previous next
[109] power of binding and loosing claimed for him. ‘Otherwise he might absolve me impenitent, which God himself could not do.’1

By malison of theirs is not so lost
Eternal Love that it cannot return.

Purgatorio, III. 133, 134.

Nor does the sacredness of the office extend to him who chances to hold it. Philip the Fair himself could hardly treat Boniface VIII. worse than he. With wonderful audacity, he declares the Papal throne vacant by the mouth of Saint Peter himself.2 Even if his theory of a dual government were not in question, Dante must have been very cautious in meddling with the Church. It was not an age that stood much upon ceremony. He himself tells us he had seen men burned alive, and the author of the Ottimo Comento says: ‘I the writer saw followers of his [Fra Dolcino] burned at Padua to the number of twenty-two together.’3 Clearly, in such a time as this, one must not make ‘the veil of the mysterious verse’ too thin.4

In the affairs of this life Dante was, as we have said, supremely practical, and he makes prudence the chief of the cardinal virtues.5 He has made up his mind to take things as they come, and to do at Rome as the Romans do.

Ah, savage company! but in the Church
With saints, and in the tavern with the gluttons!

Inferno, XXII. 13,14.

In the world of thought it was otherwise, and here Dante's doctrine, if not precisely esoteric, was certainly not that of his day, and must be gathered from hints

1 De Monarchia, Lib. III. § 8.

2 Paradiso, XXVII. 22.

3 Purgatorio, XXVII. 18; Ottimo, Inferno, XXVIII. 55

4 Inferno, IX. 63; Purgatorio, VIII. 20.

5 Purgatorio, XXIX. 131, 132.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
St. Peter (Minnesota, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Pietro Di Dante (3)
I. Lib (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: