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1 He refers to a change in his own opinions (Lib. II. § 1), where he says, ‘When I knew the nations to have murmured against the preeminence of the Roman people, and saw the people imagining vain things as I myself was wont.’ He was a Guelph by inheritance, he became a Ghibelline by conviction.
2 It should seem from Dante's words (‘at the time when much people went to see the blessed image,’ and ‘ye seem to come from a far-off people’) that this was some extraordinary occasion, and what so likely as the jubilee of 1300? (Compare Paradiso, XXXI. 103– 108.) Dante's comparisons are so constantly drawn from actual eyesight, that his allusion (Inferno, XIII. 28-33) to a device of Boniface VIII. for passing the crowds quietly across the bridge of Saint Angelo, renders it not unlikely that he was in Rome at that time, and perhaps conceived his poem there as Giovanni Villani his chronicle. That Rome would deeply stir his mind and heart is beyond question. ‘And certes I am of a firm opinion that the stones that stand in her walls are worthy of reverence, and the soil where she sits worthy beyond what is preached and admitted of men.’ (Convito, Tr. IV. c. 5.)
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