been engraved and will be eternally valid, but to perceive it, we have to enter not only into the symbolism involved, but also in the “loaded” words, according to the criteria of his time.  As I tried to “decode” all that,  it became fairly apparent that although he might have been a Templar and believed in astrology,  (and left any doubt that he was catholic to the bone), the advance that humanity has had in the 500 years that separate us from him, didn’t shake down his idea of wisdom. He is worth his fame and completely justifies it once you start to understand where he wanted to get to.

Why, then, this post? To confirm what is spreaded out all over the site blog?

No!!!!!!!!! There is no agreement to all that, by far! And to me, we readers, which it is the problem! The problem resides on how you read it!

To illustrate what I mean I will use a very sophisticated reader and comentator of Dante, Edward Moore, who, from what I could find out, edited on Dante the following studies, practically detailing readings of Dante’s works:

Studies in Dante – First Series Scripture and Classical Authors in Dante

e-moore-1rst-series.jpg

Studies in Dante – Second Series – Miscelaneous Essays e-moore-2nd-series.jpg

Studies in Dante – Third Series – Miscellaneous Essays

e-moore-miscellaneous-essays.jpg

This author is extensively used by Auerbach in the Chapter IV of his book: Dante Poet of the Secular World and cross referencing him with the original quoted by Auerbach, I had a sensation (which I already had with Auerbach) that they kind of confront Dante’s vested use of all the above subjects stressing that it didn’t quite match to the originals. This obviously, under their optics, what might be a problem of incapability of seeing it under Dante’s optics, which is not possible to know what it was.

Another thing which came to my mind was that since Dante have summarized the state of the art of knowledge of his time in Convivio, why raise doubts and why not simply take it as Dante had put it, once that the elegant and refined format Dante used had to convey the poetry and not the exact notion of which Dante was referring to.

7 liberal arts sta. M Novella

Seven Liberal Arts Santa Maria Novella Florence

In the history of education, the seven liberal arts (or liberal arts) comprised two groups of studies: the trivium and the quadrivium. Studies in the trivium involved grammardialectic (logic), and rhetoric; and studies in the quadrivium involved arithmeticmusicgeometry, and astronomy (astrology).

Obviously, Dante was also educated, why, then raise issues about exactly what each of these notions were and elaborate whether if Dante really knew what it was all about?

Dante stepped up on the shoulders of giants and became a giant himself period.

over the shoulder of giants

He was a genius, learned and wise

I didn’t mentioned educated on purpose, because:

Educated , implies exposure to, and absorption of, a fairly large spectrum of accumulated human learning. Such persons have at least a minimal understanding of subjects of formal education and a deep knowledge of some specific subject.

A learned person on the other hand, is a person who not only has knowledge and information, but distributes it freely and selflessly and is also sensitive to all life (humans, animals or plants) he or she interacts with.

Wisdom is the capability to judge and take a stand on your knowlegde obtained by education and experience and within the limits of your intelligence.

Wisdom is the fruit in the tree of Knowledge!

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has it right:

Dante’s engagement with philosophy cannot be studied apart from his vocation as a writer, in which he sought to raise the level of public discourse by educating his countrymen and inspiring them to pursue happiness in the contemplative life. He was one of the most learned Italian laymen of his day, intimately familiar with Aristotelian logic and natural philosophy, theology (he had a special affinity for the thought of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas), and classical literature. His writings reflect this in their mingling of philosophical and theological language, invoking Aristotle and the neo-Platonists side by side with the poet of the psalms. Like Aquinas, Dante wished to summon his audience to the practice of philosophical wisdom, though by means of truths embedded in his own poetry, rather than mysteriously embodied in scripture.

 

Advertisements

Critica a Dante e as Ciências Ocultas e as Sociedades Secretas

Neste artigo, vamos contra argumentar os conteúdos do artigo Dante e as Ciências Ocultas e as Sociedades Secretas

 I-Rene Guenon L’Esoterisme de Dante

Cito de Sophia Perennis

“Nos meados do século XIX, dois estudiosos, Gabriele Rossetti e Eugene Aroux, apontaram certos significados esotéricos no trabalho de Dante Alighieri, notadamente A Divina Comedia. Em parte com base em seus conhecimentos, Guénon, em 1925, publicou O Esoterismo de Dante. Das teses de Gabriele Rossetti e Eugene Aroux, Guénon retém apenas os elementos que comprovam a existência de tais significados ocultos; mas ele também deixa claro que o esoterismo não é ‘heresia’ e que uma doutrina reservada para uma elite pode se sobrepor ao ensino dado aos fiéis sem se opor a isso. No presente volume, juntamente com o seu complementar “Insights (compreensões) sobre Esoterismo Cristão” (que inclui o estudo separado de São Bernardo), Guénon se aplica em estabelecer que as três partes da Divina Comédia representam estágios de uma realização iniciática, explorando os paralelos entre o simbolismo da Comédia e a da Maçonaria, Rosicrucianismo e Hermetismo Cristão,  ilustrando o conhecimento de Dante sobre as ciências tradicionais desconhecidas para os modernos: as ciências dos números, dos ciclos cósmicos e da astrologia sagrada. Guénon também toca a questão importante do esoterismo medieval e discute o papel das línguas sagradas e o princípio da iniciação na tradição cristã, bem como temas e organizações cristãs esotéricas como o Santo Graal, os Guardiões da Terra Santa, o Sagrado Coração, o Fedeli d’Amore e os “Tribunais de Amor” e a Linguagem Secreta de Dante ”

Não consegui encontrar nada sobre Gabriele Rossetti, mas há muito sobre Eugene Aroux. A medalha mencionada por Hernani Donato, baseada em Edmundo Cardillo, é a seguinte:

De Dante e a Fede Santa

pisanello1

Guénon afirma que as medalhas que viu foram encontradas no Museu Historico de Viena. No entanto, uma pesquisa do catálogo on-line atual deste museu não retorna nenhuma das duas medalhas. A medalha que representa Pisanello, aparece em um Catálogo de Bronzes e Marfins de Origem Européia mostrado pelo Clube das Belas Artes de Burlington em 1879. Esse catálogo atribui a medalha a Pisanello (1360-1415). Tanto Morelli quanto Gruyer acreditam que a medalha é genuína; No entanto, Milanesi e Lenormant acreditam que a medalha foi feita por Francesco Corradini, não por Pisanello, daí a inscrição “Franciscus Korradini Pictor Fecit” (Em Vidas dos Pintores por Giorgio Vasari, Blashfield e Hopkins, volume II).

Luigi Valli, em seu estudo, Studi sui fidele d’amore, I, 1933, sugere que a inscrição poderia se referir às sete virtudes, Fides, Spes, Karitas, Justitia, Prudentia, Fortituto, Temperantia. Na sua opinião, isso poderia ter tido algum significado iniciático.

É difícil deduzir uma clara conclusão do estudo dessas medalhas sobre se Dante era um Templário ou não. O trabalho de Dante sugere que ele poderia ter tido conhecimento da Cabala e de outras práticas esotéricas, mas não há evidências para isso.

Em  Era Dante Alighieri  Maçon?

O artigo explora Arturo Reghini  e Eugène Aroux e não Gabrielli Rossetti. Do artigo, cito as críticas:

O estudo de Aroux é muito detalhado e apoiado por extensas pesquisas. Seu argumento atrai aqueles que acreditam que as raízes da maçonaria remontam à Idade Média ou até aos tempos egípcios. No entanto, é preciso ter em mente dois pontos.

Primeiro, assumimos que qualquer manual Hermetico teria sido escrito em grego ou em latim. No Canto XXVI  do Inferno, onde Dante se encontra com Ulysses, sugere que Dante não poderia ter conhecimento do grego e seu latim poderia ter sido limitado

Neste Canto, conselheiros fraudulentos como Ulysses estão envolvidos em uma língua de fogo. O tipo de punição poderia ter sido escolhido devido a uma má interpretação das palavras latinas: calliditas (astuteness) e caliditas (calor). Ao contrário do herói da Odisseia grega, que retorna a Ítaca após sua viagem, Ulysses de Dante convence sua equipe a superar as colunas de Hercules e morre ao cair da borda do mundo. Esta história baseia-se na versão de Ovídio da missão de Ulysses na Metamorpnosis XIV

Dante olha o fogo no círculo de conselheiros fraudulentos:

Fraudulent

Segundo,  os ritos escoceses utilizados no estudo de Aroux foram organizados pela primeira vez nos anos 1500 e não há evidências de que eles se baseassem em ritos cavalheirescos medievais de iniciação. Dante, obviamente, não poderia ter tido acesso a eles quando ele redigiu a Divina Comédia.

Portanto, enquanto que Dante usa bastante simbolismo, descobrimos que existe uma chance muito maior de que teria vindo de filósofos medievais ou mesmo de um interesse leigo na Cabala (que floresceu no sul da Europa logo após a queda de Jerusalém ), do que do contato direto com os maçons (como Aroux argumentou) ou os cátaros (como argumentou Reghini).

Em Os Cavaleiros Templarios na Divina Commedia de Dante  – I

dante walls Jerusalem

Esta é a primeira das duas partes, onde examinamos os Cavaleiros Templários no trabalho de Dante.

Os Templários aparecem pela primeira vez no Inferno, Canto XIX,, quando Dante e Virgilio descem para o terceiro espaço do Oitavo Círculo, que puniu um dos principais crimes do século XIII: Simonia. Um simoníaco vendeu perdões ou benção sagradas para enriquecimento pessoal. Neste Canto, Dante critica o nepotismo de Roma e a corrupção da Igreja. Os papas estão sendo punidos neste círculo por simonia.

Dante-simony

Um dos Papas com quem Dante se encontra, Nicholas III, , anuncia que aguarda a chegada de outros dois Papas: Boniface VIII (que morreu em 1303, três anos após a viagem fictícia de Dante ao Inferno) e Clement V(que morreu em 1314, um mês depois O último Mestre do Templo, Jacques de Molay, foi executado). O papa Clemente V, anteriormente o arcebispo de Bordéus, foi eleito Papa em 1305, apoiado pelo rei Philip IV da França e pelos cardeais franceses no conclave. Dante o chama de “pastor sanza legge”, (pastor que ignora a lei) por causa de sua conexão com o rei da França (na linha 108, Dante se refere aos papas como as “prostitutas” do imperador “puttaneggiari coi regi”).

Aqui está a chave do Canto: a “prostituição” da Igreja ao Império, por dinheiro e poder. A separação do poder temporal e espiritual foi um aspecto fundamental da sociedade medieval desde a época carolíngia. Os dois papéis deveriam coexistir em equilíbrio. Philip IV e Clemente V derrubaram esse equilíbrio. Este foi o pano de fundo político para o desaparecimento dos templários. Como uma ordem militar “híbrida”, eles não se reportaram ao Rei. Na verdade, em 1139, o Papa Innocêncio III declarou que os cavaleiros eram independentes de qualquer autoridade leiga e da igreja: eles se reportariam diretamente ao Papa. No entanto, Philip IV viu-se fora da autoridade do Papa. O seu antecessor, Charles de Anjou, havia conspirado para seqüestrar o Papa (então Bonifácio VIII, que Dante coloca no mesmo círculo como Clemente V) e transferiuo papado para a França.

Em 1307, Jerusalém foi perdida por Saladino. Enquanto isso, na Europa, o Templo se tornou uma organização poderosa, e na França, os cavaleiros virtualmente se tornaram banqueiros do reino. Dois eventos políticos importantes levaram a 1307. Primeiro, Clemente V tentou reviver o plano IV de Nicolau para fundir os Hospitallers e os Templários em uma única ordem, reportando-se a um rei europeu e não ao Papa. Jacques de Molay se opôs a este plano, acreditando que um rei usaria a nova ordem para fins políticos e a causa da Terra Santa seria perdida. Segundo, os castelos templários na Armênia informaram que o exército francês poderia ter interesse em marchar por esse país, para assumi-lo. Quando Philip IV pediu permissão para que suas tropas marchassem pela Armênia, os Templários se recusaram a conceder-lhes hospitalidade. O rei também se aproximou da bancarrota, depois de ter financiado a última cruzada.

Na sexta-feira, 13 de outubro de 1307 (que é a origem da tradição da sexta-feira 13), o exército francês prendeu todos os templários na França por heresia e o rei lançou uma investigação sobre a ordem, que acabaria por causar seu desaparecimento, com a morte de Jacques de Molay em 1314.

Por que Philip IV acabou com os Templários? Seja qual for o motivo, a invectiva de Dante contra Clement V e o Rei da França lembra ao leitor que suas ações foram criticadas mesmo em seu tempos.

Dante pode ter sido um Templario

Conclusão: Nem Rene Guenon ou Eugene Aroux apresentaram um caso claro. Havia algo, mas não é o que eles queriam que acreditemos

II – Numerologia – Árvore da Vida

A explicação pressionanod-se acima foi colocada para dar perspectiva a esse tipo de interpretação. O artigo é dialético em si mesmo.

Cito de Era Dante Rosacruz?

Como no caso da rosa, por que recorrer a esta interpretação muito obscura e excessivamente complexa quando a numerologia cristã padrão é suficiente? Por exemplo, todos sabemos que 3 é um símbolo da Trindade, 12 dos Apóstolos, 5 das feridas de Cristo, 9 das Bem-aventuranças, 7 as virtudes, etc. Mas vamos tomar o número 33 – Purgatório e Paradiso cada contêm 33 cantos; no simbolismo cristão tradicional, 33 representou o número de anos que Jesus Cristo esteve na Terra. Isso é de conhecimento comum. Mas aqui está o viés cabalístico:
Então, o que significa 33? Obviamente, ele alude à era de Cristo em sua crucificação e ressurreição … No entanto, 33 também alude à Cabalistica Árvore da vida. Há 32 caminhos internos na Árvore e, então, há o 33º caminho externo que conduz a Deus.
Agora, 33 “obviamente” alude a Cristo, então por que invoca os “32 caminhos internos” da “Árvore da Vida” Cabalista? Por que procurar explicações ocultistas judias quando a numerologia cristã clássica de Dante é bem conhecida e bem atestada? Em algum momento, A Navalha de Occam deve entrar em jogo – por que multiplicar essas explicações obscuras para os esquemas numéricos de Dante quando a numerologia cristã convencional os explica de forma satisfatória e se encaixa muito melhor com o que sabemos sobre Dante e sua fé? Como o caso com a rosa, acho que muitos não conseguem perceber que o cristianismo medieval tinha sua própria economia muito complexa de símbolos – números, flores, animais e até mesmo rochas, todos tinham significados simbólicos relacionados a Cristo e à Igreja (veja para uma introdução ao “Bestiários e Lapidários” medievais). Este conhecimento teria sido intuitivo para o medieval; talvez com a forte reação iconoclasta contra o simbolismo que ocorreu nos séculos 16 e 17 durante a revolta protestante. Em um esforço para limpar a igreja de estátuas, símbolos e ícones, muitos desses símbolos medievais passaram para a obscuridade.

 Sumarizando:

 3 é o número mais significativo por que:
  • A Divina Comédia está dividida em três secções (Inferno, Purgatorio e Paraiso)
  • O poema ocorre em três dias, entre a Sexta Feira Santa e o Domingo de Páscoa, que é um período de tempo extremamente significativo no cristianismo, pois depois de três dias Cristo foi crucificado  e depois ressuscitou
  • A Igreja Católica acredita na Santíssima Trindade
  • Todos os três poemas de Dante estão divididos em 33 Cantos, escritos em terza rima (três estâncias de linha com esquema de rima)
  • À entrada do inferno, Dante enfrenta três bestas que representam três tentações que levam as pessoas à “Floresta escura do erro”
  • O número 9 é um múltiplo de três que apresenta os 9 círculos do inferno. No 9º círculo, Satanás governa três dos piores pecadores e traidores em três bocas (Brutus, Cassius e Judas)
  • O número 10 é um número sagrado perfeito. Funciona como oposto aos Três, associados ao mal (apesar de estar associado à Trindade)

Estas associações eram esperadas de acontecer na Idade Média

III – A Rosa Celestial 

Do mesmo Blog

Sobre a suposta presença de simbolismo rosacruz na Divina Comédia.
Em primeiro lugar, o que é considerado simbolismo Rosacruz? Tanto os Rosacruzes como aqueles que se esforçam para encontrar conspirações Rosacruzas ou Maçônicas por trás de tudo, basicamente, afirmam a presença de simbolismo Rosacruz sempre que as flores são rosas, ou mais ainda quando encontram uma rosa e uma cruz juntas. Assim, se algum túmulo, monumento, ilustração ou peça literária faz uso da rosa como um símbolo, os Rosacruzes muitas vezes afirmam que havia uma conexão Rosacruz. Isso muito bem poderia ser verdade para muitas coisas; por exemplo, as tendências maçônicas e esotéricas de muitos dos nossos Fundadores estão bem documentadas e não tenho dúvidas de que muitos desses monumentos da era revolucionária em Washington D.C provavelmente contêm símbolos maçônicos-rosacruzes.
Mas este método de discernir a influência dos Rosacruzes não funciona quando tentamos aplicá-lo à Idade Média, que era completamente católica e tinha seu próprio simbolismo muito rico, além da mais era mais recente do Iluminismo, influenciado pela alegoria cristã. Na Divina Comédia de Dante, em Pariso Canto XXX, Dante contempla a multidão dos abençoados que cercam o trono de Deus dispostos na forma de uma grande rosa branca, memorávelmente retratada na famosa gravura de 1868 por Gustave Dore:
celestial rose G. Dore
Os Rosacruzes são rápidos em apontar que essa presença da rosa tão próxima quanto o clímax da visão de Dante indica que ele se inscreveu no pensamento rosacruz, como os rosacruzes eram conhecidos por inserir o símbolo da rosa liberalmente em suas obras de arte.
Bem, primeiro, como eu disse antes, Dante simplesmente não poderia ter sido um Rosacruz por razões cronológicas.
Em segundo lugar, devemos assumir que apenas porque os Rosacruzes utilizam a rosa, todos os outros que fizerem isso também devem Rosacruzes? Alguém que enfeitar m bolo em forma de rosa num bolo de casamento é Rosacruz? Se você der um buque de rosas para sua esposa, você vira Rosacruz? E se a rosa for sua flor favorita? Só porque  Dante utilizou o símbolo da rosa para explicar um mistério celestial não implica que ele é membro de uma sociedade secreta esotérica. Não nos esqueçamos que a rosa também aparece como um símbolo de amor na própria Bíblia no Cântico dos Cânticos: “Eu sou a rosa de Sharon e o lírio dos vale” (S. de S. 2: 1). Muitos Fundadores da Igreja interpretaram isso como uma referência ao próprio Cristo.
Em terceiro lugar, a rosa celestial não é o clímax da visão de Dante, como qualquer aficionado de Dante reconheceria; o que acontece no Canto XXXIII quando Dante é levado à presença da Trindade com São Bernardo, onde Dante diz que seus poderes de fala falharam em descrever a glória que ele viu
Em quarto lugar, a explicação Rosacruz para a presença da rosa celestial não é necessária porque Dante nos dá sua própria razão intima de por que ele tem os abençoados dispostos na forma de uma rosa como ele o faz. Basta  olhar a introdução da tradução de Dorothy Sayers de Paraiso, veremos um gráfico muito útil que mostra a lógica da colocação dos santos de Dante em uma formação de rosas. Aqui está a ilustração tirada diretamente da tradução de Paraiso de Dorothy Sayer:
The center of the rose, of course, is the Trinity, around which all of the saints are gathered in worship. When we read why Dante placed these saints as he did, we see that his arrangement is entirely theological, steeped in Catholic tradition and has nothing whatsoever to do with any Rosicrucian mumbo-jumbo. It comes down to this – if Dante’s symbolism can be explained easily in Christian theological terms, why appeal to an esoteric secret society to explain them? Unless of course someone will say, “But Boniface, if there was a secret Rosicrucian society in the 14th century, that is exactly how one would expect them to act – hiding occult symbols in Christian veils.” In that case we simply fall into the fallacy whereby the lack of evidence for something is twisted to become evidence in support of it.
O centro da rosa, claro, é a Trindade, em torno da qual todos os santos estão reunidos em adoração. Quando lemos por que Dante colocou esses santos como ele o fez, vemos que seu arranjo é inteiramente teológico, imerso na tradição católica e não tem nada a ver com qualquer alegação rosacruz. Isso se resume a isso – se o simbolismo de Dante pode ser explicado facilmente em termos teológicos cristãos, por que apelar para uma sociedade secreta esotérica para explicá-los? A não ser, claro, que alguém vá dizer: “Mas  se houvesse uma sociedade rosacruz secreta no século 14, é exatamente assim que se poderia esperar que eles agissem – escondendo símbolos ocultos em velhos cristãos”. Nesse caso, simplesmente caímos na falácia em que a falta de provas de algo é torcida para se tornar evidência em apoio disso.

IV – Percepção da Realidade e Crenças transformadas em Símbolos

Não só para as Sociedades Secretas, como também nas obras das Ciências Ocultas, se espalharam por toda a Idade Média , ou até mesmo antes, algumas crenças que desempenharam um forte papel nas imagens envolvidas para expressar a percepção da Realidade. Aqui estão algumas delas:
Cito de Matilde Battistini, em Astrologia, Magica e Alquimia na Arte

Portais Mágicos

“Nos tempos antigos, acreditava-se que a caverna era uma membrana para passar do mundo sublunar (do mundo corruptível para a quinta essência incorruptivel – Aristóteles)  para a dimensão celestial e vice-versa, a porta através da qual deuses ou as almas imortais podiam alcançar a Terra. Muitos mitos arcaicos colocam o nascimento  dos deuses iniciatórios dentro ou perto de uma caverna, cuja função esotérica também foi mantida no cristianismo à imagem da gruta de Belém. Leonardo da Vinci, em sua Virgem das Rochas, se baseia nessa tradição, associando diretamente o mistério do nascimento de Jesus com a mundo infernal e aquático de cavernas e minerais.
Virgin of the Rocks Da Vinci
Entre os antigos gregos, os solstícios eram dois portões celestiais (Trópico de Câncer e Trópico de Capricórnio) que permitiam a comunicação entre as esferas humana e divina e as almas que estavam destinadas a serem reencarnadas em um corpo com aqueles que foram liberados do processo de renascimentos terrenos. Na Odysseia, Homero localiza essas passagens esotéricas em uma caverna em Ithaca, atribuindo a Odysseus o papel iniciático o o herói solar capaz de unir a dimensão temporal à eterna. Os traços desses cultos astrais foram retidos na festa cristã de solstício de verão de São João Batista (24 de junho) e no inverno na Natividade (25 de dezembro), pois em ambas as datas  se acreditava serem momentos de passagem entre as diferentes dimensões de natureza e existência. Na Cabala hebraica, a porta mágica é o ponto original, uma síntese de luz e escuridão que deu origem ao universo
O destaque é meu. Tudo isso parece uma descrição do que Dante tinha em mente no primeiro portão do inferno. Vamos ver o inferno, canto I
williamblakedantewildbeasts_2

A Divina Comédia abre com Dante perdido em uma floresta escura em um vale de terror. Finalmente ele vê uma colina em que o sol está brilhando, e seu coração se enche de esperança. Mas quando ele começa a subir, ele é confrontado com três bestas.

Primeiro vem um leopardo, que, apesar de não o assustar, bloqueia seu caminho. Então vem um leão feroz e voraz seguido de uma loba. Dante está aterrorizado e está perdendo toda a esperança de subir a colina quando um homem aparece. É Virgílio, o poeta épico romano. Ele foi enviado por Beatrice (a mulher que Dante amava e que o inspirou a escrever) para levá-lo a uma jornada de descoberta através do Inferno, Purgatório e Paraíso.

Explicando a alegoria: Dante, ocupado dos assuntos do mundo, perdeu o caminho da retidão. Ele tenta encontrar o caminho de volta, mas é desviado pelo prazer mundano (o leopardo), a ambição mundana (o leão) e pela avareza (a loba). Virgilio, que representa a razão, chegou para levar Dante para Beatrice, que representa a revelação divina e o estado de graça.

Observe a aparência de Virgílio e a similaridade com Cristo (roupas diáfanas, fechamento do manto flutuante)  e a exagerada “pose de terror” do Dante que foge. Observe também que os três animais quase não parecem terríveis. Blake, de fato, parecia ter dificuldades em representar animais selvagens.

