Paradiso Canto XII

Paradiso 12

‘He was called Dominic, and I shall speak of him
as that laborer chosen by Christ
to help Him dress and keep His garden.

vv. 70-72

Second circle of the spirits of wise religious men, doctors of the Church and teachers. – St. Bonaventura narrates the life of St. Dominic, and tells the names of those who form the circle with him.

Fourth Heaven, the Sphere of the Sun: the wise spirits are here. Just as St. Thomas finishes speaking, the souls start dancing again in a circle. Suddenly another circle appears surrounding the first one, harmonising movement with movement and song with song. From this circle, St. Bonaventure starts talking. The Franciscan praises St. Dominic who, together with St. Francis, reformed the religious life of the XII century.

St. Bonaventure recalls Dominic’s life. It was thanks to his passionate love of God that he devoted himself to philosophy and theology. While in the previous canto St. Thomas highlighted the corruption amongst St. Dominic’s disciples, here Bonaventure laments the disagreements and fights the Order of Friars Minor is affected by, which make it forget the reason why it was born. He then introduces the twelve wise spirits who’ve come in the second ring

They are: Illuminato da Rieti and Augustine of Assisi (two of St. Francis’ first followers), Hugh of St. Victor, Peter Book-Devourer, Peter of Spain (who became Pope John XXI in 1276), the biblical prophet Nathan (who rebuked David), St. John Chrysostom (Constantinople’s Patriarch), Anselm the Benedictine, Aelius Donatus, Rabanus Maurus and Joachim of Flora (a Cistercian monk, author of many visionary and prophetic works opposed by the Church and, while living, by Bonaventure himself).

In this tercet St. Bonaventure sings the praises of St. Dominic. The Church of San Domenico was built in 1269 on a site previously occupied by other buildings: a tower and the small church of S. Maria in Gallopes. Tradition has it that the Capitol temple of the Roman city was located in the same place.

Traduzione a cura della classe 5aC A.S.20/21 del Liceo Scientifico A. Oriani di Ravenna

Canto adopted by MRV Costruzioni Edili

For further information on Basilica di San Domenico

View Dante’s itinerary on the map

Available Resources

Reading of the Canto