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BOOK II: WHETHER THE ROMAN PEOPLE RIGHTFULLY APPROPRIATED THE OFFICE OF MONARCHY - Dante Alighieri, De Monarchia 
The De Monarchia of Dante Alighieri, edited with translation and notes by Aurelia Henry (Boston and New York: Houghton, Miflin and Company, 1904).
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WHETHER THE ROMAN PEOPLE RIGHTFULLY APPROPRIATED THE OFFICE OF MONARCHY
1. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their yoke from us.’ ”1
2. We are wont to marvel at any strange effect when we have never beheld the face of its cause,2 and, when we have learned to know the cause, to look down with a sort of derision on those still lost in astonishment. I, in truth, at one time marveled that without resistance the Roman people had become sovereign throughout the earth; for, looking merely superficially at the matter, I believe they had obtained sovereignty not by right, but by force of arms alone.3 However, after the eyes of my mind had pierced to the marrow thereof, and I had come to understand by most convincing tokens that Divine Providence had effected this thing, my wonder vanished, and in its place rises a certain derisive contempt when I hear the heathen raging against the preëminence of the Roman race; when I see people, as I was wont, imagining a vain thing; when, more than all, I find to my grief kings and princes concordant only in the error4 of taking counsel together against their Lord and His one Roman Prince. Wherefore, on behalf of this glorious people and of Caesar I exclaim, in derision that is also sorrow, with him who cried aloud on behalf of the Prince of heaven, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed.”
3. Yet lasting derision is not compatible with natural love, but as the summer sun, rising splendid above the scattered mists of morning, sheds abroad its beams, so love, dispelling its derision, would send forth an amending light.5 To break asunder, then, the bonds of ignorance for those kings and princes, to prove the human race free from their yoke, I will exhort myself, as did that most holy prophet whom I follow, with the words that come in order after, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
4. These two things will be done well enough if I proceed with the second part of my main proposition, and reveal the truth of the question now pending. For when it is proved that the Roman Empire existed by right, not only will the clouds of ignorance be cleared from the eyes of kings and princes who usurp to themselves public guidance, falsely believing that the Roman people had done so, but all mortals will know that they are free from the yoke of usurpers. Nor will the truth be revealed in the light of human reason alone, but also in the radiance of divine authority. And when these two unite together, heaven and earth must together give approval.6 Resting, therefore, in that trust of which I have previously spoken,7 and supported by the testimony of reason and authority, I enter upon the solution of the second question.
What God wills in human society is to be held as right.
1. Now that the truth of the first question has been investigated as adequately as the subject-matter permitted, the second question urges us to investigate its truth as to whether the Roman people appropriated the dignity of empire by Right. The starting-point of this investigation is that verity to which the arguments of the present inquiry may be referred as to their own first principle.1
2. It must be understood, therefore, that as art exists in a threefold degree, in the mind of the artist, in the instrument, and in the matter informed by the art,2 so may Nature be looked upon as threefold. For Nature exists in the mind of the Primal Motor, who is God,3 and then in heaven, as in the instrument through whose mediation the likeness of eternal goodness is unfolded on fluid matter.4 When the artist is perfect, and his instrument without fault, any flaw that may appear in the form of the art can then be imputed to the matter only. Thus, since God is ultimate perfection, and since heaven, his instrument, suffers no defect in its required perfectness (as a philosophic study of heaven makes clear),5 it is evident that whatever flaw mars lesser things is a flaw in the subjected material,6 and outside the intention of God working through Nature,7 and of heaven; and that whatever good is in lesser things cannot come from the material itself, which exists only potentially, but must come first from the artist, God, and secondly from the instrument of divine art, heaven, which men generally call Nature.8
3. From these things it is plain that inasmuch as Right is good, it dwells primarily in the mind of God; and as according to the words, “What was made was in Him life,”9 everything in the mind of God is God, and as God especially wills what is characteristic of Himself, it follows that God wills Right according as it is in Him. And since with God the will and the thing willed are the same, it follows further that the divine will is Right itself. And the further consequence of this is, that Right is nothing other than likeness to the divine will. Hence whatever is not consonant with divine will is not right, and whatever is consonant with divine will is right.10 So to ask whether something is done with Right, although the words differ, is the same as to ask whether it is done according to the will of God. Let this therefore base our argument, that whatever God wills in human society must be accepted as right, true, and pure.
4. Moreover, that should be remembered which the Philosopher teaches in the first book to Nicomachus, “Like certainty is not to be sought in every matter, but according as the nature of the subject admits it.”11 Wherefore our arguments will advance adequately under the principle established, if we investigate the Right of this great people through visible signs and the authority of the wise. The will of God is in itself an invisible attribute, but by means of things which are made the invisible attributes of God become perceptible to the intellect.12 For, though a seal be hidden, the wax impressed therewith bears manifest evidence of the unseen signet;13 nor is it remarkable that the divine will must be sought in signs, for the human will, except to him who wills, is discerned no way else than in signs.14
The Romans as the noblest people deserved precedence before all others.
1. I say with regard to this question, that the Roman people by Right and not by usurpation took to itself over all mortals the office of Monarchy, which men call the Empire. This may first be proved thus: It was meet that the noblest people should have precedence over all others; the Roman people was the noblest;1 therefore it was meet that it should have precedence over all others. The major premise2 is demonstrable, for, since honor is the reward of virtue, and all precedence is honor, all precedence is a reward of virtue.3 It is agreed that men are ennobled as virtues of their own or their ancestors make them worthy. Nobility is “virtue and ancient wealth,” according to the Philosopher in the Politics;4 but according to Juvenal, “Virtue is the one and only nobility of soul.”5 These two definitions grant two kinds of nobility, one’s own and that of one’s ancestors.6
2. By reason of the cause inherent in nobility the reward of precedence is befitting the noble. And as rewards should be commensurate with merits, in consonance with that saying of the Gospel, “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again,”7 the foremost rank should be to the noblest. As for the minor premise, the testimony of the ancients is convincing, since Virgil, our divine Poet,8 throughout his Aeneid testifies in everlasting remembrance that the father of the Roman people was Aeneas, the famous king; and Titus Livius, illustrious writer of Roman deeds, confirms this testimony in the first part of his volume which begins with the capture of Troy.9 So great was the nobleness of this man, our ancestor most invincible and most pious, nobleness not only of his own considerable virtue, but that of his progenitors and consorts, which was transferred to him by hereditary right, that I cannot unfold it in detail, “I can but trace the main outlines of truth.”10
3. As to his personal nobility, hearken to our poet in the first book of the Aeneid, introducing Ilioneus with the plea, “Aeneas was our king, than whom none other was more just and pious, none other greater in war and arms.”11 Hearken to him again in the sixth, when, speaking of the dead Misenus, Hector’s attendant in war, who entered the service of Aeneas after Hector’s death, he says, Misenus “had followed no lesser fortunes.”12 This compares Aeneas with Hector, whom Homer13 honors above all men, as the Philosopher affirms in that part of the writings to Nicomachus on “types of conduct to be avoided.”14
4. As to his hereditary nobility, it accrues to him from the three continents of the earth through his ancestors and his consorts.
5. Asia ennobled him through his most immediate ancestors, Assaracus and those who had ruled over Phrygia, a region of Asia, as our poet records in these lines of the third book: “After it had seemed good to the gods to overturn the might of Asia and the race of Priam unmeriting their fate.”15 Europe ennobled him through Dardanus,16 most ancient of his ancestors, and Africa through Electra, his most ancient ancestress, daughter of King Atlas of great renown. Concerning both of these facts our poet renders testimony in the eighth book, where Aeneas speaks thus to Evander: “Dardanus, the first founder of the city and father of Ilium, descended as the Greeks deem from Atlantian Electra,17 came among the Teucrians. Electra was sprung from Atlas the mighty, who sustains the heavenly orbs upon his shoulders.”18
6. The bard sings in the third book of Dardanus taking his origin from Europe, saying, “There is a place the Greeks have named Hesperia, an ancient country powerful in arms and fertile in soil, where dwell the Oenotrians. Rumor has it that later generations called the country Italy from the name of their leader. Here is our fatherland; from hence came Dardanus.”19 That Atlas came from Africa, the mountain is witness which there bears his name. This mountain Orosius20 locates in Africa in his description of the world, where he says, “Now its uttermost bound is Mt. Atlas and the Islands which they call the Fortunate.” “Its” refers to Africa, of which he was speaking.
7. I find also that nobility accrued to Aeneas through marriage. His first wife Creusa, daughter of Priam, was from Asia, as may be gathered from the facts quoted above. And that she was his wife our poet implies in the third book, when Andromache thus questions Aeneas concerning his son Ascanius: “What of the boy Ascanius, he whom Creusa bore to thee while Troy was yet smoking? Lives he still? Breathes he the vital air?”21 His second wife was Dido, queen and mother of the Carthaginians in Africa, of whom as Aeneas’ wife the poet sings in the fourth book: “Nor longer Dido dreams of secret love; she calls it marriage, hiding her sin beneath a name.”22 His third wife was Lavinia, mother alike of Albanians and Romans, daughter and also heir of King Latinus, if the testimony of our Poet be true in the last book, where he introduces Turnus conquered, supplicating Aeneas with this prayer: “Thou hast triumphed; and the Ausonians have beheld me vanquished lifting up my hands. Lavinia shall be thy wife.”23 This last consort was of Italy, most excellent region of Europe.