Os portais mágicos desempenham um papel muito importante nas cerimônias de iniciação nas sociedades secretas, sendo crucial para os templários e os rosacruzes. Na Inglaterra e na América existem vários exemplos.

Royston cave

Cave of Kelpius Philadelphia

V – Sociedades Secretas

Novamente, cito de Matilde Battistini, em Astrology, Magic and Alchemy in Art

“Sociedades secretas e círculos esotéricos nasceram com o propósito de promover a renovação espiritual das elites restritas através da recuperação de formas arcanas de conhecimento e uma proibição total de divulgar os princípios e o conhecimento das doutrinas secretas aos não iniciados. Os Cavaleiros Templários, cujo objetivo secreto era reconstruir o Templo de Salomão, foram uma das primeiras ordens esotéricas dos cristãos do Leste. A Sociedade Rosacruz, derivada do Fedeli d’Amori (Amantes Fieis) a que pertenciam ambos Dante Alighieri e autor de Le Roman de la Rose, destinado a libertar o espírito do adepto da escravidão dos poderes temporais terrenos (os sentidos e as paixões , ambição pública e instituições políticas). A flor mística desta seita, a rosa, símbolo da beleza, do amor e da vida, de fato, expressa esforços para a elevação espiritual e anseio por um retorno a uma religião natural fundada no conhecimento das correspondências harmoniosas que enchem os muitos aspectos da realidade . Finalmente, os Maçons adoravam a luz, a igualdade e a irmandade humana. Durante o Renascimento, muitos círculos culturais e políticos, como a Adacemia Neoplatonica Florentina e a corte de Elizabeth I, rainha da Inglaterra, também tinham em agenda oculta interesses esotéricos “.

Uma lista mais completa de todas as Sociedades Secretas no fim do seculo 19 pode ser vista no livro, publicado em 1897, As Sociedades Secretas de todas as eras se paises , por Charles William Heckethorn, ue lista 160 Organizações deste tipo no mundo, queele classificou como se segue:

  1. Religiosas – tais como Egyptians or Eleusinian Mysteries 78, 79, 185
  2. Militares: Knights Templars 9,11,51, 47-50, 208, 302, 303
  3. Judiciarias: Vehmgerichte 328
  4. Cientificas: Alchymists missing
  5. Civis: Freemasons 8, 9, 73, 100- 105, 106-109, 116,
  6. Politicas: Carbonari 157-177
  7. Anti sociais: Garduna missing

Na página indicada, naquele livro, você pode ver naquela época o que o autor pensou sobre isso. Se você pressionar, você pode ver como aparece hoje na Internet

Ele adverte, no entanto, que a linha de divisão nem sempre é estritamente definida, algumas sociedades que tiveram objetivos científicos combinaram dogmas teológicos com eles – como a Rosacruz, por exemplo; e as sociedades políticas devem necessariamente influenciar a vida civil. Podemos, portanto, mais conveniente incluir sociedades secretas nas duas divisões abrangentes de religiosos e políticos.

Rosicrucians are explained, as the author saw then at the end of the 19th century, as extremely influential in the past, but finished by then. (Page 219).

Os Rosacruzes são explicados como o autor os via, no final do século XIX, isto é como extremamente influentes no passado, mas tendo acabado naquele momento. (Página 219).

Novamente, tem que ser dito Dante pode ter sido um Templario

O momento envolvido é crucial para determinar a participação de Dante em qualquer sociedade secreta, simplesmente porque não existiam, como no caso dos Rosacruzes, ou, no caso dos Templários, foram exterminados.

 

Criticism of Dante and the occult sciences and secret societies

In this entry we will counter argument the contents of the entry Dante and the occult sciences and secret societies

 I-Rene Guenon L’Esoterisme de Dante

I quote from Sophia Perennis

“In the middle of the nineteenth century two scholars, Gabriele Rossetti and Eugene Aroux, pointed to certain esoteric meanings in the work of Dante Alighieri, notably The Divine Comedy. Partly based on their scholarship, Guénon in 1925 published The Esoterism of Dante. From the theses of Gabriele Rossetti and Eugene Aroux, Guénon retains only those elements that prove the existence of such hidden meanings; but he also makes clear that esoterism is not ‘heresy’ and that a doctrine reserved for an elite can be superimposed on the teaching given the faithful without standing in opposition to it. In the present volume, along with its companion volume Insights into Christian Esoterism (which includes the separate study Saint Bernard), Guénon undertakes to establish that the three parts of The Divine Comedyrepresent the stages of initiatic realization, exploring the parallels between the symbolism of the Commedia and that of Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and Christian Hermeticism, and illustrating Dante’s knowledge of traditional sciences unknown to the moderns: the sciences of numbers, of cosmic cycles, and of sacred astrology. Guénon also touches on the all-important question of medieval esoterism and discusses the role of sacred languages and the principle of initiation in the Christian tradition, as well as such esoteric Christian themes and organizations as the Holy Grail, the Guardians of the Holy Land, the Sacred Heart, the Fedeli d’Amore and the ‘Courts of Love’, and the Secret Language of Dante.”

I couldn’t find anything about Gabriele Rossetti, but there is a lot about Eugene Aroux. The medal mentionned by Hernani Donato, based on Edmundo Cardillo is the following:

From Dante and the Fede Santa

pisanello1

Guénon states that the medals he saw were found in Vienna’s Historische Museum. However, a search of this museum’s current online catalogue does not return any of the two medals. The medal representing Pisanello, does appear in a Catalogue of bronzes and ivories of European origin shown by the Burlington Fine arts club in 1879. That catalogue ascribes the medal to Pisanello (1360-1415). Both Morelli and Gruyer believe that the medal is genuine; however, Milanesi and Lenormant believe that the medal was made by Francesco Corradini, not Pisanello, hence the inscription “Franciscus Korradini Pictor Fecit” (from the Lives of Painters by Giorgio Vasari, Blashfield and Hopkins edition, volume II).

Luigi Valli, in his study Studi sui fidele d’amore, I, 1933, suggests that the inscription could refer to the seven virtues, Fides, Spes, Karitas, Justitia, Prudentia, Fortitudo, Temperantia. In his view, this could have held some initiatic meaning.

It is hard to derive a clear cut conclusion from the study of this medal as to whether Dante was a Templar or not. Dante’s work suggests that he might have had knowledge of Kabbalah and other esoteric practices, but there is no hard evidence for it.

From  Was Dante Alighieri a mason

The article explores Arturo Reghini and Eugène Aroux and not Gabrielli Rossetti. From the article, I quote the criticism:

Aroux’s study is very detailed and supported by extensive research. His argument would appeal to those who believe that the roots of freemasonry go back to the Middle Ages or even to Egyptian times. However, one would need to bear in mind two points.

First, we assume that any Hermetic manual would have been written in either Greek or Latin. Canto XXVI of the Inferno, where Dante meets with Ulysses, suggests that Dante might have had no knowledge of Greek and his Latin might have been limited.

In this Canto, fraudulent councilors such as Ulysses are enveloped in a tongue of fire. The type of punishment might have been chosen because of a misinterpretation of the Latin words: calliditas(astuteness) and caliditas (heat). Unlike the hero of the Greek Odyssey, who returns to Ithaca after his voyage, Dante’s Ulysses convinces his crew to push past Hercules’ columns and dies by falling off the edge of the world. This story is based on Ovid’s version of Ulysses’ quest in Metamorphosis XIV.

Dante looks at the fires in the circle of fraudulent councilors:

Fraudulent

Second, the Scottish rites used in Aroux’ study were only first organized in the 1500s and there is no evidence that they were based on medieval chivalric rites of initiation. Dante, obviously, would have had no access to them when he drafted the Divine Comedy.

Therefore, while Dante uses a great deal of symbolism, we find that there is a much higher chance this would have come to him from medieval philosophers or even from a lay interest in the Kabbalah (which flourished in Southern Europe just after the fall of Jerusalem), than from direct contact with the Masons (as Aroux argued) or the Cathars (as argued by Reghini).

From The Templar Knights in Dante Alighieri’s Commedia – I

dante walls Jerusalem

This is the first of two installments, where we look at the knights Templar in Dante’s work.

The Templars first appear in the Inferno, Canto XIX, when Dante and Virgil descend to the third pocket of the Eighth Circle, which punishes one of the key crimes of the thirteenth century: Simony. A simoniac sold pardons or holy offices for personal enrichment. In this Canto, Dante criticizes Rome’s nepotism and the Church’s corruption. Popes are being punished in this circle for simony.

Dante-simony

One of the Popes Dante meets, Nicholas III, announces that he awaits the arrival of two other Popes: Boniface VIII (who died in 1303, three years after Dante’s fictional journey into Hell) and Clement V (who died in 1314, one month after the last Master of the Temple, Jacques de Molay, was executed). Pope Clement V, previously the archbishop of Bordeaux, was elected Pope in 1305, backed by King Philip IV of France and by French Cardinals in the conclave. Dante calls him a “pastor sanza legge”, because of his connection to the king of France (in line 108, Dante refers to Popes as being the emperor’s ‘prostitutes’ “puttaneggiar coi regi”).

Here is the key of the Canto: the Church’s ‘prostitution’ to the Empire, for money and power. The separation of temporal and spiritual power was a key aspect of medieval society since Carolingian times. The two roles were to co-exist in balance. Philip IV and Clement V overthrew this balance. This was the political backdrop to the Templars’ demise. As a ‘hybrid’ military order, they did not report to the King. In fact, in 1139 Pope Innocent III declared the knights were independent from any lay and church authority: they would report directly to the Pope. However, Philip IV saw himself outside the Pope’s authority. His predecessor, Charles of Anjou, had even plotted to kidnap the Pope (then Boniface VIII, who Dante places in the same circle as Clement V) and transfer the papacy to France.

By 1307, Jerusalem was lost to Saladin. Meanwhile, in Europe, the Temple had become a powerful organization, and in France the knights had virtually become the kingdom’s bankers. Two key political events led to 1307. First, Clement V tried to revive Nicholas’ IV plan to merge the Hospitallers and the Templars into one order, reporting to a European king and not to the Pope. Jacques de Molay was opposed to this plan, believing that a king would use the new order for political aims and the Holy Land’s cause would be lost. Second, Templar castles in Armenia reported that the French army might have an interest in marching through that country, to take it over. When Philip IV asked permission for his troops to march through Armenia, the Templars refused to grant them hospitality. The king had also come close to bankruptcy, after having funded the last Crusade.

On Friday, October 13th, 1307 (which is the origin of Friday the 13th tradition), the French army arrested all Templars in France on account of heresy and the king launched an investigation into the order, which would eventually cause its demise, with Jacques de Molay’s death in 1314.

Why did Philip IV terminate the Templars? Whatever the reason, Dante’s invective against both Clement V and the King of France remind the reader that their actions were criticised even during their times.

Dante might have been a Templar

Conclusion: Neither Rene Guenon or Eugene Aroux had a clear case. There was something, but it is not what they want us to believe

II – Numerology – Tree of Life

The Tree o Life and Numerology explanation was placed here (press the title) to give perspective to such kind of interpretations. The article is dialectic in itself.

I quote from Was Dante a Rosicrucian?

As in the case of the rose, why resort to this very obscure and overly complex interpretation when standard Christian numerology will suffice? For example, we all know that 3 is a symbol of the Trinity, 12 of the Apostles, 5 of the wounds of Christ, 9 of the Beatitudes, 7 the virtues, etc. But let us take the number 33 – Purgatorio and Paradiso each contain 33 cantos; in traditional Christian symbolism, 33 has stood for the number of years our Blessed Lord was on the earth. This is common knowledge. But here is the Kabbalistic spin:
So what does 33 mean? Obviously, it alludes to the age of Christ at his crucifixion and resurrection…However, 33 also alludes to the kabalistic Tree of Life. There are 32 internal paths on the Tree and then there is the external 33rd path that leads to God.  
Now, is 33 “obviously” alludes to Christ, then why invoke the “32 internal paths” of the Kabbalist “Tree of Life”? Why search for occultic Jewish explanations when Dante’s classical Christian numerology is well known and well attested? At some point, Ockham’s Razor has to come into play – why multiply these obscure explanations for Dante;s number schemes when conventional Christian numerology satisfactorily explains them all and fits in much better with what we know about Dante and his faith? Like the case with the rose, I think many fail to realize that medieval Christianity had its own very complex economy of symbols – numbers, flowers, animals and even rocks all had symbolic meanings relating to Christ and the Church (see here for an introduction to medieval “Bestiaries and Lapidaries”). This knowledge would have been intuitive to the medieval; perhaps with the strong iconoclastic reaction against symbolism that occured in the 16th and 17th centuries during the Protestant upheaval. In an effort to cleanse the church of statues, symbols and icons, many of these medieval symbols have passed into obscurity.

Summing up:

 3 is the most significant because
  • The Divine Comedy is divided in to three sections (Inferno, Purgatio and Paradiso)
  • The poem takes place over three days, between Good’s Friday and Easter Sunday, which is an utmost significant period of time in Christianity, for after three days Christ was crucified, he rose from the dead
  • The Catholic Church believes in the Holy Trinity
  • All three poems of Dante are divided into 33 Cantos, written in terza rima (three line stanzas with a rhyme scheme)
  • At entrance of Hell Dante faces three beasts representing three temptations which lead people to the “dark wood of error”
  • Number 9 is a multiple of three which features the 9 circles of Hell. In the 9th circles Satan rules holding three of the worst sinners and traitors in three mouths (Brutus, Cassius and Judas)
  • Number 10 is a holy perfect number. Works as opposite to the Threes, associated with evil (despite being associated with Trinity)

These associations were expected to happen in the middle ages

III – The Celestial Rose

From the same Blog

On to the alleged presence of Rosicrucian symbolism in the Divine Comedy.
In the first place, what is considered Rosicrucian symbolism? Both Rosicrucians and those who make an effort to find Rosicrucian or Masonic conspiracies behind everything basically assert the presence of Rosicrucian symbolism anytime a rose shows up, or more damningly, a rose and a cross together. Thus, if some tomb, monument, illustration or literary piece makes use of the rose as a symbol, Rosicrucians will often claim that there was a Rosicrucian connection This very well could be true of many things; for example, the Masonic and esoteric leanings of many of our Founding Fathers is well documented and I have no doubt that many of these Revolutionary era monuments in Washinton D.C. probably do contain Masonic-Rosicrucian symbols.
But this method of discerning Rosicrucian influence breaks down when we attempt to apply it to the Middle Ages, which was thoroughly Catholic and had its own rich symbolism apart from later Enlightenment era thought and influenced by Christian allegory. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Paradiso Canto XXX, Dante beholds the throngs of the blessed surrounding the throne of God arranged in the shape of a great white rose, memorably portrayed in the famous 1868 engraving by Gustave Dore:
celestial rose G. Dore
The Rosicrucians are quick to point out that this presence of the rose so close as the climax of Dante’s vision indicates that he subscribed to Rosicrucian thought, as Rosicrucians were known to insert the symbol of the rose liberally throughout their works of art.
Well, first off, as I said before, Dante simply could not have been a Rosicrucian for chronological reasons.
Second, are we to assume that just because Rosicrucians utilize the rose that everybody else who does so must also be a Rosicrucian? Did anybody out there have rose shaped frosting on their wedding cake? Get their spouse roses on any occasion? Say the rose if your favorite flower? Just because we find Dante utilizing the symbol of the rose to explain a heavenly mystery need not imply he is a member of an esoteric secret society. Let us not forget, the rose also appears as a symbol of love in the Bible itself in the Song of Songs: “I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley” (S.of S. 2:1). Many Fathers interpreted this to be a reference to Christ Himself.
Third, the celestial rose is not the climax of Dante’s vision, as any fan of Dante would recognize; that comes in Canto XXXIII when Dante is escorted into the presence of the Trinity with St. Bernard,  where Dante says that his powers of speech failed him in describing the glory he beheld.
Fourth, the Rosicrucian explanation for the presence of the celestial rose is not necessary because Dante gives us his own internal reason for why he has the blessed arranged in the form of a rose as he does. A cursory look at the introduction to the Dorothy Sayers translation of Paradiso has a very helpful graph showing the logic of Dante’s placing of the saints in a rose formation. Here is the illustration taken right from the Sayer’s translation of Paradiso:
The center of the rose, of course, is the Trinity, around which all of the saints are gathered in worship. When we read why Dante placed these saints as he did, we see that his arrangement is entirely theological, steeped in Catholic tradition and has nothing whatsoever to do with any Rosicrucian mumbo-jumbo. It comes down to this – if Dante’s symbolism can be explained easily in Christian theological terms, why appeal to an esoteric secret society to explain them? Unless of course someone will say, “But Boniface, if there was a secret Rosicrucian society in the 14th century, that is exactly how one would expect them to act – hiding occult symbols in Christian veils.” In that case we simply fall into the fallacy whereby the lack of evidence for something is twisted to become evidence in support of it.

IV – Perception of Reality and Beliefs turned to Symbols

Not only to Secret Societies or in the works of Occult Sciences, but spread all over the Middle Ages and even before there were some beliefs which played a lot in the imagery involved to express such perception. Here are some of them:
I quote from Matilde Battistini, in Astrology, Magic and Alchemy in Art

 Magic Portals

 “In ancient times, the cave was believed to be a membrane for passing from the sub lunar world to the heavenly dimension and vice versa, the door through which gos or immortals souls could reach the Earth. Many archaic myths place the birth of the initiatory gods inside or near a cave, whose esoteric function was also retained in Christianity in the image of the Bethlehem grotto. Leonardo da Vinci, in his Virgin of the Rocks, draws upon that tradition, associating directly the mystery of the birth of Jesus with the infernal and aquatic world of caves and minerals. Among the ancient Greeks, the solstices were two heavenly gateways (Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn) that allowed communication between the human and divine spheres and the sous that were destined to be reincarnated in a body with those that had been released from the process of earthly  rebirths. In The Odyssey, Homer locates these esoteric passages in a cave on Ithaca, attributing to Odysseus the initiatory role of the solar hero capable of joining the temporal to the eternal dimension. Traces of these astral cults were retained in the Christian summer solstice feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24) and the winter one of the Nativity (December 25th), for both dates were believed to be times of passage between the different dimensions of nature and existence. In the Hebrew Kabbalah, the magic door is the original point, a synthesis of light and darkness that gave birth to the universe.”
The highlighting is mine. This whole thing sounds like a description of what Dante had in mind at the opening gate of Hell. Let’s see Hell, canto I
williamblakedantewildbeasts_2

The Divine Comedy opens with Dante lost in a dark wood in a fearful valley. Finally he sees a hill on which the sun is shining, and his heart fills with hope. But as he starts his climb, he is confronted by three beasts.

First comes a leopard, that, while not really frightening him, does block his path. Then comes a ferocious, ravenous lion followed by a she-wolf. Dante is terrified and is losing all hope of climbing the hill when a man appears. It is Virgil, the Roman epic poet. He has been sent by Beatrice (the woman Dante loved and who inspired him to write) to lead him on a journey of discovery through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.

To explain the allegory: Dante, busied about the affairs of the world, has wandered from the path of righteousness. He tries to find the path back but is diverted by worldly pleasure (the leopard), worldly ambition (the lion), and by avarice (the she-wolf). Virgil, who represents reason, has come to lead Dante to Beatrice, who represents Divine revelation and the state of grace.

Notice the Christ-like pose and appearance (diaphanous robes, flowing locks) of Virgil, and the exaggerated ‘terror pose’ of the fleeing Dante. Notice also that the three beasts hardly look terrifying at all. Blake, in fact, seemed to have difficulties depicting wild animals.

Magic Portals play a very important role in initiatic ceremonies for secret societies, being crucial for Templars and Rosicrucians. In England and in America there are several examples.

Royston cave

Cave of Kelpius Philadelphia

V – Secret Societies

Again, I quote from Matilde Battistini, in Astrology, Magic and Alchemy in Art

“Secret societies and esoteric circles were born for the purpose of fostering the spiritual renewal of restricted elites through the recovery of arcane forms of knowledge and a total ban on divulging the principles and the alphabet of the secret doctrines to the asses. The Knights Templar, whose secret goal was to rebuild the Temple of Solomon, were one of the first esoteric orders of the Christian Wes. The Rosicrucian Society, derived from the Fedeli d’Amori (Faithful Lovers) to which both Dante Alighieri and the author of Le Roman de la Rose belonged, intended to free the spirit of the adept from slavery to earthly temporal powers (the senses and passions, public ambition, and political institutions). The mystical flower of this sect, the rose, symbol of beauty, love and live, in fact, expresses striving toward spiritual elevation and yearning for a return to a natural religion founded on the knowledge of the harmonious correspondences that fill the many realms of reality. Finally the Free masons worshiped light, equality, and the brother hood of man. During the Renaissance, many cultural and political circles, such as the Florentine Neoplatonic Adacemy and the court of Elizabeth I, queen of England, also hid esoteric interests.”

A more complete list of all secret societies should be as follows:

In a book, published in 1897, The Secret Societies of all agaes and countries , by Charles William Heckethorn, there were then 160 Organizations as such in the world,  which  he classified as follows:

  1. Religious – such as the Egyptians or Eleusinian Mysteries 78, 79, 185
  2. Military: Knights Templars 9,11,51, 47-50, 208, 302, 303
  3. Judiciary: Vehmgerichte 328
  4. Scientific: Alchymists missing
  5. Civil: Freemasons 8, 9, 73, 100- 105, 106-109, 116,
  6. Political: Carbonari 157-177
  7. Anti social: Garduna missing

In the pages above, you can see by then what the author thought about it.  If you press on, you can see how it shows up at Internet today.

He warns, though, that the line of division is not always strictly defined, some that had scientific objects combined theological dogmas therewith – as Rosicrucians, for instance; and political societies must necessarily influence civil life. We may therefore more conveniently range secret societies in the two comprehensive divisions of religious and politic.

Rosicrucians are explained, as the author saw then at the end of the 19th century, as extremely influential in the past, but finished by then. (Page 219).

Again, it must be said that Dante might have been a Templar

The timing is crucial to determine Dante’s participation in any secret society, simply because they didn’t exist, as in the case of the Rosicrucians, or, in the case of the Templars, they were exterminated.

 

Numerologia – Árvore da Vida

(See it in English)

Cabala 

Obs: As referências ficam em Inglês porque ou não tem em Português, ou é muito resumido.

Embora exista supostamente uma Cristã e outra Judia, gostam de citar Gênesis 2,9, onde a Bíblia explica como o homem foi formado. Na pratica elas se misturam e as explicações nos textos que lhe são próprios, quando não falam nos jargões característicos e tentam seguir um método mais moderno, descritivo, para quem não é “iniciado”,  fica assim:

“E o Senhor Deus fez brotar da terra toda qualidade de árvores agradáveis ‘a vista e boas para alimentação, também a árvore da vida no meio do jardim, e a arvores do conhecimento do bem e do mal.”

Logo em seguida, apresentam uma representação, cujo nome também pode ser Arvore Filosófica, ou Arvore de Sefiroth, que pode ter aspectos complicadíssimos, agravados pelo uso do Hebreu e aparece o seguinte,  ou mais palatável em seguida:

tree of life 2

tree of life 1

Como a Igreja decidiu “matar” os aspetos supersticiosos do paganismo, quando o incorporou, agravado pelo fato de que ia para a fogueira quem se desviasse para este lado, os traços da cabala praticamente desapareceram.

Melhor, ficaram dormindo um longo tempo para surgir no fim da Idade Media, quando a Inquisição foi perdendo força e o Iluminismo começou seu domínio, a partir do século 15, e com o advento da Alquimia que eventualmente deu origem à Química, no século 16 e 17, e que teve, talvez, seu apogeu, nesta época, ainda que como Ciência Oculta”.

Um problema para quem se debruça sobre estes assuntos com olhos de ver é que invariavelmente os autores se apresentam como donos de uma sabedoria anterior ao nascimento de Cristo, milenar, que supostamente teria sido passada ou oralmente ou secretamente por iniciados ao longo dos séculos.

É o pior tipo de mentira que existe, pois é uma meia verdade.

Realmente a verdadeira origem na noite dos tempos da Cabala judia, ou cristã, pode ser encontrada na Tétrade Pitagorica, fruto de sua filosofia de números descrita por Platão em Timaeus.

