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THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE

BY

WALTER

ARENSBERG

'Antiquam

exquirite

matrem"
"

vEneid

iii.gd

NEW

YORK

ALFRED

"

"

KNOPF

MCMXXI

Copyright
1

by

Walter

Arensberg

Pa

For

lost and

at

the mother

last recovered divine of the

Bella

Commedia

2
"

9
CO

I
m

PREFACE

for the discussions, in various commentaries, of in Purin Purgatorio vom Dxv the xxxiii and of the acrostic I know grams of no recognition of the existence of cryptogatorio xii, information For in the Divina Commedia. on general I may the subject refer to the article on of cryptography Encyclopcedie der Classishen AlterAkrostichts in Pauly: Enthe article on Acrostic in Hastings: tumswissenschaft;
Except
Ciphers cyclopcedia of Religion and Ethics; the article on in Rees's Encyclopcedia; C. W. King: The Gnostics and Their Learning; Francis Bacon: Remains; Of the Advancement

of

Walter

Begley:
s

Biblia

Cabalistica;

Is

it Shakespeare?;

and

Bacon

Nova

Resuscitatio;

Acrostic Signatures

of Francis
Colonna

and W. S. Booth: Bacon and The Hidden


A
to

Some tures Signa-

and Francis Bacon. recognized authority which I have been unable is Kryptographik^ by J.L. Kliiber.

of

Francesco

widely consult

For general information concerning the lifeand works of Dante I have consulted principally, in addition to the commentaries Casini, by Scartazzini, Divina Commedia of the Torraca, Vernon, Longfellow, and Norton, and of the Vita Nuova by Witte Scherillo, the following works: and

Scartazzini: Dizionario Critico; Divina Commedia E. Moore: Textual Criticism and of the Dante Dante Dictionary; P. Toynbee: Studies in Dante; Alighieri; and Dante Studies and Researches; E. G. Gardner: Dante s Ten Heavens and Dante and the Mystics; P. H. WickJ. B. Fletcher: Dante; C. A. steed: Dante and Aquinas; Boccaccio:
Vita di Dante;

viii

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY Aids

OF

DANTE

Dinsmore: Dante

and the // Poeta Veltro.

R. the Study of Dante; Kingdom; Animal Ruggero


to

T.

Holbrook:

della Torre:

for della Torre's identification of the dxv and the Veltro with Dante I know in literature on the of nothing Dante that relates to the interpretation of the symbolism of the P'ita Niiova and the Divina Commedia which I have I agree with della Torre expressed in the present volume. in identifying the dxv but my and the Veltro with Dante; for making the identification have little, if anything, reasons
Except
do with the reasons of della Torre, and I firstlearnt of his I was My work when nearing the completion of my own. agreement with della Torre is limited to the single detail of this identification.
to

identification of Beatrice with Bella, the mother of Dante, has not, so far as I know, been made before. Several commentators, such as Scherillo and Fletcher, have alluded
My
"

"Beatrice's instinctive to the words of Fletcher true that "every maid is somemotherliness", in the sense thing has loves"; Scherillo to man a the mother she and of
to

quote

"

have transferred to his may that Dante characterization of Beatrice certain qualities which he remembere in his own idea, from A but a mother. similar point of view that is strictly limited to the Freudian, is developed by Alice Sperber in a study oi Dante's Unconscious Mental Life, but which, as I a study which I have not seen, gather from the abstract in the Psychoanalytic Review, April, "not trice 1920, is concerned with the historical identity of Beaor the actual facts of her life." The view that Dante, by a process of idealization, may

further surmised

have

transferred certain qualities which his mother his characterization of to

he remembered
someone

in

Beatrice who may or not may Portinari, is not to be confused with the view, expressed the following pages, that Beatrice and Bella, the mother Dante, are, by Dante's conscious intention, identical.
I have
am

else, to a be identified with Beatrice

in

of

found

acquainted

I literature with which that the Dante is less helpful for the interpretation of the

PREFACE

ix

Divina Commedia than certain studies in religion,myth, and I may dream. refer to J. G. Frazer: The Golden Bough and Folk-Lore in the Old Testament; J. E. Harrison: Themis; ture; E. B. Tylor: Primitive CulThe Sacred Shrine; Y. Hirn:
H.

O.

Taylor:

The

Mediaeval

Mind;

J. Hastings:
The Interpretation Uncon-

Encyclopcedia

of

Religion and Ethics; S. Freud: C. G. Jung: Psychology Dreams;

of

of the

in Fairy and Symbolism cious; F. Ricklin: JVish Fulfillment K. ham: AbraThe Myth Tales; O. Rank: ofthe Birth ofthe Hero; Dreams and Myths; Hans Schmidt: Jona; E. de Faye: K. Fleming: W. I etude du Gnosticisme; Underhill: Mysticism; in Christianity; Evelyn Mysticism W. B. Smith: The Secret Doctrine E. Waite: of Israel; .-A. The ^abbalah. Ecce Deus; and I. Myer: For secretarial assistance in the collection of my material To Mr. John indebted to Miss Florence M. Poast. I am Introduction
a

the suggestion of the possible cryptographic use ture of capital letters and especially the discovery of the signain di necessita (p. S^^). For assistance in editing my further indebted to Mr. John Macy, and I am material I am for several valuable suggestions in indebted to Mr. Macy deciphering. To the memory of Dr. E. E. Southard I acknowledge my
owe

Covert

deepest debt.

the oversimplifications of the Freudian psychology, and especially as to the pessimism inherent in the deterministic view of conduct which it expresses, in once in a wood where I was helped to orient me in the light of these ideas danger of losing my way. It was preted be interthat I formed my belief that sex symbolism is not to Divina as symbolizing sex. The sex symbolism of the for example, is,in the last analysis, a representaCommedia^ tion is in conceived as which the mind of the mental processes^ is reprea trinity sented of will, intellect,and emotion, and which tian Chrisin the Trinity of the accordingly as a family, as The mutual relaGodhead, tions of father, son and mother. involving in drama family a of the of the three members incest, death, and rebirth are to be understood as a representation harmony in in conflict or of the individual mind
as

His ideas

to

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

This interpretation of the sex symbolism not only with itself. and of Christian theology but also of the Divina Commedia in general I will develop, together and dreams of myths in a volume in definition of symbolism, now with a new preparation: The
Symbolism

oj the Divina

Commedia.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

PAGE

The

General

Evidence
....

II

Acrostics

23

III

Signatures

55

IV

Dxv

115 Universal
Form

The

129

VI

Symbolic

Guises

167

VII

The

Seal

223

VIII

Beatrice

3^3

IX

Problematic List Index

Aspects

395 467

of

Cryptograms
....

4^7

Chapter

THE

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

Chapter

THE

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

THE
These

Divina which

Commedia

contains a large number of cryptograms have never, far as I know, been noticed. so

have a double value. First, they reveal a cryptograms hitherto unsuspected literary method. phase of Dante's And second important" they reveal a and this is the more hitherto unsuspected symbolism. As an allegory, the Divina has a hidden as well as a manifest meaning; and Commedia
"

the cryptograms is. They meaning


Divina Commedia,

are

the hidden proof of what the hidden in the prove, indeed, as fundamental

the symbolism of an anthropomorphic universe, in which Beatrice is to be identified with Bella, the mother of Dante, conceived as an incarnation of the divine,
or

and the Veltro are universal, mother, and in which the dxv to be identified with Dante, conceived as an incarnation of the divine, or universal, son. A cryptogram, hidden writing, is a deliberate arrangeor ment or of words, letters, numbers, other signs, which is
to

well as to express a meaning. The is concealed by a variety of devices, meaning of a cryptogram by giving the signs employed a different meaning such as, first, from the meaning they usually possess; and, which is by order which second, arranging these signs in an
conceal
as

intended

different from

the conventional
common

order

which

of this word is significant, as in various kinds of cabalas, of the substitution of letters by The is also significant of the numerical numbers. word cryptoschemes on which the arrangement of letters in some
use

they are written. A is "cipher," and the

of the language in for "cryptogram" synonym

[3]

THK

e^R^P'IOCJ

R APH

OF

DANTE

grams

kinds. Among is based. Cryptograms are the of many I in Divina have Commedia discovered the cryptograms which irregular interior are sequences, anagrams, acrostics, telestics, letter clusters, string ciphers, and cabaHstic spelHng devices. far from assuming that the cryptograms I am which I have
are so all that Dante made. They widely form I am that convinced that I scattered and so varied in have missed many. Nor do I assume that all the cryptograms here I are am authentic. A decipherer is presenting which

discovered

are

at the mercy extent of the very ingenuity necessarily to some which the act of deciphering requires. For instance, he may discover as actually existing in the text an unusual collocation be interpreted letters as a cryptogram; which may of

intended that this collocation was and he may then assume by the author to be so interpreted, when, as a matter of fact, it was purely accidental. Or if,on the other hand, the colloby^ was cation of krtf.r.s actually intended as a cryptogram lack the ingenuity to read it the author, the decipherer may

correctly^ as when, for instance, the letters in question intended capable of being rearranged in two waySj one

are

by

the author and one accidental. In such a case of variant readings decipherer a the may make wrong choice. The essential in deciphering, therefore, is to remember that it is by the author's intention, and by the author's be said to exist.The intention alone, that a cryptogram can be easy to prove. But not author's intention may, of course, by which the author's intention may there are certain means

follows: be enumerated as is being concealed; hints in the text that something tirst, second, a correspondence between the meaning of the cryptoof gram and the meaning of the text; third, the appearance in salient and sytninptriral pnQJfinnQ^ ";nrh a^ cryptograms
be indicated. These
means

may

the ends of the various parts, chapters, cantoSy other units of text; fourth, a repetition oT^ryptic readings identical or similar in meaning; and htth, a repetition, in various cryptograms, of an identical cryptographic
or

the beginnings and

"frame," or structure. In a series of cryptograms

in connection

with which

it is

THE

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

to hints in the text, point, first, second, to correspondence between the meaning of the cryptograms and the text, to third, the appearance of cryptograms meaning of the in sahent and symmetrical positions, fourth, to the repetition identical or of similar cryptographic readings, and, fifth, to

possible

to

the repetition of a cryptographic structure, the probability intended by were that the cryptograms the author is greater infenrlprl. Acknowledging I do nof as than that- fhpy were in deciphering the cryptograms the possibilityof error which
I shall present, I
as

nevertheless confident that they show, indications of intention, or design. a series, unmistakable The announcement is teeming that the Divina Commedia

am

be met is likely, I am aware, to with cryptograms with incredulity. For there is a common that cryptograms prejudice form have been are too to a trivial of composition by authors of works of literary importance. Some employed

for this justification may prejudice


cryptograms

have

been

be found in the fact that "discovered" where they do not

really exist. Many


are

speare of the so-called discoveries in the Shakeplays, as, for instance, Donnelly's Great Cryptogram^ but in point. They are cases at not all,, cryptograms

merely arbitrary readings foisted into the text by mistaken ingenuity. Unfortunately, however, the contempt which such false readings have merited has not been confined to them alone, with the result that the whole subjectof cryptography is almost taboo to the academic student of literature. In few investigators have done much a recent years, however, establish the importance literary art.
to

of the

as subject

an

aspect

of

A
once

glance

the history of cryptography should dispel at grams any prejudice against the possible existence of cryptohas in works of literature. The received so
at

to littleattention in the last century or two that the extent have been used in the past and the which cryptograms The variety of their forms are no longer generally known. common graphy opinion at present, indeed, is simply that cryptofor is a importance only such practical of

subject

subject

purposes

as

military, diplomatic, and commercial

codes, and

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

is contrary literary to the easily available evidence of centuries of in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, use of cryptograms and English. It is not within the scope of the present volume, however,
no

that it has

literary value whatever.

This opinion

I will confine myself, survey the history of cryptography. for the historical background of my research, to the briefest
to

firstquote from reference to a few established facts. Let me by E. Graf in Pauly: Real"Akrostichis" the article on Encyclopcedie der Classischen Altertumswissenschajt.
"Den die A. war alteren sibyllinischen Oraklen durchgehends dass die A. sich mit so, eigen and zwar dam ersten Vers des Orakels deckte, Cic. de div. II, 122 bei langeren Oraklen fuhr die A. in zweiten Vers fort, doch so, dass dessen Anfang nicht mit einem Sinndes Orakels Zweck der A. abschnitt zusammenfiel. die Sammlung Interpolationen war, vor und VerkiirIn Sammlung zu unserer zungen schiitzen der sibyllinischen Orakel ist die einzige A. viii,217-50:
. . . ...

welche selbst Augustin wiederum enthalt de civ. d. xviii, 23 iibersetzt sie ins Lateinische mit Tend Uios Soter griechischer A.: Jesucs Creistos Staurus Bei den Romern finden wir zuerst die A. 'Q. Ennius fecit' in quibusdam Ennianis Cic. de div. ii, 112; Der Grammatiker Opillius gab seinen Namen 6), Silius als A. seines Pinax (Suet, de gramm. Italicus wahrte seine Autorschaft am Homerus latinus durch die zwei A. Italicus scripsit am Anfang und Ende des Gedichtes Die akrostischen Arguden Bacchides zu mente alien plautinische Stiicken ausser Ritschl op. ii,404 und Opitz Lpz. Stud, von werden vi in die Antoninenzeit, SeyfFert Philol xvi, von 234.275 xlvii, 22 ca. 100 Jahre nach Plautus 4^8 u. Jahresber. Tod Commodians Instuctiones bestehen angesetzt. 80 Gedichten aus Inhaltsangabe, mit akrostichischer Teil verbunden zum mit Telestichis. Die A. des letzten Stiickes ergiebt, von lesen, Commodianus menunten dicus Christt Aldhelmus leitet sein Gedicht de laudxbus virginum mit einer Praefatio ein, die den ersten Hexameter A. stichis vorwarts als und als Teleriickwarts gelesen enthalt; seine Ratselsammlung
aTavpos,
.

\7]aov"i Xpiards

Qeov

die

A.

vios (Tcor-qp 'IX9TS

"

THE

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

mit einem Prolog, dessen A. und Telestichis in den Vers Aldhelmus cecenit gleicher Richtung millenis versibus odas ergiebt."
.
.

associated from ancient times in the with serious religious works. There are cryptograms Bible, notably the abecedarian acrostics, in which the initial letters of lines or sections are the successive letters of the "Acrostic" The in on Hastings; Encyclopaedia alphabet. article Religion and Ethics gives fourteen examples in

Cryptography

has

been

of

Psalms, Proverbs

of the most interesting is Psalm cxix, the structure of which is partly visible and partly lost in the English Bible, where we see the division of the psalm into twenty-two sections, each under a letter of the Hebrew alphabet and each consisting of eight
y
,

Lamentations

and Nahum.

One

the original each of the eight verses of each begins letter, division same the with eight with aleph, eight beth, This on. so and with alphabeticism is not meaningless:
verses.

In

it is used, first,as an aid to memorizing^ as a andj sernnHj '*as in Proverbs xxxi. 10-31, where symbol of completeness, exhaust the alphabet." And the praises of virtuous woman an abecedarian psalm in praise of God, beginning, as it does, with the firstletter of the alphabet and ending with the last, is in effect a way of signing God's name as Alpha and Omega: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord."

in other religious works, Jewish and Christian. According to the articleon the abecedarian psalms and hymns in Pauly's Real-Encyclopaedie: "Das beriihmteste Exemplar der christlichen Litteratur ist Augustins aus
Acrostics
are

found

Psalmus

contra

nach Retract Auswendiglernen.

den partem Donati, gedichtet 393 fiir die ganz Ungebildeten verfasst hat zum 1,20
. . .

er

' '

Bible contains many examples of cabala, one of which, "the number ticular of the beast" in Revelation, will prove of partures interest to us later. The interpretation of the Scripby cryptographic methods, especially cabalistic, continued Christian through early and medieval Hebrew and knowledge of literature.As we shall see in Chapter IV, some

The

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

interprethis cabalistic literature is essential to a correct tation of the Divina Commedia. A few examples in the of the literary use of cryptograms Renaissance and post-Renaissance will suffice. Boccaccio's
Amorosa

acrostic poem remarkable which we shall have occasion later to discuss at length. Frangois Villon his name down wrote the initialsof the third stanza of his ballade, A S'Amye, and he made other acrostic signatures. A lost until laterdiscovered cryptographic signature that was is contained in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili^ published in Venice in 1499. The initial letters of the anonymously chapters of the book, spell the sentence Francesco Colonna loved Polia."
"

Visione

is

"

(in Latin):"Brother

is full of instances of of Elizabethan England clever acrostics and other devices which range from mere light in George to verse the serious religious poem of tricks Herbert: "Our Life is Hid With Christ In God." The poem

The

poetry

is

as

follows:
My this notion. words and thoughts do both express That Lifehath with the sun a double motion. The first Is straight, and our diurnall friend; The doth Hid, bend. other and obliquely One life is wrapt flesh, and tends to earth: In The other winds towards Him, whose happy birth Taught here That live to me so eye stillone Should aim and shoot at that which Is on high; daily labour Quitting with all My pleasure, To harvest Treasure. an at eternal gain

i"; a in this pnpm ^n railed interior cryptogram The words to be read in sequence indicated are sequence. by being printed in italic: life is hid my in him that is my

The

treasure;

from the these words paraphrase the sentence Bible used in the title. The meaning of Herbert's cryptogram is important for us; for justas "My lifeis hid in Him," so is hidden in the text. Herbert, as one the cryptogram of the "metaphysical"
and
reverence
no or

poets,

was

reader who the symbolic

concerned with mystical meanings, knows his spirit can doubt the use of this verbal play.

THE A

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

form of cryptogram in literatureis the anagram, form of anagram is a pseudonym by and a common made A great man a rearrangement of the letters of the real name. Arouet le jeune is said to have was whose name arranged his letters initials name the of and the of the words le jeune
common

by which the world knows into the name him: voltaire. Notice that in this anagram the u is considered as v, and j Rabelais made of his name I. Francois as alcothe anagram
FRiBAS NASiER,

under

which
use

pseudonym

he published

some

of his works. The reasons

I believe, are not, of cryptograms sufficiently appreciated. A signature or dedication or any other expression that an author sees fitto attach to his is apt to be regarded, work by the devices of cryptography if it is acknowledged to be there at all, as an example of bit of literary decoration of a trivial character. Such an opinion ignores the profoundly serious in the past. motives which underlay the use of cryptograms

for the

misspent

ingenuity,

the motives for the literary use of cryptograms be first, the motive of prudence. A hidden may mentioned, be prudential in case the public signature or dedication may
Among
announcement

of Such
a

authorship
case

or

dedication

would

be

dangerous.

exists in the Hypnerotomachia^ mentioned above, in which the author, a monk, acknowledges his passion for a woman. be prudent to hide the Or it may is an attack on some meaning of a work when the meaning form of authority, politicalor religious.A case in point is the cabalistic "number of the beast" in Revelation, which, as is
now

generally thought, is a Christian reference Nero. Emperor


A second

to

the hostile

motive may be found in the desire of an author graphic to himself. Cryptoto secure the authorship of his work for the simple reason that customary signatures were before the invention of printing, and even were after, they to a literary work the only sure method of attaching a name in such a way that it could not be removed or changed. Title but a structural signature pages may be displaced or falsified,
in
a

literary work

remains

as

long

as

the work

A cryptoitself.

lo

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

graphic

signature

thus prevents
someone

literary theft

or

the attribution
same

of

work

to

not

the author. At the

time

it enables the author, while he establishes his proprietorship, himself overtly. to avoid the immodesty of proclaiming This idea derives from a convention, which existed not only in Dante's

time but before and after, of literary anonymity. In conformity with such a convention, a hidden signature was

often the only means of establishing authorship. A third motive for the use in a work of cryptograms of literature is to derive the form of the work from the idea which it expresses. In any work of art, indeed, the idea is
sort expressed by some of correspondence between that idea for instance, and a physical form. In the Divina Commedia^ into three parts and the use of a the division of the poem

three-line stanza express the idea of the Trinity which dominates the life of the author-hero and the form of the he lives. Many universe in which other literary, and
accepted as matters especially metrical, forms which are now in the firstplace have been of tradition or convention must invented to express similar correspondences. In an analogous in a work of literature way, the presence of a cryptogram the form of that work derive from the idea of the makes cryptogram, least from the word or words of which the In an acrostic poem, for example, is composed. cryptogram which gives as its acrostic spelling the name of the lady to it is dedicated, the form, since it follows, line by line, whom
or

at

the lettersof the lady's name, may be said to be derived from the name, and so, most appropriately, from the lady herself. For the mystic or the symbolist of the past a word had a than that of a closer relation with the thing which it names mere arbitrary association. It was regarded, indeed, as in some mysterious way derived from the very nature of the itself. Dante Fita Nuova, idea in thing expresses this xiii: le / nomi seguitino sunt nominate cose, siccome e scritto:Nomina
An example of this conception appears, consequentia rerum. indeed, in the fancy, to which Dante himself alludes, that the form of the Italian word omo, iswritten in the human man,"
"

face, the

two

o's

represented

by

the eyes, and

the

repre-

THE

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

ii

sented by the line of the nose and the outlines of the cheeks. A literary form that is derived from a be cryptogram may said, therefore, according to this conception, to be derived quite literallyfrom the idea which the cryptogram expresses. Moreover, in a sense that is neither mystical nor symbolical, is based the form of a composition containing a cryptogram in any acrostic poem, its on necessarily, as is apparent It is a form based on an arrangement cryptogram. of letters as arbitrarily chosen by the author, and, as such, isjust valid interesting form based a as on an and arbitrary arrangement in Many as of sounds, rhymes. cryptograms, and especially ideas idea to acrostics expressing the analogous of the text, were adopted by the author, I believe, simply as aids and novel conditions of composition. The difficulties of making a
text
as these difficulties cryptogram, over-rated usually are, assist the author to complicate his structure and so to create a higher beauty by virtue of the very necessity higher a of creating unity. The fourth motive for the literary use is at of cryptograms

with

ignored. It is the same the profoundest and the most motive, indeed, which leads to the production of allegory; the desire, that is,to express and solve, ifsolving be possible, the problem of appearance and reality. Allegory is a genre that has fallen into disfavor. It is apt to be underrated as a device for the exercise of powers mere of paraphrase. In
once

to thing and meaning the another, it seems, least, be ties. duplicito modern temper at playing with pointless But the raison d'etre both graphic of allegory and of cryptoliterature is simply that their duplicities are a literal

saying

one

expression, a parallel, of the duplicities of the world in which live; they are intended, in their deepest we aspects, to express the difference between what things are and what things seem. Things are not what they seem, is a game of hide-andand life try to find out what things are. "It is the seek in which we glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings is to

search out symbolism, the world

In ancient and medieval as theory of symbolism, well as in the modern is of appearance conceived as concealing the
matter.
"

"

Prov.

xxv.2.

12

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

reality; and hidden writings in symbolical or in allegorical literature, as well as the hidden meaning allegories, are intended to parallel in the texts which conceal

fundamental

is concealed in natural reality which the reality which is concealed in appearance. phenomena, The literature, both cited of cryptographic examples them the medieval, and the consideration of the motives it should be sufficient,I think, to allay any which produced a priori against the likelihood of finding cryptograms prejudice in the Divina Commedia. indeed, And, the existence of in the Divina Commedia is generally at least one cryptogram ancient and recognized. I refer forte^the strangely

thirty-third canto
"

himself calls the enigma worded prophecy of Beatrice in the ing o( Purgalorio, in which she alludes to a comto

what

Dante

and five." that these words are the cryptic designation of a particular person. The identity of this person has never, however, been satisfactorily established; it remains, in fact, saviour as It is supposed
a

five hundred,

ten,

one

of the central mysteries of the poem. But the attempts to identify this person have commonly been based on some variation of the cryptographic device of substituting numbers for letters.
In addition
to

to

un

in the Divina

cinquecento Commedia

in the reference of Beatrice the cryptogram diece e cinque, there isjust one other passage

presence of a Purg. xii.25-63, which

in which, as has been cryptogram

far

as

am

aware,

reads

as

recognized. follows:

the I refer to

Vedea colui che fu nobil create Piu ch' altra creatura, giu dal cielo Folgoreggiando scender da un lato. Vedea Briareo, fitto dal telo Celestial,giacer dall' altra parte, Grave alia terra per lo mortal gelo. Vedea Timbreo, vedea Pallade e Marte, Armati ancora, intorno al padre loro, Mirar le membra de' Giganti sparte. Vedea Nembrot appi^ del gran lavoro, Quasi smarrito, e riguardar le genti Che in Sennaar con lui superbi foro.

25

28

31

34

THE

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

13

O Niobe, con che occhi dolenti in sulla strada io te segnata Vedeva Tra sette e sette tuoi figliuoli spenti! in sulla propria spada O Saul, come in Gelboe, Quivi parevi morto Che poi non sent! pioggia ne rugiada! O folle Aragne, si vedea io te Gia mezza aragna, trista in su gli stracci Deir opera che mal per te si fe'. O Roboam, par che minacci gia non Quivi il tuo segno; ma pien di spavento Nel porta un carro prima che altriil cacci. Mostrava Io duro pavimento ancor Almeon Come a sua madre fe' caro Parer Io sventurato adornamento. i figlisi gittaro Mostrava come Sopra Sennacherib dentro dal tempio, lui, quivi illasciaro. E come, morto Mostrava la ruina e il crudo scempio disse a Ciro: Che fe' Tamiri, quando 'Sangue sitisti, t'empio.' ed io di sangue in fuggiro Mostrava come rotta si Oloferne, Gli Assiri, poi che fu morto Ed anche le reliquie del martiro. Vedea Troia in cenere e in caverne: O Ilion, come te basso e vile il segno che li si discerne!* Mostrava

37

40

43

46

49

52

55

58

61

This passage shows a strikingly symmetrical arrangement of the firstletters of the firstlines of twelve terzine and of all the lines of the thirteenth terzina. Each of the first four terzine begins with the letter v, each of the second four with the letter o, and each of the third four with the letter m; tively and each of the three lines of the last terzina begins respeco, in m. v, letters same same the order: with the It is possible, but not at all probable, that this symmetrical is accidental. The probability, indeed, arrangement of initials

of letters so calling attention to some special significance of the consistently reiterated. The probability of the intention of has not the notice of Dante the arrangement escaped
was

is that the arrangement

intended

by Dante

as

means

In the several *In the present study I have followed the text of Moore. I have instances where I have adopted a variant cited my authority. reading

14

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

that in medieval scholars, who, remembering letter,have read the letters as are the same
UOM,
or
"man."

usage
an

and

acrostic for

ever, arrangement symmetrical of the letters is not, howis intentional. The the only proof that the acrostic uom passage is both preceded and followed by words which are is hints that something as capable of being understood hidden in the passage. Preceding the passage, in line 23, are V These words may easily the vfordiS'.secondo

The

artificiofigurato.

by the is "figured" taken as hinting that something following "artifice" of the symmetrical And arrangement. the passage are the words, lines 64-66:
be

Qual

di pennel fu maestro di stile, o Che ritraesse \ ombre e i tratti, ch' ivi Mirar farieno ogn' ingegno sottile?

Here

again there is the possibility of a hinting double meaning in the reference to the strokes which would make every

subtle wit wonder. In addition to the symmetry of special of the arrangement letters and the hints of a hidden meaning there is further confirmatio dence of the intention of the acrostic in the corresponbetween
the meaning

of the text. The acrostic vom, does the expression, Ymfji d' Eva^ corresponds to the figliuoli in meaning of the passage throughout, which is simply man his fallen estate. The confirmations of intention which I have here applied to the acrostic vom have already been discussed
^

of the acrostic and the meaning repeating in generic form as it

that I shall the same apply to the cryptographic readings to be presented later. Although the cinquecento diece e cinque and the acrostic are VOM the only cryptograms in the Divina Commedia which, far have been recognized, there are many so as I know, sages pasin the poem which suggest very strongly and expressions aspects, and

in their general

they

are

the possibility of a cryptographic intention. In Par. xix. 115-141, the nine terzine show a symmetrical arrangement of the initial letters of the terzine which is strikingly similar to the arrangement of the passage in which

the acrostic

vom

is found.

Each

of the first three terzine

THE

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

15

begins with the letter l, each of the second three with the letter v, and each of the third three with the letter e. I know Dante to this passage on of no reference in the commentaries Yet the similarity of the arrangeas containing a cryptogram. ment
is found that of the passage in which the acrostic vom is intended. likely that a cryptogram makes it seem Another instance of a symmetry so unusual as to suggest a
to

cryptic intention is Par. xx. 40-72, in which the firstterzina and every second terzina thereafter begins with the same Stillanother instance isPar. xv. loo-i 11, words: Ora conosce. in which each of the four terzine begins with the same word:
And another instance is Purg. vi. 106-117, where each of the four terzine begins with Vien. There may also be found in the Divina Commedia a number letters. In Par. instances a cryptic use xviii. of separate of of

Non.

77-78,

the lights which


Or
D,

are

the visible forms of the spirits


in faciensi figure.

or

I, or

l,

sue

These

three letters, which are later discovered to be the beginning of a complete sentence, are presented at first hidden exactly as if they had some apart from their context, hidden That they have indeed some significance of their own. in regard to significance appears from the curious invocation
them and in regard letters of the sentence
"

to

them have not

alone, since the remaining yet been mentioned which


"

Dante
a

addresses to Pegasus. In this invocation, after making proceeds. Par. xviii. 85-86: reference to "wits," Dante
lUustrami di Le lor figure
te,
com'

si ch' io rilevi

io I'ho

concette.

vocatio This surely has a suspicious sound. And even after the inis finished Dante does not proceed to give the remaining has he letters of the mystic sentence said, as if until the exact of them also had a hidden significance, number that the lights then showed themselves
Vocali
in cinque volte sette consonanti. "Par.

xviii.88-89.

i6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

preoccupation with the separate letters in this passage end here, for after he has given the sentence spelt by the lights of the spirits:
Diligite
terram, justitiam qui judicatis

Nor

does Dante's

series of transformations of the letter m with ends. This letter is transformed firstinto which the sentence the shape of a lily and then into the shape of an eagle. The he describes
a

association of these shapes with the letter m is a mystery been adequately explained. that has never The spirits within the lights which group themselves in such a way as to form the cryptic letters are likened by Dante,

line 73, to birds. The idea of letters formed by birds goes back to the classic tradition of letter-making cranes, which Roman was custom of reading auguries associated with the is in the flightsof birds. This a sort of cryptography in nature, which the augur deciphers. References to this tradition will Kingdom. be found in R. T. Holbrook's Dante and the Animal In Par. xix. 1 27-1 29, there is a play on the letters i and m :
Vedrassi Segnata al Ciotto di Jerusalemme bontate, i la sua un il contrario segnera un emme.

con

Quando
The
I

and the m in this passage are usually, and imperfectly, I believe, interpreted by the commentators in terms of their "one" "a in the Roman and meaning notation of numbers:

thousand."
xxiii.32-33, there is an allusion to the idea that "man," face: is written on omo, the human the word for the two o's, as I have already explained, represent the two eyes, and the letter m represents the nose and the outlines of form the cheeks. The complete of the word, and so of the face, the m is so appears, indeed, in the single letter m, when
In Purg.

shaped, as often in medieval manuscripts, that the central line of the letter may be taken as representing the nose, the two lines curved lines at each side as representing the outby these of the cheeks, and the spaces circumscribed lines as representing the eyes. Stillanother instance of the cryptographic
use

of

separate

THE

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

17

letter in the Divina Commedia appears in the references in by the angel in the forehead of Purgatorio to the seven p's cut The accepted explanation of Dante's use Dante. of these inadequate letters as the initials seven ca.rd\na.\ peccaii, of the is based on a as I believe it to be, recognition of their cryptographic

character, as indicating a word by its initial. Another unexplained play on letters appears in Par.
Ma Di Mi

vii.

quella riverenza che s'indonna


tutto
me,

pur
come

per

be

per

ice,
assonna.

richinava

I'uom

ch'

The
even

reverence

in the the

is thus described as mistress of Dante spelling of the diminutive form of Beatrice

which

suggests

cryptographic possibility that there is some form, between Beatrice., the complete play on the difference and the diminutive form. Bice. And there is another mystery about Beatrice which seems cryptographic. In Vita Nuova, xxx, she issaid to be a "nine;" the Fita Nuova the important dates of her and throughout by what lifeand death are made to conform to this number
Moore In

calls

"curious

What juggling."

can

this "curious

jugghng"signify?
Infernoare
I have
Pape

anything

passages of a character different from yet cited: the line:


two

Satan, pape

Satan aleppe, Inf.vii. I,


"

and the line:


Rafel mai
amech

izabi almi, Inf.xxxl. 67.


"

that these lines,which are usually considered as mere gibberish, have a cryptic meaning? is the Analogous to the cryptic use of letters and numbers use sentations and their pictorial and literary repreof actual objects The Divina as of esoteric meanings. symbols Does

it not

seem

probable

is fullof such symbols. I need mention only a the ladder, the crown, and of them: the eagle, the cross, in in Paradiso; the four animals mentioned mystic rose beginning of Inferno, the lonza, the lupa, the leone, and Commedia

few the
the the

i8

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the chariot, the griffon, and the All or these things are symbols of meanings more mystic less arbitrarily attached to them, exactly as other than the less arbitrarily attached to are more or ordinary meanings
tree.

Veltro; and

in Purgatorio

letters and numbers as prone as Dante

in the making of cryptograms. An author to the use of a symbolism of objects would hardly have been averse to the use on of the symbolism which is based. cryptography In addition to the evidence already cited of the presence of in the Divina Commedia are the numerous cryptograms passages in which Dante refers to a meaning hidden behind a is usually supposed to be merely veil. This hidden meaning the allegorical meaning that is hidden behind the literal. It is not impossible to infer, however, that the reference is
to

as

meaning hidden behind in the following passage.


a

veil of cryptographic Inf.ix. 61-63:

devices,

O voi che avete gl' intelletti sani, Mirate la dottrina che s'asconde Sotto il velame degli versi strani.

word arte^ as in Purg. ix. 70-72, is frequently used by Dante in such a way to be inconsistent, to say the as not least,with a reference to the arts, or devices, of cryptography :

The

io innalzo Letter, tu vedi ben com' La mia materia, e pero con piu arte io la Non ti maravigliar s' rincalzo.

And

in Dante's

use

of the word

scrittura there

seems

to

be

similar duplicity, as referring not only to the manifest text but also to some sort of writing that is concealed. An instance in Par. xix. 82-84: occurs
Certo a colui die meco s'assottiglia, fosse, Se la scrittura sopra voi non Da dubitar sarebbe a maraviglia.

the following passage. Par. xix. 43-45, be taken as a of meaning which a cryptogram suggestion of the excess the manifest meaning reveals over of a text? The lines are: And
may
not

Non pote suo valor si fare impress" In tutto I'universo, che il suo verbo Non rimanesse in infinito eccesso.

THE

GENERAL

EVIDENCE

19

The

line, Par. xviii. 130:


Ma
tu,

che sol per cancellare, scrivi,


to

cipheri method of deby cancellation of non-significant letters. interesting instance of Dante's double use of the The most following passage, Par. xix. word scrittura appears in the

is perhaps

an

allusion

the cryptographic

130-135:
Vedrassi I'avarizia e la viltate Di quel che guarda I'isoladel foco, Dove Anchise fini la lunga etate; Ed a dare ad intender quanto e poco, La sua scrittura fien lettere mozze, Che noteranno molto in parvo loco.

The

last three lines of

this passage

have

been

extraordinarily

They are translated mistranslated and misinterpreted. "And, follows: to to Norton by as give understand in him be for how paltry he is, the writing abridged shall in little in letters which note space." And much shall Norton his comment says that the reference here is to Frederick of Arragon, as "too worthless to have his many full."However close this translation misdeeds written out in be to the mere or not surface may may and this comment historicalallusion, they miss entirely meaning of the text as an implithe literal meaning of the words and their important cations.

translations are translated by Wicksteed letters;" by Longfellow "abbreviations." "his record"


As
a

Other

is effect. Lettere mozze in the Temple Classics as "stunted letters;" by Butler as as "contracted
to

the

same

La

sua

or

matter

"the writing of fact, la sua

scrittura is variously translated against him." scrittura


means

as

literally"his

lettere mozze means writing" or "his way of writing;" and from the words literally"letters cut off"" "cut off," that is, in which they appear in the text. The ordinary mistranslation in a indeed, correspond, and misinterpretation may himself wishes to throw loose way, to the veil which Dante its in at once itself, his real meaning; but the meaning over literalaspect, is simply a reference profoundest and its most

20

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

cryptographic way of writing in which the letters to be read are to be cut off, as in acrostics, for instance, from the It is for this reason context. that they "shall signify much in is restricted to a littlespace," inasmuch as a cryptogram small part of the space occupied by the passage in which it
to
a

is hidden. In Par. xxxiii. 121, in a passage of cryptic intention, there seems

plicati that is full of imto be a similar


fioco

allusion

to

the brevity of cryptographic


O quanto e corto Al mio concetto!
il dire,
e

expression:

come

Similarly, also, in the invocation to Pegasus to which I have already referred in connection with the cryptic letters: dil, the reference to questi versi brevi is again, I believe, to the
inherent brevity of cryptograms. The evidence which I have given in the foregoing pages in the Divina to the use points unmistakably of cryptograms
Commedia.
are can

But
to

still left be.

scholarship we after six centuries of Dante the cryptograms and what where wonder

Chapter

II

ACROSTICS

Chapter

IT

ACROSTICS

cryptograms THE acrostics. These

acrostics
as

are

in the present chapter are kinds, acrostics as acrostics are of two nate defined and acrostics which I desigcommonly
to

be shown

acrostic acrostics. The anagrammatic I know, form defined in the histories of as it is possibly, therefore, especially in certain cryptography; extensions of the form which I will show in Chapter IX, an invention of Dante's. In the present chapter I will illustrate

anagrammatic far is not, so

with

the the differences between of examples form; common acrostic acrostic form and the anagrammatic in detail. forms I in Chapter IX discuss two the and will The first acrostics that I will show are to be considered forming a group by themselves, in that they occur at the as
a

number

and the end of each of the three main divisions of Purgatorio, and Paradiso. the Divina Cominedia: Inferno, in the initial and the The fact that these acrostics occur beginning

terminal positions of the three main divisions of the poem, in structure, and that they are all,as I shall show, idenncal is a confirmation of their intentional character.
acrostics of this group initial, appears in the fact that they are all to be read on the or the initial and contiguous, letters of the first, fourth, a seventh, and tenth lines from the beginning or the end of I call this structure, to which canto. all the acrostics of the group conform, a ten-line frame. These acrostics can further be confirmed as intentional by or the the correspondence which they show to the meaning being text and by expressions in the text which are capable of
structure

The

identical

of the

[23I

24

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

understood

as

having

double

meaning

hinting

at

the

of acrostics appears on the initials of the first,fourth, seventh, and tenth lines of Inf.i. These lines are the firstlines of the firstfour terzine of the canto. The
passage

presence of cryptograms. The first of this group

reads

as

follows:

di nostra del cammin Nel mezzo vita Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, Che la diritta via era smarrita. dura Ahi quanto dir qual era e cosa a Questa selva selvaggia ed aspra e forte, la paura! Che nel pensier rinnuova Tanto e amara, che poco e piu morte: Ma del ben ch' i' vi trovai, trattar per Diro deir altre cose ch' io v' ho scorte. io v' entrai; r non ben ridir com' so in su quel punto, Tant' era pien di sonno la Che verace via abbandonai.

10

The

initials of the firstlines of the four terzine


I

are:

N A
'T

7
10

these initialsthe acrostic: nati Nati is not the only acrostic to be found in the passage. Consider the following marginal letters of the first four lines down
on

Read

of the

canto:

1 2

NE MI c
A

3
4

Read These Moore, I have Ahi. A

down
two

who

these letters the acrostic: nemica acrostics entail a departure from the text of reads the first word of the fourth line: Eh.
on

adopted,

instead, the reading of Torraca reference to Moore's Textual Criticism

and others: Divina of the

ACROSTICS Commedia

25

that there is good manuscript authority for a reading which begins the line with the letter a. It should be remembered in that we have no manuscript Dante's own hand or any that he could have revised. So that it may well be that cryptograms which he wrote into his work will show mutilated or obliterated by scribes and scholars. Variations from his wording or spelling might disfigure a cryptogram, and in the absence of the evidence of his own hand, it is fair to adopt any spelling for which there is good manuscript authority. Of the two acrostics, nati nati, as being read and nemica, ning on the first,fourth, seventh, and tenth lines from the beginis identical in structure of the canto, with the acrostics I at the beginning and which shall show at the end oi Inferno, the end of Purgatorio, and at the beginning and the end of Paradiso. The acrostic nemica is subsidiary to nati, the frame. Subsidiary acrostics will the ten-line acrostic on appear with all the ten-line acrostics of the group. The acrostic nati is an acrostic according to the commonly the accepted definition, since it is read consecutively on initials of definite units of the text, the units being here consecutive terzine. The acrostic nemica definition in that it is to be read same conforms
to

have

been

the

consecutively on ever, definite units of the text, consecutive lines. It departs, howfrom the commonly accepted definition in that it is to be read, not on initials, but on initials and contiguous letters.

I will discuss the meaning of these acrostics and of the other acrostics of the group after I have shown them all. The second of the acrostics at the beginnings and the ends is to be of the three main divisions of the Divina Commedia read on the initial and contiguous letters of the last line of Infernoand of the fourth, seventh, and tenth lines from the last. These Hnes are the last line of the canto and the first
lines of the three preceding follows :
D'
un

terzine. The

passage

reads

as

ruscelletto che quivi discende Per la buca d' un sasso, ch' egli ha roso Col corso ch' egli avvolge, e poco pende.

130

26

THE
Lo

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Duca ascoso ed io per quel cammino Entrammo a ritornar nel chiaro mondo: E senza d' alcun riposo aver cura Salimmo suso, ei primo ed io secondo, Tanto ch' io vidi delle cose belle Che porta il ciel, per un pertugio tondo, E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.

133

136

139

letters of the last line the following marginal and of the fourth, seventh, and tenth line from the last:

Consider

130
133

D LO
s E

136
139

Read:
The

sol:

punctuation of this acrostic, and, indeed, any punctuation in the cryptograms I is inserted which shall show, arbitrarily, as a means of indicating an interpretation of the

cryptographic
D

words.

the first and last letters of dante, and, as I later, they are constantly shall show used in the Divina Commedia as a signature. The device of indicating a proper and
e are name

by

its initial and


d

final letters survives


e,

in modern

usage. The acrostic: sol:

like the acrostic nati, is constructed on the ten-line frame. It differs,however, from the in the fact acrostic nati and also from the acrostic nemica that the letters which compose it are read not in the order in the consecutive lines, but in a rewhich they appear on arrange
. . .

called form this of acrostic, therefore, which requires an anagrammatic rearrangement of the acrostic letters,an anagrammatic acrostic. The subsidiary acrostic which appears with this acrostic: is to be read on d sol: e, the following initial and contiguous letters of the last six lines of the canto:
...

order, like the letters of

an

anagram.

I have

ACROSTICS

27

Read: This

dante

esce

qui

acrostic, like the preceding, is an anagrammatic Note letters for that the this reading are all either acrostic. initials or contiguousletters;within the limits which they make

of themselves not a single superfluous letter is contained. The first four terzine of Purgatorio^ in which I will show another acrostic on the ten-line frame, read as follows:
Per correr miglior acqua alza le vele Omai la navicella del mio ingegno, Che lascla retro a se mar si crudele. E cantero di quel secondo regno, Dove r umano spirito si purga, E di salire al ciel diventa degno. Ma qui la morta poesi risurga, Muse, O sante sono, poiche vostro E qui Calliope alquanto surga, Seguitando il mio canto con quel suono Di cui le Piche misere sentiro Lo colpo tal, che disperar perdono.

10

the following marginal letters of the firstlines of these four terzine, lines i, 4, 7, and 10: Consider

Read:

peremas

is the second person, singular, Latin peremo. present subjunctive of the lines;it appears Another acrostic may be read on the same thou
remove,"
on

Peremas,

"Do

the initialsof these lines:

28

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

p E M

7
lO

Read: The

spem

of the two acrostics, peremas and spem, lines is not accidental. For the remarkable assoon the same ciations Dante between the two which establishes words, Chapter VII. PEREMAS SPEM, see and Subsidiary to the acrostics on the ten-line frame, peremas is an acrostic on the first six lines of the canto. and spem, Consider on these lines the following initialand contiguous letters.
concurrence

Read:
In

poema.

ecco

dante

poema this anagrammatic acrostic the word appears in first lines letters. two Such as a the very plainly cluster of a cluster of significant letters,allof which are contiguous, is a

form of cryptogram at the beginnings and the ends of poems and in other salient positions. I regard such cryptographic letters, indeed are clusters of contiguous which
common

identical in form with the anagrammatic acrostic, as the form from which the anagrammatic acrostic is derived. The last ten lines oi Purgatorio^ xxxiii. 136-145, in which I shall show
an

acrostic on

the ten-line frame, read

as

follows:

S' io avessi, letter, piu lungo spazio Da scrivere, io pur canterei in parte Lo dolce her che mai non m' avria sazio; Ma perche piene son tutte le carte Ordite a questa Cantica seconda, Non mi lascia piu ir lo fren dell' arte.

136

139

ACROSTICS lo ritornai dalla santissim' onda Rifatto si, come piante novelle Rinnovellate di novella fronda, Puro e disposto a salire alle stelle.

29 142

145

the following marginal letters of the last line and the fourth, seventh, and tenth from the last: Consider
136 139
142
SI MA 10
P

RI

145

Read:

pig

rimasi

the ten-Hne frame is an this acrostic on Consider the following initial acrostic on the last four lines. lines: and contiguous letters of these

Subsidiary

to

142

I RI RI PU

143
144

145

Read:

puri

rii

The show

in which I shall first four terzine of Paradiso, i. 1-12, frame, read as follows: an acrostic on the ten-line
La gloria di colui che tutto move Per r universo penetra, e risplende In una parte piu, e meno altrove. Nel ciel die piu della sua luce prende Fu' io, e vidi cose che ridire Ne sa, ne puo chi di lassu discende; disire, Perche, appressando se al suo Nostro intelletto si profonda tanto, non Che retro la memoria puo ire. io del regno santo Veramente quant' Nella mia mente potei far tesoro, Sara ora materia del mio canto.

10

Consider the following initialand contiguous letters of the firstlines of these terzine, lines i, 4, 7, and 10:

30

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read: the ten-Hne frame is an this acrostic on Consider on these acrostic on the firstthree Hnes of the canto. hnes the following initialand contiguous letters:

Subsidiary

to

1 2

LA PER IN UNA

Read:

in

una

perla

The

last

ten
an

shall show

lines of Paradiso^ xxxiii. 136-145, in which I acrostic on the ten-line frame, read as follows:
136

Tale era io a quella vista nuova: Veder voleva, come si convenne L' imago al cerchio, e come vi s' indova; Ma non da le eran proprie penne, cio la fu percossa Se non mente che mia Da un fulgore, in che sua voglia venne. Air alta fantasia qui manco possa; Ma il disiro e il gia volgeva velle. mio
Si L'
come

139

142

rota

amor

che

move

e mossa, ch' egualmente il sole e 1' altre stelle.

145

the last line of the canto and the fourth, seventh, and tenth from the last, that is, the last line of the canto and the firstlines of the three preceding terzine, the following initialand contiguous letters: Consider
on

136
139
142

ta MA A
l'

145

Read:

l'amata

Subsidiary

to

this acrostic

on

the ten-line frame

is

an

ACROSTICS

31

initialand contiguous letters of the acrostic on the following last four lines of the canto:
142
A

143
144

MA s
L

145

Read:
I have

salma

the ten-line frame, each acrostics on beginning and at the end of with a subsidiary acrostic, at the Divina Commsdia: each of the three main divisions of the Purgatorioy and Paradiso. Let us now the Inferno, examine meaning of these acrostics in relation to the meaning of the complet will be necessarily brief and inpoem. The examination it will merely suggest, in the present chapter, of the Divina Commedia certain aspects of the symbolism in detail in the succeeding which will have to be developed
now

shown

chapters. Turn firstto the acrostics, nati which appear and nemica, is Nati beginning at the profoundly appropriate of Inferno. to the symbolism not only of the opening lines of the poem but also of the poem as a whole. The theme of the poem is the children who are born into the selva oscura, mankind, the moral obscurities of the lifeon earth. self, are The lives of the nati typified by the lifeof Dante himdream, portrays who, as the hero of an autobiographical from birth on himself as the representative man the journey it in his poem, to death. But the life of Dante, as he portrays It is also, like the lifeof Christ, is not merely a typical life. from Hell to Heaven, a model hfe. He proceeds on his journey divine; he is morally to from evil to good, from human is literally rebirth; and rebirth, regenerated. Regeneration birth, in its physical aspects, has been universally used as or illustration from the An a of moral regeneration. symbol in Bible of moral regeneration expressed, or understood, in the conversation between terms of physical birth, appears Nicodemus 3-7: and Christ, John iii.

32

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

"Jesus answered
unto

and
a man

thee, Except kingdom of God. "Nicodemus


can

him, Verily, verily, I say said unto be born again, he cannot see the him. How
can

he is old?

the second born ? womb, and be "Jesusanswered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a into be born of water man enter and of the Spirit,he cannot the kingdom of God.

saith unto he enter

be born when time into his mother's


a man

which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. be born again." Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must The same idea of moral rebirth as symbolized by physical
"That
"

birth is expressed in the familiar passages: "Except ye be littlechildren, ye shall not enter as converted, and become into the kingdom children of heaven;" and "Suffer the little forbid for to come me: not, unto them and of such is the of God." The idea of rebirth underlies the whole story of Christ himself, since he is first born or reborn, if considered as previously existing in the Trinity of the Virgin Mary, and is afterwards reborn resurrected" from the grave to his kingdom
" "
"

divine lifeas God.


so literally rebirth symbolism expressed in the Gospels to a degree, I believe, hitherto pervades the Divina Commedia who is unsuspected; and it implies necessarily, for the man

The

twice, or else the life the mother of his human existence of two mothers, one The firstis evil,since the mother of the divine life. and one she delivers her child into the evil lifeof the flesh.The second reborn, either
a

mother

who

bears him

is good, since she delivers her child into the divine lifeof the The symbolism of the dual mother, or of two mothers, spirit. is inherent in the symbolism of moral rebirth, and it is The evil mother of Dante expressed in the Divina Commedia. is she who has delivered him into the evil lifein which he has the beginning of the poem. The good mother of Dante is she who delivers him into the divine lifein which he findshimself at the end of the poem; she is no other, in fact,
at

losthimself

ACROSTICS

33

than Beatrice, who dehvers Dante into the lifeof the spirit by virtue of his love for her and her love for him. Now there is a passage in the conversation between Christ portanc and Nicodemus about rebirth which is of the highest imfor the interpretation of all myths and allegories of it is Nicodemus: "How be can a man the question of rebirth; born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his The idea of entering the mother's womb, and be born?" a mother's womb second time as the means of rebirth is
I might and religions of many even to say of all venture peoples; and it is an idea which implies an act of incest, whether disguised or overt, since the from is born is only way of reentering the womb which a man
common

to

the mythologies
"

"

of sexual union. Sometimes, indeed, the incestuous element in myths and allegories of rebirth is disguised by the fact that the man having, as I to be reborn is represented as have already suggested, two mothers. But these two mothers be understood, in the last analysis, as representing must
act

by the

which the one mother possesses: the function of conceiving the child, as from sexual birth. union, and the function of delivering the child, as in child-

simply the

two

functions of motherhood

and allegories of rebirth, therefore, in which there are two mothers refer to the one mothers, these two mother who firstbore her child and then received him back
into her womb, by sexual union, in order that she might as Incest in myth and religion is a universal again give him life. symbol of the means of rebirth; and it is necessary to

In myths

recognize this symbolism in order to understand the meaning Throughout the present volume I of the Divina Commedia. is based on a conscious will show that the Divina Commedia by and highly rationalized symbolism of incest as the means which the rebirth of the hero Dante is accomplished. In connection with the symbolism thus suggested of the it becomes evident that the acrostic nemica acrostic nati, is the is the cryptographic expression, just as the selva oscura the nati symbolic expression, of the evil mother, from whom born. Indeed, as a detail of the cryptographic form, the are in the NEMICA, an acrostic on four lines,suggests the mother

34

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

sense

an that the nati, the ten-line frame, is acrostic on formed in part of the very body of the nemica, the letters n, line 1, and a, line 4, and also, in extending beyond the fourline frame of the nemica, grows out of it.

Let
sol:
d

us
.
.

now
.

consider
e

the meaning
esce

of the
which
dakte

two

acrostics:
at

and

dante

qui,

appear
esce

the

an qui, acrostic: to the text, obvious correspondence which actually describes how Dante issues from Hell. The d e, acrostic: sol:
. . .

The conclusion of Injerno.

has

points to the association of Dante, as the hero of the poem, with the sun as his symbol. The sun symbolism of the Divina has never Commedia been sufficiently understood; in the of the present volume I shall have occasion to develop it in detail, and I shall be able to confirm it with abundant fore, cryptographic proof. I will confine myself at present, therecourse

indicating that the sun, which has universally been used as the symbol of God and which constantly appears, in Christian symbolism, as the symbol of Christ, is consistently as the used throughout the Divina Commedia symbol of Dante.
to
as the symbol for himself is very apof the sun parent in the fact that his descent into Hell is synchronized to Purgatory with the descent of the sun, and that his ascent is synchronized with the rising sun. Other correspondences between Dante's journey and the course of the sun will be use

Dante's

developed

of the poem might be as a well considered self-conscious variation of the sun dantte esce myth. The two acrostics at the end of Inferno:
and sol: which Dante
QUI

later; they prove that the theme

confirm this idea, for the hour at issues from Hell is sunrise of Easter. Now feature of all sun myths, with which the the common is thus suggested as analogous, theme of the Divina Commedia is the idea o{ rebirth.The sun that in the evening sinks back
d
. . .

e,

in death into the mother earth from whom it was born in the is to be born again in the morning follow. This to morning idea of the rebirth of the sun from the mother who had given birth to itin the firstplace involves the idea of incest an idea in the which, as I have already suggested, is fundamental
"

symbolism

of the Divina

Commedia.

ACROSTICS

35

three acrostic readings which I show on the opening on peremas Hnes of Purgatorio are: the ten-Hne and spem, The peremas dante. frame, and the subsidiary: poema: ecco is the most remarkable single word that I have discovered
The
among

and it the cryptograms of the Divina Commedia^ appears very often. The use which Dante makes of this word is extremely complicated; for the detailed discussion of its
meaning Chapter present for "Do Latin as thou remove," the surmise that, to instructs the reader of the Divina Commedia veil that covers The acrostic
I shall have VII, For our
to

refer the

reader, therefore, purposes it is sufficient


peremas remove

to to

the

of the poem. lines which spem, which appears on the same has a meaning which isobviously related to the give peremas, meaning of Purgatorio^ in which hope is the prevailing mood. Hope in Purgatory contrasts with despair in Hell, as appears, indeed, in the inscription written over the gate of Hell:
the
secret

meaning

Lasciate ogni speranza,

voi, ch'

entrate.

dante, ecco appropriateness of the acrostic: poema: to the text is self-evident, since it signs Purgatorio at its Cryptographic beginning with the author's name. signatures beginning a or common are at the the end of main division is echoed in the of a work. Notice that the acrostic poema line 7, in the word poesi. In the firstline of the passage text,

The

the word vele^ or "sails." This word suggests a pun on the word for "veil," vel^ the presence of which in the text is almost invariably associated with of the Divina Commedia Dante device. Another some which word cryptographic is ingegno, a constantly associates with his cryptograms in the present reference to wit or cunning, which appears bear in mind these passage in hne 2. I ask the reader to by further examples. associations until I confirm them The acrostics which I have shown at the end of Purgatorio The rii puri rii. rimasi pig are: correspond and puri both of Lethe, Eunoe two to streams and the obviously of Purgatorio which are discussed in the concluding cantos I as bathed. These streams, and in both of which Dante is
note

36

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

shall develop later, are symbols of the two mothers, or of the dual mother, who constantly appears in myths of rebirth, I shall have to defer to a later chapter the discussion of Dante's bathing in these two images as mother symbolizing birth the physical relations of and sexual union. I shall likewise have to defer the discussion of the meaning Let it for pig rimasi. the present to of the acrostic: suffice has "slept" with Beatrice, Purg. xxxii. suggest that Dante
The
description of this sleep expresses in symbolism which I believe, been recognized, the idea that the two has not, lovers have repeated in the Terrestrial Paradise, the Garden of Eden, the act for which Adam and Eve were expelled from it. The difference, however, between Dante is and Adam

simply this,that where Adam sinned by disobedience to God, Dante "pious," or respectful of the divine conremained ditions for such intercourse.
pene the beginning oi Paradiso are: vela The IN UNA PERLA. and meaning of these acrostics is God a^ appropriate to the text. In the symbolism of the sun is his phallic symbol. The phaUic light the light of the sun "in a pearl" is the as the universe" which "penetrates

The

acrostics

at

the earth, and, in principle which, in the literalsense, makes the moral sense, the soul bear fruit.In the symbolism of the in the symbolism Divina Commedia^ as of primitive myth
and religion, the analogies with the sexual organism on which is based are developed in detail. For the discussion the symbolism

of Dante's symbolism of light as phallic in relation to the female form of the universe, see Chapter VIL The two acrostics at the end of Paradiso are: l'amata and
SALMA.

