rather than direct statements.
The general notion of God was still (perhaps is largely even now) of a provincial, one might almost say a denominational, Deity.
The popular poets always represent Macon
, Apolin, Tervagant, and the rest as quasi-deities unable to resist the superior strength of the Christian
The Paynim answers the arguments of his would-be converters with the taunt that he would never worship a divinity who could not save himself from being done ignominiously to death.
evidently was not satisfied with the narrow conception which limits the interest of the Deity to the affairs of Jews and Christians.
That saying of Saint Paul
, ‘Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you,’ had perhaps influenced him, but his belief in the divine mission of the Roman
people probably was conclusive.
‘The Roman Empire had the help of miracles in perfecting itself,’ he says, and then enumerates some of them.
The first is that ‘under Numa Pompilius
, the second king of the Romans, when he was sacrificing according to the rite of the Gentiles, a shield fell from heaven into the city chosen of God.’1
In the Convito
we find ‘Virgil speaking in the person of God,’ and Aeacus
‘wisely having recourse to God,’ the god being Jupiter
is punished in hell for rebellion against ‘the Supreme Jove
and, that there may be no misunderstanding, Dante
elsewhere invokes the
Who upon earth for us wast crucified.
Purgatorio, VI. 118, 119. 4
It is noticeable also that Dante
, with evident design,