Na sua concepção inicial, Pitágoras propôs o seguinte, não se sabendo de onde tirou estas idéias, mas já que Timaeus foi escrito em torno de 410 A C, por Platão, estas idéias efetivamente datam de um período pelo menos 500 anos antes de Cristo:

tree of life 5

A figura da esquerda apareceu nos escritos de Robert Fludd, mas ou menos em torno de 1625 e supostamente foi tirada de Francesco Giorgio, de sua obra De Harmonia Mundi, de 1525. A figura da direita  foi tirada de Timaeus, mas há que se lembrar que os números eram ligados a simbolismo para Pitágoras.

A tétrade é um símbolo composto de 10 pontos colocados num triangulo apontando para cima. Era um padrão sagrado para a escola de filósofos que seguiam os ensinamentos  de Pitágoras, que viveu no século 6 A C. Eles usavam a tétrade para jurar, da mesma maneira que se faz hoje com a Bíblia nos lugares onde tradicionalmente isto acontece.

O juramento pitagorico, que foi citado na Renascença pelo mágico Cornelius Agrippa,, diz o seguinte:

“ Eu, com mente pura pelo numero quatro juro;
que é sagrado e a fonte da natureza eterna,
originador da mente…”

Alguns historiadores ou iniciados afirmam que o juramento era feito em direção “àquele que outorgou a tétrade para as gerações vindouras,” que podiam ser interpretadas como sendo O Monada, ou o mestre Pitágoras. Provavelmente os três – Deus, Pitágoras e a tétrade – estavam na mente do individuo que fazia o juramento. Porem, alguns especialistas modernos acreditam que o juramento era focalizado na tétrade mesmo, como sendo o mapa ou o plano da criação.

No caso da figura de Robert Fludd, no seu texto dizia que a, ou o, Monada, no vértice superior, (luz) gera a Díade, a Tríade e a Tétrade, que se apóiam sobre o “terreno dos poderes criativos”, na figura identificados com os famigerados “4 elementos”, Terra, Água, Ar e Fogo, que são mencionados praticamente em tudo que lida com ciência oculta.

Tecnicamente, a progressão 2, 3, 4, (Diad, Triad, Tetrad) pode se expandir indefinidamente.

Talvez aqui não seja o melhor local para se discutir, mas simplificando um assunto extenso,  Pitágoras não enxergava os números com o conceito que temos hoje, pelo menos como são usados para Ciências Exatas para fazer cálculos. Ele atribuía valores e interações simbólicas e identificava neste triangulo duas tétrades, uma de soma (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10) e uma de  multiplicação (1 + 2 + 3 + [2×2] + [2x2x2] + [3×3] = [3x3x3]). É mais fácil olharmos acima o triangulo da direita no diagrama explicativo.

O numero 1 no nível mais alto da tétrade de multiplicação é o ou a Monada, unidade simbolizando o perfeito.

De acordo com uma figura proeminente nestes assuntos Theon  de Smirna, o 1 contem os princípios de “razão, ou relação, do limite e do ponto”, seja o que seja que isto signifique. O 2 e o 3 no segundo nível são números “primos, não podendo ser decompostos e medidos apenas para a unidade e são consequentemente números lineares.”  Que não precisa muita imaginação para identificar a Santíssima Trindade e o juramento “por quatro” é que no fundo a Santíssima Trindade é quatro, como muito bem explicou Jung, sendo este quarto elemento o feminino.

Voltando ao triangulo da multiplicação, o terceiro nível contem os números 4 (2 x 2) e 9 (3 x 3), que são os primeiros números ao quadrado (números criados pela multiplicação do numero por si mesmo). Eles representam a superfície geométrica do plano. O quarto nível contem os números 8 (2 x 2 x 2) e 27 (3 x 3 x 3), que são os primeiros números frutos de elevação ao cubo ou terceira potencia (números criados pela multiplicação de si mesmos duas vezes). Os números cúbicos representam o sólido geométrico. Era feita a afirmação que a mais alta significação era que todos os números que compunham a tétrade de multiplicação somavam 27, que era o numero final do símbolo (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 8 + 9 = 27). Este autor, Theon, observou que  com estes números Platão constituiu a idéia da alma humana.

Uma coisa curiosa, que acho que vale a pena observar é que Platão foi praticamente o originador das concepções que criaram a idéia de alma, espírito, etc, conseqüentemente, ou facilmente, sugeridoras de vida após a morte, etc., etc., e Pitágoras é o pai, ou o avô, das idéias que culminaram no materialismo e no ateísmo.

Voltando ao simbolismo de números pitagorico, normalmente quando se escreve sobre a Tétrade, se esta referindo à tétrade da soma. A fim de se poder entender porque a Tétrade é considerada sagrada, é preciso levar em conta que os pitagoricos acreditavam que o universo inteiro é constituído de números, especialmente dos números 1 a 10, que dão origem a todos os números que baseiam nosso familiar sistema decimal. Para os pitagoricos, ainda, os números eram mais que meros indicadores de quantidade de valores agregados de algo, mas coisas ou deidades vivas, cada um com sua personalidade singular e poderes ocultos.

Acrescentando-se a isto a geometria, a coisa vai muito longe.

Recomendo a quem tiver interesse na simbologia de números tomar conhecimento sobre como números e especialmente relações geométricas foram usados na construção de catedrais góticas, que são um monumento ao pensamento pagão. Fiz um trabalho minucioso sobre a Catedral de Chartres onde discuto, ou melhor, nego tudo isto, já que parto do principio que numero não existe em lugar nenhum a não ser na cabeça das pessoas e é fruto da limitação ou impossibilidade que existe para nosso cérebro entender o mundo.

Continuando, por exemplo, o numero 5 representava o principio sagrado da justiça, porque estava no centro exato da tétrade da soma, bem como no meio dos números de um digito de 1 a 9, simbolizando por isto o equilíbrio e a igualdade.

Para os pitagoricos não era meramente um símbolo, mas um ente vivo, uma inteligência espiritual encarnando o principio ativo da justiça em qualquer lugar que encontrasse expressão na face da terra ou no céus. Era mais ou menos como a balança  no símbolo da deusa justiça, exceto que o cinco era ela própria e não meramente um símbolo.

O numero 6 era considerado o principio do sagrado matrimonio, uma vez que continha a formula matemática 2 x 3 = 6. Dois era o primeiro numero feminino e três o primeiro numero masculino. Sua união sexual era expressa pelo processo de multiplicação, cujo produto obtinha mais que qualquer original, como acontece com o aparecimento dos filhos produto dos casais. O primeiro numero verdadeiro no sistema pitagorico eram o numero 3. Os pitagoricos se referiam ao numero 1 como monada e ao numero dois como diad, ou duad. A monada significava a unidade perfeita de tudo e a duad a raiz de toda a diversidade através do universo.

Desta forma, a tétrade da soma continha dentro de si a monada, a duad, o primeiro numero impar verdadeiro, o primeiro numero par. Os números impares eram tidos pelos pitagoricos como masculinos e os impares como femininos, por razoes mais ou menos obvias ( paridades duas pernas, imparidades duas pernas mais pênis) O numero quatro em geral continha dentro de si todos os princípios da tétrade (1,2,3,4). É o menor numero que incorpora todas as partes para a existência manifesta no mundo e por esta razão é o numero do mundo material.

A teoria musical desempenhava um papel extremamente importante na filosofia Pitagorica. A tétrade simbolizava todas as divisões tonais da musica, por que na adição de 1 +2 +3 +4 podiam ser encontradas todas as consonâncias.

Quando a tétrade da soma era juntada em companhia da tétrade da multiplicação, combinadas elas eram consideradas capazes de representar todas as relações sobre as quais o universo inteiro fora construído, fossem estas relações musicais, geométricas ou aritméticas.

O homem era visto por Pitágoras como pleno de acordes musicais em harmonia com a musica das esferas. Para quem tem familiaridade com musica há que se observar que o acorde fundamental do homem, ou tom fundamental, sua terça maior, sua quinta e sua oitava.

No meu trabalho sobre Chartres discuto o que esta embutido na construção dela em termos disto e é uma coisa interessantíssima o quanto uma idéia relativamente simples desta pode sofisticar-se embutida numa construção como aquela.

Os cabalistas judeus foram fortemente influenciados pela filosofia grega. Eles criaram uma versão própria da tétrade usando as letras do Hebreu do Tetragrammaton (IHVH) – JAVÉ – o nome divino de quatro letras. Quando inscrevemos estas quatro letras na tétrade pitagorica e as somamos juntas, elas numeram 10 e compõem o nome de Deus com 10 letras que Agrippa, outro personagem muito famoso de ciências ocultas, chama de “O nome de Jehovah com 10 letras” no Livro II, cap. 13 de seu livro – Três livros de Filosofia Oculta. Este nome, traduzido para caracteres latinos do hebreu, é:

 I + IH + IHV + IHVH.

Daí, para  a árvore de Sefiroth, foi um pulo dado calculo que nuns 100 anos, ou uns 200, no período que vai de Pitágoras até uns 100 A C, com a passagem pelos egípcios, que é outra historia, e deu no seguinte:

tree of life 4

Traduzindo, os nomes em hebreu para cada posição na figura à direita:

  1. Kether            suprema coroa, vontade inicial, anjo que trouxe isto para a terra
  2. Chochma      Sabedoria, semente de todas as coisas
  3. Bina                Inteligência, matrix superior
  4. Chessed        Amor, misericórdia, bondade
  5. Gebura           Severidade, poder de punição
  6. Tiphereth       generosidade, esplendor, beleza
  7. Nezach          resistência, vitória
  8. Hod                 Magnificência, majestade
  9. Jesod             Base ou assento para todos os poderes criativos
  10. Malkuth          Reino ou localização de Deus

Que é, em Português, sinteticamente, o que esta escrito e representado nas duas primeiras figuras que apavora e parecem complicadíssimas (pior, poderosíssimas á primeira vista e olhares incautos).

Pouco falta a se acrescentar. O que esta representado em 2, 4 e 7 esta em oposição ao que esta representado em 3, 5 e 8 e no embate ou disputa e integração ou não esta o destino de quem esta envolvido.

A cabala propriamente é a compreensão pela meditação  destes símbolos, que são interpretados pela matriz de significados abaixo, por exemplo, para o 10, Malkuth:

Nome                          Malkuth, o Reino (pronuncia em hebreu, Mem, Lamed, Kaph, Vav, Tav
Imagem Mágica          Uma mulher jovem, coroada e no trono
Situação na árvore:    Na Base do Pilar do Equilíbrio
Texto Yetziraico:         O décimo passo é chamado de Inteligência Resplandecente porque é exaltado sobre toda cabeça e senta-se sob re o Trono de Binah (ver 3). Ilumina os esplendores de todas as Luzes e causa influencia que emana do Príncipe das Continências, o Anjo Kether.

Títulos dados a Malkuth:   A ponte ou passagem. A passagem para a morte. A ponte para a sombra da morte. A passagem para lagrimas. A ponte para a justiça. A ponte para a oração. A ponte para o jardim dos céus. A mãe inferior. Malkah, a Rainha. Kallah, a noiva. A virgem.
Nome divino:                Adonai Melekeh ou Adon há-Arets.
Arcanjo:                      Sandalphon
Coro de anjos:            Ishim, Almas de fogo
Chakra Mundano:      Olam há-yesodoth, esfera dos elementos
Experiência
Espiritual:                  Visão do Anjo guardião Sagrado
Virtude:                     Discriminação
Vicio:                         Avareza. Inércia
Correspondência
no Microcosmo:       Os pés. O anus.
Símbolos:                 Altar do cubo dobrado. A cruz crista. O circulo mágico. O triangulo da arte.
Cartas do Tarot:       Os quatro dez:
Dez de bastão: opressão
Dez de Copas: Sucesso aperfeiçoado
Dez de espadas: Ruína
Dez de Pentateuco: Riqueza
Cor no Atziluth:        Amarelo
Cor no Briah:           Cítrico, oliva, castanho e negro
Cor no Yetzirah:      Cítrico, oliva, castanho e negro, com dourado
Cor no Assiah:        Preto, raiado de amarelo
Não vou detalhar, pois não estou a fim de ensinar ler Tarot ou que o uso seja para fins não os que tenho em mente, que é colocar às claras toda esta obscuridade que me parece supersticiosa e ignorante.
Para terminar, basicamente a cabala é praticada, alem da divinação com o Tarot, pela meditação em cima de cada símbolo da Arvore da Vida, que supostamente transmite, quando atinge seu grau máximo, iluminação e contacto com a divindade.
Com a ajuda do que esta aqui, me parece que fica accessível ler os manuais de Cabala que encontramos disponíveis, que omitem tudo isto para parecerem coisa que dá para se perceber, não são.
Lembram, para mim, aqueles hábeis vendedores de poções que existiam e estão sumindo, nos mercadões que tinham supostamente uma cobra dentro de uma caixa fechada e atraiam as pessoas dizendo coisas fantásticas da cobra que iriam mostrar, mas que nunca mostravam, mas que atraiam multidões para as quais eles vendiam suas poções.

Numerology – Tree of Life

(veja em Português)

Cabala 

Although supposedly there is a Christian and another one Jewish, in practice they are mixed and  they like to quote Genesis 2.9, where the Bible explains how man was formed.  The explanations in their own texts, when not written in their characteristic jargon, but try to follow a more modern descriptive method, for those who are not “initiated”,  looks like that:

The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.  Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

Soon after, they have a representation, whose name can also be Philosophic Tree or Tree of Sephiroth, which can be extremely complicated in some aspects, aggravated by the use of Hebrew which appears like that and more palatable in the sequence:

tree of life 2

tree of life 1

As the Catholic Church has decided to “kill” the superstitious aspects of paganism, when it was incorporated, aggravated by the fact that whoever departed from this way was set to fire, the cabal traces practically disappeared.

Better yet, they stayed asleep a long time till the wake up at the end of the Middle Ages, when the Inquisition was losing strength and the Enlightenment began its domain, starting from the 15th century, with the advent of alchemy which eventually gave rise to chemistry in the 16th and 17th century, which perhaps was at its peak at this time, although as “Occult Science“.
A problem for those who focuses on these issues with eyes to see is that invariably the authors present themselves as owners of wisdom earlier to the birth of Christ, ancient, which allegedly has been passed secretly or orally by initiated over the centuries.

It is the worst kind of lie which exists, because it is a half-truth.

As matter of fact, the true origin of the Jewish or Christian Cabala, in the night of times, can be traced to the Pythagorean Tetrad, the result of his philosophy of numbers, described by Plato in Timaeus.
In its original conception, Pythagoras proposed the following, being not known where he got these ideas, but since Timaeus was written around 410 A C, by Plato, these ideas actually date back to a period at least 500 years before Christ:

tree of life 5

The left figure appears in the writings of Robert Fludd, more or less around 1625 and was supposedly taken from Francesco Giorgio, in his De Harmonia Mundi around 1525. The figure on the right was taken from Timaeus, but we must remember that the numbers were linked to Pythagoras symbolism.

The tetrad is a symbol consisting of 10 points placed in a triangle pointing upwards. It was a sacred standard for the school of philosophers who followed the teachings of Pythagoras, who lived in the 6th century BC. They used the tetrad to swear in the same way that today is done with the Bible in places where traditionally this happens. The Pythagorean oath, which was quoted in the Renaissance by the magician Cornelius Agrippa, says the following:

“By that pure, holy, four lettered name on high,
nature’s eternal fountain and supply,
the parent of all souls that living be,
by him, with faith find oath, I swear to thee.”

Some historians, or “initiated” claim that the oath was made towards the one which granted the tetrad for generations to come, which could be interpreted as the Monad, or the Pythagorean master. Probably the three – God, Pythagoras and the Tetrad – were in the mind of the individual who made the oath. However, some modern experts believe that the oath was focused on the tetrad itself, identified as the same as the map or plan of creation.

In the case of the figure of Robert Fludd, it said in his text, he or she the, Monad, at the upper vertex (light) generates the Dyad, the Triad and the Tetrad, which are based on the “land of creative powers” identified in the figure with the notorious “four elements” Earth, Water, Air and Fire, which are mentioned in almost everything that deals with occult science.

Technically, the progression 2, 3, 4, (Diad, Triad, Tetrad) can expand indefinitely.

Maybe here it is not the best place to discuss that, but simplifying an extensive subject, Pythagoras did not see the numbers with the concept we have today, at least as they are used in Exact Sciences for calculations. It assigns values and symbolic interactions, identifying this triangle two tetrads, one of sum (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10) and one of a multiplier (1 + 2 + 3 + [2×2] + [2x2x2] + [3×3] = [3x3x3]). It is easier to look up the right triangle in the explanatory diagram.

The number 1 on the highest level of the multiplication Tetrad is he or she the Monad, symbolizing the perfect unity.

According to a prominent figure in these matters Theon  de Smirna, the 1 contains the principles of “reason, or relationship, of limit and point”, whatever that means. The 2 and 3 on the second level are “prime numbers (the first of a series) which cannot be decomposed and are measured only to the unit and are hence linear numbers.” It is not needed much imagination to identify the Holy Trinity and the oath “four” is the background of the Holy Trinity, which incidentally is four as quite well Jung explained, being this fourth element female.

Returning to the multiplying triangle, the third level contains the numbers 4 (2 x 2) and 9 (3 x 3), which are the first to the square (numbers created by the multiplication by itself). They represent the geometric surface plane. The fourth level contains the numbers 8 (2 x 2 x 2) and 27 (3 x 3 x 3), which are the first numbers resulting of elevating to the third power (number created by multiplying themselves twice). These numbers represent the cubic geometric solid. The assertion made stated that this was of highest significance because all the numbers which are made up by the multiplication Tetrad totaled 27, which was the final number of the symbol (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 8 + 9 = 27). This author, Theon noted that with these numbers Plato develop his idea of the human soul.

A curious thing, which I think is worth noting is that Plato was virtually the originator of the ideas that created the idea of soul, spirit, etc., therefore, or easily suggesting life after death, etc., etc., and Pythagoras is the father or grandfather of the ideas that led to materialism and atheism.

Returning to the Pythagorean number symbolism, usually when writing about the Tetrad, it is normally referring to the sum tetrad. In order to be able to understand why the Tetrad is considered sacred, it must be taken into account that the Pythagoreans believed that the entire universe is made up of numbers, especially numbers 1 to 10, which gives rise to all numbers that are based on our familiar decimal system. For the Pythagoreans, though, the numbers were more than mere indicators of the amount of added values of something, but things or living deities, each with its unique personality and occult powers ..

If you add to this geometry, the thing goes really far…

I suggest for those interested in the symbolism of numbers to get acquainted how numbers and especially geometric ratios were used in the construction of Gothic cathedrals, which are a monument to the pagan thought. I did a thorough job about that on the Chartres Cathedral where I discuss, or rather deny  this, since I depart from the principle that number exists nowhere except in people’s minds and it is the result of the restriction or impossibility that exists in our brains to understand the world as it really is.

Back on the subject, for example, the number 5 is the sacred principle of justice, because it was in the exact center of the tetrad of the sum, as well as among the numbers of a digit from 1 to 9, symbolizing thus balance and equality.

For the Pythagoreans it was not merely a symbol, but a living being, a spiritual intelligence embodying the active principle of justice anywhere it could find expression on earth or in heaven. It was about as how the balance, the symbol of the goddess justice, except that the five was herself and not merely a symbol.

The number 6 was considered the principle of the sacred marriage, since it contained the mathematical formula 2 x 3 = 6. Two was the first female number and three the first male number. Their sexual union was expressed by the multiplication process, the product obtained more than any original, as with the appearance of the children as the product of couples.

The first real number on the Pythagorean system was the number 3. The Pythagoreans referred to the number 1 as monad and number two as dyad, or duad. The monad meant the perfect unity of all and dyad the root of all the diversity across the universe

Thus the sum Tetrad contained within itself the monad, the dyad, the first real odd number, the first even number. The odd numbers were taken by the Pythagoreans as male and the odd ones as females, for reasons more or less obvious (two legs, parities, non parity, two legs plus penis, etc). The number four generally contained within itself all the principles of theTetrad (1.2 3.4). It is the smallest number that incorporates all parties to manifest existence in the world and for this reason is the material world number.

Music theory played an extremely important role in the Pythagorean philosophy. The Tetrad symbolized all divisions of tonal music, because the addition of 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 could be found in  all consonances.

When the sum tetrad joined together with the multiplication Tetrad, combined they were considered able to represent all the relationships on which the entire universe was built, were these musical, geometric or arithmetic relations.

Man was seen by Pythagoras as filled up with musical chords in harmony with the music of the spheres. For those who are familiar with music it must be noted that the fundamental chord of man, or fundamental tone, its major third, its fifth and its eighth.

In my Chartres job I discuss what is embedded in its building in terms like that and it is something very interesting how a relatively simple idea like this one can turn into a sophisticated element in a building like that Gothic Cathedral.

Jewish Kabbalists were strongly influenced by Greek philosophy. They created their own version of the Tetrad using the letters of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton (YHWH) – YAHVEH – the divine name of four letters. When we inscribe these four letters in the Pythagorean Tetrad and we add them together, they form the number 10 and make God’s name with 10 letters, what  Agrippa, another very famous character of occult sciences, called “The Name of the Lord with 10 letters” in Book II ch. 13 of his book – Three Occult Philosophy books. This name, translated into Latin characters of the Hebrew is:

 I + IH + IHV + IHVH.

From here to the Sefirot tree, was a leap which I estimate it took some 100 years, maybe 200, which goes from Pythagoras to about 100 A C with the passage of the Jews to Egypt, which is another story, but it turned on the the following:

tree of life 4 Translating the Hebrew names for each position in the right figure:

  1. Kether            supreme crown, initial willl, Angel Who brought this to earth
  2. Chochma      Wisdom, seed of all things
  3. Bina              Intelligence, superior matrix
  4. Chessed        Love, Mercy, Kindness
  5. Gebura           Severity, Power, punishment
  6. Tiphereth       Generosity, splendor, beauty
  7. Nezach          Resistance, victory
  8. Hod                 Magnificence, majesty
  9. Jesod             Base or seat for all creative powers
  10. Malkuth          Kingdom or location of God

Which is in plain English, synthetically, what is written and represented in the first two figures and terrifies and it is seem as very complicated (worst, very powerful at first sight to unwary looks).
There is not really much to add. What is represented in 2, 4 and 7 are opposed to what is represented in 3, 5 and 8 and the clash or dispute and integration or not is the fate of who is involved.
Kabbalah, properly, is the understanding through meditation of these symbols, which are interpreted by the array of meanings below, for example, for 10, Malkuth

Name:                        Malkuth, the Kingdom (spelled in hebrew, Mem, Lamed, Kaph, Vav,Tav)
Magical image:         A young woman crowned and at the  throne
Tree placement:       At the base of the Balance Pilar

Yetziraic text:           The tenth step is called Resplendent Intelligence because it is  exalted above every head and sits under the Throne of Binah (see 3). It illuminates the splendors of all the Lights and causes influence that  emanates from the Prince of the Continencies, the Angel Kether.

Títles given to Malkuth: The bridge or passage. The passage to death. The bridge to the   shadow of death. The move to tears. The bridge to justice. The bridge for prayer. The bridge to the garden of heaven. The lower mother. Malkah the Queen. Kallah, the bride. The Virgin

Divine Name:           Adonai Melekeh or Adon há-Arets.
Archangel:               Sandalphon
Angels choir:           Ishim, Sous of fire
Mundane Chakra:   Olam há-yesodoth, sphere elements
Spiritual 
Experience:             Guardian Angel Sacred Vision
Virtue:                      Discrimination
Vice:                         Avarice. Inértia
Correspondence
in Microcosm:   
      The feet. The anus.
Symbols:                 Folded cube altar.The Christian cross.The Magic circle. The arts triangle.
Tarot suit cards:     The four ten’s:
Ten of clubs: oppression
Ten of hearts: Improved Success
Ten of spades: Ruin
Tem of Pentateuch: Wealth
Atziluth colour:       Yellow
Briah colour:           Citrus, olive, brown and black
Yetzirah colour:      Cítrus, olive, brown and black, with golden
Assiah colour:        Black, streaked with yellow:

I will not delve into detail because I’m not in the mood to teach reading Tarot or use it for purposes other than the ones I have in mind, which is to bring it to the clear all this darkness that seems to me superstitious and ignorant.