8. With these facts pointed out in evidence of our minor premise, who is not sufficiently convinced that the father of the Roman race, and therefore the race itself, was the noblest under heaven? Or from whom will still be hidden divine predestination in the twofold meeting in one man of blood from every part of the world?
Because the Roman Empire was aided by miracles it was willed of God.
1. Furthermore, whatever is brought to its perfection by the help of miracles is willed of God, and therefore comes to pass by Right. The truth of this is patent from what Thomas1 says in his third book against the Heathen: “A miracle is that which is done through divine agency beyond the commonly instituted order of things.”2 Here he proves that the working of miracles is competent to God alone, and he is corroborated by the word of Moses, that when the magicians of Pharaoh artfully used natural principles to bring forth lice and failed, they cried, “This is the finger of God.”3 If a miracle, then, is the immediate operation of the First Agent without the coöperation of secondary agents,4 which Thomas himself proves clearly enough in the book just cited, then when portents are sent in favor of anything, it is wicked to deny that that thing comes to pass foreseen of God and well pleasing to Him. Hence piety accepts the contradictory, that the Roman Empire gained its perfection with the approval of miracles, that it was therefore willed of God, and consequently that it was and is by Right.
2. And it is established through the testimony of illustrious authors that God revealed His will in miracles in order that the Roman Empire might be brought to completion. For Livy states in the first part of his work that when Numa Pompilius, second king of the Romans, was sacrificing according to the religious rite of the Gentiles, a shield fell from heaven into the chosen city of God.5 Lucan recalls this miracle in the ninth book of the Pharsalia in describing the incredible violence which Libya suffers from the south wind, where he says, “It was thus, surely, that to Numa as he sacrificed dropped the shield which the chosen youth of the patricians bears upon his neck in solemn march; south wind or north wind had robbed the peoples wearing our shields.”6
3. And when the Gauls, having taken the rest of the city, trusted in the darkness of night to move stealthily to the Capitol, which alone stood between them and utter annihilation of the Roman name, Livy and many other distinguished chroniclers agree that the guards were awakened to defend the Capitol from the approach of the Gauls by the warning cry of a goose, unseen there previously.7 This was remembered by Virgil when he described the shield of Aeneas in the eighth book: “On the summit of the Tarpeian citadel, before the temple, Manlius stood guard and held the heights of the Capitol, while the newly builded palace of Romulus was rough with thatch. And here a silver goose flying through golden portals sang the presence of the Gauls on the very threshold.”8
4. Also Livy tells among the gests of the Punic Wars that, when the nobility of Rome, overwhelmed by Hannibal, had sunk to such depths that nothing remained for the final destruction of the Roman power but the sacking of the city by the Carthaginians, a sudden and intolerable storm of hail made it impossible for the victors to follow up their triumph.9
5. Was not the flight of Cloelia a miracle? A woman, and captive during the siege of Porsenna, by the wonderful aid of God she rent her fetters asunder and swam the Tiber, as almost all historians10 of Rome’s affairs remember to that city’s glory. Truly it behooved Him so to do, who through eternity foresees all things in the beauty of order.11 Invisible He wrought wonders in behalf of things seen, in order that when He should be made visible He might do likewise in behalf of things unseen.12
The Roman people in subduing the world had in view the good of the state and therefore the end of Right.
1. Whoever contemplates the good of the state contemplates the end of Right, as may be explained thus. Right1 is a real and personal relation of man to man, which maintained preserves society, and infringed upon destroys it.2 That account in the Digests3 does not teach what the essence of Right is; it simply describes Right in terms of practice. If our definition truly comprehends what Right is and wherefore, and if the end of all society is the common good of the individuals associated, then the end of all Right must be the common good, and no Right is possible which does not contemplate the common good. Tully justly notes in the first book of the Rhetoric that “The laws should always be interpreted for the good of the state.”4 For if the laws are not directed for the benefit of those under the laws, they are laws merely in name, they cannot be laws in reality. Law ought to bind men together for general advantage. Wherefore Seneca5 says truly in his book on the Four Virtues, “Law is the bond of human society.” So it is clear that whoever contemplates the good of the state contemplates the end of Right. If, therefore, the Romans had in view the good of the state, the assertion is true that they had in view the end of Right.
2. That in subduing the world the Roman people had in view the aforesaid good, their deeds declare. We behold them as a nation holy, pious, and full of glory, putting aside all avarice,6 which is ever adverse to the general welfare, cherishing universal peace and liberty, and disregarding private profit to guard the public weal of humanity. Rightly was it written, then, that “The Roman Empire takes its rise in the fountain of pity.”7
3. But inasmuch as external signs alone manifest to others the intention of all agents of free choice, and inasmuch as statements must be investigated according to the subject-matter, as we have said before, we shall have evidence enough on the present point if we bring forth indubitable proofs of the intention of the Roman people both in corporate assemblies and in individual persons.
4. Concerning corporate assemblies, in which individuals seem in a measure bound to the state, the solitary authority of Cicero in the second book of Moral Duties is sufficient. “So long,” he says, “as the dominion of the Republic was upheld by benefits, not by injuries, war was waged in behalf either of allies or dominion, for a conclusion either beneficent or necessary. The Senate was a harbor of refuge for kings, peoples, and nations. Our magistrates and generals strove for praise in defending with equity and fidelity the provinces and the allies; so this government might rather have been called a defense than a dominion of the whole world.”8 So wrote Cicero.
5. Of individual persons I shall speak briefly. Can we say they were not intent on the common weal who in sweat, in poverty, in exile, in deprivation of children, in loss of limbs, and even in the sacrifice of their lives, strove to augment the public good?
6. Did not the renowned Cincinnatus leave to us a sacred example, when he freely chose the time to lay aside that dignity which, as Livy says, took him from the plough to make him dictator?9 After his victory, after his triumph, he gave back to the consuls the imperial sceptre, and voluntarily returned to toil at the plough handle behind his oxen. Cicero, disputing with Epicurus in his volume of the Chief Good, remembered and lauded this excellent action, saying, “And thus our ancestors took great Cincinnatus from the plough that he might become dictator.”10
7. Did not Fabricius11 give us a lofty example of withstanding avarice, when, in the fidelity which held him to the Republic, though living in poverty he scorned with fitting words the great mass of proffered gold, repudiated, and refused it? Our poet has made the memory of this deed sure by singing in the sixth book of “Fabricius powerful in penury.”12
8. Was not the example of Camillus memorable, valuing as he did laws above individual profit? According to Livy, while condemned to exile he liberated his harassed fatherland, restored to Rome what the Romans had been despoiled of in war,13 and left the sacred city, though called back by the whole people; nor did he return thither until, by the authority of the senate, was sent to him his permit of repatriation.14 And the poet commends this large-souled man in the sixth book, where he calls him “Camillus, the restorer of our ensigns.”15
9. And did not Brutus first teach that the love of sons and of all others should be subordinated to the love of national liberty? When he was consul, Livy says, he delivered up to death his own sons for conspiring with the enemy.16 In the sixth book our Poet revives the glory of this hero: “In behalf of beauteous liberty shall the father doom to death his own sons instigating new wars.”17
10. Has not Mucius persuaded us that all things should be ventured for one’s country? He surprised the incautious Porsenna, but at the last his own hand, which had failed of its task, he watched as it burned, with a countenance one might wear who gazed upon an enemy in torture. To this Livy also bears testimony, marveling.18
11. Now we name those most sacred martyrs of the Decii, who dedicated their lives an offering for the public good, as Livy recounts, extolling them to the extent not of their worth but of his power.19 And next that ineffable sacrifice of Marcus Cato, the most austere defender of true liberty.20 Because of their country’s safety the darkness of death had no terror for the former two. The latter proved what liberty meant to him, when, in order that the love of freedom might blaze up in the world, he chose rather to depart from this life a free man than without freedom to abide therein. The lustre of all these names shines renewed in the words of Cicero in his writings of the chief Good. Here Tully says of the Decii: “When Publius Decius, chief of his house, a consul, devoted himself to liberty and charged at full speed into the Roman ranks, thought he at all of his own pleasure, when he should take it, and where? Or when, knowing he must die forthwith, he sought his death more ardently than Epicurus believed men should seek pleasure? Had his action not been justly lauded, his son would not in his fourth consulship have followed his example; nor afterwards his son’s son waging war against Pyrrhus21 have fallen in that battle, a consul, offering himself to the Republic the third sacrifice in uninterrupted succession.”22 And in the Moral Duties he said of Cato: “The cause of Marcus Cato was one with those who in Africa surrendered themselves to Caesar; and perchance with them it had been judged a crime had they taken their own lives, seeing that life was a lighter thing to them, and rules of conduct easier. But Cato, who had been endowed by nature with incredible seriousness, who strengthened this with unremitting constancy, and who persevered to the end in any resolution made or purpose undertaken, such a one must rather meet death than look upon the face of a tyrant.”23
He who purposes Right proceeds according to Right.
1. We have then demonstrated two things: one, that whoever purposes the good of the commonwealth purposes the end of Right; the other, that the Roman people in subduing the world purposed the public good. We may now further our argument in this wise: Whoever has in view the end of Right proceeds according to Right; the Roman people in subjecting the world to itself had in view the end of Right, as we plainly proved in the chapter above;1 therefore the Roman people in subjecting the world to itself acted with Right, and consequently appropriated with Right the dignity of Empire.