Salma
uses,

Dante

corpo morto Par. xxxii. 113-114,

means

corpo; it is a word in the phrase:


or

which

Carcar

II Figliuol di Dio si vuole della nostra salma.

The

to the passage in appropriateness of the acrostic salma which it appears, and, indeed, to the theme of the entire poem becomes evident in considering the theme of the poem in the light of Dante's own definition, in the letter to Can Grande:

ACROSTICS

37

"The then, of the whole work, taken according to subject, the letter alone, is simply a consideration of the state of souls after death; for from and around this the action of the whole work turneth. But if the work is considered according to its is man, liable to the reward allegoricalmeaning, the subject or according as through the freedom of punishment of Justice, the will he is deserving or undeserving."* It thus appears that the real of the poem, disguised subject as itis as a journey through the post-mortem regions of Hell, on Purgatory, and Paradise, is in reality the life of man indeed, but a journey a journey, which begins with earth birth and ends with death. This meaning of the poem is indicated by the acrostic nati at the beginning of the poem, and by the which symbolizes the birth of the hero Man, at the end of the poem, which symbolizes his acrostic salma find the female nemica as we corpse, or death. And just in connection with the nati at the beginning of the poem, we in connection with the salma find l'amata at the end of the Dante is the beloved whom at the poem. L'amata rejoins, in death; and she contrasts with the end of his journey, begins at birth. Dante is at his journey from whom NEMICA, I shall have to develop later, the lover of l'amata as once, at least,her son, since it is through and, in a symbolical sense his love for her that he is reborn, or born to God. Thus the
"

represent the two mothers, or the two and l'amata in mother, who is universally present aspects of the one as the evil and allegories of rebirth. The nemica, myths from her to the evil lifeon womb mother, delivers the child L'amata, as the divine life. earth ; she is the mother of the evil her womb, to the as mother, receives the child back into be divine source may of life in which the life of the son life, a lorm of renewed. She is thus the mother of the divine in is life which myths, only constantly symbolized, not in dreams, and religion,but also the allegory of the Divina The foetus Commedia^ as the prenatal existence in the womb. has been universally symbolized, as I shall show in the womb later,by the corpse in the grave; it is a symbolism which
NEMICA

*From

S. Latham. the translation of Dante's Eleven Letters by Chas.

4C5285

38

THE

CR^PTOCJRAPHY

OF

DANTE

rationalizes the universal desire to consider the grave, or death, as the birthplace, or birth, of a lifeafter death. The intra-uterine existence, as thus symbolized by the corpse in the grave, and as we shall see, by the soul in Hell or Purgatory or Paradise, is taken by Dante as the symbol of the return of the soul to God; the soul is thus enfolded again in the very source of life;and God, as the supreme of object love, is conceived as a divine motherhood from whose womb the soul is expelled in birth to the evil life of the fle;h on more returns the soul once earth, and back, to whose womb for the lifeeternal. It is in this dual character of the mother as expelling and receiving the child that the nemica and l'amata to be considered as in the last analysis identical, are
and in Dante's relation to this dual character there is necessarily implied the idea of incest. It is an idea, moreover, which is inherent in the Christian symbolism birth Christ. of the of Dante in the prayer to the expresses the idea supremely Virgin Mary,
Par. xxxiii. i Vergine Madre,
:

ligliadel

tuo

Figlio.

The

complicated filial and marital.

relationship implied

in this line is both

I showed in connection with the acrostics: nati and nemica, to be indicated as the mother seems that the nemica of the by the acrostic figure of the nati formed in NATI as part of letters as the nemica, the same and as extending beyond, or growing
out
1 2

of, it.The
NE MI c
A

acrostic figure appears

thus:

3
4

5 6

7
8
9
lO

Analogous

to

this acrostic figure of the

nati,

as

children.

ACROSTICS

39

growing the SALMA,

out

is the acrostic figure of the maternal nemica of foetus, in as the womb corpse or of l'amata:
TA

136

THE There

DIVISION

INTO

FOUR

is another division of the Divina Commedia that has I refer to the introduction to the not yet been mentioned. The poem, which is contained in the firstcanto of Inferno. three regions of the lifeafter death are generally considered In reality, however, the as the scene of the Divina Commedia.
scene

is the universe, which includes, in its entirety, the important region of Earth, and it is in the introductory canto on that the life oi Inferno earth is represented by a symboHsm

that is as complete as it is compact. The apparent tripartite division of the Divina Commedia thus conceals a division into four parts. The actual division into four of the apparent tripartite division of the poem is an essential feature of Dante's number is not This fact, however, recognized; it is symbolism. constantly said, to the contrary, that the number symbolism of the poem is based on three; and, in support of the three as the basic number, the Trinity of God is cited as suggesting to Dante the numerical structure that he follows not only in the into three main parts but also in his division of his poem form of three invention of the terzina, his peculiar stanza in favor of the lines.As a matter of fact, the instances cited

40

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

prove the contrary; in reality based on a concept of four. The four of the Trinity is evident in the basic Christian belief that the Son of the Triune Father, Son, and Holy Ghost makes a fourth in the human form in which he is reborn
on

three symbolism of the Divina Commedia for both the Trinity and the terzina are

earth

as

Christ. As Dante

says. Par. i. 104-105;


e

questo

forma

Che

runiverso

Dio

fa simigliante.

that the universe, with its four-fold division into Paradise, Purgatory, Hell, and Earth, is like God implies the four-fold aspect of God.
The
statement

based on a terzina, which is apparently system of three, is in reality based on a system of four lines; for the terzina form, by virtue of its unrhymed second line, by the rhyme is only completed of the first line of the Similarly, the by succeeding terzina, or, as in the case of the end of a canto, the rhyme of the separate last line. The four which thus appears in the Trinity, in the structure form of the Christian universe of Dante, and in the stanza

which

he himself invented, is emphasized by many symbols which I cannot The instances

in the Divina
at

Commedia

to enumerate.

in themselves to into four principal parts, and that the number symbolism but Dante's not only of the poem conception of life is of based, not on three, but on the relation of three to four. media This view of the number of the Divina Comsymbolism is consonant has placed with the fact that Dante
i,the end acrostics on the ten-line frame at the end o{ Inferno of the division that might properly be called Terra^ and at the beginning of Inferno ii, which is really the beginning of

present take time however, are just cited, sufficient indicate that the poem is in reality divided

Infernoproper.
The
ten

lines that show


In
tutte

the acrostic

at

the end of

i are: Inf.

parti impera, e quivi regge, Quivi e la sua citta e 1' alto seggio: O felice colui cui ivi elegge!'

127

ACROSTICS

41

io a lui: *Poeta, io ti richieggio Per quello Dio che tu non conoscesti, Acciocch' io fugga questo male e peggio Che tu mi meni la dov' or dicesti, Si ch' io vegga la porta di san Pietro, E color cui tu fai cotanto mesti.' Allor si mosse, ed io li tenni retro.
Ed

130

133

136

the following marginal letters of the last line and of the fourth, seventh, and tenth from the last:

Consider

Read;

This is an incomplete reading of the acrostic on these lines. Notice the words Ed ioy line 130; they are, as I shall show in the chapter on the Universal Form, a cryptic sign for Dante himself. The indica spelling down the line through the di of
ED 10

makes

cross

with

ed

io, IN

thus:

di

c
a

cryptographic reading, therefore, is in effect: indica is,it "indicates Dante;" and indicating Dante in 10. That ED it suggests the identification which he the form of a cross, cussion constantly makes of himself with Christ. For further dis-

The

of the cryptographic pp. 151-2. The firstfour terzine oi

content

of this passage

see

Inf.ii are:

Lo giorno se n' andava, e 1' aer bruno in terra Toglieva gli animai che sono Dalle fatiche loro; ed io sol uno la guerra M' apparecchiava a sostener della Si del cammino e si pietate, Che ritrarra la mente. erra. che non

42

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

O Muse, 0 mente,

alto ingegno, or m* aiutate: che scrivesti cio ch' io vidi, Qui si parra la tua nobilitate. Io cominciai: *Poeta che mi guidi, Guarda la mia virtu, s' ella e possente, Prima che all'alto passo tu mi fidi.
o

IO

the following marginal these four terzine:


1

Consider

letters of the firstlines of

LO
M

7
ID

o 10

Read:

l'omo

id

Subsidiary
on

this acrostic on ten lines appears an acrostic the following marginal letters of the first two lines:
to
1 2

LO

TO

Read: The

loto

relation of these acrostics to the meaning of the text is very close. Loto, a term iorjango, commonly used to mean iI gen ere umano^ corresponds to the English use of "clay" for for In the present instance, it is the generic term "mankind."
individual. Dante, id, represents as an what Dante, as l'omo by virtue of the typical life itis implied, represents mankind in which he portrays himself. But the most interesting implication is to be found in the fact that both these acrostics spring from Lo giorno^ line i. is sinking as Dante descends The day, that is, the sun, into Hell,and it rises again as Dante ascends to Purgatory. is both Dante thus, as the representative omo, whose nature human as the and divine, associates himself with the sun God. both and of of mankind universal symbol four divisions of the Divina Commedia are thus shown to be marked the ten-line frame at the off by acrostics on beginning and the end of each. The number of symbolism four in relation to three which this demarcation confirms is The

further confirmed

by

the

structure

of the acrostics them-

ACROSTICS

43

frame acrostic is constructed, essentially, selves. The ten-line on Jour terzine of three lines each the number of lines in by the the terminal acrostics being necessarily diminished
"

incomplete

four that thus of the final terzina. The the number of lines appears in connection with a three being four times three of 3 :4. suggests again the symbolism It is to be further noted that the four terzine involved in the

form

"

"

ten-line frame are very clearly marked off in Inj.i, Purg. i, and Par. i, as rhetorical units. In each of these openings the four terzine are separated from the fifthby a decided change The coincidence of the acrostic frame of thought and subject. be considered accidental. with the rhetorical unit can scarcely

OTHER ON There
are

ACROSTICS TEN-LINE FRAME

THE

be found in the Divina Commedia many other acrostics on the ten-line frame both at the beginnings and the I will give here a and in the interior of cantos. ends of cantos few examples, simply for the purpose of further illustrating The remaining examples the structure. of acrostics on the for later chapters, in which the ten-line frame I will reserve pretation interto confirm my meaning of the acrostics will serve of the Divina Commedia. of the symbolism The following passage. Inf. viii. 82-93, consists of four
to

terzine:
lo vidi piu di mille in sulle porte Da' ciel piovuti, che stizzosamente Dicean: 'Chi e costui, che senza morte lo della Va per morta regno gente?' fece segno E il savio mio Maestro Di voler lor parlar segretamente. Allor chiusero un poco il gran disdegno, E disser: 'Vien tu solo, e quei sen vada, Che si ardito entro regno. per questo Sol si ritorni per la folle strada: Provi se sa, che tu qui rimarrai Che gli hai scorta si buia contrada.'
82

85

88

91

44

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the following marginal these terzine; Consider


82
10
V
A s

letters of the firstlines of

85
88
91

Read:

savio

passage begins, line 82, with the words lo vidi; we ning shall see later that the presence of these words at the beginof a terzina is frequently a hint of the presence of a

The

The intention of the cryptogram. by the repetition of the word


Another

acrostic savio in line 86.

is confirmed

hint of the presence of a cryptogram is to be found in the acrostic on the three lines of the terzina beginning line 85. Consider the following marginal letters of these lines:
85
86
V

87

DI

Read:

vedi

In the second line of the terzina in which the acrostic vedi is found occurs the word savio^ line 86. Possibly the acrostic instruction to look is a direction to this word, the reappearance

of which

in the ten-line acrostic

savio

confirms

the acrostic. The following passage. Par. xiv. 70-81, terzine:

consists of four

E si come al salir di prima sera Comincian per lo ciel nuove parvenze, Si che la vista pare e non par vera; Parvemi li novelle sussistenze Cominciar a vedere, e fare un giro Di fuor dair altre due circonferenze. O vero isfavillar del santo spiro, Come si fece subito e candente Agli occhi miei che vinti non soffriro! Ma Beatrice si belja e ridente Mi si mostro, che tra quelle vedute Si vuol lasciar che non seguir la mente.

70

73

76

79

ACROSTICS

45

Consider the following marginal these four terzine:

letters of the firstlines of

The

first four terzine of Purg. ii are:


Gia era il sole all'orizzonte giunto, Lo cui meridian cerchio coperchia Jerusalemcol suo piu alto punto: E la notte che opposita a lui cerchia, Uscia di Gange fuor colle bilance, Che le caggion di man soperchia; quando Si che le bianche e le vermiglie guance, L^ dove io era, della Bella Aurora Per troppa etate divenivan ranee. lunghesso il mare ancora, Noi eravam Come cammino, gente che pensa a suo Che va col core, e col corpo dimora:

10

Consider marginal
I

on

ing the first lines of these four terzine the followletters:


G E
s

7
10

NO

Read:

segno.

For the importance which Dante attaches to the position indicated in the text see pp. 267-72. of Jerusalem The following passage, Purg. xiii.145-154, consists of the

last ten

lines of the

canto:

nuova,' 'Or questa e ad udir si cosa Rispose, 'che gran segno h che Dio t' ami; Per5 col prego tuo talor mi giova. E chieggioti per quel che tu piu brami, di Toscana, Se mai calchi la terra Che a' miei propinqui tu ben mi rinfami.

145

148

46

THE Tu

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

li vedrai tra quella gente vana Che spera in Talamone, e perderagli Piu di speranza, la Diana; a trovar che
piu vi
metteranno

151

Ma

gli ammiragli.'

154

Consider

the

canto

the following marginal letters of the last line of and of the firstlines of the three preceding terzine:
OR E
T M

145 148

151 154

Read:

morte

in the first line of the preceding terzina, line 142, the words: E vivo sono. In Moore's text the firstword of this passage is 0. I have and Casini. If the acrostic adopted the reading Or of Toynbee is accepted as intentional it establishes Or as the correct Note reading.

ACROSTICS

ON

OTHER

FRAMES

In addition to the acrostics that appear on the firstlines the first of four terzine there are others that appear on lines of more less than four terzine. The following is an or example of an acrostic that appears on the firstlines of three terzine. The passage is Par. xxii. 28-36, which reads:
28

E la maggiore e la piu luculenta Di quelle margarite innanzi fessi, Per far di se la mia voglia contenta. Poi dentro a lei udi': 'Se tu vedessi, Com' io, la carita che tra noi arde, Li tuoi concetti sarebbero espressi; Ma non tarde perche tu aspettando

31

34

Air alto fine, io ti faro risposta Pure al pensier di che si ti riguarde.

the following marginal these three terzine: Consider

letters of the firstlines of

ACROSTICS

47

28

31 34

PO
MA

Read:

poema

The

following passage,

Par.

xv.

76-84, consists of three

terzine :
Perocch6 ilSol, che v' allumd ed arse Col caldo e con la luce, e si iguali, Che tutte simiglianze sono scarse. Ma voglia ed argomento nei mortali, Per la cagion ch' a voi e manifesta, Diversamente son pennuti in ali, in questa Ond' io che son mortal, mi sento Disagguaglianza, e per6 non ringrazio, Se non core, alia paterna festa. col
76

79

82

the following marginal of these three terzine: Consider

letters of the first lines

Read:

poema

following passage, Purg. xi. 1-9, contains lines of three terzine: acrostic on the first The

another

*0 Padre nostro, che nei cielistai, Non circonscritto, ma per piii amore Che ai primi efFettidi lassu tu hai, e il tuo Laudato sia il tuo nome valore e degno Da ogni creatura, com' Di render grazie al tuo dolce vapore. Vegna ver noi la pace del tuo regno, da noi, Che noi ad essa non potem ingegno. tutto S' ella non nostro vien, con

Consider the following marginal letters on these three terzine:

the firstlines of

48

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

o
L VE

Read:
The

velo

word Following
and

ingegnOy line 9, is, as

often,
acrostic

a on

hint.

canto

example of an the first lines of the

is an

two

the last line of a preceding terzine, Purg.

xvii. 133-139:
fa 1' uom felice; Altro ben e che non Non non e la buona e felicita, Essenza, d' ogni ben frutto e radice. L' amor s' troppo ch' ad esso abbandona, Di sopra noi si piange per tre cerchi; Ma come tripartito si ragiona, Tacciolo, acciocche tu per te ne cerchi.'
133

136

139

Consider
the
canto

the following marginal letters of the last line of and of the firstlines of the two preceding terzine:
l'am TA

136 139

Read:
This Uamor.

l'amata

is

sort

of "potence,"
appears

l'amata

the acrostic word begins on also in the acrostic at the end of


as

Par. xxxiii. (seep. 30). Following is an example

of five terzine, Par. xxix. 61-75:

an

acrostic

on

the firstlines of

Perche le viste lor furo esaltate lor merto, Con grazia illuminante, e con Si ch' hanno piena e ferma volontate. E non voglio che dubbi ma sie certo, Che ricever la grazia e meritorio, Secondo che 1' afFetto gli e aperto. Omai dintorno a questo consistorio Puoi contemplare assai, se le parole Mie son ricolte,senz' altro aiutorio. Ma perche in terra per le vostre scuole Si legge che 1' angelica natura E tal che intende e si ricorda e vuole,

61

64

67

70

ACROSTICS Ancor diro, perche tu veggi pura La verita che laggiu si confonde, in si fatta lettura. Equivocando
73

49

The

initials of the firstlines of these five terzine


61 64 67
P
E o
M

are:

70

73

Read;

poema

example of six terzine, Purg. xvi. 67-84:

Following

is an

an

acrostic

on

the firstlines of

Voi che vivete, ogni cagion recate Pur suso se tutto al ciel,cosi come di necessitate. Movesse seco Se cosi fosse, in voi fora distrutto fora giustizia, Libero arbitrio, e non lutto. Per ben letizia,e per male aver inizia, Lo cielo i vostri movimenti Non dico tutti: ma, posto ch' io il dica, Lume v' a bene e dato ed a malizia, fatica E libero voler, che, se Nelle prime battaglie col ciel dura, ben si nutrica. Poi vince tutto, se A maggior forza ed a miglior natura Liberi soggiacete, e quella cria ha in sua in voi, che il ciel non La mente disvia, Pero, se il mondo presente In voi e la cagione, in voi si cheggia, Ed io te ne saro vera or spia.

67

70

73

7^

79
cura.

82

Consider the following marginal these six terzine:

letters of the firstHnes of

Read:

peremas

vel

50

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Following
43-46:

is an

example

of

an

acrostic

on

four lines, Par.

x.

Perch' io lo ingegno, 1' arte e 1' uso chiami, Si nol direi che mai s' immaginasse, Ma creder piiossi, e di veder si brami. basse E se le fantasia nostra son

43

46

Consider

on

these four lines the following marginal

letters:

Read: There

F'Eremas

is a hint in the words

ingegno

and

arte.

four lines appears Another acrostic on passage, Prtr, viii.100-103:


E

in the following

non pur le nature provvedute Son nella mente ch' e da se perfetta, la lor salute. Ma esse insieme con Perche quantunque arco saetta, questo

100

103

Consider

on

these four lines the following marginal

letters:

Following
28-30:

is

an

acrostic

on

single terzina, Par.

xxv.

Ridendo allora Beatrice disse: 'Inclita vita, per cui la larghezza basilica si scrisse. Delia nostra

Consider

the following marginal


28
29
R

letters of these three lines:

I DE

30

Read:

ride

ACROSTICS

51
as

This is a
Ridendo.

sort

of "potence,"

the acrostic word

begins

on

Another appears

the three lines of a single terzina acrostic on in the following passage, Par. x. 52-54:
E Beatrice incomincio: 'Ringrazia, Ringrazia il Sol degli Angeli, ch' a questo Sensibil t' ha levato per sua grazia.'

Consider the following marginal letterson


52
E

these three lines:

54

Read:

rise

with the foregoing ride, which expresses the idea in connection with Beatrice. same Another the three lines of a example of an acrostic on single terzina appears in the following passage, Purg. xx. 1-3 :
Compare
rise

Contra miglior voler voler mal pugna; il piacer mio, per piacerli, Onde contra Trassi dell' acqua non sazia la spugna.

Consider the following marginal lettersof these three lines:


1 2

c
ON TRA

Read:

contra

This is a potence, as the acrostic word begins on Contra. The following passage. Par. i. 85-87, consists of one terzina:
io, Ond' ella, che vedea me si com' A quietarmi 1' animo commosso, la bocca aprio, Pria ch' io a domandar,

Consider the following marginal letters of these three lines:


85
86
o
A

87

PRI

Read:

aprio

52

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

This repeats the word aprio in the text. The following passage, Inf. xvi. 88-90, terzina:

consists of

one

Un ammen non saria potuto dirsi Tosto cosi, com' ei furo spariti: Perche al Maestro di partirsi. parve

Consider the following marginal letterson


88
UN TO p

these three lines:

89
90

Read:
Ammen

punto

is in

sense

punto.

Following

is one

terzina, Purg. vii. 16-18:

*0 gloria de' Latin,' disse, 'per cui Mostro cio che potea la lingua nostra, O pregio eterno del loco ond' io fui.

The

initials of the lines of this terzina


16
o
M

are:

17
18

Read:
OMO, as

omo
a

form of uomo, appears frequently in the grams cryptoin the Divina Commedia. The foregoing acrostics are sufficient to illustrate the structure of the shorter acrostics which I have discovered in With the exception of the necessarily the Divina Commedia. brief suggestion of the implications of the acrostics at the
beginning and the end of the four main divisions of the Divina Commedia^ I have not attempted to explain the meaning of the acrostics shown in the present chapter in relation to the is meaning of the poem. The whole question of meaning

deferred

to

succeeding

chapters.

Chapter

III

SIGNATURES

Chapter

III

SIGNATURES

is apparently but a single instance of Dante's it occurs, in the Divina Commedia; name use of his own Purg. XXX. ^^, in the words with which Beatrice addresses himself for him. And apparently Dante is seeking to excuse when he says, lines 62-63: using his name

THERE

Che

del nome mio, mi volsi al suon di necessita qui si registra.

The

in the occurs necessity, apparently, is that his name The excuse, words of Beatrice which he is obliged to record. if it is an excuse, may be related to the opinion, expressed in

the Convivio, i. 2, 8-17: Parlare alcuno di se medesimo pare Non si concede per li rettoricialcuno di se licito non necessaria cagione parlare. medesimo senza he Now duplicities the of Dante's language are such that in the very words with which repeats the mention of his name he excuses it.In his reference to his name, which, as he says, be understood to be di necessita qui si registra^ Dante may is "registered here" in the words: di saying that his name are the form necessita; that is, that the words: di necessita, for his signature. which he here uses
. . .

But
dante

how

can

di

necessita

be deciphered

hint for the method of in the words, lines 58-59:


? The

signature is given deciphering of


ed in prora

as

Quasi ammiraglio, che in


Viene
a

poppa

veder,

and, line 62:


mi volsi al
suon

del

nome

mio.

[55]

56

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

There

here suggested the sweeping glance that looks fore and aft, and the idea of turning a.t the sound of dantte. Let us examine now the two words of the signature di Note, first,that the word di is also the spelt NECESSITA.
are

form of the letter d, as which it may We have then for the signature:
D NECESSITA

be

at

once

considered.

Turn,

fore and aft, and keep on so turning. In other words, read, first,the firstletter, or d; second, the last letter, or a; third, the letter next the first letter,or n; fourth, the
now,

letter next

the last letter,or t; and fifth,the letter nearest or the front again, or e. The letters remaining spell cessi, "stop," so that the cryptogram directs the decipherer to he has spelt dante. This spelling device is as stop as soon

perfectly regular. Instead of being read in a straight sequence, the letters are to be read in a sequence of regular alternations between left and the extreme the letters at the extreme right. The regularity of the device will appear by numbering the letters in the order in which they are to be read:
D ^
N E

cessi

S
of Dante
is

42
one

of a large number In the present chapter Commedia. contained I will show some of these signatures and the cryptographic devices on which they are based. Many of the signatures will have a value that cannot be overestimated for illuminating some of the obscurest passages in the poem.
signature in the Divina

This hidden

ACROSTIC In connection

SIGNATURES

with the letter cluster shown in the ing precedbeginning chapter at the of Purg. i. in which Dante dante, ecco see the last ten lines of signs his poem: poema: Purg. xxxii. 1 51-160:

SIGNATURES
come perche non gli fosse tolta, Vidi di costa a lei dritto un gigante, E baciavansi insieme alcuna volta: Ma perche 1' occhio cupido e vagante A me rivolse, quel feroce drudo La flagellodal capo infin le piante. Poi di sospetto pieno e d' ira crudo, Disciolse il mostro, e trassel per la selva di lei Tanto, che sol mi fece scudo belva. Alia puttana ed alia nuova

57

151

154

157

160

Consider

the

canto

the following marginal letters of the last line of lines of the three preceding terzine: and of the first
E
M

151
154 157 160

PC A

Read:
But

poema

the only acrostic in the passage, for there is another on the lines between the lines already used to spell The hnes between the lines already used, 151, 154, POEMA. 157, and 160, are lines 152, 153, 155, 156, 158, and 159. Consider the following marginal letters of these lines:
this is not

DANT

is
The

form

that,

as

we
on

on the salient and enclosing understood, Unes of the passage, to veil the acrostic on the intervening lines. In other words, poema vela dant; the poem is the veil behind which Dante is hidden. be A possible hint of the cryptographic intention may

acrostic poema since it appears

uses elsewhere. shall see, Dante be frame the ten-Hne may

58

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

seen
a

me.

in the words disciolseil mostro and occhio Dante is here associated with the piittana^ as
. .

vagante he is in

InJ. xviii.127-136 (seepp. 59-60).

symbolism of this is VI, in Chapter association explained pp. 179-80. Contrasting with this acrostic signature which appears built as to on the ten-line frame subsidiary another acrostic are others in which the ten-line frame is used for the signature itself. An example
occurs

The

in Par. xxvi. 94-105:

Devoto a te quanto posso 94 supplico Perche mi parli; tu vedi mia voglia, E per udirti tosto la dice' non Tal volta un animal coperto broglia 97 Si che r afFetto convien che si paia Per lo seguir che face a lui I'invoglia; E similmente 1' anima primaia 100 Mi facea trasparer per la coperta

Quant' ella a compiacermi venia gaia. Indi spiro: 'Senz' essermi profferta 103 Da te, la voglia tua discerno meglio Che tu qualunque t' e cosa piii certa.
the following marginal of these four terzine:
Consider
letters of the first lines

Read; Notice in connection with this acrostic signature the line following. on which it ends, line 103, and the line next Consider the following marginal letters of these lines:

TE

lines 103-104 of the words i', dante, which appear on the ten-line frame, is strong confirmation of the intentional character of both acrostics,and the subject

The

repetition

on

SIGNATURES

59

is itselfconfirms the intention. The of the passage subject Dante as in whom, Adam, the father of mankind, exists. Moreover, the words:
Mi facea trasparer
per la coperta,

be made to that dante appear may plainly enough Un animal coperto and through the covering of the text. be likewise expressions which may convien che si paia are It is taken as having a similar reference to the cryptogram. to be noticed also that the passage as a whole begins with the letters de, the first and last of dante and constantly used
say

in the poem, either as de or ed, to indicate both the name in the passage of itself and the presence of a cryptogram ther beginning or the end. The passage is furwhich they are the bounded, firstand last, by the significant letters d, line letters also are used by Dante to 94, and I, line 103. These name graphic and to indicate the limits of cryptosuggest his own

passages.

Another example of a signature appears in Inf.xviii. 127-136:


Appresso cio lo Duca: Mi disse, 'il viso un Si che la faccia ben

on

the ten-line frame

*Fa che 127 pinghe/ poco piu avante, con gli occhi attinghe e Di quella sozza 130 scapigliata fante, Che la si graffia con 1' unghie merdose, Ed or s' accoscia, ed ora e in piede stante. Taide e la puttana, 133 che rispose io grazie disse: "Ho Al drudo suo, quando Grandi appo te?" "Anzl meravigliose." E quinci sien le nostre 136 viste sazie.'
^

interesting feature of the acrostic signature which with another acrostic on the appears here is that it occurs Before hnes. The two same acrostics are thus concurrent. signature I will show the acrostic that showing the dante first the following marginal coincides with it. Consider letters of the last line, the last of the canto, and of the first lines of the three preceding terzine:
An

6o

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

in the text, of the harlot mentioned and the acrostic, since it repeats a word of the text and uses letters, is a as one the initial of that word of its own in the "potence." The repetition in the acrostic of the name
Taide is the
name

text

is confirmation

signature by appears with this acrostic taide lines the following marginal letters:
127
130 133
a D T
E

The

of the intention of the acrostic. dante to which I referred as concurrent


taking
on

the

same

136

QUIN qui

Read:

dante

hint that a signature contains an unmistakable is concealed. This hint is found in the double meaning of the following words of Virgil to Dante himself, 127-129: The
text

Fa che pinghe il viso piu avante, un poco Si che la faccia ben con gli occhi attinghe.

If these words are taken as having the double meaning of which they are capable, Dante is told to show himself. This followed by a line, 130, is immediately moreover, command, spell of which the firstletter, d, and the last letters, ante, for For a discussion of this device and DANTE. other examples, see pp. 71-4. The two concurrent qui, show and dante acrostics: taide Dante with the and the puttana together. It is in harmony deeper symbolism that hero and harlot are of the poem involved with each other (see pp. 179-80). following passage, Purg. xx. loo-iii, The consists of
four terzine:

SIGNATURES
Tanto
prece, risposta a tutte nostra Quanto il di dura; ma, quand' e' s' annotta, in quella vece. Contrario suon prendemo Noi ripetiam Pigmalion allotta, Cui traditore e ladro e patricida Fece la voglia sua dell' oro ghiotta; Mida, E la miseria dell' avaro ingorda, domanda Che segui alia sua Per la qual sempre convien che si rida. Del folle Acan ciascun poi si ricorda, furo le spoglie, si che l' ira Come lo morda. Di Josue qui par ch' ancor
e

6i

loo

103

106

109

Consider
marginal

on

ing the firstlines of these four terzine the followletters:

following passage, Par. terzine: The

vi. 61-70,

consists of four

Quel che

fe'poi ch'egli usci di Ravenna, E salto Rubicon, fu di tal volo Che nol seguiteria lingua ne penna. In ver la Spagna rivolse lo stuolo; Poi ver Durazzo, e Farsalia percosse Si ch' al Nil caldo si senti del duolo. Antandro e Simoenta, onde si mosse, Rivide, e la dov' Ettore si cuba, E mal per Tolommeo poi si riscosse: folgorando a Juba; Da indi scese Poscia si volse nel vostro occidente, Dove sentia la Pompeiana tuba.

61

64

67

70

Consider the following marginal of these four terzine:

letters of the first lines

62

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
6l 64

OF

DANTE

QUE
I ANT D

67

70

Read:

dante

qui

The firstfour terzine of Par. ii are:


0 voi che siete in piccioletta barca, Desiderosi d' ascoltar, seguiti
Retro al mio legno che cantando varca, Tornate a riveder li vostri hti, in pelago; che forse Non vi mettete Perdendo me rimarreste smarriti. L' acqua ch' io prendo giammai non si corse: Apollo, Minerva spira, e conducemi 1' Orse. dimostran E nove Muse mi Voi altri pochi, che drizzaste il collo del quale Per tempo al pan degli Angeli, Vivesi qui, ma non sen vien satollo.
4

10

Consider marginal

the first lines of these terzine the following letters:


on
I

o
T

7
10

VO

Read:

volto
volto

on

with the idea of turning The meaning of this acrostic is repeated the firstfour lines of the canto: Compare
I o D R TORNATE

in the text. in the acrostic

3
4

Read:
Rotor

rotor,

dante

is the first person singular, present indicative The use of this word passive, of the Latin ro/o, "I revolve." in connection with a signature is a reference, as in gira

SIGNATURES

63

(see p. 96), to the cryptographic


letters in
to as such a way is the word used to "Revolve," letter to Malvolio, the anonymous

of revolving the reading. give the hidden hint at the cryptogram in


in

device

Night. Twelfth

There in
any

is

reason

passage
symmetry
occurs

marked
a

repetition

suspect the existence of a cryptogram in the Divina Commedia that shows a in the repetition of a word or phrase. Such in the four terzine, Purg. vi. 106-117:
106

to

Vieni a veder Montecchi e Cappelletti, Monaldi senza cura: e Filippeschi, uom Color gia tristi, e questi con sospetti. Vien, crudel, vieni, e vedi la pressura lor magagne, De' tuoi gentili, e cura E vedrai Santafior com' e sicura. Vieni a veder la tua Roma che piagne, Vedova e sola, e di e notte chiama: 'Cesare mio, perche non m' accompagne?' Vieni a veder la gente quanto s' ama; E se nulla di noi pieta ti move, A vergognar ti vien della tua fama.

109

112

115

is concealed here on all the lines except cryptogram the four lines beginning with the same word: Vien. Consider on the second and third lines of each of the four terzine the following marginal letters: The

Read:

velo.

ecco

me,

dante

64

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

following passage, four terzine of the canto:


The

hif.xvii. 1-12,

consists of the first

la coda aguzza, 'EccQ la fiera con i muri e 1' arm!; Che passa i monti, e rompe il niondo appuzza.' Ecco colei che tutto Si coniincio lo mio Duca a 4 parlarmi, Ed accennoUe che venisse a proda, Vicino al fin de' passeggiati marmi: imagine E quella sozza di froda 7 la Sen venne, testa e il busto; ed arrivo Ma la coda. in sulla riva non trasse faccia d' La faccia sua 10 uom era giusto; Tanto benigna avea di fuor la pelle, 1' altro fusto. E d' un serpente tutto

Consider marginal
I

on

ing the first lines of these four terzine the followletters:


E s
E

7
10

QU

LA

Read:
The

sequela

"sequel"

is

to

be found in the marginal

lettersof the

last

two

lines of the passage:


11

TAN

12

ED

Read:
The

dante

following passage, terzine:

Par.

i. 13-24,

consists of four

O buono Apollo, air ultimo lavoro del tuo valor si fatto vaso, Fammi domandi Come a dar 1' amato alloro. Infino a qui 1' un giogo di Parnaso Assai mi fu, ma or con ambedue M' e uopo entrar nell' aringo rimaso. Entra nel petto mio, e spira tue Marsia traesti Si come quando Delia vagina delle membra sue.

13

16

19

SIGNATURES
O divina virtu, se mi ti presti del beato regno Tanto che 1' ombra Segnata nel mio capo io manifesti,
22

65

the following marginal these terzine: Consider

letters of the firstlines of

Read;
is entering nelP aringo rimaso, the last stage of his This passage follows immediately after the acrostic journey. The two PENE VELA (see acrostics are to be read pp. Dante

29-30).

together in the light of the symbolism, VII, of DANTE PENE. as


Now

explained in Chapter

consider the following marginal lettersof lines 21-24:

Read; All but the firstof the cryptograms chapter


are

acrostics appearing on But acrostics subsidiary to them. the only frame on which the acrostics in the Divina Commedia are acrostic signature on constructed. The following is an the firstlines of three terzine, Purg.
Ed
ecco un

shown so far in this the ten-line frame or the ten-line frame is not

xxix. 16-24:
16

lustro subito trascorse Da tutte parti per la gran foresta, Tal che di balenar mi mise in forse. Ma perche il balenar, come vien, resta, E quel durando piu e piu splendeva, Nel mio pensar dicea: *Che cosa e questa?' dolce Ed una correva melodia Per r aer luminoso; onde buon zelo d' Eva, Mi fe' riprender 1' ardimento

19

22

66

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

The

initials of the firsthnes of these terzine


i6 19
22

are:

E M E

Read:
Note

me

that the first and last lines on which this acrostic reading is found begin respectively with ed. Consider on lines following the last ed, the two the last two lines of the last terzina, the following marginal letters:
23
24
PER
MI

Read:

per

mi

This reading echoes the acrostic e me. The signature which appears in this passage and which be hinted at by the acrostics: e me to seems mi, and per appears on the marginal letters of all the lines of the sevenline frame that is so conspicuously and symmetrically
each end by letters of these lines:

bounded

at

ed.

Consider

the following marginal

Read:

me,

dante

It may be that there is a hint of the signature in the use of the word durando^ line 20, with its phonetic suggestion of Durante^ the early form of Dante. Hints in the text immediately preceding and following the acrostic passage are the words, line 15: Frate mio, guarda ascolta; and, line 27:
Non
sofFerse di
star sotto
ed

alcun velo.

SIGNATURES

67

Guarda
.

be taken to mean: "Look, hear ed ascolta may D. The allusion to the veil may likewise be understood .e." having a reference to the veil of the text that hides the as
cryptogram. The following passage, three terzine:
E al maggior Siede Lucia, che
contro

Par.

xxxii. 136-144,

consists of

di famiglia la tua Donna, mosse Quando chinavi a ruinar le ciglia. Ma fugge che t' assonna, perche il tempo buon sartore Qui farem punto, come ha fa la gonna; Che, com' del panno, egli E drizzeremo gli occhi al primo amore, lui, penetri, Si che, guardando verso lo fulgore. e suo Quant' possibil,per
Padre

136

139

142

The

initialsof the firstlines of these three terzine


136
139
142
E M E

are:

Read:

me

Consider the following marginal lettersof the third terzina:


142
ED

143
144

SI

quant'e qui,
dante

Read: The

se'

following passage, Par. xxvii. 43-48, consists of terzine:


acquisto d' esto viver lieto E Sisto e Pio e Calisto ed Urbano dopo molto fleto. Sparser lo sangue intenzion ch' a destra mano Non fu nostra Dei nostri successor parte sedesse. Parte dall' altra, del popol cristiano;

two

Ma

per

43

46

Consider the following marginal the two terzine:

letters on

the firstlines of

68

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

43 46

MA NO

Read:

noma

Now lines:

consider

the following marginal

letters

on

all the

Read: The

peremas

dante

following passage, Par. terzine:


Tale, dal
corno

xv.

19-24,

consists of

two

che in destro si stende, Al pie di quella croce un corse astro Delia costellazion che li risplende; dal suo Ne si parti la gemma nastro, lista la Ma per radial trascorse, Che parve foco retro ad alabastro.

19

22

Consider

first the following marginal

letters of the first

four lines:
19
20 21 22

T A

D ne

Read:
In

dante

the lines on which this signature appears Dante is Cacciaguida, describing his vision of his ancestor who is seen like a star moving same cross seen at the upon the is is There a time. reflected in the suggestion that the star sented and this reflection is repregleaming surface of the cross,
curious way by a second signature of the last words of lines 22, 23, and 24, taken in
a on

the initials

in connection

SIGNATURES

69
two

with
shown

before alabastro of line 24. The follows: as


19
20 21
22

signatures may

be

D
NE
N T

23
24
DA

the initialsof the telesticwords, lines 22, 23, and 24, together with the contiguous d: dant. It is natural that Dante should see himself (his

Read

on

name)

both in the light of his ancestor and as reflected in the cross, that reflects,necessarily, the charthe symbol of humanity acter The lines human individual. 22, dant on telestic of the 23, and 24, is the cryptographic reflection of the acrostic
DANTE
on

hnes 19,

20,

21,

and
Par.

22.

The

following passage.

i. 107-110,

consists of four

lines:
Deir eterno valore, il quale e fine Al quale e fatta la toccata norma. Neir ordine ch' io dico sono accline Tutte nature, per diverse sorti,

109

Consider

the following marginal


D
A

letters on

these four lines:

107
108 109
no

NE
T

Read: Hints
104,

dante

in the
orma^

text

may

be found

in the words, forma ^ line

and

line 106.

The

following passage

is InJ.vi. 85-87:

le anime piu nere; E quegli: 'Ei son tra Diversa colpa giu li grava al fondo: Se tanto scendi, li potrai vedere.

70

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Consider
85
86

the
E

following marginal
QU

letters

on

these lines:

Di SE TAN se'

87

Read:
Dante

dante,

qui

here identifies himself with the blacker spirits,as, indeed, he identifies himself with all that he sees. Unlike Aeneas, who says of his experience: pars magna fui^ Dante,
as

the dreamer whole of it.


The

of the universe, identifies himself with

the

following terzina is Inf.xxxiii. 109-111:


Ed
un

Grido Tanto,

de' tristidella fredda crosta noi: 'O anime crudeli che data v' e I'ultima posta.

Consider
109
no III

the following marginal


ED

letters on

these lines:

GRIDO
TAN

Read:

grido

dante

This echoes the sense of the text. the line which follows this passage:
Levatemi

There

may

be

hint in

dal viso i duri veil.

The

following passage

consists of the last four lines of

Inf.xxiii:
Appresso il Duca a gran pass! sen gi, Turbato un poco d' ira nel sembiante: Ond' io dagl' incarcati mi parti' Dietro alle poste delle care piante. 145

148

Consider
145
146

the following marginal


A
t

letters:

147
148

ON DIE

Read:

10,

dante

SIGNATURES

71

STRING

CIPHERS

last line of the foregoing passage, 148, contains an be seen in the example of the "string" cipher, which may letters which I here capitalize:

The

Dietro AUe

poste

delle

care

piaNTE

to string cipher is a device well known students of in The device or consists cryptography. spelling a name other in first letter hidden a way or that the word such words of the letter is first a text, the of unit of and the last letter of word the hidden word is the last letterof the unit of text, and each of the interior letters of the hidden word, spelled in regular order, is the firstinstance of that letter to appear in the unit of text after the letter in the text already required for the

The

preceding letter of the word. There are certain modifications indicated in the foregoing definition; I not of this method have not defined these modifications because they do not appear in the examples of the string cipher which I have
The unit of text in which discovered in the Divina Commedia. I have found string ciphers in the Divina Commedia is the quoted we begin with d, which is single line. In the line just letter of the line,the line being a definite unit of text. the first and the next n, and the next t, and the next e, which is the last letter of the line. Following are several examples, in which I have capitalized for clarity the letters of the cryptogram.
not

We

then take,

any

a,

but the

next

a,

Di quellA

sozza

scapigliata faNTE.
"

Inf.xvlii. 130. fer mi si arrogaNTE. Purg. xi, 62. Del quAl ti fasciaN venTiquattro piantE. Par. xii. 96. Dove ANchise finila lunga eTatE. Par. xix. 132. DinANzI le facE. agli occhi miei quaTtro Par. xxvii. 10. Ditene dove lA moNTagna giacE. Purg. iil. 76.
De' miei mAggior
" " " " "

72

THE DellA

CRYPTOGRAPHY
lagrimaTa

OF

DANTE

molt' aNni

pacE.
"Purg.
X.

35.
137.

Diogenes,

ANassagora
che Non
tutte

TalE.
"

Inf.iv.
Purg.

Diretro A Dunque

me

era

piu TalE.
"

xxxi. 57. xxviii. 70.

cestui che

quANTo
"

rapE Par. ardE.


Purg. Par. Par. Purg. Par.

Di che il polo di quA


DA si vil padre

tutto

quaNTo
"

viii.90. viii.132.
i. 132.

che si reNde

marTE.
"

Di piegAr

cosi piNTa
con

in altra partE.
"

Due
DAI

ANgeli
tuo

due

spade
tua

affocaTE.
"

viii.26.
xxxi. 83.

potere

dalla
fur

boNTatE.
"

DinANzi
Di guido

me

non

cose

creaTE.
"

/w/.iii. 7.

d'AlessaNdro
fu del

di lor fraTE.
"

Inf.XXX.
"

jj.

Di pugliA DA

suo

saNgue

dolenTE.

Inf.xxviii, 9.
X.

quella parte

oNde

il core

ha la genTE. Purg.
"

48.

De' nostri sensi ch'e del rimANenTE.


"

Inf.XX vi. Inf.XX

115.

Diretro

Al sol del moNdo due


se

senza

genTE.
"

vi. 117.
106.

DA DA
DA'

queste

tu

ti rechi
aver

meNTE.
"

Inf.xi.
Par.

pigliar occhi per

la meNTE.
"

xxvii. 92.

ciel piovuti che stizzosameNTE.


"

Inf. viii.83. Inf.viii.87.


Par.

Di voler lor pArlar

segretameNTE.
"

Di quel ch'ei fe' col bAiulo Di bene Di moise


in meglio

segueNTE.
"

vi. 73.
X.

si subitAmeNTE.
"Par.
38.
e

legistA

ubbidieNTE.

"Inf.

iv. 57.

SIGNATURES
DellA
D'un

73

carNe giro
e

d'adamo
d'un

ond'ei si vesTE. Purg.


"

xi. 44. viii. 35.

girAre

d'uNa

seTE.
"

Par.

Di fAre allor che fuori alcuN Del cui lAtiNo


Del

si meTtE.
"

Inf.xxii. 105.
Par.
X.

augusTin
sua

si provvidE.
"

120.

sANgue NosTra

piu che

colpa sorTillE.

DellA

basilica si scrissE. che Non

"Inf. xii. 75.


"

Par.

xxv.

30.

Divenner Del cui DANnando

membrA
nome ne'

fur mai
"

visTE.

Inf.xxv.
Purg.
XV.

75.
98.

dei fu tANTa

litE.
"

se

danno Non

Tutta

sua

prolE. Par.
"

vii. 27.
X.

Donne

mi pArver

da ballo sciolTE.
"

Par.

79.

Delia sustANzie DicevA DAI I'uN


con

che T'appaion

tondE. Par.
"

xxviii. 75.
loi.

laTro

in sul gropponE.
"

Inf.xxi.

suo

priNcipio le pArole

ch'e in quesTo
tue

tronconE.
"

Inf.xxviii.
X.

141.

Dicendo

sieN

conTE.
fronTE.
"

Debili si che perlA


Dolce

iN bianca

"Inf.
Par.

39.

iii.14.
21.

ch'io vidi primA


altra spoNda Alto di i giroN pAdre Ne
vanno

pie del moNTE.


"

Inf.xxiv.

DAir
Deir

verso

il monTE.
"

Inf.xviii. 33.
Purg.

del

sacro

monTE.
"

xix. 38.
95.

Del vecchio Di pAradiso


Del romAN
vera

il debiTo

amorE.
"

Inf.xxvi.
Par.

taNTo

il nostro

amorE.
"

xiv. 38.
X.

principaTo
cittade almeN

il cui valorE.
"Purg.
74.

DellA

la TorrE.
"

Purg.

xvi. 96.

74

THE
DellA

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

ch' ha gla I'unghie smorTE. Inf.xvii. 86. DAir le devoTE. altra parte m'eraN Purg. xiii.82. Diverse voce FAN giu dolce noTE. Par. vi. 124. DellA corNice onde cader si puoTE. Purg. xiii.80. Di suA poteNza conTra il sommo giovE. quartaNa
" " " "

"

Inf.xxxi.
XXV.

92. 70. 113.

DA

molte stelle mi vieN quesTa lucE. Par. Del nostro fuE. e pellicANo quesTi Par.
"

"

XXV.

the construction of the foregoing string ciphers, in which the reading is suspended until the last letter of the line, will be more clearly evident if we examine two lines in which this suspension does not occur:
DA deNTi

Perhaps

morsi dElla

morte

avante.
"

Purg.

vii. 32.

the reading is complete on an indeterminate place in the middle of the line and there is, accordingly, no string cipher.
Di tANTa plEnitudine volante.
"

Here

Par. xxxi.

20.

again the reading ends before the end of the line. It may be that since these lines begin with d and end with ANTE, we as should regard them containing signatures, but they are certainly not string ciphers. I do not suggest that all tional the string ciphers shown above are intentional; the inten-

Here

character of some by hints in the

of them, however,
text.

seems

to

be confirmed

LETTER
Dante
seems

SEQUENCES
as a

to

use

cryptographic

of letters which, when rearranged, I here three examples. reading. give

device sequences yield the cryptographic

SIGNATURES

75

In Purg. xxlii.91-92,

is the following expression:


e

Tant'e a Dio piii cara La vedovella mia.

piu diletta

Notice in line 91 the letter sequence: nt e be rearranged to read dante. It may may
his signature here to to the vedovella he had in mind by his exile.
set

d.

These

letters

Dante

be surmised that indicate that in the reference indeed his own wife, widowed

The

following line is Par. i. 10:


Veramente quant'io del regno
santo.

in these words the letter sequence: ant These 10 de. letters may This be rearranged into a signature: 10, dante. signature appears on the last line of the ten-line frame of the pene (seepp. 29-30). acrostic vela Line 8 of the same canto reads:
Nostro
intelletto si profonda
tanto.

Note

The
to

letter sequence

in this line: nda


are

may

be rearranged

read: dant. These letter sequences

like the

one

in

Inf.viii. 105

(seep. 79).

ACROSTIC There

SIGNATURES
in the Divina

WITH

MISSING

LETTERS

Commedia a of acrostic number letters in signatures which one of the of the signature is apparently missing. In every such instance the letter which is necessary for the spelling of the name ing and which is misshint in from the acrostic letters is indicated, by some
are

in the interior of the text. the text, as existing somewhere dicated In some instances the letter thus apparently missing is inhint in the text, as existing in some by some lent equivaof purpose substitute which the text supplies. The instances hiding in letter is to an some thus render essential instances in to disguise more the gest sugcomplete and other
some

symbolic

association with the

name.

^e"

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

following passage, terzine:

The

Par.

iv. 13-24, consists of four

Fe' si Beatrice, qual fe' Daniello, 13 Nabuccodonosor levando d' ira, Che r avea fatto ingiustamente fello, E disse: 'lo veggio ben come ti tira 16 Uno ed altro disio, si che tua cura lega si che fuor non Se stessa spira. Tu argomenti: "Se il buon voler dura, 19 La violenza altrui per qual ragione Di meritar mi scema la misura?" Ancor di dubitar ti da cagione, 22 Parer tornarsi l' anime alle stelle, Secondo la sentenza di Platone.

the following marginal these four terzine:


13 16
Y

Consider

letters of the firstlines of

E
T

19
22

AN

Read:
Fante

fante

has the

same
fante

With
an

this acrostic

or fanciullo. significance as fancello Dante identifieshimself by means of

acrostic signature on the same five letters of the acrostic fante, If the f of fante spelling of dante.

lines. Notice four:


were

ante,

to

that in the in the occur be substituted

the spelling of dante substitution is to be made

by

would be complete. That this is indicated by the sense of the According text. did what Daniel did." to line 13, "Beatrice It is in the implications of these significant words that the
a D,

substitution of d for f is indicated. The implication of these words is to be discovered by referring to the incident to which Beatrice here refers; her reference, as appears in Dan. ii,is

the fact that Daniel stood before the king and interpreted a dream. What Beatrice did, therefore, in doing what Daniel did, was Daniel stand before^ to make that is, at the front of
to

the line, and

so

replace the

of Fe

by

the

of Daniello.

SIGNATURES By

77

doing, she substitutes the acrostic spelling of fante By this identification of his by the acrostic spelling of dante. Dante identifieshimself as the child own name with fante
so

in the rebirth symbolism of the poem, he by identifieshis to that own which


NATi

by
name

device analogous with the acrostic


are

(seepp. 103-5).
the words: precede the

Further hints in the text of cryptic intention per pari ar distinto^ line 12, which immediately

ti tira^ terzine containing the acrostic; and: lo veggio ben come line 16. Parlar distinto may mean not only "distinct speech" "a but also difi^erentkind of speech," the different kind And the words: lo veggio that is used in the cryptogram. ben come ti tira, may be understood, apart from the context,
as

to

alluding draw out


An

to

how

clearly the letters of the


dante.

text

may

be

seen

the acrostic

example of an acrostic to be read on five terzine may be in Inf.viii.94-108; and the acrostic reading here will seen show another signature in which an essential letter is hidden in the body of the text in order to add to the disguise and also to deepen the symbolism. The passage is:
Pensa, Lettor, se io mi sconfortai 94 Nel suon delle parole maledette: Ch' io non credetti ritornarci mai. duca mio, che piu di sette 'O caro 97 Volte m' hai sicurta renduta, e tratto D' alto periglio che incontra mi stette, Non mi lasciar,'diss' io, 'cosi disfatto: 100 E se '1 passar piu oltre c' e negato, 1' orme insieme ratto.' Ritroviam nostre E quel signor che li m' avea menato 103 il Mi disse: 'Non temer, nostro passo che Non ci puo torre alcun: da tal n' e dato. Ma qui m' attendi; e lo spirlto lasso 106 buona, Conforta e ciba di speranza basso.' Ch' io non ti lascero nel mondo

the following marginal these five terzine:


Consider

letterson

the firstlines of

78

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

The

letters,interrupted

by the command:
to

Non

mi lasciar^

hint that dante himself is not to be leftout of the acrostic reading. Following the hint, read the following marginal letters of the line in which the command appears and of the lines on each side of it: Non
mi lasciar, seems

spell: POEMA. The command:

supplied, these letters would spell: dante. As it is,they suggest the name as lated, either unfinished or mutiby in Dante himself is made and this very suggestion

If

were

the complete

form of his command,


Non

line

100:

mi lasciar,diss' io, cosi disfatto.

by the lack of a t. acrostic reading, is disfatto And because of this lacking t Dante may be understood, lines no as referring to the doubtful spelling of his own and in, name when he says:
Dante,
as an

Che'l si

ed io rimango '1 no nel capo mi

in forse,
tenzona.

the lacking replies,as he may


ti lascerb. The

Now

is mentioned

is to be understood, for the cryptographic purpose of the passage, to be the very letter T in question; and Virgil may be understood to be refusing to leave the t in Hell, since Hell is no place for t, the symbol of the cross and so as the and of Christ. The letter t as a cross, of the symbol of Christ, is often used in the cryptography Consistent with the idea that the symbol of Christ, and therefore Christ himself, is not to be left in
Divina
Commedia.

be understood // of these words

by Virgil, line 108, when he as replying, to Dante: No?7

SIGNATURES

79

Hell is the fact that Dante does not himself refer to Christ by in Inferno. Dante be content, name must therefore, to spell

the marginal letters of lines 99, 100, and loi, as with the T thus mentioned missing. The acrostic reads, then: poema: dante. In Virgil's words of comfort to Dante for leaving him he says, lines 104 and 105 : cost disfattOj
name
on

his

Non
Non

temer, torre

ci puo

che il nostro alcun: da tal

passo
n'e

dato.

Now

the comfort of the words: da tal n'e dato^ consists,from the point of view of the cryptographic intention, in the fact that they contain a letter sequence: nedat, which spells Dante's own name. There
are
T

with the

several other examples of acrostic signatures in InJ.xxiv. 70-84: hidden. One occurs
era

gli occhi vivi volto in giu; ma Non potean ire al fondo per 1' oscuro: Perch' io: 'Maestro, fa che tu arrivi lo muro; Dair altro cinghio, e dismontiam intendo, Che com' i' odo quinci e non Cos! giu veggio, e niente affiguro.' *Altra risposta,' disse, *non ti rendo, lo far: che la domanda Se non onesta Si dee seguir coll'opera tacendo.' Noi discendemmo il ponte dalla testa, Dove s' aggiunge coll'ottava ripa, E poi mi fu la bolgia manifesta: E vidivi entro terribile stipa Di serpenti, e di si diversa mena, il sangue Che la memoria ancor mi scipa.

lo

70

73

'jG

79

82

Consider the following marginal lettersof the firstlines of these five terzine:

If

were

supplied, these letterswould read:

10

dante.

8o

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

It may be understood to be on account of the missing t, says, line 75: niente which blocks the spelling, that Dante The allusion to the missing t is made by Virgil, line affiguro. ti rendo. And as the t is not forthcoming, Dante, who 76: )wn is having great difficultyin seeing, cannot see the bolgia^ the hole or hiatus in the spelling, until he descends to where the bridge joins the bank makes, the bank. The bridge joining naturally, the shape of a t; and it is then, with the t thus

and supplied, that, as Dante says, mi Ju la bolgia manijesta, is dante. 10 the spelling completed: I take this acrostic to be on the five terzine spelling 10 for the instead of on the four spelling simply dante, DANTE, ning that the hint of its presence is given in the line beginwith /o, line 70. Dante says here that lo era volto in giu. is written down the These words are the hint that his name
reason

margin. The T is again not given for the cryptic spelling of Dante's in Hell for the reason, as name already explained, that t, a cross as shape, is the symbol of Christ. There is a dante signature in Paradiso in which the t is that it is missing in the spelling in missing, and the reason
Paradiso

for its being missing in the confirms the reason The passage with the signature to which spellings in Inferno. I refer is found in Par. xviii.37-48:
lume tratto lo vidi per la croce un Dal nomar Josue,com' ei si feo, il dir prima che ilfatto. Ne mi fu noto Ed al nome dell' alto Maccabeo Vidi moversi un altro roteando, E letiziaera ferza del paleo.
37

40

Cos! per Carlo magno e per Orlando Due ne segui lo mio attento sguardo, Com' occhio segue suo falcon volando. Poscia trasse Guglielmo, e Rinoardo, E il duca Gottifredi la mia vista Per quella croce, Guiscardo. e Roberto

43

46

the following marginal these four terzine:


Consider

letters on

the firstlines of

SIGNATURES

8i

Read: Ed,
as

copio.

ed

I shall show in Chapter V, is in itself a Dante a as signature, is immediately signature. Notice that ed, The whole passage is a play followed in the text by al nome. In line 38 is the word nomar^ on and in the the idea of name. io or terzina immediately preceding, 34-36, is the phrase:

be understood to mean that in Dante "copies" the cross, the passage, which is mentioned in or in the sense the divine nature, that he shows the cross, He illustrates this idea by the cryptohis human nature. graphic in device of showing the cross the spelling of his Consider the following marginal letters of the terzina name.
ed,

nomerb. The acrostic: copio.

may

37-39-

in the Roman notation is x; and x, is equivalent to the other sign of as a sign of the cross, t. Replace, therefore, 10 by t and read: dante. the cross,
Io equals
ten,

which

Another signature with a concealed t appears linesof the four terzine, Purg. vi. 40-51 :
E la dov' io fermai cotesto punto, Non si ammendava per pregar difetto, Perche il prego da Dio era disgiunto. Veramente a cosi alto sospetto Non ti fermar, se quella nol ti dice, e 1' intelletto. Che lume fia tra il vero Non so se intendi; io dico di Beatrice: Tu la vedrai di sopra, in suUa vetta Di questo monte, ridere e felice.'

on

the first

40

43

46

82

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Ed

fretta; io: 'Signore, andlamo a maggior dianzi; Che gia non m' afFatico come V il E vedi omai che getta.' ombra poggio
on

49

Consider marginal

the first lines of these terzine the following letters:


E V LA

40

43

46
49

NO
ED

Read: Notice

velo

dane

that line 49 begins with the words: ed 10, which, I shall show in Chapter V, are a cryptographic signature. as dane If a T could be supplied, the acrostic reading: velo The missing t is twice referred dante. would become velo to in line 44:
Non

tl fermar,
t

se

quella nol ti dice.

is missing from the signature appears line 4I. a difetto, from the sense of the text, which concerns by being itselfdefective. The acrostic illustrates this dijetto does not leave the defective signature in doubt, But Dante for on all the lines of the terzina preceding his symbol ed 10, line 49, along with this line,he gives the following letters:

The

reason

that the

46

NON TU DI
E

so LA

47
48 49

VE

Read:
An

vel.

song

qui.

dante

acrostic in which of an example to be indicated by the letters appears


ten,
an

the
10,

for

dante

x,

cross,

and

so

as

t,

appears

considered as a in Par. viii. 35-39:

sete, giro, e d' un girare, e d' una dicesti: Ai quali tu del mondo gia Vol che intendendo il terzo ciel movete; E sem si pien d' amor che, per piacerti, Non fia men dolce un poco di quiete.'

D'

un

37

SIGNATURES

83

Consider

the following marginal

letters on

these five lines:

39

Notice that all the letters except the t of dante appear as letter of the initials, and that the only line, 37, on which a does not appear is composed name of a quotation from one The suggestion is forced that the letters selected of his canzoni. By substituting again a above contain a signature.
T

for the

01

10, (reversed,

or

ten) of line 37, read:

dante

vi.

Following
Tu

are

five terzine, Piirg. xxii. 94-108:


94

che levato hai il coperchio bene io dico, Che m' ascondeva quanto Mentre soperchio, che del salire avem dov' e Terenzio nostro Dimmi antico, Cecilio, Plauto e Varro, se lo sai: dannati, ed in qual vice' Dimmi son se dunque,

97

100 e Persio, ed io, ed altri assai,' Greco 'siam Rispose il Duca con quel mio, lattar piu ch' altro mai, Che le Muse Nel primo cinghio del carcere 103 cieco. del monte Spesse fiate ragioniam ha le nutrici nostre seco. Che sempre Antifonte, Euripide v' e nosco, 106 ed Simonide, Agatone ed altri piue la fronte. Greci che gia di lauro ornar

'Costoro,

The

five terzine initials of the firstlines of these


94
T D c
N E

are:

97
100

103 106

Read:

dcnte

I regard this as

equals

100,

C, initial of Hne 100, concealed signature. i, which which, by disregarding the ciphers,equals
a

84

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

equals

its cabalistic equivalent as the firstletter of the Note, read dante. alphabet. By substituting a for c we hint of the concealed signature, the possible double a as sense of the firsttwo lines of the passage.
a,

The

terzina following the foregoing passage, Purg. reads:

xxii.

109-111,

Quivi si veggion

delle genti tue Antigone, Deifile ed Argia, fue. Ed Ismene si trista come

Consider the following marginal lettersof these three lines:

Read:
A
XXV.

quivi

dante

signature in which
10-21
:

the

is concealed

appears

in Purg.

E quale il cicognin che leva 1' ala Per voglia di volare, e non s' attenta lo nido, e giu la cala; D' abbandonar Tal era io con voglia accesa e spenta infino Di domandar, venendo all'atto Che fa colui ch' a dicer s' argomenta. Non lasci6, per 1' andar che fosse ratto, Lo dolce Padre mio, ma disse: 'Scocca del dir che infino al ferro hai tratto.' L' arco AUor sicuramente aprii la bocca, E cominciai: 'Come si puo far magro La dove 1' uopo di nutrir non tocca?*

10

13

16

19

The initials of the firstlines of the four terzine


10

are:

"
T N A

13 16
19

Read:

ante

This approximation

to

dante

suggests that the missing

SIGNATURES

85

is indicated in
consumar

double

meaning

of uopo di, line

21,

and

d, line 23. Another indication that a d is to be supplied appears in lines 13-15, the first words of which are, an acrostic on following significantly: Tal era io. Consider on these lines the

marginal letters:
13
14
TA DI

15

c
d
was

Read:
But

taci

for omitting the d from his is given in lines 20-27. Dante asks Virgil reason name? how the spiritsof the gluttonous can appear emaciated when, as they can have no need of nourishment; and Virgil, spirits, what The
Dante's
reason

who

explains by analogy, asks Dante


come

to

remember

Si

consumo

al

consumar

Meleagro d'un stizzo.

Virgil is here referring to the story of the prophecy made to the mother of Meleager at the time of his birth. According Meleager was to live as long as a log then to this prophecy, In order to burning on the hearth remained unconsumed.
the mother seized the log from preserve the lifeof her son, the hearth, extinguished it, and preserved it. But when he excited her anger; in revenge Meleager grew to manhood, in the fire;and she threw the log, which represented his life, Meleager was the log was consumed. consumed has been consumed^ is The signature ante, of which the d obviously given by Dante as a cryptographic analogy to the lives. lives as long as his name story of Meleager. Dante And he is destroyed with the destruction of his name.
as

has a deeper meaning which is of Meleager consonant with the deeper meaning of the Divina Commedia. The log is phallic; the fire is the symbol of sexual union; and the log from the fire at the act of the mother in withdrawing the moment of birth symbolizes the severing at birth of the in union of the child with its mother. The act of the mother putting the log back into the firesymbolizes the reunion of The myth

86

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the mother
at
once

and child in an incestuous act which is the of the death and the rebirth of the child.

cause

following passage, InJ. xxiii. 67-78, consists of four terzine:


O in eterno faticoso manto! Noi ci volgemmo ancor manca pure a man Con loro insieme, intenti al tristo pianto: Ma per lo peso quella gente stanca Venia si pian, che noi eravam nuovi d' Di compagnia mover anca. ad ogni Perch' io al Duca mio: 'Fa che tu trovi Alcun ch' al fatto o al nome si conosca, E gli occhi si andando intorno movi.' Ed un che intese la parola Tosca Diretro a noi grido: 'Tenete i piedi, fosca: Voi che correte si per 1' aura
67

The

70

73

76

Consider the following marginal letters on the four terzine:

the firstlines of

Read:

poema

the following marginal the intervening lines: Consider

letters on

these lines and

Read:

poema.

ecco

vi

dane

SIGNATURES

87

If

It is to

mantle is a t. and the cross also the cross, Consider the following marginal letters of the lines of the last terzina:
76 77 78
E

would be complete. supplied, Dante's name be found in the falicoso manto, of line 67, for the wearyhis poem, and it is to be borne eternally is,for Dante,
T were

Di
V

Read:

vedi

INTERIOR

SEQUENCES

In addition to the various devices which we have examined device of in the preceding signatures is another well known that is frequently used in the Divina Commedia. cryptography The device to which I refer consists in arranging the lettersof but in the the cryptogram, not on the margin as in acrostics, body of the text, in such a way that they follow a straight line lines that is either perpendicular or oblique to the regular is the so called interior sequence. of the text. This device An appears in a of such an interior sequence example description to give indications of a passage which seems I refer to the first four of the very device in question. terzine of Par. x:
1' amore Guardando nel suo figliocon 1' Che r uno e spira, altro eternalmente Lo primo ed ineffabilevalore, o per loco si gira Quanto per mente fe', non Con tanto puote ch' esser ordine Senza gustar di lui chi cio rimira. Leva dunque, lettor, all'alte rote Meco la vista dritto a quella parte Dove r un moto e 1' altro si percote; E li comincia a vagheggiar nell' arte 1' ama Di quel maestro, che dentro a se Tanto che mal da lei1'occhio non parte.

10

88

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

this passage acrostic reading on complete For in Chapter IX, the present pp. 407-8. shown following marginal letters of the last terzina:
10 11 12

The

will be note the

D
TAN

Read:
Now

dante

the letters which I have capitalized in the firstfive lines of this passage, as follows:
look
at

1 2 3 4 5

guardando I'uno che lo primo


quanto
con

nel
e

suo

figlio

con

I'amorE spira gira

ed

per tanto

eternalmeNTe ineffabile vAlore loco 0 Per si menTE fe ch'esser


non

I'altro

orDine

puote

The figure:

letters which

I have

capitalized make

the following
E
NT

A TE O P

The
POET.

letters capitalized in line 4:

te

p,

spell backwards:

straight line drawn from the capitalized d of ordine, line i, passes through the line 5, to the capitalized e of amore, of capitalized a of va/ore, line 3, and the capitalized nt line letters line on 2. The this spell, capitalized eternalmente^ letter line passes through the therefore, dante; and the same group: te op, on line 4. Thus the complete reading of the poet. be considered to be: dante, interior sequence may Notice that the spacing between the letters of the signature is almost mathematically regular. In the sixth space beyond the D, on the line above the d, is the space between the o beyond and the p of the sequence: te o p; in the sixth space
A

this space,

on

the line above,

is the a; in the sixth space

SIGNATURES

89

the a, on the line above, is the t of nt ; and in the sixth space beyond the n of nt, on the line above, is the e. Let me first give the method by which I arrive at this
sequence and then the confirmatory indications in the text for so doing. First, then, for the method. The passage is printed with a perfectly even margin, so that the firstletter of every line is
letter of the line that follows directly above or below the first or precedes it. It is a necessary consequence, therefore, that if a line be considered as a series of equal positions every one of which is occupied either by a letter or a space between words, all the relative positions of the lines will be directly above or below each other, exactly as in the case of the

beyond

the text of the Divina Commedia is usually presented; in all the editions with which I am acquainted, the second and third lines of each terzina indented, with the effect of emphasizing the terzine as are separate units by the salience of their firstlines.Whatever the authority for thus indenting the second and third lines be in there may of each terzina and whatever advantage
typographically marking the terzina as a unit, the uneven be presupposed to have been margin is a form that cannot
to believe used by Dante, especially if there is any reason that he used his text as a bed for interior sequences. Indeed, in such a case, it is practically certain that he must have

positions of the firstletters. This is not the form in which

calculated, his margin even. discovery of the interior sequences in the Divina isdependent on the presumption Commedia that every letter in every line has a calculable position in relation to every made, The
or

at

least have

interior insert, indeed, an author may sequence into a text in which the positions of the letters have been calculated, but he can never not expect the sequence to be discovered by the reader, if the relative positions of the letters in his original copy are altered. Any alteration, in fact, other
completely distort the sequence beyond the possibility copy, of recognition. In the case of the use of a manuscript such as Dante was obliged to use in presenting his poem to

letter. An

would

90

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the public, the chances for the alteration of the relative infinite; the chances for preserving them were positions were for preserving them, therefore, would nil. His only means
have it possible to calculate the relative posimake tions letters from form his the very original copy of of of the his A nd itself. means the poem only of making this calculation have been to consider every line as an possible would ordinal
to

been

series of equal positions directly above or below the relative positions in all the other lines.Such an ordinal series of equal positions, occupied respectively by the letters of the text or the spaces between the words of the text, never appears on

the ordinary printed page, where the various letters, such as I and M for instance, occupy spaces of different size; it can however, in script produced by a typewriter, where occur, equal space. I have accordingly, in order to show the interior sequences in the Divina Commedia, had the passages in which they occur printed in typewriter
every
an

letter occupies

style. My for supposing that Dante intended his text argument thesis to be so on the hypoarranged is based primarily, of course, that he used his text as a bed for interior sequences. This original hypothesis has in its favor, first,the fact that

devices at all he may cryptographic well be device supposed to have used the well known and common thesis of the interior sequence; and further in favor of this hypoused

if he

the implications of certain curious expressions in following it, the very passage, and in the lines immediately in which I have justshown the interior sequence spelling Let me refer firstto the possible duplicity in the DANTE, POET. to "lift then thy sight. Reader, meaning of the command
are

the lofty wheels, straight to that region where the one there not be a hint motion strikes on the other." May here to look of the lines above, where up at the "wheels" "the one motion" of the first line "strikes on the other"
with
me

to

of the second line? It is to this point, in the word the last word of the firstline, that the reader may accordingly be considered to be directed to lift up his eyes for
motion Amore^

the beginning of the interior sequence

just shown.

And

may

SIGNATURES

91

not

self "who within himthe reference to the art of the master so loves it" suggest the art of hiding a spelling inside the "master" be Dante, since dante not the text? And may "master" appears in an acrostic on the terzina in which the
? And

is mentioned

considering the oblique line made by the interior sequence here discovered, may we not see an allusion "See how the oblique circle which bears to it in the words: there not be a similar the planets branches off?" And may in the allusion to the departure of this line hidden meaning "more less distant from the straight line?" The whole as or sion passage, read with suspicion alert to the duplicities of expresin the Divina Commedia, common so cryptopoints to a graphic device like the interior sequence here discovered. In interior of these possible hints of the existence of in the manner shown sequences I have arranged the text for text, assuming that this manner above; of arranging the fairly be assumed the text contains interior sequences, may
view

have been considered by Dante himself as the only means by which the interior sequences could be reconstructed from in the absence of the original copy. the text itself
to

that in spite of the presumptive well be, however, I evidence in its favor, the interior sequence which have shown may failin itselfto convince the reader that it is I able to affirm, as a anything else than an accident. Nor am fact, that it is not an accident. The strongest evidence in its favor will be the cumulative evidence of other interior of the text corresponds sequences in positions where the sense to the sense of the interior sequence.
It may
very

"intention" of is another possible to objection the this interior sequence. It is the fact that the spacing of the stances letters of the sequence is not quite regular. I will show inof interior sequences where the regularity of the is additional proof, of spacing is absolute, and this regularity But a sequence course, of the intention of the sequence. is not a quite remains sequence in spite of spacing that be it can confirmed by mathematically strict,especially when the sense of the text. A sequence that is not mathematically in the present instance. as regular in its spacing may still,
There

92

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

strike the eye as regular, and itis the eye that judges. Indeed, be seen the mathematical regularity cannot without careful it be must that the counting, and remembered whatever ingenuity of the author, the difficulties of constructing an absolutely strict sequence may be at times so great as to
warrant

his is
I
a

use

of
1 1,

There Par.
XV.

group
a

sequence that satisfiesthe eye.* of interior sequences spelling dante passage


to

in

94-1
as

which

I have

referred in

showing a curious symmetrical arrangement of four terzine each beginning with the same Non. The word: follows: passage reads as
Mio figliofu, e tuo bisavo fue: Ben si convien che la lunga fatica Tu gli raccorci con 1' opere tue. Fiorenza dentro dalla cerchia antlca Ond' ella toglie ancora e terza e nona, in pace, sobria e pudica. Si stava Non avea corona, catenella, non Non donne contigiate, non cintura Che fosse a veder piu che la persona. Non faceva nascendo ancor paura La figliaal padre, che il tempo e la dote Non fuggian quinci e quindi la misura. Non avea di famiglia vote; case Non v' era giunto ancor Sardanapalo in A mostrar camera si puote. cio che Montemalo Non era vinto ancora Dal vostro Uccellatoio, che, com' e vinto Nel montar su, sara cosi nel calo.
94

Chapter

97

100

103

106

109

Before examining the interior sequences let us read the acrostic in this passage. Consider the following marginal letterson the firstlines of the six terzine:

Read:
not

nomi,

fiorenza,

d...e.

no,

no,

no

*In the device

in George

Herbert's

poem,
as

regularly spaced, either numbered letters and letter spaces. Poe's well-known Osgood is mathematically regular.

8, the words on are page shown in line, in or the counted words Sargent to Frances "Valentine"

SIGNATURES

93

Cacciaguida, the ancestor of Dante, is speaking of the past denied him of Florence, Dante's birthplace, the mother that fiorenza, by sending him into exile. The acrostic: nomi, by the reiteration D. E, is met, therefore, characteristically, Dante is thrice denied, as Christ of her denial: no, no, no. instances was thrice denied. This is another of the numerous
.

himself with Christ. of Dante's identification of to Dante, and the refusal seems Florence refuses to name be expressed by the following cryptographic device. Grouped following marginal letters: about the last no, Hne 109, are the

Read:
Now
fiorenza,
see

ella

non

noma

dante

in connection with these


d.
.

two

acrostic readings:
ella

nomi,

no,
.e.

no,

no,

and

non

noma

dante,

how

Dante

is named

notwithstanding
99 100 101 102
si
non non

in the passage in interior sequences, him: the refusal of Florence to name


pAce cateNella conTigiATe a vEDer
in sobria noN
non

stava
avea

pudica

corona

donne fosse

che

piu

cintura la persona che


a

the capitals on the vertical line from o{ catenella^ 100; firstt oi contigiate, loi; ed Read Read from
e, n
on

of pace^ 99; of veder^ 102:


100;
at

dante.

after sobria^ 99; second contigiate^ loi; d oi veder^ 102: dante. interior sequences, shown These two

non^

of

capital letterson a vertical and an lettersa, n, t, and e are regular. In the vertical sequence the lines and the each in the fourteenth space of their respective to the e. In the oblique sequence D is immediately the d and the at, spaces between the at and the n, and between the n and the e. d on Moreover, the same the fact that both signatures meet there between
are

respectively in the oblique line,are absolutely

adjacent
two

exactly

94

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

intentional, to the probability that they are more adds still does likewise their meeting on as the d of ed, in itself a signature. There is a hint in the text to look for the signature in the words: veder piu che la persona^ and this hint itself coincides with the converging In lines 105-108, there is
DANTE,

point of the two signatures. interior an sequence reading

thus:
non non non a

105 106 107 108

fuggiaN
avea case

quinci di

la quindi fAmilia vote


e

misura

v'era

giunto

ancor

sarDanapalo
camera

mostrar
n

cio

che

in

si

puoTE

Jamiglia^ 106; d of o{ Juggian^105; firsta q"{ sardanapalo^ 107; te oi puote^ 108: dante. This sequence is spaced with mathematical precision.
There
are seven
seven famiglia^

Read

from

palo^ and There is a

seven

this and the between d this spaces and the hint in the text in the words:
A
mostrar

spaces between spaces between

the

n a

oifuggianand
d te

the

of

of sardanaof puote.

cio che in

camera

si puote.

of three interior sequences passage, confirmed by hints in the


nest

The

spelling Dante in this text and the acrostic


no, no,

readings:
NOMA

nomi, Can

fiorenza,

d.

e.

no,

and

ella

non

as accidental. scatccly be rejected Following is another interior sequence which resembles five lines the firstone I showed in that it appears on the first DANTE,

of

canto,

namely,
era

InJ.xiii.1-5:
di
la
nesso

1 2 3 4 5

arrivAto bosco un noi ci mettemmo quando pEr da nessun era che senTiero segnato fronDe di fosco non ma color verdi Non involti e ma schietti rami nodosi

non

ancor

of arrivato^ i ; e of per^ sentiero^ 3; d oi Jronde^ 4; initialn of non^ 5: dante. In the passage to which I have already referred the second
a

Read

from

2;

of

the acrostic there firstfive lines,Purg. the xii. 25-29:


vom

are

two

taining interior sequences in

as

con-

SIGNATURES
25 veDE colui che create DAI giu creaturA DA un scender TElo fiTto DAI fu

95

Nobil

26 27

28 29

ch'Altra piu folgoreggiaNdo briareo vedea

cielo lato

celestial

giacer

DAll'altra

parte
n

Read

de

a of altra^26; of vede^ 25 ; first

oijolgoreggtando^
26;
d

1^\ firstT

28: oifittO^

DANTE.
a

Read
TE

of nobil^ 25; second of telo, 28: DANTE.

of

creatura^

of da^ i'];

DA

Notice the curious sequence, da, 26, da, 27, da, 28, da, by Dante Dante's initials are and are apparently used

29.
as a

signature.

foregoing examples are sufficientto establish Dante's The in the Divina Commedia. use of the interior sequence I have discovered I will show other interior sequences which The
later, as especially pertinent
to

certain aspects of Dante's

symbolism. NON-ITALIAN
In the Divina Commedia in Provengal, and two

PHRASES

Latin phrases, one passage It is my passages of "gibberish." in his use was of partly determined opinion that Dante which they these passages by the cryptographic possibilities I will show, at any rate, that many of these presented. be regarded as yielding acrostic or non-Italian phrases can to or telestic or anagrammatic readings referring to Dante device by which The the the symbolism of the poem. is the same device acrostics or telesticsare read on phrases 'ixeXS is derived from the by which the famous acrostic
are

many

Qeov XpLards phrase: It is impossible, indeed,

'lijo-oDs

Tios
to

XuTTjp.

prove

which I shall show But by Dante.

on

the non-Italian

that the cryptograms intended passages were

from evidence of intention appears of them the very possibility of finding in a large number to the meaning appropriate acrostics, telestics,and anagrams I believe that in many of these non-Italian of the poem.
some

96

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

conscious of the possibility of converting phrases Dante was devices, into references to himself. them, by cryptographic The "delusion of reference" which this cryptographic use of innocent phrases indicates is consistent both with the form highly rationalized of the poem as a dream and with Dante's I will give here several examples which egocentricity. Most of the other examples will contain Dante's signature. A few will be found in other chapbe found in Chapter IX. ters,
to

which

their cryptographic

meaning

is especially pertinent.

In

Purg.

Mgypto.

ii. 46, is the Latin These contain words

phrase: In exitu Israel de The x a of signature.

exitu is to be taken as the equivalent of a t, since x and t, as Consider has already been noted, are both signs of the cross. the following initialand contiguous letters:

arrange of this reading is a direction to revolve or reThe use of gira the letters. recalls the use of the word Night, ii,5. "revolve" in Twelfth tended inThat the signature in In exitu Israel de JEgypto was

The

GIRA

ending

is indicated by the acrostic on the six lines tion. of the Latin words in queswith the line composed by Dante

Read: Notice,

taci

dante

(or cita

dante)
the line in

moreover,

Latin contains

that the terzina preceding signature. The terzina reads:

SIGNATURES
Da poppa ilcelestialnocchiero, stava Tal che parea beato per iscripto; E piu di cento spirti entro sediero.

97

the initial and contiguous and last words of each line:


43
44
DA
T

Consider

letters

on

the

first

N I

45

SE

Read:

sei

dante

sion, of signing appears to be hinted at in the alluda This to the nocchiero who poppa. stood hint be allusion to the poppa may of what is understood as a standing at the poppa of the line. In the signature in di (i'^(secp. 55),there is a similar use Purg. XXX. NECESSiTA, di poppa with prora as a hint to look at the end as well as at the beginning of the words. is identical, The signature on dante, this terzina: sei This method line 43, with the exception of the word on the Latin phrase which
sei
dante. gira,

with the signature found immediately follows: gira.

These In Purg. viii.13, is the Latin phrase: Te lucis ante. sung at Compline, words are part of the firstline of a hymn dicated Tutto V inno intero, as is inthe last service of the day. Why, in line 17, was sung in the hearing of Dante.
then, does he refer The Te lucis ante? Consider
to

by just the three words: the hymn is to be found in the cryptoanswer graphic

possible. signature which these three words make in these words the following initialand contiguous

letters:
TE TE

LUCIS
ANTE

LUCI ANTE

Read:
There

tu

celi

ante

in the sound of is,of course, a suggestion of dante ante, and it is on this sound suggestion that Dante is here If a d could be supplied, his name would be spelled playing.

98

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

in full, and the cryptogram dante. celi read: tu would Now as a matter oi double entente, Dante is to be understood in the words: name as saying himself that he heard his own he in the way Te lucis ante; this double meaning appears says that the Latin phrase was uttered:
con

si dolci

note,

Che

fece

me

me

uscir.

These

are capable words, taken as they are from their context, Latin "with was phrase such uttered of meaning that the it to me." me notes out (my name) come sweet that made In addition to this suggestion that a d is to be supplied, there is another suggestion to supply the d in the three d's in the

line preceding
Come

the Te lucis ante:


dicesse
a

Dio: 'D'altro

non

calme.'

altro is capable of suggesting an other D. Another suggestion that a d is to come out of the context for the signature in Te lucis ante may be found in the words in uscir di, line 15. Another suggestion that a d somewhere

Moreover,

the D

the text is to be sounded with Te lucis from from their the words, removed lontano. These words may be understood

ante

may

context:
as

be taken squilla di that


"a

meaning

distant d sounds." For the acrostic which appears see this Latin phrase is quoted reads:
part,
to
dante
e

qui

l'eguale.

the passage in which The page 418. acrostic This acrostic may refer, in
on

the Latin words, to which Dante, in a cryptographic is the equal. The Latin phrase isfollowed, lines 19-21, sense, be the cryptogram with a reference to the velo; the velo may have just deciphered. The reference to the velo which we is as follows:
Aguzza qui, Lettor, ben gli occhi al vero, Ch^ il velo h ora ben tanto sottile, Certo, che il trapassar dentro h,leggiero.

In Purg. Consider letters:

xxvii. 8, is the Latin phrase Beati mundo corde. in these words the following final and contiguous

SIGNATURES
BE ATI

99

ATI
NDO
E

MUNDO CORDE

Read: The

10

dante

firstline of

Inf.xxxiv.

is in Latin:
inferni.

Vexilla regis prodeunt

hymn in honor of Christ. words are a parody of a is reversed to apply to Lucifer. This reversing of The sense is paralleled by the cryptographic device of taking the sense the letters from the end of the words instead of from the Consider the following telestic letters of the beginning. These Latin words
"

the

oi prodeunt
A

being the equivalent of

v:

VEXILLA REGIS PRODEUNT

CIS
ODEUNT NI

INFERNI

Read:

vi

signo:

dante

GROUPS Analogous

OF

PROPER

NAMES

the cryptograms constructed on the words is a form of cryptogram constructed of a phrase or a sentence I have found form Of a names on this the proper of passage. and it is possible several examples in the Divina Commedia^ Dante's choice of that there are more than I have found. to have the proper names which he groups together seems by his cryptographic been determined as purpose well as cases by historical and poetical association. In some the
to

tators. association is not self-evident and has puzzled the commenbe that the cryptograms It may which I have found for his selection, namely, the need of certain explain the reason here letters for the cryptographic reading. I will give

I will reserve single specimen of this type of cryptogram; others for the chapters to which the cryptographic meaning is especially pertinent and the rest for Chapter IX.
a

loo

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Dante several groups of persons with whom identifies himself by the device of signing his name on the firstletters of their names. The firstgroup is the group of Christ in his ascent from Hell to souls that accompanied
are

There

Heaven. in response

This group
to
a

is mentioned

by Virgil in /"/. iv. 46-69, Dante:

question

from

'Dimmi, Maestro mio, dimmi, Signore,' Comincia' io, per voler esser certo Di quella fede che vince ogni errore: 'Uscicci mai alcuno, o per suo merto, O per altrui,che poi fosse beato?' E quel, che intese il mio parlar coperto, Rispose: To era nuovo in questo state,

46

49

52

Quando ci vidi venire

un

possente

Con segno di vittoria coronato. Trasseci 1' ombra del prime parente, D' Abel suo figlio, e quella di Nod, Di Moisd legista e ubbidiente; Abraam patriarca, e David re, Israel con lo padre, e co' suoi nati, E con Rachele, per cui tanto fe', Ed altrimolti; e fecegli beati: E vo' che sappi che, dinanzi ad essi, Spiritiumani non eran salvati.' Non lasciavam 1' andar perch' ei dicessi, Ma passavam la selva tuttavia, La selva dico di spiritispessi. Non era lunga ancor la nostra via Di qua dal sonno, io quand' vidi un foco Ch' emisperio di tenebre vincia.

55

58

61

64

67

the following marginal of the terzine:

Consider

letters of the first lines

Read:

non

riusci

dante?

The

acrostic expresses the real meaning copertOy the question: Uscicci mai alcuno?

of Dante's parlar

SIGNATURES

loi

Notice also the dante lines of the four terzine, on the first SS-^^' T, A, ED, N. Now consider the initials actually mentioned, of the names

lines 56-60, of the spirits delivered from Hell by Christ immediate after the crucifixion. In the reference to Christ is indicated as the segno di vittoria as un possentey the cross
The with which he was crowned. text, of the delivered spiritsare:
names,

appearing

in the

initialsof these names be taken to read: mira may By adding to these letters the t of the cross, DAN. the sign is: Christ, dant. mira the reading of Dante thus identifieshimself with the souls of the saved, in the affirmative the question expressed in and so answers

The

the acrostic:

non

riusci

dante?

LOST

AND

FOUND

ceding cryptographic signatures of Dante shown in the preDivina are the pages widely scattered through I will conclude this chapter by showing signatures Commedia. are at the beginning and at the end of the poem. They important because of their position, their structure, and their relation to each other; and also because they illustrate the philosophic raison d'etre of the cryptographic signatures in general.

The

of the signatures at the beginning and the end of the Divina Commedia consists in part in the fact that it is in these positions that Dante, in accordance with the
importance

The

I02

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

ning general cryptographic custom of signing a work at its beginor end, is most surely to be expected to have signed his poem. The presence of the signatures in these positions is tention in itself,therefore, a strong confirmation that they are inis the light which of stillgreater importance a as these signatures throw on Dante's use of cryptography symbol ofhis theme. Expressed in its simplest terms, the theme of the Divina
But

is a quest. In the beginning of the poem lost; he has lost himself in being lost to God. He
Commedia
once,

Dante

is
at

begins

accordingly, the quest to find himself, and it is on this the universe, which, though he is lost quest that he traverses human in it, is stillhimself, his own condition of evil and he finds God; last, But having Paradise, to at good. climbed
and it is in finding God that his quest is ended, for in finding God it is himself that he finds. Dante and and God, son

and inseparable. Now as thus the theme of the Divina Commedia^ expressed, his is symbolized by the use which Dante makes of graphic cryptofor instance, in beginning the of signatures. When, he his lost by Dante is lost, estate the poem, symbolizes and losing (orhiding)his name in the text by means of various thus shows himself as lost in cryptographic devices. Dante hidden by the cryptographic his name, as the universe just spellings, is lost in the text. And when Dante, in his quest to find himself, traverses the
universe, which his dual nature

father, human

divine,

are

found

together

as

one

himself in always, in all itsdiversities,is still human as and divine; when, in other words, he shows that it is in himself that he is lost when he is lost in the universe; he illustratesthe identity of himself and the by the cryptographic devices which spell his own name with the very letters with which the various aspects of the universe itselfare described. finds God And when at last Dante and finds himself in
universe God, he illustrates his meaning devices which spell his
once name

the cryptographic in the very words that


more

by

describe his vision of God.

SIGNATURES

103

selves the cryptographic signatures themillustrate Divina Commedia as the theme of the which a quest in which Dante is lost and found. The firstthat I will show appears on the marginal letters of the firstfines of the firstfour terzine of Infernoi, the very position in which we
us
now

Let

turn

to

have already

seen

the acrostic

nati:

N
A
T

7
10

the acrostic nati children of God refers to the human of the lifeon earth; they who are born into the selva oscura in general, and they are represented in the poem are mankind being by Dante, who describes himself as the typical human experience of all. In the whose experience is the common sense that his experience as an individual is the common identifies himself with manDante kind, experience of mankind, he be it exnot presses may unexpected, therefore, that and by this identification of himself with mankind
Now

cryptographic means. The cryptographic means of expressing the identification in the possibility of appears at once of himself with mankind
the words nati and dante. certain extent n, a, t; These two words have three letters in common: and a a, n, and t signature spelt with the very cryptographic to indicate that would seem already used in the acrostic nati letters possessed by Dante himself was aware of the common
to
a

identifying

the two words, and intended, in his coincident use of these to express lettersfor an acrostic nati and an acrostic dante, identification not only of the words themselves but of an
that coincides with order to show the acrostic dante consider the the letters n, a, and t of the acrostic nati, lines on which the following marginal letters on the same
nati

what In

they represent.

appears:

I04

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

NE A
T l'

7
10

NON so
ben

SO

BEN
ir.

RID

Read:

i'

non

dante

This acrostic not only gives a signature at the head of the but expresses in a single sentence the fundamental poem in the lines on which it appears. La situation as described dirittavia era smarrita^ and Dante does not know how to go. inclined to believe that there is to be found on these I am
more lines another acrostic dante that coincides even Observe that the last of the four closely with the nati. terzine has an acrostic on its three lines: same
10 11 12

I TA C

Read:

taci

In accordance with the sense the reader is of this taci, perhaps informed that he is keeping something silent or else Now observe that with to keep something silent. commanded be considered: the preceding line the acrostic letters may
9
10

D I

11
12

TA
C d

Read:
May

taci

forms the reader consider that this acrostic either inhim him that he is keeping d silent or else commands to keep it silent? In either case, there is suggested a silent d, letters ne, a, t, i, and if this silent d is added to the acrostic
not

the spelling is i', dante. indicates that the whole final terzina on Or if the taci line of the frame which it appears is to be kept silent,the last initialof which is d; and would then become the ninth, the

the acrostic would

be read thus:

SIGNATURES
I

105

NE
A T

7
9

Read:

dante

With
the

whatever
i' non

and conjecture,
so ben

whether
acrostic
a

with
dante
as

or

without
on

sentence:

ir,

an

appears
to

the opening
cryptographic
makes

lines of

Infernoi

in such
dante

way

suggest

cation identifian and nati, which corresponds to the identification which Dante being, with mankind in of himself, as a typical human

identification of

is lost in the text just as general. And this spelling of dante himself is described in the text as lost in the selva Dante
OS cur
a.

this identification of dante and nati with the identificationof dante (p.77). and fante has not limited himself in this passage to the But Dante acrostic form of signature; the passage contains two interior
Compare
sequences each spelling dante initialt of Tanto, line 7. The

and

keying
course

together

on

the

through the course


diritta via.

of these signatures imagined be lustra ilto the text may well of Dante himself after he had lost the
zigzag

The
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

two

interior sequences
la

appear
era

thus:
smarrita
era
e

che ahi

diritta
a

viA
Dir

quanto qual sElva selvaggia questa Nel che rinnuova pensier Tanto e amara che poco trattar ben del ma pEr diro

cosa e

dura forte

ed
e

aspra la paura

piu

ch'i'vi

morte trovai

dell'Altre i'non ben so tant'era pien


a

cose

ch'io

riDir com'io di in sonNo


d

scorte v'ho v'entrai


su

quel
n

punto

Read

from

firstT oi tanto, Read from the


D

of via^ 3; 7: dante.
same
n t

of dir^ 4;
tanto,

of selva^ 5; o^ per, 8;
dante. a

of nel, 6;

oi

7;
11:

oi altre,9;

oi ridir, 10; second

of

sonno,

io6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
turn

OF

DANTE

the beginning of Inferno, where Dante shows himself by cryptographic devices as identical and as lost, to the end of Paradiso. In the with mankind words with which he there describes his vision of God, Dante illustrates by cryptographic devices that he is identical with God and that in finding God he finds himself.
us now

Let

from

be considered firstis Par. xxxiii,lines 121com132; within this passage is hidden a most remarkable plex The lows, of cryptographic signatures. passage, which foldescribes what Dante in his vision of the luce saw eterna, the eternal light being, as consistently throughout the Divina Commedia, the symbol of God:
passage
to

The

O quanto

corto

il dire,
e

come

fioco

121

a questo quel ch' io vidi basta a dicer poco. E tanto, che non O luce eterna, che sola in te sidi, Sola t' intendi, e da te intelletta Ed intendente te, ami ed arridi!

Al niio concetto!

124

Quellacirculazion,

che si concetta Pareva in tre come lume riflesso, Dagli occhi miei alquanto circonspetta, Dentro da se del suo colore stesso Mi parve pinta della nostra effige, Per che il mio viso in lei tutto era messo.

127

130

Let

me

sound the entire passage. The letters of the in a sunbeam, the text like motes spelling the
motes
i', name

before proceeding to the cryptocall attention first, grams, to on the remarkable play sounds suggesting the in lines indeed DANTE 125 and 126, and throughout of
name
now

circulate through

of
IN.

DANTTE

and then almost Indeed, in this circulation of the complete. in the sunbeam luce eterna, the name, of the

DANTE,
TE
a

DA

is actually spelled in the letter sequence, line 125, The figure which I have used of motes circulating appropriate
as

it is in connection with the circulating in the text describing the luce eterna, suggests that Dante himself may have had the figure in mind. And if such may have been the case, it may well be imagined that there is a double entente in the phrase, lines sunbeam, letters of dante
127-128:

in

SIGNATURES

107
si
concetta

Quellacirculazion, che
Pareva

in

tre.*

phrase, as I take it, has in addition to its manifest a contained meaning referring to the cryptograms meaning in the text. The cryptic allusion that I see in the phrase may be developed in the following fashion: "That circulation of the letters,conceived thus as dante, appeared in three ways or zion of fact, out oi quella circulasignatures." And as a matter indeed do letters three signatures appear. of the I first The refer is the letter of the three signatures to which
This already referred to: da te in, in line 125, spelling Though a i' DANTE. not this is in itself particularly interesting an extraordinary interest from the fact signature, it assumes the that it is one of three signatures which have in common
sequence signatures are interior sequences Thus which transect each other on this d and form a cross. a cross on the firstsignature is a dante of which is composed The interior sequences, each spelling dant dante. or two
same

letter d. The

other

two

sequences
123 124 125 126 127

appear
e

thus:
che
'

tanTo luce
t

non

basta sola che te E Da te

dicer IN te

poco

sola

eterNa intendi

ed

intendenTe

quellA

circulazion

sidi intelletta ami ed Arridi si che concetta

The

figure of the

cross

with Dante

upon

it appears

thus:

the first of these interior sequences, read from the line 124, second t oi tanto^ line 123, through the n oi eterna^ through the d of da^ line 125, to the a of arridi^ line 126. For
*I have adopted Toynbee's reading tre in place of te, as in the text of see, Moore. Nothing of the passage, so far as I can consistent with the sense be said for te. Tre as an allusion to the Trinity is especially appropriate. can

io8

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

These lettersspell dant. For dante to the add the e adjacent D, line 125. For the second interior sequence, read from the a oi quelluy line 127, through the line intendente, t 126, through second o{
of da^ line 125, to the n of For dante spell DANT. add the e the
D /'",

adjacent

line 124. These letters to d, line 125, as in

the other sequence. Notice that these two sequences are absolutely identical in their spacing, and that they form an absolutely symmetrical The first sequence starts with the letter t, cross. on the sixth space of line 123; the second sequence starts with the letter a, on the sixth space of line 127. The second letter of the firstsequence, n, fallson the twelfth space in line 124; the second letter of the second sequence, t, falls on the line both letter The twelfth space of third 126. sequences, of falls on the D of line 125, on which the sequences transect, the

eighteenth space of the line. The fourth letter of the first sequence, a, fallson line 126 on the seventh space beyond the transection; the fourth letter of the second sequence, n, falls line 124 on the seventh space beyond the transection. The on feet of the cross, two which correspond to the letters with
which I have described the sequences as beginning, are five lines apart; the two heads, which correspond to the letters with which I have described the sequences as ending, are is on the three lines apart; and the transection of the cross central line of the passage in which the cross appears. On this middle line, line 125, at the transection is the sequence like Christ, is on the cross, so that dante, spelling: i', dante; or as a dualism. name, nature, composed of his own Dante What he looks into the finds, therefore, when
eternal light, is the thrice repeated image of himself, corresponding he himself to the triune God; sees on the cross, and Christ was In finding God he finds himself as on the cross. in the image of God.

formed by interior this cross with the cross sequences in Par. xix. \i^-\ig (pp. 163-4). In addition to this remarkable cross composed of two dante's in with DANTE crucified upon it,there is an anagram

Compare

SIGNATURES

109

the passage describing the vision of the eternal light. I was by the suggested sound of Dante's directed to this anagram name, justas I was directed to the cross by the suggested in the earlier lines of the passage. The sound of his name I have proved hint, just as suggested sound I regarded as a graphic the suggested sound to be a hint in treating of the cryptocross.

Observe, then, words with which


129

as

hint of the presence of the anagram, lines 129 and 130 begin:
a

the

DAGLI DENTRO

OCCHI

MIEI
SE

130

DA

Observe

form of that dagli suggests vaguely the ancestral Alighieri, or Aldighiero, in the following letters: aldig; begins with four of the five letters of observe that dentro The juxtaposition DANTE. of these two words suggesting the of Dante gave me the idea, sound of the firstand last names
after the success of my experiment with the cryptographic cross, that Dante might have intended here an anagram. This idea was reinforced by the fact that the words at the beginnings of lines 127-130 could be read consecutively to

form the following acrostic sentence:


Q.UELLA
DA
SE. CIRCULAZION PAREVA

DAGLI

OCCHI

MIEI

DENTRO

corresponds in meaning exactly to true of the circulazion as a circuIn other words, the lazion of letters spelling Dante's name. as si concetta the image of Dante, circulazion^ into the luce eterna^ like the appeared, when Dante looked image of his own reflected in it. eyes (orhimselO which was back from the his own It was if Dante saw as eyes reflected luce eterna in the form of the circulazion. So much for a partial
This acrostic sentence what we have found was
.

justification of the
PAREVA

acrostic
MIEI

sentence:
DENTRO
DA

quella
SE.

circulazion

DAGLI

OCCHI

But

this

Same

sentence

may

character be read as

also, with of the passage follows:

equal
as
we

truth to the cryptographic have already discovered it,

no

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
''

OF

DANTE

Q.UELLA

ciRCULAziON
se."

PAREVA:

DagH

occhi mtei

dentro da

In other words, the circulazion, which we have discovered to be a circHng of letters spelling Dante's own name, appeared "dagli form: da in se." dentro occhi miei the also If, then, the acrostic sentence says that the circling of letters spelling Dante's name also in the form: appeared be se, da can dentro dagli miei occhi the statement It may, indeed, for the words: dagli miei occhi justified?
dentro da
se,
are
an

anagram
DIS, DANTE

which may
ALDIGHIERO.

be read

as

follows:

ECCOMI,

his cry of utters accordingly, Dante victory and exultation as he finds himself at last in the very of the divine light which is God. Is he calling back to womb
In this anagram,

Dis, the emperor of Hell, that Dis should see him so high God himself, who, as it is said above? Or is he exulting over in the firstchapter of Genesis, had feared, and with reason, that man would make himself equal with Him; is he calling him, Dante, identical with Dis in his as to God to see
inclined to believe, in view of usurpation of divinity? I am the general ambivalence of the Divina of the symbolism Commedia^ are that both these meanings expressed in this
anagram

the close of the poem. This anagram is important, moreover,


at

as

form in which Dante spelt his own name: indeed, was an early form of the name. There remains one other signature in the closing lines of the final canto of the poem that I wish to show here. In Dante says, lines Chapter IX the reader may see two more. I37~i38, that, as he looked into the eternal light which is God and saw the image of himself,
Veder voleva, come si convenne L'imago al cerchio, e come vi s'indova.

the Aldighiero. This

determining

In the lines immediately succeeding, in tellinghow he lacked this desire until, in a flash,the wish came, the power to fulfill in a final interior sequence: he signs his name

SIGNATURES
139 140 141 142
ma se non non
un

iii

eran

Da

cio mia in

da

che fulgorE

lA

proprie penne fu mente percossa sua venne che voglia


qui
manco

le

all'alta

faNTasia

possa
;
nt

Read

from

oi da^ 139;
dante.

oUa,

140;

141 oifulgore^

of

142: fantasia,

This sequence is absolutely vertical as to four letters, with fifth the adjacent. Thus in the moment of realizing his wish, the wish to he finds his exact relation with God in whom understand the fulfillment in the symbolic his name of his wish which here signifies, use the throughout makes which Dante of cryptography Divina Commedia, that the relation of Dante to God is the

himself, it is his
"

name

(himself) that

comes

as

relation of Dante

to

Dante,

of self to self.

Chapter IV

DXV

Chapter

IV

DXV

personage described by Beatrice, Purg. xxxiii. 43, been satisfive hundred, ten, and five" has never -*- as factorily identified.He remains, in fact, after many guesses, I will show that he is the Iron Mask of the Divina Commedia. Dante himself. The evidence that I shall here present that Dante himself

npHE

"a

is designated

is based on the cryptoby the cryptic number grams is in in the passage which the number contained however, The are not, the only cryptograms mentioned.
evidence

covered that I have to offer; I had, indeed, not yet disI first came to the conclusion that the them when dicated inidentification of Dante was with the cryptic number by the symbolism of the poem.
commonly accepted method of interpreting the designation: "a five hundred, ten, and five," is to substitute for the three numbers mentioned the letters which represent The
most

in the Roman these numbers notation. Thus five hundred is is X, and five is v; and they read in the sequence given: D, ten If the V and the x are transposed, as in an anagram, DXV. the or three letters spell dvx, since v and u are interchangeable
"

the Latin word for "leader." This interpretation, which is satisfactory as far as it goes, he remains, in fails, however, to yield the name of the dvx; fact, as anonymous before. And in the opinion of certain as

forms

"

DUX,

is intentional. The reference to his anonymity is prophetic; he is said to be coming, as a leader the dvx "sent future date; and since Dante is not by God," at some
commentators

supposed

to

have

had the gift of prophecy,

the

name

of the

[iiSl

ii6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

leader

much have hoped for or believed in him. In the opinion, he may is intentionally therefore, of those who hold that the dvx Dante quite naturally alluded to the unknown anonymous, leader by a generic term that would apply to whatever particular person he might turn out to be. commonly is enigmatic dvx words
a

cannot

have been known

to

him,

no

matter

how

More

of Moore,

that the particular person. In the reference "it must or way represent in some other
a

held, however,
to
a

is the opinion

evidently suggested by the riddle of the number of the Beast in Rev. xiii.i8." The verse Let him that hath in Revelation reads: "Here is wisdom. count the number of the beast: for it is the understanding is Six hundred threescore and his number of a man: number
name, definite so

because

it is

the Hebrew and six." By substituting for these numbers letters regarded as their cabalistic equivalents, the beast has been identified as Nero.

It seems
"

number hundred,

likely,therefore, from the analogy of the cabalistic in Revelation, that the dvx, as a five of the beast
" "

ten,

and five," is some


a

sort

of cabalisticcryptogram

for the That


model

particular person. of indeed Dante's "number the of the beast" was is further for the dvx ten, and five a five hundred, as
"
"

name

proved by another striking analogy. Purg. xxxiii.44-45, that he DVX,


Con

It is prophesied

of the

ancidera la fuia lei delinque. quel gigante che con

The

is evidently suggested by "the harlot here mentioned waters: that sitteth upon many great whore with whom fornication," have Rev. kings the committed of the earth

xvii. 1-2; and the giant by "the beast that carrieth her," is given in Rev. Rev. xvii. 7, the beast, that is,whose number xiii.These analogies between Revelation and the passage in Purgatorio prove that Dante found the model for his enigma

DXV

117

in the cabalistic "number Jorte

of the beast." That he found his model in the Scriptures disposes finally of any objection devices as have he that considered cryptographic could of his poem. unworthy Proceeding on the analogy with the number of the beast," is generally accepted as a cabalistic cryptogram, which with various results, have attempted various commentators, ten, and five" by the method to decipher the "five hundred, letters of consists of representing the of cabala. This method Since there are many cabalistic the alphabet by numbers. by which the various differ as to the numbers systems, which depend on letters are represented, the interpretation must the system that is adopted. As an illustrationI refer specially in his Studies in 'Dante, seeks to the process by which Moore, Henry VII. to prove that 515 refers to Emperor for my purposes, The entire essay might well be quoted for its detailed erudition reveals the vast extent of cabalistic learned men literature, the seriousness with which regarded friendship it, and especially the likely "acquaintance and even between Dante and a Jewish writer on cabala, Emanuel nated Moore ben Salomon. thinks that Dante would have desigHenry "Arrico," and that then, since as the Emperor
" "

nantly predomithe science of cabala was originally and remained have he would Hebrew, transliterated the Italian Hebrew into the nearest name equivalents. As there is no "o," Moore assumes that Dante would have equivalent for it is the fourth vowel; assigned to it the value 4, because those regularly the other values which Moore assigns are accepted in Hebrew. Thus he obtains:

515

ii8

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

different application of the cabalistic method Scartazzini arrives at what he regards as proof that the dvx is Can Grande. His "proof" depends, among other things,
a

By

his giving Can Grande Grande de Scala, the title:"Kan Moore Signore de Verona." dismisses Scartazzini's solution
on

in the following words: "Scartazzini endeavors, in a most 515 indicate *Can preposterous fashion, to make the number Grande' by the help of a descriptive title containing a mixture of Latin and Italian words, and by then selecting arbitrarily certain letters and neglecting others of it most He has still to invent a purely arbitrary and for imaginary system the letters of the of numerical values alphabet, not Latin, nor Greek, nor Hebrew." Some zini's to Scartazmakes of the which Moore
out
. . .

...

The arbitrary solution are applicable to his own. Moore's in the choice of the argument character of shows form ARRico, his assumption of the value four for the letter his dubious use o, that of k, and the further assumption Dante for have the numerical equivalents of would used Italian letters the cabalistic equivalents of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is significant, however, that the two great Dante application scholars agree that it is only by some

objections

is to be that the enigma of the cabalistic method ment, of this agreesolved. There can be no doubt, in justification As Dante knew literature Moore that the of cabala. been unfamiliar have points out, "the method could scarcely interested in Biblical exegesis as Dante. to one so much
Indeed,
common

his

appeared important

in processes of interpretation have much Moreover, Kabbalistic there methods." with in Dante's life-time the celebrated book Zjohar, an
own

and widely circulated interpretation of Scripture.

work

on

the

cabalistic

of the exists, as I believe, in the symbolism Dante Divina Commedia was that acquainted with this work; it is impossible he have been acquainted, not that may and Moore as suggests, with the work of his contemporary
Evidence

Emanuel
There

ben Salomon,

is

device

authority on the subject of cabala. by Emanuel ben Salomon, the used


an

DXV

119

I have just contemporary referred,which of Dante to whom interesting In an shows variation of the cabalistic method. order to designate himself at the end of one of his works he is 70 and 40, and a Nun to a Vau (n)joined is 'El.'" (v or u), and the ending of my name In this cabalistic signature, made by an expert in cabala, it is important to note that, along with the use of numbers
name

says: "My

regarded as cabalistic equivalents of letters, some of the are actual letters of the name used. This use of a combination of numbers and letters will show, I think, a kind of precedent for the method by which I interpret the dxv. In my own interpretation of the "five hundred, ten, and five" I accept as a partial interpretation the reading: dvx. In other words, I regard the cryptogram double^ in the as Dante himself only, as I shall show, names but also names him leader, dvx, or then, is the first, nary, prelimiform into which the "five hundred, ten, and five" is to be translated. But how, in its turn, is dvx to be translated into DANTE ?
sense

that it not

into dante translation of DVX requires, for the perfect a working out of the cryptogram, spelling of Dante's whole in which the last name has ten letters.The cryptogram name will work out, however, on a nine letter form of the last name

The

of Dante's use of a spelling with ten letters exists, I believe, in the anagrammatic ing: readdis, dante EccoMi, aldighiero (seepage no.) We need not rely, however, on this anagram for authority for a ten-letter spelling of Dante's last name. For early examples
name

ending in o, as in the accepted form for the father, Alighiero. An instance of Dante's own

I refer to Toynbee's Dante Dictionary and Alighieri in Alcuni Capitoli della rillo's// Cognome di Dante^

to

Sche-

Biografia

which show that there is early evidence for the forms Aldighiero^ Aldighieri, and Allighieri. The name rives defrom the name Cacof the wife of Dante's ancestor ciaguida, which was, according to some spellings, Aldighiera degli Aldighieri. The singular masculine would, then, in this original form, have been Aldighiero.

I20

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

other ten-letter spellings of Alighieri will answer, as will also the nine-letter spelling less perfectly. but they answer ending in o: Alighiero\ The D of DVX, obtained as the equivalent of five hundred, corresponds The V, or
DANTE.

For the translation of aldighiero. the form dante

dvx

into Dante's

name

I take, then,

The

the initialletter d in dante. five, corresponds to the number of letters in It also corresponds to e, the last letter in dante,
to

the fifthletter of the alphabet, is the alphabetical is indicated, therefore, not only as equivalent of five, dante to the number of letters, but also as to the first and last letters, as in the common method of indicating a proper name since
e, as

without spelling it in full: o. .e. The X, or ten, corresponds to the ten lettersin aldighiero. It also indicates in their proper order both the initialand the final letter of aldighiero, This indication a o. or
.

according to the Arabic notation. The I since a, of lo corresponds to the initiala of aldighiero, as the firstletter of the alphabet, has the numerical value of in aldiAnd to the final o one. ghiero, the o of lo corresponds form. and o as a letter have the same since o as zero appears in writing
ten

Thus last
A.
.
.

the
In

ten

indicates

name, .o.

but
case,

only the number of lettersin the also the first and last letters of the name: however, the name, in Alighiero^ was a as
not

nine-letter name ending in o, the ten of the cryptogram still by its initialand itsfinal letters:a indicates the name o. between The "five hundred, ten, correspondence and is five," DVX, aldighiero sufliciently close. And and dante
....

this correspondence is determined to have method which is known


the authority
on

by variations in a cabalistic been used by Dante's contemporary

ben Salomon. cabala, Emanuel This method, as we saw, consists in a combination of letters as the equivalents of letters. and of numbers regarded Dante's variations ifit be admitted that the method I have ascribed to him is his from the method of Salomon consists
"

"

in

and Arabic notation of of the Roman and in taking as the numerical value of a letter, not numbers be assigned to it in the Hebrew that would the number
a

combined

use

DXV

121

itsposition in theltalian alphabet. alphabetjbut thenumberof The identification of the dvx aldighiero may and dante tation. interprebe as indicated by the preceding certainly regarded
in the very passage that treats of the enigma forte there is further evidence of a cryptographic character for this identification.This evidence consists of a double acrostic,
But

series of interior sequences, and an acrostic on the proper names contained in the passage. First, for the double acrostic, see the five terzine, Purg.
a

xxxiii.43-57:
cinquecento diece e cinque, Messo da Dio, ancidera la fuia Con quel gigante che con lei delinque. E forse che la mia narrazion buia, Qual Temi e Sfinge, men ti persuade, lo intelletto attuia; Perch' a lor modo Ma fien li fatti le Naiade, tosto Che solveranno questo enigma forte, Senza danno di pecore o di biade. Tu nota; e si come da me son porte, Cosi queste parole segna ai vivi Del viver ch' e un correre alia morte; le scrivi, Ed abbi a mente, tu quando Di non celar qual hai vista la pianta, Ch' e or due volte dirubata quivi.