Finally, basically the Kabbalah is practiced, beyond the divination with the Tarot, for meditation on each symbol of the Tree of Life, which supposedly transmits, when it reaches its maximum level, lighting and contact with divinity.

With the help of what is explained here, it seems to me that it is accessible to read the Kabbalah books we found available but omit all that which to may opinion, make them look like something obvious, which is wisdom.

They remind me of those skilled vendors of  potions in old markets which are fading nowadays,  who allegedly had a snake inside a closed box and attract people saying great things the snake would show, but never showed, being that the real intention was to attract crowds to whom they sold their potions.

Dante and the occult sciences and secret societies

Arguments will be listed for further commentary in sequence. The dialectic involved is shown here as a proposition and in the further commentary a criticism will be elaborated

 I-Rene Guenon L’Esoterisme de Dante

Hernani Donato, who in my opinion made the best translation to our portuguese language of the Divine Comedy, makes the following statement in the Preface to the edition sponsored by Nova Cultural in its Circulo do Livro, 1993, under the title “News about the author and the work”, pag. XII, and I transcribe:

“There is also – and supported by a large bibliography – the idea that postulates an occult purpose for Dante’s Poem. The Brazilian book, Dante – Six hundred Years of Doubts, by Edmundo Cardillo, goes along with this line of thought: The occultists based their thesis on the verses 60/62 from the chant IX of Hell: ‘O ye who have opened the intelligence, seek to perceive the exact meaning which in these verses sometimes is hidden’:
Quoting Rene Guenon (L’Esoterisme de Dante)). Cardillo informs about the existence in Vienna of a medal with the effigy of Dante and bearing on the reverse the letters FSKIPFT, which Arturo Reghini (L ‘Allegoria esoterica di Dante) plays: Frater Sacrae Kadosch, Imperialis Principatus, Frater Templarius and quoted Guenon translated by Fidei Sancte. .. by the “historical fact” (says Cardillo) that Dante Alighieri was the head of the Fede Santa organization, one of the Orders of Templar affiliation, which would justify (…) The poet, made as his guide Saint Bernard (Paraiso , XXXI), who established the statutes of the Order of the Temple. ” This affiliation, with the consequent effort to disclose “hidden” truths, would support the composition of the poem and the allegories of which it is replete “
I imagine that Hernani Donato did his research in an epoch before the Internet and did not have had contact with Rosicrucians, who today claim for themselves the alignment of Dante with their ideas. In this sense, the strongest arguments they use and which circulates on the Internet are the following:

II – Numerology – Tree of Life

There is an obscure argument based on numerology, in which the fact that there are 3 parts to the Divine Comedy, or 33 cantos, or so many circles of hell are given a Kabbalistic significance. Here is an excerpt that makes a Kabbalist interpretation of Dante’s Inferno: (You have first to take look above in the Tree of Life article)

There are 9 Circles plus the Well of the Giants; 9 + 1 = 10. There are 10 sefirot on the Tree of Life. The Tree also has a 9 + 1 = 10 structure: Keter + Chakhmah + Binah; Chesed + Gevurah + Tiferet; Netzchah + Hod + Yesod; Malkhut (alone). The Tree has a division between 6 upper and 4 lower sefirot. They are divided by the Veil. Dante’s scheme has 6 Circles in Upper Hell and then 3 Circles plus the Well of the Giants, in Lower Hell. Looking only at the lowest Circles, they have 3, 10 and 4 sub-divisions. There are 3 pillars on the Tree of Life, 10 sefirot and, depending upon how we look at it, 4 sub-divisions of the Tree (which correlate to the 4 Worlds). If Dante is making a cryptic reference to the Tree of Life, then the 32 internal paths lead inevitably to the external 33rd and to Lucifer, the Light Bearer. All 33 cantos describe Dante’s experience in the metaphysical place of Earth; Aristotle’s alchemical element of Earth.

Now Virgil conducts Dante across the alchemical Water and to the outskirts of Purgatory. Eventually, after meeting 4 classes of Tardy Penitents, they arrive at St Peter’s Gate. The penitents and the gate are all located in the alchemical element of Air. Dante falls asleep and dreams for the first time. They meet the gatekeeper, an angel who strikes Dante 3 times on the chest and paints 7 “P’s” on his forehead. This is clearly an initiation ritual. In mystery religion terms, he has entered the Pronaos of the Temple. He has moved to the alchemical element of Fire.
Let us pause and note the numbers: 4 classes of penitents correlates to the 4 Worlds of the kabala; 3 + 7 initiation marks correspond to the 3 + 7 division of the Tree of Life. The 3 Supernal sefirot are divided from the 7 lower sefirot by the Abyss. Thus the 3 above are qualitatively different from the 7 below; as blows are different from painted “P’s”.
As in the case of the rose, why resort to this very obscure and overly complex interpretation when standard Christian numerology will suffice? For example, we all know that 3 is a symbol of the Trinity, 12 of th Apostles, 5 of the wounds of Christ, 9 of the Beatitudes, 7 the virtues, etc. But let us take the number 33 – Purgatorio and Paradiso each contain 33 cantos; in traditional Christian symbolism, 33 has stood for the number of years our Blessed Lord was on the earth. This is common knowledge. But here is the Kabbalistic spin:
So what does 33 mean? Obviously, it alludes to the age of Christ at his crucifixion and resurrection…However, 33 also alludes to the kabalistic Tree of Life. There are 32 internal paths on the Tree and then there is the external 33rd path that leads to God.  
Now, is 33 “obviously” alludes to Christ, then why invoke the “32 internal paths” of the Kabbalist “Tree of Life”? Why search for occultic Jewish explanations when Dante’s classical Christian numerology is well known and well attested? At some point, Ockham’s Razor has to come into play – why multiply these obscure explanations for Dante;s number schemes when conventional Christian numerology satisfactorily explains them all and fits in much better with what we know about Dante and his faith? Like the case with the rose, I think many fail to realize that medieval Christianity had its own very complex economy of symbols – numbers, flowers, animals and even rocks all had symbolic meanings relating to Christ and the Church (see here for an introduction to medieval “Bestiaries and Lapidaries”). This knowledge would have been intuitive to the medieval; perhaps with the strong iconoclastic reaction against symbolism that occured in the 16th and 17th centuries during the Protestant upheaval. In an effort to cleanse the church of statues, symbols and icons, many of these medieval symbols have passed into obscurity.

III – The Celestial Rose

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Paradiso Canto XXX, Dante beholds the throngs of the blessed surrounding the throne of God arranged in the shape of a great white rose, memorably portrayed in the famous 1868 engraving by Gustave Dore:
celestial rose G. Dore

IV – Perception of Reality and Beliefs turned to Symbols

I repeat the article here and suggest the reader to think about it. The fact behind that is to me what it seems a blue print for the Opening of Dante’s Inferno:
Not only to Secret Societies or in the works of Occult Sciences, but spread all over the Middle Ages and even before there were some beliefs which played a lot in the imagery involved to express such perception.
Caves held a lot of power in the imagination of people, specially when you know that there was no electricity and the kind of light you get with open fire.
As I alredy quoted from Matilde Battistini, in Astrology, Magic and Alchemy in Art

 Magic Portals

 “In ancient times, the cave was believed to be a membrane for passing from the sub lunar world to the heavenly dimension and vice versa, the door through which gods or immortals souls could reach the Earth. Many archaic myths place the birth of the initiatory gods inside or near a cave, whose esoteric function was also retained in Christianity in the image of the Bethlehem grotto. Leonardo da Vinci, in his Virgin of the Rocks, draws upon that tradition, associating directly the mystery of the birth of Jesus with the infernal and aquatic world of caves and minerals.
Virgin of the Rocks Da Vinci
Among the ancient Greeks, the solstices were two heavenly gateways (Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn) that allowed communication between the human and divine spheres and the souls that were destined to be reincarnated in a body with those that had been released from the process of earthly  rebirths. In The Odyssey, Homer locates these esoteric passages in a cave on Ithaca, attributing to Odysseus the initiatory role of the solar hero capable of joining the temporal to the eternal dimension. Traces of these astral cults were retained in the Christian summer solstice feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24) and the winter one of the Nativity (December 25th), for both dates were believed to be times of passage between the different dimensions of nature and existence. In the Hebrew Kabbalah, the magic door is the original point, a synthesis of light and darkness that gave birth to the universe.”
The highlighting is mine. This whole thing sounds like a description of what Dante had in mind at the opening gate of Hell. Let’s see Hell, canto I
williamblakedantewildbeasts_2

The Divine Comedy opens with Dante lost in a dark wood in a fearful valley. Finally he sees a hill on which the sun is shining, and his heart fills with hope. But as he starts his climb, he is confronted by three beasts.

First comes a leopard, that, while not really frightening him, does block his path. Then comes a ferocious, ravenous lion followed by a she-wolf. Dante is terrified and is losing all hope of climbing the hill when a man appears. It is Virgil, the Roman epic poet. He has been sent by Beatrice (the woman Dante loved and who inspired him to write) to lead him on a journey of discovery through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.

To explain the allegory: Dante, busied about the affairs of the world, has wandered from the path of righteousness. He tries to find the path back but is diverted by worldly pleasure (the leopard), worldly ambition (the lion), and by avarice (the she-wolf). Virgil, who represents reason, has come to lead Dante to Beatrice, who represents Divine revelation and the state of grace.

Notice the Christ-like pose and appearance (diaphanous robes, flowing locks) of Virgil, and the exaggerated ‘terror pose’ of the fleeing Dante. Notice also that the three beasts hardly look terrifying at all. Blake, in fact, seemed to have difficulties depicting wild animals.

Magic Portals play a very important role in initiatic ceremonies for secret socities, being crucial for Templars and Rosicrucians. In England and in America there are several examples.

Royston cave

Cave of Kelpius Philadelphia

V – Secret Societies

Again, I quote from Matilde Battistini, in Astrology, Magic and Alchemy in Art

“Secret societies and esoteric circles were born for the purpose of fostering the spiritual renewal of restricted elites through the recovery of arcane forms of knowledge and a total ban on divulging the principles and the alphabet of the secret doctrines to the asses. The Knights Templar, whose secret goal was to rebuild the Temple of Solomon, were one of the first esoteric orders of the Christian Wes. The Rosicrucian Society, derived from the Fedeli d’Amori (The Faithful of Love) to which both Dante Alighieri and the author of Le Roman de la Rose belonged, intended to free the spirit of the adept from slavery to earthly temporal powers (the senses and passions, public ambition, and political institutions). The mystical flower of this sect, the rose, symbol of beauty, love and live, in fact, expresses striving toward spiritual elevation and yearning for a return to a natural religion founded on the knowledge of the harmonious correspondences that fill the many realms of reality. Finally the Free masons worshiped light, equality, and the brother hood of man. During the Renaissance, many cultural and political circles, such as the Florentine Neoplatonic Adacemy and the court of Elizabeth I, queen of England, also hid esoteric interests.”

A more complete list of all secret societies should be as follows:

In a book, published in 1897, the_secret_societies_of_all_ages_and_countries-george_redway-vol1-1897-798pgs-pol-sml, by Charles William Heckethorn, there were then 160 Organizations as such in the world,  which  he classified as follows:

  1. Religious – such as the Egyptians or Eleusinian Mysteries 78, 79, 185
  2. Military: Knights Templars 9,11,51, 47-50, 208, 302, 303
  3. Judiciary: Vehmgerichte 328
  4. Scientific: Alchymists missing
  5. Civil: Freemasons 8, 9, 73, 100- 105, 106-109, 116,
  6. Political: Carbonari 157-177
  7. Anti social: Garduna missing

In the page following, you can see by then what the author thought about it.  If you press on, you can see how it shows up at Internet today.

He warns, though, that the line of division is not always strictly defined, some that had scientific objects combined theological dogmas therewith – as Rosicrucians, for instance; and political societies must necessarily influence civil life. We may therefore more conveniently range secret societies in the two comprehensive divisions of religious and politic.

Rosicrucians are explained, as the author saw then at the end of the 19th century, as extremely influential in the past, but finished by then. (Page 219)

Dante e as ciências ocultas e as sociedades secretas

(Veja o artigo ao qual este se contrapropõe: Critica a Dante e as Ciências Ocultas e as Sociedades Secretas)
Os argumentos serão listados para comentários adicionais em seqüência. A dialética envolvida é mostrada aqui como uma proposição e, no comentário adicional, será elaborada uma crítica.

 I-Rene Guenon L’Esoterisme de Dante

Hernani Donato, que a meu ver fez a melhor tradução para nossa lingua da Divina Comédia, faz, no Prefácio da edição patrocinada pela Nova Cultural no seu Circulo do Livro, ed 1993, sob o titulo “Noticias sobre o autor e a obra”, pag XII, e transcrevo:

“Há também – e sustentada por ampla bibliografia – a corrente que postula um propósito ocultista para o Poema. O livro brasileiro, Dante – seiscentos anos de duvidas, de Edmundo Cardillo, situa essa linha de pensamento. Os ocultistas fundamentaram a sua tese nos versos 60/62 do canto IX do Inferno: ‘Ó vós que tendes aberta a inteligência, buscai perceber o sentido exato que nestes versos, por vezes, esta oculto’.
Citando Rene Guenon (L’Esoterisme de Dante). Cardillo informa sobre a existencia, em Viena, de medalha com a efígie de Dante e portando, no reverso, as letras F.S.K.I.P.F.T., que Arturo Reghini (L ‘Allegoria esoterica di Dante) interpreta: Frater Sacrae Kadosch, Imperialis Principatus, Frater Templarius e o citado Guenon traduziu por Fidei Sancte. .. pelo “fato historico ‘(diz Cardillo) de que Dante Alighieri fora dos chefes da organização Fede Santa, uma das Ordens de filiação templaria, o que justificaria haver ( … ) 0 poeta, tornado como seu guia São Bernardo (Paraiso, XXXI), aquele que estabeleceu os estatutos da Ordem do Templo”. Esta filiação, com o consequente empenho em divulgar verdades “ocultas” serviria de suporte à composição do poema e às alegorias de que ele está repleto”
Imagino que Hernani Donato fez sua pesquisa em época anterior à Internet e não deve ter tido contacto com Rosacruzes, que hoje Clamam para si o alinhamento de Dante com suas ideias. Neste sentido, o argumento mais forte que eles usam e que circula na Intenet é o seguinte:

II – Numerologia – Árvore da Vida

Há um argumento obscuro baseado na numerologia, no qual o fato de que existem 3 partes da Divina Comédia, ou 33 cantos, ou tantos círculos do inferno, recebem um significado cabalístico. Aqui está um trecho que faz uma interpretação cabalistica do Inferno de Dante: (Você primeiro tem que olhar acima no artigo Numerologia – Árvore da Vida)

Existem 9 círculos mais o poço dos gigantes; 9 + 1 = 10. Existem 10 sefirot s  na Árvore da Vida. A Árvore também possui uma estrutura 9 + 1 = 10: Keter + Chakhmah + Binah; Chesed + Gevurah + Tiferet; Netzchah + Hod + Yesod; Malkhut (sozinho). A Árvore tem uma divisão entre 6 superiores e 4 sefirot s inferiores. Eles são divididos pelo véu. O esquema de Dante tem 6 círculos no inferno superior e depois 3 círculos mais o poço dos gigantes, no inferno inferior. Olhando apenas para os Círculos mais baixos, eles têm 3, 10 e 4 sub-divisões. Existem 3 pilares na Árvore da Vida, 10 sefirot e, dependendo de como a observamos, 4 subdivisões da Árvore (que se correlacionam com os 4 Mundos). Se Dante está fazendo uma referência enigmática à Árvore da Vida, então os 32 caminhos internos levam inevitavelmente ao externo 33 e a Lucifer, o portador da luz. Todos os 33 cantos descrevem a experiência de Dante no lugar metafísico da Terra; Elemento alquímico de Aristóteles da Terra.

 Agora Virgilio conduz Dante através da água alquímica e aos arredores do Purgatório. Eventualmente, depois de conhecerem 4 classes de Penitentes Tardios eles chegam ao portal de S.Pedro. Os penitentes e o portão estão todos localizados no elemento alquímico do ar. Dante adormece e sonha pela primeira vez. Eles conhecem o porteiro, um anjo que atinge Dante 3 vezes no peito e pinta 7 “P’s” em sua testa. Este é claramente um ritual de iniciação. Em termos de religião misteriosa, ele entrou nos Pronaos do Templo. Ele se mudou para o elemento alquímico do fogo.

 III – A Rosa Celestial 

Sobre a suposta presença do simbolismo Rosacruz na Divina Comédia. Em primeiro lugar, o que é considerado simbolismo Rosacruz? Tanto os Rsacruzes como aqueles que se esforçam para encontrar conspirações rosacruzes ou maçônicas por trás de tudo, basicamente, afirmam a presença de simbolismo rosacruz sempre que as flores são rosas, ou mais levianament, uma rosa e uma cruz juntas. Assim, se algum túmulo, monumento, ilustração ou peça literária faz uso da rosa como um símbolo, os rosacruzes muitas vezes afirmam que havia uma conexão Rosacruz. Isso muito bem poderia ser verdade para muitas coisas; por exemplo, as tendências maçônicas e esotéricas de muitos dos nossos Fundadores estão bem documentadas e não tenho dúvidas de que muitos desses monumentos da era revolucionária em Washinton D.C provavelmente contêm símbolos maçônicos-rosacruzes.
But this method of discerning Rosicrucian influence breaks down when we attempt to apply it to the Middle Ages, which was thoroughly Catholic and had its own rich symbolism apart from later Enlightenment era thought and influenced by Christian allegory. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Paradiso Canto XXX, Dante beholds the throngs of the blessed surrounding the throne of God arranged in the shape of a great white rose, memorably portrayed in the famous 1868 engraving by Gustave Dore:
Mas este método de discernir a influência Rosicruz quebra quando tentamos aplicá-lo à Idade Média, que era completamente católica e tinha seu próprio simbolismo muito rico, didferente do da mais recente era do Iluminismo, influenciado pela alegoria cristã. Na Divina Comédia de Dante, o Paradiso Canto XXX, Dante contempla a multidão dos abençoados que cercam o trono de Deus dispostos na forma de uma grande rosa branca, memorável retratada na famosa gravura de 1868 por Gustave Dore:
celestial rose G. Dore
Os rosacruzes são rápidos em apontar que essa presença da rosa tão próxima quanto o clímax da visão de Dante indica que ele se inscreveu no pensamento rosacruz, como os rosacruzes eram conhecidos por inserir o símbolo da rosa liberalmente em suas obras de arte.
Bem, primeiro, como eu disse antes, Dante simplesmente não poderia ter sido um Rosacruz por razões cronológicas. Os Rosacruzes apareceriam séculos depois.
Em segundo lugar, devemos assumir que apenas porque os Rosacruzes utilizam a rosa todos os outros que fazem isso também devem ser rosacruzes? Alguém que enfeita um bolo de casamento com uma rosa é Rosacruz? Ou quem presentear um buquet de rosas para sua esposa em qualquer ocasião, é Rosacruz? Ou que diga que  a rosa é sua flor favorita? Só porque Dante utilizando o símbolo da rosa para explicar um mistério celestial não implica que ele é membro de uma sociedade secreta esotérica. Não nos esqueçamos, a rosa também aparece como um símbolo de amor na própria Bíblia no Cântico das Canções: “Eu sou a rosa de Sharon e o lírio dos vale” (S. de S. 2: 1). Muitos Fundadores interpretaram isso como uma referência ao próprio Cristo.
Em terceiro lugar, a rosa celestial não é o clímax da visão de Dante, como qualquer aficionado de Dante reconheceria; que vem em Canto XXXIII quando Dante é acompanhado na presença da Trindade com São Bernardo, onde Dante diz que seus poderes de fala falharam ao descrever a glória que ele viu.
Em quarto lugar, a explicação Rosacruz para a presença da rosa celestial não é necessária porque Dante nos dá sua própria razão interna de por que ele tem os abençoados dispostos na forma de uma rosa como ele o faz. Um olhar superficial sobre a introdução à tradução de Dorothy Sayers de Paradiso tem um gráfico muito útil que mostra a lógica da colocação dos santos de Dante em uma formação de rosas. Aqui está a ilustração tirada diretamente da tradução de Paradiso de Dorothy Sayer:
O centro da rosa, é claro, é a Trindade, em torno da qual todos os santos estão reunidos em adoração. Quando lemos por que Dante colocou esses santos como ele o fez, vemos que seu arranjo é inteiramente teológico, imerso na tradição católica e não tem nada a ver com qualquer discurso rosacruz. Isso se resume a isso – se o simbolismo de Dante pode ser explicado facilmente em termos teológicos cristãos, por que apelar para uma sociedade secreta esotérica para explicá-los? A não ser, claro, alguém vai dizer: “Mas convenhamos, se houvesse uma sociedade rosacruz secreta no século 14, seria exatamente como se esperaria que eles agissem – escondendo símbolos ocultos nos véus cristãos”. Nesse caso, simplesmente caímos na falácia, por meio da qual a falta de provas de algo é torcida para se tornar evidência em apoio disso.

IV – Percepção de Realidade e Crenças voltadas para Símbolos

Não só Sociedades Secretas, ou nas obras das Ciências Ocultas, mas tambem espalhadas por toda a Idade Média e, mesmo antes, haviam algumas crenças que desempenhavam forte papel nas imagens envolvidas para expressar a percepção da realidade. Aqui estão algumas delas:
As cavernas tinham grande poder na imaginação das pessoas, especialmente quando pensamos que não havia eletricidade e o tipo de iluminação que se obtem com chamas de velas ou tochas.
Cito de Matilde Battistini, em Astrologia, Magica e Alquimia na Arrte

Portais Mágicos

“Nos tempos antigos, acreditava-se que a caverna era uma membrana para passar do mundo sublunar (do mundo corruptível para a quinta essência incorruptivel – Aristóteles)  para a dimensão celestial e vice-versa, a porta através da qual deuses ou as almas imortais podiam alcançar a Terra. Muitos mitos arcaicos colocam o nascimento  dos deuses iniciatórios dentro ou perto de uma caverna, cuja função esotérica também foi mantida no cristianismo à imagem da gruta de Belém. Leonardo da Vinci, em sua Virgem das Rochas, se baseia nessa tradição, associando diretamente o mistério do nascimento de Jesus com a mundo infernal e aquático de cavernas e minerais.
Virgin of the Rocks Da Vinci
Entre os antigos gregos, os solstícios eram dois portões celestiais (Trópico de Câncer e Trópico de Capricórnio) que permitiam a comunicação entre as esferas humana e divina e as almas que estavam destinadas a serem reencarnadas em um corpo com aqueles que foram liberados do processo de renascimentos terrenos. Na Odysseia, Homero localiza essas passagens esotéricas em uma caverna em Ithaca, atribuindo a Odysseus o papel iniciático o o herói solar capaz de unir a dimensão temporal à eterna. Os traços desses cultos astrais foram retidos na festa cristã de solstício de verão de São João Batista (24 de junho) e no inverno na Natividade (25 de dezembro), pois em ambas as datas  se acreditava serem momentos de passagem entre as diferentes dimensões de natureza e existência. Na Cabala hebraica, a porta mágica é o ponto original, uma síntese de luz e escuridão que deu origem ao universo
O destaque é meu. Tudo isso parece uma descrição do que Dante tinha em mente no primeiro portão do inferno. Vamos ver o inferno, canto I
williamblakedantewildbeasts_2

A Divina Comédia abre com Dante perdido em uma floresta escura em um vale de terror. Finalmente ele vê uma colina em que o sol está brilhando, e seu coração se enche de esperança. Mas quando ele começa a subir, ele é confrontado com três bestas.

Primeiro vem um leopardo, que, apesar de não o assustar, bloqueia seu caminho. Então vem um leão feroz e voraz seguido de uma loba. Dante está aterrorizado e está perdendo toda a esperança de subir a colina quando um homem aparece. É Virgílio, o poeta épico romano. Ele foi enviado por Beatrice (a mulher que Dante amava e que o inspirou a escrever) para levá-lo a uma jornada de descoberta através do Inferno, Purgatório e Paraíso.