2. That this conclusion may be reached by all manifest premises, it must be reached by the one that affirms that whoever purposes the end of Right proceeds according to Right. For clearness in this matter, notice that everything exists because of some end, otherwise it would be useless, which we have said before is not possible.2 And just as every object exists for its proper end, so every end has its proper object whereof it is the end. Hence it cannot be that any two objects, in as far as they are two, each expressing its individuality, should have in view the same end, for the same untenable conclusion would follow that one or the other exists in vain. Since, as we have proved, there is a certain end of Right, to postulate that end is to postulate the Right, seeing it is the proper and intrinsic effect of Right. And since, as is clear by construction and destruction,3 in any sequence an antecedent is impossible without its consequent (as “man” without “animal”), so it is impossible to attain a good condition of one’s members without health; and so it is impossible to seek the end of Right without Right as a means, for each thing has toward its end the relation of consequent to antecedent. Wherefore it is very obvious that he who has in view the end of Right must proceed by the right means. Nor is that objection valid which is generally drawn from the Philosopher’s words concerning “good counsel.” He says indeed, “There is a kind of false syllogism in which a true conclusion may be drawn by means of a false middle.”4 Now if a true conclusion is sometimes reached through false premises, it is by accident, because the true conclusion is conveyed in the words of the inference. Of itself the true never follows from the false, though symbols of truth may follow from symbols of falsehood.5 And so it is in actions. Should a thief aid a poor man with stolen goods, he yet could not be said to be giving alms; rather is his action one which would have the form6 of alms had it been performed with the man’s own substance. Likewise with the end of Right. For if anything calling itself the end of Right be reached other than by means of Right, it would be the end of Right, that is, the common good, only as the offering made from ill-gotten gains is an alms. Since in this proposition we are considering the existent, not the apparent ends of Right, the objection is invalid. The point we are seeking is therefore established.
The Roman people were ordained for Empire by nature.
1. What nature has ordained comes to pass by Right, for nature in her providence is not inferior to man in his; if she were, the effect would exceed the cause in goodness,1 which cannot be. Now we know that in instituting corporate assemblies, not only is the relation of members among themselves taken into account, but also their capacities for exercising office. This is a consideration of the limit of Right in a public body or order, seeing that Right does not extend beyond the possible. Nature, then, in her ordinances does not fail of this provision, but clearly ordains things with reference to their capacities, and this reference is the foundation of Right on which things are based by nature.2 From this it follows that natural order in things cannot come to pass without Right, since the foundation of Right is inseparably bound to the foundation of order.3 The preservation of this order is therefore necessarily Right.
2. The Roman people were by nature ordained for Empire, as may be proved in this wise.4 Just as he would fail of perfection in his art who, intent upon the form alone, had no care for the means by which to attain to form; so would nature if, intent upon the single universal form of the Divine similitude,5 she were to neglect the means thereto. But nature, being the work of the Divine Intelligence, lacks no element of perfection; therefore she has in view all media to the ultimate realization of her intent.6
3. As the human race, then, has an end, and this end is a means necessary to the universal end of nature, it follows that nature must have the means in view. Wherefore the Philosopher well demonstrates in the second book of Natural Learning that the action of nature is governed by its end.7 And as nature cannot attain through one man an end necessitating a multiplicity of actions and a multitude of men in action, nature must produce many men ordained for diverse activities.8 To this, beside the higher influence,9 the virtues and properties of the lower sphere contribute much. Hence we find individual men and whole nations born apt for government, and others for subjection and service, according to the statement of the Philosopher in his writings concerning Politics; as he says, it is not only expedient that the latter should be governed, but it is just, although they be coerced thereto.10
4. If these things are true, there is no doubt but that nature set apart in the world a place and a people for universal sovereignty;11 otherwise she would be deficient in herself, which is impossible.12 What was this place, and who this people, moreover, is sufficiently obvious in what has been said above, and in what shall be added further on. They were Rome and her citizens or people. On this subject our Poet has touched very subtly in his sixth book, where he brings forward Anchises prophesying in these words to Aeneas, father of the Romans: “Verily, that others shall beat out the breathing bronze more finely, I grant you; they shall carve the living feature in the marble, plead causes with more eloquence, and trace the movements of the heavens with a rod, and name the rising stars: thine, O Roman, be the care to rule the peoples with authority; be thy arts these, to teach men the way of peace, to show mercy to the subject, and to overcome the proud.”13 And the disposition of place he touches upon lightly in the fourth book, when he introduces Jupiter speaking of Aeneas to Mercury in this fashion: “Not such a one did his most beautiful mother promise to us, nor for this twice rescue him from Grecian arms; rather was he to be the man to govern Italy teeming with empire and tumultuous with war.”14 Proof enough has been given that the Romans were by nature ordained for sovereignty. Therefore the Roman people, in subjecting to itself the world, attained the Empire by Right.
The decree of God showed that Empire belonged to the Roman people.
1. For hunting down adequately the truth of our inquiry, it is essential to know that Divine judgment in human affairs is sometimes manifest to men, and sometimes hidden. And it may be manifested in two ways, namely, by reason and by faith.1 To certain of the judgments of God human reason can climb on its own feet, as to this one, that a man should endanger himself for his country’s safety. For if a part should endanger itself for the safety of the whole, man, being a part of the state according to the Philosopher in his Politics, ought to endanger himself for the sake of his fatherland, as a less good for a better.2 Hence the Philosopher to Nicomachus: “To act in behalf of one alone is admirable; but it is better and more nearly divine to act in behalf of nation and state.”3 And this is the judgment of God; in any other case human reason in its rectitude would not follow the intention of nature, which is impossible.
2. But to certain of the judgments of God, to which human reason cannot climb on its own feet, it may be lifted by the aid of faith in those things which are related to us in the Holy Scriptures. Such is this one, that no man without faith can be saved, though he had never heard of Christ, and yet was perfect in moral and intellectual virtues, both in thought and act.4 While human reason by itself cannot recognize this as just, aided by faith it can do so. It is written to the Hebrews: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”5 And in Leviticus: “What man soever there be of the house of Israel that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat in the camp, or out of the camp, and bringeth it not to the door of the tabernacle, an offering unto the Lord, blood shall be imputed to that man.”6 The door of the tabernacle is a figure for Christ, who is the entrance-way to the eternal mansions,7 as can be learned from the Gospel; the slaying of animals is a figure for human deeds.8
3. Now that judgment of God is hidden to which human reason cannot attain either by laws of nature or scripture, but to which it may sometimes attain by special grace. This grace is gained in various ways, at times by simple revelation, at times by revelation through the medium of judicial award. Simple revelation comes to pass in two ways, either as the spontaneous act of God, or as an answer to prayer. The spontaneous act of God may be expressed directly or by a sign. It was expressed directly, for instance, in the judgment against Saul revealed to Samuel;9 it was expressed by signs in the revelation to Pharaoh of God’s will concerning the liberation of the children of Israel.10 It came as an answer to prayer, as he knew who said in Second Chronicles: “When we know not what we ought to do, this alone we have left, to raise our eyes to thee.”11
4. Revelation through the medium of judicial award may be first by lot, and secondly by contest (certamen). Indeed, “to contend” (certare) is derived from “to make certain” (certum facere). That the judgment of God is revealed sometimes by lot is obvious from the substitution of Matthias in the Acts of the Apostles.12
5. And the judgment of God is made known by contests of two sorts—either the trial of strength between champions in duels,13 or the struggle of many to come first to a mark, as in contests run by athletes for a prize. The first of these modes was represented among the Gentiles in the strife of Hercules and Antaeus, which Lucan recalls in the fourth book of the Pharsalia,14 and Ovid in the ninth of the Metamorphoses.15 The second was represented among them by Atalanta and Hippomenes, in the tenth book of the Metamorphoses.16
6. Likewise, the fact must not be disregarded that in the former of these two sorts of contests the combatants—for instance, champions in a duel—may impede each other without injustice, but in the latter they may not. Indeed, athletes must put no impediment in one another’s way, although our poet seems to think otherwise in his fifth book, when he causes Euryalus to be rewarded.17 Tully, following the opinion of Chrysippus, does better to forbid this in the third book of Moral Duties, where he says: “Chrysippus, wise in this as in most matters, declares that ‘Whoever runs a race should endeavor with most strenuous effort to come off victor, but in no way should he trip up the one with whom he contends.’ ”18
7. From the distinction drawn in this chapter we may grant two effective modes by which the hidden decree of God is revealed: one, a contest of athletes; the other, a contest of champions. Both of these modes I will discuss in the chapter immediately following.
The Romans were victorious over all contestants for Empire.
1. That people, then, which was victorious over all the contestants for Empire gained its victory by the decree of God. For as it is of deeper concern to God to adjust a universal contention than a particular one, and as even in particular contentions the decree of God is sought by the contestants, according to the familiar proverb, “To him whom God grants aught, let Peter give his blessing,”1 therefore undoubtedly among the contestants for the Empire of the world, victory ensued from a decree of God. That among the rivals for world-Empire the Roman people came off victor will be clear if we consider the contestants and the prize or goal toward which they strove. This prize or goal was sovereign power over all mortals, or what we mean by Empire.2 This was attained by none save by the Roman people, not only the first but the sole contestant to reach the goal contended for, as will be at once explained.
