Purgatorio Canto XIV

Purgatorio 14

‘Where is good Lizio, where Arrigo Mainardi,
Pier Traversaro and Guido di Carpigna?
O people of Romagna, how you’ve turned to bastards!

vv. 97-99

Second Ledge: the Envious.—Guido del Duca.—Rinieri de’ Calboli.—Examples of the punishment of Envy.

In the Terrace of the Envious, the second one, Dante meets two 13th-century noblemen from Romagna. They are Guido del Duca and Rinieri da Calboli. Noticing that Dante is still alive, Guido asks for his name and homeland. The poet explains that his birthplace is located along the banks of the river running through half of Tuscany. However, he does not disclose his name. Guido del Duca delivers a harsh lecture against the people living along the length of the Arno River; he accuses them of abandoning virtue and turning the valley into a lair of malice. 

The Arno flows among foul hogs – the inhabitants of Casentino – for whom acorns are more suitable than food for humans. Then it meets a pack of curs – the inhabitants of Arezzo – whose growl is worse than their bite. Proceeding downstream, the Arno River comes to a ditch where the dogs have become wolves – they are the Florentines – and, as it descends further, it comes across wily foxes – the inhabitants of Pisa. In order to highlight the unrestrained moral decline, Guido del Duca introduces a sinister prophecy regarding Fulcieri da Calboli, Rinieri’s nephew, saying he will tyrannise the city of Florence spreading fear and terror.

After confessing his sin and reproaching humanity for being led astray by envy, Guido recalls the current corruption in Romagna. This brings out a nostalgic melancholy of the past, when virtue, merit and courtesy guided people’s lives. Just as the two poets walk away, they hear a voice say «Whoever captures me will slaughter me». Then another voice thunders «I am Aglauros, who was turned to stone». Then everything goes quiet again. Virgil explains to Dante that what he’s heard is a remider that should persuade men to stay within their limits.

Casa dei Traversari

The House, attributed to the Traversaris, is one of the two still surviving 13-century dwellings in town – the other is Francesca’s house.  The Traversaris’ houses were torn down when the Polentanis took over. Dante remembers Pier Traversari as an example of past nobility and his memory is associated to this house. This noble and famous fellow citizen’s sarcophagus is still preserved in the so-called Quadrarco di Braccioforte. 

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

Canto adopted by MRV Costruzioni Edili

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