Explicando a alegoria: Dante, ocupado dos assuntos do mundo, perdeu o caminho da retidão. Ele tenta encontrar o caminho de volta, mas é desviado pelo prazer mundano (o leopardo), a ambição mundana (o leão) e pela avareza (a loba). Virgilio, que representa a razão, chegou para levar Dante para Beatrice, que representa a revelação divina e o estado de graça.

Observe a aparência de Virgílio e a similaridade com Cristo (roupas diáfanas, fechamento do manto flutuante)  e a exagerada “pose de terror” do Dante que foge. Observe também que os três animais quase não parecem terríveis. Blake, de fato, parecia ter dificuldades em representar animais selvagens.

Os portais mágicos desempenham um papel muito importante nas cerimônias de iniciação nas sociedades secretas, sendo crucial para os templários e os rosacruzes. Na Inglaterra e na América existem vários exemplos.

Royston cave

Cave of Kelpius Philadelphia

V – Sociedades Secretas

Novamente, Cito de Matilde Battistini, em Astrology, Magic and Alchemy in Art

“As sociedades secretas e os círculos esotéricos nasceram com o propósito de promover a renovação espiritual das elites restritas através da recuperação de formas arcanas de conhecimento e uma proibição total de divulgar os princípios e o alfabeto das doutrinas secretas aos não iniciados. Os Cavaleiros Templários, cujo objetivo secreto era reconstruir o Templo de Salomão, foram uma das primeiras ordens esotéricas dos cristãos do Oeste. A Sociedade Rosacruz, derivada do Fedeli d’Amori (Os Fieis do Amor) a que tanto Dante Alighieri quanto o autor do  Romance da Rosa pertencia, destinada a libertar o espírito de quem se convertesse da escravidão aos poderes temporais terrenos (sentidos e paixões, ambição pública e instituições políticas). A flor mística desta seita, a rosa, símbolo de beleza, amor e vida, na verdade, expressa esforços para a elevação espiritual e anseio por um retorno a uma religião natural fundada no conhecimento das correspondências harmoniosas que preenchem os vários domínios da realidade. Os freemasons adoravam a luz, a igualdade e a irmandade do homem. Durante o Renascimento, muitos círculos culturais e políticos, como o Academia Florentina Neoplatônica e a corte de Elizabeth I, rainha da Inglaterra, também tinham, embora escondidos, interesses esotéricos “

Uma lista mais completa de todas as sociedades secretas deve ser a seguinte:

Em um livro, publicado em 1897, As Sociedades Secretas de todas as épocas e paises , de Charles William Heckethorn, relatava que havia então 160 Organizações deste tipo no mundo, que classificou da seguinte forma:

  1. Religiosa – tais como  Egyptians or Eleusinian Mysteries 78, 79, 185
  2. Militar: Knights Templars 9,11,51, 47-50, 208, 302, 303
  3. Judiciaria: Vehmgerichte 328
  4. Cientifica: Alchymists missing
  5. Civil: Freemasons 8, 9, 73, 100- 105, 106-109, 116,
  6. Politica: Carbonari 157-177
  7. Anti social: Garduna missing

 

No número da página que se segue, você pode ver naquela época o que o autor pensou sobre isso. Se você pressionar, você pode ver como ele aparece na Internet hoje.

Ele adverte, no entanto, que a linha de divisão nem sempre é estritamente definida, alguns que tiveram objetivos científicos combinaram com dogmas teológicos com eles – como os Rosacruzes, por exemplo; e as sociedades políticas devem necessariamente influenciar a vida civil. Podemos, portanto, de maneira mais conveniente incluir sociedades secretas nas duas divisões abrangentes de religiosos e políticos.

Os rosacruzes são explicados, como o autor viu, no final do século XIX, como extremamente influentes no passado, mas tendo acabado naquele momento. (Página 219)

O Mal no Mundo Clássico

(See it in English)

Nota: Novamente aqui somos penalizados pela não existencia de bons artigos em Português. Os verbetes existem, mas são muito condensados.

Obviamente, a Antiguidade Clássica é o mundo greco-romano desde a antiguidade até a queda do Império Romano.

A antiguidade clássica (também a era clássica, o período clássico ou a idade clássica) é o longo período de história cultural centrado no mar Mediterrâneo, que compreende as civilizações interligadas da Grécia antiga e da Roma antiga, conhecida como o mundo greco-romano. É o período em que a sociedade grega e romana floresceu e exerceu grande influência em toda a Europa, África do Norte e sudoeste da Ásia.

Vamos tentar dar ênfase ao problema do Mal, mas é aconselhável dar uma olhada nessas civilizações porque elas tiveram uma forte influência em tudo que é cultural para o mundo ocidental, especialmente no Renascimento.

Um bom enquadramento para o assunto é notar que uma das transformações mais importantes na Antiguidade tardia foi a formação e evolução das religiões abraâmicas; Cristianismo, Judaísmo rabínico e, eventualmente, Islamismo

De acordo com a Tese de Pirenne, as subseqüentes invasões árabes marcaram o fim da Antiguidade tardia e o início da Idade Média.

Dê uma olhada em deuses e deusas romanos e deuses gregos e deusas gregas

Greek Gods and Goddesses

Roman gods and goddesses

Roman Gods and Goddesses

equivalent

Embora fossem os gregos quem primeiro colocou a questão da origem e da natureza do mal em termos estritamente filosóficos, eles conseguiram criar deuses, ou Deuses, como manifestações ambivalentes de um mesmo Deus. Essas qualidades contraditórias éticas e ontológicas (ou seja, relacionadas à sua existência) dos deuses indicam mais confusão do que uma tentativa de coincidir os opostos relacionados a eles.

Eles têm dois conceitos que indicam o caráter do deus, um ouranico ou celestial e o outro ctonico, do submundo (o inferno?) Sendo o ctonico mais frequentemente assimilado com o conceito de mal. Novamente, você não tem um verbete para ouranico, mas você pode ter uma tabela de comparação entre as qualidades.

Além disso, eles têm outro conjunto de conceitos, Theos e Daimon.

Interessante saber é que Theos é de qualquer maneira Deus e Daimon Daemon, a que convido a leitura do verbete. Como Rollo May percebeu, e nós já discutimos, Daimon, que é uma escrita alternativa para Damon, no dicionário é definido como uma divindade ou um ser sobrenatural de natureza entre deuses e humanos(na crença grega antiga). Também como espírito interno aos seres humanos ou assistente ou força inspiradora. E deve-se observar que seus sinônimos são numen, genius, genius loci, força inspiradora, espírito assistente, espírito tutelar, demonio, do qual você diz:

Deve ter sido um magnífico demônio que habitou o coração e a alma desse artista

 O rei dos deuses era Zeus Pater, na Grécia e Júpiter em Roma. Zeus, ou “pai do céu” em seu nome antigo, poderia trazer luzes, granizo, trovoadas e ventos, mas também gentilmente chuvas leves e férteis: daí o nome dele maimaktes, o colérico.
Em Creta, onde ele era Zeus Kuros, suas características eram decididamente ctônicas, mas foi Homero quem o fixou permanentemente na consciência clássica como uma deidade ourânica. Sua esposa, Hera, rainha dos deuses, tornou-se uma deusa do céu trazendo clima quente para culturas e tempestades destrutivas. Ela também foi ctônica e identificada com a deusa da Terra primordial Gaia, também deusa da fertilidade e da gravidez. Mas sua prole possuía terríveis naturezas, como Hepahistos, deus de explosões vulcânicas, conspiradas com espíritos das cavernas e das montanhas.
Interessante observar que a família continua, sendo que o filho de Hermes, Pan, nasceu cabeludo e parecido com cabra ou bode, com chifres e cascos e uma divindade fálica como o pai,. Ele representava desejo sexual, que pode ser criativo e destrutivo. Sua influência iconográfica (na aparência) sobre o Diabo como a conhecemos é enorme. A tradição medieval tornou possível a imagem de Pan juntar-se com a do Diabo, porque tem sua raiz na associação do Diabo com as divindades ctônicas da fertilidade, que foram rejeitadas pelos cristãos como demônios junto com outros deuses pagãos que foram particularmente temidos pela da associação entre instintos selvagens e com o frenesi sexual. A paixão sexual, que suspende a razão e conduz facilmente ao excesso, era alienante tanto para o racionalismo dos gregos quanto para o ascetismo dos cristãos. Era fácil assimilar um deus da sexualidade com o princípio do mal. A associação do ctônico com o sexo e o submundo, e, portanto, com a morte, selando a união.
Também é interessante observar que Hades, que era o governante do submundo, presidisse o sombrio e terrível reino das almas mortas e trouxesse a morte às culturas, animais e humanidade, casou-se com a gentil Perséfone, dona da primavera. Era (ou é) ela que na primavera, emergindo de sua prisão subterrânea, causa o surgimento do verde na terra. Mas foi ela que também emergiu para liderar os Erinyes, os terríveis espíritos da vingança, na sua impiedosa busca de vingança. Assim, as divindades do submundo, na Grécia como em outros lugares, trouxeram medo e esperança

O Mundo Inferior

De Linkedln learning

1-Hades

A região dos mortos era governada por um dos grandes deuses Olimpicos, Hades ou Plutão, e sua rainha, Persefone.

2-Tartarus

Tartarus e Erebus são algumas vezes duas visões do mundo infernal Tartarus. O mais profundo, contºem os filhos da terra.

3-Erebus

Erebus: Onde os mortos vão depois de morrer.

4-Acheron

O caminho para o Inferno é percorrido no Acheron, o rio da aflição, que desagua no Cocytus, o rio da lamentação.

5-Charon

Um velho barqueiro chamado Charon transporta as almas dos mortos pelas aguas para as margens mais distantes em direção a Tartarus

6-Cerberus

Guardando a entrada está Cerberus, o dragão de três cabeças em forma de cão que permite que todos espiritos entrem, mas nenhum retorne.

7-Rhadamanthys, Minos Alakos

Rhadamanthys, Minos e Alakos, são os três juizes que na chegada das almas passam as sentenças e enviam os maus para o tormento eterno e os bons para um lugar de bem aventurança chamado de Os Campos Elisios

8-Phlegethon

Phlegethon: O rio de fogo

9-Styx

Styx: O rio do juramento impossível de ser destruido

10-Lethe

Lethe: O rio do esquecimento

11-Erinyes

Os Erinnyes: O lugar onde são castigados os que praticaram o mal.

A mitologia em torno de todos esses personagens é muito longa para analisarmos aqui. Sobre tudo o que você possa imaginar que pode acontecer em um grupo de pessoas, sejam gregos ou romanos, ou o que quer que seja, haveria algum tipo de equivalente na saga dos deuses.

É básico para qualquer compreensão da religião grega que era uma religião viva, não padronizada e refinada pelas tradições literárias. Cada deus foi percebido como uma manifestação dos aspectos gentis e destrutivos da divindade. Esta ambivalência aparece na literatura, mitologia e filosofia gregas no período clássico. Homero não faz uma clara separação do bem e do mal e certamente não há hipostatização (tratar como uma substância distinta na realidade) de qualquer destas características. A vontade do Deus não é conhecida. Além dos homens e além dos deuses, existe uma força remota e impessoal chamada Moira que atribui a cada deus e a cada um a função adequada. Moira é completamente sem personalidade ou mesmo vontade consciente, é como um conceito “uma verdade sobre a disposição da Natureza”, a verdade é que cada pessoa tem um papel ordenado a desempenhar no mundo. Em uma palavra: Destino ..

Também é notável a forte semelhança em várias situações na literatura grega e romana, de Homero a Esquilo com o Livro de Jó da Bíblia.

Basicamente, Jeffrey Burton Russel diz, para Homero o mal consiste em violar a honra (momento) de um deus. Dê uma olhada na entrada na Wikipédia.

A teodiceia, na sua forma mais comum, é uma tentativa de responder à questão de por que um Deus bom permite a manifestação do mal e no final do período clássico, as dificuldades colocadas pela teodicéia grega tornaram-se evidentes no trabalho de Eurípides, onde o homem luta para dominar um universo irracional em que os deuses não representam nenhuma ordem.

Orfism 

Vamos dar uma olhada em Orfismo porque há uma conexão entre Orfismo e Dyonisos no pensamento de Platão, ou Platonismo e Pitágoras ou Pitagorismo, :

O orfismo era, ou pelo menos parece, uma religião paralela à religião grega. Há questões não resolvidas, quer sobre se já existisse como uma religião organizada, qual a relação exata com o culto de Dionysos ou até que ponto o seu dualismo era próprio ou importado. O mito central do Orfismo pode ter sido o mito de Dionysos e dos Titãs.

O Culto de Dyonisio

Os conceitos expostos aqui deveriam estar conectados com o conceito de Nietzsche Apolônio e Dionísio em The Birth of Tragedy para designar os dois princípios centrais na cultura grega, como ele vê. Uma vez que Nietzsche fez uma excelente contribuição para entender a presença do mal,  este artigo é uma espécie de contribuição para quem quer aprofundar o assunto. É uma pena que Erich Auerbach em Mimesis ou Dante Poeta do Mundo Secular não toque Nietzsche diretamente como mais de um estudioso apontou.

O mito central do Orfismo pode ter sido o mito de Dionysio e dos Titãs.
No início do mundo, Phanes era o andrógino que trazia todas as coisas à luz. Primeiro Phanes dá a luz a Ouranos, que é pai de Kronos, e pai de Zeus. Depois que Zeus derrota os Titãs, ele engole Phanes, levando assim para dentro de si mesmo o princípio original, tornando-se um deus criador e produzindo todas as coisas de novo, incluindo os Titãs. Enquanto isso, Zeus é pai de um filho, Dionysos. Odiando a Zeus e invejando a felicidade do bebê Dionísio, os Titãs se aproximam da criança, distraem sua atenção com um espelho e a apanham. Eles a devoram aos pedaços. Mas Athene resgata o coração do menino e o leva a Zeus, que o consome. Zeus agora tem relações sexuais com Semele, que dá origem de novo a Dionysos. Satisfeito com a ressurreição de seu filho, Zeus procede a punir seus assassinos, empurrando-os para cinzas com raios. Das cinzas dos titãs surge a raça da humanidade.
O mito é totalmente dualista. A humanidade tem uma natureza dualista, espiritual e material. A parte material de nossa natureza deriva dos Titãs, a parte espiritual de Dionisos que eles devoraram. Os ensinamentos de Pitágoras e os pitagóricos foram altamente influentes para o desenvolvimento da tradição dualista. Para os pitagóricos, a alma é imortal, a carne mortal. A alma está presa no corpo como prisioneira (soma sema), nossa tarefa na Terra é escapar da nossa prisão corporal por meio da purificação ritual.

Mas o dualismo encontrado nessas doutrinas é diferente do dualismo do Irã. O dualismo iraniano postulou um conflito entre dois poderes espirituais, um de luz e um da escuridão. O dualismo orphico postulou um conflito entre a alma divina e o maligno, corpo Titânico que a aprisionou. No orfismo, o dualismo da matéria e do espírito, corpo e alma, é primeiro claramente enunciado: sua influência sobre o pensamento cristão, gnóstico e medieval foi enorme e é um dos elementos mais importantes da história do Diabo. Na mesma proporção em que Dionísio era bom e o mal era assumido dos Titãs,  na medida em que a alma é boa e o corpo mau. Essa interpretação cresceu de forma constante ao longo do período helenístico, quando, influenciada pelo dualismo iraniano, a matéria e o corpo foram designados para o domínio do espírito maligno e da alma para o espírito do bem. Nesse ponto, os dois dualismos, orphicos e iranianos, uniram-se, e a idéia de que o corpo e a carne são obra do mal cósmico se implantou nas mentes judaica e cristã. A opinião da maioria tanto no judaísmo como no cristianismo sempre rejeitou essa idéia em sua forma explícita, mas, desde o gnosticismo, tem sido a fonte mais persistente de heresia. (Em Dante explorada no canto 10)
A doutrina de que o corpo era a prisão da alma fez com que os Orficos acreditassem na metempsicose, a transmigração das almas. Pode-se escapar da carne apenas através de uma série de encarnações durante as quais se pratica cuidadosamente a pureza ritual. O processo de reencarnação cessa quando a pureza perfeita é alcançada e é adiada por qualquer recaída na carnalidade. Os órficos abstiveram-se de carne tanto porque é carnal e porque um animal pode ser uma reencarnação de um ser humano. Sob a influência de Pitágoras, eles também se abstiveram de feijão, que eles consideravam como semente por excelência e, portanto, a raiz da carne.

 A pureza ritual do orfismo também foi associada ao culto de Dionísio, que era muito diferente. Festivais de Dionísio ocorriam à noite, símbolo da escuridão e do proibido. Eles costumavam ocorrer em uma caverna ou gruta, locais associados com umidade, fertilidade e poderes ctonicos. Os adoradores eram principalmente mulheres, Maenads ou Bacchantes, que eram liderados por um sacerdote masculino.
Como a pureza Orphic e o frenesi Dionysiaco existirem juntos? Ou em outros grupos, como gnósticos, cataristas, etc.? Jeffrey Burton Russel propõe uma série de respostas:
  •  Primeiro, a pureza orphica era ritual e não moral.
  • Em segundo lugar, a coexistência de moderação ascética e adoração frenética é comum na história das religiões e, psicologicamente, é uma manifestação previsível da sombra.
  • Em terceiro lugar, o êxtase frenético é freqüentemente uma maneira aceita de tirar o espírito para “fora” do corpo.
  • Em quarto lugar, e mais importante, é uma manifestação da coincidência dos opostos, da ambivalência que era subjacente a todo o pensamento humano, em particular sobre o que se pensava dos deuses.
Para Dionísio, como os outros deuses, é ambivalente. O filho de Zeus, símbolo do espírito contra o corpo, também é um deus de fertilidade com chifres. O benfeitor, Euergeus, é também Anthroporraistes, “triturador de homens”, e Omistes, “comedor de carne crua”, e monta em um navio preto. Acima de tudo, ele é Lusios ou Luaios, o grande e mais solto ou mais livre, que libera de todas as restrições e inibições. No período helenístico, tornou-se o andrógino perfeito, como o grande busto que esta no Museu Britânico  mostra. O orgulho pode ser percebido como um desejo de integração através do intercâmbio dos sexos. Por um lado, a oposição do espírito e do corpo acabou por fazer do Diabo “o senhor deste mundo”. Por outro lado, a orgia Dionisica tornou-se o modelo de teologia imputado aos gnósticos, cataristas e bruxas.
Estamos falando de várias centenas de anos e para nossos propósitos, eu prefiro usar outro critério para enquadrar esse assunto nesse período.
Alguns autores dividem a religião grega em três estágios, ou às vezes cinco, com expansão da terceira etapa. Essas etapas são as seguintes:
  • Primeiro, há a Euetheia primitiva ou a Era da Ignorância, antes que Zeus estivesse perturbando a mente dos homens, um estágio ao qual antropólogos e exploradores encontraram paralelos em todas as partes do mundo. Basicamente alguém (não tenho certeza se corretamente) foi definido como Estupidez Primordial (Dr. Preuss) (veja em alemão).
  • Em segundo lugar, há o estágio olímpico ou clássico, um estágio em que ocorre uma batalha difícil, cheio de idas e vindas, onde essa imprecisão primitiva foi reduzida a um tipo de ordem. Este é o palco dos grandes deuses olympianos, que dominavam a arte e a poesia, governavam a imaginação de Roma e da Grécia e prolongavam uma espécie de domínio romântico até a Idade Média. Muitos acreditam que este contexto não tem valor como religião, apenas como arte.
  • Em terceiro lugar, há o período helenístico, indo aproximadamente de Platão a São Paulo e aos gnósticos anteriores. Os sucessores de Aristóteles produziram mais uma escola de ciência progressiva, e os de Platão uma escola de ceticismo refinado. O lado religioso do pensamento de Platão demoraria um tempo para atingir seu pleno poder, que aconteceu no século III dC, na época de Plotino.
 Para Aristóteles levaria ainda mais tempo, pois foi realmente exposto por Santo Tomás de Aquino no século 13 dC.
Foi uma surpresa para mim, mas eu confirmei por toda Internet, Platão não explorou sistematicamente o problema da origem do mal. No máximo, há citações dele dizendo o óbvio, um pensamento passageiro. Sócrates ia mais ao ponto: para ele, o mal era uma falha no conhecimento prático de como fazer o bem. É interessante observar que a percepção de Platão da oposição entre o espírito, o assento ou a razão e o corpo, o assento das emoções e, a partir daí, a concepção do corpo e da alma como manifestações dos princípios metafísicos do espírito e da matéria, sendo atribuída a bondade ao espírito e ao mal à matéria, que é um dualismo incoerente, porem acabou ficando mais coerente através de seus seguidores. O desenvolvimento do conceito do Diabo deve muito, se não quase tudo, diretamente a Platão, graças às permutações de seu pensamento no trabalho dos platonistas, especialmente Plotinus.. O pensamento de Aristóteles não admitia um princípio do mal, que é uma demonstração de que Platão tinha opositores.
No lado dos romanos, o Mithraism merece menção. Talvez esteja melhor explicado aqui.
"Tauroctony" - Mithras slaying a bull

 

Dante: Poet of the Secular World

(Veja em Português)

Erich Auerbach

CONTENTS

Introduction by Michael Dirda

I. Historical Introduction; The Idea of Man in Literature
II. Dante’s Early Poetry
III. The Subject of the “Comedy”
IV. The Structure of the “Comedy”
V. The Presentation
VI. The Survival and Transformation of Dante’s Vision of Reality
Notes
Index

Introduction by Michael Dirda

In the introduction, of this book, published by the New York Review of Books in 2001,  Michael Dirda, presents Erich Auerbach to us informing about Mimesis, which was already analysed here.

One interesting issue he informs us is that this specific book on Dante was Auerbach’s first real book, written in 1929, some 13 years before Mimesis, and had its first translation to English in 1961.

Mr Dirda states flat out that this is simply the best, if not the easiest, short introduction to Dante and his artistry, what justifies it being here.

Dante is the first realist author and perhaps the greatest. He was the first to configure

“…man, not as a remote legendary hero, not as an abstract or anecdotal representative of an ethical type, but man as we know him in his living historical reality, the concrete individual in his unity and wholeness; and in that he has been followed by all subsequent portrayers of man, regardless of whether they treated a historical or a mythical or a religious subject, for after Dante myth and legend also became history.

(quoting Auerbach)

Dante is not a religious poet only. He is far more than that: he is a “poet of the secular world”

What is secular? It is  not subject to or bound by religious rule; not belonging to or living in a monastic or other order.

In Dante’s vision, people laugh and conspire, love and hate, sin and triumph over sin, even though technically disembodied spirits, they show up with their essential character and as Auerbach notices: “though the concrete data of their lives and the atmosphere of their personalities are drawn from their former existences on earth, they manifest them here with a completeness, a concentration an actuality, which they seldom achieved during their term on earth and assuredly never revealed to anyone else”.

As Mr. Dirda much properly asserts, Dante invites us to regard this great poem not just as a divine comedy but also as a comédie humaine.

Another interesting observation Mr. Dirda does is that St. Thomas Aquinas insisted upon individuality and diversity as a theological tenet. Since the world was made in God’s image, no one species of created things is adequate to reflect the likeness of God. You need them all. In terms of psychology, every soul possesses its own particular, gradually acquired habitus,

“…an enduring disposition which enriches and modifies the substance; it is the residuum in man’s soul of his soul’s history; for every action, every exertion of the will toward its goal leaves behind a trace, and the modification of the soul through its actions is the habitus. In the Thomist psychology diversities of habitus account for the diversity of human characters; it is the habitus which determines how each empirical man will realize his essence. It illumines the relations between the soul and its acts.”

But the habitus only reveals itself over time. As a result, no matter what one’s precise earthly station, each human being must necessarily be a dramatic hero.
The example as how this happens is  Dante’s encounter with Farinata and Cavalcante, which I transcribed briefly from Mimesis. (scroll down when you get there till it shows up). In chapter IV, Structure, Auerbach discerns three underlying systems:

Mr. Dirda reveals to us that Auerbach in the introduction to his last book, {(Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin Antiquity and in the Middle Ages (1965)} offers something of a personal credo which I think I pursue and should be every body’s quest:

“To grasp the special nature of an epoch or a work, to perceive the nature of the relations between works of art and the time in which they were created, is an endless problem which each of us, exerting the utmost concentration, must endeavour to solve for himself and from his own point of view.”

Let’s take a look at the book.