2. The first man to pant after the prize was Ninus, king of the Assyrians, who, as Orosius records,3 together with his consort Semiramis, through more than ninety years gave battle for world-supremacy, and subdued all Asia to himself; nevertheless, the western portion of the earth never became subject to him or his queen. Both of these Ovid commemorates in his fourth book in the story of Pyramus: “Semiramis4 girded the city with walls of burnt brick;” and below: “They are to meet at the tomb of Ninus, and hide beneath its shadow.”5
3. Vesoges, king of Egypt, was the second to strain after this prize, but though he harassed the South and North of Asia, as Orosius narrates, he never achieved the first part of the world.6 Nay, between umpires7 and goal, as it were, he was turned back from his rash undertaking by the Scythians.8
4. Next Cyrus, king of the Persians, undertook the same thing, but after destroying Babylon and transferring Babylonian sovereignty to the Persians, before he had tested his strength in western regions, he laid down his life and ambition at once before Tomyris, queen of the Scythians.
5. Then after these Xerxes,9 son of Darius and king among the Persians, invaded the world with so vast and mighty a multitude of nations that he spanned with a bridge between Sestos and Abydos that passage of the sea separating Asia from Europe. This astonishing work Lucan extols thus in the second book of the Pharsalia: “Such roads, fame signs, did haughty Xerxes build across the seas.” But at last miserably repulsed from his enterprise, he failed to reach his goal.10
6. Beside these and in later times, Alexander,11 the Macedonian king, came nearest of all to the palm of Monarchy, through ambassadors forewarning the Romans to surrender. But, as Livy recounts, before their answer came, he fell as in the midst of a course in Egypt.12 Of his tomb there Lucan renders testimony in the eighth book, in an invective against Ptolemy, king of Egypt: “Thou last offspring of the Lagaean line, swiftly to perish in thy degeneracy and yield the sceptre to thy incestuous sister, while for thee the Macedonian is guarded in the sacred cave.”13
7. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God,”14 who will not pause in amazement before thee? For thou, when Alexander strove to entangle the feet of his Roman rival in the course, didst snatch him from the contest, lest his rashness wax more great.
8. But that Rome gained the palm of so magnificent a prize is confirmed by many witnessings. Our Poet says in his first book: “Verily, with the passing of the years shall one day come from hence the Romans, rulers sprung of the blood of Teucer called again to life, who shall hold the sea and land in undivided sovereignty.”15 And Lucan in his first book: “The kingdom is apportioned by the sword, and the fortune of the mighty nation that is master over sea, over land, and over all the globe, suffers not two in command.”16 And Boethius in his second book speaks thus of the Prince of the Romans: “Nay, he was ruler of the peoples whom the sun looks on from the time he rises in the east until he hides his rays beneath the waves, and those whom the chilling northern wain o’errules, and those whom the southern gale burns with its dry blasts, as it beats the burning sands.”17 And Luke, the scribe of Christ, who speaketh all things true, offers the same testimony in the part of his writtings which says, “There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.”18 From these words we can clearly see that the jurisdiction of the Romans embraced the whole world.
9. It is proved by all these facts that the Romans were victorious among the contestants for world-Empire; therefore they were victorious by divine decree; and consequently they gained the Empire by divine decree, that is, they gained it with Right.
That which is acquired by single combat is acquired with Right.
1. Whatever is acquired by single combat is acquired with Right. For when human judgment fails, either because it is wrapped in the darkness of ignorance or because it has not the aid of a judge, then, lest judgment should remain forsaken, recourse must be had to Him who so loved her that, by the shedding of His own blood, He met her full demands in death. Hence the Psalm: “The righteous Lord loveth righteousness.”1 This end is accomplished when, with the free consent of the participants, in love and not in hatred of justice, the judgment of God is sought through a mutual trial of bodily and spiritual strength. Because it was first used in single combat of man to man, this trial of strength we call the duel.
2. But always in quarrels threatening to become matters of war, every effort should be made to settle the dispute through conference, and only as a last resort through battle. Tully and Vegetius both advance this opinion, the former in Moral Duties,2 and the latter in his book on The Art of War.3 And as in medical treatment everything is tried before final recourse is had to the knife or fire, so when we have exhausted all other ways of obtaining judgment in a dispute, we may finally turn to this remedy by single combat, compelled thereto by the necessity of justice.
3. There are obviously two fixed rules of single combat, one of which we have just now spoken, and another of which we made mention above, that not in hatred, nor in love, but in pure zeal for justice, the contestants or champions should enter the field by common consent. Touching this matter Tully well said: “Wars engaged in for the crown of Empire should be waged without bitterness.”4
4. Provided that in single combat these rules are observed without which single combat ceases to be, and that men necessitated by justice and in zeal for justice meet by common consent, are they not met in the name of God? And if they are met in the name of God, is not God in the midst of them, as He Himself promises in the Gospel?5 And if God is present, is it not a sin to imagine that Justice6 can fail—Justice, which we have shown He so greatly loved? And if Justice cannot fail in single combat, is not that which is acquired by single combat acquired by Right?
5. Even before the trumpet-call of the Gospel, the Gentiles recognized this truth, and sought judgment in the fortune of single combat. Pyrrhus, noble in the virtues as well as in the blood of the Aeacidae, answered nobly the legates of the Romans sent to him for redeeming their captives: “I demand no gold, nor shall you render me a price; we are not barterers in war, but fighters; with steel, not with gold, let each decide the issue of life. Whether Hera wills that you or I shall reign, or whatever fate may bring, let us determine by prowess. And at the same time know this: to those whose valor the fortunes of war has preserved, it is my will to grant liberty. Receive them as a gift.”7 So Pyrrhus spoke, referring by “Hera” to fortune, that agency which we more wisely and rightly name Divine Providence. Let combatants, then, forbear to settle disputes for a price, for that would not be a single combat, but a game of blood and injustice; nor would God then be present as arbiter, but rather that ancient enemy who had been persuader to the quarrel. And let those who desire to be champions, and not hucksters of blood and injustice, have ever before their eyes in entering the field that Pyrrhus who in fighting for Empire, as we have said, held gold in such contempt.
6. If to contradict the truth thus manifested, the usual objection be raised concerning the inequality of men’s strength, it may be refuted by the instance of David’s victory over Goliath.8 And if the Gentiles seek another instance, they may refute it by the victory of Hercules over Antaeus.9 It is the height of folly, indeed, to fear that the strength which God confers may be weaker than that of a human antagonist.
7. By this time it is demonstrated clearly enough that whatever is acquired by single combat is acquired with Right and Justice.
The single combats of the Roman people.
1. That the Roman people acquired Empire by single combat is confirmed by witnesses worthy of belief. In citing witnesses, not only shall we prove this, but we shall show that, from the founding of the Roman Empire, the decision of all questions whatsoever was reached through contests of man to man.
2. At the very outset, when contention arose in regard to the colonization of Italy by father Aeneas, who was first parent of the Roman people, and Turnus, king of the Rutilians, stood out against him; finally, as is sung in the last book of the Aeneid, both kings agreed to seek the good pleasure of God in a combat singly between themselves.1 The closing verses of our Poet testify how great was the clemency of Aeneas, victor in the contest, and how as vanquisher he would have bestowed life and peace at one time on the vanquished, had he not espied on Turnus the belt stripped by him from Pallas slain.2
3. And when two peoples, the Romans and Albanians, had grown up in Italy from the same Trojan root, and when they had long striven for the ensign of the eagle, the household gods of the Trojans, and the honor of supreme command, at length with mutual consent they determined the question by a combat between the three Horatian and the three Curiatian brethren, in the view of the kings and people waiting anxiously on either side. The three champions of the Albanians and two of the Romans fell, and the victory went to the Romans, in the reign of Hostilius. And to this, which Livy narrates in detail in his first book,3 Orosius also bears witness.4
4. Livy tells that they then strove for Empire with their neighbors, Sabines and Samnites, observing every rule of war, and preserving the characteristics of contests man to man, although the contestants were a multitude. During the struggle carried on in this wise with the Samnites, Fortune seemed, as it were, almost to repent of her undertaking. And this Lucan uses as an example in his second book, saying: “Or how many heaps of slain choked up the Colline Gate, what time the headship of the world and authority in earthly things were well-nigh transferred to other realms, and the Samnites overtopped the Caudine Forks with Roman dead.”5
5. After these troubles with Italy were quieted, but the decree of God was not yet certain in regard to the Greeks and the Phoenicians aspiring to Empire, Fabricius for the Romans and Pyrrhus for the Greeks contended with a multitude of soldiery for the glory of sovereignty, and Rome was triumphant. Then Scipio6 for the Italians and Hannibal for the Africans did battle in the form of single combat, and Africa succumbed to Italy, as Livy and other writers of Roman affairs endeavor to show.
6. Who is then so dull of wit he fails to see that this splendid people gained the crown of a world-wide realm by right of single combat? Verily, a Roman might say with the Apostle addressing Timothy, “There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness”7 —that is to say, laid up in the eternal providence of God. Now let presumptuous jurists behold how far they stand beneath that watch-tower of reason whence the human mind looks out upon these principles, and let them be silent, content to give counsel and judgment according to the import of the law.
7. And now the main proposition of the present book is proved, that the Roman people attained imperial power through single combat, and that therefore they attained it by Right.
8. Thus far the argument has progressed through reason based chiefly on rational principles, but from now on it shall be re-demonstrated through the principles of Christian faith.8
Christ in being born proved that the authority of the Roman Empire was just.
1. And especially those who call themselves zealots for the Christian faith1 have “raged” and “imagined vain things” against Roman dominion; they have no pity for the poor of Christ,2 but defraud them in the church revenues, even stealing their patrimony daily, and render the Church destitute;3 pretending to Justice, they yet permit no executor of Justice to do his duty.