Nel quale

un

43

46

49

52

55

several features in the text of this passage which to indicate that these five terzine are to be taken as an seem acrostic frame. First, the passage begins with the line in which the all "five hundred, important ten, and five" is mentioned.

There

are

the number of this line is 43, a number whose integers have the perfect number for their sum 7 and which the fundamental relation: 3 to 4, on which express, moreover, is based. the number symbolism of the Divina Commedia Second, the passage ends with a terzina that begins, line
z^Zj^ DANTE,
own name

Moreover,

with

the letters: ed. These letters, the last and first of seem often to be used by Dante both to indicate his and to mark the beginning or the end of a passage
a

that contains

cryptogram.

122

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Third, the initials of the three lines of this last terzina have a special significance which I shall have to wait tillthe next chapter to explain in full.These initialletters are:
E

D
C

Note

that e, as the fifthletter in the alphabet, has the value notation, has the value of 500. And c, of 5, D, in the Roman in the Roman are notation, has the value of 100. If the zeros disregarded, it appears that the integers which these numbers
integers contained yield are 5 and 5 and i, exactly the same in the number of the enigma: 500, 10, and 5. In the next as a chapter I will show in detail how Dante constantly uses signature a variety of combinations of letters which yield

these integers. For the present, then, I simply note that the five terzine, lines 43 to 57, are indicated as an acrostic frame by being bounded at the beginning and end symmetrically by the significant integers: 5, 5, and i. then, that the five terzine are indicated as an acrostic frame. The initialsof the first lines of these terzine
Consider,
are
:

43
46
49

N
E
M

52 55

T E

Read:
But

mente

this acrostic mente lines. Consider on the letters:

is
same

not

the only acrostic on these lines the following marginal

DXV

123

(hisname) by means (see (seepp. 103-5), with fante of a double acrostic with nati here, by the same so (seepp. 183-4), p. 77),and with mente
Exactly
as

Dante

identifieshimself

Mente, as device, he again identifies himself with mente. is the iii, appears in the reference to the Trinity in Inferno intellectual form of the divine Son, or Christ, with whom Dante the Divina constantly identifies himself throughout Commedia.
dante presence of me, which contains the enigma five," is an association which

The

in acrostic form in the passage J orte: "five hundred, ten, and


points indubitably the enigma masks.
to

Dante

as

Dante, as the mysterious person whom is the prophesied dvx. MENTE, interesting double meanings in the passage There are some containing these acrostics which may be taken as hints of the cryptic intention. Note first the words, line 55: Ed abbi a to If ed is taken, as it so often seems to be meant, mente. in the be understood indicate dante, the quotation may

in mind." Moreover, the ed and mente in the same and phrase repeat the association of dante in MENTE the associated acrostic readings: me, that appears
sense:

"Have

Dante

DANTE

and

MENTE.

second, the words, line 56: Di be understood spelled form of d; it may The this phrase as the initial of dante.
Note,
may therefore be read, as having imperative "Do not conceal dante."
a

non

celar. Di

is the with
celar

in connection words Di non


sense,

double

for the

also the possible double meaning, line 52, in regard to the enigma, of the words: Come da me. All these possible in double meanings, slight or farfetched as they may seem themselves taken separately, have a cumulative value in Note with my reading of the enigma and the acrostic readings which I have shown. Note now, in confirmation of my interpretation of the dvx dante as aldighiero, the interior sequences in the same is mentioned passage in which the dvx and the acrostic me, connection
dante

is found.
first interior sequence
to

The

which

I will call attention

124

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the initialoi cinquecento, line 43, and reads directly down. The c of cinquecento is to be replaced, exactly as it is by a d, since d is the equivalent replaced in the reading: dvx, notation. The sequence to which o{ cinquecento in the Roman begins
on

I refer appears in the following form


43
44

nel
messo con

quale da quel

un

dio

45

gigaNTE

The

letters of the sequence, which

I have thus capitalized,

is noteworthy. The d, of this sequence the A, and the n are each in the fourteenth letter space of is immediately their respective lines; and the te adjacent to the N. The possibility that such a sequence might be by accidental is very slight. The intention is confirmed, first, the mathematical regularity, and, second, by the fact that the beginning of the sequence coincides with the beginning and that the sequence and the cryptic of the cryptic number both give for their readings the name of the same number
person: There
dante.
are

spell: DANTE. The regularity

two

more

interior sequences appear


un
as

in this passage, and

the three sequences


43
44 nel
messo

follows:
Diece la
con e

quale da

Dinquecento AnciderA
che mia

cinque

dio

fuia lei

45 46 47

con
e

quel forse temi


'a

gigaNTE la che
e

delinque
buia

qual

sfiNge

48 49

perch teste ma

lor

modo li fien

lo

persuade inTelletto attuia le fatti naiADE

narrazion ti men

For the second sequence read the d oi diece ^ the second of the cryptic numbers, line 43; the second a of ancidera^ 44; the NTE o{ gigante^ 45: dante. For the third sequence read the n o{ 47; the firstt of sfinge^ intelletto^ o{ naiade, 49: dante. 48; the ade from d of diece to nte of second sequence, which runs It is in its is strongly spacing. ^/^""/^, mathematically regular intentional by its relation to the first as corroborated The

DXV

I2S

the second of the cryptic numbers, sequence; it starts on firstcryptic number; first as just the sequence starts on the as for its a the last letter of ancidera^ just it uses the first for its a the firstletter of the same word; and sequence uses first by for its nte nte it uses the the sequence. The used is likewise spaced mathematical with third sequence regularity. The fourth interior sequence which I shall show here is in foregoing, as follows: a passage a few lines below the
52 53 54 55 56
tu
cosi del ed Di

nota
viver

si
ch'e

come

queste

parole

da me SEGNA
correre

son

porTE

ai

vivi

abbi
non

mente

celar

uN quando hai qual

alia morte le tu scrivi la pianta vista

Read

the
mente

te
^

oiporte^ 52;
c^c^-^

segna,

53; the

of

un^

54; the

dante. the d, initialof 56: segna the hints in the text which call attention to the on celar, the d of Di non signature. The signature starts in double a be taken, as I have indicated, which words may "Do to mean, sense not conceal Dante." And the signature be underline that begins with what a may stood ends on lookout: be on to the reader to an as the injunction line are the significant words: Tu nota. And on the same Come da me. This sequence is mathematically regular. It begins with the D on the firstspace of 56; on the eighth space after d, on the line above, is a; on the eighth space after a, on the line above, is n; the eighth space after n, on the line above, is an empty be read here, and the word segna space, since no letter is to isimmediately and on the line above, on the eighth adjacent; to segna where no space adjacent space beyond the empty letter is to be read, is the t followed by the e which completes

before Note

the signature. I need hardly repeat that the mathematical regularity of is a strong argument against the possibility that the sequence it might be accidental. In the passage of five terzine which contains in itsfirstline

126

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY diece

OF

DANTE

the cryptic
an

un

cinquecento

ciiique

we

have

now

seen

quences acrostic signature and several signatures in interior seThe passage contains still another signature by device of an acrostic stillanother cryptographic device -the The proper names a group on mentioned of proper names. here in the passage which we are considering are dig, temi, Consider SFiNGE, the following initial and and NAiADE.
"

contiguous

letters in these proper

names:

Read:

dante

si

finge

Interesting in connection with this signature is the fact that it is made possible by Dante's use of a word to which the editors of the Divina Commedia commonly refer as a blunder: Naiade

for the Latin Laiades.

In recapitulation of my argument that Dante is the dxv, I have shown in the preceding pages a close correspondence between the cryptic number, "five hundred, ten, and five,"

and

the

name as

dante

aldighiero,

form

of the

name

for the

which,

evidence I have also shown passage in which

shown, of the anagram:


an

I have

there is early evidence


eccomi, dis,

and

dante
me,

aldighiero. dante,

acrostic signature:

in the

the cryptic number appears, a series of four interior sequences in the same passage, reading dante, over, in the passage. Moreand an acrostic on the proper names I have pointed out a number of expressions in the passage that may be taken as having double meanings which Such a complex of signatures, which again indicate dante. can scarcely have been accidental, is the cryptographic proof are one that Dante and the dxv and the same. For the symbolism see the discussion in Chapter of the dxv VI

cussion, of the symbolism of the Veltro and especially the disin Chapter VIII, of the symbolism of the Mystic is prophesied. Procession, in connection with which the dxv I will show, is to be understood The dxv, to indicate as
Dante
as

reborn and

therefore

as

divine.

Chapter

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

Chapter

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

is curious THERE Paradiso^ hnes 98-99,


a

statement

in the
makes

fifth
about

canto

that Dante

of himself.

He

says:
pur

di mia
per
tutte

natura

Trasmutabile

son

guise!

This

statement

guises is an

that Dante is by important clue both

nature to

transmutable

of the Divina But what are the guises into which Dante is transmutable ? have seen in the preceding chapter, is One of them, as we the cryptic number, five hundred, ten and certainly the dxv, cryptography
five, into which, as I have shown, the name of Dante can be transmuted. What, then, are his other guises? In the present chapter I will show various purely cryptographic guises into which is transmutable. rather, the name of Dante, I will leave to the next chapter the discussion of the symbolic himself guises, the personifications, into which he transmutes
Dante,
or, as

the symbolism Commedia.

into all and to the

an

individual.
passage

in which Dante to giving a comes nearest literalstatement as to the method of discovering his guises, the transmutations of which he remains himself the constant The

factor, is
with
somma

to

be found in Paradiso

he describes what which luce. passage reads


as

xxxiii. 85-93, in the words in his vision of the he saw

The

follows:

[ 129 1

I30

THE Nel

CRYPTOGRAPHY
suo

OF

DANTE
85

vidi che s' interna, Legato con in un volume, amore Cio che per I'universo si squaderna; Sustanzia ed accidenti e lor costume, Quasi conflati insieme per tal modo, Che cio ch' io dico e un semplice lume. La forma universal di questo nodo Credo ch' io vidi, perche piu di largo, Dicendo questo, mi sento ch' io godo.

profondo

88

91

Dante

ishere describing how and accidents

of substance

substance^ accident^ and mode

in his vision the union The and their modes. words belong to the technical vocabulary
saw are

he

express the appearance of things is relation of appearance to infinite,the infinite phenomena of the universe. But underlying infinite is a the and uniting them reality phenomena God. The is one that and universal substance of single, the

of scholastic philosophy;

they reality.The

used

to

appearances of things, therefore, are the accidents and modes of the divine substance; they are the divine manifestations, the guises into which God himself is transmuted. The key to these transmutations

phenomena,
appearance mystic Now

into all the guises of his of God in other words the solution of the problem of and reality, is what Dante says he found in his
"

"

Light. vision of the Supreme when Dante declares that he himself is by his nature into all guises he is making no transmutable confession of instability of character, as is often supposed. or weakness He is actually declaring, on the contrary, that his transmutability into all guises is the transmutability of God, who manifests himself in all the divine guises of the phenomena of Dante is his divine own the universe. asserting, therefore, character; he is identifying himself with God. If, then, as Dante says in describing his vision of the Supreme Light, he solved the problem and of appearance infinite the relation of the reality, seeing and understanding that phenomena of the universe to the divine substance key he found in if, to one, them the the makes other words,

transmutations

of God

into the guises of God, he found, per-

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

131

into all the guises of himself. The key that unlocks the mystery of the divine appearances is the key that unlocks the mystery of his own, for the appearances of God and since the mystery is the same for us, therefore, are the appearances of Dante. Important
to

force, the key

his own

transmutations

the exact words with which found this key. They are will repeat them:

Dante
so

expresses himself as having very important, indeed, that I

La forma universal di questo Credo eh' io vidi.

nodo

These

which these words convey is simply this: "The universal form of this knot I believe that I saw." follows: "The But it is possible to understand as them In other universal form of this knot I believe as 10 vidi."
I believe that words, Dante may here be understood to say: taking thus the the universal form of this knot is 10 vidi" in being form a themselves quite apart from words 10 vidi as
"

words, which are the key to the "guises" The obvious meaning

capable of of Dante.

double

meaning,

give

"

here suggested, can the words 10 vidi How be "the universal form" of the guises of Dante? can dividua they be the key to his transmutations of himself as an inisobvious. The words 10 ? The answer or a name as
are the equivalent of the cryptogram, hundred, ten, and five ^' and therefore in ^'jive cryptic number in the preceding chapter, turn equivalent, as I demonstrated to Dvx aldighiero (or,if the reader prefers, and to dante

their denotation. But how, as I have

vidi,

considered

as

to
10

DANTE
VIDI are

ALDIGHIERI

or

DANTE

ALIGHIERO).The letters IO of

the equivalent, in the Arabic notation of numbers, are the Italian spelling of the of ten; the letters vi of vidi is five; letter v, which in the Roman notation of.numbers and the letters di of vidi are the Italian spelling for the letter
D,

which

in the Roman pondences notation is five hundred. The corresbe expressed more may clearly, perhaps, as

follows :

132

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

lo
VI DI

lO

(v) (d)

5 500
of the words of the universal be shown as follows:
=

The
10
viDi

transmutation into Dvx may


10
=

form

ten
=

(inthe Roman

notation)

VI
DI

V D

Rearranged, The

these letters spell dvx.

transmutation of the words of the universal form into DANTE ID VIDI described in the proceeds by the method "five hundred, ten, and preceding chapter for transmuting five" into dvx aldighiero. and into dante
10
=

10

=ALDiGHiERO,

the

number, letters I As in name. representing the the preof the said ceding form is for aldighiero name the chapter, of the which there is documentary evidence and, as I have found,
ten

equivalent of one, or a, and the initial of aldighiero; last letter, or o, of aldighiero;

of lo representing the alphabetical firstletter the of the alphabet o 10 the representing the of
and

the

10,

as

(seep. 1 10).But if the reader is the evidence of the anagram the unwilling to admit the evidence for this form of the name, is 1 10, as in the a ten, as transmutable, of 10 vidi showed
preceding chapter, to any ten-letter spelling of the name in so far as it designates the number of lettersof the name, or in to a nine-letter o, as in Alighiero^ in that it spelling ending designates by its i the initialand by its o the final letter. five, first, VI V, or the number of letters in dante; and letter second, the with which dante ends, or e, which, as the
= =

fifth letter of the alphabet, has the numerical value of five. DI =D, the initialletter of dante. lo VIDI is, therefore, "the universal form" which appears, by transmutation, in the name of Dante, and in his guise as a
"five hundred,
"

ten,

and five," and

in

dvx.

In the foregoing "the universal as exposition of 10 vidi form I have confined myself to the purely cryptoof dante,

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

133

In as a name. and dante analogies between 10 vidi addition to these cryptographic analogies, however, there is a of the words 10 vidi and striking analogy between the sense the character, at any rate, which he the character of Dante graphic
"

ascribes which I

to
now

choice of

10

The analogy to himself in the Divina Commedia. Dante in his refer may have further determined I saw," vidi as his universal form." The sense,
" "

expresses, indeed, the very theme of the Divina Commedia. Dante is the seer\ he saw the universe from bottom to top; himself. The universal form he saw God; and in God he saw 10 VIDI expresses, therefore, not only a cryptographic analogy of Dante but an analogy with his character in with the name

inconceivable, moreover, It is not that in the the poem. identification which he makes in the poem of his own nature have Dante intended a may punning: with the divine nature,
"I, there God." The importance of the forma universal as the clue to the is indicated guises, or disguises, of Dante cryptographic
10,
VI Di, as

forma acrostic reading in the very passage in which t\\Q universal is mentioned. The six terzine. Par. xxxiii. 91-108,
by
an

are:

La forma universal di questo nodo 91 Credo ch' io vidi, perche piu di largo, Dicendo questo, mi sento ch' io godo. Un punto 94 solo m' e maggior letargo, Che venticinque secoli alia impresa, 1' ombra d' Argo. Che fe' Nettuno ammirar Cosi la mente sospesa, 97 mia, tutta fissa immobile Mirava attenta, ed E sempre di mirar faceasi accesa. A quella luce cotal si diventa, 100 lei da Che volgersi per altro aspetto E impossibil che mai si consenta; Perocche il ben ch' e del volere obbietto, 103 Tutto s' accoglie in lei,e fuor di quella E difettivo cio che li e perfetto. Omai sara 106 piu corta mia favella, Pure a quel ch' io ricordo, che di un fante la lingua alia mammalia. Che bagni ancor

Consider

the initialsof the firstlines of these terzine:

134

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

lines 91, 94, 97, and 100: luca. down on 97, 100, 103, and 106: capo. Each of the acrostic words is spelt on four terzine, so that they overlap, the last two letters of the firstword being also the firsttwo letters of the second word. Exactly in the middle of this acrostic reading, between the two letters used in both

Read Read

down

on

words, is the acrostic me, spelt on the initialsof lines 98 and be shown thus: 99. The complete reading may

The me me. capo. reading is therefore: luca is present in the calls attention to the fact that Dante indicates the passage. Capo, like the words viso and faccia, device of the person concealed. "Head shines," therefore, is a confirmation of the forma universal as a disguise for Dante. The firstwords of the line, 97, on which the acrostic The
complete
capo

begins

acrostic are Dante identifieshimself with menle in general. The idea of the acrostic luca appears in the text in the words: ^ quella luce^ line 100, the line on which the acrostic luca ends. Note
may

Cos) la mente mia^ so that the text and the have seen, as we related in meaning. Moreover,
are:

that

on

be read

an

acrostic: luca

terzine, 103-108, the first lines of the two a variant for the so that, as acrostic: poema; lines an capo, there may be read on the same
poema.

acrostic: luca

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

135

is another confirmation of the cryptic character of the forma universal in the initialsof the three lines of the The the forma universal is mentioned. terzina in which initialsof these lines are:

There

These

three letters, considered

as

indicating numbers

in

the Roman notation, represent respectively 50, 100, and 500. have here 5, i, and 5, the By disregarding the zeroes, we in integers of the cryptic number of the prophesied dxv, connection with the forma universal. As a symbol of himself Dante constantly uses any combination into be letters these transmuted may which of be his integers name can integers, since from these own reconstructed. Before proceeding, therefore, to show the more important specificguises of Dante I will show a few examples name, as nations of various combisymbols of his own of his use, be transmuted, by disregarding of letters that may into a 5, a i, and a 5. the zeroes,

following passage. Par. xxxiii.46-57, consists of four terzine:


The
Ed io ch' al fine di tutti i disii io dovea, M' appropinquava, si com' finii. L' ardor del desiderio in me Bernardo m' accennava, e sorridea, io era Perch' io guardassi suso; ma Gia per me stesso tal qual ei volea; la Che sincera, mia vista, venendo Io E piu e piu entrava per raggio Deir alta luce, che da se e vera. Da quinci innanzi il mio veder fu maggio Che il parlar nostro, ch' a tal vista cede, E cede la memoria a tanto oltraggio.
46

49

52

55

Consider the following marginal these terzine:

letters of the firstlines of

136

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

This reading is appropriate to the text. Bernardo has been directing the eyes of Dante to God, and he yields his place, intermediator, when Dante, as he says himself, becomes as
per
me

stesso

tal qual ei volea.

chief cryptographic interest of the passage, however, is not in this acrostic, but in the variants which it contains of Dante's numerical signature. The initialsof the first,the
The

third, and the fourth terzina may be transmuted into a 5, a I, and a 5. The initials of the firstterzina are:
46
E
M L

respectively

47
48

the fifthletter of the alphabet, has the value in cabala notation, is 1,000; and l, in the Roman of 5; M, in the Roman have a 5, a i, we notation, is 50. By disregarding the zeroes E,
as

and a 5. The initialsof the third terzina


52
c
E

are:

53

54

C, in the Roman notation is 100; e, in cabala, is 5; and in Roman notation, is 500. By disregarding the zeroes

d,
we

5, a I, and a 5. in The initialsof the fourth terzina, d, c, e, are the same integers. different order, and give therefore the same But why, if there is a numerical signature on the first,the on the third, and the fourth terzina, should there be none for the signature second ? The absence here is only apparent, is concealed in an interior sequence:
a

have

THE
49 50 51
bernardo perch gia 'io
per
me

UNIVERSAL
m'accennava e

FORM

137

guardassi stesso

suso

sorrlDea 10 ma qual el

era

tal

Volea

mediate that in sorridea, 49, is d with i beside it; imletter space, is o, with i below, 50, in the same below is i, with v beside it. All beside it; and immediately and the "universal form" itself, these letters spell 10 vidi, integers of the cryptic number, 515. give, therefore, the Notice that the passage on the acrostic ceda which Ed io. These words, BERNARDO appears begins with the words as we shall see, are also a cryptographic signature. Notice, moreover, that the letters on the line indicating the sequence, the letters, that is, that fall in an exactly vertical line, spell dig. Thus in the very passage in which Dante says in effect: Notice

of the four terzine in question an with a special emphasis on the letters dig; and in each of the other three terzine acrostic initialswith the numerical value of 10 vidi. The coincidence in such a passage of an interior sequence: lo vidi, with three is strong confirmation for numerical equivalents in acrostics is the "universal form" that may that 10 vidi the argument by a into dante, be transmuted and the guises of dante,
Io vidi Dio, he makes in one interior sequence: 10 vidi,
system of alphabetical and numerical equivalents. be noted that in connection with the one It may overt in the Divina Commedia of Dante mention of the name in there appear in acrostic form the letters:vid, which yield 10 vidi: as Roman 515. The four number notation the same Purg. xxx. 55-66, are: terzine beginning with "Dante,"
'Dante, perche Virgilio se ne vada, Non pianger anco, non planger ancora; Che pianger ti convien per altra spada.' Quasi ammiraglio, che in poppa ed in prora Viene a veder la gente che ministra Per gli altri legni, ed a ben far la incuora, In sulla sponda del carro sinistra, del nome Quando mi volsi al suon mio, Che di necessita qui si registra, 55

58

61

138

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE
64

Vidi la Donna, che pria m' appario Velata sotto 1' angelica festa, Drizzar gli occhi ver me di qua dal rio.

the following marginal letters on these four terzine: Consider


55
D

the firstlines of

58 61
64

QUASI
I
V

Read:

quasi

vid

in the acrostic quasi is vid, of 10 vidi curiously repeated in the text itself, where, along with the Dante, is constant there mention of reiteration of the This reiteration will appear in the elements of 10 vidi. following method of capitalizing the text:

This

suggestion

55 62

ante,

64 66

quando i D

perche V mi i la
D

V olsi
onna

irgil al
che V
suon

10
D

se

ne nome

V
m

el

10

pria
er
me

rizzar

gli

occhi

m'appar di qua

10 dal
r

10

In line 55 10 the line to the

vidi

from the firstof is repeated, reading, first, centre, and reading, second, from the last of
v,

the line to the centre. This repetition of d,


the
one

overt

mention

and 10 in the passage which contains in the Divina Commedia of his name
a

confirms

as the use of 10 vidi name of Dante. There is a curious use of 10

cryptographic
in Par.
xxx.

symbol

of the

vidi a

91-99, which

further confirms the words passage is:

as

cryptographic

symbol.

The

Poi come larve, sotto gente stata Che pare altro che prima, se si sveste La sembianza in che disparve; non sua Cosi mi si cambiaro in maggior feste Li fiorie le faville,si ch' io vidi Ambo le corti del ciel manifeste.

91

94

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM
io vidi
verace,

139

O isplendor di Dio, per

cu'

97

L' alto trionfo del regno Dammi virtu a dir com'

io lo vidi.

Consider

the following marginal

letters of the firstlines of

the three terzine:


91 94
POI
C
O

97

Read:
What

copio

is it that,

as

Dante

I suggest that it is the words Lines 95, 97, 99 end in vidi^ one
so

says in the acrostic, he copies? of the "universal form", 10 vidi.

far

as

can

identical

sense.

same.

perfect rhyme He uses


and

of the only three words, discover, which Dante uses as rhymes in an He has many "perfect" rhymes, but in the is different, though the sound is the the sense Crista as an identical rhyme in three passages,
me,

Purg. xxxiii. 10 and 12, The use of way that Crista is used vidi to rhyme with itselfin the same to and Crista are rhyme with itself suggests that 10 vidi the Latin word in the way that Dante constantly symbols identifieshimself with Christ in the symbolism of the entire in the same And the use confirms the way poem. of me identified
as

suggestion. The usual explanation of this repetition of vidi, thus used is that Dante wished to emphasize the as a rhyme with itself, intensity of his vision. This explanation is good as far as it goes. But see what the final words really are:
95
10 ID 10
VIDI

97
99

VIDI LO VIDI

cant signifisymbol 10 vidi repeated in a most God light looking is into Dante the and sees of passage. in the image of himself as 10 vidi, exactly as in the passage which 10 vidi appears in connection with theforma universal. Notice as possible hints of 10 vidi a disguise of Dante, as the words: gente stata sotto larve, and: mi si cambiaro.
Here

is Dante's

I40

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

following passage, terzine:


The
AUor

hif.xxvi.

19-24,

consists of

two

mi ridoglio, mi dolsi, ed ora a Quand' io drizzo la mente cio ch' io vidi; K piu Io ingegno afFreno ch' io non soglio,

19

Perche non corra che virtu nol guidi; Si che se Stella buona, o miglior cosa M' ha date 11 ben, ch' io stesso nol

22

m'

invidi.

Consider, first, on marginal letters:

following all the lines of this passage the

Read: The

feremas

qui

command,

here" may
10 VIDI

refer to

expressed in this acrostic, to the telesticdevice by which the signature

"remove

appears:

Thus

10

VIDI

is repeated

passage is amusing is curbing his genius


to

of the in connection with the signatures; Dante so {ingegno) that he may not have reason
twice,
vidi
sense

thrice. The

himself the good. Ingegno is a suggestive word here, find it in the phrase "artifice" and "wit," as we meaning Purg. xii.66 (seep. 14). ingegno sottile^ The repetition of the vidi rhyme should be compared with Par. xxx. 95-97-99. There we have the same word in the same grudge

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

141

sense,

whereas

here
u

we

have
v,

"perfect"

the same, since Confirming 10

equals
vidi
as

acrostic on the passage for the firsttime in the Divina

but the sense a cryptic designation of Dante in which the words lo vidi are
Commedia^

rhyme, the letters different. is an used

Inf.i.64:

Quand'io vidi
The four terzine, which this firstuse

cestui nel gran

diserto.

Inf. i.

55-66,

of the words

ending with the terzina in lo vidi appears, are:


55

E quale e quei che volentieri acquista, E giugne il tempo che perder lo face, Che in tutt' i suoi pensier piange e s' attrista: Tal mi fece la bestia senza pace, Che, venendomi a poco a poco contra, Mi ripingeva la, dove il Sol tace. Mentre ch' io rovinava in basso loco, Dinanzi agli occhi mi si fu offerto Chi per lungo silenzio parea fioco. Quand' io vidi costui nel gran diserto, 'Miserere di me' gridai a lui, tu certo.' 'Qual che od uomo sii,od ombra

58

61

64

Consider
marginal

the first lines of these terzine the following letters:


on
E TA ME

55 58 61 64

QUAND
vidi"

10

VIDI

Read: The

"10

qua

me,

dante

second time that the words Io vidi appear is in Inf.ii.8: Commedia


O
mente,

in the Divina

che scrivesti cio ch' io vidi.

The The

cryptograms

in the passage

confirm again the words firstfour terzine of the canto


Lo

in which the 10 vidi thus appears Dante. for designation as a


read
as

follows:

giorno se n' andava, e 1' aer bruno in terra. Toglieva gli animai che sono Dalle fatiche loro; ed io sol uno

142

THE M'

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF
la guerra

DANTE

erra. mente, che non ingegno, or m' alto aiutate: che scrivesti c\d ch' io vidi, Qui si parra la tua nobilitate. Io cominciai: 'Poeta che mi guidi, Guarda la mia virtu, s' ella e possente. Prima che all'alto passo tu mi fidi.

apparecchiava Si del cammino Che ritrarra la


o

a
e

sostener

si della pietate,
7

Muse, O mente,

10

On
are

the firstlines of these terzine, as the following marginal letters:

we

have already noted,

Read;
is here associated, in his descent into Hell, as I suggested in Chapter II, with the dying day. Note now on the three lines of the third terzina, within which the 10 vidi appears, the following marginal letters:
Dante
7 8
9
CM
o

QUI

Read:

omo

qui

This acrostic repeats in effect the acrostic on the ten-line is here in the very terzina frame, and says that the "Man"
which contains 10 vidi. In addition to the acrostics in this passage there is a more telestic which even precisely identifies 10 vidi with Dante. This telestic appears on lines 3-8. Notice, in connection lines, first that the contains the words with these I later, Ed io, which, as are another cryptographic shall show
guise of Dante, The telestic on

and that the last line contains the 10 vidi. in the following telestic these lines appears

letters:

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

143

Read:

10

era

dante

This telestic:10

era

dante, vidi

reading with Dante.

as

it does with the di

of

to

vidiy associates

10

third time that the words lo vidi appear in the Divina beCommedia, and the first time that they appear at the ginning iv. 121 : of a line,is in Inf. The
lo vidi Elettra
con

molti compagni.

This line fallswithin the five terzine,Inf.iv. 11 8-132:


Cola diritto sopra il verde smalto Mi fur mostrati gli spiriti magni, n' Che del vederli in me stesso esalto. lo vidi Elettra con molti compagni, Tra' quai conobbi Ettore ed Enea, Cesare armato con gli occhi grifagni. Vidi Cammilla e la Pentesilea, Dair altra parte vidi il re Latino Che con Lavinia sua figliasedea. Vidi quel Bruto che caccio Tarquino, Marzia e Corniglia, Lucrezia, Julia, E solo in parte vidi ilSaladino. Poi che innalzai un poco piu le ciglia, Vidi il Maestro di color che sanno Seder tra filosoficafamiglia.
118

121

124

127

130

first that the lo vidi at the beginning of the terbeginning of each zina 121-123 is followed by a Fidi at the two terzine. Such a symmetrical repetition of of the next a word is often used by Dante as a hint of the presence of a Consider now the following marginal letters cryptogram.

Notice

of the firstlines of the five terzine:

144

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read;

notation, to 5, 5, and i, and i correspond, in Roman so 515. that they yield the integers of the cryptic number In saying thus in this acrostic in connection with the words be understood lo vidi that "I copy to 515," Dante may indicate the association of himself with the cryptic number
V,
V,

and the "universal form," 10 vidi. That Dante is indeed making a cryptographic reference to himself appears not only from the cryptographic use which he makes of the proper names but also from the (seep.

445),

the firstlines of the remaining terzine of the canto. acrostic following the terzine on which we The terzine immediately find the acrostic: copio v, v, i, read as follows:
on

Tutti lo miran, tutti onor gli fanno. Quivi vid' io Socrate e Platone, Che innanzi agli altri piu presso gli stanno. Democrito, a caso pone, che il mondo Diogenes, Anassagora e Tale, Empedocles, Eraclito e Zenone: E vidi il buono accoglitor del quale, Dioscoride dico: e vidi Orfeo, Tullio e Lino e Seneca morale: Euclide geometra e Tolommeo, Ippocrate, Avicenna e Galieno, feo. Averrois, che il gran commento di Io non tutti appieno; posso ritrar Perocche si mi caccia il lungo tenia, Che molte volte al fatto il dir vien meno. in due si scema: La sesta compagnia il savio duca, Per aitra via mi mena Fuor della queta nell' aura che trema; E vengo in parte ove e non che luca.

133

136

139

142

145

148

15 1

the following marginal letterson these terzine:

Consider

the firstlines of

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

145

Read: The

dante

elios

isluca^ and the region described of the canto in the passage on which the acrostic appears is one
last word
Ch' emisperio di tenebre vincia.
"

Inj.IV.

69

his symbol. is here again associated with the sun as For another acrostic elios see page 349. For the cryptograms in connection with the last instance of the use of lo vidi^ Par. xxxiii. 122, see pages 106-8. is frequently used in the Divina Commedia as a lo viDi
Dante

indicate the presence of other cryptographic devices in the text. The appearance of 10 vidi at the beginning of a line, or in the interior of a line, is often
cryptogram
dante

for

to

the hint that the himself.

text

is speaking

in

hidden

way

of Dante

ED
The

10

the system already shown of alphabetical and numerical equivalents, these words into either the universal form," 10 vidi, may be transmuted In other words, ed 10, as a symbol, has the value of dante. or the cryptic number, five hundred, ten, and five.This numerical
"

cryptographic guise of 10. ed call attention is the words

next

dante

to

which

I wish

to

By

value appears
E, D, 10, as

as

follows:
=

the fifth letter in Roman notation in Arabic notation

5
500
10

146

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the beginning of a terzina, like the is frequent in the Divina Commedia. similar use of lo vidi, This use is not accidental to the literalmeaning of the poem;
The
use

of

ed

io

at

it is often and And


as

meant

to

have

cryptic reference

to

Dante

himself

indicate the presence of other cryptograms in the text. indeed, quite apart from the numerical value of ed id ing a 515, the words suggest the name of Dante in the followI, Dante," dante e, or the name obvious way: 10, d
to
"
. .

being suggested by the common convention of indicating by its first and last letters. proper name Dante's use of the words ed 10 as a cryptogram for dante I believe, by the fact that the same is further determined, letters in the same order may identification,so fundamental

be read: e dig. In view of the in the Divina Commedia^ which Dante makes of himself with God, he may surely be suspected In 10, dig. e ed of having wished to suggest the punning other words, he expresses by this cryptographic device the
symbolism of the poem is God. nature,
Let
me
now

that Dante,

by virtue of his divine

cryptographic
The

cite several instances of the device for dante.

use

of

ed

ig

as

four terzine, Purg.

xiv. 16-27,

are:

Toscana io: 'Per mezza si spazia in Falterona, Un fiumicel che nasce E cento miglia di corso nol sazia. io Di sopr' esso questa persona: rech' Dirvi ch' io sia, saria parlare indarno; Che il nome suona.' molto non inio ancor lo intendimento tuo *Se ben accarno Con lo intelletto,' allora mi rispose Quei che diceva pria, 'tu parli d' Arno.' E r altro disse a lui: Perche nascose Questiil vocabol di quella riviera, Pur com' fa dell' orribili cose?' uom Ed
'

16

19

22

25

the following marginal these four terzine: Consider

letters of the firstlines of

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

147

16
19
22

ED DI S
E

10 S

25

Read:
"He

"ed

10,"
ed 10,"

disse

the question in the text. The passage is a play on the idea of name, identification,and Dante is answering the question who he is; he concealment. says it were vain for him to tellwho he is,for as yet his name does not make much name the Arno, noise. He does not even but defines its position and leaves it to his questioner to
said:
answer

is the

to

penetrate

his meaning. In the literal meaning of the text, But the question thus therefore, he avoids giving his name. left unanswered is answered in the acrostic: "ed disse. 10," In Par. xxxiii.28-39, Bernardo is praying that a way may be found for Dante to see God. The four terzine are:
io, che mai per mio veder non arsi Piu ch' io fo per lo suo, tutti i miei preghi Ti porgo, e prego che non sieno scarsi, Perche tu ogni nube gli disleghi Di sua mortalita coi preghi tuoi, Si che il sommo piacer gli si dispieghi. Ancor ti prego, Regina, che puoi Cio che tu vuoli, che conservi sani, Dopo tanto veder, gli afFettisuoi. Vinca tua guardia i movimenti umani: Vedi Beatrice con quanti Beati Per li miei preghi ti chiudon le

Ed

28

31

34

37

mani.'

the following marginal these four terzine:


28
ED PER A VI per "ed io"

Consider

letters of the firstlines of

10

31

34 37

Read:
The

via

words of the acrostic are in effect a repetition of the for Dante." prayer of Bernardo for a "way

148

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

following passage, terzine:

The

Inf. xv.

22-33,

consists of

four

Cosi adocchiato da cotal famiglia, 22 Fui conosciuto da un, che mi prese Per lo lembo e grido: 'Qua! maraviglia ?' Ed io, quando braccio a me il suo distese, 25 Ficcai gli occhi per lo cotto aspetto Si che il viso abbruciato non difese La conoscenza intelletto; sua 28 a! mio E chinando la mia alia sua faccia, Risposi: 'Siete voi qui, ser Brunetto?' E quegli: 'O figliuolmio, non 31 ti dispiaccia Se Brunetto Latini un poco teco Ritorna indietro, e lascia andar la traccia.'

the following marginal these terzine: Consider


22

letters of the firstlines of

c ED

25
28
31

ID

LA
E

Read:

cela

ed

10

The

following passage

consists of the firstfour terzine of

Purg. xviii:
Posto avea fine al suo ragionamento L' alto Dottore, ed attento guardava Nella mia vista s' io parea contento: frugava, Ed io, cui nuova ancor sete Di fuor taceva, dicea: 'Forse e dentro Lo troppo domandar, ch' io fo, gli grava.' Ma quel padre verace, che s' accorse Del timido voler che non s' apriva, Parlando, di parlare ardir mi porse. Ond' io: 'Maestro, il mio veder s' avviva Si nel tuo lume, ch' io discerno chiaro Quanto la tua ragion porti o descriva:

10

Consider the following marginal these four terzine:

letters of the firstlines of

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

149

p ED MA O

10

7
10

Read: The

poema,

signed with the device of Dante,

ed

10.

is confirmed by signature thus attached to the poem the acrostic reading of the first four lines of this passage. Consider the following marginal letters of these four lines:
1

POSTO

l'a
NELL ED 10
"

3
4

Read

downwards

: posto

l'anell

ed

10."

This may

mean

that ED 10, as Dante's signature, is the "seal set." The following passage, Purg. xxvi. 103-114, consists of four terzine:
Poiche di riguardar pasciuto fui, Tutto m' ofFersi pronto al suo servigio, Con r affermar che fa credere altrui. Ed egli a me: 'Tu lasci tal vestigio, Per quel ch' i' odo, in me e tanto chiaro, Che Lete nol puo tor, ne farlo biglo. Ma se le tue parole or ver giuraro, Dimmi che e cagion per che dimostri Nel dire e nel guardare avermi caro?' Ed io a lui: *Li dolci detti vostri durera 1' uso Che, quanto moderno, i inchiostri.' loro Faranno ancora cari
103

106

109

112

Consider marginal

lines of these four terzine the following the first letters:


on

Read: The

poema.

ed

id

poema

is signed by the cryptic signature.

ISO

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

following passage, Purg. xxiv., 49-54, consists of terzine:


The
Ma

two

di' s' io veggio qui colui che fuore Trasse le nuove rime, cominciando: Donne, ch' avete intellettod' Amove.' Ed io a lui: 'Io mi son un che, quando Amor ed a quel modo mi spira, noto, dentro, Che ditta vo significando.'

49

52

Line 51 is a quotation from one of Dante's canzoni. On all terzine consider the following marginal the lines of the two letters:
49
MA
TR DO

50

51
52 53

ED A C

54

Read: The
canzone,
ED

marco

di

dante

MARCO

di

DANTE

seems

which

is followed

be the line quoted from his by his signature: immediately


to

10.

The

following passage,

Inf. xi,

61-72,

consists of four

terzine:
Per r altro modo Che fa natura, Di che la fede Onde nel cerchio Del!' universo,
s' quell' amor obblia e quel ch' poi aggiunto, spezial si cria: minore, ov' e il punto in su che Dite siede, Qualunque trade in eterno c consunto.' Ed io: 'Maestro, assai chiaro procedc La tua ragione, ed assai ben distingue Questo baratro e il popol che il possiede. Ma dimmi: Quei della palude pingue, Che mena il vento, e che batte la pioggia, E che s' incontran con si aspre lingue, e

61

64

67

70

the following marginal these terzine:

Consider

letterson

the firstlines of

THE
61
64

UNIVERSAL

FORM

151

p o E MA

67 70

Read:
POEMA

poema

is signed, line 67, by the acrostic words: Ed


io appear

ed

10.

first time that the words is in Inf.i. 130: Commedia

The

in the Divina

Ed

io

lui: Poeta,

io ti richieggio.
canto:

This Hne Hes within the last four terzine of the


parti impera, e quivi regge, Quivi e la sua citta e 1' alto seggio: O felice colui eui ivi elegge!' Ed io a lui: Toeta, io ti richieggio Per quello Dio che tu non conoscesti, Acciocch' io fugga questo male e peggio Che tu mi meni la dov' or dicesti, Si ch' io vegga la porta di san Pietro, E color cui tu fai cotanto mesti.' io li Allor si mosse, retro. tenni ed
In
tutte

127

130

133

136

have already the first lines of these four terzine we In showing this seen, pages 40-1, the acrostic: e indica. full obliged to defer showing the acrostic I said that I was later chapter. to a content cryptographic of the passage Let us consider now, therefore, the following marginal letters Ed io: of the lines immediately before and after the
On

Read: This

capo

qui:

ed

io

acrostic

capo

recalls the

capo

in the acrostic that

152

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

appears

Now

in the passage that contains the words La forma universal. Par. xxxiii.91, in connection with the words io vidi. consider the following marginal letterson all the lines:

the initialsof Dante Aldighiero, di, as the spelled form of the initiald of Dante, and ed, as an abbreviation of be frequently used as symbols 10, ED to seem of Dante's in part, I think, by the This use of ed is determined name. It expresses thus, fact that ed is a copulative
as

Da,

conjunction.

copulative, the phallic symbolism of Dante the theme of rebirth as developed in the Divina
as a

himself in
Commedia.

following passage. terzine:


The

Inf.xxv.

28-36, consists of three

Non va co' suoi fratei per un cammino, Per lo furar che frodolente fece Del grande armento ch' egli ebbe a vicino: le sue opere biece Onde cessar d' Ercole, che forse Sotto la mazza Gliene die cento, e non senti le diece.' Mentre che si parlava, ed ei trascorse, E tre spirit!venner sotto noi, De' quai ne io ne il Duca mio s' accorse,

28

31

34

the following marginal the three terzine: Consider


28 31
34
N

letters of the firstlines of

O ME

Read:

nome

THE

UNIVERSAL
two

FORM

153
are:

The

initials of the last


35
36
E D

lines of the passage

Read:

ed

So that the complete

reading
ten

on

the passage is: nome

ed.

Following

are

the last
e

lines of Par. iii:


Ave,
121

Cosi parlommi,
Maria,

poi comincio: e cantando cantando;


acqua cupa
cosa

vanio,
124

Come

per

grave.

la seguio La vista mia, che tanto fu, Quanto possibil poi che la perse, Volsesi al segno di maggior disio, Ed a Beatrice tutta si converse; Ma quella folgoro nello mio sguardo Si che da prima il viso non sofferse; E cio mi fece a domandar piu tardo.

127

130

Consider the
canto

the following marginal letters of the last line of and of the firstlines of the three preceding terzine:

following passage, Par. terzine: The


Di

vii. 76-87,

consists of four

tutte s' cose queste avvantaggia L' umana manca, e s' una creatura, Di sua nobilita convien che caggia. Solo il peccato e quel che la disfranca, Bene, E falla dissimile al Sommo Perche del lume suo s' imbianca; poco Ed in sua dignita mai non riviene, dove Se non colpa vota. riempie Contra mal dilettar con giuste pene. tola Vostra natura, pecco quando dignitadi, da queste Nel seme suo, da Paradiso, fu remota; Come

76

79

82

85

154

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the following marginal the four terzine:


76 79
82
D SOL E

Consider

letters of the firstlines of

85

vo
ed

Read: The

solvo

following passage, Par. xxvi. 13-24, consists of four terzine:


lo dissi: 'Al suo e tardo piacere e tosto Vegna rimedio agli occhi che fur porte, Quand' ella entro col foco ond' io sempr' Lo ben che fa contenta corte, questa Alfa ed O e di quanta scrittura Mi legge amore, lievemente o forte.' o
13

ardo.
16

Quella medesma

che paura Tolta m' avea del subito abbarbaglio, Di ragionare ancor mi mise in cura; E disse: 'Certo a piu angusto vaglio Ti conviene schiarar; dicer convienti Chi drizzo 1' arco tuo a tal bersaglio.'

voce,

19

22

Consider the terzine:

the following marginal

letters of the firstlines of

Read:

loqui

ed

is a hint in the words scrittura mi legge, 17-18. For the reading of Alfa ed 0, see page 444. The following passage, Inj. xxxiv. 11 8-1 29, consists of four terzine:

There

Qui

di la e sera: quando E questi che ne fe' scala col pelo, Fitto e ancora, si come prim' era.
e man

da

118

THE
Da

UNIVERSAL

FORM
121

155

cadde giu dal cielo: E la terra che pria di qua si sporse Per paura di lui fe' del mar velo, E venne e forse nostro; all'emisperio Per fuggir lui lascio qui il loco voto
questa
parte

124

di qua, e su ricorse.' Loco e laggiii da Belzebu remoto la tomba Tanto, quanto si distende,

Quellache
Che

appar

127

non

per

vista,

ma

per

suono

noto

the following marginal the four terzine: Consider


118
121

letters of the firstlines of

QUI
D
E

124

127

LO

Read:

loqui

ed

Note

the suggestive velo in line 123.

DIL in which the I the curious way in Chapter I mentioned letters d, i, and l appear in Par. xviii,apart from their context, Diligite iustitiam qui as the firstletters in the sentence: form another of the letters, dil, These iudicatis terram. cryptographic
D,

guises of Dante. in Roman


in Roman in Roman

I,
L,

notation notation
notation

500
i

50

disregard the zeroes, these numbers give the integers ingly and may accord5, I, and 5, the integers of the cryptic dxv, into the name be transmuted dante. of This interpretation of dil a as cryptographic device for If we devices to be cryptographic found passage. The passage in which Dante line 70, with the speaks of seeing the cryptic letters begins, and continues for four terzine, as follows: significant 10 vidi,
DANTE

is confirmed in the same

by

other

iS6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

lo vidi in quella giovial facella Lo sfavillar dell' amor che li era, favella. Segnare agli occhi miei nostra E come augelli surti di riviera, a lor pasture, Quasi congratulando Fanno di se or tonda or altra schiera, Si dentro ai lumi sante creature Volitando cantavano, e faciensi Or D, or I, or L, in sue figure. Prima cantando a sua nota moviensi; Poi, diventando 1' un di questi segni, Un poco s' arrestavano e taciensi.

70

73

76

79

the following marginal these four terzine:

Consider

letters on

the firstlines of

Read: in connection with the cryptic letters d, i, and l, in the text, Dante says in the acrostic: "I undermentioned stood In he in 10 VIDI." the acrostic that he other words, says 10 vidi, dil. that is, dante, understood when he saw The four terzine that follow the passage just quoted contain Thus

further cryptographic proof that dil is a guise of dante. These four terzine. Par. xviii. 82-93, which include invocation to Pegasus, read as follows:
O diva Pegasea, che gl' ingegni Fai gloriosi,e rendili longevi, Ed essi teco le cittadi e i regni, Illustrami di te, si ch' io rilevi Le lor figure com' io 1' ho concette; Paia tua possa in questi versi brevi. Mostrarsi dunque in cinque volte sette Vocali e consonanti; ed io notai Le parti si come dette. mi parver Diligite iustitiam, primai Fur verbo e nome di tutto il dipinto; Qui iudicatis terram, fur sezzai.
82

an

85

88

91

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

157

the following marginal these four terzine:


Consider
82
o I MOSTR D

letters on

the firstlines of

85
88
91

Read: Notice

dimostro

that the first line of the passage on which this These letters letters: o div. acrostic is found begins with the Notice also in themselves the "universal form": 10 v-d. are in frequently uses the word ingegni^ a word which Dante connection with cryptographic devices. The acrostic dimostro may refer to what Dante says, line This 88, of the whole sentence of which dil is the beginning. he tells us, is composed sentence, of vowels and consonants for his thus Now "five times seven." what can be the reason indicating the exact number I suggest that the reason

of the letters? is simply that the number offers he describes himself identifying means with what of another is thirty-five,the age, himself as seeing. "Five times seven" as is well known, which Dante ascribes to himself at the time to him, as he tellsus in Inf. of his "vision." His vision came di nostra del cammin i, nel mezzo vita. In the Convivio he idea of the length of the lifeof man elaborates the psalmist's as seventy of which is thirty-five.This age, years, the mezzo to the age of Christ, acis really an approximation morever, cording to medieval at the time of his crucifixion. computations, have be to Thus Christ and Dante may considered
same
a

descended into Hell at the intended as believe Dante

with Christ. At any rate, beginning with dil further identifies the dil in the sentence a as guise of Dante. The cryptic play on the letters of this sentence of thirtyfive letters is continued in what Dante says about the letter M ends. This m is metamorphosed, with which the sentence first,into a fleur-de-lys and then into an eagle which utters

coincidence which I tity further indication of his identhe "thirty-five" of the letters
age,
a

158

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

cryptic sentences of the most of the whole Divina I shall have to postpone Commedia. to the chapter on the Symbolic Guises of Dante the explanation of the meaning of this M and of the eagle into which it changes.
some

that dil is indeed a cryptographic guise in is Dante in itself the passage contained of which the cryptic letters are mentioned. This proof consists of various interior Another

proof

sequences spelling the


71 72 73 74 75
lo
e

name

of Dante.
dell occhi
'amor

Consider
che
li

the following:
erA

sfavillar agli
come

segnare quasi fanno

favella nosTra miei Di augelli surti riviera lor a congratulaNdo pasture di tonda or or sE altra schiera

Read

of

era,

71;

of

nostra,

72;

of ^/, 73; second


count,

of

congratulando, 74; e of j^, 75: dante. This sequence is not quite regular by

but it is

straight words on
"make

the eye, and it is confirmed by the sense of the it The lights di se. which Qwds, fanno of the spirits wise of themselves," according to the text, dil; they liketo
dante.

make

The
76 77 78 79 80 81

next

six lines
dentro i

are:

si

ai

lumi

sanTE
e sue sua

volitando D or or prima
poi
un

cANtavano 1 in or
a

creature faciensi
figure

cAntando diventaNdo

I'un

poco

s'arresTavano

nota moviensi di segni questi taciensi e

Read
DANTE.

te

of

sante,

76; first an

of

cantavano,

77;

d,

78:

d, the same 78; firsta of cantando, 79; second n of diventando, 80; t of arrestavano, This sequence 81: dant. on starts the fourth space of line 78, and the other letters are on the eighth, twelfth and sixteenth spaces of the respective lines. A few lines below is another sequence:

Read

THE
86 87 88 89
IE
paia vocali
e

UNIVERSAL
figure
possa Dunque
e

FORM
concette brevi versi sette cinque volte io notai ed
d

159

lor Tua

I'ho com'io in questi


in

mostrarsi

consoNAnti
t

Read
consonantly

86; of /"?,
89:
dante.

of

tua^

87;

of dunque^

88;

na

of

The four sequences in the passage treating of the cryptic letters confirm the identification of dil as a guise of Dante

forma universal. and as a variation of t\vQ. I have The meaning thus estabHshed for dil will which illuminating in the interpretation of the obscure prove Dante refers to passage in the opening of Par. vii, where Beatrice as be and ice. In this passage he uses three times the form dille.The repetition, as I shall show, page 350, is intended to convey a reference to the cryptic meaning of dil Dante. as

VEL
I referred in of the enigmatic passages to which Chapter I is Par. xix. 115-141, which reads as follows:

One

Li si vedra tra 1' opere d' Alberto la penna, Quellache tosto movera Per che il regno di Praga fia deserto. Li si vedra il duol che sopra Senna Induce, falseggiando la moneta, di colpo di cotenna. Quel che morra

115

118

Li si vedra la superbia ch' asseta, Che fa lo Scotto e 1' Inghilese folle, Si che non meta. puo soffrirdentro a sua Vedrassi la lussuria e il viver molle Di quel di Spagna, e di quel di Buemme, Che mai valor non conobbe, ne voile. Vedrassi al Ciotto di Jerusalemme I la sua bontate, Segnata con un Quando il contrario segnera un emme. Vedrassi 1' avarizia e la viltate Di quel che guarda 1' isola del foco, Dove Anchise fini la lunga etate;

121

124

127

130

i6o

THE
Ed

CRYPTOGRAPHY
dare

OF

DANTE

e poco, ad intender quanto La sua lettere mozze, scrittura fieri loco. Che noteranno molto in parvo E parranno a ciascun 1' opere sozze Del barba e del fratel, che tanto egregia han fatte bozze. Nazione, e due corone E quel di Portogallo, e di Norvegia Li si conosceranno, e quel di Rascia Che mal ha visto il conio di Vinegia.
a

133

136

139

Of the nine terzine of this passage the firstthree begin with the letter l, the second three with the letter v, and the third letters are repeated in three with the letter e. And the same the ninth terzina in a curious way, the first line beginning
with E, the second with l, and the third showing a v, not as the initialof the line,but as the initialof the last word of the line.The repeated initialsof the terzine make, therefore, the following figure:
L

L
L

V
V E E E

The

last terzina repeats these letters in the following way:


E
L

This artificial symmetry recalls that of the passage in Purg. has long been recognized. xii.25-63, in which the acrostic vom I know of no recognition, however, that the initials of the
terzine of the present passage, rearranged, "veil." VEL, or This
It may
VEL

make

an

acrostic

is another of the cryptographic guises of dante. be transmuted either into the "universal form" of his

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

i6i

by the method already described itself the letters involved into numerical equivalents of transmuting being disintegers, regarded for have zeroes the their that a five, a one, of vel and a five.The transmutation into these integers is made as follows:
name
or

into his name

V, E, L,

in Roman
as

as

notation letter fifth of the alphabet tenth letter of the alphabet

5
5
10

L is the tenth letter of the Italian alphabet, alphabet has neither j nor k.

as

the Italian

cryptoof the graphic been have cannot merely guises of the The sense the possibilityof this numerical correspondence. of the word itself is profoundly significant of the character As which Dante ascribes to himself in the Divina Commedia. he is the veil of the divine nature man which the human I moreover, over. covers nature that Dante was conjecture, not insensible to the punning which in value of the word vel,
vel as
one

The

determinants

for adopting
name dante

either and or. In his identification of himself with That Dante Dante is either God or man. the divine nature had some appears, indeed, cryptic idea connected with vel

Latin

means

in the

use

which

manifest meaning

he constantly makes of the word in the of the poem. In Inf.ix. 62 and 63, he says:

Mirate la dottrlna che s'asconde Sotto il velame degli versi strani!

Scattered throughout the poem are many similar references to the veil as a hiding place of something cryptic. The passage, Par. xix. 1 15-141, in which I have shown the of the clearest references in the contains one acrostic vel, to the devices of cryptography. whole Divina Commedia This reference, on in lines 133-135:
Ed La Che
a

which

I have already commented,

appears

dare ad intender quanto e poco, sua scrittura fien lettere mozze, noteranno molto in parvo loco.