I. Historical Introduction; The Idea of Man in Literature

ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων

A mans character is his fate.
Character is destiny
Dem Menschen ist seine Eigenart sein Dämon.
To man, his peculiarity is his demon.

Auerbach:

“Ever since its beginnings in Greece, European literature has possessed the insight that a man is an indivisible unity of body (appearance and physical strength) and spirit (reason and will), and that his individual fate follows from that unity, which like a magnet attracts the acts and sufferings appropriate to it. It was this insight that enabled Homer to perceive the structure of fate. He created a character-Achilles or Odysseus, Helen or Penelope -by inventing, by heaping up acts and sufferings that were all of a piece. In the poet’s inventive mind an act revealing a man’s nature, or, one might say, his nature as manifested in a first act, unfolded naturally and inevitably into the sum and sequence of that man’s kindred acts, into a life that would take a certain direction and be caught up in the skein of events which add up to a man’s character as well as his fate.
The awareness that a man’s particular fate is a part of his unity, the insight embodied in the maxim of Heraclitus cited above, enables Homer to imitate real life. Here we are not referring exactly to the realism that some ancient critics praised in Homer and others found lacking in him for those critics were concerned with the probability or credibility of the events he narrates. What we have in mind is his way of narrating. Regardless of their plausibility, he makes them so clear and palpable that the question of their likelihood arises only on subsequent reflection. In the ancient view, a narrative of a fabulous or miraculous event is necessarily realistic. The view I am taking here is that the portrayal can be convincing regardless of whether such a thing has ever been seen or of whether or not it is credible.”

The unity of essence and destiny comes through in the Myth of Er and the fate of the dead seems a source from where Dante draw a lot of inspiration, which, for instance, can be seen in Canto 10.

myth_of_er_345

More about the myth of Er

Another interesting observation from Auerbach is about the replacement of the encounter with fate by truth, in the judgment recounted by Socrates in Gorgias, where willingness, devotion, resolution, with its inherent need of proof through courage and nobility, is very difficult to appraise, because its perception comes from appearance

Gorgias is a Socratic dialogue where is detailed a study of virtue founded upon an inquiry into the nature of rhetoric, art, power, temperance, justice, and good versus evil. As such, the dialogue both maintains independent significance and relates closely to Plato’s overarching philosophical project of defining noble and proper human existence.

Gorgias Przygotowanie_narzędzi_rolniczych

Late 17th-century illustration of a passage from the Georgics by Jerzy Siemiginowski-Eleuter

It boils down to, as Auerbach aptly expresses, and I quote:

“A rationalistic negation of fate was the prevailing attitude of  antiquity from Aristotle to the triumph of Christianity and the mystery religions; that was just as true of the Stoics who, in their necessary order of the world, equated reason with nature, as of  the Epicureans with their metaphysical concept of freedom; and both those philosophies culminated in an ethical ideal which insulated the individual against his fate. The wise man is he whose equanimity nothing can disturb; he overcomes the outside world by refusing to participate in it, by subduing his emotions.”

“Virgil mastered this notion in his poems, replacing  or overcoming fate with creative imagination. What utterly distinguishes Virgil’s conception from all the eschatological traditions he employs.’ is not merely his art, with which he raises the obscure, scattered, subterranean and secret wisdom of the Hellenistic Mediterranean countries to the broad light of day; it is rather the fact that for him all that dark wisdom took on a concrete form in the hoped for and already dawning world order of the Imperium. These are the roots of his poetic and prophetic power. ”

Virgil_

Dante recognized the importance of Virgil probably because, Auerbachs says:

“Thus for European literature Virgil was in many respects an important innovator, and his influence extended far beyond literature. He was the mythologist of Europe’s most characteristic political form, the creative synthetist of Roman and Hellenistic eschatologies, and the first poet of sentimental love. He was the first of his cultural sphere to transcend the fatelessness of late Greek philosophy and to see the a priori unity of the character in his fate. True, there is an uncertainty in his theological attitude, for what he glorified was an earthly institution, and the union of religious currents that he exploited poetically aimed at more than that; in his picture of the other world-an after-life at the service of Rome’s greatness-the traditional doctrines of purification and transmigration are not developed quite consistently; his realm of the dead is merely an artistic instrument, and as in all the ancient conceptions, the souls of the departed have only a partial, diminished life, a shadowy existence.”

On the other hand, the material Dante was dealing with had the following characteristics, as Auerbach notices:

“The historical core of Christianity-that is to say, the Crucifixion and the related events-offers a more radical paradox, a wider range of contradiction, than anything known to the ancient world, either in its history or in its mythical tradition. The
fantastic march of the man from Galilee and his action in the temple, the sudden crisis and catastrophe, the pitiful derision, the scourging and crucifixion of the King of the Jews, who only a short time before had wished to proclaim the Kingdom of God on earth, the despairing flight of the disciples, and then the apotheosis, based on the visions of a few men, perhaps of only one, a fisherman from the lake of Gennesaret-this entire episode, which was to provoke the greatest of all transformations in the inner and outward history of our civilized world, is astonishing in every respect. Even today, anyone who tries to form a clear picture of what happened is deeply puzzled; he cannot but feel that myth and dogma gained only a relative ascendancy in the books of the New Testament and that the paradoxical, ddisharmonious, perplexing character of those events erupts at every turn.”

Chrystianity

He discusses in detail a summarized  story of Christ and observes:

“In entering into the consciousness of the European peoples, the story of Christ fundamentally changed their conceptions of man’s fate and how to describe it.”

But

“The change occurred very slowly, far more slowly than the spread of Christian dogma. It faced other obstacles that were harder to overcome: resistances which, insignificant in themselves, were impervious to the political and tactical factors that favored the acceptance of Christianity, because they were rooted in the most conservative element of a people’s being, namely the innermost sensory ground of their view of the world. To that view of the world the apparatus of Christian dogma could be adapted more easily and quickly than could the spirit of the events from which it had grown. But before we enter into the history of this change and the phenomena it produced in the course of time, let us try to describe the nature of the change. The story of Christ is more than the parousia of the logos, more than the manifestation of the idea. In it the idea is subjected to the problematic character and desperate injustice of earthly happening. Considered in itself that is, without the post humous and never fully actualized triumph in the world, as the mere story of Christ on earth, it is so hopelessly terrible that the certainty of an actual, concretely tangible correction in the hereafter remains the only issue, the only salvation from irrevocable despair. Consequently, Christian eschatological conceptions took on an unprecedented concreteness and intensity; this world has meaning only in reference to the next; in itself it is a meaningless torment. But the otherworldly character of justice did not, as it would have where the classical spirit prevailed, detract from the value of earthly destiny or from man’s obligation so submit to it.”

and

“The depth and scope of the naturalism in the story of Christ are unparallelled; neither the poets nor the historians of antiquity had the opportunity or the power to narrate human events in that way.”

The-Passion-of-the-Christ-Movie-Last-Supper-600x353

Principium individuationis

Auerbach make comentaries on this principle which requires previous knowledge which is supposed to exist among his readers. I am not in this category, but I have a notion which I will expose here trying to grasp Auerbach’s arguments.
The basic idea is that this principle is : (Lat.) Principle of individuation (q.v.); the intrinsic, real factor in an existing singular thing which causes the individuality of the thing. To understand that you have to take in consideration the greek perception of reality then:

Plato

Plato developed a two layer view of reality, the world of Becoming and the world of Being. The world of Becoming is the physical world we perceive through our senses. This world is always in movement, always changing. The world of Being is the world of forms, or ideas. It is absolute, independent, and transcendent. It never changes and yet causes the essential nature of things we perceive in the world of Becoming. Though Plato was sometimes vague about the exact relationship between the two worlds, he has suggested two ways in which they may interact. Objects in the material world may be only imperfect copies or imitations of the ideal, and objects may participate in the formness they are representing.

From that comes the so called superiority of being to becoming, alluded by Auerbach, adding that idea and matter and the identification of matter and change with metaphysical non being, which had a demolishing effect in all possibility of representing earthly destiny in art.

Matter ceases to be merely resistance, becoming metaphysical counter pole of idea, which, obviously, alone has full being. The spirit joins the physical world.

The great change is that mimetic art loses contact with empirical reality and becomes a copy of inner forms inside man.

Absorption of that by Christian Churches West and East

Auerbach goes on

“Beside that destruction of the phenomenal world, the hostility of the Church Fathers to art was almost insignificant; for such hostility was directed only against particular themes and attitudes, and not fundamentally against the world of appearance. From such a negation of appearance the Church Militant was saved by the earthly event with which it had begun and which, with its own unquestioned reality, lent meaning and order to all appearances. Not without dogmatic obfuscation but with a consistent tenacity, the Western Church, in opposition to spiritualist influence, held fast to the life of Christ on earth as a concrete event, as the central fact of history, and conceived of history as a true record of the relations of human individuals with one another and with God. In the East, spiritualist views soon gained the upper hand and transformed the life of Christ into a triumphal rite. In the West it seemed for a moment as though a mimetic attitude toward the Gospel story, based on direct ex perirence of its gripping reality, were about to emerge; at least the groundwork for such a development is present in the dramatic thinking of Augustine. For Augustine managed to save a good deal from the spiritualism of the Neo-Platonists and Manichaeans: by his analytical investigation of consciousness, he preserved the unity of the personality; with his metaphysical speculation, he saved the idea of a personal God; and in his teleological history of the world he saved the reality of earthly happening. The very way in which he formulated the problem of free will and predestination bears witness to the fundamentally European determination not to abolish reality by speculation, not to take flight into transcendence, but to come to grips with the real world and master it. In Augustine the history of salvation is taken concretely, and that is why, as Harnack once wrote.l! he is able to endow Latin and the future tongues of Europe with ‘a Christian soul and the language of the heart.'”

He ellaborates on the superiority of the late Pagan Culture over the newly formed Christian culture.  He reminded me Gore Vidal’s Julian. Anyway, Chrystianity won and, as he says, and I quote again:

“European Christendom emerged from the struggles of the second half of the first millennium as a new orbis terrarum; and here the history of Christ operated unremittingly, day after day, as a force for unity. It became the creative myth of the nations, rekindling men’s perception of the world and drawing all other traditions into its sphere. And in the end that history, in which reality and meaning are so peculiarly one, in which the miraculous is so manifest and close at hand, overcame the spectral vestiges of the Platonic doctrine of two worlds. In the mimetic revival that now took place in the liturgy, imitation is o longer separate from the truth; the sensory appearance is divine and the event is the truth.”

orbis terrarum

“Orbis Terrarum” was sort of a stock phrase meaning “the whole earth.” Even though Greek astronomers had proved long before that the Earth was (roughly) a sphere, the Romans continued in everyday speech to refer to the Earth as if it were a flat disc. (Kind of like we know that the Earth is the thing that’s moving, but we still say the sun “rises” and “sets.”)

Auerbach elaborates extensively about that effect in sculpture and painting, with examples and a perspective where he sees:

“But the spiritualization of the world went far beyond the Church and the strictly religious sphere; it encompassed institutions and events which, by their nature and origin, would no seem to have lent themselves to such illumination. It incorporated the wild, crude power of the  heroic legends, turned the feudal system into a symbolic hierarchy, and transformed God into the supreme feudal overlord.”

Being educated with French bias, as he states in the introduction, he attributes a major role to Provence in this whole scheme of poetry which came from there,which is what Dante would present to the world.

II – Dante’s Early Poetry

Once upon a time there was only Latin. And then Latin evolved in several languages called taday Romance languages.

Latin_Europe

300px-Romance-procents

Occitan literature (referred to in older texts as Provençal literature) is a body of texts written in Occitan, mostly in the south of France. It was the first literature in a Romance language and inspired the rise of vernacular literature throughout medieval Europe. Occitan literature’s Golden Age was in the 12th century, when a rich and complex body of lyrical poetry was produced by troubadours writing in Old Occitan, which still survives to this day. Although Catalan is considered by some a variety of Occitan, this article will not deal with Catalan literature, which started diverging from its Southern French counterpart in the late 13th century.

Auerbach, himself a Romance Languages specialist, tells us that the Provençal poetry differentiated itself from any other and was extremely elegant, although very difficult to be understood from anyone outside the group of troubadours who invented it.

The hallmark of this poetry was its sweet savor (dousa sabor) which certain words and phrases possessed for them. It was completely subjective loaded with mysticism, difficult to interpret with our present knowledge. It was aristocratic and esoteric, i.e., for the initiated. It was a vanguard movement ot its day.

Auerbach elaborates on this Poetry and the situation of Poetry in Italy, with its first literary movement  done by a single person, Guido Ghinizelli of Bologna. He observes that before that Feudal Society and customs never flourished in Italy, leaving no trace of a national culture which could have come down to us. He points out Francis of Assisi as responsible for the renewal of imagination and sensibility in Europe which would reflect not only in religious experience but also in the political striving of the Italian towns, giving concreteness and individuality to the writtings of the chroniclers and storytellers as well as to works of art. The great political and religious currents combated one another and disintegrated in the course of the 13th century.

Dante drew his first inspiration not from a formal culture or from some great, universal movement, he drew his inspiration from this small circle adopting consciously the Provençal tradition which brought to Italy the refinement it didn’t have.

Al cor gentil rempaira sempre amore è una poesia di Guido Guinizelli ed il primo testo letterario della nuova tendenza poetica che nasce in Italia nella seconda metà del XIII secolo: il dolce stil novo. Quest’opera è considerata il manifesto programmatico ed esemplare dello stilnovismo

Al cor gentil rempaira sempre amore is a poem by Guido Guinizelli and the first literary text of the new poetic tendency born in Italy in the second half of the thirteenth century: the sweet new style. This work is considered the programmatic and exemplary manifesto of stilnovismo

DickseeRomeoandJuliet

Auerbach elaborates on the appearing of the dolce stil novo, and in a fashion which would be the hallmark of his Mimesis, does a detailed analysis of the best known poem of the Vita nuova explaining how Dante acquires his style which would make him the poet he was.

For those interested in such details, I suggest to look directly in the book because it is beyond my scope to delve in to that.

Dante knew what he was doing because he dealt theoretically with these matters, as it can be seen in the sixth chapter of the second book of his Devulgari eloquentia (Of Writing in the Vernacular), which is also a specialized subject  I will not dwell in

III – The Subject of the Comedy

According to Auerbach, Dante was carried out beyond the sphere of feeling and mystical experienced involved in the dolce stil novo. This reflects in the Convivio, which according do A.Dempf quoted by Auerbach was the world view Dante came up to after entering his giovinezza, or young manhood.

Auerbach contends that the stil novo had no political concerns, although some scholars think to the contrary, without solid evidence.

Dante was the first to undertake the job of fusing the whole world with the experience of his youth and order it with the experience of his youth and order it according to the measures of these experiences.

Which were these experiences eventually were referred to Beatrice in the poem in a crucial passage in the 30th and 31rst Cantos of Purgatorio when he accuses himself before Beatrice of grave error from which he has been saved only by the miracle of grace. The nature of the error does not come through, although it must have been  involving the very core of his being  since it forms the starting point of the poem. We have only a general notion what is that he was falling away from Beatrice, perhaps by a misdirected love or some illusionary sort of attraction.

30 & 31 canto purgatorio

It seems to me it was all carnal transgressions, he had an attack of concupiscence and by no means he would confess to Beatrice other sort of transgressions of his whole being, i.e., his ideals and faith.

Again we have two different readings of the same passage, Auerbach’s and Teodolinda’s, it is interesting to compare them and decide which way we want to read Dante.

I fully agree with Auerbach, the best we can do is to accept it as a fact, it was an error, period. I quote him to support my reasoning:

“To deny it abandon its literal reality in favor of an allegorical or soteriological meaning strikes me as without justification. It seems very likely that for a time Dante doubted the Christian verities and inclined toward a radical Averroism of a free-thinking sensualism; to discuss the passages in his work that might fit in with such conjectures would take us too far from our subject; they do not provide clarity.”

Auerbach gives an account, based in the second book of the Convivio, where Dante tells us how he meet with philosophy, seeking consolation after the death of his beloved, reading Boethius and Cicero’s Laelius, admitting that he had a hard time to understanding it.

Auerbach concludes that although Dante was not an original philosopher, he managed to provide a systematic synthesis of different bodies of traditional thought, the same way Thomas Aquinas sought to combine Aristotelianism with the Christian Platonism of Augustine. Dante reconciled the Thomist system with the mystical ideology of the cor gentile. The fact that Dante didn’t achieve that in writing the Convivio, was also a motivation factor to write the Comedy.

Auerbach contends that most definitely Dante was original and didn’t take any previous models of any source which preceded him.  Auerbach says, and I quote:

“The convention of the journey to the other world offered Dante’s passion for concrete expression and metaphysical order the possibilities which he himself had been unable to realize in his previous work and which those of his precursors who had composed eschatological visions had not even attempted to exploit.”

He compares extensively Virgil’s poetry with that of Dante pointing out differences, specially noticing that Virgil lacked a unified doctrine and was unable to achieve a complete fusion between the philosophical and the mythical traditions, specifically because Virgil did not disclose the ultimate destinies in his underworld, being that the overwhelming majority of his souls were destined to embark on a new earthly existence, entering new bodies.

That creates an entirely different background, when it is allowed to one and the same soul live several lives on earth in different bodies. Transmigration destroys both the Christian drama of a unique term of earthly life in which the decision must be made, and the ineluctable unity of the personality, the common form and fate of soul and body, attested  in the doctrine of resurrection.

What radically distinguishes the comedy from all other visions of the other world is that in it the unity of man’s earthly personality is preserved and fixed; the scene of action thus becomes the source of its poetic value, of its infinite truth, of the quality of direct empirical evidence which makes us feel that everything that happens in the work is real and credible and relevant to ourselves.

“We conclude with the most important point: the subject matter of the Comedy enabled and required Dante to justify his own unhappy life and to reconcile it with the universal order. The man gone astray of the opening lines is Dante; he himself is the traveller through the three realms, to whom the highest grace has sent a savior and guide. Beatrice descends into the underworld to summon Virgil, the guide, from his eternal abode. Two persons leave their place in the predetermined and fulfilled scheme in order to carry out the work of grace; and these two executants of the divine plan of salvation are at the same time the guiding forces in Dante’s life: Virgil, poet of the pax romana and prophet of last things, bearer of a truth which to him was still veiled, gave Dante the fine style of an all-encompassing poetry of wisdom, while Beatrice, formerly a visible manifestation of the secret truth, now come forth as a revelation of the perfect order, was his own daemon, to follow and be saved or to turn away from and be damned. These are the deepest powers within him, the powers of his own true love, who have been summoned up to save him from error-and therein lies the justice of the grace that annuls the stern sentence. They imbue him with courage to follow them, to tear himself away from the destructive powers, and they lead him toward intuitive knowledge of the divine order. Not only his past, but his future life as well, is interpreted and justified; for the time of the vision is the year 1300 when he was still living in Florence and the catastrophe was still to come; thus the error with which the poem starts precedes this date, and what follows-exile, vain hopes, poverty, proud withdrawal-has no connection with his error; they are his deserved and appropriate earthly fate, they belong to him like the dignity of a high office.”

IV – The Structure of The Comedy

dantes-divine-comedy-presentation-1st-part-7-728

The structure of the great poem is made up of three merging interwoven systems which are conceived of as corresponding in the divine order. There is a physical, an ethical, and a historico political system; each of them, in turn, involves a synthesis of different traditions.

Physical

The physical system consists in the Ptolemaic order of the universe, as adapted to Christian dogma by Christian Aristotelianism; as a whole and in most of its details, that order was already formulated in the writings of the high scholastic philosophers and in the didactic works inspired by them, so that Dante was able to derive its basic traits from his sources –  Aristotle, Alfraganus, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Brunetto Latini. The globe of the earth is at the center of the cosmos; round it revolve nine concentric celestial spheres, while a tenth, all embracing sphere, the Empyrean, the seat of God, is conceived to be at perfect rest. Only half the earth, the northern hemisphere, is inhabited; the eastern and western limits of the ólkοvμένn or inhabited world, are the Ganges and the Pillars of Hercules; its center is Jerusalem. In the interior of the earth, or rather of the northern hemisphere, like a funnel narrowing down toward the center of the earth, lies Hell; in its deepest part, at the very center of the earth, is the eternal abode of Lucifer, who in his fall immediately after the Creation, bored deep into the earth, pushing aside an enormous portion of its interior and driving it upward; that portion of the earth is the great mountain which alone rises above the ocean which covers the whole southern headed for Paradise but still in need of purification. On the hemisphere. It is the mountain of Purgatory, abode of souls summit of the mountain, the point where the earth comes closest to the lowest celestial sphere, lies the Earthly Paradise, where the first man and woman lived before the fall from grace. The celestial spheres, which are the true Paradise, are ordered according to the heavenly bodies situated in them; first the spheres of the seven planets of ancient astronomy in the order: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn; then the sphere of the fixed stars; the ninth is the invisible crystalline heaven, and the last is the Empyrean. The motion of the celestial spheres is concentric and circular; a burning desire to be united with God imparts a circular motion of the highest velocity to the ninth sphere, that closest to the motionless Empyrean where He dwells; the ninth sphere in turn, through. the hierarchy of Intelligences, or Angels, communicates its motion to the lower spheres within it.

Aristotles’s view of the Universe

He believed in a Prime Mover

view 01
55 chrystalines spheres, celestial objects attached to the sphere, which rotated at different velocities, Earth was at the center.
view 2
All motion in the heavens is uniform circular motion. Celestial objects are made from perfect material and cannot change their properties (e.g., their brightness)

Ptolemaic Universe

Ideas about uniform circular motion and epicycles were catalogued by Ptolemy 150 AD, which was endorsed by the medieval Church as Geocentric Model of the universe.
Thomas Aquinas (1222-1274) rediscoveres Aristotle and blended his ideas with medieval theology.
view 5
Main Characteristics:
Comfort – Individual could locate God. souls destination would be above or below
Stability – Earth was at center. Mankind is important in God’s plan
Reassurance – Divine power would triumph over corruption and decay of earthly things and lift the soul to and after life in heaven
view 6

Dante’s view of the Universe

Auerbach quotes Edward Moore, from his “The Astronomy of Dante” from Studies in Dante: (Take a look) page 18 –  (Auerbach omitted or synthesized what is written in red, which I transcribed from the original, together with his quotation, left in black):

One reason for the difference is that Auerbach translated it to German and then it was reversed based on Auerbach’s translation, not in the original text, as here. I found the ommited information useful. Although it is hard not to observe that Auerbach ommited astrology, or referred to “alleviating” it,  and kind of  “pasteurized” or filtered Dante’s ideas. This problem, which is a mix of literary criticism mixed with the creation of a perspective in our mind about Dante’s writings deserves a separate discussion which I will give it a try in Dante: Learned Scholar or wise genius?

“Within the heaven of the divine peace [i.e. the empyrean or tenth heaven] a body whirls there revolves a body [the Primum mobile, or ninth heaven], in whose virtue or influence depends lies the being of all that it contains is contained within it  [the entire cosmos i.e. as in the passage last explained from the Convito, if the Primum Mobile ceased to operate, all things would return to chaos and nonentity. See Conv. II, XV,152, ‘ Life would become extinct in plants and animals; nights and days, and months and years would be no more, and all the universe would fall back in to confusion]

The next heaven, which has so many things to show [the heaven of the fixed stars with its many luminaries], distributes this being among various essences, different from yet contained in it.