2. Nor is this impoverishment accomplished without the judgment of God, for the church revenues are neither given to relieve the poor whose patrimony they are, nor are held with gratitude to the Empire which bestowed them. Let them return whence they came. They came justly, they return unjustly, for though they were rightly given, they are wrongfully held.4 What should be said of such shepherds? What, if with the depletion of the Church’s substance the estates of relatives wax great?5 Belike it were better to follow out the argument and await our Saviour’s aid in pious silence.
3. I affirm, therefore, that if the Roman Empire did not come to be with Right, Christ in His birth authorized an injustice. This consequent is false; therefore the contradictory of the antecedent is true, since contradictory propositions are of such a nature that the falseness of a statement argues for the truth of its opposite.6
4. The falsity of this consequent need not be proved to those of the faith; for he who is of the faith will concede its falsity; if he does not do so, he is not of the faith; and if he is not of the faith, this argument concerns him not.
5. I demonstrate the consequent7 thus: Whoever of his own free will fulfills an edict urges its justice by so doing; and since deeds are more persuasive than words, as the Philosopher states in his last book to Nicomachus, he is more convincing than if his approbation were verbal.8 Now Christ willed to be born of a Virgin Mother under an edict of Roman authority, according to the testimony of Luke,9 his scribe, in order that the Son of Man, made man, might be numbered as a man in that unique census. This fulfilled the edict. It were perhaps more reverent to believe that the Divine Will caused the edict to go forth through Caesar, in order that God might number Himself among the society of mortals who had so many ages awaited His coming.10
6. So Christ in His action established as just the edict of Augustus, exerciser of Roman authority. Since to decree justly presupposes jurisdictional power, whoever confirms the justice of an edict confirms also the jurisdictional power whence it issued. Did this power not exist by Right, it would be unjust.
7. And observe that the argument employed to disprove the consequent, though it holds to a certain degree, nevertheless, if reduced,11 shows its force in the second figure,12 just as the argument based on the assumption of the antecedent shows its force in the first figure. The reduction is made as follows: Every unjust thing is established unjustly; Christ established nothing unjustly; therefore Christ established no unjust thing. And thus by the assumption of the antecedent: Every unjust thing is established unjustly; Christ established an unjust thing; therefore Christ established things unjustly.
Christ in dying confirmed the jurisdiction of the Roman Empire over all humanity.
1. And if the Roman Empire did not exist by Right, the sin of Adam was not punished in Christ. This, however, is false; so the contradictory from which it follows is true. The falsity of the consequent is apparent in this. By the sin of Adam we are all sinners, according to the Apostle: “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”1 If satisfaction had not been given for this sin through the death of Christ, we, owing to our depraved nature, should still be children of wrath. But this is not so, for the Apostle speaks in Ephesians of the Father “having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved, in whom we have redemption by His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace, wherein He has abounded toward us.”2 And Christ Himself, suffering in Himself the punishment, says in John, “It is finished.”3 And when a thing is finished, nothing remains to be done.
2. For greater clearness, let it be understood that punishment is not simply penalty visited upon the doer of wrong, but penalty visited upon the doer of wrong by one having penal jurisdiction. Wherefore unless punishment is inflicted by a lawful judge, it is no punishment; rather must it be called a wrong. Hence the man of the Hebrews said to Moses, “Who made thee a judge over us?”4
3. If therefore Christ did not suffer under a lawful judge,5 his penalty was not punishment. Lawful judge meant in that case one having jurisdiction over the entire human race, since all humanity was punished in the flesh of Christ, who, as the Prophet says, “hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”6 And Tiberius Caesar, whose vicar was Pilate, would not have possessed jurisdiction over the entire human race had not the Roman Empire existed by Right. Herod, albeit as ignorant of what he did as Caiaphas7 of what truth he spake concerning the heavenly decree, for this reason sent Christ to be judged by Pilate, as Luke8 writes in his Gospel. For Herod was not an official of Tiberius under the ensign of the eagle or the Senate, but a king appointed by him to a particular kingdom, and governing it under the ensign of the kingdom committed to him.9
4. Wherefore let those who pretend they are sons of the Church cease to defame the Roman Empire, to which Christ the Bridegroom gave His sanction both at the beginning and at the close of His warfare. And now, I believe, it is sufficiently obvious that the Roman people appropriated the Empire of the world by Right.
5. O people, how blessed hadst thou been, O Ausonia how glorious, had he who enfeebled thy sovereignty never been born, or never been deceived by the piety of his purpose!10
[1. ]Ps. 2. 1-3. Cf. Acts 4. 25-27. The same language of the Psalm is used in Letter 6. 2: “To the infamous Florentines within the city.”
[2. ]Conv. 4. 25. 4: “The sight of great and wonderful things . . . make those that perceive them desire to know them.”
Purg. 28. 90: “I will tell how by its cause proceeds that which makes thee wonder; and I will purge away the cloud which smites.”
Par. 1. 83: “The strangeness of the sound and the great light kindled in me a desire for their cause never before felt with such keenness.”
[3. ]Conv. 4. 4. 3: “Some may demur, saying . . . the Roman power was not acquired by reason, nor by decree of a universal convention, but by force.”
Conv. 4. 4. 5: “Force was not the active cause; . . . not force but law, and that Divine, was the beginning of the Roman Empire.”
[4. ] Reading “in hoc vitio” (in the error) and “unico suo” (His one) with Moore and Witte, rather than “in hos unico” and “uncto suo” with Giuliani. See Toynbee, Dante Studies, p. 302, for his interesting support of Giuliani’s reading and its bearing on the date of the De Mon. If, as he believes, “uncto” definitely refers to Henry VII as the Lord’s “anointed,” there would be strong reason for dating the treatise at a time shortly after Henry’s coming to Italy.
The whole of par. 2 is interesting for the information it contains concerning the change of political opinion that came upon Dante at some time in his life and made him one of the most enthusiastic and idealistic of Ghibellines, so idealistic indeed that in Purg. 27. 69 Cacciaguida rightly prophesies of the poet, “It shall be honorable to thee to have made thee a party by thyself.”
[5. ] This figure is found again Conv. 2. 14. 3: “Labor of study and strife of doubt . . . are dissipated almost like little morning clouds before the face of the sun.”
[6. ]Par. 25. 2: “The sacred poem to which both heaven and earth have set a hand.”
[7. ]De Mon. 1. 1. 2.
[1. ]De Mon. 1. 2. 2; 3. 2. 1.
[2. ]Gen. Anim. 5. 8. Conv. 3. 6. 2: “Motive Powers . . . cause . . . all general forms.”
[3. ]Letter 5. 8: “From the motion of the heavens we should know the Motor and His will.”
Par. 2. 131: “The heaven which so many lights make fair, from the deep mind of Him who revolves it takes the image.” L. c. 30. 107; 33. 145: “The Love which moves the sun and all the stars.”
Cf. De Mon. all of chapter 1. 8, and note 1.
[4. ] “In fluitantem materiam.”
Par. 29. 22: “Form and matter in conjunction and in purity came forth to an existence which had no erring, as from a three-stringed bow three arrows.” Cf. De Mon. 1. 3. 2, and note 10.
S. T. 1. 46. 2: “The angels are pure form; form conjoined with matter appears in the visible creation; pure matter is not perceivable by the senses, but must be held to exist, and to have been created.” Also S. T. 1. 105. 4.
[5. ]Inf. 11. 97: “Philosophy . . . notes . . . how nature takes her course from the understanding of God, and from His workmanship.”
[6. ]Conv. 3. 6. 2: “And if this perfect form, copied and individualized, be not perfect, it is from no defect in the example, but in the matter of which the individual is made.”
Par. 1. 127: “Form many times accords not with the intention of the art, because the matter is deaf to respond.”
Par. 13. 67: “The wax of these and that which moulds it stands not in one manner, and therefore under the seal of the Idea more and less thereafter shines through.”
[7. ] “Praeter intentionem Dei naturantis et caeli.”
[8. ] For the mediaeval account of creation and the part of the heavens therein see S. T. 1. 66. 1-3; 1. 110. 2; 1. 115. 3-6. Cf. Bacon, Nov. Org. 1. 66.
Conv. 4. 9. 1: “Universal Nature . . . has jurisdiction as far as the whole world extends.”
James 1. 17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.”
[9. ]John 1. 3, 4: “Omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est. In ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum.” Moore says that Augustine twice quotes from these verses as Dante does here; “Quod factum est, in ipso vita erat.”
[10. ]Par. 32. 61: “The King through whom this realm rests in so great love and in so great delight that no will dares aught beyond, creating all the minds in the joy of His countenance, as His own pleasure endows with grace diversely.”
Par. 19. 86: “The primary Will, which is of itself good, never has moved from itself, that is the highest Good.”
[11. ]Eth. 1. 7. 18. Used again in Conv. 4. 13. 3: “And in the first of the Ethics he says that ‘the educated man demands certainty of knowledge about things, in so far as their nature admits of certainty.’ ”
[12. ]Rom. 1. 20: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.”
Conv. 3. 12. 3: “It is convenient to treat of things not perceptible by the senses by means of things perceptible.” See also Conv. 4. 10. 3; 4. 16. 7; 4. 22. 6: “The intellect . . . cannot have its perfect use (which is to behold God, who is Supreme Intelligence) except in so far as the Intellect considers Him, and beholds Him in His effects.” L. c. 3. 8. 8: “All things which so overcome our intellect that we cannot see what they are, it is most fitting to treat by their effects.”
Letter 5. 8: “Through those things which have been created by God the human creature sees the invisible things with the eyes of the intellect; and if from things better known those less known are evident to us, in like manner it concerns human apprehension that from the motion of the heavens we should know the Motor and His will.”