The

scrittura^ as

I explained in Chapter

I, is in "letters

cut

i62

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

off" from

the
and

context,

sequences, That
a

exactly indeed, in many

as

in acrostics and other methods

interior

graphy. of crypto-

the acrostic vel


lo

cryptographic universal form Note

that is found in this passage isindeed from the transmutable guise of dante, is proved by the various cryptovidi, graphic

signatures of dante which the passage contains. first the following marginal letters of lines 130-133:

Read;
Notice,
moreover,

the

name

of Dante.

line 133, the sounds that suggest vaguely This sort of suggestion Dante frequently

as a means precise of calling attention to a more employs by his is hidden in the same name way passage. which In line 132, the line following the acrostic vedi just shown, is by "string" dante name the the spelled cipher device

in Chapter III, p. 71 which we have seen the letters of the signature, thus:
132
Dove

I have

capitalized

ANchise

fini

la

lunga

eTatE

In this passage, as if confirming the cryptographic hint in lettere mozze^ be is also an interior sequence, which may shown thus:
132 133 134 135 136
dove ed la che
e

anchisE dare aD
scriTtura

fini

la
fien

lunga
quanto lettere in parvo I'opere

etate
e

intender

poco
mozze

sua

noteranNo
parranno

molto

loco
sozze

ciascun

vertical line from e o( anc/iise, 132; d oi ad^ 133, first T of scritturUy 134; third n of noteranno^ 135; a, 136: This reading begins on the line which contains the dante. have through the passage which we string cipher and runs already noticed as a hint of a cryptographic device. FollowRead in
a

THE

UNIVERSAL

FORM

163
mol,

ing the n of this signature, 135, are "the man." l'omo, spell backward:
But

the letters o

which

surprising signature in the passage containing is a double signature in the form of a cross. the acrostic vel And this double signature is surprising in spite of the fact that it is most precisely indicated by the literalmeaning of the
most

the text. It will clarify one of the obscure Divina Commedia. The double signature in the form of a cross

passages
to

of the

which I refer This appears in connection with the ciotio di Jerusalemme. been "cripple of Jerusalem" is generally supposed to have It is Charles II, king of Naples and titular king of Jerusalem.
said of him here, lines 127-128,

that his goodness shall be signed with an i, while an m shall sign the contrary. These that his virtues shall be obscure words are supposed to mean signed, or marked, with a one, the i being taken for one in the Roman notation; and that a thousand, the m being taken for in the Roman a thousand notation, shall sign, or mark, his
is supposed be saying that to vices. In other words, Dante this king had one virtue and a thousand vices. Long before I discovered the cryptographic character of I came to the Divina Commedia^ the conclusion that it is
II of Naples, but the Christ-like, or Christlikened, Dante himself who is here indicated. My conclusion is verified by the following interior sequences:
not

Charles

124 125 126 127 128 129

vedrassi Di quel
che mai

la di

lussuria spagna
non
e

di

viver Di quel

il

mollE
buemme

vAlor al
con
un

vedrassi segnaTA quando

cIOtTo
i

ne coNobbe voile di jerusalemme

la

sua

boNtate
un

il

contrario

segnera

emmE

oimolle^ 124; d of ^/, 125; n oi conobbe^ 126; 10 of ciotto^ 127; TA oi segnatUy 128: 10 dante. Read d, initialof 125; a of valor, 126; second t of ciotto^ 129: dante. 127; N oibontate^ 128; second e oi emme^ Since this signature terminates on emme^ m an just signs it, in Dante, as the I in lo Thus dante the other sequence. signs
e

Read

i64

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

like the ciotto, is signed with spell MI. Both signatures run

an

and an m; these letters through ciotto, the center of


i

the cross which they form. The letters i and m with which dante is thus signed and have a further cryptic meaning, indicating which spell mi may both human as the dual character of Dante and have already seen, divine. The m is, as we the symbol of
and the i, both as the initialof lesu and also as a one and therefore as an a (seep. 443) is the symbol of Christ. The becomes now meaning of the passage clear. The indeed have been intended reference to Charles of Naples may by Dante in the sense that the commentators say;
man;
or, the veriest screen trompe d'ceilyfor his deeper meaning. The real ciotto of Jerusalem was Christ, who was crucified there. It is apparent, therefore, that in the is identifying himself device Dante present cryptographic with Christ by putting himself on the cross of Christ.

but if so,

only

as

In connection with the transmutability of vel into the by way of the figures 5, 10 vidi, universal form of dante: I, and 5, the foregoing signatures that appear in the passage are that shows the acrostic vel sufficientproof, I think, that
VEL

is a cryptographic

guise of

dante.

Chapter

VI

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

Chapter

VI

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

as name a cryptographic transmutations of Dante not the only guises in which he hides himself in the -*- are he hides himself also, as I shall Divina Commedia; show in the present chapter, in various symbolic guises.

^T^HE

PHCENIX
firstof the symbolic guises of Dante to which I wish to in Inf. xxiv. call attention is the Phoenix, mentioned This mythical bird was burn itself,when it to supposed a pyre year, on reached its five hundredth of incense, and to rise again from its own ashes in the shape of a small worm,

The

which
grown
was

on

the third day bird. There was

accomplished The Phoenix,

into the full thereafter developed Phoenix, and its rebirth only one without intercourse with a mate.
an

as

example

in the middle ages as of its rebirth as a worm bird in three days corresponds, grown obviously, to the story of the rebirth of Christ, who after the crucifixion descended into Hell and remained there three days before ascending into Heaven. adopted

rebirth, was widely Christ. The tail dea symbol of into the full that developed of

In the passage in which Dante mentions the Phoenix he its transformations to compares the transformations of a turns robber who is burned to ashes before his eyes and then reto
seven

The shape. terzine, reads as follows:

his human

which *f5usi^e,

includes

[167]

i68

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Tra questa cruda e tristissimacopia Correvan genti nude e spaventate, Senza sperar pertugio o elitropia. legate: Con serpi le man dietro avean Quelleficcavan per le ren la coda E il capo, ed eran dinanzi aggroppate. Ed ecco proda, ad un, ch' era da nostra S' avventd un serpente, che il trafisse L^ dove il collo alle spalle s' annoda. N^ O si tosto mai, n^ I si scrisse, Com' ei s* accese tutto ed arse, e cener Convenne che cascando divenisse: E poi che fu a terra si distrutto, La polver si raccolse per s6 stessa, E in quel medesmo ritorno di butto: Cosi per li gran savi si confessa, Che la Fenice more e poi rinasce,

91

94

97

100

103

105

Quando
Erba

anno appressa. al cinquecentesimo biado in non sua ne pasce, vita Ma sol d' incenso lagrime ed amomo; E nardo e mirra son 1' ultime fasce.

109

Consider

of these

seven

the following marginal terzine:

letters of the first lines

have already seen, a of this acrostic is, as we So that the whole acrostic cryptographic device for dante. Lo, Dante!" The fact that Dante! reads in effect: "Lo,
The
ED

is thus named twice is appropriate to the rebirth symbolism forms in His two as name appears of the passage. the robber appears in two forms, and as the Phoenix appears forms of the name, in two forms. ed The two and dante,
Dante
suggest

the appearances

of Dante

before and after the symbolized

rebirth.

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

169

This acrostic is not the only cryptographic device in the Line 100 passage which identifiesthe Phoenix with Dante.
reads:
Ne
O si tosto

mai,

ne

I si scrisse.

of the letters o and i in this line is generally the speed of considered as merely the means of comparing described the transformations with the speed with which be written. But Dante is not these particular letters may here dealing with the merely obvious; he is using the letters The
mention
"i", to spell, backwards, 10 or thus again of the comparison indicating that he is speaking of himself in speaking of the robber and the Phoenix. The use of the o and the i in this in the passage passage to spell 10 is analogous to the use,

describing the ciotto,of i and m to spell mi (seepp. 163-4). This cryptographic use of the letters o and i appears on line 100, and 100 in its firsttwo digits,gives the same reading:
10.

ten, number which thus appears twice in the same line,was considered in the number symbolism of the Middle Ages, I believe, as appropriate to Christ, both because ten,

The

notation, is a cross, and also because follows which nine, nine being, as three times three, the symbol of the operation of Trinity itself.The ten then, as the number following the upon nine of the operation of Trinity upon incarnated the symbol of the humanly who proceeded from this operation, as development
taken as son of the Trinity, in rebirth. For the

in its form

in the Roman it is the number

itself, was

in the Vita Nuova of this idea of the Trinity as see pages 34I-3. multiplied by itself, There is another cryptographic use of the letters o and i
a

as

ten.

reborn here in connection with the Phoenix a five hundred, a the ten of the cryptic number of the dxv, five. In the light of this coincidence it is not ten, and a surprising
present
to

In line 108 the age at about is designated as Jive hundred.

which the Phoenix is There thus appear hundred five the and

find that there is also a fiveconcealed in the dealing with the robber and the Phoenix. passage

I70

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF Dante

DANTE

It is said, line 94, of the shades


Con serpi le
man

whom
avean

is viewing

that

dietro

legate.

The

robber who is here described as undergoing the remarkable from human to transformation ashes and from shape ashes to human shape has, therefore, like his companions, his hands

tied behind

his back.

With

his hands
a

his

the shape of perforce, make in thus appears this passage the complete cryptic number, five hundred, a ten, and a five. This number identifies a the Phoenix with the prophesied dvx, and so together with the himself. ecco ed! dante!, with Dante acrostic: ecco
arms, v, or

thus tied, five. There

There

are

character.
109
no III

several hints in the passage of The initialsof the final terzina


E
M

cryptographic
are:

Read:

me

The

of "crowd"

word "hand",

be used with a double sense line 94, may or copia, line 91, for word signature. The a copy, suggests the sense perhaps, of of a "copy,"
mariy

the cryptic number and of dante. of the dvx The fact that the person described in this passage as transformed like a Phoenix is a robber is significant In Greek deeper symbolism of the Divina Commedia. is a thief of the divine fire. And in the Prometheus
story

being
of the myth Christian

way,

Christ is crucified between thieves, a companionship intended to indicate that he shares, in a Promethean imThe thejt plied the character of his guilty companions.

of rebirth is the theft of the power lifeto oneself the power, that is, of the father to give new in the first place. This theft, or who gives life to the son pears, usurpation, is an expression of the act of incest which apdisguised or undisguised, in all symbols of rebirth.
numerous

in

myths

"

The
cross,

Phoenix is associated with the thief, as Christ, on the is associated with the thieves. Dante is here symbol-

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

171

izing his own in which the rebirth rebirth in the terms of Christ is symboHzed. He is here once identifying himself more with Christ.
associates himself with the Phoenix in his letter to he says: "But, O Fathers, believe the Italian cardinals,* when me not or the phoenix of the universe, for all murmur, ponder, or dream the things that I say aloud."
Dante

VELTRO
be conto of the symbolic guises of Dante sidered is the Veltro^ the enigmatic creature prophesied by Virgil in the first canto He Inferno. may of well be "the Hound called, to use the words of Francis Thompson, of Heaven."
next

The

surmised, and often denied, that as the Veltro represents the same person the dxv, and is Can Grande. I that this person that the will show Veltro., like the dxv, Dante represents reborn., and reborn like Christ.

It

has

been

often

in which the Veltro is described begins, significantly, hundredth line i. on The five terzine the of InJ. beginning with the hundredth line are:
passage Molti son gli animali a cui s' ammoglia, E piu saranno infin che il veltro ancora, Verra, che la fara morir con doglia, Questinon cibera terra ne peltro, Ma sapienza e amore e virtute, E sua nazion sara tra Feltro e Feltro. Di queir umile Italia fia salute, Per cui mori la vergine Cammilla, Eurialo, e Turno, e Niso di ferute: Questila caccera per ogni villa, Fin che 1' avra rimessa nello inferno, La onde invidia prima dipartilla. Ond' io per lo tuo me' penso e discerno, Che tu mi segui, ed io saro tua guida, E trarrotti di qui per loco eterno,
*Letter ix, 8, Latham's
translation.

The

100

103

106

109

112

172

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the cryptographic proof that the Veltro symbolizes Dante, consider the following marginal letters on all the lines of these five terzine:

For

Read:
IN
FELTRO

peremas

qui

poema.

ecco

dante,

quasi

veltro

foregoing acrostic is a good example of the long anagrammatic acrostics which I will show and discuss in detail in Chapter IX. As the discussion in Chapter IX will make ture clear, this long anagrammatic acrostic is identical in strucacrostics of which we have with the short anagrammatic it differs from the short a already seen number of examples;
The acrostics simply lines number and containing of indicate how of words. Let me
anagrammatic

in appearing in a greater in itself a greater number strictly the reading which I have deciphered is determined Notice first by the text. how clearly the veltro in the first three lines: appears

Read; initialsof the three lines of this terzina, by yielding Dante; as the cryptic 515, confirm the veltro the m equaling Notice letter, fifth v, e, as 1,000; 5. 5; and the the the The

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

173

now

how

clearly the

feltro

appears

on

the last lines of the

passage:
no 111 112

F L

o c E
TR

113
114

Read,

with the
apparent

unaccounted is the
peremas:

for:

feltro.

Equally

Read,

with the

unaccounted

for:
peremas

peremas.

Thus
DANTE,

in the acrostic reading:


QUASI
VELTRO IN
FELTRO,

qui

poema.

ecco

three important words are very clearly suggested in the acrostic letters; and the poema is suggested by the letter cluster:
100 101

MO E
P

Read: The

poem

by the initiald of line 106 and by the fact that it is possible to find the remaining letters counted either in initialsor as contiguous to the letters already acfor. ECCO is determined as to one letter by the initial
DANTE c

is determined

immediately

the passage i. preceding, Inf. 88-99 (see p. 186). The appearance in an and feltro of the words veltro acrostic in a passage which contains the same words in the is confirmation of the intentional character of the acrostic. The in peremas poema, as qui reading: will appear Chapter IX, is frequently repeated in the long acrostics This which I have deciphered in the Divina Commedia. reading instructs the reader to remove the poem that is,
text
"

of line 113. The beginning of the passage on unit is indicated by the acrostic cave

as

cryptographic

174

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the words of the text in their obvious aspect veil that hid the secret symbolism. Confirming the Veltro as a symbol of Dante, in terzina 106-108 a cryptographic signature
"

as

if it were

there appears
on

properly

capitalized, namely, the word at With the sentence and the proper names.
terzina appears

the words beginning the of these capitals the

thus:
Di queir umile Italia fia salute, per cui mori la vergine Cammilla, Eurialo, e Turno, e Niso di ferute.

Consider

on

and contiguous

the capitalized words letters:

the following initial

Read:
By
means
or names,

cites, Now

of the capitalized words, therefore, the terzina Dante.

is to be understood to symthe VeltroJ like the dxv, bolize Dante as reborn and therefore as divine. The divine character of the Veltro is indicated by the words, lines 103104:

Questinon
Ma

ciber^ terra n^ peltro, e sapienza e amore virtute.


e

Sapienza

amore

God,

as

appears

virtute represent the divine Trinity, or in the opening lines of InJ. iii,where the

Trinity is referred to as potestate^ sapienza^ and amore. The Veltro^ or Christ-like Dante, derives, therefore, his being

the Trinity from which the divine man Christ derived his being. The divine character of the Veltro is further indicated by the fact that the passage describing him suggests, as it suggested to Benvenuto da
God,

from

from

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

175

Imola,

in Virgil's fourth Eclogue, where Virgil prophesies is This passage, which actuthe coming of a son. ally Dante, Purg. by to asseems cribe xxii. 70-72, paraphrased it divinity to the prophesied son, was commonly and
a

passage

interpreted in the Middle Ages as imitation of the passage by Dante


over

with Virgil'sform something of Virgil's meaning.*

prophecy of Christ. The hints that he is carrying tion of the accepted interpretaa

the divine character of the Veltro thus indicated as in the form of the reborn Dante, the reason, as to come a son I believe, becomes choice of the word clear for Dante's Veltro to indicate the divine guise of himself. Notice, in begins with the form the first place, that the word veltro This have already identified with Dante. VEL, which we With
may

be taken as a hint that the entire word is an anagram is the Latin for 'T for the following: t: velor! velor be understood, as so often elseam where veiled." The t may

in the cryptography as the of the Divina Commedia, and therefore as the sign of the divine man sign of the cross Christ. The anagrammatic t: velor mean, therefore: may "Christ: I am veiled."

for t: Veltro velor, as an anagram understood is veiled in indicates that Dante, divine nature, as a for Christ. This interpretation of veltro as an anagram by the following interior to be confirmed t: velor! seems
Thus
sequence:
101 102
infin morir Terra
e

piu

saranno

ancora

verra

che

la
e

fara

con ne

il che Doglia peltro


e

velTro

103 104 105

non quest! ma sapieNza E sua nazion

ciberA
amore sara

tra

virtute feltro

feltro

Read

of veltro^ loi oi
terra
^

; d
n

of doglia^ 102;

t adjacent T:

103;

of cihera and the of sapienza, 104: e, initialof 105:


a

DANTE.

or this reading indicate the identity of the cross, be considered here, May Dante Christ, and Dante? not

May

not

*See Edmund

Gardner,

Dante's

Ten Heavens,

appendix.

176

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

as therefore,as in the t: velor, veiled in the divine character of Christ? interpretation of veltro A further confirmation for my be found in an acrostic on for t: velor an as may anagram the firstlines of the firstfour terzine of /"/.iv. The passage

reads:
1' alto sonno Ruppemi nella testa Un greve tuono, si ch' io mi riscossi, Come persona che per forza h desta: E r occhio riposato intorno mossi, Dritto levato, e fiso riguardai lo loco dov' io fossi. Per conoscer Vero e che in su la proda mi trovai Delia valle d' abisso dolorosa, Che tuono guai. accoglie d' infiniti Oscura, profond' era e nebulosa, Tanto che, per ficcar lo viso al fondo, Io non vi discerneva alcuna cosa.

10

Consider marginal

the first lines of the terzine the following letters:


on
I

R E
V

7
ID

Read:

vero

This

VERO

is

line 7, of the text. lines the following marginal Note on the same

potence, repeating as it does the vero, is only a partial reading. But the vero

letters:

is immediately followed on the second and this VELOR third lines of the last terzina, 11 and 12, by the initials:

Now

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

177

Read:

ti,

the Italian spelling for the letter t.

and the t, coming thus together, suggest that be read together as t: velor. they may have seen, is constantly used by Dante The T, as we as line 54, that the the sign of the cross, and it is in this canto, is alluded to for the first time in Inferno. And in this cross
VELOR

The

Dante is veiled again by a cryptographic allusion to the cross device. See pp. loo-i. The following passage. Inf.xxxii. 85-96, further confirms t: velor: as my interpretation of veltro
Lo Duca stette; ed io dissi a colui Che bestemmiava duramente ancora: altrui?' che cosi rampogni 'Or tu chi se,' che vai per 1' Antenora Percotendo,' rispose, 'altruile gote Si che, se fossi vivo, troppo fora?' 'Vivo son io, e caro esser ti puote,' Fu mia risposta, 'se domandi fama, Ch* io metta il nome tuo tra 1' altre note.' Ed egli a me: 'Del contrario ho io brama: Levati quinci, e non mi dar piu lagna: Ch^ mal sai lusingar per questa lama.'
85

'Qual se'

tu,

88

91

95

The

initials of the firstlines of these four terzine


85
88
91
94
L o
V

are:

Read: Now

veld

consider the following marginal

letters on

the

same

lines:

178

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
///,

OF

DANTE

which is contiguous to Or, line 88, There are further hints of t in the we may read: t: velor. words: caro esser ti puote^ line 91, and in the words in lines 98 and 99, just below this passage: tu ti nomi and ti rimagna. The passage is dealing with the question of identity, as appears
By taking

the

of

in the words: Or tu chi se\ The following passage, Purg. xxii. 28-39, further confirms interpretation: the same
Veramente piu volte appaion cose, Che danno a dubitar falsa matera. Per le vere ascose. ragion che sono La tua domanda tuo m' avvera creder in 1' altra vita, Esser ch' io fossi avaro Forse per quella cerchia dov' io era. Or sappi ch' avarizia fu partita Troppo da me, dismisura e questa Migliaia di lunari hanno punita. E se non tosse ch' io drizzai mia cura, Quand' io intesi la dove tu esclame, Crucciato quasi all'umana natura:
28

31

34

37

The

initialsof the firstlines of these four terzine


28
34
V

are:

37

Read:
Now

velo

consider the following marginal

letters on

the

same

lines:
28
31
V

34 37

OR E

Read:

velor

Crucciato,

the first word and


cross
as as

word

for

"cross,"

allusion

to

the

of line 39, is derived from the is a t, we may take the the cross hint to read: t: The velor. a

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

179

acrostic corresponds to the sense of the passage, which deals Note appaion cose, line and the hidden. with the apparent line 30. line 29; ascose, 2%; falsa matera, the Veltro and the obvious analogy between I wish to call particular attention, since it is Dvx to which important for the symbolism of these personifications. The coming of the Veltro is prophesied in connection with
an

There

is

the adulterous coming of the

lupa,
dvx

with the giant. the two prophesies concerning the Christ-like child to come is profoundly significant. Both the lupa and the puttana as the type of "fallen mother" suggest exemplified in Eve.
So

the wives with many who animals; in connection with the puttana, who sins The presence of these prostitute types in

important

prostitute as as the ancestress


as

for ancient and medieval symbolism was the harlot Rahab was that the mother accepted Mary conand was commonly of the Virgin sidered

the symbol of the church itself. Dante's own Par. ix. treatment of Rahab, 115^., shows that he makes in the Divina Commedia. use of this symbolism Now the adulterous lupa and the puttana are to be considered the prophesied child is the mother through whom for this statement be born. Evidence to will be given in Chapter VIII. At present I wish merely to indicate as briefly
as

possible the raison d'etre of the prostitute mother in the early Christianity, and the symbolism of ancient myth, The child to be born is to be reborn. Divina Commedia.
as

is obliged, therefore, in order to be reborn, to return source of lifefrom which he issued in the first place.
He
source

to

the The

of the child to the of lifeis the mother, and the return be by womb of the mother for the purpose of rebirth must There is thus implied an act of incest way of the sexual act. is conin which the mother, by participating with the son, stantly
represented in ancient myth, religion, and poetry, becomes as the fallen mother prostituting herself. The as the mother mother, like Eve; of the child in the first place, she belongs to the father of the child, but as the mother

of the reborn child, who life by his own own act,

is considered

as

perpetuating

his
the

she violates her relation with

i8o

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

father, and thus commits her sin. The the son reproaches her, is thus none This virtue which she has for him.
act,

sin, for which, indeed, the less the supreme double nature of her

a sin and a virtue, is often expressed which is at once is the sin, in representations o( two mothers, in one of whom and in the other the virtue, of her act. Bearing in mind this interpretation of the prostitute to the line in the mother of the divine child, let us turn

passage

in which
E
sua

Dante

says of the Fellro,


sara

Inf.i. 105:

nazion

tra

Feltro

Feltro.

There

which, though not of the duplicity of the something cryptographic, shows The meaning method. of this line has cryptographic troubled the commentators, who have offered a variety of
an

is

obscurity

in these words

All the explanations agree in one respect, explanations. is Feltro between is Feltro Ira e that the region situated which two on different the contrary, that places. I suggest, really tra e Feltro, sua nazion sara might be expression: such expression as this: "The spiritual paralleled by some domain of the Pope shall be between Rome and Rome!" Catholic this sentence To a devout Roman would express his belief that the spiritual domain of the Pope shall include
Feltro Rome is, the whole earth. The region between and Rome in other words, the entire circumference of the earth- the if he entire region that a traveler would have to traverse from Rome till he started west and kept on going west
"

Feltro and Feltro are one interpretation that the

and the same. Feltros are two

According
one,

to

this

Dante's

again from the east. therefore, Dante says that the birthplace of the divine Veltro shall be between Feltro and Feltro he is simply saying that he shall be born of the universe; he shall be
arrived When,
at

Rome

born of the universe, which is indeed, in some more God, just as Christ, in his human pantheistic sense,

or

less he

form,

born from the universal God, is the somma sapienza.


was

the Trinity

in which

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

i8i

that Dante picked the particular town Feltro as the beginning and the end of the circumference of the birthplace of the divine Veltro appears, I think, in the In Feltro in Par. ix. 52-53. to allusion which he makes Cunizza says: speaking, in this canto, of broken vows, the
reason

Now

la diffalta Piangera Feltro ancora Deir empio suo pastor.

The bishop had

to diffalta the betrayal by the which she refers was of Feltro (Feltre) of certain political refugees who to

The of the church. church was universally regarded as the symbol of the divine of the church mother, and the violation of the sanctuary to be considered, therefore, as a violation of the mother was herself. Such a violation of the mother as symbolized by the church could be expressed, accordingly, as Dante and other medieval symbolists constantly did express it,by some such
fled

him

for the sanctuary

term

as

adultery

empio divine suo a pastor as symbolizing sexual violation of the is the very word used mother, it is to be noted that diffalta by Dante in Purg. xxviii.94, for the sin, a sexual sin involving for which Adam the motherhood and Eve were of mankind, expelled from the Garden of Eden. Interpreted thus as a symbol of the violated mother, Feltro is appropriately named Veltro. The divinely reborn

In support

prostitution. of this interpretation of the

or

delV diffalta

here

the birthplace of the fact that Dante mentions


as

Feltro twice in the phrase: sua nazion sara tra Feltro e Feltro, be taken as an expression of the dual nature may of the is considered symbolically adulterous act, which, as I said above, Thus as same at the time sinful and virtuous. Feltros, to two are the the really one, correspond which in are two so common of rebirth, who mothers, myths
really one
ate

and the

same

mother,

for^the

two^forms,'unregen

son. and regenerate, and the same of one In connection with the historicalincident for which Dante he mentions Feltro in Par. ix, and for which, as I suggest,

i82

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

chose the town Veltroy there is


determinant

as a

the symbol detail which

of the mother of the divine have acted as a further may

of his choice. The political refugees who sought the sanctuary of the church in Feltro had revolted against Now berto the power the sister of King Roof King Roberto. Beatrice, and this Beatrice had been the wife a was

III d'Este. Beatrice of the predecessor of Roberto, Azzone is thus intimately associated as wife and sister with the She was paternal image of kingship. sister and bride of the king, just as the Shulamite, the commonly recognized in Song Songs, was the called the symbol of the church of
as the of her kingly lover. Inasmuch be directed against the royal power, she may sedition was taken as the outraged wife of the outraged king, and so as a in the actual historical sedition, of the violated symbol, The fact that her name Beatrice gives the use was mother. the character of an allusion to the of the incident by Dante mother symbolism of the Beatrice of the Divina Commedia.

sister and

bride

in the chapter on Beatrice, is the symbol of the mother of the divinely reborn Dante himself; and Dante's choice of Feltro as a symbol of the believe, incident I by both determined, was the mother of
Dante's

Beatrice,

as

I will show

the violated sanctuary ance, and also by the fact of the appearin the incident, of a Beatrice in a mother-like role. The incident thus shows, appropriately for the symbolism, toricall two symbols of the violated mother, and one of them, hishad the name symbol of motherhood, of Dante's own Beatrice.
LONZA The three Dante

in Inf. i, after the mention Feltro is mentioned of lonza, leone^ lupa. the and the other animals, the his in to climb meets these three animals attempt

the delectable mountain, and it is after his appeal to Virgil be saved from them to that Virgil prophesies the coming of the Veltroy who shall slay the lupa., apparently the most dangerous of the three.

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

183

I will now show, is another of the symbolic Dante in his unreThe lonza represents guises of Dante. human, or generate, guise, justas the Veltro represents him as reborn and divine. The lupa^ as I suggested in speaking

The

lonza,

as

of the Veltro^ represents his father.


The

his mother;

and the leone represents

i.31-42: lonza is described in the four terzine, Inf.


quasi al cominciar dell' erta, lonza leggiera e presta molto, Una Che di pel maculato era coperta. E non dinanzi al volto; mi si partia il mio cammino, Anzi impediva tanto Ch' io fui per ritornar piu volte volto. Tempo dal principio del mattino; era E il sol montava su con quelle stelle Ch' eran lui, quando 1' amor divino con Mosse da prima quelle cose belle; Si che a bene sperar m' era cagione Di quella fera alia gaietta pelle
ecco,

Ed

31

34

37

40

that the first line of the passage begins with ed, have already recognized as a signature, and that which we the last line begins with a d, so that the beginnings of the first and last lines spell ed. The passage is thus significantly bounded. Consider marginal
on

Notice

ing the first lines of these four terzine the followletters:

the

same

lines the following marginal

Read:

ecco

quasi

me,

dante

i84

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

lines: mente the same acrostic readings on dante, me, quasi there is the same and Ecco association of MENTE and DANTE which appears in the acrostics of the dvx (pp. 122-3). Dante is here identifying himself not passage the
two

In

corresponds in Trinity, divine the which, as Dante sapienza, tells us in the opening lines of Inf. iii,is composed of the for the Father, the somma divina potestate, for the sapienza^ for the Holy Ghost. Son, and the primo amore^
to

only with the lonza but also with mente. identifies himself with mente is that

The
mente

reason

that he

Christ,

as

the Trinity thus considered as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Holy

In

group of persons, Ghost is the name of

the mother of the divine family. For the mother symbolism of the Holy Ghost see pp. 330-5, 463. This family, moreover, corresponds to the three categories of the mind: will, intellect, a and emotion, so that the Trinity is at once symbol of the

of three persons, and a symbol of the fying mind, which unites the three categories. Dante, by identiis again, therefore, identifying himself with mente, himself with Christ. In identifying himself with the lonza he is symbolizing himself in his human, or unregenerate,
as

family,

composed

form.
In addition
sequence
to

which

the acrostic signature there is follows: as appears

an

interior

31 32 33 34 35 36

Ed
una

ecco

al quasi loNza leggiera

cominciar
e

dell'erta molto al volto cammino volto

presta
era

che
e

di
non

anzi ch'io

pel mAculato mi si partia impediva tanto


fui

coperta

Dinanzi il

mIO piu

per

ritornar

volTe

of ed^ 31; n of lonza, 32; a of maculato, dinanzi, 34; 10 of mio, 35; t of volte,36: 10 dante.
e

Read

i^y^ d

of

ed, signature begins on which is Dante's symbol, runs through the n o{ lonza, and through the d of the hinting words dinanzi al volto.

The

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

185

LUPA is here represented in two in the forms, unregenerate and regenerate, in the lonza and in a family group of Veltro. He is represented as the son We

have

thus

seen

that Dante

three, of which the mother is represented by the lupa and the father by the leone. The lupa has the same relation to The approthe Veltro that the puttana has to the dvx. priateness

family as of this symbolic representation of the I a dream lonza, lupa, and leone in the Divina Commedia as develop here. Let it suffice for our cannot present purpose
for identifying the the cryptographic justification have already lupa with the mother of Dante, justas we himself by means identified the lonza with Dante of his
to

show

cryptographic signatures. The description of the lupa

is full of suggestions of her line maternal character. The use of gravezza, for instance, rein a double sense as ferring 52, is capable of being understood In connection with this duplicity of to pregnancy. meaning
note

also the possible duplicity of the line:


E molte genti fe' gia viver grame.

be saying that she made many people live in the sense of having given birth to them. Her hunger and her eating of her victims are both referable
to to
woman

In saying of her that she "made be understood Dante may

many

people

live sorrowful"

sexual
as

hunger

and

to

the

sexual

act

on

the part

of

by the act of swallowing or eating. symbolized is widespread in ancient myth and medieval This symbolism
fiction,
as

in Boccaccio's
a

For

very
see

VIII, pp. 369-73. See also the discussion of the incident, recorded in Purg. son (pp.209-10). The xxiii, of the mother who ate her own dangerous phasized character of the lupa, which is so strongly emeaten

the Vita Nuova heart is being

manof the eating of the drake. in of this symbolism special development that his the discussion of Dante's dream

story

by Beatrice, Chapter

is

to

relation which

be understood as the danger of the sexual imagines she desires with him and the son

i86

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the with her.

which

himself, consciously or unconsciously, desires cestuou It is no other, in fact, than the danger of the inact through which alone, in despite of the jealous hope for his rebirth. can prohibition of the father, the son
son

does not character Dante He expresses the idea confine himself to the manifest text. in an acrostic in the passage. Inf.i. 88-99, "^^ which Virgil Dante to beware warns of her: In insisting
on

her dangerous

Vedi la bestia, per cui io mi volsi: Aiutami da lei,famoso saggio, Ch' ella mi fa tremar le vene e i polsi.'
convien tenere altro viaggio,' Rispose, poi che lagrimar mi vide, 'Se vuoi campar d'esto loco selvaggio: Ch^ questa bestia, per la qual tu gride, Non lascia altrui passar per la sua via, Ma lo impedisce che I'uccide: tanto Ed ha natura si malvagia e ria, Che mai non empie la bramosa voglia, E dopo il pasto ha piu fame che pria.
'A
te

88

91

94

97

The

initials of the firstlines of these four terzine


88 91
94 97
v A

are:

c
E

Read: That

cave

Dante

indeed

intends

representation

of his own from aspect appears passages describing her in


47
con

the lupa to be a dream-like ous mother in her hostile or dangerin the following interior sequences

InJ.i:
e con

la
che
una

test'ALta
parEa Lupa
carca

48 49 50 51 52 53 54

si ed
e

che

L'AEr
di

rabbiosa temesse ne

fame

che

tutte
sua

BraMe mAgrezza

semBiava

graMe vivER Di questa mi porse grAvezza la Di con sua paura che vista uscia la dell'altezza ch'io spERanza perdei tanto

molte

genti

nella fe'gia

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

187

Read
sembiava^

al

of alta^ 47; 50: bella.

of parea^ 48;

of lupa^ 49;

of

Read
Read
D

o{ alta^ 47;

lae

oi Faer, 48;

oibrame^
50;
er

49:

bella.

of brame^ 49; firsta of magrezza^


madre.

of viver, 51 ;

oi di, 52:
Read
m

ER

oi grame^ of speranza, 54:

51; first a
madre.

o{ gravezza,

52;

of di, ^3;

In the second line of the following passage I have adopted instead of Moore's reading, venendomi Incontroy a reading for which there is manuscript authority, venendomi contra.
58 59 60 61 tal
che mi fece la BEstia A
senza

pace

venendomi

ripingeva mi ch'io mentre


be

contra la dove

rovinava
a

a poco poco tace il soL Loco in basso

Read
L

of bestia^ 58;
:

following

contra^

59;

of jo/, 60;

of /ofO, 61
86 87 88 89
tu lo

BELLA.

io da tolsi cui colui sE'solo fatto onore belLo che m'ha stile io la Bestia volsi cui mi per vedi famoso dA Lei saggio aiutami
e

of se, of lei with the


There
are

Read

86; second
a adjacent

of belloy 87; of da^ 89; bella.


l

of bestia^ 88;
in bello,

suggestions of the sound la be {stia), in 88. 87, and


97 98 99 100
101 ed ha natuRa
non

of this word

mai che dopo e molti


e

il
son saranno

piu

102 103 104 105 106

verra

che

e ria malvagia bramosa la voglia empiE fAme ha che pria piu paste a s'aMmoglia cui animAli gli il velTro AncoRa infin che doglia Morir la fara con

si

non questi ma sapienza NAzion e sua

Di

quell

TerRa ne peltro cibera E amorE e virTute E feltro feltro tra sara fia italia 'umile salute

i88

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read

of

natura,

97; second
100;
t

of empie, 98;
:

oi jame^

99; firstM

of ammogliay

of veltro^loi
a

matre.

Read
ancora, MATRE.

on

the vertical line the second


;
m

of anima/i, 100;
103;
e

of

loi

of morir,

102;

of

terra,

oi

amore,

104:

Read

o{

terra,

loi; the firsta of ancora, first t 103; oivirtute,104;

of morir, be twee

102;

second

n/"?//ro dindfeltro,
na

105:

MATRE.

Read
105;
D

oi

terra,

103;
DANTE.

preceding

amore,

104;

of nazion,

of di, 106:

For
A
111 112 113 114

the other sequence in this passage see page 175. few lines below is another interior sequence, as follows:
la onde tu inviDia
per

ond'io che
e

lo segui di

prima Me' tuo

dipartilla
penso
e

discerno guida

mi trarrotti

ed qui

sARo loco per

io

tua

etErno

Read second
e

from of

of invidia,
114:

1 1 1

of

me,

112;

ar

of

saro,

113;

eterno,

madre.

This sequence the loco eterno. mother.

As we shall see, ends on the word eterno. Hell, is symbolically the womb of the

VIRGIL

Corresponding to the mother symbolism which I have now shown in Feltro, the puttana, and the lupa, and which I will further develop in Chapters VII and VIII, there is consistently father in Divina Commedia a out symthe bolism worked which appears in connection with the lonza and the
lupa in the figure of the leone and which keeps reappearing in various other father images. throughout the entire poem in images, these father images Like the mother appear
two

aspects,

and

loved.

hostile and hated, the other benign the one The father image toward which Dante gives

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

189

This expression of hatred is Filippo Argenti. in connection with the one direct figure appears, significantly, allusion in the entire works of Dante to his mother, Inf.viii. For the development of the father and mother symbolism 45.

his

extremest

Filippo Argenti and the direct allusion to Dante's mother, see Chapter VIII, p. 325, tility In the symbolism of myth, religion, and dreams the hosbolizes of the father is to be understood, in so far as it symhis due to as jealousy the sexual relation, of the son

in connection

with

incestuous relation with the mother in the accomplishment of the son's rebirth. There is another father important it as apaspect of the pears symbolism is in ancient myth and religion: the son considered father himself. This idea surform as the reborn vives, of the
on

account

of the

son's

again
custom

live indeed, in the common expression that "parents in their children," and it explains the widespread primitive peoples, a modification of infanticide among

of which appears in the Passover and in the slaughter The father slays the child because he of the innocents. from him his own stealing away regards the child as identity.
in the Divina Commedia of a symbol of the example father who is presented as benign and as reborn in Dante himself is Virgil. Dante constantly refers to Virgil as father, and in so far as he derives his literary inspiration
An

from the ^neid, he represents himself as a reincarnation of This idea is expressed in an acrostic Virgil as his "author." in the passage describing the firstappearance of Virgil,in Inf. immediate Dante's i. In response to appeal to be saved from the lupa, Virgil replies by telling Dante who he is and
he does why asking Dante The seven terzine beginning ascend the dilettoso monte. Inf.i. 67, read as follows:
not

'Non uomo, Risposemi: uomo gia fui, E li parenti miei furon Lombardi, Mantovani per patria ambedui. Nacqui sub lulio, ancorche fosse tardi, E vissi a Roma il buono Augusto, sotto degli Dei falsie bugiardi. Al tempo

67

70

190

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Poeta fui,e cantai di quel giusto da Troia, Figliuol d' Anchise, che venne Poich^ il superbo Ilion fu combusto. Ma tu perch^ ritorni a tanta noia? Perch^ non sali ildilettoso monte, Ch' e principio e cagion di tutta gioia?' 'Or se' tu quel Virgilio, e quella fonte Che spande di pariar si largo fiume?' fronte. Risposi lui con vergognosa lume, 'O degli altri poeti onore e Vagliami il lungo studio e il grande amore, lo tuo volume. Che m' ha fatto cercar Tu se' lo mio maestro e il mio autore: Tu se' solo colui, da cui io tolsi Lo bello stileche m' ha fatto onore.

73

76

79

82

85

the following marginal terzine: of these seven

Consider

letters of the first lines

67
70

RI NA

73

POETA
MA

76
79 82

OR o T

85

Read:

marc

rinato

poeta

The
Dante

full name
uses

Publius Virgilius Maro, and of Virgil was for a special reason Maro here the name which

I will presently explain. in whom Virgil is thus said to be reborn is That the poeta from the following interior sequence indeed Dante appears in this passage:
70

Nacqui
e

71 72 73 74

roma vissi degli Dei tempo al fui e cantai poeta d' anchise figliuol

sub A

iulio

anchorche il sotto falsi di che

fosse
buono
e

tardi

augusto bugiardi giusto da Troia

quEl
venne

of nacqui, 70, a, 71, d of dei, 72, e of quel, 73, t Note that nacqui and Troia are both oi troia, 74: dante.
Read
n

SYMBOLIC Troia

GUISES

191

nate used to desigword commonly a prostitute, so that Dante is here again associated with as the prostitute type in his rebirth symboHsm, with the puttana and Taide. Notice that the word Troia on which this sequence ends is da^ so that the lettersof Dante's preceded by the words venne significant words; is
a

name

are

grouped

thus:
ven

NE

DA

roia

poeta, rinato the acrostic: maro for referring to Virgil I promised to explain Dante's reason first, however, Let me as MARO. another acrostic show The in the same terzina in which passage reading mare. Virgil begins to speak is lines 67-69. Consider the following

In connection

with

marginal

letters of the three lines of this terzina:


67 68
69
R E ma

Read:
Notice

mare

in connection with these letters that the initial include the interior a, spell rem. letters, which do not like the English use of "rebus," means a cryptographic rem, device, and is some mare
Notice

the coincidence

of

rem

and

mare

suggests

that

sort of rebus. further that as if to prove that mare, the Italian for sea, is to be understood here as the name of Virgil, Dante an the words in this terzina which are makes acrostic on actually used by Virgil himself. The only word in the terzina initial which is not included in Virgil's reply to Dante is the word: Risposemi. Consider, therefore, the following marginal letters of Virgil's own words:

67
68 69

NO E M

Read:

nome

192

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

be considered to Virgil, in describing himself, may But this is not the in the acrostic rem, mare. give his nome In InJ. mare. as only instance in which Virgil is mentioned viii.7, Dante says of Virgil: Thus
Ed io mi volsi al
mar

di

tutto

il senno.

has not, so di tutto il senno This allusion to Virgil as the mar far as I know, been recognized as a pun on marc. maro The reason the name thus insists on that Dante for Virgil is related, I believe, to the famous palindrome: for amor was ROMA as an roma-amor. anagram used by medieval symbolists, if I understand their symbolism, to Christ and his express the union, prenatal or incestuous, of Christ is amor, as appears in Par. xxxiii. 7, mother Mary. in the words of Bernardo addressed to the Virgin Mary:
Nel
ventre
tuo

si raccese

I'amore.

is thus considered amor, roma so is considered the mother, since Rome, as the seat of the church, is identified with the church, by which the divine The union of the divine mother is constantly symbolized.

Just as

Christ, the

son,

by a word is thus symbolized the divine son letters the symbol of the which spells by exactly the same mother and the symbol of the son. letters as Now as maro, containing exactly the same for roma is also an anagram ROMA and amor: and AMOR,

mother

and

by the same father and it is so used by Dante to indicate t\\e^ letters that indicate the mother and the son. is indicated Thus the family unit, father, mother, and son, letters that may be used, in three different by the same orders, to indicate respectively each of the three persons of The three persons are which the family unit is composed.
thus indicated as essentially identical. This identity of the three persons of the family as composing Christian in is a the concept of the expressed unit defines it, Purg. iii.36, is one Trinity, which, as Dante substance in three persons. The three persons of the Trinity are the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost,

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

193

as

appears

plainly in early Christian and Gnostic symbolism, is the mother. Though differ as they persons, they
very

roma, all one substance, exactly as maro, though differing as words, are all one substance being letters. composed of the same of
are

and amor, in the sense

maro, amor, that by the anagrammatic be suggesting the divine Trinity of which self, himby Dante the father is represented by Virgil, the son and the mother, as I shall show later, by Beatrice.

It thus appears Dante may ROMA,

That

the anagrammatic transformations of these in from three words the fact that all three appears mind in acrostic are maro passage, used in the same words form, Roma in line 71, and amove in line 83. Moreover, in
divino the preceding passage relating to the lonza, the amor is mentioned, line 39. The union of the three persons of the family Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost or, as transferred to earth,
"

Dante

had

God

(orJoseph),the human

Christ, and

the Virgin Mary

"

is thus
ROMA.

Divina
to

by the anagrammatic maro, amor, symbolized Now it is essential to the understanding of the indeed, Commedia^ Christianity, and, of medieval

recognize that this unity of the three persons of the in divine family was terms also symbolized of the sexual is just one life. There biologically, moment, the when

father,

is in the

physically united, and that of sexual union between the father and for at this moment the mother, the son, the with whom mother is being impregnated, exists in the father and in the and mother
moment

son,

are

mother simultaneously. This biological situation may explain by analogy the mystery of the unity of the three persons of the Godhead.

Virgil is further symbolized as the father by being associate in the following acrostic with the lion, a common The passage, Inf.ii.58-69, consists of four father symbol. terzine:
"O
Mantovana, anima cortese Di cui la fama ancor dura, nel mondo E dureri quanto il moto lontana:
58

194

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE
6i

L' amico mio e non della ventura, Nella diserta piaggia 6 impedito Si nel cammin, che volto h per paura: E temo sia gia si smarrito, che non levata, Ch' io mi sia tardi al soccorso Per quel ch' io ho di lui nel Cielo udito. Or muovi, e con la tua parola ornata, E con cid ch' e mestieri al suo campare, L' aiuta si, ch' io ne sia consolata.

64

67

The

initialsof the firstlines of these terzine


58 61 64 67
o
L E O

are:

Read:

leg

The

initials of the lines of the fourth terzina


67 68 69
o

are:

E
L

Read The

leg

these acrostics appear are part of the account of the meeting of Virgil as father and Beatrice as of Hell, a meeting, as a sex symbol, mother, at the entrance For the development which results in the rebirth of Dante. which Chapter VIII. see of this symbolism The initialsof the first terzina of the foregoing passage
are:

lines on

58
59 60

o
D

Read:
DEO,
as

deg

the divine father, is thus associated with Virgil father image. The
second

as

terzina also contains marginal letters:

an

acrostic

on

lowing the fol-

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

195

This refers perhaps The idea of Virgil acrostic in the

the speed of Beatrice's coming. father image is borne out by the a as following passage, Par. xvii. 19-21, which
to

consists of

one

terzina:
era

Mentre ch' io Su per lo monte

E discendendo

Virgilio congiunto che 1' anime cura, defunto nel mondo


a

Consider
19
20 21

the following marginal


ME s E

letters of this terzina:

Read: This
A

seme

is interesting in relation to the text. cryptogram is of the seed of Virgilio congiunto suggests that Dante
as

Virgil

well

as

of Cacciaguida.

STATIUS
is of the enigmatic figures of the Divina Commedia Statius, who appears to Dante and Virgil after he has been
One

of released from the circle of the prodigal on the mountain Dante Purgatory rest through the accompanies and who Dante even the and shares with of the mountain of the ascent Dante Statius Eunoe, draught are to which and of the river led together by Matelda.
which hint at the explanation of the enigmatic character of Statius are addressed to Statius by Virgil, who is referring to Dante: The words in the
text

L' anima

sua,

ch' h

tua
"

mia sirocchia. Purg. xxi. 28.

196

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Virgil, Statius, and Dante, it thus appears, are sister souls I will show that they are to be regarded, in the symbolism of Divina Commedia^ as the three elements of the composing
as a trinity. In ancient and regarded somethe individual is considered philosophy times medieval human having a dual nature, divine, as and physical having as a triadic nature, and spiritual; and sometimes in the concept in the as as or of the three souls of man;

Dante

himself

categories of the mind, intellect, emotion, and will; or as in the symbol of the divine Trinity as a family unit. Statius will thus prove to be the third element of Dante considered a triad as composed of Dante himself, as the son, or intellect, Virgil, as the father, or will, and Statius, mother, When been
or

as

the Holy

Ghost,

emotion. Statius appears


as

to

Dante

and

Virgil he has
He

just
to

released from

considered
quaking

the circle of the prodigal. reborn^ and his rebirth is indicated


This

is

be

by

the

quaking symbolizes the of the mountain. releasing the newborn parturition throes of the mountain dicated himself is inStatius is an aspect soul. That of Dante line 68, of a cinquecento^ cinby the appearance, quecento e piu being the number of years that Statius has had to remain in the circle of his purgation. Like the

therefore, he is reborn I surmise hundred And years. which the Phoenix is mentioned,
Phoenix,

at

the end of about five in that like the passage

conthe present passage tains hundred five cona along with the overtly mentioned cealed five, is ten so that Statius and tic signed with the crypThe dvx, ten 515. appears number concealed of the

in the allusion to Christ. In medieval symbolism Christ is a God as a trinity is three; the multiplication of trinity ten. by itself,or nine, is the act which produces the human

Christ; and ten, as the number following nine, the symbol of the act of begetting, is the symbol of the begotten, or Christ himself. The as the v of concealed five appears Virgil, mentioned by Statius as his with peculiar emphasis poetical father and mother. The 515 with which this passage describing Statius thus

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

197

is shown mencing again. The terzina comsignificantly with Ed io, and containing the words: initialsof its lines: e, c, l. cinqiiecento e piu^ has for the
appears
to

be stamped

letters may letter being 5, the c These Further

into 515, the e as fifth be transmuted being i, and the l as 50 being 5. 100 as confirmation that the figure of Statius conceals a

in appears in the acrostic in the speech reference to Dante his identity. The passage, Purg. xxi. which Statius declares 82-102, consists of seven terzine:
I'aiuto 'Nel tempo che il buon Tito con Rege vendico le fora, Del sommo il Ond' usci per Giuda venduto, sangue Col nome che piu dura e piu onora Era io di la,' rispose quello spirto, fede ancora. 'Famoso non con assai, ma Tanto fu dolce mio vocale spirto, Roma, Che, Tolosano, a se mi trasse di mirto. Dove mertai le tempie ornar di la mi noma: Stazio la gente ancor Cantai di Tebe, e poi del grande Achille,
la seconda soma. caddi in via con le faville, Al mio ardor fur seme della divina fiamma, Che mi scaldar, Onde sono allumati piu di mille; Deir Eneida dico, la qual mamma Fummi, e fummi nutrice poetando: fermai peso di dramma. Senz' essa non E, per esser vivuto di la quando Visse Virgilio, assentirei un sole deggio al mio uscir di bando.' Piu che non
82

85

88

91

Ma

94

97

100

Consider

the following marginal

letters on

the firstlines of

these terzine:

Read:

stazio

col

nome

dante

198

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY Dante,

OF

DANTE

Virgil, and Statius are sister souls, they form a trinity which has distinct analogies with the Trinity Virgil is the father, as indeed of the Christian Godhead. he is so often called by Dante; is the son, as we and Dante have already seen. It remains, therefore, if the analogy

Since

with the Trinity is to hold, for Statius to correspond to the Holy Ghost, or the mother. The mother character of Statius is here suggested by the expression, Purg. xxi. 92-93:
Cantai di Tcbe, Ma caddi in via
e

con

poi del grande la seconda

Achille,
soma.

The

he was of his poem about Achilles, which fore carrying at the time of his death and which he had therebeen language delivered not yet nancy, of, suggests the of pregthe mother suggesting in turn character of Statius.
burden suggestion which

Another

in the words
Al

of his mother-like character immediately follow:


94

is given

le faville, mio ardor fur seme Che mi scaldar, della divina fiamma, Onde sono allumati piu di mille; Deir Eneida dice, la qual mamma Fummi, fummi e nutrice poetando: Senz' essa fermai peso di dramma. non

97

In these words Statius speaks of himself as if having been impregnated by the seed of the /Eneid. Immediately after in its he to as seme^ the /Eneid male aspect referring expresses female character in it by his reference it as mamma, a to

he was nourished. This complicated which he thus designates relation of Statius to a poem which in terms together is of father and of mother symbolism exactly the relation of the Holy Ghost to God the Father, as at once the wife of God, impregnated with the seed that
at

the breast

produces who,
male Holy

the divine son, and also the daughter of God, be conceived as the as the first of all beings, must together of the existence of the and female source Ghost. These precise relationships were the speculations.

subject

of certain early Christian and Gnostic

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

199

Virgil, Statius, and Dante are thus the trinity of Dante himself as poet^ and the analogy of the three to father, mother, and son respectively will explain the relative positions in ascent mount together of the their of the three of Purgatory. by These positions are most defined precisely
Dante.
10-12,

Before they reach Dante walks behind

the purifying fire, Purg. xxvii. Virgil and Statius; during the

through the fire Dante them, with walks between Virgil in front and Statius behind; and in the Terrestrial
passage

Paradise Dante precedes Virgil and Statius. Now these relative positions are precisely appropriate to the symbolized sexual relationship of the three. Before the birth of the son that is, before the three reach the
"

in existence, is preceded In the purifying fire,which symbolizes the sexual union of the father and the mother in the begetting of the son as and his conception, the son, the father and the mother. And after sperma^ is between
as not purifying fire the son, by his father and his mother.
"

yet

the fire,which symbolizes the birth of the son, the son precedes his parents, in the sense petuatin of perThe Virgil treatment and replacing them. of in Statius Purgatorio the conclusion of and carries out this appears that Virgil disprecisely. It will be remembered symbolism Statius accomand that after his disappearance panies the emergence
Now drink of the Eunoe. the reason that Virgil as the father disappears is simply that the son, once born, has to be reborn, and that in order to be reborn he
Dante
to

from

replace the father in his sexual union with the mother. This act of incest is a necessary feature of rebirth in ancient Appropriately, therefore, after and medieval symbolism. father, disappearance Statius as the and Dante of the
must

unite in the mystic draught of the Eunoe, which symbolizes the sexual union through which Dante is to be reborn. Statius is never again. He is left mentioned behind, as a mother symbol, by the son who issues from him is to find in Paradise a more and who perfect symbol of
mother
and
son

motherhood. of the mother

Let

me

repeat

of Dante

here that Statius is the symbol merely as poet; in the draught of

200

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

by Matelda, the Eunoe Dante and Statius are accompanied who is also a symbol of the mother, justas is Beatrice. I have thus shown that Statius is the symbol of the from which Dante drew his poetic inspiration, motherhood over, Morejustas Virgil is the symbol of the poetic fatherhood.

himself, justas Statius represents an aspect of Dante in the Trinity each person an of the Trinity represents aspect of the Trinity conceived as one substance. There is no contradiction in saying that Statius has the double Statius is at character which I have here ascribed to him.
once

from which Dante derives and the poetic motherhood Dante himself, exactly as the Holy Ghost in the Trinity is self at once the mother of the divine son and the divine son himin so far as he is to be identified with the Trinity.

ROMEO
515 in Par. vi. 1 24-142, of which Dante signifies that he is alluding to The passage reads: what he says of Romeo.
a

There

is

concealed

by means himself in

Diverse voci fan giu dolci note; Cosi diversi scanni in nostra vita Rendon dolce armonia tra rote. queste E dentro alia presente margarita Luce la luce di Romeo, di cui Fu r opra bella e grande mal gradita. Ma i Provenzali che fer contra lui Non hanno riso, e pero mal cammina Qual si fa danno del ben fare altrui. Quattro figlieebbe, e ciascuna regina, Ramondo Beringhieri, e cio gli fece Romeo persona umile e peregrina; E poi il mosser le parole biece A domandar ragione a questo giusto, Che gli assegno e sette cinque per diece. Indi partissi povero e vetusto; E se il mondo il cor ch' egli ebbe sapesse Mendicando a frusto a frusto, sua vita Assai lo loda, e piiilo loderebbe.'

124

127

130

133

136

139

142

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

201

Consider the terzine:

the following marginal

letters of the firstlines of

Read:

poema.

dante

qui

queens relates to Romeo, who made of the four daughters of his master and who had been so justthat in dealing with his affairs,seven he had given his master, The usual interpretation is that he had and five for ten.

The

passage

than his master twelve for ten, or more given his master here mentioned The numbers had a right to expect. are The quattro, all, however, used with a double meaning. be considered as d, the fourth letter of the line 133, may alphabet, and
so

representing 500.
sette
an
e

Now

notice the wording:

gli assegno

cinque per diece.

Sette may be taken as heads that show

anagram

for teste,

the cryptographic

in the integers of the cryptic number Read now 515. gli assegno teste^ and there remain of the a ten numbers and a five, which complete along mentioned

with the concealed d, or 500, the cryptic signature 515. In the praise of Romeo and in the pity of his having to self. beg his living Dante is here really praising and pitying him-

THE

EAGLE

which I wish of the symbolic guises of Dante to consider in the present chapter is the Eagle in the heaven of Jupiter. This eagle is formed, as I already mentioned, by the spiritsof the just. Visible to Dante as sparks flying about like birds, the spirits of the justform themselves successivel Diligite iustitiam^ into letters spelling the sentence: The
next

202

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

qui iudicatis

terram.

the spirits pause, transform the m eagle. I have

m, the last letter of this sentence, and then, by the addition of other spirits, first into a fleur-de-lys and then into an

On

tence already identified the first three letters of the senguise which the spirits form, dil, as a cryptographic I have identified Dante. And a as cryptographic guise also of in Dante vel the passage which is uttered by the acrostic of in its to this passage the eagle. Par. xix. 115-141. Analogous is Par. xx. 40-72, also uttered by the curious symmetry

eagle.

is referring to himself in this I will show that Dante the passage, and I will then show that the eagle who utters Dante's is The one passage passage symbolic guises. of reads
as

follows:

Ora conosce il merto del suo canto, 40 In quanto fu del suo efFetto consiglio, Per lo remunerar e altrettanto. ch' Dei cinque che mi fan cerchio per ciglio, 43 Colui che piu al becco mi s' accosta, La vedovella consolo del figlio, Ora conosce caro costa 46 quanto Non Cristo, 1' per seguir esperienza Di questa dolce vita, e dell' opposta. E quel che segue in la circonferenza 49 Di che ragiono, per 1' arco superno, Morte indugio per vera penitenza. il Ora conosce 52 giudizio eterno che Non degno trasmuta, preco quando si Fa crastino laggiu dell' odierno. le leggi e meco, L' altro che segue, con 55 Sotto buona intenzion che fe' mal frutto, Per cedere al pastor, si fece Greco. Ora conosce il mal dedutto come 58 bene operar Dal suo h non nocivo, gli il Avvegna indi distrutto, sia mondo che E quel che vedi nell' arco 61 declivo, Guglielmo fu, cui quella terra plora Che piange Carlo e Federico vivo. Ora conosce innamora 64 come s' Lo ciel del giusto rege, ed al sembiante fulgore il fa vedere ancora. Del suo

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

203

Chi crederebbe giu nel mondo 67 errante, Che Rifeo Troiano in questo tondo Fosse la quinta delle luci sante? Ora conosce 70 assai di quel che il mondo Veder della divina non puo grazia, Benche discerna il fondo.* non sua vista

This passage is remarkable for the repetition of the words: Ora conosce, which begin the first terzina and every second terzina thereafter. This symmetrical repetition points to the cryptographic
not
contents

marginal letters on beginning with Ora conosce:


40 43

lowing Consider the folof the passage. the first lines of all the terzine

[oRA conosce]
D

46
49

[ORA conosce]
E

52
55 58 61
64

[ORA conosce]
LA

[ORA conosce]
E

[ORA conosce]
C

67
70

[ORA conosce]
ed

Read: The

cela

passage
name:

conceals Dante

in several interior sequences

spelling his
48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56
di
e

questa quel che che

Dolce seguE

vita
in per per

dell'opposta
circonferenza superno

la I'Arco

di

morte
ora non

ragiono indugio che trasmuta

vera

peniTenza

conosce

si

crastino I'alTro che buona sotto

fa

giudizio eterNo DEgno preco quANdo lAggiu dell'oDierno le leggi E con segue

il

meco

intenzion

che

fe

mal

frutTo

of dolce, 48; second e of segue, 49; o{ penitenza, 51; n o( eterno, 52: dante.
d

Read

of

arco,

50;

204

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read

of

eterno,

52;

de

of degno, 53;

of laggiu^ 54;

of

altro^ 55:

DANTE.