The heaven which follows, which has so man objects of sight (i.e. the eight heaven with all the fixed stars) distributes that Being through diverse essences or existences, which are distinct form it an contained by itm(i.e. the numerous stars which this eight heaven displays)

The other spheres [the planetary heavens] by various differentiations bestow to their own ends the distinctions which they have within themselves, together with the seeds. These organs of the world move, as you now see, from step to step, receiving from above and acting on what is below …. The movement and virtue of the holy spheres must be inspired by the blessed movers [the intelligences, or angels], like the hammer’s art by the smith; and heaven, which so many lights make fair [the heaven of the fixed stars], takes the stamp from the profound mind that turns it and makes of that stamp a seal. And as the soul within your dust is diffused through differing members shaped to different functions, so the Intelligence (i.e. God) unfolds in goodness multiplied through the stars, itself revolving upon its unity. Different virtues make different alloys with the precious bodies that they quicken (the starry heaven), to which they are bound like life in you. Because of the happy nature form which it derives, the virtue shines, mingled, through the body like joy through a living eye from this comes what seems different between one light and another, not form density or rarity this is the formal principle…

The other revolving spheres through various differences dispose towards their several ends and their several productions the distinctive objects which they have within themselves (i.e. the several planetary spheres or heavens each according to its proper and distinct purpose, bring about the diverse operations and productions suitable to each)

These organs of the Universe (i.e. sun, moon, and planets, or , as Dante would say, the seven planets) proceed as thou now seest from step to step, for they receive from above and operate below, i.e. they themselves receive influence from the higher spheres, the eighth and ninth heavens, from which the precessional and diurnal motions common to them all are derived, and they exercise influence on that which is below them, i.e., on the events and life of this earth; the ‘sublunary’ sphere, as we still call it, because it was thought to lie below the lowest of the heavenly spheres, viz. that of the moon. The rest o the passage, though highly poetical in form and interesting in its teaching scarcely falls within the scope of astronomy.

The same teaching is expressed in the plain prose of the Conv II XV, 132-8:”The said heaven (i.e. the inth or the Primum Mobile) regulates by its motions the daily revoluktion of all the others, through which they below receive the virtue (or vivifing influence) of all their parts . Because if the revolution of this heaven did not so order ddthis, little of the influence of those heavens woudl come here below, or even the sight of them: in other words, their influence on human affairs woudl be almost entirely lost. The savisng phrases ‘little’ and ‘almost entirely’, refer tothe very slight ‘precessional’ motion which woudl still remain even if the diuturnal were aboished. How the ‘sight’ of them would be lost has been already explained  (p.17)

This explicit reference to the influence of the stars in human affairs, as well as the expression ‘organi del mondo’ in Paradiso ii. 121, suggests that we should here define precisely the nature of Dante’s belief in ‘astrology’ in the modern sense of the word, though in his day the term was used convetiblly with ‘astronomy’. There is a striking passage in Paradiso viii 97 seqq. in which Dante declares the difference in human characters to be de to God’s special providence. The career of each individual is foreseen and fore-ordained of God (though it is often perversely departed from,II 139, seqq.) and his character and capacities are ordered suitably to it. See II. 100-3

E non pur le nature provvedute
Son nella mente ch´`e da sé perfetta,
Ma esse insieme com la lor salute

But the immediate efficient cause of these differences of charactaer is found in the influence of the stars. See II 97-9

‘Lo ben che tutto il regno che tu scandi
Volge e contenta, fa esser virtute 
Sua provvidenza in questi corpi grandi;’

and again in IL 127,128, ‘La circular natura’ (i.e. the revolution of the heavens) is described as ‘suggello alla cera mortal.’

Thus Dante firmly held that God’s ‘never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth,’ yet He wills to use the stars as His instruments, just as the angels who effect the motions of those stars are His agents. Hence, in the passage above quoted, the stars are called ‘organi del mondo.’ In Mon. II ii 15, we read, ‘ Est enim natura in mente primi motoris, que Deus est, deinde in coelo tanquan in organo’;  and ibid 25 he speaks of ‘instrumentum eius (sc. Dei) quod coelum est.’ Similar language will be found in the Questio xx.59: ‘quum organum suae virtutis sive influentiae sit ipas luna.’ So again, ibid. xxi. 16. See further Ep. V. viii, i34, shere God is said sometimes to carry out His purposes ‘per homines, tanquem per caelos novos.’ When in the important passage, Purg. vvi. 67-83, Dante insists that the stellar influence is never so overpowering as to destroy human responsibility, this is equivalent to the assertion of the freedom of the will side by side with the belief in God’s foreknowledge, and in a special providence. The reality of the influence  of the stars on human affairs (in this perfectly harmless form) Dante regarded as entirey indisputable (see Conv. II xiv 27); so much so that any one who doubted it was ‘extra limitem philosophiae’ (Quaestio xxi, 18).

The following are some of the other passages in Dante beyond those already referred to which bear upon this subject: Purg. xx 13, xxx, 109-11; Par. xxiii,i, xxvi. 129; Conv. II. xxiii. 50.

I will next cite a few passages in which dante refers to the extremely slow motion of the eighth, and the extremely sweift motion of the ninth heaven.

The slowness of the eighth heaven is alluded to in Purg. xi. 103 seqq., where the vanity of human fatrie is exhibited by the reflection that before 1000 years are passed it will utterly have perished, and yet that period bears  less proportion to eternity than the twinkling of an eye to the revolution of the slowest sphere in the heaven, i.e. to the 36000 years occupied in the revolution of the eighth heaven. In connexsion with this there is a passage in Conv. II xv. 114, which calls for a word of explanation. Dante is here arguing for the appropriate connexion of each of the sciences of the Trivium and Quadrivium with one of the seven planetary spheres or eavens, and he says that the slow motion of the eighth heaven, being in fact endless, is a symbol those incorruptible things which form the subject of metaphysics. That it is ‘endless’ he proves thus. Since the creation only a little more than one-sixth part of this revolution has been accomplished, and we are already in the last age of the worl, awaiting the consummation of all things. Consequently this revolution will never be commpleted while the wolrd lasts. It is at first sight rather puzzling to find Dante declaring that a little more than one-sisth of the revolution is already accomplished, for on his own datum of 1 in a century this would imply that in or about 1300 AD the world had existed for more than 6000 years. This however, corresponds with the horology which would be found by Dante in two authorities with which he was familiar .

dante-yellow1

dante-yellow
From this passage we learn the following points:
1. The Being and the entire motion of the universe stem from the primum mobile or prime mover (hence from God’s love as well as from the love of God). All Creation is an unfolding and reflection of divine Being-non e se non splendor di quella idea che partorisce amando il nostro sirt? (it is nothing but the reglow of that Idea which our Sire, in loving, begets); its motion and all its activity have their eternal source in Him. The lines translated above are drawn from a passage about the nature of the Moon and that is why they speak only of the celestial spheres, Actually the same is true of all Creation, both of that part which is created directly by God (intelligences, celestial spheres, prima materia, and the human soul) and of that part which is produced indirectly through His organs (elements, plants, animals. Everywhere it is la divina bonta che ‘I mondo imprenta‘ (the divine goodness which stamps the world), and the motion it produces is Love: Ne creator ne creatura mai … fu sanza amore, o natural o d’animo (Neither creator nor creature … was ever without love, either natural or rational}.”
2. The universe is a multiplication of the first motion; the Intelligences, or Angels, communicate it to the lower degrees of Creation and impart to all created things the energy and motion peculiar to them, but in spite of all that the unity of divine Being is never relinquished: the Trinity, as Dante quotes St. Thomas as saying:
per sua bontate il suo raggiare aduna
quasi specchiato, in nove sussistenze,
etternalmente rimanendosi una
Quindi discende a l’ultime potenze
giu d’atto in atto, tanto divenendo,
che piu non fa che brevi contingenze;
e queste contingenze esser intendo
le cosc generate …. 

(of its goodness focuses its own raying, as though

refleeted, in nine existences, eternally abiding one.
Thence it descends to the remotest potencies,
down, from act to act, becoming such as makes
now mere brief contingencies; by which

                                     contingencies I understand the generated things…).

Thus the source of the multiplicity of Creation is the unfolding and reflection of divine goodness through the nove sussistenze, or nine existences, that is, the Angels, who are the movers of the heavenly spheres and of their luminaries. Here the relation between astrological conceptions and the divine order of the world is made perfectly clear. In the first canto of the Paradiso Dante expresses his surprise that he, as a material body, should have been able to rise up to heaven, and Beatrice replies: “Le cose tutte quante hanno ordine tra loro…: All things whatsoever observe a mutual order; and this is the form that makes the universe like God. In it the exalted creatures [those endowed with intelligence] trace the impress of the Eternal Worth, which is the goal for which the norm now spoken of was made. In the order of which I speak all things incline, by various lots, nearer or less near to their source; for which reason they move to different ports across the great sea of being, each one with instinct given it to bear it on. This bears the fire toward the moon; this is the mover in the hearts of things that die; this draws the earth … together and unites it. This bow shoots not only the creatures that lack intelligence but those that have both intellect and love. The Providence that ordains all this, with its light makes ever still the heaven in which that one whirls which has the greatest speed; and there now, as to the site ordained, the power of that bowstring bears us….”This instinct is the work of the celestial spheres, ovra de le rote magne, che drizzan ciascun seme ad alcun fine (operation of the mighty spheres that direct each seed to some end); the hole of earthly Creation is subject to them with the exception of man; for although man as a body, and hence also the sensitive a owers of the soul, are subject to inclination by the influence of the stars, he possesses in the rational part of his soul the power to guide and limit that influence; that power is his free will.
“The heavenly bodies,” says St. Thomas. “cannot be the direct cause of the free-will’s operations. Nevertheless, they can be a disposive cause of an inclination to those operations, in so far as they make an impression on the human body, and consequently on the sensitive powers which are acts of bodily organs having an inclination for human acts.” And similarly in another passage: “The heavenly bodies are not the cause of our willing and choosing. For the will is in the intellectual part of the soul … the heavenly bodies cannot make a direct impression on our intellect. . . .” The pars intellectiva of the soul is man’s vis ultima, or ultimate essence, what makes him a man, and he must employ it for good or evil. Without it he could no more do evil than a plant or an animal: for naturale (amore) e sempre sanza errore. The natural is always without error.

Ethical

These remarks on the special position of man bring us to the second of the systems underlying the Comedy, the ethical system. Man alone possesses freedom of choice, a power compounded of intellect and will, which, though closely connected with the natural disposition and hence always individual, reaches out beyond it; it is that power which enables him during his lifetime on earth, to love in the right or wrong way and so decide his own fate. In the ethical system he builds up on the basis of that conception, Dante follows the Nicomachean Ethics as elaborated in St. Thomas. Brunetto Latini had set forth the ethical doctrines of Aristotle and St. Thomas in his Tresor, particularly in the sixth and seventh books. His exposition shows many points of contact with Dante, and the words m’insegnavate come l’uom s’etterna (you taught me how man makes himself eternal) make it clear that Dante regarded Brunetto as the foremost authority on those ideas.

Man’s ethical nature is grounded in his natural inclination or disposition. As such that is always good, for it is love, more specifically the love of some good. The highest good and the source of the good is God.

Auerbach goes on with his interpretation:

Quindi discende a l’ultime potenze
giu d’atto in atto, tanto divenendo,
che piu non fa che brevi contingenze;
e queste contingenze esser intendo
le cosc generate …. 
(of its goodness focuses its own raying, as though

reflected, in nine existences, eternally abiding one.
Thence it descends to the remotest potencies,
down, from act to act, becoming such as makes
now mere brief contingencies; by which

                                      contingencies I understand the generated things…).

Thus the source of the multiplicity of Creation is the unfolding and reflection of divine goodness through the nove sussistenze, or nine existences, that is, the Angels, who are the movers of the heavenly spheres and of their luminaries. Here the relation between astrological conceptions and the divine order of the world is made perfectly clear. In the first canto of the Paradiso Dante expresses his surprise that he, as a material body, should have been able to rise up to heaven, and Beatrice replies: “Le cose tutte quante hanno ordine tra loro…: All things whatsoever observe a mutual order; and this is the form that makes the universe like God. In it the exalted creatures [those endowed with intelligence] trace the impress of the Eternal Worth, which is the goal for which the norm now spoken of was made. In the order of which I speak all things incline, by various lots, nearer or less near to their source; for which reason they move to different ports across the great sea of being, each one with instinct given it to bear it on. This bears the fire toward the moon; this is the mover in the hearts of things that die; this draws the earth … together and unites it. This bow shoots not only the creatures that lack intelligence but those that have both intellect and love. The Providence that ordains all this, with its light makes ever still the heaven in which that one whirls which has the greatest speed; and there now, as to the site ordained, the power of that bowstring bears us….”This instinct is the work of the celestial spheres, ovra de le rote magne, che drizzan ciascun seme ad alcun fine (operation of the mighty spheres that direct each seed to some end); the hole of earthly Creation is subject to them with the exception of man; for although man as a body, and hence also the sensitive a owers of the soul, are subject to inclination by the influence ~£ the stars, he possesses in the rational part of his soul the power to guide and limit that influence; that power is his free will.
“The heavenly bodies,” says St. Thomas. “cannot be the direct cause of the free-will’s operations. Nevertheless, they can be a disposive cause of an inclination to those operations, in so far as they make an impression on the human body, and consequently on the sensitive powers which are acts of bodily organs having an inclination for human acts.” And similarly in another passage: “The heavenly bodies are not the cause of our willing and choosing. For the will is in the intellectual part of the soul … the heavenly bodies cannot make a direct impression on our intellect. . . .” The pars intellectiva of the soul is man’s vis ultima,15 or ultimate essence, what makes him a man, and he must employ it for good or evil. Without it he could no more do evil than a plant or an animal: for naturale (amore) e sempre sanza errore. The natural is always without error.”
These remarks on the special position of man bring us to the second of the systems underlying the Comedy, the ethical system. Man alone possesses freedom of choice, a power compounded of intellect and will, which, though closely connected with the natural disposition and hence always individual, reaches out beyond it; it is that power which enables him during his lifetime on earth, to love in the right or wrong way and so decide his own fate. In the ethical system he builds up on the basis of that conception, Dante follows the Nicomachean Ethics as elaborated in St. Thomas. Brunetto Latini had set forth the ethical doctrines of Aristotle and St. Thomas in his Tresor, particularly in the sixth and seventh books. His exposition shows many points of contact with Dante, and the words m’insegnavate come l’uom s’etterna (you taught me how man makes himself eternal) make it clear that Dante regarded Brunetto as the foremost authority on those ideas.

Man’s ethical nature is grounded in his natural inclination or disposition. As such that is always good, for it is love, more specifically the love of some good. The highest good and the source of the good is God.

Historico Political

Hisorical

In the heaven of fixed stars, the heaven of the prima milizia, where redeemed mankind is united in the Triumph of Christ, a fourth figure joins the three examining Apostles; it is Adam, the first man, who closes the circle by relating, at the scene of its completion, the primordial beginnings of the drama. The events that he relates or explains form the starting point of the third, historico-political system of the Comedy. For through Adam’s fall mankind lost the original purity and goodness in which it was created and was damned like Lucifer, the fallen Angel. Eve’s original sin was not the mere tasting of the forbidden fruit, but a transgressing of limits, a striving to exceed her allotted destiny: earth and heaven obeyed, only a woman who had just been created could not endure to remain within her predestined sphere. Of all created things on earth man was the most perfect: he possessed immortality, freedom, and likeness to God, but the sin of apostasy robbed him of those gifts and flung him down all the lower because he had stood so high. And man disposed of no means of reparation, for no amount of humility could fully compensate for the terrible crime of his fall away from God, the highest good; only God himself in His infinite compassion could forgive him and restore him to his former place. But God is just as well as good; justice is the eternal order of the world, and accordingly it was His pleasure to satisfy the dictates of justice even in the practise of His infinite mercy through the incarnation of His son, born of a human mother. He engendered a pure man, who in his humility could justly and fully expunge the original sin; the union of divine and human nature in Christ is the mystery which satisfied the requirements of God’s justice, for here a man by the humility of his life and Passion atoned for the original sin, but in view of the man Christ’s other, divine nature, his act of atonement was an undeserved gift of God’s unlimited goodness, in excess of all justice. With that idea which is known essentially to every Christian, Dante combines another which in this context may strike a modern observer as strange: it is the idea of the special mission of Rome and the Roman Empire in history. From the very beginning Divine Providence elected Rome as the capital of the world.
It gave the Roman people the heroism and the spirit of self-sacrifice necessary to conquer this world and possess it in peace; and when the work of conquest and pacification, the sacred mission announced to Aeneas, was accomplished after centuries of bitter battles and sacrifices and the inhabited world lay in the hands of Augustus, the time was fulfilled and the Saviour appeared. For it was decreed that the redeemed world should abide in perfect peace, in supreme earthly perfection down to the last day; that is why Christ rendered unto Caesar the things which were Caesar’s and submitted to his judgment; that is why Peter and Paul went to Rome, why Rome became the center of Christianity and the seat of the papacy. Since the very beginning of the Roman legend the two plans of Providence have been intertwined; Aeneas was granted his journey to the underworld with a view to the spiritual and secular triumph of Rome. Rome was the mirror of the divine world order, so much so that Paradise is once referred to as quella Roma onde Christo `e Romano (that Rome where Christ is a Roman). In the earthly Rome, as Christ made clear by his words and deeds, it was decreed that two strictly separate powers should rule in perfect balance, the spiritual power of the Pope, who must possess nothing, for his kingdom is not of this world, and the secular power of the Emperor, who is just, because God appointed him and all things earthly are in his power.
Thus the whole Roman tradition flows into the history of salvation, and the two prophecies seem complementary and almost equal in rank: Virgil’s Tu regere imperio populos (Thou shalt rule as an empire over the nations) and the Ave Maria. Before the appearance of Christ, the Roman Eagle, whose deeds Justinian relates in the heaven of Mercury, was the herald, and afterward the executor, of God’s plan of salvation; Tiberius the third emperor, considered as the legitimate judge over Christ the man, was the executant avenger of original sin, who satisfied God’s wrath; Titus, the conqueror of Jerusalem, was the legitimate executant of vengeance against the Jews; and in the bottommost Hell, in the jaws of Lucifer, Judas has as his companions Brutus and Cassius, Caesar’s murderers.
But for a second time the world fell away from the divine will, and once again the sin consisted in a trapassar del segno, a transgressing against the earthly world order appointed by God; this sin is symbolically represented by the fate of the mystical chariot in the Earthly Paradise. Christ the griffon has fastened the chariot to the tree from which Adam once plucked the forbidden fruit and which now signifies the earthly world order or the Roman empire. Beneath its branches mankind can rest in peace (Dante’s sleep), and in the shadow of the tree the revealed authority of the Christian doctrine finds its natural place. The chariot of the Church resists the assaults of the Eagle (the persecutions of Christians under the first Roman emperors) and of the fox (the early Christian heretical sects); but when the Eagle covers the chariot with its wings – an allegory for the Donation of Constantine – disaster sets in. Satan rises up from the depths, breaks a piece -the spirit of humility – out of the floor of the chariot, the rest of which is filled to the brim with the Eagle’s feathers (earthly goods), and the seven deadly sins appear as death’s heads on the shaft and in the corners. On the seat of the chariot sits a harlot, the Roman curia, fornicating with a giant; the giant symbolises unrestrained illegitimate power, probably in particular the French king, and in order to gain complete power over the harlot detaches the chariot from the tree and makes off with it.

As we see, this order is perfectly consonant with the two others, for the whole poem, whether considered from a physical, an ethical, or a historico-political point of view, builds up the destiny of man and his soul and sets it before us in a concrete image; God and creation, spirit and nature lie enclosed and ordered in perfect necessity (which however is nothing other than perfect freedom allotted to each thing according to its essence). Nothing is left open but the narrow cleft of earthly human history, the span of man’s life on earth, in which the great and dramatic decision must fall; or to look at it the other way round, from the standpoint of human life, this life, in all the diversity of its manifestations, is measured by its highest goal, where individuality achieves actual fulfilment and all society finds its predestined and final resting place in the universal order. Thus, even though the Comedy describes the state of souls after death, its subject, in the last analysis, remains earthly life with its entire range and content; everything that happens below the earth or in the heavens above relates to the human drama in this world. But since the human world receives the measures by which it is to be molded and judged from the other world, it is neither a realm of dark necessity nor a peaceful land of God; no, the cleft is really open, the span of life is short, uncertain, and decisive for all eternity; it is the magnificent and terrible gift of potential freedom which creates the urgent, restless, human, and Christian-European atmosphere of the irretrievable, fleeting moment that must be taken advantage of God’s grace is infinite, but so also is His justice and one does not negate the other. The hearer or reader enters into the narrative; in the great realm of fulfilled destiny he sees only himself alone unfulfilled, still acting upon the real, decisive stage, illumined from above but still in the dark; he is in danger, the decision is near, and in the images of Dante’s pilgrimage that draw before him he sees himself damned, making atonement, or saved, but always himself, not extinguished, but eternal in his very own essence.
Thus in truth the Comedy is a picture of earthly life. The human world in all its breadth and depth is gathered into the structure of the hereafter and there it stands; complete, unfalsified, yet encompassed in an eternal order; the confusion of earthly affairs is not concealed or attenuated or immaterialized, but preserved in full evidence and grounded in a plan which embraces it and raises it above all contingency. Doctrine and fantasy, history and myth are woven into an almost inextricable skein; often an almost unconscionable amount of time and effort is required to fathom the content of a single line; but once one has succeeded in surveying the whole, the hundred cantos, with their radiant terza rima, their perpetual binding and loosing, reveal the dreamlike lightness and remoteness of a perfection that seems to hover over us like a dance of unearthly figures. Yet the law of that dream is a human reason operating according to a plan and conscious of its destiny, which it is able to govern and order because its courageous good will has been favored by divine grace.

V – The Presentation

Dante journeys through the Other World and there, in the stations which mark their ultimate destiny, he encounters the souls of men he has known or with whose lives he is familiar. Even one who knows nothing of the Comedy can, by reflecting on the situation, easily imagine the emotion aroused by those meetings and the natural occasion they offer for the most authentic, most powerful, and most human expression. The encounters do not take place in this life, where men are always met with in a state of contingency that manifests only a part of their essence, and where the very intensity of life in the most vital moments makes self-awareness difficult and renders a true encounter almost impossible. Nor do they take place in a hereafter where what is most personal in the personality is effaced by the shadows of death and nothing remains but a feeble, veiled, or indifferent recollection of life. No, the souls of Dante’s other world are not dead men, they are the truly living; though the concrete data of their lives and the atmosphere of their personalities are drawn from their former existences on earth, they manifest them here with a completeness, a concentration, an actuality, which they seldom achieved during their term on earth and assuredly never revealed to anyone else. And so it is that Dante finds them; surprise, astonishment, joy, or horror grips both parties to the meeting, for the dweller in the Other World as he is shown there is also deeply moved by an encounter with one of the living; the mere fact of seeing and recognising one another reaches into the deepest foundations of human feeling and creates images of unparallelled poetic force and richness.
Thus the meetings between souls in the Comedy offer a number of scenes which, though they derive the elements of their expression from the memory of earthly encounters, far surpass any possible earthly encounter by the degree of emotion that accompanies them and the wealth of situations they disclose. They are most moving where Dante was bound to the other by earthly ties, either of actual life together or of inner, spiritual influence. The passion which, either from diffidence or from lack of occasion to speak, tends in temporal existence to hide, bursts forth here, all in one piece, as though moved by the awareness that this is its one and only opportunity to express itself.
In Dante’s extreme need in the face of impending ruin, the helper sent by divine grace appears before him: and it is Virgil! But even before he has recognized him, Dante’s distress impels him to throw the whole of himself into his cry of supplication; and when the master of his art and precursor of his thinking makes himself known, Dante’s love and admiration spring forth naturally and uncontrollably, and in his situation the constitutive words, which provide the essential picture both of the other and of himself, seem quite self-evident, words full of pathos, yet genuinely rooted in the specific occasion. And when in the triumphal procession in the Earthly Paradise Beatrice appears; when Dante, in need of help, turns to Virgil to say: “Less than a dram of blood is left in me that trembleth not” and no longer finds the dolcissimo padre at his side; and when the name of Dante rings out like a call at the Last Judgement, the well-prepared emotion, grounded in his past and present fate, legitimated no less by reason than by the heart, the emotion which is true readiness to know and acknowledge himself, grips us scarcely less than it does him, so that the reader too might well say in Dante’s words:Men che dramma di sangue m’è rimaso che non tremi: conosco i segni de l’antica fiamma’.

Auerbach goes on describing  a long list of encounters. Basically everyone is like he or she was in reality, but in a state of essence of whatever they were or achieved or misbehaved.