[13. ] The following are the more important of the many examples of Dante’s use of the figure regarding the wax and seal. Conv. 1. 8. 7: “Utility stamps upon the memory the image of the gift, which is the nutriment of friendship, and the better the gift the stronger this impression is.”
Conv. 2. 10. 5: “If wax had the sentiment of fear, it would be more afraid to come under the rays of the sun than stone would; because its nature makes it susceptible of a more powerful impression therefrom.”
Inf. 11. 49: “The smallest circle stamps with its seal Sodom and Cahors.”
Purg. 10. 45: “And she upon her action this speech imprinted—Ecce ancilla Dei! as aptly as a figure is made on wax by a seal.”
Purg. 18. 39: “Not every seal is good, even though good be the wax.”
Purg. 25. 95: “Here the neighboring air puts itself in that form which the soul that has remained by its virtue stamps upon it.”
Purg. 33. 79: “As wax by a seal, which changes not the figure impressed, so is my brain now stamped by you.”
Par. 1. 41: The sun “to its own fashion moulds and seals the wax of the world.”
Par. 2. 130: “And the heaven which so many lights make fair, from the mind of Him who revolves it takes the image, and makes thereof a seal.”
Par. 7. 69: “That which from It immediately distils has no end thereafter, because when It seals, Its impress is unmoved.”
Par. 8. 128: “The nature of the spheres . . . is seal to the mortal wax.”
Par. 13. 67 ff. See note 6 of this chapter.
[14. ]Conv. 4. 5. 1: “It is no wonder if Divine Providence, which transcends all human and angelic perception, often proceeds in a way mysterious to us; since it often happens that human actions have for men themselves a hidden meaning.”
[1. ]Conv. 4. 4. 4: “And because a nature more gentle in governing, more powerful in maintaining, and more subtle in acquiring, than that of the Latin people there never was and never will be, . . . therefore God elected them for this office.” The nobility of Rome has special consideration Conv. 4. 5; Par. 6. 19, 20.
[2. ] “Adsumpta,” the major premise. In paragraphs 2 and 8 the word “subadsumpta” is used for minor premise.
[3. ]Eth. 4. 3. 15.
[4. ]Pol. 4. 8. 9. So we find in Conv. 4, Canz. 3. 2: “This very false opinion among men, that one is wont to call him noble who can say, ‘I was the son or grandson of a truly noble man,’ though he himself were worthless.” In Conv. 4. 7 hereditary nobility is proved to be a thing impossible.
[5. ] Juvenal, Sat. 8. 20. Cf. Conv. 4. 29. 4, where the satire is discussed at some length. Dante speaks again of Juvenal in Purg. 22. 13. His relation to Dante is considered by Moore, Vol. 1, in Studies, pp. 255-258.
[6. ] All of Book 4 in the Convito is given up to an exposition of the nature of nobility, according to the definition of Juvenal rather than that of Aristotle.
Canz. 3. 6: “Nobility exists where Virtue dwells, not Virtue where she is.” Conv. 4. 18. 1: “All the virtues . . . proceed from nobility as an effect from its cause.”
Par. 16. 1: “O small nobility of blood that is ours.”
[7. ]Matt. 7. 2.
[8. ] “Divinus poeta nostra,” or “poeta nostra,” as Virgil is called throughout the De Mon., is but one of the numberless evidences of the affection and reverence Dante felt for the Latin poet. Most beautiful is the well-known tribute in Inf. 1. 79:
For Virgil’s place and influence in the Middle Ages see Comparetti, Virgil in the Middle Ages; Sellar, Virgil; and Moore, Studies, Vol. 1. pp. 166-197.
[9. ] Livy 1. 1. As will be seen later in the De Mon., Dante uses Livy freely as an historical authority. Moore writes of Dante’s relation to the Roman historian in Studies, Vol. 1. pp. 273-278.
[10. ]Aen. 1. 342: “Sed summa sequar vestigia rerum.” All modern editions have “fastigia” for “vestigia.”
[11. ]Aen. 1. 544.
[12. ]Aen. 6. 170. For the death of Misenus see Conv. 4. 26. 6.
[13. ] Homer, Il. 24. 259, quoted Eth. 7. 1. 1. Three different times Dante uses these Homeric lines: in the Vita Nuova, § 2; in Conv. 4. 20. 2: “There are men most noble and divine . . . Aristotle proves in the seventh of the Ethics by the text of Homer the poet;” and in the passage of the De Mon. here being considered.
In regard to Dante’s knowledge of Homer see Moore, Studies, Vol. 1. pp. 164-166; Toynbee, Studies, pp. 204-215.
[14. ] In Inf. 11. 79-83 Virgil asks, “Hast thou no memory of those words with which the Ethics handle the three dispositions which Heaven brooks not,—incontinence, malice, and mad beastliness?”
[15. ]Aen. 3. 1.
[16. ] Dardanus was son of Jupiter and Electra of Arcadia, founder of the city Dardania in Troas, and ancestor of the royal line of Troy. Cf. Conv. 4. 14. 9.
[17. ] “Electra, ut Graii perhibent, Atlantide cretus.” Dante inserted an “et” before “Atlantide,” thereby blurring the sense. Moore was the first editor to correct the error. See Toynbee, Studies, p. 280.
Inf. 4. 121: “I saw Electra with many companions, among whom I was aware of Hector and Aeneas; . . . and I saw King Latinus, who was sitting with Lavinia his daughter.”
[18. ]Aen. 8. 134-137.
[19. ]Aen. 3. 163-167.
[20. ] The fourth-century historian, Paulus Orosius, wrote the Historiae Adversum Paganos, one of the chief historical and geographical authorities of the mediaeval centuries, and the source of many of Dante’s statements regarding these two subjects. See Toynbee, Studies, pp. 121-136, and Moore, Studies, Vol. 1. pp. 279-282. The reference here is to Hist. 1. 2. 11.
[21. ]Aen. 3. 339-340. From the latter line, “quem tibi iam Troja peperit fumante Creusa,” modern editors omit the last three words as spurious.
[22. ]Aen. 4. 171-172.
[23. ]Aen. 12. 936-937. In Par. 6. 3 Aeneas is called “the ancient who carried off Lavinia.”
[1. ] Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 ad), the greatest of Dominicans, the pupil of Albertus Magnus, the friend of St. Bonaventura, and the author of the Summa Theologica, Contra Gentiles, and many other works. Moore points out the extent of Dante’s debt to him in Studies, Vol. 1. pp. 311-318. The treatise Contra Gentiles here quoted was written to prove that Christian theology is the “sum and crown of all science.”
[2. ]Conv. 3. 7. 8: “The very foundation of our faith is in the miracles done by Him who was crucified, who created our reason and willed it to be less than His power.” L. c. 3. 14. 5: “Every miracle may be reasonable to a higher intellect.”
[3. ]Exod. 8. 19.
[4. ]Letter 5. 8: “If there is time to survey the affairs of the worlds even to the triumph of Octavian, we shall see that some of them have completely transcended the heights of human valor, and that God has worked somewhat through men, just as through the medium of the new heavens.”
[5. ] Liv. 1. 20. 4; 5. 52. 7.
[6. ] Lucan, Phar. 9. 477. Lucan, to whom Dante is indebted “for a considerable amount of poetic material of different kinds,” and Dante’s relation to him, is discussed by Moore, Studies, Vol. 1. pp. 228-242. It is strange that Dante in this place cites as an instance of supernatural intervention a story which Lucan explains so rationally.
[7. ] Liv. 5. 47. So in Conv. 4. 5. 4: “And did not God put forth His hand when the Gauls, having taken all Rome, stole into the Capitol by night, and only the voice of a goose made it known?”
[8. ]Aen. 8. 652-656.
[9. ] Liv. 26. 11; Oros. 4. 17.
[10. ] Liv. 2. 13; Oros. 2. 5; Aurel. Victor, De Viris Illust. c. 13.
[11. ]Par. 8. 97: “The Good which sets in revolution and contents all the realm which thou art scaling, makes its foresight to be virtue in these great bodies.”
[12. ] That is, before the birth of Christ the invisible God worked for the visible things of the world. Later, Christ, the visible God, worked for the invisible things of heaven. Cf. the argument at the end of De Mon. 2. 2.
[1. ] “Jus” is not adequately translated by “right,” for Dante makes the word include what we mean by justice, law, and at times duty.
[2. ]Eth. 5. 6 concerns itself with political justice or right, the justice which should be practiced by men in society toward one another.
[3. ] The Digests of the Roman law were originally drawn up by Justinian. The “descriptio” or account spoken of here is mentioned in Conv. 4. 9. 3: “It was written at the beginning of the old Digests, ‘The written law is the art of goodness and equity.’ ” The reference may be found in the Dig. de Justitia et Jure 1. 1: “Jus est a justitia appellatum: nam ut eleganter Celsus definit, jus est ars boni et aequi.”
[4. ]De Invent. 1. 38. 68.
[5. ] Seneca is not the author of De Quatuor Virtutibus, but Martin, abbot of Dumiens and Bishop of Braga, who wrote in the latter part of the sixth century two works, De Remediis Fortuitorum and Formula Honestae Vitae sive Quatuor Virtutibus Cardinalibus. In the latter book, c. 4, is the reference: “Justitia non nostra constitutio sed divina lex est, et vinculum societatis humanae.” Cf. Conv. 3. 8. 5, where “the book of the Four Cardinal Virtues” is again used as authority.