Read

an
t

of quando^

53;

of odierno^ 54;

following leggi^

55; second

56: oijrutto^

dante.

that the firstand the second of these three sequences key on the n of eterno. is These that Dante sufficient to prove signatures are referring to himself in the words of the eagle in this passage. Having already shown that he refers to himself in the other utterance of the eagle, the passage containing the acrostic vel, and in the writing of the spirits who form the eagle,
I will now defincontaining dil, show that he itely takes the eagle itselfas his symbolic guise. The proof that I have to offer is to be found in the names of the spirits These form the eye and eyebrow of the eagle. spirits who

Note

the passage

are

David,

Traiano,

Ezechia,
names

Costantino,

Rifeo.

Consider

contiguous

in these letters:

and following initial the and

Guglielmo,

DAVID traian E
COS

GU

RI

Read:

riguardavi

cosi

dante

head of the eagle is in profile,so that only one eye is visible. The pupil of the eye is formed by the spirit of But like Aristotle among David. the philosophers in Inf. iv, David by name. He is indicated as is not mentioned The
line 38, and the anonymous dello spirito santo^ allusion to David in this phrase is capable of being considered an allusion to Dante himself. The spirito santo is the name
//
cantor

is the of the mother in the divine Trinity; and as Dante singer of the divine mother, the phrase, il cantor dello spirito Moreover, santo, the applies as well to him as to David. and Dante's cryptic numanalogies between David as a name

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

205

ber, 515, in vid, plus his initialsd.a., can hardly have been in his search for analogies everywhere neglected by Dante;
it is highly probable that he
saw

in the possibilities

da

vid

for

suggesting: d.a: vid. In the light of this identification of the eagle as a guise of Dante, it becomes evident that Dante has a double meaning that he heard the eagle utter when he says, Par. xix. 11-12,
nella
voce

Quand'
The

era

nel

concetto

ed 'lo' e 'Mio,' 'Noi' e 'Nostro.'

eagle is composed of many "my", as ifit were said, "I" and


meaning Dante

spirits, yet
one

in its voice it spirit;such is the patent

of the lines. But it is possible to understand as saying here that the eagle uttered in its voice: himself, and ED 10, the cryptographic designation of Dante for Dante. as if speaking said "I" and "my" With the identity of Dante and the eagle thus established,
be explained the symbolism of the eagle as m. transformed successively from a fleur-de-lys and an has never, This symbolism far as I know, been explained so
there remains
to

satisfactorily;certainly it is not sufficient to associate the lily with the armorial device of Florence and the eagle with These associations, which are the emblem of the empire. the mere probable enough, are surface symbolism of the

that the letter m appears in connection with the eagle in three forms: first,as the letter; second, as the lily;and third, as the eagle. These three forms of the letter represent the three persons of the family as a trinity analogous to the Trinity of the Christian Godhead. in the first place, the symbol of The letter m is in itself,
MAN.

transformations. It is to be noted

ceit already referred to the medieval Italian conhuman is for omo, man, that the word written on the face. The m of this spelling is formed by the line of the nose formed o's are and the outlines of the cheeks, and the two by

I have

the eyes. in the letter


two
o's as

three letters are supposed to be visible m alone, in a form of the m which suggests the on made each side of the central line of the m The

2o6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the spaces enclosed by the central line and the outlines of the letter. Such a form of the letter m which gives in itselfthe two in the human face when the eye sockets, which o's appears in form the two o's, are enlarged, as Dante tellsus they were by

the passage Let


aspect

in which
me

quote

he refers to the passage,

the very conceit in tion. quesfor an it is important as


I shall have
to

of the eagle which of the symbolism develop later. Dante is viewing in Purgatory
gluttonous, who are Purg. xxiii. 22-33: undergoing
a

the souls of the penitential fast. He says,

Negli occhi era ciascuna oscura 22 cava, e Pallida nella faccia, e tanto scema, Che dair ossa la pelle s' informava. Non 25 credo che cosi a buccia estrema Eresitone fosse fatto secco Per digiunar, quando piu n' ebbe tema. lo dicea fra me 'Ecco stesso 28 pensando: La gente che perde Jerusalemme, Quando Maria nel figlio die' di becco.' Parean 1' occhiaie anella senza 31 gemme. Chi nel viso degli uomini legge omo, Ben avria quivi conosciuto 1' emme.

recognition of the establishes Dante's by a face spells omo cryptographic conceit that the human form of the letter m which supplies of itselfthe two o's, and The that the letter m in itself, accordingly, represents omo. interpretation same use of the letter m has appeared in our
passage

This

of the passage
Dante's

containing

the acrostic
as

vel,

Par.

xix. 129

(seepp. 163-4).
identification of himself, is expressed in his cryptography the letter m as representing mankind. is emme^ M and in acrostics and in his Dante seems to suggest a punning use
Now
man^ as

typical, with mankind by a punning use of The spelled form of of the isolated letter

use

unit

in

three

e me. as oi emme in the original family a appears generic term, The forms, as father, mother, and son.

cryptographic

use

of

in the transformation

of the

into

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

207

eagle will show, accordingly, three forms of the M to correspond with the three persons of the family. The M as it first appears is the mother. This m, as will is mentioned, be remembered, Par. xviii. 93, as the last letter of the Latin terram^ dundant which is an anagram, with a refor This R, MATER. reading and anagrammatic the fact that the other two forms of the m, the lily and the eagle, spring from the m, establish the m as a symbol of the
an

lily and

mother. The three forms of the letter, as in the following cut from Toynbee's

m,

lily,and eagle appear Dante Dictionary


.

from the central stem of the This lily form was M. recognized in medieval symbolism as the male, and as a phallic. As phallic, it represents sprout from the maternal m, the son. like The eagle is formed by the addition of a head to the lilyThe lilyis formed
by
a

sprout

The eagle, as the emblem of the empire of the m. As being is a paternal symbol. and the bird of Jove, formed by the addition of a head to the other two forms of the M, it is to be regarded as the head of the family group
sprout

which the three forms of the m represent. The three persons of the family trinity,as thus represented respectively by a form of the letter m, are represented as identical in the sense that they are formed from one stance, subin each of them. This which appears method of representing the identity of the three persons of the family by symbols of the three persons in which the substance has appeared in symbols are formed of the same have roma, maro, the anagrammatic which we and amor,

the letter

already examined.

These

words, which,

as

it will be

remem-

2o8

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

bered, represent respectively father, mother, and son, are letters. This identity of the formed of identically the same three persons is expressly postulated by Dante for the divine Trinity, which, as he says Purg. iii. 36:
tiene
una

sustanzia

in

tre

persone.

thus the family trinity of father, mother, and son in the three forms of the letter m, it remains to apparent of the son reborn which Dante develops show the symbolism in connection with the divine eagle. This symbolism of the son of the reborn appears in what Dante says of the utterance Par. xx. 22-29: eagle. With
E
come

suono

Prende sua al pertugio Della sampogna vento che penetra, Cosi, rimosso d'aspettare indugio, dell' aquila salissi Quel mormorar bugio. Su per lo coUo, come losse

al coUo della forma, e si come

cetra

22

25

Fecesi
Per

voce

lo

suo

quivi, e quindi uscissi becco in forma di parole,

28

be understood, in the symbolism of this from the phallic neck in the form of as passage, ejaculated the divine Word, the logos which in the Christian story of was made flesh." John i, 14. rebirth is Christ: "the Word The
sound

is

to

"

This symbolism of rebirth is repeated in connection with the eagle in the allusions to the falcon, the stork, and the in detail, lark. Those allusions will have to be examined
not only profoundly significant of the symbolism Divina but m of the entire of the of the transmutations in beginning When Commedia. the the eagle, of Par. xix, begins to speak, it does so with outstretched wings, as eagle. its first and its Then, Par. xix. 34, in a pause between
as

they

are

second

utterance,

the eagle becomes


esce

quasi falcone ch'

del cappello.

And

in

second

pause

in its utterance

the eagle, which has

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

209

like a mother like a falcon, becomes previously become has fed her young; stork that circles about her nest after she himself becomes, as he develops the figure, like and Dante has just been fed. Par. xix. 91-96. the young stork who
a third pause, x-^nd when, after time, it becomes. Par. xx. 73:

the eagle speaks

for the last

quale allodetta che in

acre

si spazia.

it is likened, eagle, along with the other birds to which forms, then, the following group: eagle, falcon, stork with Dante its young, and lark. These four birds are used by

The

the trinity of the family, the father, mother, and son, along with the son reborn. The father symbolism the divine of the eagle ejaculating And Word, the logoSy or son, has already been pointed out. the singing lark, accordingly, to which the eagle is likened, which the eagle, as corresponds to the divine word, or son, With father, utters. the eagle and lark thus accounted for, the falcon and the stork remain as the symbols of the I mother in the double aspect of the divine mother to which have already frequently alluded. cestuo first the falcon as the symbol of the inLet us examine is to be the divine son through whom mother reborn on earth as man reborn, justas the divine Christ was
to

suggest

The key to the mother symbolism through the Virgin Mary. in of the falcon is to be found in the passage already quoted Purg. connection with the m as written in the faces of men,
^^ this passage, the reader xxiii. 22-33. Dante mistook the emaciated souls to be
La
gente

will remember,

Quando
The
apparent

che perd^ Jerusalemme, Maria nel figlio die' di becco.

in the siege ot allusion here is to an incident salem Jerusalem. According to Josephus,the inhabitants of Jerubecame so reduced to starvation during this siege that killed her own son a certain Maria and ate his flesh. And die' di beccoy Dante says here that Maria nel figlio when he is likening the mother of the child to a bird of prey.

2IO

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

allusion to the Maria of this incident is he is alluding, in the last analysis, to the simply a screen; into her womb Virgin Mary, exwho took her divine son actly In other words, as the other Maria swallowed her son.
Now
Dante's

ous the swallowing of the son is here used as a symbol of incestuintercourse. Swallowing as a symbol of intercourse is in myth and folklore,as witness the primitive belief common incestuous character of in impregnation by eating. The
by Dante himself the eating in this incident is emphasized in the allusion to Erysicthon, line 26, who was punished, on account of his sacrilege toward the mother goddess Ceres, Since Ceres was also the goddess with insatiable hunger.

of the harvests of the earth, his hunger hunger for her. A further indication

symbol of his by Dante of the incestuous character of the act of eating the son in this in the allusion, line 34, to the pomoy the appears passage The eatapple symbolizing the apple in the garden of Eden. ing is
a
a of the apple in the garden of Eden symbolizes, of course, sexual transgression, and this transgression, as I shall show in Chapter VIII, seems been understood as incestuous. to have

likens the Maria who eats Bearing in mind that Dante her own to a bird son and is therefore incestuous of prey, in let us return Par. to the falcon now xix. The mentioned falcon is essentially, as a reference to any history of falconry
" "

will show, the bird that preys upon the lark. It was ally specihunt falconers Middle lark by to the trained the of the Ages, and Dante here mentions the falcon, to be associated

cestuou with the lark which is mentioned later, as suggesting the inas as the incestuous son mother preying and
similitude of the eagle to the falcon is succeeded by the similitude of the eagle to the stork, which is obviously maternal in its circling about the nest and feeding its young, The
the young
stork
to

which

Dante

likens himself.

The

cestuou in-

and

by the falcon, is thus rerepresented placed mother, by the fostering mother by the stork; represented is replaced the lark, representing the incestuous son,

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

211

by the young reborn. stork representing the incestuous son Thus the symbolism of the transformations of the m, as in a family trinity, and son suggesting father, mother,
expresses

adds adds

a a

simultaneously the rebirth of the fourth figure to the family exactly as


to

son,

who Christ as

thus
man

fourth figure

the Divine Trinity.

CHRIST indications, in the cryptograms which we have already examined, of Dante's identification of himself with Christ in the Divina Commedia, not that it may be necessary to give further proof of the identification. In There have been
so

many

Purg. xxxiii,however, immediately after the prophecy of the 515, there is another 515 in connection with a reference to the Dante, as a coming of Christ which quite definitely connects

After Beatrice has made she continues, Purg. xxxiii. S'^~^3515, with

Christ.

the prophecy

Tu

ai vivi alia morte; le scrivi, tu Ed abbi a mente, quando hai Di non celar qua! vista la pianta, Ch' e or due volte dirubata quivi. Qualunque ruba quella o quella schianta, Con bestemmia di fatto offende a Die, la creo Che solo air uso suo santa. in Per morder in disio pena ed quella, Cinquemili' anni e piu 1' anima prima in se punio. Bramd Colui che il morso

da me si come Cosi queste parole segna Del viver ch' h un correre


nota;
e

son

porta,

52

55

58

61

have cinquemili' anni e piUy line 62, which are said to and the coming of Christ, elapsed between the fall of Adam as again the five hundred suggest connected with the dvx the mystic 515 in connected with rebirth. To complete The

this passage there is the concealed 5 in the mention of D/o, line 59, and the concealed 10 in the allusion to Christ, line 63, be reThe D of Dio conceals a 5, since the d, as 500, may

212

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

duced

to

five by

disregarding

the
one.

zeros.

The

allusion
may

to

This 515, usual, the zeros. after the 515 of the prophecy, to identify Dante more once serves with Christ. In connection with the reference to the divine Trinity, Par. XV. 46-57, there is another concealed 515 which again if not here with Christ, shows Dante as identifying himself,
as

Christ gives a ten, and so a reduced to 5 by disregarding, coming as it does immediately

The

cinquemili

be

with God.
La

The

passage

reads

as

follows:

intese, s' che per me prima cosa 'Benedetto sie tu,' fu, 'Trino ed Uno, Che nel mio seme cortese.' sei tanto E seguitd: 'Grato e lontan digiuno, Tratto leggendo nel magno volume U' non si muta mai bianco ne bruno, Soluto hai, figlio,dentro a questo lume
In

46

49

52

di colei ch' io ti parlo, mercc Ch' air alto volo ti vesti le piume. Tu credi che a me tuo 55 pensier mei Da quel ch' h primo, cosi come raia il Dair un, conosce, se cinque e il sei. si

line 47, added together as a three and into the fourth be transmuted one, may 4, which make This d is then to be taken as letter of the alphabet, or d. in primoy line 56, and the The concealed i appears 500. five is cinque in line 57. There thus appears 515, with a six

The

trino ed

uno^

left over, six, e he."


art

line 57. But notice that the words expressing the "xAnd thou art be taken in a double sense as il sei^ may Thus the cryptogram says in effect: "515 and thou
"

he."

LUCIFER
Inasmuch
Dante

as

is both

human

and good, he identifies himself not with Lucifer, the fallen angel who
Lo imperador

divine, both evil only with Christ but also is


and
regno.

del doloroso

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

213

TKq

appearance

in the following passage, of Lucifer is described 34-60:


34

Inf.xxxiv.

brutto, S' ei fu si bel com' egli e ora Fattore alzo le ciglia, il suo E contra Ben dee da lui procedere ogni lutto. a O quanto me gran maraviglia, parve Quando vidi tre facce alia sua testa! L' una dinanzi, e quella era vermiglia; a due, che s' aggiungieno L' altre eran questa di ciascuna spalla, il mezzo Sopr' esso E si giungieno al loco della cresta; E la destra parea tra bianca e gialla;
La sinistra a vedere era tal, quali Vengon di la, onde il Nilo s' avvalla. Sotto ciascuna uscivan due grandi ali, uccello; io Vele di mar non mai cotali. vid' di vipistrello Non ma avean penne, Era lor modo; e quelle svolazzava, da ello. Si che tre venti si movean Quindi Cocito tutto s' aggelava: Con sei occhi piangeva, e per tre menti il pianto e sanguinosa bava. Gocciava Da ogni bocca dirompea coi denti
a guisa di maciulla, facea cosi dolenti. era A quel dinanzi il mordere nulla Verso il graffiar, che tal volta la schiena brulla. Rimanea della pelle tutta

37

40

43

46

Quanto si convenia

tanto

49

52

55

Un

peccatore, Si che tre ne

58

first,in connection with this passage, the initials in which the three faces of Lucifer of the first four terzine, described: are

Notice

34

37
40

o
L E

43

Read I will

sole

return

extremely

is the significance of this reading, which But I wish to show first the reading important.
to

214

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

on

Consider, then, on the firstlines of the entire passage. the nine terzine the following marginal letters:

Read:
On

sole:

sono

qui

dante

the third terzina consider letters,lines 40-42:

the

following

marginal

Read:

sole

in the acrostic of this terzina and in repetition of sole the acrostic of the four terzine shows the emphasis that Dante places on the sun symbolism of the passage. On the fourth terzina, lines 43-45, consider the following marginal letters:

The

43
44

E
L
V

45

Read:
This
VEL

vel

calls attention

to

the whole

passage

as

have found the cryptographic readings which we be developed. now the symbolism which must The acrostic sole, which appears twice in the four terzine for the describing Lucifer, is of the highest importance in identifying the sun symbolism of the Divina Commedia media as the Divina Comthe symbol of Lucifer. Throughout is constantly used as the symbol of God, of the sun

veil for and for

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

215

Christ, and of Dante; as that it should now appear the implies identity Lucifer the essential symbol of of all these
persons.

It is not

symbol
passage: "How

of
art

alone in the Divina Lucifer; in Isaiah

Commedia

that the sun is the xiv. 12-15, is the following

thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the how down to art thou cut the ground, which didst morning! the nations! weaken "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. "Yet

thou shalt be brought


must at
once sun

down

to

hell, to the sides of


as as
an

the pit." This passage

be recognized

of Lucifer in terms of the Christ is expressed in terms

myth, exactly of the sun myth. horizon, sun the sun that makes the journeyof the above the Lucifer is the sunken to west; sun, sky from east the sun in the night, that makes the journey of the underworld from west to east; And sun. and they are both the same

expression the story of Christ is the

whose downward and upward journeyin the Divina is precisely synchronized Commedia with the journeyof the has likewise the sun for his symbol sun, and is likewise identified with Christ on the one hand and Lucifer on the other. The identity of Christ and Lucifer accords with the
is its own that everything precept profound opposite. Dante, therefore, who by his is all divine nature virtue of nature that is good, is by virtue of his human all that is evil. For Dante as elios, Greek for sun, see page 349. be forgotten that Lucifer, with his three faces which represent in distorted and discolored form the three persons of the divine Trinity, is a triadic symbol of the three members of the family, father, mother, and son it must
not
"

Dante,

Now

triadic symbol

which

represents

the three

as

united

to-

2i6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

have already seen, in which gether. The situation, as we be considered to be so the three members of the family may united as to form, not three beings, but a single being, is in in the the act of union by which the father begets the son body of the mother: the three in this situation are physically
In the case united. of the incestuous son who accomplishes his own rebirth, the father and the son are identical, since the in begetting himself, is the father of himself. The sin son, and through which, in spite of the punishment, he accomplishes his rebirth, is in fer; thus usurping the father's place. This sin is the sin of Lucifrom it is the superho strupo for which he was cast Heaven; and it is in the image of his sin that he is here As a triad Lucifer is represented simultanerepresented. ously his incestuous in as with mother, either union with her
son or as

for which

the incestuous

is punished

in her womb, him.

and
as

with his father, in the

sense

reof placing

I have indicated in the preceding pages, be underis to be understood as a guise of Dante, he must stood in Dante, to same as son, the represent peculiar himself he in father relation to which stands and mother

Now

ifLucifer,

"

in

relation, in other words, which represents Dante as the incestuous son who accomplishes his rebirth in disobedience
a

As symbolized in the triadic Lucifer, the divine command. Dante, as son, is represented as united with father and This in the sense mother of being identified with them. idea of the essential identity of the three members of the
to

family group is expressed by Dante them, in InJ. i, as leone, lupa, and


are as

three separate animals, animal nature which they possess in common. A stillclearer symbol of the identity of the three members Par. Dante's in family ii, use. group appears of the

in his representation of lonza\ distinct as they identical in the they are

of the three mirrors. These three mirrors, in connection with the light which they equally reflect and which makes be understood, it seems with them a group of four, must to me, as the counterpart of the leone^ the lupa^ and the lonza^ in connection with the Veltro^ in InJ. i ; and of the

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

217

quattro

stelle
gente,

Non

viste mai

fuor che

alia prima

four of these groups represent the father, reborn; and the three mirrors, as and son mother, son, equally reflecting the light as the symbol of the reborn son, of the original three in the symbolize the essential community of the fourth. reproduction (reflection) Analogous to Lucifer and to the divine Trinity as triadic himself as son Dante symbols of the united family, and so of in Purg. i. The in relation to father and mother, are the three-headed monster Cerberus, and Geryon, the monster with three bodies. in the fact The father symbolism of these fiends appears
that they represent
Lo

the ruling power

of
regno.

imperador

del doloroso

Their symbolism as the son appears from the fact that they are themselves the prisoners as well as the rulers of Hell. in his is indicated for Cerberus The symbolism mother hunger, like the sex-hunger of the lupa; in his ravenous huge belly, like the swelling in pregnancy; and by his being his down by handfuls of earth (semen) thrown appeased

female symbolism the same throats have for the gate of Hell. which we shall find in the next chapter his dragonlike The mother symbolism of Geryon is indicated in
throats. His mother symbol, and shape, the dragon being a common from one in his carrying Dante, as in pregnancy, stage of The mother symbolism his journey to another. of the act in the figure of Lucia, who of carrying Dante appears again justas Geryon carries carries him up the slope of Purgatory into the abyss of Hell. The description of the him down in swimming, as like that of a diver posture of Geryon
Che
in
su

si stende,

da pie si rattrappa,

be understood as an allusion to the posture in coitus. be suggested in the acrostic on the The symbolism may passage including this line. Inf.xvi. 1 21-136:
must

2i8

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

'Tosto verra di sopra Ei disse a me: Cio ch' io attendo, e che il tuo pensier sogna Tosto convien ch' al tuo viso si scopra.' Sempre a quel ver ch' ha faccia di menzogna De' r uom chiuder le labbra finch' ei puote, Pero che senza colpa fa vergogna; Ma qui tacer nol posso: e per le note lettor, ti giuro, Di questa commedia, S' elle non sien di lunga grazia vote, Ch' io vidi per quell' aer grosso e scuro figura in suso, Venir notando una Maravigliosa ad ogni cor sicuro, Si come torna colui che va giuso Talora a solver 1' ancora ch' aggrappa O scoglio od altro che nel mare e chiuso, Che in su si stende, e da pi^ si rattrappa.

121

124

127

130

133

136

the last line of the canto and the first lines of the five preceding terzine the following marginal letters:
Consider
on

Read:

esce

maschio

It is in connection with Geryon the enigmatic symbolism of the cord,


Io

that

Dante

develops

InJ.xvi. 106-114:

aveva una 106 corda intorno cinta, E con essa pensai alcuna volta Prender la lonza alia pelle dipinta. Poscia che 1' ebbi tutta da me sciolta, 109 Si come il Duca m' avea comandato, Porsila a lui aggroppata e ravvolta. Ond' ei si volse inver Io destro lato, 112 Ed alquanto di lungi dalla sponda La gittd giuso in quell' alto burrato.

The

the of this passage, which have consistently missed, confirms the mother Geryon's act of bearing Dante. meaning

commentators

symbolism

of

SYMBOLIC

GUISES

219

Consider

firstthe initials of the firstlines of the three

ter-

zine:
106
109
112

I
p o

Read:
pio

pig

in the acrostic pig rimasi which appears in connection with the mother symbolism of the closing lines of Purgatorio. The cord referred to here is sometimes explained as the by the Franciscans, whose order, according to cord worn is
a

word

Buti, Dante

is said

to

have

joinedin

his youth

and

to

have

the quitted before the end of his novitiate. But whether testimony of Buti be accepted or not, the highly elaborated symbolism of the cord in the present passage can hardly be

explained
a

as

mere

historical allusion to Dante's

It would be much more religious order. Dante were actually referring to the cord Franciscans, he would refer to it for the sake of its original by the Franciscans is, as I surThe cord worn mise, symbolism.

novitiate in likely that if by the worn

mother symbol by virtue of its forming a circle;and symthe fact that it is worn about the body of the monk bolizes his union with the divine mother. fully explained, But Dante's use of the cord is to be more
a

I believe, in the light of a primitive found references in Frazer's Golden


the Old Testament.

custom

Bough
custom

which I have and Folk-lore in


to

the umbilical he isinitiated is boy preserved until the age at which cord of a These rites symbolize rebirth, into the rites of manhood. the and one of the ritualisticdetails consists in throwing his infancy, from has been preserved umbilical cord, which this into the mother his be to thus reunion supposed symbolize symbol, had his by the very tie which nally. with mother united them origiis, Such a reunion of the of the essence of course, may rites of rebirth. How, or in what form, such a custom he may have
come

According

to

stream

or

sea.

As

the

stream

or

sea

is

to

the knowledge

of Dante

I hazard

no

guess;

220

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

am

confident, however,

in medieval symbolism, he Geryon summons which


to

that in whatever form it survived in it explains the curious manner


to

bear him, like

an

evil mother,

the consummation

of his incestuous rebirth.

Chapter

VII

THE

SEAL

Chapter

VII

THE

SEAL

is a word that thou remove," -"- has appeared several times in the cryptographic readings use presented in the previous chapters. The cryptographic that Dante makes of this word is so complicated that it will

pEREMAS,

Latin

for "do

in detail. be examined The first instance of peremas to which I called attention appears in the acrostic on the marginal letters of the first lines of the first four terzine of the firstcanto of Purgatorio
now

have

to

(seep. 27). The importance


prominence
I

of the word Let me of this position. show


PER
E

is indicated by the

this acrostic again:

7
10

MA S

Read:
As

peremas

I pointed out, the acrostic on these lines is a double there is acrostic, for in addition to the reading: peremas, also on the initials of the four lines in question the acrostic:
SPEM.

Spem
PEREMAS,

may
PEREMAS

letters of of four letters of the seven three, which are e, r, and a, and the remaining It thus appears that be considered as spelling era. be transmuted into era spem. an as may anagram is thus formed appears

There is another transformation of peremas which first four in Par. terzine oi the very clearly viii:

[ 223 1

224

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

in suo Solea creder lo mondo periclo Che la Bella Ciprigna il folle amore Raggiasse, volta nel terzo epiciclo; facean lei Perche non a onore pure Di sacrificioe di votivo grido Le genti antiche nell' antico errore; Ma Dione onoravano e Cupido, Questa per madre sua, questo per figlio, E dicean ch' ei sedette in grembo a Dido; E da costei, ond' io principio piglio, Pigliavano il vocabol della Stella Che il sol vagheggia or da coppa or da ciglio.

10

Consider marginal

the first lines of these terzine the following letters:


on s

PER MA

7
8

Read:
But

peremas

notice that sperma; and that


give: The
peremas

on on

the firstthree terzine the letters read: all four terzine the very letters which

give: e sperma. of the text, which reader will bear in mind the sense treats and will note especially the words: of the amorous, ilfolle amore raggiasse^ an expression of love in relation to light which I hope this chapter may make clear. The terzina immediately following this passage, 13-15, is very suggestive; into a the words: salire in ella^ as expressing the entrance female form, will prove to be consistent with the general sex of the poem. symbolism There is stillanother

transmutation of peremas which I wish to show before going into the question of what these transmutations signify. The first three terzine of InJ.iiiare a the the inscription over unit in themselves, comprising
gate of Hell. These
Per me Per Per

terzine read

as

follows:

si va nella citta dolente, dolore, me si va nell' eterno me si va tra la perduta gente.

THE

SEAL

225
4

il mio alto fattore; Giustizia mosse Fecemi la divina potestate, La somma sapienza e il primo amore. Dinanzi a me fur cose non create Se non io duro: eterne, eterno ed Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch' entrate!

Consider marginal

all the lines of this passage letters:


on

the following

Read:

per
DANTE

me

si

va,

per SUO

me

si

va,

per

me

si

va.

SI

FA

SIGILLO

si me va, three the phrase: per Dante times repeated, be considered as the seal which makes ? The answer to this question is the fact that the letters of the si va are a transmutation me of the letters in phrase: per
can

Now

in what

form

peremas

VI.

Peremas,

cryptograms, be transmuted si va, And justas the phrase: per me may it may into: peremas vi, also be transmuted, first,into: vi SPEM, ERA and, second, into: vi e sperma.
many

the word which is the seal of Dante.

we

have

seen

in

so

The

is the
one

transmutations explanation of these anagrammatic of the present chapter. subject Let us consider first the word: spem. Spem^ or "hope," is

of the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and love (in the King James version of the English Bible they are called: faith, hope, and These three virtues correspond to charity). the three persons of the divine Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

226

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

correspondence of the three theological virtues to the cation, three persons of the Trinity is apparent in Dante's indiin the inscription over the gate of Hell, of the Father
power, the Son as wisdom, and the Holy Ghost as love. Power is equivalent to will,wisdom to intellect,and love to emotion. Thus expressed, therefore, the three persons of the Trinity correspond to the three categories of the mind: will,
as

The

emotion. To the father, as will, corresponds faith; to the son, intellect,corresponds hope; and to the as Holy Ghost, as emotion, corresponds love.

intellect, and

The

that, as and Psychology,


defined
.

correspondence of faith to will appears it is expressed in Baldwin's Dictionary article


on

in the fact
may

of Philosophy
.

Faith:

"faith

be

true as or acceptance of something on real grounds that, in whole or in part^are different from those of theoretic certitude. The moment of faith into assent enters the will of The correspondence of hope to intellectappears in the fact
as

the personal

."

is expectation based on knowledge. The correspondence love is love is to emotion emotional, of self-evident: faith as distinguished from the and the voluntary character of intellectual character of hope.
in generally recognized medieval philosophy; and they are implied in the anagramDante in the seal of Dante. is matic appearance of spem taking for his device the particular virtue of the divine Son correspondences
were

that hope

These

identifying himself with Christ. more and is therefore once With to Christ thus the relation of spem established, it to to the sperma remains establish the relation of spem in the acrostic peremas, the seal which appears with spem hope of Dante. The of Christ is hope in his second coming, in other words, in his rebirth. Sperma is a symbol of or, birth, and itis to be considered here, therefore, as the symbol from the biological facts of of moral rebirth, borrowed is frequently physical birth. Christ, who in early symbolism represented as phallus, as in his symbol of the fish,is likewise in the sense sperma that he is to be reborn. In the appearance therefore, in the seal of Dante, as his symbol, of sperma,
"
"

THE

SEAL

227
to

is expressing the idea that he, like Christ, is reborn, and that he possesses within himself the means his rebirth.
Dante Dante's
use

be of

of such a symbol as his seal is not peculiar to him. Sexual, and, more particularly, phallic symbolism, was commonly used in heraldic devices in the Middle Ages. An instance is the lily of Florence, the fleur-de-lys^ which is a
of the phallic triad. back to the phrase: per si va, turn now me which in the inscription over the gate of Hell. This phrase, appears by which the gate of Hell is described, may be transmuted, as I have vi and vi e sperma. already shown, into: peremas In describing the gate of Hell by the phrase: per si va, me Dante that vi e sperma, which says, anagrammatically,
symbol Let
us

indicates, as corresponding to the male symbolism of sperma, female symbolism of the gate of Hell. In other words, the th.e. gate of Hell, though which si va, is the opening through which the sperma passes into the female body of the earth, thence to be reborn from the central cavity of the earth, which is the womb of the earth, or Hell proper. The symbolism and of the gate of Hell of Hell as the womb
It underlies, vulva is not confined to the Divina Commedia. indeed, allprimitive and early Christian ideas of the various becomes quite abodes of the soul after death. This symbolism is the gate of explicit in the saying of Tertullian: "Woman Hell." But it has never been recognized, so far as I have been
as

the geography able to discover, that in the Divina Commedia Hell is based between on a the structure of precise parallel of the earth and the structure of the female body. And this same parallel, indeed, is elaborated in the Divina Commedia in the
structure

of Purgatory

and of Heaven.

HELL
to all concept of the earth as mother earth is common peoples in all ages; the earth is the mother of all the lifethat swarms upon it.And as a corollary of this concept of the earth

The

228

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

as

mother

supposed the womb


to

is the concept of the grave, or of Hell, or whatever abode of the dead is in the interior of the earth, as emerges in birth and of the earth, from which man

in death. The desire to live is probably which he returns the origin of the belief in a life after death, and this belief is rationalized in many myths which represent the abode of

from which the dead were born in the dead as the womb the firstplace and from which they are to be reborn. In the myths in which the abode of the dead is symbolized as the womb of the dead into the of the earth, the entrance
as the sexual act. grave, or Hell, is constantly symbolized It is the reunion of the son with the mother in an act of incest which is to result in the rebirth of the son. This symbolism of Hell as the womb, and of the entrance of the soul into Hell, or of the entrance of the corpse into the grave, as sexual

union of mother and son, isinherent in the Christian doctrine of the resurrection. Explicit association of Hell and the womb be found in Hans Schmidt's Jona. may of the Virgin Mary
It is

should borrowed
sources;

strange, therefore, that the in the Divina Commedia. appear


not

same

symbolism Dante simply

from earlier pagan and Christian the symbolism he elaborated it,however, with a precision of detail of in the following parallel:
Pubic
Mons Vulva.

which is unique, I believe, in the history of literature. The female structure of Dante's earth, in the centre

which Seha

his Hell is situated, appears


oscura^

Inf.i. i. II dilettoso monte^ Inf.i.77. iii. The gate of Hell, /;//. The river Acheron, Inf.iii. 78.

hair.
Veneris.

Bodily

streams, seminal, lacteal, urinary, and fecal.

La

della valle d'abisso dolorosa^ Inf. iv. 7-8.

proda

Entrance
Vagina. Clitoris.

of vagina.

by which the poets deZ/^ j;/^/zm^rt, iv. 22. proda, Inf. scend from t\\Q. Un there nobile castello, where
was

lumiera.

Inf.iv. 108.

THE

SEAL

229

Descent

from

the first circle

to

Continuation

of vagina.

v. 1-2. the second circle,/;//. L'entrata to the city of Dis, Inf. Cervix.

viii.81. The city of Dis, which enters, Inf. ix. 106. Let
us
now

Dante

Uterus.

examine

the

course

of Dante's

journey through

this female structure. In connection with the selva oscura^ the lago del cor ^ Inf.\. 20. The seha Dante, in the poem, is symbolized
and the
water

Inf.i.2, is to be noticed
oscura as

is the place where having just been born;

symbolism of the lago del cor is analogous to the waters of the flood. The waters of the flood, in the Biblical account of Noah, are the amniotic fluid which accompanies the birth that the story of the flood symbolizes. The lago del
cor,

therefore, completes lines of Inferno. Immediately

the birth symbolism

of the opening

after his birth as thus symbolized, Dante to a attempts ascend the delectable mountain, mother fears his fears him beset are symbol; and the which of the act of incest which the ascent symbolizes. The entrance Dante, into the female body of as sperma, of Immediatel the earth is described in terms of coitus symbolism.
before he arrives himself. Inf.ii.127-132:
at

the gate of Hell Dante

says of

Quali i fiorettidal

notturno

gelo

127

Chinati e chiusi, poi che il Sol gl' imbianca, Si drizzan tutti aperti in loro stelo; Tal mi fee' io di mia virtute stanca: E tanto buono ardire al eor mi eorse, franca: Ch' io comineiai eome persona

130

like This description of Dante's becoming virtute stanca is phallic the littleflowers which stand erect on their stem symbolism for the erection with which Dante enters the vulva of the earth, the gate of Hell. And in the description of the is continued. Inf. act of entering, the phallic symbolism

iii,19-21;

Virgil,

as

Dante

says, la

sua

mano

alia mia

pose

230

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the and 7ni mise dentro. Dante, in other words, enters sperma. as gate of Hell as phallus and continues the journey is Immediately the coitus symbolism after the entrance, continued with the most precise details. The tumulto^ il qual
. . .

di e suon 28, progresses from voci alte efioche^ s'aggira^ Inf.iii. man con elle, line 27, to a climax, justbefore passing the ing stream of the Acheron, which Dante describes in the follow-

lines.Inf.iii. 130-136:
Finite questo, la buia campagna Tremo si forte, che dello spavento di sudore ancor La mente mi bagna. diede lagrimosa La terra vento, luce vermiglia, Che baleno una La qual mi vinse ciascun sentimento: 1' uom E caddi, come cui sonno piglia.
130

133

136

the sighing, the flash of red that trembling, the sweat, overcomes all preceding the all feeling, and the swoon, is passed (i.e. in Acheron moment which the seminal stream belong unmistakably to the description of an orgasm. passes) In his further descent through the female interior of the

The

He dallies proceeds like phallus and sperma. earth Dante in the "noble castle," the clitoris, a spot of comparative pleasure and repose; and passes thence to the region where the souls of the incontinent are punished. Inf. v, by being

borne convulsively on winds which symbolize the convulsive movements the region in of the vagina. He reaches next which the gluttonous are punished, a region in which
Grandine grossa, e acqua tinta, e Per I'aer tenebroso si riversa: Pute la terra riceve. che questo
"

neve

Inf.vi.

10-12.

lines symbolize the seminal rain which the earth, as the female symbol, receives. To be noted is the reference to is consistently developed smell in pute; the odor symbolism throughout Inferno. From the region of the gluttonous
Dante

These

passes

to

the

THE

SEAL

231

forms a of the rivers of Hell, which shore of the Styx, one This lake Dis (the marsh, or lake, about the city of uterus). is another seminal symbol which corresponds to the English use of "lake" in the vocabulary of physiology. Dante has passed the Styx he enters When the uterine city into the city is obstructed by the But his entrance Dis. of to come Furies, who call on Medusa and turn him into stone. The danger from Medusa consists in the sight of her. Virgil following words addressed to expresses this danger in the Dante, Inf.ix. 55-57:
Volgiti indietro, e tien lo viso chiuso; il vedessi. e tu Che se il Gorgon si mostra, Nulla sarebbe del tornar mai suso.

for the symbolism of the poem episode is so important that, after telling how Virgil covered Dante's eyes with his hands, the poem continues with the well-known cryptic own lines.Inf.ix. 61-63:
The
O voi, che
gl' intellettisani, Mirate la dottrina che s'asconde Sotto il velame degli versi strani.
avete

foregoing episode and the reference to the "hidden been satisfactorily explained. They doctrine" have never become clear by considering, as I have suggested. Hell as the Dante's act of entering Hell as the symbol of the mother and he commits incest as a means of rebirth. sexual act, by which by indicated here is The incestuous character of the act Dante in the reference. Inf.ix. 54, to the assault of Theseus. The reference is to the descent into the lower regions which Theseus made in order to carry off Proserpine, the wife of Pluto, the king of the lower region. As the wife of the god, son Proserpine represents the mother the human whom father and appropriate attempts to separate from the jealous act himself. This attempt to of attempted symbolizes an The
incest.

The
stone

danger is
a

in which
use

Dante

symbolical

into stood of being turned lithopaedion. A of the so-called

232

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

lithopaedion is a foetus calcified in the womb of its mother. If Dante, as foetus in the womb of the city of Dis, should be turned into stone, i.e.become a lithopaedion, he could never

be reborn. The dottrina che s'asconde in the whole episode is a reference to incest as a means of rebirth. The mother, who is here symbolized by the regina delVeterno pianto. Inf. ix. 44, and is not to be seen! She is not also by her surrogate. Medusa,
be the visible human mother incest be but is to the act of the divine committed, with whom in his is invisible. In other words, Dante, mother who
to
seen

be

because it must

not

to journey

be conceived by her, but by her not rebirth, must he finds at the end of better counterpart, the mother whom his journey through Hell.
Dante is here signifying that the incest by which his rebirth is accomplished has nothing to do with the physical he is signifybetween human son; mother and human ing

act

that the incest to which he refers is a symbol of the to the divine return may spiritual process by which a man he and all source the divine mother from whom of lifeitself, born. If she should become are mankind visible, that is, if

the divine mother, should become confused with her mother and so be identified visible form in the actual human by the poet-son with his human mother, the symbolized incest would become dangerous in the sense a of becoming physical, instead of a spiritual, fact. she,
as

Dante the mother whom be noted that a similar is not permitted it may to see, to be seems and symbolism suggested at the end oi Par. xxv It is in beginning Par. at the these passages xxvi. recorded oi look Dante Beatrice, his sight is turns to at that, when Beatrice, as I shall prove in the next chapter, is "quenched." with Medusa
as

In connection

the symbol of his mother, and I suggest that the reason that his sight is here "quenched" is to prevent his looking upon his mother with illicit, too or physical, affection, justas he had been prevented by the hands of Virgil from looking upon the mother image of Medusa. Certainly an association of the
temporary

blindness in the incident in Paradiso

with

the

THE

SEAL

233

to be Medusa seems covering of his eyes at the approach of firstthree lines oi Par. xxvi, suggested by the acrostic on the in which Dante refers to his viso spento:

io dubbiava per lo viso spento, Delia fulgida fiamma che lo spense fece Usci un spiro che mi attento.

Mentr'

Consider
1 2

the following marginal


ME

letters of these lines:

D
us

Read:
Now

medus

notice the passage Par. XXV. 130-139:


A questa

at

the end of the preceding

canto,

1' infiammato voce giro ildolce mischio, Si quieto con esso del trino spiro, Che si facea del suon
come,

130

o rischio, Li remi pria nell' acqua ripercossi d' un fischio. Tutti si posan al sonar Ahi quanto mi commossi, nella mente Quando mi volsi per veder Beatrice, fossi Per non poter vedere, ben ch' io felice! Presso di lei, e nel mondo

Si

per

cessar

fatica

133

136

139

Consider
the
canto

the following marginal letters on the last line of and on the firstlines of the three preceding terzine:

Read:
Dante

pressa

sia

is near

Beatrice but he

cannot

see

her,

so

wish expressed appropriate Analogous Harpies who


to

in the cryptogram:

"May

she be

near,"

that the is

mother symbol are the bird-like The forest is used as a inhabit the bosco^ Inf. xiii.
to
as a

the text. Medusa

234

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

passages in the Divina mother symbol in three important Purg. Commedia: Inf. i, the divina foresta, the selva oscura. xxviii, and the bosco. The mother symbolism of the Harpies, as well as of the bosco^ is indicated in the following interior sequence,
9 10 11 12 13

InJ.xiii.9-13:
i luoghi e corneto cecinA colti le lor fanno bruttE arpie nidi quivi i troiani delle che cacciar stRofade di danno tristo fuTuro con annunzio

tra

all
a

hanno

late

colli

visi

uMani

1 1 ; t of brutte^ 10; r of strojade^ of futurOy matre. 12; M oi umanij 13: is the Associated with the hostile, or dangerous, mother hostile or dangerous father in his guise as lion. He has already

Read

of cecina^ 9;

appeared as the lion in Inf.\.He appears again in an acrostic hears but is not permitted on the passage in which Dante Medusa to see the passage which begins with one of the most significant of Dante's cryptic hints, Inf.ix. 61-72:
"

O voi che

sani, gl' intelletti Mirate la dottrina che s' asconde Sotto 11 velame degli versi strani. E gia venia su per le torbid' onde Un fracasso d' un suon pien di spavento, Per CLiitremavano anibedue le sponde; Non altrimenti fatto che d' un vento Impetuoso per gli avversi ardori, Che fier la selva, e senza alcun rattento Li rami schianta, abbatte, e porta fuori. Dinanzi polveroso va superbo, E fa fuggir le fiere e li pastori.
avete
on

61

64

67

70

Consider marginal

the firstlines of these four terzine the following letters:


o E N LI

61
64

67
70

Read:

lione

THE

SEAL

235

Now

let us

return

to

Dante's

The journeyin Inferno.


Dante

gate

of the city of Dis is finally opened to Dante personage, del del messOj of whom

by

mysterious

says,

Inf.ix. 88-90:

Ahi quanto mi parea pien di disdegno! Venne una verghetta alia porta, e con L'aperse, che non ebbe alcun ritegno.

identity of this personage is one of the mysteries of important for the symhe is That the Divina Commedia. bolism by is indicated on the terzina the acrostic of the poem The

just quoted.
marginal
^%
89 90

Consider

on

the

three

lines the

following

letters:
A

VE
L

Read:
This

vela

himself. As veils, as I believe, Dante he is the same as messo someone the dvx, who is da Dio. The verghetta is designated, Purg. xxxiii.44, as messo his phallic symbol, which opens the female gate. Notice that personage del del the initialsof the three lines of this terzina, in which the opening of the gate is described, are a, or i; v, or 5; and l, or the cryptic 515. This 50. They make, without the zero,
same

number

mysterious lines of this terzina

in which in terzina 82-84, the appears personage is described. The initialsof the three
are:

the zeroes again give the omitted, these numbers cryptic 515 in association with the mysterious personage, who represents the divine power of the symbolized sexual act of letters of this Dante. Consider the following marginal
terzina:

With

236

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
82 83 84

OF

DANTE

DA
M

Read:
Dante

me,

In the present thus indicates himself by his initials. is thus analogous to Mercury guise Dante with the phallic is He is the phallic personification of Jupiter. caduceus, who Gabriel at the annunciation to also analogous with the phallic lily,who is the phallic personification of the divine father in the Christian story of the birth of Christ, With Dante thus inside the uterine city of Dis, it remains

for
as

us

to

examine

the

manner

I shall show, symbolizes sense of his being at last reborn.

of his exit from it; this exit, his delivery from the uterus in the

In the center of the city of Dis, in the lowest spot of Hell, Dante stands Lucifer, the imperador del dolorosa regno. When him he becomes, through iQ.3.r^gelato sees xxxiv. 11: efioco^Inf.
Com' io divenni allor gelato e fioco, Letter, ch' io non lo scrivo, Nol domandar, Pero ch' ogni parlar sarebbe poco. Io non rimasi vivo: morii, e non Pensa oramai per te, s' hai fior d' ingegno,
22

25

Qual

io divenni,

d'

uno

d' altro privo.

In these cryptic words, which should be examined with is for himself the reader particular care, adjuredto think what Dante then became., since Dante himself will not write it.
What
was

neither dead

considered and Dante became


a

as

it, then, that Dante became, here if he was be nor alive? The only condition which may neither dead nor alive is the foetal condition,

is saying here that in the presence of Lucifer he foetus. This interpretation is confirmed by the

interior sequences
22 23 24 25
com'io

in the passage:
divenni allor letTOr parlar
e

gelaTO ch'io sarebbE


rimasi

E NON

Fioco
lo

nol

domandar

scrivo

pEro io

ch'ogni
non

morii oramai

non

poco VIVO

26

pensa

per

te

s'hai

Fior

d' ingegno

THE

SEAL

237

line 22. the first that in the words gelato e Jioco, lettersof FETO e are grouped together, thus: (gela)TO F(ioco). Now lettor^ from e f to 22; 23; oi o{ pero^ 24: read Notice

oifioco,

FETO.

23; vertical line, from to oi gelato^ 22; non, final E oi sarebbe^ 24; vivo, f non vivo. feto 26: 25; oifior^ It is therefore as a foetus that Dante, clinging to Virgil, is carried by Virgil, climbing down the shaggy sides of Lucifer, to a spot from which they seem to Dante to begin to Read,
in
a

climb up again. Dante imagines that they are climbing back from this spot to where he has been before. But, as he afterwards i.e., learns, the spot is the center center the of gravity, of the earth; and therefore, in continuing stillin the same direction toward the southern side of the earth, the poets have to begin to climb instead of continuing to descend. Such is the apparent meaning of the spot by which Dante becomes confused. That

the spot has

some

the words which Dante InJ.xxxiv. 91-93:

is indicated by deeper symbolism addresses to the reader in regard to it,

E s' io divenni allora travagliato, La gente grossa il pensi, che non vede Qual e quel punto ch' io avea passato.

What

Dante

which

he

indicate here is that the punto be repassed is the pene of Lucifer. It must membere Hell is in in Lucifer that such a position standing
means

to

that his genitals are exactly at the centre of the earth and so at the centre of gravity. Dante, who, at the sight of Lucifer, became feto, have become sperma now must again in order to pass through the pene of Lucifer into the cavity below. Dante That means the pene as the mysterious punto which he passed should be apparent in the words in which he refers to it, lines 91-93. Travagliato^ line 91, has a double meaning referring to coitus, and gente grossa has a double meaning referring to pregnancy. The verb for gente grossa is for penis ^ and which is pensiy line 92, which is an anagram

238

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

in addition
sequences
90 91 92 93 94
E
e

the word
pene.

on

spelling:
vidili s'io

terminate three interior which They appear as follows:


in
su

le

gambe

tenere

travagliato allora il PENsi non grossa vede che gENte Punto e avea ch'io quel qual passato disse in lEvati 11 maEstro su piede la

divENni

Read

from the
PENE.

e,

initialof line 90;

en

o{ divenni, 91;

of

pensi^ 92:
Read
E

from

en

of the

same

v^ord, pensi, 92;

o{ punto

93;

oi levati,94:
Read
en

pene. p pene.

oi gente^ 92;

oi punto.,93;

oi

maestro.,

94:

In addition to the sequences, the three terzine in which they appear, Inf.xxxiv. 88-99, contain an acrostic:
lo levai gli occhi, e credetti vedere Lucifero com' io 1' avea lasciato, E vidili le gambe in su tenere. E s' io divenni allora travagliato, La gente grossa il pensi, che non vede Qual e quel punto ch' io avea passato. 'Levati su,' disse il Maestro, 'in piede: La via e lunga e il e malvagio, cammino E gia il sole a mezza terza riede.'
88

91

94

the following marginal these three terzine:


88 91 94
10
es
L

Consider

letters of the firstlines of

Read: The passage

elios

initials of the lines of the firstterzina of the foregoing


are:

88 89
90

I
L

Read:

eli

THE

SEAL

239

the father, and Lucifer is not only an aspect of Christ as the fallen son, but also an aspect of God the father in that he is emperor of the nether world. The acrostic elios is thus associated with Lucifer in his in the poem, justas the acrostic sole final appearance is Eli is God associated with Lucifer in his firstappearance. The interior in the passage the containing sequences spelling pene in point to the phallic symbolism acrostic elios of the sun the penetrating power of its light. I have already referred to
and I shall have to develop it further in connection with the sex symbolism of Paradise. It is of the highest importance in to notice that Dante, biologically,have passing through the pene of Lucifer, must this symbolism,

the significant word that appears he then becomes in starts the poem as omo; In this succession of changes FETO; and finally sperma. in his journey Dante reverses through Hell the natural order in his origin, first sperma, by which he was, then feto, and
reduced in his seal. He
sperma,

been

to

finally omo.

retrogression by which Dante retraces ment the successive stages of his developbeing; he returns to his original condition as a human

The

journey through

Hell is thus

here as of the father symbolized fresh start on Lucifer, in order that he may a the make he di nostra in in cammtn vita, may order, other words, that
as

SPERMA

in the body

be born again. This backward course through the successive being is expressed stages of the natural evolution of a human by Dante as a universal tendency; he defines this idea in the he says, in words that should Convivio, iv. 12, 138, when be forgotten in connection with the Divina Commediay desiderio di ciascuna cosa, e prima dalla Natura that ilsommo dato, e lo ritornare al suo Principio. This statement that the supreme desire of everything is to
never

return to

to

its source
as

the mother After Dante


to
sperma

is a rationalization of the desire to the source of life. has retrogressed from omo to feto in

return

and

finally

the process and from sperma in final lines final canto, the progresses, of the The importance to new-born man. of the final lines of Inf.
reverses

Inferno,he

240

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

xxxiv is not

sufficiently appreciated; I wish therefore to call attention to the geography of the region through which they describe Dante as passing after he leaves Lucifer, On his

journeyfrom
to

leaves Lucifer,

Inf. xxxiv. 85; then a passes first a/oro d'un sasso. line 131, natural burella^ line 98; then la buca cCun sasso ascoso^ through which descends a stream along a cammino
^

where Dante

he emerges

of the earth, where he the surface of the southern hemisphere, on the shore of the island of Purgatory, the
centre

line 133; and finally, at the end of the cammino a ascoso, pertugio tondo^ through which Dante emerges to the surface of the earth. Now it must be observed that this interior between the of the earth and the southern hemisphere the of the interior of Hell, which is between hemisphere. earth and the northern
centre

is a duplicate
centre

of the

sphere, pertugio torido, at the surface of the southern hemicorresponds to the gate of Hell, at the surface of the northern hemisphere. The cammino in it,corresponds to ascoso, with the stream follows in Hell from the gate of the course which Dante
Hell

The

the gate of the city of Dis. The buca d'un sasso, descends through which the stream from this hidden way to the centre of the earth, corresponds
to

the gate of the city of Dis. The natural burella corresponds to the city of Dis. The foro d'un sasso, in through which Dante emerges leaving Lucifer, is the southern end o{ a cylindrical hole in the rock in which Lucifer is placed with his feet at the southern end and his head emerging from the northern end. Lucifer is
to

in this hole, which is a female symbol, in an eternal act is the opening which connects of copulation. This foro d'un sasso the interior of Hell with the southern interior of the earth, and belongs, accordingly, to them both in common.
erect

fact that the genitals of Lucifer are situated at the center of gravity, and so at the center of the universe, indicates the central importance of the sexual lifein Dante's symbolism. In Dante's universe there exists a detailed parallel between

The

THE

SEAL

241

and and laws and its spiritual structure is be laws; the physical center to of gravity understood, to as the of corresponding accordingly, spiritual center in in lowest The the universe, point other words, is gravity.

its physical

structure

of the lowest moral value, and corresponds to the as sexual nature symbolized by the genitals. This of man, in medieval is apparent the charts showing symbolism

the symbol

the microcosm of the universe considered as In these charts of the human body as a the macrocosm. repetition in parvo of the universe the genitals are definitely of gravity. shown as corresponding to the center The interior extending from the centre of the earth to the is, as I have now southern hemisphere shown, similar in to the interior of Hell. And structure these two interiors have
as

human

body

similar symbolism. The pertugio tondo corresponds to the vagina; the buca d'un to the vulva; the cammino ascoso The to the cervix; and the natural burella to the uterus. sasso

likewise

Joro d'un

Lucifer's feet, is the southern end of a cylindrical passage by which the southern interior and Hell are connected; it is therefore repeated by a
sasso^

in which

Dante

sees

at the northern end, through which similar /oro d'un sasso The Lucifer the upper part of emerges. southern interior is thus an exact counterpart of the interior of Hell and, accordingly, a geographical symbol of the mother. From the mother region of Hell, therefore, Dante is
as SPERMA,

the agency of the father figures of Lucifer and Virgil, into the mother region of the southern interior; and in his brief passage through the southern interior Dante be supposed be transformed successively, by the to must to feto process of gestation, from sperma and from feto by
once
more

ejected,

to

omo,

continue the ascent by an act of incest, Dante

the reborn man to God. Having


emerges

who

prepared to entered the gate of Hell from the pertugio tondo^

is now

the counterpart of the gate of Hell as a symbol of the vulva, by the act of birth, which is here, for Dante, rebirth.
It is evident from the foregoing interpretation of the two interiors of the earth that the earth, as Dante describes it, is to be considered as two mothers^ or as a dual mother. This

242

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

symbolism of the interior of the earth as two mothers, or as a dual mother, is repeated by Dante in his description of the of the earth, which he divides as land in the northern surface hemisphere and water in the southern hemisphere, both land and
water

mother. the conception of the have already referred

being symbols, and The dual motherhood


two
as

contrasting symbols, of the of the earth corresponds to mothers, good and evil,to which I

existing in myths of rebirth. Dante's symbolism of the dual character of the earth as mother is derived in the first place, I believe, from the Pythagorean

doctrine of two earths^ the earth and the counter earth, Antictona, which Dante in a highly discusses and rejects in interpreConvivio, fF.For my tation iii. 29 the way 5, significant symbolism of the surface of the earth as a dual mother, see pp. 267-75. The cylindrical hole in the rock in which Lucifer stands at the center of the earth opens into each of the interiors symbolizing the they possess in It corresponds,
two
common

of Dante's

not to

female body, but is received by one

mothers; it is,therefore, the organ which and by which they are connected. in the to any physical conformation the function whereby the sperma which

aspect of the mother is transformed and delivered by the other aspect of the mother. In the passage of the son from one mother to the other through this opening there is signified the death of the son in he leaves at the moment the mother whom of his birth in the mother whom
terms,

he

enters.