Auerbach wraps up in a way  which deserves quotation:

These elements – reality and superhuman will, order and compelling authority – are the substance of the Comedy’s style, which is so unique that anyone who knows the work well has the impression of hearing Dante’s voice in every word and every tone: a powerful voice, sternly admonishing, yet full of tenderness, a voice which for all its severity is always human. In uttering what is true and right, it takes the tone of a teacher; in recording real events it becomes a chronicler. But doctrine and chronicle are caught up in the poetic movement, sustained and exalted until, with all their clarity, they stand before us unapproachable and inexplicably perfect. The Comedy, as we have repeatedly said in the course of this investigation, treats of earthly reality in its true and definitive form; but palpable and concrete as this reality is, it takes on an ethereal dreamlike quality in the Other World. As we have seen, the later Provencal poets, the poets of the stil nuovo, and Dante himself in the poetry of his youth, had followed an old esoteric tradition in setting apart the noble devotees of Amore from the rest of mankind and in regarding them alone as a worthy audience. That tradition like many others is transformed but not abandoned in the Comedy. Here I am not referring to the occasional apostrophes to one another of the chosen few; they are not crucial in this connection, for there is no doubt that the Comedy as a whole is addressed to all men or at least to all Christians. What I have in mind is that he leads all men into a realm apart, where the air is not that of our everyday earth. Not that the reality of life has vanished; it has grown doubly plain and tangible. But the light is different and the eyes must grow accustomed to it; they must acquire a new and sharper vision which passes over no detail as unimportant, commonplace, or fragmentary; whatever appears in that place is definitive and immutable, demanding the fullest and most careful attention. Dante transports his listeners into a strange world so permeated by the memory of reality that it seems real while life itself becomes a fragmentary dream; and that unity of reality and remoteness is the source of his psychological power.

VI – The Survival and Transformation of Dante’s Vision of Reality

(Remember: This was written in 1929)

Here we shall not speak in the usual sense of Dante’s influence on posterity. Neither the few insignificant poets who have imitated the Comedy, nor the highly problematic influence of Dante’s ideas and teachings, nor the far more important “history of his fame” – in short, no part of what is known in Italy as la fortuna di Dante – can have any bearing on the present study. Here we are concerned with something he created and which remained living and effective, quite regardless of whether those in whom we find it followed his doctrines or not, of whether they loved or hated him, or, for that matter, of whether they were even familiar with his work. For the land he discovered has not been lost; many have entered upon it, some have explored it, though the fact that he was first to discover it has been largely forgotten or ignored. The something of which I am speaking, the discovery that remained alive, is Dante’s testimony to the reality that is poetry, to the modern European form of artistic mimesis which stresses the actuality of events. Stefan George speaks of tone, movement, and Gestalt – it is they, he says, that make Dante the father of all modern literature. And perhaps not only of literature. Dante discovered the European representation (Gestalt) of man, and this same representation made its appearance in art and historiography. Dante was the first to configure what classical antiquity had configured very differently and the Middle Ages not at all: man, not as a remote legendary hero, not as an abstract or anecdotal representative of an ethical type, but man as we know him in his living historical reality, the concrete individual in his unity and wholeness; and in that he has been followed by all subsequent portrayers of man, regardless of whether they treated a historical or a mythical or a religious subject, for after Dante myth and legend also became history. Even in portraying saints, writers have striven for truth to life, for historical concreteness, as though saints too were a part of the historical process. As we have seen, Christian legend came to be treated as an immanent historical reality; the arts have striven to represent a more perfect unity of spirit and body, spun into the fabric of man’s destiny, and despite changes of taste and differences in artistic technique, this striving has endured, through many perils and darkenings, down to our day. In the present work, we have tried to show that this immense conquest did not spring full-blown from Dante’s intuition, but that his creative powers were kindled by his subject, which compelled him, once he had undertaken to set forth the divine judgment, to unearth the complete truth about individual historical men, and consequently to reveal the whole character and personality. As we have repeatedly stressed, his poetic genius was inseparably bound up with his doctrine. But his doctrine did not endure. The Comedy represented the physical, ethical, and political unity of the Scholastic Christian cosmos at a time when it was beginning to lose its ideological integrity: Dante took the attitude of a conservative defender, his battle was an attempt to regain something that had already been lost; in this battle he was defeated, and his hopes and prophecies were never fulfilled. True, ideas of a Roman World Empire survived down to the Late Renaissance, and indignation over the corruption of the Church led to the great movements of the Reformation and Counter Reformation. But those ideas and movements have only certain superficial characteristics in common with Dante’s view of the world; they originated and grew independently of it. Some were fantastic dreams, some were great popular uprisings, some acts of practical politics, and still others had something of all three: but none possessed the depth and universal unity of Dante’s Thomist world view, and their consequence was not the worldwide humana civilitas (see note 1) for which Dante hoped, but an increasing fragmentation of cultural forces; it is only after the imperial ideology and the Christian-medieval conception of the world, shaken by intestine struggles, were swept away by the rationalism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that a new practical view of the unity of human society began to take form. Thus Dante’s work remained almost without influence on the history of European thought; immediately after his death, and even during his lifetime, the structure of literary, cultured society underwent a complete change in which he had no part, the change from Scholastic to Humanistic thinking, and that transformation undermined the influence of so rigorously committed a work as the Comedy. The radical shift in values that has taken place is made clear by the example of Petrarch, who was only forty years younger than Dante. Petrarch was not actually of a different party, he was not opposed to Dante’s strivings; but what moved Dante, the whole attitude and form of his life, had grown alien to him. He is distinguished from Dante above all by his new attitude toward his own person; it was no longer in looking upward – as Orcagna portrayed Dante in his fresco of the Last Judgment in Santa Maria Novella – that Petrarch expected to find self-fulfillment, but in the conscious cultivation of his own nature. Although far inferior to Dante in personality and natural endowment, he was unwilling to acknowledge any superior order or authority; not even the authority of the universal world order to which Dante submitted so passionately. The autonomous personality, of which Petrarch was to be the first fully typical modern European embodiment, has lived in a thousand forms and varieties; the conception takes in all the tendencies of the modern age, the business spirit, the religious subjectivism, the humanism, and the striving for physical and technological domination of the world. It is incomparably richer, deeper, and more dangerous than the ancient cult of the person. From Christianity, whence it rose and which it ultimately defeated, this conception inherited unrest and immoderation. These qualities led it to discard the structure and limits of Dante’s world, to which, however, it owed the power of its actuality.

Four_portraits_of_Dante_Alighieri_Wellcome_M0017298
Accordingly, even if it is agreed that Dante’s creation is closely bound up with his subject matter, that his poetry is inseparable from his doctrine, he seems to be a special case that has never been repeated and hence tells us nothing about the nature of the poetic process. For the art of imitating reality continued to develop quite independently of the presuppositions which seem to have been at the base of Dante’s work. No poet or artist after Dante required an ultimate, eschatological destiny in order to perceive the unity of the human person: sheer intuitive power seems to have enabled subsequent writers to combine inner and outward observation into a whole. But that argument does not take in the whole truth. Its proponents neglect or underestimate the part played in the creative drive by the residues of older intellectual forces and fail to discern such residues beneath superficial changes in consciousness. It is generally acknowledged that the Renaissance represents a unit in the history of European culture and that the decisive element of its unity was the self-discovery of the human personality; and it is also generally recognised that, despite Dante’s medieval view of the world, the discovery began with him. Thus there would seem to be reason to believe that something in the structure of the medieval world view was carried over into the new development and made it possible. In the history of modern European culture, there is, indeed, a constant which has come down unchanged through all the metamorphoses of religious and philosophical forms, and which is first discernible in Dante; namely, the idea (whatever its basis may be) that individual destiny is not meaningless, but is necessarily tragic and significant, and that the whole world context is revealed in it. That conception was already present in ancient mimesis, but carried less force, because the eschatological myths of the ancients lent far less support than Christian doctrine and the story of Christ to the conviction that the individual is indestructible, that the life of the individual on earth is a brief moment of irrevocable decision. In the early Middle Ages the historical sense had been dulled – the image of man was reduced to a moral or spiritualist abstraction, a remote legendary dream, or a comic caricature; in short man was removed from his natural, historical habitat. With Dante the historical individual was reborn in his manifest unity of body and spirit; he was both oldand new, rising from long oblivion with greater power andscope than ever before. And although the Christian eschatology that had given birth to this new vision of man was to lose its unity and vitality, the European mind was so permeated with the idea of human destiny that even in very un-Christian artists it preserved the Christian force and tension which were Dante’s gift to posterity. Modern mimesis found man in his individual destiny; it raised him out of the two-dimensional unreality of a remote dreamland or philosophical abstraction, and moved him into the historical area in which he really lives. But that historical world had to be rediscovered; and in a spiritualist culture, where earthly happening was either disregarded or looked upon as a mere metaphorical existence leading up to man’s real and final destiny, man’s historical world could be discovered only by way of his final destiny, considered as the goal and meaning of earthly happening. But once the discovery was made in that way, earthly happening could no longer be looked upon with indifference. The perception of history and immanent reality arrived at in the Comedy through an eschatological vision, flowed back into real history, filling it with the blood of authentic truth, for an awareness had been born that a man’s concrete earthly life is encompaseed in his ultimate fate and that the event in its authentic, concrete, complete uniqueness is’ important for the part it plays in God’s judgment. From that center man’s earthly, historical reality derived new life and value, and even the Comedy where, not without difficulty, the turbulent new forces were confined within an eschatological frame, gives us an intimation of how quickly and violently they would break loose. With Petrarch and Boccaccio the historical world acquired a fully immanent autonomy, and this sense of the self-sufficiency of earthly life spread like a fructifying stream to the rest of Europe-seemingly quite estranged from its eschatological origin and yet secretly linked with it through man’s irrevocable bond with his concrete historical fate. By that I do not mean that literature and art began to concern themselves exclusively with subjects drawn from real life and history, and no such statement would be in keeping with the facts. Mythical and religious subjects continued to be treated,and indeed more penetratingly than before. For they too were drawn into the historical vision we have described; the traditional fable lost its emblematic rigidity, and from the rich material, which had been largely obscured beneath dogmatic and spiritualist symbols, the author was now enabled, by his insight into the unity of character and fate, to select the perceptions that seemed to offer the fullest evidence and the most essential truth. And another form of literature, which is perhaps the most significant of all in modern Europe because it has permeated all others, namely the lyrical self-portraiture initiated by Petrarch, was rendered possible only by the discovery of the historical world. For it was only in that area that the diverse levels of feeling and instinct, the entire unity and variety of the personality, could unfold, that the empirical person, the individual with his inner life, could become an object of mimesis.
This current created rich new possibilities and grave dangers for mimesis. To discuss them is not the purpose of the present book, in which I have tried to grasp Dante’s work as a unity, rooted in the unity of his subject matter. It has seemed to me
that this approach offered the only hope of representing Dante’s historical reality in such a way that “the words may not be diverse from the fact.”

Note 1: In both the Convivio and the MonarchiaDante is concerned to examine, from the Aristotelian point of view throughtout, the civilitas humana which is the union of different individual societies, particularly the communitates perfectae. The humana civilitas is ordained for the purpose of furthering the life of happiness, which nobody can achieve without the help of others. (Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought)

Civilitas podia significar cidade, cidadão, os direitos de um cidadão, organização civil e posteriormente vida cívica e vida na cidade. Como o termo era tradicionalmente usado em contraste com o não cívico, como vida no campo e com camponeses, o termo veio também a significar o oposto de inumano, animalidade e barbarismo. Civilitas/civilis gradualmente tornou-se um conceito útil na construção de uma identidade, sendo usado para distinguir nós e eles, à maneira de outros pares antiéticos mais antigos, tais como grego/bárbaro, romano/bárbaro, cristão/pagão.  O conceito também foi traduzido para o vernáculo. Em Dante e notório o uso da expressão civilitas humana para significar o conjunto da humanidade. Dante foi o primeiro a traduzir civilitas para o vernáculo italiano como civiltade. No século XIV a palavra italiano civiltade foi substituída por civilta. (Historia dos conceitos )

 

 

 

 

 

Evil in the Classical World

(Veja em Português)

Obviously the Classical Antiquity is the Greco Roman World from antiquity till the fall of the Roman Empire.

Classical antiquity (also the classical eraclassical period or classical age) is the long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Southwestern Asia.

We will try to stress the problem of Evil but it is advisable to take a glimpse in these civilizations because they had a strong influence in everything cultural for the western world, specially in the Renaissance.

A good framing to the subject is to notice that one of the most important transformations in Late Antiquity was the formation and evolution of the Abrahamic Religions;   Christianityrabbinic Judaism and, eventually, Islamism

According to the Pirenne Thesis the subsequent Arab invasions marked the end of Late Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Take a look on Roman gods and goddesses and Greek Gods and Greek Goddesses

Greek Gods and Goddesses

Roman gods and goddesses

Roman Gods and Goddesses

equivalent

Although it was the Greeks who first posed the question of the origin and nature of evil in strictly  philosophical terms, they manage to create gods, or Gods, as ambivalent manifestations of the one and same God. This contradictory ethical and ontological qualities (i.e. related to their existence) of the gods indicate more confusion than an atempt to coincide the opposites related to them.

They have two concepts indicating the character of the god, one ouranic or heavenly and the other chthonic, from the underworld (hell?) being the  chthonic more often assimilated with the concept of  evil. Again, you don’t have an entry for ouranic, but you can have a comparison chart between the qualities.

On top of that they have another set of concepts, Theos and Daimon.

Interesting to know is that Theos is at any rate God and Daimon Daemon, to which I invite the reading of the entry. As Rollo May perceived, and we already discussed, Daimon, which is an alternative writing to Damon, in the dictionary is defined as (in ancient Greek belief) a divinity or supernatural being of a nature between gods and humans. Also as an inner or attendant spirit or inspiring force. And it should be observed that its synonyms are numengeniusgenius loci, inspiring force, attendant spirit, tutelary spirit, demon, from which you say: 

It must have been a magnificent daemon that inhabited the heart and soul of this artist”
The king of gods was Zeus Pater, in Greece and Jupiter in Rome. Zeus, or “sky father” in his ancient name, could bring lightning, hail, roaring winds but also kindly light and fertile rains: hence his name maimaktes, the wrathful one.
In Crete, where he was Zeus Kuros, his characteristics were decidedly chthonic, but it was Homer who fixed him permanently in the classical consciousness as an ouranic deity. His wife, Hera, queen of gods,  became a sky goddess bringing both warm weather for crops and destructive storms. She was also chthonic and identified with the primeval earth deity Gaia, also goddess of fertility and childbearing.
But their offspring possessed terrifying natures, such as Hepahistos, god of volcanic explosions and consorted with spirits of caves and of mountains.
Interesting to notice, that the family goes on and on, but the son of Hermes, Pan, who was born hairy and goat like, with horns and cloven hooves and a phallic deity like his father, represented sexual desire, which can be creative and destructive. His iconographic influence upon the Devil as we know it is enormous. How medieval tradition made it possible for the image of Pan to joined with that of Pan has its root in the association of the Devil with the chthonic fertility deities, who were rejected by the Christians as demons along with other pagan gods who were particularly feared because of the association with the wilderness and with sexual frenzy. Sexual passion, which suspends reason and easily leads to excess, was alien both to the rationalism of the Greeks and to the asceticism of the Christians. It was easy to assimilate a god of sexuality with the principle of evil. The association of the chthonic with both sex and the underworld , and hence with death, sealed the union.
It is interesting that Hades, which was the ruler of the underworld, presided over the dark and dreadful kingdom of dead souls and brought death to crops, animals and mankind, was married to the gentle Persephone, lady of springtime. It was she who in the spring, emerging from her underground prison, caused the earth to green. But it was she also who emerged to lead the Erinyes, the terrible spirits of revenge, in their pitiless search for vengeance. Thus the deities of the underworld, in Greece as elsewhere, brought both fear and hope.

The Underworld

From Linkedln learning

1-Hades

2-Tartarus

3-Erebus

4-Acheron

5-Charon

6-Cerberus

7-Rhadamanthys, Minos Alakos

8-Phlegethon

9-Styx

10-Lethe

11-Erinyes

The mythology surrounding all these characters is too long to go into here. Just about everything you can imagine can happen in a group of persons, be it Greeks or Romans, or whatever, there would be some sort of equivalent in the saga of the gods.

It is basic to any comprehension of the Greek religion that it was a living religion, not standardized and refined by literary traditions. Each god was perceived as a manifestation of both the kindly and the destructive aspects of divinity. This ambivalence shows up in the Greek literature, myth and philosophy in the classical period. Homer does not make a clear separation of good and evil and certainly no hypostatization (treat as a distinct substance in reality) of either. The will of the God is not known. Beyond men and beyond gods there exists a remote, impersonal force called Moira that assigns to each god and each man his proper function. Moira is completely without personality or even conscious will, it is  as a concept “a truth about the disposition of Nature”, the truth being that each person has an ordained role to play in the world. In a word: Destiny…

It is also noticeable the strong resemblance in several situations in the Greek and Roman literature, from Homer to Aeschylus with the Book of Job of the Bible.

Basically, Jeffrey Burton Russel says, to Homer evil consists in violating the honor (time) of a god. Take a look at the entry in Wikipedia.

Theodicyin its most common form, is an attempt to answer the question of why a good God permits the manifestation of evil and toward the end of the classical period, the difficulties posed by Greek theodicy became evident in the work of Euripides, where man struggles in the grip of an irrational universe in which the gods represent no order at all.

Orphism 

Because there is a connection between Orphism and Dyonisos in the thinking of Plato, or Platonism and Pythagoras or  Pythagoreanism let’s take a look on it: 

Orphism was , or at least it seems, a parallel religion to the Greek religion. There are unresolved questions whether as to if it ever existed as an organized religion, what was the exact relationship with the cult of Dionysos or to what extent its dualism was form its own or imported. The central myth of Orphism may have been the myth of Dionysos and the Titans.

The Cult of Dyonisos

The concepts exposed here would have to be connected with Nietzsche’s Apollonian and Dionysian  in The Birth of Tragedy to designate the two central principles in Greek culture, as he sees it. Since Nietzsche has done an outstanding contribution in understanding the presence of evil, this is a sort of contribution for anyone who wishes to go deeper in the subject. It is a pity that Erich Auerbach neither in his Mimesis or Dante Poet of the Secular World does not touches Nietzsche directly as more than one scholar pointed out.

The central myth of Orphism may have been the myth of Dionysos and the Titans.
In the beginning of the world was Phanes, the androgyne who brings all things to light. First Phanes bears Ouranos, who sires (fathers) Kronos, the father of Zeus. After Zeus defeats the Titans, he swallows Phanes, thus taking’ into himself the original principle, becoming a creator god, and producing all things anew, including the Titans. Meanwhile Zeus fathers a son, Dionysos. Hating Zeus, and envious of the happiness of the infant Dionysus, the Titans approach the child, distract his attention with a mirror, and seize him. They tear him apart and devour him. But Athene rescues the boy’s heart and brings it to Zeus, who consumes it. Zeus now has intercourse with Semele, who gives birth anew to Dionysos. Pleased with the resurrection of his son, Zeus proceeds to punish his murderers by blasting them to ashes with thunderbolts. From the ashes of the Titans arises the race of mankind.
The myth is wholly dualist. Mankind has a dual nature, spiritual and material. The material part of our nature derives from the Titans, the spiritual part from the Dionysos whom they devoured. The teachings of Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans were highly influential in one development of the dualist tradition. For the Pythagoreans, soul is immortal, flesh mortal. The soul is trapped in the body like prisoner (soma sema), our task on earth is to escape our bodily prison by means of ritual purification.

But the dualism found in these doctrines is different from that of Iran. Iranian dualism posited a conflict between two spiritual powers, one of light and one of darkness. Orphic dualism posited a conflict between the divine soul and the evil, Titanic body that imprisoned it. In Orphism the dualism of matter and spirit, body and soul, is first clearly enunciated: its influence upon Christian, Gnostic, and medieval thought was enormous, and it is one of the most important elements in the history of the Devil. To the extent that Dionysos was good and the Titans evil, which is assumed, to that extent is the soul good and the body evil. This interpretation grew steadily throughout the Hellenistic period, when, influenced by Iranian dualism, matter and the body were assigned to the realm of the evil spirit, and soul to that of the good spirit. At that point the two dualisms, Orphic and Iranian, were united, and the idea that the body and the flesh are the work of cosmic evil became implanted in Jewish and Christian minds. The majority opinion in both Judaism and Christianity has always rejected this idea in its explicit form, but from Gnosticism onwards it has been the most persistent source of heresy. (In Dante explored in the 10th canto)
The doctrine that the body was the prison of the soul caused the Orphics to believe in metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls. One can escape the flesh only through a series of incarnations during which one carefully practices ritual purity. The process of reincarnation ceases when perfect purity is achieved and is delayed by any relapse into carnality. The Orphics abstained from meat both because it is carnal and because an animal might be a reincarnation of a human being. Under the influence of Pythagoras, they also abstained from beans, which they regarded as seed par excellence and therefore the root of the flesh.
The ritual purity of Orphism was also associated with the cult of Dionysos, which was very different indeed. Festivals of Dionysos took place at night, symbol of darkness and the forbidden. They were often held in a cave or grotto, locales
 connected with moisture, fertility, and the chthonic powers. The worshipers were primarily women, the Maenads or Bacchantes, who were led by a male priest.
How could Orphic purity and Dionysiac frenzi exist together? Or to other groups, such as Gnostics, Catharists, etc.? Jeffrey Burton Russel proposes a number of answers:
  • First, Orphic purity was ritual rather than moral.
  • Second, the coexistence of ascetic restraint and frenzied worship is common in the history of religions and, psychologically, is a predictable manifestation of the shadow.
  • Third, frenzied ecstasy is frequently an accepted way of bringing the spirit “out of” the body.
  • Fourth, and most important, it is a manifestation of the coincidence of opposites, of the ambivalence that” underlies all human thought, particularly thought about the gods.
For Dionysus, like the other gods, is ambivalent. The son of Zeus and symbol of spirit against the body, he is also a horned fertility god. The benefactor, Euergeus, he is also Anthroporraistes, “crusher of men,” and Omistes, “eater of raw flesh,” and he rides in a black ship. Most of all he is Lusios or Luaios, the great looser or freer, who releases from all restraints and inhibitions. In the Hellenistic period he became the perfect androgynous, as the great head in the British Museum shows him. Orgy may be perceived as an urge to integration through commingling of the sexes. On the one hand the opposition of spirit and body eventually made the Devil “the lord of this world”. on the other hand the Dionysiac orgy became the model for theology imputed to Gnostics, Catharists and witches.
We are talking of several hundred years and for our purposes, I prefer to use another criteria to frame up this subject in this period.
Some authors divide the Greek Religion in three stages, or sometimes five, whith expansion of the third stage. These stages are the following:
  • First there is the primitive Euetheia or Age of Ignorance, before Zeus came to trouble men’s minds, a stage to which anthropologists and explorers found parallels in every part of the world. Basically somebody (I am not sure if properly) defined it as Primordial Stupidity (Dr. Preuss) see it in German.
  • Secondly there is the Olympian or classical stage, a stage in which  in a rough battle up hill, full of fits and starts this primitive vagueness was reduced a kind of order. This is the stage of the great Olympian gods, who dominated art and poetry, ruled the imagination of Rome and Greece and extended a kind of romantic dominion even over the Middle Ages. Many believe that this context has no value as religion, only as art.
  • Thirdly, there is the Hellenistic period, reaching roughly from Plato to St. Paul and the earlier Gnostics. The successors of Aristotle produced rather a school of progressive science, those of Plato  a school of refined skepticism. The religious side of Plato’s thought would take a while to como to its full power which happened in the 3rd century AD at the time of Plotinus.
To Aristotle would take even longer, it was really exposed by St Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century AD.
It came as a surprise to me but I confirmed it throughout Internet,  Plato didn’t explore systematically the problem of the origin of evil. At the most there are quotations from him saying the obvious, a passing thought. Socrates was more to the point: to him, evil was a failing in practical knowledge of how to do good. It is interesting to observe that Plato’s perception of the opposition between the spirit, the seat or reason and the body, the seat of emotions, and from there the conception of body and soul as manifestations of metaphysical principles of spirit and matter, goodness being ascribed to spirit and evil to matter, which is a incoherent dualism ended up being more coherent by his followers. The development of the concept of Devil owes much, if not almost all, directly to Plato, thanks to the permutations of his thought in the work of Platonists, specially Plotinus. The thought of Aristotle did not admit a principle of evil, which is a demonstration that Plato had opponents.
On the side of Romans, Mithraism is worth to be mentioned. Perhpas better explained here.
"Tauroctony" - Mithras slaying a bull