[6. ] See note 12 of De Mon. 1. 11.
[7. ] The same sentiment is found in Letter 5. 3: “He is Caesar, and his majesty flows from the font of pity.” The source of this quotation has recently been ascertained by Toynbee to be the Legend of St. Sylvester in the Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine (Archbishop of Genoa, 1292-1298). See Toynbee, Studies, p. 297. Dr. Albert S. Cook suggests comparison with the Dies Irae of Thomas of Celano, l. 24: “Salva me, fons pietatis.”
[8. ]De Off. 2. 8. 26, 27. From this work of Cicero’s Dante quotes again in the last paragraph of this chapter and in De Mon. 2. 8. 7; 2. 10. 2. It is to the same book Dante owes the idea of sins of violence and sins of fraud as distinguished Inf. 11. 22-60. For an account of Dante’s obligation to Cicero, see Moore, Studies, Vol. 1. pp. 258-273.
[9. ] Liv. 3. 26, 29; Oros. 2. 12. 8. In Conv. 4. 5. 4 the examples of Roman nobility are almost exactly the same as here, though cited in a different order. Moore calls attention to the similarity of this account, and that of Conv. 4. 5. 4, with Augustine’s De Civ. Dei 5. 18. See also Par. 6. 46 for the names of illustrious Romans cited by Justinian as names worthy of being remembered.
[10. ]De Fin. 2. 4. 12. This Ciceronian work Dante always calls De Fine Bonorum. The philosophy of Epicurus is considered by Dante, Conv. 4. 6. 6.
Inf. 10. 14: “In this part have their burial place with Epicurus all his followers, who make the soul dead with the body.”
[11. ] For Fabricius see De Mon. 2. 12, and Purg. 20. 25: “O good Fabricius, thou wouldst rather virtue with poverty than to possess great riches with crime.”
[12. ]Aen. 6. 844.
[13. ] That is, what the Gauls had taken from them.
[14. ] Liv. 5. 32 and 43.
[15. ]Aen. 6. 825.
[16. ] Liv. 2. 5; Oros. 2. 5; Valerius Maximus, Memorab. 5. 8. 1; Aurel. Victor, De Viris Illust. c. 10. Brutus is referred to as the man who in Conv. 4. 5. 4 “condemned his own son to death for love of the public welfare.”
[17. ]Aen. 6. 820.
[18. ] Liv. 2. 12; Val. Max. 5. 12. Mucius has mention, Conv. 4. 5. 4, and Par. 4. 84: “Mucius stern to his own hand; . . . so stout a will is too rare.”
[19. ] Liv. 8. 9; 10. 28, 29; Val. Max. 1. 3; 5. 6; Aurel. Victor 26, 27. These men have a place, Conv. 4. 5. 4, and Par. 6. 47: “Decii and Fabii had the fame which I with good-will embalm.”
[20. ] Cato of Utica, great-grandson of Cato the Censor. Dante’s reverence for this man found expression in many ways. He is made guardian of the gate of Purgatory, and type of the soul liberated from sin by annihilation of the body. See Purg. 1 and 2. In Purg. 1. 73 Virgil recommends Dante to Cato thus: “He goes seeking freedom, which is so dear, as he knows who for it renounces life.”
Conv. 4. 5. 4: “O most sacred heart of Cato, who will presume to speak of thee? Certainly nothing greater than silence can be said of thee.” See also Conv. 3. 5. 8; 4. 6. 5; 4. 27. 2; 4. 28. 2.
[21. ] Pyrrhus is mentioned Par. 6. 44, etc. Cf. De Mon. 2. 10. 5.
[22. ]De Fin. 2. 19. 61.
[23. ]De Off. 1. 31. 112.
[1. ] See chapter 5.
[2. ]De Mon. 1. 3, note 3.
[3. ] “Construendo et destruendo.” The first of these logical terms designates a refutation which proceeds from the antecedent to the consequent; the second, one that proceeds from the consequent to the antecedent.
[4. ]Eth. 6. 9. 5. For “good counsel” Dante uses the word “eubalia,” i. e. εὐβουλία.
[5. ] “Signa tamen veri bene sequuntur ex signis, quae sunt signa falsi.” “Signa” I take to mean “words;” Dante would say that words may be ambiguous, but not the ideas that they stand for.
[6. ] No line in the De Mon. shows better the change in usage that has been undergone by this word “form,” and how, from meaning the vitalizing, internal principle of a thing, it has come to be the symbol of externality.
Conv. 4. 27. 7 makes use of the thief again for demonstrative purposes.
Par. 5. 33: “Thou art desiring to make a good work of a bad gain.”
[1. ]Conv. 2. 5. 4: “No effect is greater than its cause; because the cause cannot give what it does not possess. Whence, seeing that the Divine Intelligence is the cause of all things, and above all of human intelligence, the human cannot exceed the Divine.”
[2. ]Conv. 3. 15. 4: “The natural desire of everything is regulated according to the capacity of the thing desiring; otherwise it would oppose itself, which is impossible, and nature would have made it in vain, which is also impossible.” Cf. De Mon. 1. 3, notes 2 and 3.
[3. ]Par. 1. 103: “All things whatsoever have an order among themselves; and that is form, which makes the universe in the likeness of God.” Cf. De Mon. 1. 6, and notes.
[4. ] See Conv. 4. 4. 4, and 4. 5, all the chapter.
[5. ] See De Mon. 1. 8.
[6. ]De Mon. 1. 3, notes 2 and 3; 2. 7, note 2. Also Par. 8. 97 ff., and Conv. 4. 24. 7: “Bountiful nature . . . never fails to provide all necessary things.”
[7. ]Phys. 2. 2.
[8. ]Par. 8. 122: “It behooves that divers must be the roots of the effects in you; wherefore one is born Xerxes, another Melchisedec, and another he who flying through the air lost his son. . . . A nature begotten would always make its course like its begetter, if the divine foresight were not stronger.”
[9. ]Conv. 4. 21. 2: “The soul . . . as soon as produced, receives from the motive power of heaven its possible intellect, which creates potentially in itself all universal forms as they exist in its producer.”
Purg. 30. 109: “By coöperation of the mighty wheels which direct every seed to some end according as the stars accompany.”
[10. ]Pol. 1. 5. 11.
[11. ]Inf. 2. 20: “He [Aeneas] was in the empyrean heaven chosen for father of Rome our parent and of her empire, both which, if one say the truth, were established for the holy place where sits the successor of the sovereign Peter.”
Conv. 4. 5. 2; 4. 5. 5: “A special origin and special growth, thought out and ordained by God, was that of the holy city. And certainly I am of the firm opinion that the stones which form her walls are worthy of reverence; and the ground on which she stands is worthy beyond all that has been preached and proved by men.”
[12. ] Note 6 above.
[13. ]Aen. 6. 847 ff.
[14. ]Aen. 4. 227 ff.
[1. ] Dante in various places dwells on the two means of knowledge given to man. Conv. 4. 9 concerns itself with the functions of reason. In Par. 24 St. Peter questions Dante as to the nature of faith, of its matter, and he calls it “This precious jewel whereon every virtue is founded.” In one aspect the Divine Comedy may be interpreted as the picture of a man climbing by the help of reason and faith to a sight and knowledge of God. Reason and faith; Virgil and Beatrice; philosophy and theology. Cf. De Mon. 3. 16. 5.
[2. ]Pol. 1. 2. 14.
[3. ]Eth. 1. 2. 8: “To discover the good of an individual is satisfactory, but to discover that of a state or a nation is more noble and divine.”
[4. ]Par. 4. 67: “That our justice should appear unjust in the eyes of mortals is argument of faith, and pertains not to heretic pravity.”
Par. 19. 70: “A man is born on the banks of the Indus, and none is there to talk of Christ, nor to read, nor to write; and all his volitions and acts are good, so far as human reason sees, without sin in life or in converse. He dies unbaptized and without fault; where is this justice which condemns him?”
[5. ]Heb. 11. 6.
[6. ]Lev. 17. 3, 4.
[7. ]John 10. 7, 9: “I am the door of the sheep.”
[8. ] Witte quotes from Isidore: “With a moral significance, we sacrifice a calf, when we overcome pride of the flesh; a lamb, when we correct irrational impulses; a kid, when we conquer lust; a dove, when we preserve purity of morals; unleavened bread, ‘when we keep the feast, not in the leaven of malice, but in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.’ ”
[9. ]1 Sam. 15. 10, 11.
[10. ]Exod. 7. 9.
[11. ]2 Chron. 20. 12 (Vulg.).
[12. ]Acts 1. 23-26.
[13. ] The word “duellum” is translated by Wicksteed as “ordeal,” and by Church as “duel.” To prevent misunderstanding, I have thought best to translate the word by “single combat,” or “combat man to man,” in almost every case.
[14. ] Lucan, Phar. 4. 609 ff.
[15. ] Ovid, Met. 9. 183. The Metamorphoses are generally called by Dante as here, de Rerum Transmutatione. For Ovidian references in Dante see Moore, Studies, Vol. 1. pp. 206-228.
[16. ]Met. 10. 560.
[17. ]Aen. 5. 335 ff.
[18. ]De Off. 3. 10. 42.
[1. ] “The saying expresses the Ghibelline view of the relation of the Empire to the Pope; it may have originated with the coronation of Charles the Great.” Church.
[2. ]De Mon. 1. 2. 1.
[3. ] Oros. Hist. 1. 4. 1, 4.