Death

and

birth

are

and the ambivalence of these highest importance in the symbolism the of the Divina Dante develops this ambivalence Commedia. throughout his poem with the greatest precision. The eternal existence of is a seriesof deaths which are deaths in one mother and man births in the other; existence thus alternates between the two

two

thus mous synonyis of states

is described in the passage just exactly as the sun referred to in the Convivio as alternating between the two mother cities,Maria and Lucia, which Dante, in discussing doctrine of the earth and the counter the Pythagorean earth, imagines to be situated at the two poles of the earth. These mothers

THE

SEAL

243

mothers successive existences of the individual in the two he alternates is an expression by Dante of the between whom "wheel of birth;" and it is Pythagorean or metempsychosis,
in this sense that Dante's successive Hell, Purgatory, Paradise to are and existences in Earth, be understood. This

tions succession of existences is analogous to the successive revoluis forever alternately above the earth of the sun, which and below the earth, and forever alternating, in the summer
and winter solstices,between the earth. the north and the south poles of

PURGATORY

of Hell as the mother is repeated in his symbolism as the mother. With the difference of Purgatory symbolism that Hell is situated in the interior of the earth and Purgatory tory on the surface of the earth, the female physiology of Purgais strictly parallel
Dante's Purgatory

Dante's

the female physiology of Hell. is a mountain island. As on an


to

an

island. Purgatory

is thus related to the classical conception of the abode of the dead in the Blessed Isles. The Blessed in the west; they are a Isles were supposed to lie somewhere myth, representing the spot where the sinking sun enters the earth in the evening in order to be reborn the following morning. The island is thus the symbol of the female organ by which the incestuous son, in the sun the body of the mother. myths, enters
sun

development

of the

As

mountain,
were

Purgatory

is related

to

the

common

con-

ception

of sacred mountains where the gods and the spirits dwell. Such mountains to appear in the of supposed Venusberg, in which classical Olympus and the Teutonic is manifest in the fact that especially the mother symbolism is the dwelling place of the mother goddess. the mountain The mountain is, indeed, one symbols of of the preeminent
men

between the analogy and mother mountain is found be in to the Mons which underlies this symbolism Veneris, the breast, and the swelling of pregnancy. The

motherhood;

244

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

birthplace is developed with as a mountain by Dante himself in his reference to the InJ. xiv. And as the mother of Christ, the in early constantly likened to a mountain
ture.*

curious elaboration birth of Jupiter, is Virgin Mary Christian liter-

Compare

in Purg. xxii. 104-105, the words:


del
monte
seco.

Che

sempre

ha le nutrici

nostre

is another indication of the mother symbolism of in the shape which he gives it.Purgatory Dante's Purgatory is a truncated cone of exactly like the Tower with terraces, Tower is Babel Babel. The mother symbolism not, of of the is manifest, recognized; this symbolism perhaps, commonly There
intended to be the in the fact that the Tower was from Earth to by which the builders were to ascend means for Dante is the efficientmeans Heaven, exactly as Purgatory is the equivalent from Earth to Heaven The ascent of ascent. of rebirth; and as the instrument of rebirth. Purgatory, like the Tower of Babel which it resembles in shape, is the symbol of the mother. This interpretation of the mother symbolism however,

in the of the Tower of Babel is confirmed by the comparison Shulamite, commonly Song accepted as a of Songs, of the and of the church, to a tower, symbol of the Virgin Mary as a symbol use of the Virgin of the tower and by the constant in medieval Christian literature. The mother symbolism in Tower Babel or tower, particular, is of the of of the obvious phallic of its more apt to be disregarded on account like so many But its based on phallic shape. symbolism, is ambivalent; it symbolizes in a single symbols, the tower
Mary

both the means and the being who of rebirth, as uterus, is to be reborn, as phallus. had the mother symbolism That Dante of the Tower of Babel in mind appears from the cryptograms contained in the builder of the the passage in which he describes Nimrod, Tower a cry utters of Babel. At the sight of Dante Nimrod
image
Mountain Mountains, *See Hirn: The Sacred Shrine; also the articles on Ethics. Religion Encyc. Mother in Hastings: Gods, and Mountain and of

THE

SEAL

24s
commentators
as

which

regarded gibberish, Inf.xxxi. 67:


Rafel mai amech

is commonly

by

the

pure

izabi* almi.

words are a prayer; the proof that they are a prayer is to be found both in their meaning as a cryptogram and in the acrostic on the passage in which they appear. Let me four terzine show first the acrostic on the first lines of the

These

beginning

with the line in question,

InJ.xxxi. 67-78:
67

izabi almi,' 'Rafel mai amech Comincio a gridar la fiera bocca, Cui non piti dolci salmi. si convenian E il Duca sciocca, mio ver lui: 'Anima disfoga, Tienti col corno, e con ti quel ira tocca. o Quand' altra passion ti Cercati al collo, e troverai la soga Che il tien legato, o anima confusa, E vedi lui che il gran petto ti doga.' 'Egli stesso Poi disse a me: s' accusa; lo Nembrotto, Questie per cui mai coto Pure un linguaggio nel mondo s' usa. non

70

73

76

the following marginal these terzine:

Consider

letters of the firstlines of

67 70

R
E

73 76

CE
p

Read:

prece

In view of this suggestion that the words: Rajelmai amech be surprising that they izabi almi, are a prayer, it may not the name the yield, as a cryptogram, of the person to whom is initials Consider the prayer addressed. of these words:
*Moore the reading izabi of Toynbee, reads: zabi. I have adopted Polacco, and others. The syllable i is necessary for the scansion. Casini,

'

246

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

R M A

I
A

Read:
The

maria

acrostic is an invocation of the divine mother. The prayer itself appears in the initial and contiguous letters of the words of the "gibberish" line, as follows:

Read:

mira

me

prayer, addressed to Maria, is that she should have regard for the suppliant. Since the words of this line are a pure invention of Dante, freedom in turning them to they permit him complete

The

cryptographic purposes. This freedom in the formation of the for the superficial nonsense words themselves accounts of the words and for the profound and diversified cryptographic use of them. For we have not yet exhausted the cryptographic significance of this line. Consider in the words of the line the

following telestic and contiguous

letters:

Read:

chiami

mia

bella

the very words which yield as an acrostic the name of in divine Maria, the the telestic reading the mother, yield Dante. It is if Dante, when he name as of the mother of in the acrostic, explained to heard Nimrod calling maria

Thus

THE

SEAL

247

in the telestic that the maria he is calling whom is the same Thus Maria and Bella are expressly bella. as identified.Presented as they are together in two cryptograms in contained in the same words, they represent the

Nimrod

mother

her dual character. This identification of Maria and Bella form of the mother will be as the divine and the human developed in the next chapter.
in punishment as act, of the impiety of Nimrod's builder of the Tower of Babel, by which he strove to ascend into Heaven, that
was

It

Pure

un

linguaggio nel mondo

non

s'usa.

This reference to the fact that only one language is not used in the world may be taken as a hint of the use of cryptography.
of the Tower of Babel is fundamentally incest symbolism. To ascend into Heaven is to enter the It is to the symbol of the mother. appropriate, therefore, Nimrod that his prayer is addressed to the character of symbolism divine mother for him.
Maria and that he beseeches her
to

The

have regard

analogies which Purgatory are confirmed establishes


structure

The

between

suggest the mother of symbolism by the precise parallel which Dante the structure of Purgatory and the

of the female body. At the beginning oi Purgatorio Dante is to be considered as having justbeen reborn from Hell, exactly as at the beginning of Infernohe is to be considered having been tween born The as on just parallel beearth.
terms

of Hell and the structure be shown as of the female body may the
structure
sea, mar

of Purgatory follows:

in

The

referred to as crudele, Purg. i.3. The the reeds giunchi, fringe the shore, Purg.
The

si

Amniotic
del
cor,

fluid. Cf. lago

Inf.i. 20.
hair.

which i. 102.

Pubic
oscura.

Cf.

selva

Inf.i. 2.

Mons Veneris. Cf. /'/ dipiu lieve salita of the mounlettoso monte^ Inf.i.77. tain, Purg. \. 108, which Dante isdirected to ascend and which he begins to ascend in P^rg-. iii.

248

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

The

which Dante passes at the foot of the from into Purgatory mountain
narrow

narrow

calla through

Vulva.

Cf. gate InJ.iii.

of Hell,

the shore, Purg. iv. 22. The from ascent the Valley opening to the Princes, Purg. vii.

Entrance the
gate

of the

of vagina. passage from

Cf.
the

the of Hell to InJ. iii. nobile castello., iv. vii. Clitoris. Cf. Vagina.
nobile Inf.iv. 108.
castello^

Valley of the Princes, Purg.


Ascent

from
to

the Valley

Princes

the gate proper, Purg. vii-ix.

of the atory of Purg-

Cf. descent from

the nobile castelloto the gate of the city of Dis,

Inf.v-vii.
Gate
to

Purgatory

proper, Purg.

Cervix.

ix. 76. Purgatory

city proper, Purg. x-xxvii.


Uterus.

Cf. gate Dis of

to

the

(Hell

Inf. viii. proper).


Cf. city of Dis, Inf.ix-xxxiv.

significance of these parallels, as pointing to the The is unmistakable. mother of Purgatory, symbolism be stream symbolism which we found in Hell, and which must

The

considered not only as seminal and lacteal but also as urinary by Lethe and Eunoe. and fecal, is represented in Purgatory This

confusion of the seminal stream with the lacteal, the urinary, and the fecal appears not only in primitive myth but fantasies, as in dreams. The four-fold also in unconscious
aspect
account

of the stream symbolism Garden of the of Eden,

appears in the Biblical from which four streams

flowed.
on the shore of after the rebirth of Dante Purgatory Virgil washes the face of Dante; this washing is child, analogous, indeed, to the washing of the new-born and especially analogous to the rite of baptism as a symbolic

Immediately

imitation of birth. Before Dante reaches

the

entrance

to

Purgatory,

the

THE

SEAL

249

he which, as I said, symbolizes the vulva and which by a sexual act, there is suggested the erection as enters in the reference to the stem of the which we saw symbolism flowers. Inf.ii.129, before his approach to the gate of Hell. This suggestion appears in these lines,Purg. iii. 12-15:
entrance

La mente mia che prima era ristretta, Lo intento rallargo, si come vaga, E diedi il viso mio incontro al poggio, Che inverso il ciel piu alto si dislaga.

This description of his mind parallels the description of his drooping courage, in the passage in InJ.ii, which became like the flowers erect on their stem. is described, Purg. itself into Purgatory The entrance iv. 19-21, in terms which suggest its symbolism:
Maggiore aperta molte volte impruna di sue spine forcatella Con una Tuva imbruna. della villa, quando L'uom

impruna with his allusion to an opening which a man Consider spine is obviously capable of a double meaning. the following marginal letters of this terzina:
The

Read:
This

colma

reference to of the sexual

climax

may

be understood

as

symbolical

act.

the passage through of Dante's coitus symbolism calla is expressed by le piume del gran disio which the ascent through the passage requires and also by the following lines, Purg. iv. 31-33: The
il sasso Noi salivam* per entro rotto lo E d' ogni lato ne stringea stremo, il E piedi e man volvea suol di sotto.

The
*Moore

pressing of the walls of the opening


reads: salavam,
an

upon

the body

obvious

misprint.

250

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

passing through it and the attitude of the hands and feet indicate the sexual character of the act. The phallic symbolism in the passage is further indicated by the acrostic on ing the three lines of the terzina in question. Consider the followmarginal
31 32

letters
N E E p

on

these lines:

33

Read:
Dante

pene

is the

pene

in the

sex

symbolism

of passing through

the opening of the mother-mountain. The female symbolism of the Valley of the Princes appears in the allusion to it as ^. grembo, Purg. vii.68, a word that is repeated in describing the guardian angels as coming from the Purg. viii.37; in the hymn to the Virgin grembo di Maria, Mary, Purg. vii.line 82; in the entrance of the serpent, Purg.
the serpent, which is likened to the viii.98, into the grembo serpent that tempted Eve, being certainly phallic; and in the pleasant sleep in t}s\^ grembo. The symbolism of the Valley of
"

in the Valley of the Princes is expressed in the dream which he had there. In this dream, which is described in Purg. ix, Dante to be seemed

the Princes is developed with which I have no time to go. The character of Dante's

an

abundance

of detail into

sojourn

carried away by an eagle up to the fire.That this eagle is a incest is suggested by the symbol of the mother with whom fire to which she carries him, should be evident from the mother symbolism which I have already shown in the eagle in Par. xviii and following (seepp. 201-1 1). The eagle in the passages in Paradiso appears indeed as a composite symbol
is of the family triad. In the present instance its symbolism determined by the act of carrying the child. as maternal Dante's allusion to the "mother," Purg. ix. 37, immediately wakening, proves that he intends the mother symbolism in the dream. The coitus symbolism of Dante's passage through the gate to Purgatory proper is indicated by the convulsive moveon

THE

SEAL

251

he passes immediately the rock through which beyond the gate, Purg. x. 7-9, and in the allusion to the moon on account of its waxing regaining itsbed, line 15. The moon,
ment

of

and waning the mother again I am

symbols of But here and medieval symbolism. bolism obliged to forego developing in detail the symit. Dante's passage through of the gate and of I wish, however, as more particularly pertaining to the to call attention to cryptography of the Divina Commedia^ in ancient the
seven p's

as

in pregnancy,

is one

of the supreme

which the angel cuts on the forehead of Dante posed and directs him to wash off. The letter p is generally supfor sin: peccato; and the to stand for the Italian word p's to stand, thus, for the seven seven so-called mortal sins. I am convinced that this explanation of the seven p's, correct though it may be for the mere manifest meaning, does not go of the poem, I suggest the phallic symbol which letter be. The it was p is the to recognized shape of the Greek letter for r, which appears in variations of the so-called crux
ansata:

the root of Dante's symbolism. Considering the sex symbolism Dante letter intends p as the that
to

"
is a monogram composed of the first two letters to the Greek spelling: of Christ according of the name is But the symbolism XPISTOS, of the forms in this cross indeed, was much older than the date of Christ. This cross,

This

cross

here, the Greek letter phallic shape; it is also the shape of a key; and the phallus as the key which opens the female door is an ancient and wide-spread conception. That
firstassociated with Osiris. The for R, is not only the complete
p, or, as

Dante

here intends the

to

represent

key

is indicated by

keys immediately to the reference which the angel makes after he has cut the p's on Dante's forehead. The use of the p suggests here, therefore, by virtue of its a monogram as ansata appearing in the crux of Christ, the

252

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Christlike character of Dante's journey; and by its being a here also the symbol of the phallus as key, the p suggests sexual character of this journey. The seven p's as acts of creation, phallus suggest the seven days of creation and symbolized which are recorded in the seven branched candlestick. The words in the phallic seven
with which of the seven 113-114:
to wash the angel directs Dante have a double meaning. He p's

the "wounds" says, Purg. ix.

Quando
In the double

Fa che lavi, dentro, queste piaghe. sei

of these words, there is a reference is to perform when he is to the sexual act which Dante dentro^ the sexual act, seven times repeated, as in the creation himself. he is to recreate of the world, whereby Purgatory Having or proper, penetrated into the womb, from Dante Purgatorial the womb passes mother, of of the Terrestrial into the womb Paradise. His Purgatory of the is accomfrom to thus symbolized plished passage womb womb
meaning progress through a wall of fire,Purg. of a stairway from the top step of which xxvii, and the ascent the Terrestrial Paradise opens out. The progress through the wall of fire and the ascent of the from the stairway symbolize the passage of Dante as sperma

by

an

arduous

Purgatorial mother into the motherlike Terrestrial Paradise. This passage is exactly analogous to his passage via Lucifer
as the southern interior of the earth; and just we saw that Dante was reduced to the condition of sperma before passing from Hell to the southern interior of the earth,

from Hell

to

likewise be considered here, in the uppermost terrace in order to of Purgatory, as having been reduced to sperma to the Terrestrial Paradise. pass from Purgatory The retrogressive character of the ascent of the mountain

he

must

ness of Purgatory, disguised as a progress from the greater sinfulhigher, lower lesser to the of the cornices sinfulness of the has retrogressed in Dante be For as must not just overlooked. he here in Purgatory Hell to the original evil in man, so

THE
to man's

SEAL

253

original sinlessness,as exemplified in the in the Terrestrial Paradise before the fall. condition of Adam is illustrating the general principle Here, as in Hell, Dante which he enunciates in the Convivio that the supreme desire of That this desire may to its source. everything is to return express itselfas incest desire is apparent from the fact that in in the incest desire the child seeks to return to its source
retrogresses

mother. The retrogressive of


man

to the original sinlessness of Purgatory is symbolized, as I have said, by Dante's


ascent

form to the form of sperma, as retrogression from human which he is passed through the fire and up the stairway. His is indicated, as I have already shown in my form as sperma by his being, during the of Statius (pp. 195-200), passage through the fire, between his poetical father Virgil Statius, the proper position of and his poetical mother SPERMA at the moment of conception. The fire and the stairway, both in dreams and conscious symbolism, as commonly is coitus symbolism. Coitus and the act of birth are ambivalent in rebirth symboHsm, since both coitus and birth are a
treatment

passage through the vulva. Dante, He is merely then, is not reborn in Purgatory. dition prepared for rebirth by being reduced to the primitive conin which he is capable of rebirth, and then passed into

the womb of the mother, the Terrestrial Paradise, by whom his rebirth is accomplished. Thus the Terrestrial Paradise, Dante enters by a sexual act in order as the mother in whom to be conceived anew, corresponds to the southern interior of the earth, in which Dante is reconceived after having been

reduced

symbol is the counterpart of Purgatory; Purgatory and the Terrestrial Paradise together are the two mothers, or the dual mother, analogous to the by the northern dual mother of the earth as symbolized interior of the earth, or Hell, and the southern interior of the the Terrestrial Paradise is indeed a mother symbol self-evident from its being the Garden of Eden. The mother
earth. That

the original form Paradise as a mother


to

of

sperma

in Hell. The

restrial Ter-

is
is

254

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

bolized. preeminently the garden, and has been universally so symThe mother symbolism of the Terrestrial Paradise is developed, as I shall show in the next chapter, in the episode of Dante's sleep with Beatrice. In this sleep is signified the her womb as union of Dante and Beatrice, whereby he enters he has entered the womb of the Terrestrial Paradise; and itis in the womb of Beatrice that he is carried to Paradise.

PARADISE is repeated of Hell and Purgatory Paradise. The in the structure of symbolism of Dante's however, Heaven, or the sky, as mother is much more ancient, is Dante. The a than sky womb-like enclosure of all the life beneath it,and this similitude is expressed in the symbolism

The

mother

symbolism

of all peoples in all ages; it is apparent in certain variations myth, where the sky is the mother of the sun. of the sun be forgotten, moreover, It must not that the primitive
rationalized conceptions of the earth and the sky as mother were into a philosophic form in which the universe, or is considered as exactly analogous in structure macrocosm, little universe. body, the microcosm, or to the human
and idea "the Psychology, to which the reader should refer, of in is Aristotelian an the philosophy, analogy present such in by Stoics developed was the connection with their and According
to

Baldwin's

Dictionary

of Philosophy

doctrine oi pneuma, the divine reason, which is also the warm the vital breath that animates and purposively pervades

between the universe and the mind of man underlies all forms of idealism. But preceding this idealistic tinued and conand the microcosm, conception of the macrocosm in in connection with it, there was out the worked the structure of the greatest detail the analogy between
body. This physical of the human of the universe in the correspondence underlies the structure in the phrase, it is expressed by Dante Divina Commedia; universe and

universe." The analogy

the

structure

THE

SEAL
e forma fa simigliante;

255

questa

Che

I'universo

Dio
"

Par. i. 1 04as

05:

and in his reference ii.20.

to

Paradise

the

deijorme regno. Par.

The universe is made in the image of God, exactly as man is made in the image of God, as expressed in Genesis i. 27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God if created he him; male and female created he them." Now
is in the the universe is made in the image of God, and man image of God, it follows that the being universe and man, both in the image of God, must resemble each other. In other be the image of man. words, the universe must Moreover, if the universe is the image of God as the Christian Trinity, it must have a male aspect, as corresponding Father, in its to God it have must the and male aspect
an

father but also to also have ^. female aspect correspondi Holy Ghost, or divine mother. That to God as there is a female aspect of the God described in Genesis is implied in the sentence from Genesis where it is said that God, creating man in his own image, created man male and
aspect corresponding not God as Son. And it must only
to

God

as

female.
The foregoing observations have the strictestpertinence to the structure of Dante's universe, which has a male, or penetrating and conceptual, form corresponding to the father and the son of the divine Trinity; and a female form corresponding Holy to the mother Ghost, of the divine Trinity. or The unity of the Divine Trinity, thus expressed as a family, is expressed by their union in the moment in which the is conceived; it is at this moment, divine son as a biological fact, that father, mother, and son are together and therefore
one.

the idea thus appears to be, from the point of view of ancient and medieval philosophy, that the universe has a female form as well as a male form, it should not be surprising that Dante expresses this female form in the
Rational
as

structure

of his Paradise,

as just

he expresses it in the

struc-

256
ture

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

of Hell and Purgatory, and that he expresses the male form in the symbolism sperma as through the of his journey female form of Paradise.
between the correspondences the examine female body, structure of the of Paradise and the structure correspondences which in turn reveal the parallel between the

Let

us

now

of Hell and of of Paradise and the structure Purgatory. The parallel is clear, but in order to recognize by which the parallel it is necessary to recognize the method in Paradiso is expressed. Beyond the division the symbolism of Paradise into ten regions, it has no specific topography,
structure

and therefore the organi del mondo, to use a suggestive phrase of Dante's, are not materially localized in Paradiso, as they in Inferno and in Purgatorio. The are various regions of Paradise are differentiated by the different kinds of thought of ideas rather expressed in them; it is from the symbolism that the meaning than from topographical symbolism of following The is be inferred. Paradise to parallel columns will to which the structure of Paradise resembles show the extent the structure of Hell of the female body and the structure and Purgatory. Lo
gran i. 113.
mar

delV

essere.

Par.

Amniotic
del
mar cor.

fluid. Cf. lago

and Purg. si crudele, hair.

Inf. i. 20,

Foglie of the alloro, the foliage of the mountain, the laurel on Par. i. 15, 26. ParnasOy
Par. i. 16.

Pubic

Cf.

selva

oscura,InJ.\.i,3.ndt\\Q
giunchiy Purg. i. 102. Mons Veneris, Cf. il dilettoso monte.

Inf.i.77,

and the piiilieve salita, Purg. i. 108. Foce, Par.


\.

44, reinforced

allusion to the passage chos. Par. ii.16, these allusions referring to Dante's entrance

by the to Col-

Vulva.

Cf. gate of Hell, InJ.iii, and the narrow calla, Purg. iv. 22.

into the sphere of the

moon.

THE

SEAL

257

Rivo, Par.

i. 137, together with acque^ Par. iii.11, acqua^ Par. iii. 123, and santo rio^ Par. iv.

Bodily streams, seminal, lacteal, urinary and

115.

fecal.Cf. Acheron, iii.78, and Lethe


Eunoe,
Purg.
1,

Inf.
and

xxviii.

Passage
moon

from
to

the sphere of the cury, the sphere of MerV.

130-13 Entrance the

and elsewhere. of vagina. Cf.

Par.

the nobile castello^ Inf. iii, from iv; and the ascent the
narrow

from passage gate of Hell to

the

opening

to

The peschieray Par.

v.

Valley the the of Princes, Purg. vii. Clitoris. Cf. nobile castelloy Inf. iv; and the Valley

of the Princes,

Passage

cury from the sphere of Merto the sphere of Venus,

the gremboy Purg. vii. Vagina. Cf. descent from


the nobile castelloto the
gate of the city of Dis,

Par. viii.

Inf. v-vii; and the

ascent

from the Valley of the Princes to the gate proper, of Purgatory Entrance
Venus. into

the

sphere

The

conical shadow

of of

Purg. vii-ix. Cervix. Cf. gate city


gate

to

the

of
to

Dis

(Hell

earth which extends first through the three heavens, coming to an apex at

the

proper).Inf. viii; and


Purgatory

proper, Purg.

ix. 76.

the sphere of Venus, reduplicates in its form the hollow cone the solid of Hell and
tory. of the mountain of PurgaThus the shadow of the earth represents the organs already the circle of the named;
cone

258

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

in the sphere of the moon the the represents vulva; from the sphere of the shadow
cone

the sphere of Venus, the vagina; and the apex of the cone, the cervix. The third, fourth, fifth, sixth,
moon

to

Uterus.

and ninth eighth The circles. uterine character beyond the of the heavens shadow gested of the earth is sug-

seventh,

Cf. city of Dis, ix-xxxiv; andPurg/"/.


atory

proper, Purg.

x-

xxvii.

by the allusion. Par. ix,


82,
to

la maggior si spanda.

Vacqua

valle in che For the development

la maggior

of the symbolism of valle,see pp. 267-73.

The passage of Dante through the heavens thus symbolized as the female body is expressed in terms of sexual union and birth. The expression of this union and birth, or rebirth, is
principally in terms of the phallic light, the penetrating power of and of of the sun symbolism Especially clear is this symbolism in the following the sun. lines,describing the actual entrance into the sphere of throughout
Paradiso

the

moon,

Par. ii.34-36:
I'eterna margarita Per entro se Ne recepette, com'acqua recepe Raggio di luce, permanendo unita.

of light into a transparent body is one of the common the Virgin symbols of the sexual union whereby Mary the object conceived her divine child. The light enters its surface; the unruptured rupturing without surface
The
entrance

corresponds, in medieval hymen to the symbolism, of the Virgin, whereby unruptured without losing she received the divine child into her womb the sign of her virginity. The light is phallic, and the object through which it passes is the female.* The entrance of the through

which

the light

enters

*See Hirn,

The

Sacred

Shrine.

THE

SEAL

259

light into

the eternal pearl," as described in the terzina just quoted, recalls the acrostic readings on the opening lines of Par. i. which are: vela pene, on a passage treating of the That the "light" of God, and in una perla (seepp. 29-30). light which enters the pearl in the present passage has the phallic symbolism which I suggest is proved by the acrostic
on

"

the three lines of the terzina:


34
PE NE RAGGIO DI LUCE

35
36

Read:
The and
not

pene:

raggio

di

luce

phallic symbolism of light in the Divina Commedia^ has that Dante especially in Paradiso, is so important
to

the foregoing acrostic to indicate his There are, indeed, several acrostics showing the meaning. same reference to the ray of light as phallic. Following
are

limited himself

the last four lines o( Par.

v:

Per piu letizia si mi si nascose Dentro al suo raggio la figura santa, E cosi chiusa chiusa mi rispose Nel modo il canta. canto seguente che

136

139

Consider
136

the following marginal


PE
D E

letters of these four lines:

137
138

139

NE

Read: Ed
For

pene

ed

is Dante's
Note

signature

the word

it is also a raggio in line 137.

and

copulative

con-

juncti
of

further cryptographic evidence light, see pp. 106-10, 290. The light symbolism of the Divina
developed
as

of the symbolism
Commedia

is further

in such a way that the act of seeing is phallic just the ray of light is phallic. Sight is supposed to penetrate

26o

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

transparent who sees God


a

as object

is the

same

light penetrates it; and Dante as one Dante who unites himself with as

as sexual. The symbolism union symbolized of Medusa becomes in /;z/. ix now clear. As I suggested in at the gate of the city of Dis, speaking of her appearance Medusa is a symbol of the mother identified with the mother
a

God

in

The danger for Dante of seeing her is symbol of Hell itself. is the symbol that the act of sight, as penetrating an object, of sexual union. The sex symbolism of Dante's progress through the female form of Paradise is further developed in Par. i.44, the/cxr^".

in connection with Dante's entrance into which is mentioned Heaven and which I regard as a veiled allusion to the vulva. is the spot through which the sun rises at the vernal The/ord" nunciati equinox, the season assigned to the Creation and the An-

be considered as symbolized by at the moment the sun when it passes through the/or^ as vulva in its union with the divine mother, the sky, and in its rebirth. The phallic character of the sun is further expressed in the description of the sparks which it emits. Par. i.60:
Dante
to

is thus

Qual

ferro che bogliente

esce

del foco.

There is further phallic symbolism to the flight of to Heaven ascent like the arrow v. 91. The arrow,
phallic. The sex

in the likening of Dante's Par. i. 119, Par. arrow. an


in the myth

of Cupid,

is

of the peschiera in the sphere of the symbolism moon appears from the common phallic symbolism of the its fish, which was, on account also phallic symbolism, of as the symbol of Christ accepted in medieval symbolism himself in his regenerating power. The identification of Christ with the fish was expressed in by considering the five letters of early Christian symbolism the Greek word for fish,'IXGTS, as the initialsof five words giving the name and titleof Christ (seepp. 6, 95, 399).

The peschiera^ as

female symbol,

is the place where

the

THE

SEAL

261

fish swims.
in which

by an acrostic the passage has emphasized the peschiera is described, Par. v. 97-1 n :
Dante
se

la Stella si cambio e rise, Qual mi fee' io, che pur di mia natura Trasmutabile son per tutte guise! in peschiera, ch' e tranquilla e pura, Come Traggonsi i pesci a cio che vien di fuori lor pastura; Per modo che lo stimin Si vid' io ben piii di mille splendori Trarsi ver noi, ed in ciascun s' udia: li nostri amori.' 'Ecco chi crescera E si come ciascuno a noi venia, Vedeasi 1' ombra piena di letizia Nel fulgor chiaro che da lei uscia. Pensa, lettor, se quel che qui s' inizia Non procedesse, come tu avresti Di piu sapere angosciosa carizia;

97

100

103

106

109

The

initialsof the firstlines of these five terzine


97
100

are:

c s E
P

103

106
109

Read: The

pesce

lines passage on which this acrostic appears contains, words, already referred to: 98-99, the remarkable
pur

di mia
per
tutte

natura

Trasmutabile

son

guise.
are:

The

lines immediately
E per M' era Si come
te

following this acrostic

da questi vederai, come in disio d' udir lor condizioni. agli occhi mi fur manifesti.

Consider
112

the following marginal


E MERA
s P

letters of these lines:

113
114

Read:

peremas

262

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

This

is

double

following marginal
112

acrostic, as appears by considering letters on the same lines:

the

E ME

113
114

Read:

seme

Paradise of Dante is, of the anthropomorphic I have suggested, to be found in the third, fourth, fifth, as the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth circles of Paradise first between Paradise,through two the circlesof entire region
uterus
"

The

which the shadow of the earth extends, and the spaceless Empyrean. This region corresponds to the City of Dis in Inferno and Purgatory proper in Purgatorio. The determining symbolism of this region is to be found in the ninth canto as the sphere of Venus, just oi Paradiso, where Dante enters is the determining sex symbolism of the City of Dis as uterus mining to be found in the ninth canto and as the deterof Inferno,
sex

proper is to be found in symbolism of Purgatory the ninth canto of Purgatorio. Paralleling the Venus of the uterine region of Paradise is the Proserpine, mother goddess
sex

of the underworld, nine of these cantos


gestation. The ninth

in the uterine region of Hell. The number is in itself significant.Nine is the number associated with the mother, on account of the nine months of o{ Paradiso should be reread with especial love in relation to attention to its curious insistence on illicit the history of the church. Notice the allusion to the harlot Rahab, Par. ix. 116, who in medieval symbolism is considered
canto

the type of the church and so of the divine mother. Notice also that the canto ends on the word adulterioy which recalls the superbo strupo, Inf.vii. 12. In connection with this adidterio notice the acrostic that lines of the canto. Par. ix. 136-142: appears on the last seven
as

A questo intende il papa e i cardinali: Non vanno i lor pensieri a Nazzarette, La dove Gabriello aperse 1' ali.

136

THE
Ma

SEAL

263

Vaticano e V altre parti elette Di Roma, che son state cimiterio Alia milizia che Pietro seguette, Tosto libere fien dell' adulteric'

139

142

Consider
the
two

the last line of the canto and the firstlines of preceding terzine the following marginal letters:
on

136
139
142

A MA TO

Read:
Now

amato.

all the lines of the consider on following marginal letters:

same

passage

the

Read:

sono

qui

l'amato

di

bella.

dante

also the allusion to Feltro^ Par. ix. 52, which we have already seen for the symbolism to be so important of the But the most adulterous mother. remarkable confirmation Venus the of uterine symbolism of the sphere of appears, Par. ix. 82, in the description by Folco of the Mediterranean
as

Notice

La maggior

valle in che I'acqua si spanda.

For the elucidation of the symbolism implied by this line I be developed must refer the reader to pp. 267-73, as it must in connection with the mother symbolism of the earth. From the uterus of the revolving spheres of Paradise Dante passes to the motionless Empyrean, from space to the spaceless, from the material Paradise to the immaterial,

where

all existence is luce intellettual plena d'amore.

264

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the ninth heaven into the Empyrean from the northern is analogous to the passage, in Inferno^ interior of the earth, or Hell, into the southern interior, via
The

passage

from

the FENE of Lucifer. The passage from the material to the immaterial heaven is likewise analogous to the passage, in Purgatorio^ from Purgatory to the Terrestrial Paradise. is the symbol And the Empyrean analogously of the
restrial the southern interior of the earth and the TerParadise are symbols of the mother. And just as the interior mother of the southern symbolism of the earth reduplicates the mother symbolism of Hell, and as the mother

mother,

as

symbolism

reduplicates the Purgatory, so the mother symbolism of mother symbolism of Empyrean the reduplicates the mother symbolism of the nine the Empyrean together with the material heavens. Thus heavens material of the nine spheres represents the divine mother in her dual aspect. of

the

Terrestrial

Paradise

are the principal symbolic features of the Empyrean light The rose. river of river of and the circle of the mystic light in the Empyrean corresponds to the ruscelletto in the

The

southern interior of the earth, and to the mystic rivers, Eunoe and Lethe, in the Terrestrial Paradise. The mother of the river of light appears from the fact that it symbolism
suggests
to

Dante,

Par.

xxx.

82-87,

reference

to

the

mother's

milk:
Non c fantin che si subito rua il latte, se si svegli Col volto verso Molto tardato dall' usanza sua, fee' io, far Come per migliori spegli Ancor degli occhi, chinandomi all'onda Che si deriva perche vi s' immegli.
82

85

corresponds circleof the mystic rose in the Empyrean in interior to the pertugio tondo the southern of the earth. The female symbolism of the rose is obvious, since the rose has been universally used as the symbol of the vulva, Dante intensifies this symbolism by his reference, Par. xxxii. 18, del fior^ to le chiome a suggestion of hair in connection with

The

THE

SEAL

265

the rose that is to be understood female symbolism of the rose. The is further indicated, Par. rose reference to le chiave have already seen, is indication
.
.

only by recognizing the female symbolism of the xxxii. 125-126, by the

di questo

fior; the

key,

as

we

common

is the yellow of the indication of the female is the reference, Par. xxx. symbolism of the rose 105, to its circle as al sol troppo larga cintura. In view of the phallic symbolism of the sun, the symbolism of the cintura of the sun is obvious. In the rose the mother sits Mary, of God, a
rose

of the female 124, to reference, Par. xxx. the yellow in the center of the fecundating pollen. Still another

phallic symbol. Another is the symbolism of the rose the giallo della rosa sempiterna;

presence which quite definitely establishes the symbolism of the rose as maternal. The consummation the consumof the Divina Commedia^ mation Dante's is by the act of sight vision, of which Dante penetrates the mystic rose, sees God, and sees himself in God. It is in this act of sight that Dante is symbolized as returning from his deity being to his divine source, was the whom in this return to God, conceived as a divine Dante he calls, in the motherhood, accomplishes what Convivio, il sommo desiderio di ciascuna cosa, dalla e prima derived. And Natura That is lo ritornare al suo principio. the act of sight by which Dante penetrates the female of the rose is phallic is evident from what has already
dato^ which

symbol been said of the light symbolism of the Divina Commedia. The principio to which Dante by a symbolized thus returns act of sexual union is the divine source of life,the womb of
to the the divine mother. Union with God is thus a return The idea of the existence in the womb is definitely womb. expressed by Dante, Par. xxxii. 68-69, ^"^ ^^^ reference to

Che

n"lla madre

ebber

quel gemelli, I'ira commota.

It is also expressed in the opening lines of the supreme Par. xxxiii.7: to the Virgin Mary,
Nel
ventre tuo

prayer

si raccese

I'amore.

266

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

The incestuous character of the act here described is apparent in the address to her, Par. xxxiii. i, as
Vergine Madre, figlladel
tuo

Figlio.

implications of this phrase are clear. The Virgin Maryis the daughter of God; through God her father she conceived bore her her divine son son; and through and she bore her For a son the cryptoconceived and second time. graphic
device in this passage see pp. 347-8. In Paradise, according to the medieval mystics and also it is always noon. Noon according to the Divina Commedia^ is the hour symbolizing the sun in the sexual act, and the hour of noon as eternal in Paradise thus indicates that the

The

divine father and the divine mother are eternally united in the act of eternally begetting the divine son. The idea that Christ is eternally begotten in Paradise is explicit in Gnostic union of the three, and consequently the unity Trinity, is thus expressed in terms of the of the one biological situation where the three members of the family group are physically united. The sexual character of the act of sight by which Dante is further expressed by Dante in penetrates the mystic rose the closing lines of the poem, his mystic vision: describing the consummation of doctrine. The

Tale era io a quella vista nuova: Veder voleva, come si convenne L' imago al cerchio, e come vi s' indova; Ma da le eran non cio proprie penne, la fu percossa Se non mente che mia Da un fulgore, in che sua voglia venne. Air alta fantasia qui manco possa; Ma gia volgeva il mio disiro e il velle^ Si come e mossa, rota ch' egualmente L* amor il move e Taltre sole che stelle.

136

139

142

145

phallic symbolism of the penetrating power of sight, which is consistently developed throughout I surmise that there is a play on penne^ the Divina Commedia^ line 139, for pene. The whole description of the consum-

Considering

the

THE

SEAL

267

mation

desire in this passage, with t\\tfulgorCy in che sua together with the lack of power and voglia venne, is obviously follow the fulgore, the contentment which

of Dante's

in the metaphor refer here, as of orgasm. Let me confirming this interpretation, to the acrostic, shown earlier, pp. 30-1, on the marginal letters of lines 136, 139, 142, and inside which the acrostic: salma. appears I45: l'amata, in myth The corpse in the grave is constantly symbolized expressed
as

phallus. EARTH

I have already referred, in discussing the symbolism of the sphere of Venus, to Dante's description of the Mediterranean in Par. ix.This description of the Mediteranean, which has be understood been satisfactorily explained, can never only
in
terms

examine to Dante's

of the mother symbolism of the earth. Let us briefly is expressed by Dante. Accordhow this symbolism ing description the Mediterranean extends about 90 degrees, of

90 degrees of the earth's circumference, and is much more course, than the actual extent Norton's
"

note

on

this passage

terranean. of the Medireads as follows:

in Dante's day the In the rude system of geography current Mediterranean held to extend from west to east,* counter to was
over the sun,' from the pillarsof Hercules to Jerusalem, ninety formed its western degrees of longitude. Hence end, which horizon be at sunrise, would the under the zenith at noon." Such a reference to current the rude system of geography
"

in Dante's

is characteristic of the general misunderstanding Dante's indeed, and, of the mystical symbolism, of be supposed Dante Middle Ages. hardly can symbolism of the is not on the to have been ignorant of the fact that Jerusalem day,"

or that the Mediterranean shore of the Mediterranean extends much less than 90 degrees. To understand "the rude therefore, it is necessary to recognize system of geography," that it is based quite consciously by Dante, not on geographica in but a on observations, philosophic symbolism

which

the earth is conceived

as

anthropomorphic.

268

THE
to

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

expresses his conception of show how Dante the earth as a mother image in what he says of the geography of the earth, let us consider briefly the surface of the earth as In order

he describes it.One of his most curious ideas is expressed in is Convivio iii,where he imagines that a city called Maria situated at the North Pole, and that a city called Lucia is situated at the South Pole. The two cities are called, it will
which are definitely associated in the and the sun, with his mother symbolism; padre d'ogni mortal vita^ is described as alternately approaching in from its these cities annual alternations and withdrawing
names

be observed, by works of Dante

and winter. It is impossible within the present limits to elucidate in detail the symbolism of the for however, it our present purposes, polar cities; will suffice

between

summer

in their alternating relations cities, with the sun, symbolize the two aspects of the mother in the earth as a mother image. Thus the surface of the earth, as a mother image, in its relation to the sun, as a father image, or image of the incestuous son who dies in the autumn as an and is reborn in the spring, is represented as being a dual
to

suggest that these

two

have seen that the mother, or two mothers, exactly as we interior of the earth, in relation to Dante's journey through its two divisions. Hell and the southern interior, is represented in
Dante's

Inferno.

symbolism of the surface of the earth as a dual mother is further expressed in his idea that the surface of the The dry earth is equally divided between dry land and water. land, according to this conception, is confined exclusively to is the northern hemisphere; and the southern hemisphere tory, composed, with the single exception of the island of PurgaThe dry land, as the source of wholly of water. in its in as sea, tidal swelling vegetation, and the pregnancy birth, both in its to are the amniotic waters and analogy of that these two mother images are mother images. The reason conceived as being so distinctly separated into the northern is that they may thus be and the southern hemispheres brought into the proper relation with the annual birth and death of the sun, as expressed in the alternating seasons.

THESEAL

269

The

is the symbol of man; it dies in the autumn mains and rein death throughout the winter; it is reborn in the In the the summer. spring and remains in Hfe throughout autumn and in the winter, which correspond to the death of is conceived as in the womb the annual sun, the sun of the mother image of the waters of the southern hemisphere. In
sun

which correspond to the sun, rebirth and new the sun is conceived as in the womb image of the dry land of the of the mother cestuou as northern hemisphere. The eternal lifeof the sun, the inhis own son who accomplishes rebirth, is thus
and

the spring

in the summer, life of the annual

conceived as an eternal cycle of existences which alternate between the wombs of the two mother images, land and As these two both water. mother images, land and water, belong to the earth as a single mother image, they correspond to the dual function of the mother in firstreceiving the child into her womb, as in sexual union, and in then expelling the in birth. The two as child from her womb, mothers represent

functions of motherhood. thus explained several curious details of Dante's geography as belonging to the mother symbolism of the earth in connection with the annual death and rebirth of the sun. But it is not only in its annual course is symthat the sun bolized
the I have
two

being reborn; the same death and rebirth symbolism appears, both in the Divina Commedia in connection with the diurnal and universally in myth, course Just as the sun is supposed to die in the of the sun. autumn and to remain in death throughout the winter, so it is supposed die in the evening and to remain in death to
as

dying

and

as

throughout the night. And in the spring and to remain


it is supposed
to

as just

it is supposed

to

be reborn

life throughout
course

of the sun briefly show, some will now of the remaining curiosities of his geography. In Dante's conception the highest of the earth, Jerusalem, point of the northern hemisphere of land, is situated at its

in lifethroughout the summer, so be reborn in the morning and to remain in use the day. Dante's own of the diurnal for his rebirth symbolism will explain, as I

270

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

and ninety degrees west of Jerusalemare the Gibraltar. Throughout Pillars of Hercules, the modern the ninety degrees between Jerusalem and the Pillars of Hercules
exact

centre;

extends

the Mediterranean,
a

Jerusalem, and therefore is the Mountain Jerusalem,


Purgatory

hundred

thus a common distance of ninety degrees from each, through Hercules.


It thus Purgatory

have

antipodes of and eighty degrees from Jerusalem and of Purgatory. horizon, which passes, at a
exactly the Pillars of

At

the

appears that Jerusalem and the Mountain of like the polar cities,Maria Lucia, in are two and important particulars: they are antipodal to each other and horizon which divides a common they have, in consequence,

further like the are equal parts. They polar cities Maria and Lucia in being both mother images: is supremely the mother city of the Old Testament, Jerusalem the earth into
two

in relation and it has, indeed, the same symbolism is essentially the mother of Christ; and Purgatory must spiritual rebirth. Jerusalem and Purgatory

to

the life image of be considered,

accordingly, by virtue of their inherent mother horizon the whole dividing at their common as symbolism, earth into two equal parts which represent, respectively, the
two

aspects of the mother mother image. Now

in the earth considered

as

single

in noting the parallelism between Maria and Lucia on on the one hand and Jerusalemand Purgatory the other, it must be overlooked that the parallelism is not comnot plete. Lucia Maria are and north and south of each other,
are east whereas Jerusalemand Purgatory and west. It follows, therefore, that the sun, in alternating between Maria and Lucia, travels north and south, as in its annual in alternating between course, Jerusalem and whereas Purgatory it travels west and east, as in its diurnal course. must Jerusalem and Purgatory accordingly be considered as

in relation to the diurnal have seen that Maria and Lucia as we just as mother images in relation to the annual In the light of this mother symbolism mother

images

of the sun, be must considered courso. of the sun.


course

of

Jerusalem and

THE

SEAL

271

and of the hemispheres of which they are tively respecin diurnal to course centres, the the relation of the sun, Dante's geographical allusions to the Mediterranean and to become he is suggesting, in Jerusalem comprehensible;
Purgatory,

that the surface of relation to the diurnal course of the sun, has like a structure the earth the structure of the female body, in the topography structure justas he shows the same of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Jerusalem, as centre the of

the mother symbol of the dry land, represents, like the gate la maggior valle of as of Hell, the vulva. The Mediterranean, the dry land, represents, like the northern interior of the earth, or Hell, the womb of the hemisphere of dry land. The Pillars of Hercules,
to

the

waters

the

narrow

being the exit from the maggior valle of the Purgatorial hemisphere, represent, like passage between Hell and the southern interior
as

the passage of the earth in Inferno^ hemisphere of dry land to the womb
water.

from

the womb of the of the hemisphere of

the organs, thus symbolized, of the surface of the in its diurnal course, from passes westward earth, the sun, The sex symbolism Jerusalem. which I have here suggested

Through

connection with the diurnal course of the is emphasised by the fact that the sun is alluded to parsun ticularl The be as noon at above Jerusalem. reference may found not only in Par. ix. 86, but also in the allusion, Par.

for

Jerusalemin

xxiii.11-12,

to

the zenith above

Jerusalemas
men

Sotto la quale il sol

mostra

la plaga fretta.

as at noon the allusion to the sun above in longest, it be must Jerusalem that position and as tarrying that in the mystical symbolism remembered of the Middle

To

understand

the sun isdirectly above the account of this earth, symbolizes sexual union. It is on in Paradise, where symbolism, indeed, that it is eternal noon
Ages

the

moment

of

noon,

when

is symbolized the blessed condition of union with God terms of the sexual life.In view of the symbolism of noon sexual union,
noon

in
as

above

Jerusalemsuggests Jerusalemas

272

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

of the organ with which the union of the phaUic sun would naturally be made. Immediately after entering the mother earth at her cestuou as Jerusalem, the inthe phallic sun, symbolical centre, his own son rebirth, passes who is to accomplish into has been noted as the maggior valle^ which, westward already, has an extent of ninety degrees. By disregarding the
zero

the symbol

of this number, there appears, as confirming the uterine symbolism nine. But the of the maggior valle, the number further required by the symbolism as ninety degrees are indicating the horizon, or boundary, between the hemisphere sphere. as a of Jerusalem, mother image, and its antipodal hemithe maggior valle the sun passes westward, into Hercules, Pillars sea through the the of of the hemisphere it is thus symbolized as of water; expelled from the one womb and received into the other, exactly like Dante in his
passage from Hell to the southern interior of the earth. From to the Pillars of Hercules the sun passes westward Purgatory, and thence again to the hemisphere of land and From

endless series of rebirths. In connection with the mother symbolism of the surface that of the earth as it is thus developed by Dante, the reason is chosen as the city situated at exactly the center Jerusalem of the hemisphere of dry land and immediately under the is to zenith associate Christ, since he lived and died in his supreme as Jerusalem, with the sun ciation, symbol. This assohowever, is much older than Dante. It shows, indeed, in the Biblical accounts of the crucifixion as occurring at
as the cross occurring at sunset. The symbolism of crucifixion is the same as the symbolism of it signifiesthe union of the divine son the sun at noon; with he divine is his to the mother, through whom accomplish rebirth. His rebirth is identical with his death. This symbolism was widely recognized in medieval mysticism, and is

to

in Jerusalem,

an

noon

and

of his death

on

clearly expressed by Dante himself. In referring to the crucifixion in Par. xi. 2)^-2,2,^ Dante refers at the same time. to
La sposa di colui, ch'ad alte grida Dispose lei col sangue benedetto.

THE

SEAL

273

These

that the crucifixion symbolizes sexual and bride. The bride is the divine union as of bridegroom the divine son unites in his death on the mother with whom cross, a death which symbolizes the incestuous act which is

lines imply

result in his rebirth. The death of Christ at sunset between Christ and the sun is
to

indicates that the parallel in detail; to be carried out

Christ's death, like the setting of the sun, is the passage into the womb of the grave, or of the divine mother, after the act of union with her. Thus the death of Christ, as synchronous diurnal with the dying day, is expressed in terms of the sun's course, justas his rebirth at Easter, in the birthtime of the
The annual course. thus synchronization with the course of the sun which in likewise life Christ in Divina the the appears appears of Commedia, I have as already suggested in Chapter II, in the He descends into Hell in events of Dante's dream journey.
terms

year, is expressed

in

of the

sun's

lifein Purgatory Easter on the evening, he rises to his new morning, and he is in Paradise at noon. Another significant instance of Dante's use of the earth as a Inf.xxxiv. 121mother image appears in his account. in which Hell was 126, of the manner created. According Lucifer, when he was cast out of Heaven, the southern hemisphere, which was originally covered with land. The earth opened out into the abyss of Hell to receive him; and the land of the southern hemisphere, in fear of him, withdrew and left the southern hemisphere, This where he had entered the earth, covered with water. this account, fellto earth on
to

account

of the fall of Lucifer and


a

obviously for which


SPERMA

symbolic
was

he

cast

the creation of Hell is representation of the incestuous act forth as He was out cast of Heaven.

up, the amniotic waters of pregnancy, covered the region where he had entered with the sea. Thus the punishment of Lucifer is a repetition of the sin for which he is punished; he is held

the surface of the earth, as frightened mother, retreated from him, and yet opened in the sexual act, to receive him, and then, as with as
cast

is

forth; and

the*

in the womb

which,

as

the incestuous

son,

he has violated.

274

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

In connection with the mother symboHsm of the earth I detail in the opening wish to refer briefly to a confirmatory Hnes oi Inferno, where Dante says:
del cammin Nel mezzo di Mi ritrovai per una selva
nostra
oscura.

vita

According to Scartazzini, the words Mi ritrovai mean: mi d'essere; accorsi and they are almost invariably translated:
"I found myself." It thus appears in Scartazzini's comment sense and in the various translations that the reiterative which in form is to be not the the actually appears of verb ritrovai be no doubt, considered as intended by Dante. There can however, that in their quite literal sense the words Mi "I found myself again;" and it is in this literal ritrovai mean: be understood. sense that I believe the words must Now as as soon the words Mi ritrovai are understood to

they are written: "I found myself again," the an second line oi Infernoassumes extraordinary significance. For in thus saying: "I found myself again in a dark wood," Dante implies that he has been in the dark wood before.
mean, as

The

implications of the reiterative


Mi

sense
oscura,

of the words:

ritrovai per

una

selva

in considering the Divina Commedia appear at once either as the dream which it purports to be or as a conscious allegory. In dreaming, as Dante here suggests, that he finds himself in

is reproducing a dream experience: the phantasy of being twice very common in the same in dreams that place. This phantasy is so common Freud has classifiedthe dreams in which it appears as the dream the place which, in all dreams of the dejavu. Now that he is the dreamer thus imagines of the deja vu, revisiting has been analyzed by Freud to be the body of
a

wood

where

he has been

before, Dante

has already been as the mother, in whom the dreamer In the opinion of Freud, accordingly, child in her womb. dream of the dejavu is an incest phantasy. In view of that reiterative sense of Mi ritrovai it would thus seem
Divina
Commedia
as

the

the the
the
the the

is

dream
must

selva oscura,

dejavue,

of the deja vu, be understood to symbolize

in which

THE

SEAL

275

mother of the dreamer. This interpretation of the opening lines of Inferno is confirmed, not only by what we have as the already discovered of the symbolism of the selva oscura Dante he but nati and of the mother of represents, whom by in the symbolism also of the entire poem, which Dante
represents himself as returning to the womb his return images to the various mother universe.

of his mother in morphic of his anthropo-

EXAMPLES

OF

PEREMAS

foregoing survey, necessarily brief,of the sex symbolism I Commedia believe, Divina portanc the imconfirms, of the which I attach to per me si va, the thrice repeated the gate of Hell, as an anagram phrase in the inscription over for PEREMAS E SPERMA VI SPEM. VI, and VI ERA
The
si me permutations of the phrase: per anagrammatic have the most VA, profound implications for the meaning of Divina Commedia. itself implies The that the gate the phrase for is Hell the vulva, this phrase describing the gate of of

The

Hell says, in one of its permutations, that vi e sperma. it says that vi era in another of its permutations And sperma SPEM, as thus showing and spem related symbols, have Christ, as we seen, of symbols, of Dante, and of
humanity
And
remove

in general.
vi,

peremas the permutation: from the poem its hidden


a

instructs the reader


as

/o

I will now cryptograms been shown

meaning. few examples of peremas show in the Divina Commedia. Other in earlierchapters.

it appears in have

examples

The

following passage,

InJ. xxv.

13-24, consists of four

terzine :
Per tutti i cerchi dell' inferno oscuri Non superbo, vidi spirto in Dio tanto Non a Tebe giu da' muri. quel che cadde Ei si fuggi, che non parlo piu verbo: Ed io vidi un Centauro pien di rabbia Venir chiamando: 'Ov'e, ov' e 1' acerbo?'
13

16

276

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

n' cred' io che tante abbia, la su Quante bisce egli avea groppa, per labbia. Infin dove comincia nostra Sopra le spalle, dietro dalla coppa, Con r all aperte gli giacea un draco, E quello affoca qualunque s' intoppa.

Maremma

non

19

22

the following marginal these four terzine: Consider

letters of the firstlines of

Read:

peremas

As in Pu?-g. i. 1-13, the initialletters of the


13
16
p e M s

same

lines are:

19
22

Read:

spem

following passage, terzine:


The

Inf. xx.

97-1

11,

consists of five
97

Pero t' assenno, che se tu mai odi Originar la mia terra altrimenti, frodi.' La verita nulla menzogna Ed io: 'Maestro, i tuoi ragionamenti
Mi
son

100

si certi,

prendon

si mia

fede,
103

Che gli altri mi sarian carboni spenti. della gente che procede, Ma dimmi Se tu ne vedi alcun degno di nota; Che solo a cio la mia mente rifiede.' Allor mi disse: 'Quel che dalla gota Porge la barba in sulle spalle brune, Fu, quando Grecia fu di maschi vota Si che appena rimaser per le cune, Augure, il punto Calcanta e diede con
In Aulide
a

106

109

tagliar la prima

fune.

the following marginal the terzine:


Consider

letters of the firstlines of

THE

SEAL

277

Read;

Now lines:

consider the following marginal

letters on

the

same

There
iet
no

hint in line 99: La verita nulla menzogna falsehood defraud the truth."
a

is

frodiy

The

following passage is Inf.xvi. 43-54:


loro in croce, io, che posto son con Jacopo Rusticucci fui: e certo La fiera moglie piu ch' altro mi nuoce.' dal foco coperto, S' io fussi stato Gittato mi sarei tra lor disotto, E credo che il Dottor 1' avria sofFerto. Ma perch' io mi sarei bruciato e cotto, la mia buona voglia, Vinse paura Che di loro abbracciar mi facea ghiotto. Poi cominciai: *Non dispetto, ma doglia La vostra condizion dentro mi fisse

Ed

43

46

49

52

Tanto

che tardi

tutta

si dispoglia,

Consider
43

first the initials of firstlines of the four terzine:


E s M P

46
49

52

Read:

spem

278

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

consider the following marginal lines of the first three terzine:


43 46
E

Now

letters on

the first

s MA PER

49

Read: Notice
bounded

peremas

that the passage begins with Ed io and that it is on the firstand last lines by the following marginal
ED

letters:
43

54

TAN

Read:

dante
an as

There
tanto,

be may lines 53-54,

additional hint in the words mi fissi ifmeaning that Dante fixeshis signature

here.

following passage. terzine:


The

Inf.xviii.34-54,

consists of

seven

Di qua, di la, su per lo sasso tetro ferze, Vidi Demon gran cornuti con di retro. Che li battean crudelmente facean lor levar le berze Ahi come Alle prime percosse! gia,nessuno Le seconde aspettava le terze. ne Mentr' io andava, gli occhi miei in uno Furo scontrati; ed io si tosto dissi: digiuno.' 'Di gia veder costui non son Percio a figurarlo i piedi affissi: E il dolce Duca meco si ristette, Ed assent! ch' alquanto indietro gissi: E quel frustato celar si credette il viso, ma Bassando poco gli valse: Ch' io dissi: 'Tu che 1'occhio a terra gette, false, Se le fazion che porti non son Venedico se' tu Caccianimico; Ma che ti mena a si pungenti Salse?' Ed egli a me: 'Mai volentier lo dico; Ma sforzami la tua chiara favella, Che mi fa sovvenir del mondo antico.