[4. ]Inf. 5. 58: “She is Semiramis, of whom we read that she succeeded to Ninus and was his wife. She held the land which the Sultan rules.”
[5. ]Met. 4. 58, 88.
[6. ] Oros. Hist. 1. 14. 1-3.
[7. ] “Athlothetas” were the judges or umpires in the Greek games, whose seats were opposite to the goal at the side of the stadium. See Smith’s Dict. of Antiquities. Aristotle in the Ethics, 1. 4. 5, says: “Plato also proposes doubt . . . whether the right way is from principles or to principles; just as in the course from the starting-post to the goal, or the contrary.”
[8. ]De Mon. 1. 14. 2; 2. 9. 4; 3. 3. 1.
[9. ]Purg. 28. 71: “Hellespont, there where Xerxes passed, a bridle still to all pride of men.”
[10. ]Phar. 2. 672.
[11. ] Dante puts Alexander among the tyrants and murderers in the river Phlegethon, Inf. 12. 107. In Inf. 14. 31 the flakes of fire fall “As Alexander, in those hot parts of India, saw falling upon his host flames unbroken even to the ground.” In Conv. 4. 11. 7 Dante seems to esteem him highly, at least in one regard: “And who has not Alexander still at heart, because of his royal beneficence?”
[12. ] This reference to Livy is an error on Dante’s part, for the Roman historian nowhere recounts this story of the ambassadors or of the conqueror’s death. Livy says (9. 18. 3) of Alexander and the Romans: “Quem ne fama quidem illis notum arbitror fuisse.” Toynbee solved the problem of the origin of the ambassador story by tracing it to the Chronicle of Bishop Otto of Freising. See Toynbee, Studies, pp. 290 ff. Of Dante’s belief concerning the place of Alexander’s death Moore says: “This error probably arose from the confusion of Babylon in Assyria with Babylon (i. e. old Cairo) in Egypt. As Dante probably knew (1) that Alexander died at Babylon, and (2) that he was buried (according to Lucan) in Egypt, he might naturally have inferred that his death occurred at the Egyptian Babylon.”
[13. ]Phar. 8. 692.
[14. ]Rom. 11. 33. This verse is again quoted Conv. 4. 21. 3.
[15. ]Aen. 1. 234.
[16. ]Phar. 1. 109, 111.
[17. ]De Consol. Phil. 2, Metr. 6. 8-13 (Temple Classics trans.).
[18. ]Luke 2. 1. This reference is used in the letter to King Henry, Letter 7. 3; Conv. 4. 5; De Mon. 2. 12. 5.
[1. ]Ps. 11. 7 (Vulg. 10. 8).
[2. ]De Off. 1. 11. 34.
[3. ] Vegetius, De Re Militari 3. 9. This book on the Art of War is a compilation from many sources, dedicated by its author, of whom nothing is known, to Emperor Valentinian II (375-392). Dante refers to it but this once. This fact, together with Moore’s discovery that the context does not bear out the application of the quotation in question, has led Moore to conclude that Dante knew of Vegetius only through a mediaeval handbook or Florilegium. See Moore, Studies, Vol. 1. p. 297.
[4. ]De Off. 1. 12. 38. Church calls attention to the fact that Cicero’s word is “Imperii gloria,” not “corona.”
[5. ]Matt. 18. 20.
[6. ]De Mon. 1. 11.
[7. ] These lines are from Ennius, quoted De Off. 1. 12. 38.
[8. ]1 Sam. 17. In Letter 7. 6 Dante addresses Henry as a second David come to overthrow a new Goliath.
[9. ] Hercules and Antaeus, used as an example in De Mon. 2. 8. 5. In Inf. 31. 132: “The hands whence Hercules once felt a mighty constraint.” The story of the combat is told in detail in Conv. 3. 3. 7.
[1. ]Aen. 12. 942.
[2. ]Aen. 12. 948. Par. 6. 35: “Pallas died to give a kingdom to the Roman ensign,” seeing that his death was the real cause of Turnus’ death.
[3. ] Liv. 1. 24, 25.
[4. ] Oros. 2. 4. 9.
[5. ]Phar. 2. 135-138: “Romanaque Samnis ultra Caudinas superavit vulnera furcas.” Modern editions have “speravit” or “spiravit” instead of “superavit.”
[6. ]Par. 27. 61: “The Providence on high, which with Scipio guarded for Rome the glory of the world.”
Par. 6. 49: “It [the ensign] brought to earth the pride of the Arabs, who in Hannibal’s train passed the Alpine cliffs. . . . Under it in their youth triumphed Scipio and Pompey. . . . Afterward, hard upon the time when the heaven wholly willed to bring back the world to its tranquil order, Caesar by the will of Rome bare it.”
[7. ]2 Tim. 4. 8.
[8. ]De Mon. 2. 8. 1. For the chapter as a whole read as its best commentaries Par. 6 (Justinian to Dante) and Conv. 4. 5.
[1. ] Witte points out that these same men are referred to in Purg. 6. 91: “Ah, folk that ought to have been at prayer, and to let Caesar sit in the saddle.” They are the clergy who wrongly wish a controlling hand in the world of temporal things. In this chapter Dante is again making use of the language of Ps. 2. 1, and calling attention once more to the opening argument of Book 2.
[2. ]Conv. 4. 27. 4: “Those which do belong to your profession . . . take a tenth part and give it to God, that is, to those miserable ones to whom Divine favor alone remains.”
Par. 12. 93: “Not the tithes which belong to God’s poor.”
Par. 22. 82: “Whatsoever the Church guards belongs all to the folk who ask in God’s name.” Cf. De Mon. 3. 10. 6.
[3. ] Cupidity in the Church, as in men’s minds (De Mon. 1. 11. 5), was the source and root of evil. Inf. 1. 49 uses as the figure of Avarice, or the Church grasping for temporal domain, a “she-wolf, that with all ravenings looked fraught in its leanness, and has already made much people wretched.”
[4. ] The donation of Constantine is meant. See De Mon. 3. 10. Par. 20. 56, the eagle speaks of Constantine’s gift as “a good intention which bare ill fruit.”
[5. ] This was more true of Boniface VIII than of any other Pope, for he furthered the interests of his family and friends by all means in his power. Milman says of him in his Latin Christianity, Bk. 11, ch. 7: “Of all the Roman Pontiffs, Boniface left the darkest name for craft, arrogance, ambition, even for avarice and cruelty.”
[6. ]Par. 6. 21: “All contradictories are both false and true.” That is, one is false and the other true, for contradictories are pairs of propositions so related to each other that both cannot be false. Wicksteed further explains that “They are of the form either of ‘All A is B’ and ‘Some A is not B,’ or ‘No A is B’ and ‘Some A is B.’ These four terms were usually arranged at the corners of a square in the logic books.
The contradictories are at opposite ends of the diameters, the source of the phrase ‘diametrically opposed.’ ”
[7. ] That is, “Christ in his birth authorized an injustice.”
[8. ]Eth. 10. 1. 3. Cf. De Mon. 1. 13. 1. So also Thomas Aquinas says, “Concerning human actions and passions words are to be trusted less than deeds.”
[9. ]Luke 2. 1.
[10. ]Purg. 10. 34: “The angel that came on earth with the decree of the many years wept-for peace . . . opened heaven from its long interdict.”
Par. 26 contains the computation of time from the fall to the redemption. Cf. l. 118: “From that place whence thy Lady moved Virgil, for four thousand three hundred and two revolutions of the sun did I long for this assembly, and I saw him return to all the stars of his road nine hundred and thirty times whiles that I was upon earth.” According to this, Adam makes the number of years 5232 from creation to crucifixion.
[11. ] That is, to a syllogism.
[12. ] The second figure has the middle term for predicate in both premises.
[1. ]Rom. 5. 12. In De Mon. 1. 16 Dante dates “all our errors” from the fall of Adam. In Par. 7 Beatrice explains to Dante the nature of human redemption. Cf. l. 85: “Your nature, when it all sinned in its seed, was removed from these dignities as from Paradise; nor could it recover them, . . . by any way without passing through some one of these roads; either that God alone of his clemency should have put away, or that man should have made satisfaction for his folly.”
Purg. 32. 37. Here in the vision of the Church and the Empire Dante symbolizes the fall and redemption of man, the errors of avarice in the Church, and the universal jurisdiction of Monarchy. “I heard all murmur ‘Adam,’ then they circled a plant despoiled of flowers and of leafage too on every branch. Its foliage, which spreads the wider as it is the higher up, would be wondered at for height by the Indians in their forests. ‘Blessed art thou, Grifon, that thou tearest not with thy beak of this wood sweet to the taste, since ill was the belly griped therefrom.’ ” As Plumptre remarks, the apostrophe to the grifon is the thought developed in the second book of De Mon.
[2. ]Eph. 1. 5-8.
[3. ] The work of redeeming the human race is finished. John 19. 30.
[4. ]Exod. 2. 14.
[5. ] “Sub ordine judice.”
[6. ]Is. 53. 4. Quoted Letter 6. 6.
[7. ]John 18. 14: “Now Caiaphas was he which gave counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.”
[8. ]Luke 23. 11.
[9. ] Pilate was the real Roman regent. Cf. Par. 6. 86, where Tiberius is called “the third Caesar,” and read all the canto for Justinian’s account of the Roman Empire.
[10. ] That Constantine’s purpose was high Dante always insisted on. See De Mon. 2. 12. 1; and 3. 10 and notes. Par. 20. 58: “Now knows he how the ill, deduced from his good work, is not harmful to him, albeit that the world be thereby destroyed.”