34

37

40

43

46

49

52

THE

SEAL

279

Consider
the terzine:
34

the following marginal

letters on

the firstlines of

DI
A MENTR P

QUA

37
40

43 46
49

E S E

52

Read:

peremas

qui

dante

Notice that the passage begins with the words di qua^ and by the initialsof the first and that the passage is bounded the last terzine: de, and that the firstline of the last terzina begins with ed. Those who regard Dante as too serious to descend to verbal in line has long been note tricks will that salse 51 recognized
the proper name of the ravine where the bodies thrown and the word for "pickle." of criminals were
as
a

pun

on

The

following passage is Par. xxiii.13-24:


io sospesa Si che veggendola e vaga, Fecimi qual e quei, che disiando Ma
s' appaga. sperando tra uno poco ed altro quando, Del mio attender, dico, e del vedere Lo ciel venir piu e piu rischiarando: E Beatrice disse: 'Ecco le schiere Del trionfo di Cristo, e tutto il frutto Ricolto del girar di queste spere.' Pareami che il suo viso ardesse tutto, E gli occhi avea di letizia si pieni,

13

Altro

vorna,

fu

16

19

22

Che

passar

mi convien

senza

costrutto.

Consider
13 16
19
22

first the initialsof the firstlines of the terzine:


s M E P

Read:

spem

28o

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Now

consider the following marginal

letters on

these four

lines:

16 19
2 2

M E

PARE

Read:

peremas

Notice that if e, the fourth letter of line 22, is omitted marginal letters read: sperma.
The

the

following passage, Purg. xxxiii.67-90, consists of eight terzine:


fossero acqua d' Elsa stati non Li pensier vani intorno alia tua mente, E il placer loro un Piramo alia gelsa, Per tante circostanze solamente La giustizia di Dio nello interdetto Conosceresti all'arbor moralmente. Ma perch' io veggio te nello intelletto Fatto di pietra, ed, impietrato, tinto Si che t' abbaglia il lume del mio detto, Voglio anco, e se non scritto, almen dipinto, Che il te ne porti dentro a te, per quello Che si reca ilbordon di palma cinto.' Ed io: 'Si come da suggello, cera Che la figura impressa non trasmuta, Segnato e or da voi Io mio cervello. Ma perche tanto sopra mia veduta Vostra parola disiata vola, Che piu la perde quanto piu s' aiuta?' 'Perche conoschi,' disse, 'quella scuola Ch' hai seguitata, e veggi sua dottrina Come puo segiiitar la mia parola; E veggi vostra via dalla divina Distar cotanto, quanto si discorda Da terra il ciel che piu alto festina.' E
se

67

70

73

76

79

82

85

88

Consider the terzine:

the following marginal letters on

the firstlines of

281

in this passage which extraordinary symmetry appears from the fact that the marginal letters of the first three terzine spell: perema, and the marginal letters of the Read firston the marginal last three terzine spell: perema. There
is an letters of the first lines of the terzine, 67-79: peremas vi letters ED 10. Now read on the marginal of the firstlines of These two vi ed 10. the terzine, 79-88: peremas readings key on the marginal letters of line 79. Ed 10 is, of course,

signature. This passage follows the enigma forie and the allusion to are the Sphinx. There several distinct references in the that his passage to a hidden meaning. Beatrice tells Dante that the light of her speech in the terzina preceding the passage dazzles him. Moreover, quoted, she says, line 64, dorme lo ingegno tuo, with the implication that on is account of his sleeping wits Dante the hidden meaning unable to understand of her words.
intellect \s
di pietra^ and fatto

Dante's

ation expressions in the passage under considerin which I find a direct reference to the cryptographic device which the passage contains. The firstis the command of Beatrice that Dante bear in mind her words, which he is
are

There

two

unable

to

understand:
per

Che

si reca

il bordon

di palma

quelle cinto.

The

bordon has a double meaning; it means, first, word In obedience "pilgrim's staff," and it means also "margin." Dante carries away to this command the words of Beatrice, as recorded in the text, with the margin di palma cinto
"

282

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

wreathed,
The

that is, with acrostic.

the

curves

of the curiously symmetrical

second expression in the text in which I find a distinct allusion to the cryptographic device is the reply of Dante to the command of Beatrice; he replies that his brain is now stamped with her
Che da suggello, Si come cera la figura impressa non trasmuta.

Now

this impression of a figure stamped on Dante's brain is lines 79-88, which repeats the on symbolized by the peremas lines 67-79. Moreover, PEREMAS on this peremas, since it is
come cera

da suggello^ reverses
as

without,

rethe text versal imprint is form in its figure accurately of the of the letters perema paralleled by the which appear respectively lines 67-73 ^^"^ Xw^^^ 82-88. The figure firstappears thus: on

the form of the firstperemas, it. This suggests, "transmuting"

67 70 73

e per ma

The

cryptographic "impression" of this figure, which necessarily be reversed, appears thus:


82
ma

must

85
88

per
e

this cryptographic that the passage in which by initial is is found bounded e the of the firstline, complex 67, and the initiald of the last line, 90. Notice The
suggello here
sigillo

suggests the

with the seal-like acrostic peremas in connection with per me si va

(see

pp.

224-5).
Par. vii. 1-27, consists of nine

following passage. terzine:


Osanna
sanctus

The

Deus

Sabaoth,

Superillustrans claritate tua Felices ignes horum malachoth!

THE

SEAL

283 4

Cosi, volgendosi alia nota sua, Fu viso a me essa cantare sustanza, Sopra la qual doppio lume s' addua: danza, Ed essa a sua e 1' altre mossero

E quasi velocissime faville, Mi si velar di subita distanza. lo dubitava, e dicea: 'Dille, dille,' 10 Era me, 'dille,'diceva, 'alia mia donna le dolci stille'; Che mi disseta con Ma die s' indonna 13 quella riverenza Di tutto BE ICE, e me, per pur per Mi richinava come l' uom ch' assonna. Beatrice, Poco sofFerse me 16 cotal d' un riso E comincio, raggiandomi Felice: Tal, che nel foco faria l' uom 'Secondo mio infallibile avviso, 19 Come giusta vendetta giustamente Vengiata fosse, t' ha in pensier miso; Ma io ti solvere tosto la mente: 22 E tu ascolta, che le mie parole Di gran sentenza ti faran presente. Per non 25 soffrire alia virtii che vuole Freno a suo non uom nacque, che prode, quell' Dannando danno tutta sua se, prole;

Consider

the following marginal

letters on

the firstlines of

the terzine:

The
PEREMAS. Ecco

letters on the marginal The marginal letters on


QUI
POEMA. ECCO

The
QUI
POEMA.

last three terzine spell the firstsix terzine spell complete reading, therefore, is

PEREMAS.

284

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Consider the following marginal lettersof the sixth terzina:


1

PC
E

17
18

TA

Read:
This

poeta

entire passage is meaning. In lines 10 and

intricacy of suggestive double 11 dille is thrice repeated. For the development this play on of the important cryptographic in Beatrice, name see word connection with the of pp. 350-1.
an

following passage. Par. xiv. 133-139, consists of the last seven lines of the canto:
Ma
chi s' avvede che i vivi suggelli D' ogni bellezza piu fanno piu suso, li rivolto a E ch' io non era m' quelli, Escusar puommi di quel ch' io m' accuso Per escusarmi, e vedermi dir vero: Che il piacer santo non e qui dischiuso, Perche si fa, montando, piu sincero.
133

The

136

139

Consider the
canto

the following marginal letters of the last line of and of the firstlines of the two preceding terzine:

Read; In Purg. xxxi. 98, is the Latin phrase: Asperges me. Like in Chapter other Latin phrases which we shall examine IX, these two Consider the words contain a cryptogram. following initialand contiguous letters:

Read:
These bathing
words occur by of Dante in the passage which describes the Matelda. For an explanation of the of this bathing see page 364.

symbolism

THE

SEAL

285

The

following passage, Par. xxiii.55-66, consists of four

terzine:
Se
quelle lingue le suore fero Che Polinnia con Del latte lor dolcissimo piu pingue, Per aiutarmi, al millesmo del vero il santo Non si verria, cantando riso, facea mero. il santo E quanto aspetto E cosi, figurando il Paradiso, Convien saltar lo sacrato poema,
mo sonasser

tutte

55

58

61

Come
Ma

chi

trova

chi pensasse E r omero mortal Nol biasmerebbe,

cammin il ponderoso che


se
se

suo

reciso.
tema,
carca,

64
trema.

ne
esso

sott'

Consider the following marginal lettersof the firstlines of the terzine:

Read: The

peremas

acrostic
55 58
61
64

on

is: the initials

s P E
M

Read:

spem

Consider
terzina:
58

the

following marginal

letters of the

second

PE
N E

59
60

Read:

pene

Consider the following marginal lettersof the third terzina:

286

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

6i 62 63

E c

CO

Read:

ecco

Consider terzina:
64

the
M
E

following

marginal

letters of the

fourth

65
66

NO

Read: The

nome

following passage, terzine:

Par.

xiii. 64-81,

consists of six

intendo E queste contingenze essere Le cose generate, che produce il ciel movendo. Con seme, e senza seme la duce, di costoro, La cera e chi il segno Non sta d' un modo, e pero sotto Tdeale poi piu e men traluce: legno, Ond' egli avvien ch' un medesimo Secondo specie, meglio e peggio frutta; diverso ingegno. E voi nascete con dedutta, Se fosse a punto la cera E fosse il cielo in sua virtu suprema, La luce del suggel parrebbe tutta; la da sempre Ma la natura scema, Similemente operando all' artista, Ch' ha r abito dell' arte, e man che trema. la chiara vista Pero se il caldo amor Delia prima virtu dispone e segna, Tutta la perfezion quivi s' acquista.

64

67

70

73

76

79

The
are:

initialletters of the firstlines of the first four terzine


64
E
L

67 70

O
s

73

Read:

sole

THE

SEAL

287

Consider the following marginal the last three terzine:

letters of the firstlines of

Read: The Notice


PEREMAS PEREMAS

key on the initials and the sole of line 73. letters of the lines in which that the marginal is found also spell spem sperma. or
to

Analogous
sperma,

the

use

of
sex

peremas,

as

to

express the

media^ there sometimes

occur,

symbolism in cryptographic fecundation, such

anagram of the Divina


as pene,

an

for

Corn-

form, words
and already

expressing copulation
sole
as
a

and

Several examples have symbol of pene. been shown. Other examples follow. Following are the firstfive terzine oi Inf.x:
Ora sen va per un secreto Tra il muro della terra
calle li martiri Lo mio Maestro, ed io dopo le spalle. *0 virtu somma, che per gli enipi giri 'com' Mi volvi,' a te cominciai, piace Parlami, e a' satisfammi miei desiri. La gente che per li sepolcri giace Potrebbesi veder? gia son levati Tutti i coperchi, e nessun guardia face.' Ed egli a me: 'Tutti saran serrati, Quando di JosafFat qui torneranno Coi corpi che lassu hanno lasciati. Suo cimitero da questa parte hanno Con Epicuro tutti i suoi seguaci, Che r anima col corpo fanno. morta
e

10

13

The

initials of the firstlines of these terzine


I

are:

o
o
L E

4 7
10

13

S sole

Read:

288

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

firstfour initialsalso read o leo. There may be a hint in secreto calle^ line i. Sole and leo may echo, as symbols, the sense of 0 virtu somma^ addressed to Virgil.

The

the following marginal firstterzina:


Consider
1 2

letters of the lines of the

o
T

LO

Read:

loto

Loto is used, like the English "clay," to designate mankind. The same word is found in the firstlines of /"/.ii,see p. 42.

following passage, terzine:


The

Inj. x.

ii-i^i^^

consists of four

*0 Tosco, che per la citta del foco


Vivo ten vai cosi parlando onesto, in questo loco. Piacciati di restare La tua loquela ti fa manifesto Di quella nobil patria natio, Alia qual forse io fui troppo molesto.'

22

25

Subitamente suono questo uscio D' una deir arche: pero m' accostai, Temendo, un poco piu al duca mio. Ed ei mi disse: 'Volgiti: che fai? Vedi la Farinata che s' e dritto: Dalla cintola in su tutto il vedrai.'

28

31

The

lettersof the first lines of these four terzine initial


22

are:

o
L s

25
28

Read:

sole

begins with Notice that the passage with the acrostic sole the words 0 Tosco^ addressed to Dante. Dante thus identifies himself with the sun, as a symbol of his power to penetrate is the womb. the city of Hell, which, as we have seen,

THE

SEAL

289

following passage, Inj. xxiv. 43-54, consists of four terzine: The


La lena
del polmon si munta io non su, Quando potea piijoltre, ch' Anzi mi assisi nella prima giunta. *Omai convien che tu cosi ti spoltre,' Disse il Maestro, 'che sedendo in piuma In fama non coltre, si vien, ne sotto la Senza vita consuma, qual chi sua Cotal vestigio in terra di se lascia, la schiuma: in aer ed in acqua Qual fummo E pero leva su, vinci 1' ambascia Con r animo che vince ogni battaglia, s' Se col suo grave corpo non accascia.
m'

era

43

fui

46

49

52

The

initialletters of the firstlines of the terzine


43 46 49
L

are:

o
s

52

Read:

sole

The
one

following passage,

Par.

xxxiii. 124-126,

consists of

terzina:
O luce eterna, che sola in te sidi, Sola t' intendi, e da te intelletta Ed intendente te, ami ed arridi!

Consider
terzina:
124

the following marginal


o
s
E L

letters of the lines of this

125
126

Read:

sole SOLE

of the text: 0 luce coincides with the sense The firstword of the last line,Ed, suggests a cryptic eterna. For the extraordinary identification of Dante with sole. in the passage that includes these complex of cryptograms lines see Chapter III, pp. 106-11. This

290

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
xv.

OF

DANTE

following passage, Purg. terzine:


Lo

The

18-129, consists of four


118

Duca mio, che mi potea vedere Far si com' uom si slega, che dal sonno Disse: 'Che hai, che non ti puoi tenere? lega Ma se' venuto mezza piu che Velando gli occhi, e con le gambe avvolte A guisa di cui vino o sonno piega?' 'O dolce Padre mio, se tu m' ascolte, lo ti diro,' diss' io, 'cio che mi apparve Quando le gambe mi furon si tolte,' Ed ei: 'Se tu avessi cento larve Sopra la faccia, non mi sarien chiuse Le tue parve. quantunque cogitazion,

121

124

127

Consider

the following marginal

letterson

lines of the first

the terzine:
118
121

LO
M

124

O ED ed same

127

Read: Now

l'omo

consider the initials of the


118
121

hnes:

L
M

124

O
E

127

Read:
Lome^

lome

form oi lume^ is used by Dante, InJ. x. 69. Thus by the cryptographic device of a double acrostic on the same lines, Dante, as "the man," associates himself with light as the symbol of the male power. Consonant with the acrostic
as
a

the words: vedere^ 118, and, line 122, velando gli occhi. Notice also, as hinting at a cryptographic concealment,
LOME
are

larve sopra la faccia^ lines 127-128. For the one other use oi larve in the Divina Commedia^ and the cryptogram which appears in the passage. Par. xxx. 91-99, see p. 138. Confirming the acrostic lome as the symbol of the pene-

the words:

THE

SEAL

291

is the acrostic on ed trating power of l'omo the last terzina of the passage. Consider following marginal letters:

the three lines of on these lines the

Read: following passage, Par. xix. 40-51, consists of four terzine:


The
Poi comincio: 'Colui che volse il sesto Air estremo del mondo, e dentro ad esso Distinse tanto e manifesto, occulto Non pote suo valor si fare impresso r universe, che il suo In tutto verbo Non rimanesse in infinito eccesso. E cio fa certo che il primo superbo, d' ogni creatura, Che fu la somma lume, cadde acerbo: Per non aspettar E quinci appar ch' ogni minor natura E corto recettacolo a quel bene ha fine, e se con Che non se misura.
40

43

46

49

Consider terzine:
40

letters of the firstlines of these four the initial

p N E
E

43 46 49

Read: The

pene

read in connection with the passage in acrostic pene which it appears makes the passage fairlybristlewith double Note especially the reference to tutto runiverso^ meanings.
line 44, the female form in which non pote suo valor si fare impresso. Notice also the allusion to the fall of the primo for himself superbo, line 46. I leave the reader to work out the further implications of the passage in the light of the

acrostic

pene.

292

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Following

is one

terzina, Purg. xiv.

10-12:

E disse 1' uno: 'O anima, che fitta in ver lo ciel ten vai, Nel corpo ancora Per carita ne consola, e ne ditta

Consider
terzina:
10 11 12

the following marginal letters of the lines of this


E
N

PE

Read: Notice

pene

of the text as confirming this acrostic The soul IS fifta PENE. ne/ corpoy and is going thus to Heaven. This is exactly the symbolism of the entire Divina Commedia, in which Dante uses for the symbol of his journey to Heaven
the
sense

the

PENE

in the female body

of the universe.
x.

following passage, Par. three lines of the canto:


The

146-148, consists of the last

in tempra Moversi e render voce a voce Ed in dolcezza ch' esser non puo nota, dove Se non s' insempra. cola gioir

Consider
146

the following marginal


M E

letters of the lines:

147
148

SE

Read:
La

seme

sposa di Dio line 140.

appears

in the passage

immediately

ceding, pre-

The

following passage is Par. xxiii.1-3:


fronde, r augello intra 1' amate Come Posato al nido dei suoi dolci nati, La notte ci nasconde. che le cose

Consider

the following marginal letters of the lines:

THE

SEAL

293

1
2

CO PO
LA

Read:

copola

The

sense

of the acrostic is consistent with


text.

cations the impli-

of the
The

following passage, Par. xxiii.109-120, terzine:


Cosi la circulata melodia Si sigillava, e tutti gli altri lumi di Maria. lo nome Facean sonar di tutti i volumi Lo real manto

consists of four

109

II2

Del mondo, che piu ferve e piu s' avviva Neir alito di Dio e nei costumi, Avea sopra di noi l' interna riva Tanto distante, che la sua parvenza La dov' io era ancor m' non appariva.

115

Pero non ebber gli occhi miei potenza fiamma, Di seguitar la coronata Che si levo appresso sua semenza.

118

the following marginal of the four terzine: Consider


109
112

letters on

the firstlines

cosi LO
A P

IIS
118

Read:

si

copola

Lo real manto., line 112, is,as usually interpreted, the ninth its number as It is also the symbol of the womb, Heaven. Immediately suggests, and as the text explicitly develops. lo nome is the phrase: sonar preceding the words lo real manto "her di Maria. The passage ends with the words sua semenza^ is the figure of the child offspring." And following the passage following lo real manto and its mother. On the four lines consider the following marginal letters:

294

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read; The last ten

following passage, Par. xxvi. lines of the canto:

1 33-1

42, consists of the

Pria ch' io scendessi all'infernale ambascia, / s' appellava in terra il Sommo Bene, Onde vien la letizia che mi fascia; El si chiamo da poi, e cio conviene, Che r uso de' mortali e come fronda In ramo, che sen va ed altra viene. Nel monte che si leva piu dall' onda, Fu' io con vita pura e disonesta Daila prim' ora a quella che seconda, Come il sol muta quadra, 1' ora sesta.'

133

136

139

142

Consider

the

canto

the following marginal letters of the last line of and of the firstlines of the three preceding terzine:

Read:
Now which

come

pene

consider the following marginal give the two names of God:


134
I o
EL

letters of the lines

135
136

Read:

elios

Next consider the following marginal lettersof the last two lines of the passage:
141 142
DA CO

Read:

coda

THE

SEAL

295

becomes more clear significance of this acrostic coda if it is read in connection with the acrostic on the firstfour Par. xxvii. 1-12: terzine of the next canto,
al Figho, alio Spirito Santo' Comincio il Paradiso, 'Gloria' tutto Si che m' inebbriava il dolce canto. Cio ch' io vedeva mi sembiava un riso Deir universo; per che mia ebbrezza Entrava per 1' udire e per lo viso. O gioia! o inefFabile allegrezza! O vita intera d' amore e di pace! 0 senza brama sicura ricchezza! Dinanzi agli face occhi miei le quattro Stavano accese, e quella che pria venne Incomincio a farsi piij vivace; *Al Padre,

The

10

The

initials of the firstlines of these four terzine


1

are:

c
o
D

7
10

Read: The

coda

considered together. Dante of God, / and "/, with his symbols, pene tian and with the God of the Chrisand sole Trinity. The passage at the end of Par. xxvi is full of sex symbolism. The descent into the infernale ambascia, line
133, suggests copulation. The meaning of the acrostic come of copulation in the
monte
pene.

foregoing acrostics should is identifying the early names

be

che si leva repeats the be a sugThere may gestion

The

symbolism
elios,

acrostic
a

of the sun is carried out

acrostic readings: coda. God, which appears in the as in // jo/, Par. xxvi. 142. Elios is be formed
as

two

word which Dante uses. Par. xiv. 96; itmay Eli or the Greek 77X105. The sun, the Hebrew Par. X. 28, is
Lo ministro
maggior della
natura.

from
says,

Dante

The

which

of Ugolino, Inj. xxxiii, contains cryptograms indicate the phallic symbolism of light in connection
story

296

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

with the mother symbolism terzin^, InJ.xxxiii.46-57:


Ed

of the

tower.

Note

firstthe four

io sentii chiavar 1' uscio di sotto Air orribile torre; ond' io guardai far motto. Nel viso a' miei figluioisenza Io non dentro impietrai: piangeva; si Piangevan elli;ed Anselmuccio mio Disse: "Tu guardi si, padre: che hai?" lagrimai, ne rispos' io Percio non Tutto quel giorno, ne la notte appresso, Infin che 1' altro sol nel mondo uscio. di fu Come un messo poco raggio si Nel doloroso carcere, ed io scorsi Per quattro il stesso; visi mio aspetto

46

49

52

55

Consider the following marginal these four terzine:

letters of the firstlines of

Read;
says in the acrostic, he what is it that, as Dante to this question reveals the fundamental copies? The answer for Dante's introduction into the Divina Commedia reason of

Now

not the story of Ugolino. It was enough for Dante that the make it serve, story is touching in its literalaspect; he must justas he makes every other detail of the poem serve, his to its briefest terms, the story is symbolic purpose. Reduced follows: Ugolino, together with his four sons, is shut up in as
a

tower.

The

key

was

tower

of the entire theme of Inferno^ used pretation it appears. The firststep for the interat the end of which on the recognition of the of the story depends tower as a use widespread of the symbol of the mother. The appears in the association of mother symbolism of the tower
the
tower

and the five were by Dante as a symbol

turned in the lower entrance of the left to starve to death. This story is

with the Shulamite

in the Song

of

Songs,

as

was

THE

SEAL

297

recognized, as we in connection with the Tower have already seen, of Babel. in That Dante intends the mother symbolism of the tower imprisoned appears from were which Ugolino and his sons is first mentioned, the acrostic on the terzina in which the tower
same

recognized commonly Middle Ages; and the

by

the Christian symbolism


was

symbolists

of the

Inf.xxxiii. 22-24:
Breve pertugio dentro dalla muda ha il titol della fame, La qual per me E in che conviene ancor ch' altri si chiuda,

Consider
22

on

these three lines the following marginal letters:


B

23
24

LA
E

QUAL

Read:

qua

bella

is associated this acrostic, therefore, the tower with Bella, the mother of Dante. is further implied in an The mother symbolism of the tower into the acrostic on the lines 55-57, describing the entrance tower of a poco di raggio. According
to

Consider
55
56

on

these Hnes the following marginal


COME
NE PE

letters:

57

Read:

come

pene

This acrostic confirms the mother symbolism of the tower by implication, since it shows that the light which penetrates is to be interpreted as a phallic symbol. the tower It follows from the phallic symbolism of the light which be a female symbol. must that the tower penetrates the tower In the tower as the symbol of the mother, therefore, the in the biological father and the sons are enclosed together, as in the act situation of the union of the father and the mother by which the sons are conceived, and also as in the situation is necessary to rebirth, where the son, like the father, enclosed

298

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

of union. In view of this symboHsm several details of the Ugolino story take on a new ing significance.Let me refer especially to the turnkey in di line key is sotto, the uscio of the phallic, 46; the interior di sotto represents the vulva, and the the uscio of the womb of the tower
an

in the maternal

by

act

is a reproduction represents the uterus. Thus the tower in miniature of Dante's Hell, the prisoners in the tower, as in the womb, correspond to the souls of the damned, and in same the father and sons the together womb express the incest and rebirth symbolism The of the poem. astronomical
tower

line 26, and allusions in the story of Ugolino, to the moons, line 54, and the allusion to the muda^ lines to the rising sun, 22-23, ^s having il titoldellafame, confirm the mother and be understood of the story, which must as a sort of summary of the whole Inferno. The symbolism of the story of Ugolino is the fundamental for Dante's use of it in the Divina Commedia. determinant

rebirth symbolism

And

is to be assigned for the use of similar determinant every episode in the poem. Let me illustrateby a reference to the story of Paolo and Francesca and the story of Ulysses. In regard to the story of Paolo and Francesca I need only
a

point out that it is a story implying incest, as in the love between I have already brother and sister (sister-in-law). referred, in connection with the further sex symbolism of

this story, to the correspondence of the winds on which the borne to convulsive vaginal movements, souls of the lovers are tive and also, perhaps, to flatus as associated with primiinfantile conceptions incest of anal birth. The detail symbolism of the story of Ulysses is developed in more interesting acrostics. According to and is confirmed by some and Ulysses' his home,
Hercules
account

in
and

he departed from Ithaca, of his last journey small vessel, and sailed through the Pillars of ocean, the western until he arrived in sight of

of Purgatory, where he was with overwhelmed To drowned. a storm and lying underunderstand the symbolism be "mad flight" it Ulysses, must the story of the of that the vessel, as in the story of the Ark, and remembered the mountain
the
sea are

among

the preeminent

symbols

of the mother.

THE

SEAL

299

The

and of the Pillars of of the sea symbohsm mother Hercules has already been developed in the discussion of the maggior of of the mountain valle. The mother symbolism has been likewise Purgatory, at which the journeyends,
developed in detail. In connection with the sea as a mother symbol, sailing the sea, or travelling, is to be understood as the symbol of sexual union. It represents, indeed, the course

of SPERMA indeed,

is, body. That the sea through the maternal a as to be understood symbol of the mother in the "mad flight" of Ulysses is curiously but distinctly implied by Ulysses himself, who tellshow he could not be restrained the

wife. The his home omission of any allusion to his mother, in this listof is hint that it is his mother a ties, is unmistakably who calling him from the sea. So important is the sea symbolism here, and the symbolism of sailing the sea, that Dante calls from

journey by his ties

to

father,

son,

or

attention
"sea"

to

it by

acrostics spelling the Greek


in

words

for

and
canto

The this

"I sail." story of Ulysses


are as

appears follows:

Inf.xxvi.

Lines 70-81

of

'La tua preghiera e degna egli a me: Di molta lode, ed io pero 1' accetto; fa che la tua lingua si sostegna. Ma Lascia parlare a me: ch' Io ho concetto Cio che tu vuoi: ch' ei sarebbero schivi, Perch' ei fur Greci, forse del tuo detto.' Poiche la fiamma fu venuta quivi, Duca Dove e loco, tempo parve al mio forma lui parlare audivi: In questa 'O voi, che siete due dentro ad un foco, S' io meritai di voi mentre ch' io vissi, S' io meritai di voi assai o poco. Ed

70

73

76

79

The

initials of the firstlines of the terzine


70 73 76
79
E L P

are:

Read:

pleo

300
nXeco

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

is Greek

for "I sail."

in connection read hnes with this acrostic fled 85-96, in which Ulysses begins the story of his voyage:
Now
Lo maggior corno della fiamma antica Comincio a crollarsi mormorando, Pur come quella cui vento affatica. Indi la cima qua e la menando, fosse la lingua che parlasse, Come Gitto voce di fuori, e disse: 'Quando Mi diparti' da Circe, che sottrasse Me piu d' un anno la.presso a Gaeta, Prima che si Enea la nominasse; Ne dolcezza di figlio, la pieta ne Del vecchio padre, ne ildebito amore, Lo qual dovea Penelope far lieta,
85

88

91

94

the following marginal these terzine:


85
88 91
94
L I
M NE

Consider

lines of letters of the first

Read:

limne

Atjui'Tj isHomeric

Greek

for

"sea."

It may
too

alleged ignorance of Greek

has been

be that Dante's insisted on. much

Following

are

the last
apparve

ten

lines of Par. xxii:


145

Quindi m'

il temperar di Giove Tra il padre e il figlio;e quindi mi fu chiaro II variar che fanno di lor dove. E tutti e sette mi si dimostraro

148

veloci, grandi, in distante riparo. L' aiuola che ci fa tanto feroci, Volgendom' io con gli eterni Gemelli, Tutta m' apparve dai colli alle foci: Poscia rivolsi gli occhi agli occhi belli. E
come sono

Quanto

son

quanto

son

151

154
canto

the marginal letters of the last line of the and of the firstlines of the three preceding terzine:

Consider

THE

SEAL

301

145
148

QUI
E

151 154

L PO
pleo

Read:

qui

following passage, Purg. terzine: The


'O,' diss' io lui, 'per Venni stamane, e
entro

four viii.58-69, consists of

i lochi tristi in prima vita, sono Ancor che 1' altra si andando acquisti.' fu la mia risposta udita, E come Sordello ed egli indietro si raccolse, di subito smarrita. Come gente L' uno Virgilio, e 1' altro ad un a si volse Che sedea li,gridando: *Su, Corrado, Vieni a veder che Dio per grazia volse.' 'Per Poi volto a me: quel singular grado, Che tu dei a colui, che si nasconde Lo sue primo perche, che non gli e guado,

58

61

64

67

The

initialsof the firstlines of these terzine


58
61
64
o
E
L

are:

67

Read: The

pleo

idea of sailing is appropriate to Sordello's words, lontane acque and larghe onde^ in the lines immediately preceding
and

following this passage.

The
ten

following passage. lines of the canto:


*La mente Hai contra
tua

Inf.x. 127-136, consists of the last

conservi quel ch' udito quel Saggio, mi comando 'Ed ora attendi qui:' e drizzo il dito. 'Quando sarai dinanzi al dolce raggio Di quella il cui bell' occhio tutto vede, Da lei saprai di tua vita il viaggio.'
te,'

127

130

302

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE
133
mezzo

Appresso volse a man sinistra il piede: in ver lo il muro, Lasciammo e gimmo Per un sentier ch' ad una valle fiede, lezzo. Che infin lassu facea spiacer suo

136

Consider the
canto

the following marginal letters of the last line of and of the firstlines of the three preceding terzine:

Read:
appears in the following acrostic reading relates perhaps, to Dante's water symbolism. This word
and

following passage, Purg. terzine:


The

vi. 76-87,

consists of four

Italia, di dolore ostello, Ahi serva Nave senza nocchiere in gran tempesta, bordello! Non donna di provincie, ma Quell' anima gentil fu cosi presta, della sua Sol per lo dolce suon terra, Di fare al cittadin suo festa; quivi Ed ora in te non senza stanno guerra Li vivi tuoi, e 1' un 1' altro si rode fossa serra. Di quei che un muro ed una Cerca, misera, intorno dalle prode Le tue marine, e poi ti guarda in seno Se alcuna parte in te di pace gode.

76

79

82

85

the following marginal the four terzine:

Consider

letters of the firstlines of

76 79
82

QU
E

85

Read:

acque

Cf. the image

of

vessel in

storm.

THE

SEAL

303

cryptographic of Dante, of the journey the "gibberish" which


Dante,

Further

confirmation of the sex symbolism as phallus and sperma, appears in Pluto utters at the approach of

Inf.vii. i :
Pape Satan, pape

Satan, aleppe.

Before showing the cryptograms contained in this line,let us be attached to the that may examine the possible meaning words themselves. Pape is generally recognized as the Italian equivalent the Latin papae, an interjection used, as in Boethius,
express

of
to

interpretation Possibly this is the correct astonishment. though I surmise that the word is a deformation, in the voce chioccia of Pluto, of papa^ as for high priest and indeed for father, Aleppe is recognized as aleph, the first "a" letter of the Hebrew is commonly preted interalphabet. This as another exclamation, like the English or Italian Holbrook, in his Dante and the Animal "Ah!" Kingdom^ suggests that aleppe as a stands here for Christ; and he refers
to

such a use of the letterin patristic literature.In the opinion of Holbrook, then, Pluto is using the name of Christ as a "Ho, Satan! Ho, Satan! Christ!" blasphemy:
I agree that aleppe stands here for Christ, but the word, I am convinced, is not used as an exclamation of blasphemy. Dante is descending into Hell as Christ descended into Hell. Since such a descent into Hell by a living man was quite

Juor del modern

Pluto mistakes Dante for Christ himself Satan, from whom Christ would to and calls a warning naturally be supposed to be coming to deliver some of Satan's victims, exactly as Christ had delivered the souls of the
uso,

patriarchs on his descent into Hell after the crucifixion.But it is not wholly a mistake on the part of Pluto, for Dante is identificationhimself. the same constantly making Of the highest importance for the symbolism of the Divina is the reference, in the words here addressed to Pluto by Virgil, to the sin for which Satan, or Lucifer, was punished as the superbo strupo. The "proud adultery" is the firstby the divine Lucifer, original sin which was committed
Commedia

304
"son

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Christ; and as and in reality the same of the morning" and Eve. In the divine group afterwards repeated by Adam Ghost, adultery is necessarily of Father, Son, and Holy incest. The descent of Christ into Hell symbolizes incest as the means of rebirth. It is on account of the incest symbolized
the descent of Christ into Hell that Pluto, mistaking his warning Dante for Christ, calls out Father Satan. to in Heaven, becomes in Satan, who was the incestuous son Hell the father against whom the sin is again committed, and by
?is father against the son naturally be warned who is the sin. coming to commit The symbolism of the descent of Christ into Hell is plainly

would

enough

indicated in Virgil's reference


Or
vuo'

to

it,Inf.xii.34-45:
34

che sappi, che 1' altra fiata Ch' io discesi quaggiu nel basso inferno,

Questa roccia
Ma

non

era

ancor

cascata.

certo poco pria, se ben discerno, Che venisse Colui che la gran preda Levo a Dite del cerchio superno, Da tutte parti 1' alta valle feda Tremo si,ch' io pensai che 1' universo Sentisse amor, per io quale e chi creda Piii volte il mondo in Caos converso: Ed in quel punto questa vecchia roccia Qui ed altrove tal fece riverso.

37

40

43

The difficult path that is guarded by the beast, the descent of the divine son into the foul female valley, the tremors of love in it,the delivery of the creatures it that contained, and love to the chaos such are the reduces the world which that features of the passage that make it unmistakably recognizable
"

the expression of a typical phantasy of sexual union with the mother earth and rebirth. It is noteworthy, in connection with Dante's account of the descent of Christ into Hell, that Eve, "the mother of all
as

living," is not

included with Adam the spirits whom among he delivers from Hell. The fact that Eve is not delivered from
"

identification of Hell with Hell confirms my Eve cannot be delivered from Hell since Eve, as

the mother; the mother

THE

SEAL

305

from the womb of all living," and Hell are one and the same, delivered. God" are which "the children of The preceding explanation of the words of Pluto, correct as I believe it to be as far as it goes, is only partial; it does not
touch the meaning of the line as a cryptogram. Consider in the words of Pluto the following final and contiguous letters:

Read: If
DANTE,
a

ante,

ante,

aleppe

were DANTE,
a

added
ALEPPE d

to

each

ante,

the reading would

be:

(or CHRISt).

is to be supplied in order to complete lines the signature appears from the acrostic on the firstfour of the canto:

That

concealed

'Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe,' Pluto colla voce Comincio chioccia. E quel Savio gentil, che tutto seppe, Disse per confortarmi: *Non ti noccia

Consider

on

these Hnes the following marginal

letters:

Read: telesticreading on the words of Pluto Dante and Christ are confused, or, is:DANTE, DANTE, CHRIST. identified. as constantly in the Divina Commedia^ Thus

the complete

is another telestic reading on the same Consider the following final and contiguous letters: There

words.

3o6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read the first three words: pene. The two the last three words: pene. readings key
Read down
on

up
on

on

of

the third word. Just as in the first telestic reading Dante and Christ are Phallic associated, so Dante is here associated with pene.

for Christ symbolism the fish and the key.

appears

in his well-known

symbols,

THE

GARDEN

OF

EDEN

In the foregoing analysis of Dante's Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, I have shown that the structure of each of these of the female body. regions corresponds to the structure And I have also shown that the structure of the female body In Hell there are, appears in each of these regions twice. first,the interior of Hell itself, extending from the surface of the earth, and, of the northern hemisphere to the centre from interior the centre that extends of the earth second, the In Purgatory to the surface of the southern hemisphere. there are, first,the Mountain of Purgatory, and second, the

Terrestrial Paradise that crowns the mountain of Purgatory. In Paradise there are, first, the nine moving spheres, and, beyond Empyrean the nine moving second, the motionless in Hell, female structure spheres. This reduplication of the
Purgatory,

each of these and Paradise, respectively, makes in her dual aspect of regions in itselfa symbol of the mother in her good and evil, the good aspect of retaining the child Dante and the evil aspect of expelling the child. womb dual aspect to the earth, assigns, as I have shown, the same dividing as he does the surface of the earth between the

mother symbol of land and the mother symbol of water. Earth, This division of each of the various abodes of man.

THE

SEAL

307

Hell, Purgatory,

and Paradise, into


more

derives from

sources

remote

indeed, in the story of the Garden Now the Garden of Eden, as the region in which man is simply a symbol passed the firstperiod of his lifeon earth, for the womb, of existence in the Garden and the happy its in Eden is simply the lifeof the child the womb mother. of The expulsion from the Garden of Eden, which, according to due to the sin of eating of the the account of Genesis, was tree of good and evil, corresponds to the of the knowledge in delivery. Thus the from the womb expulsion of the child Creation, as Biblical account of the earth at the time of divided between the Garden of Eden and the region outside the Garden of Eden, is exactly analogous to Dante's account and Paradise, respectively, as a of Earth, Hell, Purgatory, symbol of the dual character of the mother. That the story of the Garden of Eden symbolizes the Hfe in this appears from the fact that of the child in the womb in his original state, account of the happy condition of man in the intra-uterine existence, was as the hunger of man, labor, and that the loss of the happy satisfied without with the acquiring of connected somehow condition was fruit of the tree of consciousness, as in the eating of the knowledge. But the conception of the perfect life as the is not confined to the story of the prenatal lifein the womb
in the classical myth of of Eden. It appears, indeed, the Golden Age, as described by Hesiod, and in analogous If it is possible, as is now myths of widely scattered races. uterine of the intraoften maintained, that unconscious memories life survive in the adult man, the wide-spread conception happy state of the intra-uterine life as the original be derived from these memories. But in any event, the

parts is an idea that than Dante; it appears, of Eden.


two

Garden

may

precise expression of this conception to a universal belief. corresponds


Among

in the Divina

Commedia

the myths of the original happy condition of man beings were is the myth male and that the original human beings This body. female in the same myth of androgynous interpretation of the story adds another confirmation to the

3o8

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

of the Garden of Eden as referring to intra-uterine existence; in the womb for in the period of pregnancy, a son of his mother might easily be considered to form with the mother a of an single being that is both male and female. This myth being survives, in a modified form, original androgynous for in of the creation of man; it is the account of the creation of Eve from a rib of Adam had existed in Adam before she was implied that Eve separated from him.
indeed, in the Biblical
account

of the creation of Eve is obviously obstetrical; it is consistent, therefore, with the myth of an original here is in being, Adam that the male portrayed androgynous in the female role of giving birth. But there is a further
The
account

implication in the Biblical account of the creation of Eve that for the interpretation not only is of the highest importance but also of the of the symbolism of the Garden of Eden in which, as I believe, symbolism of the Divij^a Commedia,

the

symbolism

of

the

Garden

of

Eden

is consciously

reproduced. The Biblical account taken from the body of that Eve was is simply a way of saying, consistent with the assumed xAdam was taken from the body of Eve. that Adam priority of man, In other words, Eve is to be understood as the mother of in which she like Garden Eden itself, Adam, the of exactly is the central female figure. This is not the place, however, to develop the symbolism in detail. Let it suflice for our of Eve as the mother of Adam purposes, therefore, to recall that she is designated as "the mother of all living," and to recognize that if she is indeed as to be understood at the the mother of Adam, she must incestuous have lived in an to same time be understood relation with him. What I wish principally to show at present
is that, whether or not the Garden of Eden

symbol of the mother the Garden of Eden was This fault, therefore,

herself be the mother of Adam, must certainly be recognized as the and that his expulsion from of Adam, in it. due to a sexual fault committed
Eve
was

incestuous. The

incestuous

acter char-

of the fault is expressed in the character of the punish-

THE

SEAL

309

ment,

which
"to

was

Adam's

till the is a repetition of the in all ancient symbolism, is imposed; for Adam, therefore, sin for which the punishment he from whence was to tillthe ground to be doomed
Punishment,
taken
means

birth,

in expulsion from the Garden, as he was from whence taken." ground

Earth. of the word, After the expulsion from the Garden nal of Eden, the origidesire left is man happy man, with the condition of to to it; and to return the Garden the desire to return of Eden, or to the original happy condition, is the desire to a return to the mother" that is to be accomplished, return in the symbolism and religion, by an of ancient myth incestuous reunion that shall result in the rebirth of the from which he has been expelled. incestuous son in the womb uterine to the intrainvolving a return The rebirth symbolism as is thus to be recognized existence, an existence which in the Eden, Garden in the Hebrew account of of the indeed, in many myths classicalmyth of the Golden Age, and, in the symbolism fundamental of of original happiness, is Divina Commedia. the I have already quoted, as expressing in general terms to the Dante's conception of the universal desire to return from the Convivio: II sommo mother, the following words dato^ e lo dalla Natura desiderio di ciascuna cosa, e prima which he attaches ritornare al suo Principio. The importance from the fact that he develops it with the to this idea appears his commentary on the canzone: utmost explicitness in Amor, 3. I urge the mi ragiona, Convivio iii. che nella mente importance of its reader to refer to this passage, as the can implications for Dante's mother symbolism scarcely be in this passage Dante even exaggerated. In a significantphrase to tendency to return the same ascribes to inanimate nature le miniere, Le corpora composte prima, siccome sono its source: in hanno amore al loco, dove la loro generazione e ordinata, e
e da quello hanno vigore e potenza. quello crescono, In the further development of the idea in the same Dante makes use of an ancient myth for its mother

that he was his mother

doomed

to

in the symbolic till,

sense

passage, symbol-

3IO

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

ism. This myth is the myth of Antaeus, who was the son of In Antaeus the earth. the struggle between and Hercules Antaeus lost his strength whenever Hercules lifted him from the earth; he regained his strength every time Hercules permitted him to touch the earth again. The touching of the born, was, was earth, from which Antaeus accordingly, for
Antaeus,
use a

return

to

his mother.

And

it is obvious

incest and as of this myth, symbolizing in conscious and deliberate on the part of Dante, for it occurs a philosophic analysis in prose of his own poetical meaning.

that the rebirth, is

The

conscious use which he makes of this myth goes far to prove that he has the same conscious and deliberate purpose in the use which he has included in the of all the myths It proves, indeed, that for Dante Divina Commedia. myths
are

meaning, and that all the myths he in includes be conmust the Divina Commedia which sistentl interpreted to show Dante the meaning which attaches to them.
as

important

having

Chapter

VIII

BEATRICE

Chapter

VIII

BEATRICE

identity of Beatrice is the key to the symbohsm of For a general discussion of the Divina Commedia. various theories as to her identity the reader may refer to in Moore's Studies in Dante. These the essay on "Beatrice" theories Moore reduces to three types, which he designates

THE the

respectively as the historical, the ideal, and the symbolical. The advocates of these types he designates respectively as Realists, Idealists, and Symbolists. "The
Realists
so (properly says called),"

Moore,

tain "main-

none was that the Beatrice of Dante other than the historical Beatrice Portinari, transfigured by degrees 'from

glory to glory' in the imagination of the poet, tillher image becomes little But there are certain short of divine spurious Realists," he adds, with the emphasis of the feel tempted to call 'Separatists,' who we orthodox, "whom
. . .

a that the Beatrice of Dante was real contemporary Dante loved, person whom perhaps called Beatrice, perhaps in any case a separate person not; but maintain that she was from Beatrice Portinari: admitting, however, that beyond

admit

that negative assertion nothing even guessed, concerning her," According


to

more

can

now

be known,

or

is the "Idealists," "the Beatrice of Dante the merely 'la donna idealizzata,''the ideal of womanhood'; 'ewig-Weibliche,' the embodiment (we ought hardly to say

'incarnation') of female perfection, not realized, and


be realized, on this earth." According to the "Symbolists,"

never

to

Beatrice is merely

the

[313]

314

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

personification of some Wisdom, Theology, or

abstract quality, or entity, such as Imperial Power. A symbol, as Moore "is a pure invention of the imagination an uses the term, arbitrarily chosen figure or type under which something else
"

is represented, the reahty." According

thing
to

being the sole represented this definition, then, Beatrice as


so

whether symbolical has no relation whatever to womanhood, historical or ideal. Such a definition of symbolism means indeed, than mere personification. nothing more, I With none Moore defines them can as of the theories it may as agree. His definition of symbolism, adequately who maintain that represent the ideas of the commentators figure is Beatrice a mere the personification of some of of symbolism, abstract quality, is inadequate to the true nature

especially as symbolism was understood by the medieval mystics. definition, the "sole reality" of a According to Moore's symbol is the thing which it symbolizes. For the mystical
symbolist,
on

and symbolized he in discovers the symbol and the thing symbolized which is his ground for asserting their essential identity. Definition of

the contrary, the symbol as have a reality of its own, must

well

as

the thing the likeness

the scope of the present volume. I will statement confine myself at present, therefore, to a mere of in the my belief that there are certainly symbolical elements character of Beatrice: but that these symbolical elements do symbolism
is beyond
not
woman.

preclude, as Moore But whether or


"

states, not

the reality of Beatrice as a Beatrice Porwas that woman


"

tinari is another question. The theory of the Idealists merely

that the Beatrice of Dante

is

the expression of the poet's conception of perfect in the abstract is inconsistent with the character womanhood an as of the Divina Commedia allegory. By Dante's own definition,given in the Convivio and the letter to Can Grande, as the Divina Commedia^ allegory, has four meanings, literal^ allegorical^ moral^ and anagogical or mystical\ and by the "anagogical Dante or mystical meaning" signifies the
symbolical. The meaning

which

the "Idealists"

attach

to

BEATRICE

315

corresponds to the simply perfect womanhood and it is inconceivable that the central meaning, moral figure of the allegory, which Dante expressly declares has four meanings, should have only the moral meaning. The its possibility of interpreting the character according to is precluded by the "Ideahsts," multiplicity of meanings
as

Beatrice

and also, indeed, by the "Symbolists."


PORTINARI

BEATRICE The "ReaHst"

identificationof the Beatrice of Dante with Beatrice Portinari has nothing in its favor except the dubious testimony of Boccaccio, given almost fifty years after the death of Dante. In view of the fabulating character of his "Life" of Dante, one of the curiosities of the history of nari about Beatrice Porticriticism is that Boccaccio's statement
as

with

so

the originalof the Beatrice of Dante has been accepted is as follows: much credulity. Boccaccio's statement

la primiera volta che di "Perciocche e questa libro si fa menzione, non questa donna nel presente di cui indegna cosa pare manifestare, alquanto i'autore in alcune parti della presente opera lei Fu adunque intenda, nominando questa donna (secondo la relazione di fededegna persona, la conobbe, la quale fu per e consanguinita.' di un figliuola a lei) strettissima valente uomo Folco Portinari, antico cittadino di chiamato la nomini Firenze: e comecche I'autore sempre Bice: Beatrice dal suo primitivo, ella fu chiamato Paradise, il testimonia nel ed egli acconciamente laddove dice: 'Ma quella riverenza, che s'indonna Di tutto E fu di costumi me, pur per b e per ice.' laudevole, debba, di donna e esser onesta quanto e di bellezza e di leggiadria e possa; assai ornata; de' Bardi, fu d'un e chiamato moglie cavaliere della Simone, e nel ventiquattresimo anno messer di questa sua eta passo vita, negli anni di Cristo
.
. .

MCCXC."

In regard

to

this statement,
to

I ask the reader

apparently so straightforward, notice, first,that Boccaccio provides a

3i6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

convenient

loop-hole for himself in basing his statement

on

the

a persona; fededegn and, second, authority of an anonymous that immediately after making the identification,he refers to the strange use which Dante makes in Par. vii. 14, of the first

ice. of Beatrice: be and last letters of the name The passage to which Boccaccio refers is Par. vii. 10-15:
.
. .

lo dubitava, e dicea: 'Dille, dille,' donna Era me, 'dille,'diceva, 'alia niia le dolci stille'; Che mi disseta con Ma quella riverenza che s' indonna

10

13

Di Mi

tutto

me,

pur
come

per

be

per

ice.
assonna.

richinava
use

1' uom

ch'

here of the letters be and ice is,as I shall he is manifestly, of course, as show later, cryptographic: Boccaccio suggests, alluding to Bice as a form of the name Beatrice; but the manifest allusion is couched in such a way
Now Dante's
as

to

express

hidden

is

someone

quite

meaning which suggests that Beatrice different from Beatrice Portinari. It is

certainly curious, therefore, that Boccaccio, after identifying is Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari, should refer to what a play really a cryptographic play on the letters of her name, if which contradicts the identification (seepp. 346-7).Why, form Boccaccio wished merely to say that Dante used the Bice, did he refer to this obscure and veiled form of Bice,

per

better when his purpose would have been served by referring to the use of the name which Dante makes quite simply in the Vita Nuova, xxiv. 58:
BE
e

per

ICE,

lo vidi

monna

Vanna

monna

Bice?

for believing that Boccaccio aware was character of the Divina of the cryptographic Cominedia, his reference to the cryptographic b (be) and ice intentionally may well be taken to indicate that he was contradicting himself in his identification of Beatrice with If any
reason can

be found

Beatrice

Portinari.

that there is evidence that the cryptographic to was not character of the Divina Commedia unknown Boccaccio; for Boccaccio wrote a poem, obviously influenced

It happens

BEATRICE

317

by the Divina Commedia^ which contains acrostics.The poem Visione. Like the Divina to which I refer is the Amorosa
Commedia,
In its

the Amorosa

Visione
moreover,

tellshow the Divina Commedia, Visione^ heroes and lovers of the past. The Amorosa sees is written in terza rima^ and the like the Divina Commedia, letters of all the terzine throughout the work compose initial three poems, in the firstof which the whole is dedicated to Maria. Following is Boccaccio's lady-love, under her name this firstacrostic
sonnetto:

matter, subject

vision and an allegory. Visione^ like the Amorosa the poet, guided by a lady,
a

is

forse la presente Mirabil cosa Vision vi parra, donna gentile, A riguardar si per lo nuovo stile Si per la fantasia ch'e nella mente. di subitamente Rimirandovi un Bella, leggiadra et in abit 'umile, In volonta mi venne con sottile brievemente. Rima trattar parlando Adunque a voi, cui tengo donna mia Et chui senpre disio di servire Maria: La raccomando, madame E prieghovi, se fosse nel mio dire Difecto alcun, per vostra cortesia il mio fallire Correggiate amendando Cara Fiamma, o per cui'l core caldo

Que' che
Giovanni

questa visione vi manda da Certaldo.* e di Boccaccio

an that this poem, which is itself acrostic,contains another acrostic, for the initials of the first, third, fifth, This device, elaborate seventh, and ninth lines spell: maria. but obvious, once to have attention is directed to it, seems

Observe

escaped notice for a long time, for according to the Nuova Enciclopedia Italiana^ Girolamo Claricio in 1521, almost two the firstto centuries after the composition of the poem, was
Firenze. 1833. *Boccaccio. Opere Volgari. Vol. xiv, Ed. Ignazio Moutier, It is amusing to note that this editor apologizes for the "barbarous" spelling in the acrostic poems, and calls attention to lines that are too long or too short. It is no wonder that in working out this long trick Boccaccio sometimes nodded;

cryptographic

devices

are

subject to imperfections

and

irregularities.

3i8

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

discover

is an Visione acrostic poem. that U Amorosa Boccaccio's method of using, for his acrostics, the initialsof the firstHnes of the terzine, is analogous to Dante's method,

in many of using the of the acrostics in the Divina Commedia^ initialsof the first lines of terzine. Visione In the light of the fact that in the Amorosa

Boccaccio imitated the Divina Commedia in his poem, matter and embodied in form
to

in form and
moreover,

subject

acrostics some of the acrostics of the Divina analogous it can hardly be rash to surmise that he was aware Commedia^ of the cryptographic character of the poem which he imitated. And ifBoccaccio was aware of the cryptographic character of been be presumed he may to have the Divina Commedia^

of the cryptographic character of the b (be) and ice, his identification of to which he refers in connection with Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari. The cryptic use of these letters by Dante thus to have points, as Boccaccio seems
aware

not the the fact that Beatrice Portinari was Beatrice of the Divina Commedia. It is my belief, accordingly, that Boccaccio the made Commedia Divina identification of the Beatrice of the with blind; and that in making Beatrice Portinari as a the

been

aware,

to

be false,he gave at the same time, for the benefit of those who should be capable of taking advantage of it,the clue, in the allusion to the cryptic be and identity. If Boccaccio did indeed perpetrate ICE, to her true
identification which

he knew

to

be considered as a pious fraud; it protected the anonymity of Dante's lady in the same spirit that Dante be forgotten that Dante himself had protected it.It must not

this fraud, it may

had taken elaborate precautions, to which he confesses in the his Vita Nuova, to conceal the identity of the lady to whom devotions were dedicated. For the purpose of concealing her
he called identity he pretended love for other ladies, whom the schermi of his true love. In the Vita Nuova^ v. 23, he he thus pretended, speaks, in referring to a lady with whom di fare di questa donna schermo della veritade; and era again. Vita Nuova^ vi. 2, he says that questa donna
. .

schermo

di

tanto

amore.

Concealment

of the identity of the

BEATRICE

319

the literary convention; it was of the essence, indeed, of the esotericism of the Platonic or chivalric love so widely celebrated in the poetry contemporary with Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarca. There is reason to believe, therefore,
was

lady love

fraud," Boccaccio, who had himself concealed his Maria^ Fiammetta devotions to name of under the loyalty by was to his master to protect from the eyes moved love. In view of the of the profane the secret of his master's fact that his own work is so closely related to that of Dante that in his "pious
in its esoteric and cryptographic character, his identification of Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari, the only evidence that

be regarded with suspicion. exists for the identification,must But whether this evidence be regarded with suspicion or to the identification of the Beatrice not, there is an objection insurmountable. of Dante remains with Beatrice Portinari which
would not have called by her real name the lady whose identity he took such pains to conceal. I have already referred to the elaborate method of concealment In he practiced. order to keep which Dante confesses that the secret of the identity of his true love, he pretended love, he he tells us in the Vita Nuova, for another lady whom as Dante

calls the schermo della veritade. The schermo della veritade, I believe, has a double meaning into the discussion of which I cannot But it certainly indicates, in its literal now. enter meaning,
conceal the identity of his lady he be was then, can profound on the part of Dante. How, considered to have been willing to refer to her as Beatrice if ? For Dante to her real name Beatrice, as Boccaccio says, was

that the desire

to

supposing referred to Beatrice Portinari as Beatrice for the moment Beatrice Portinari was that really the lady in a small city like the Florence would have been tantamount, In view, therefore, in full. of Dante's time, to tellingher name to of the concealment which he desired, it is necessary not Beatrice, and conclude that the real name of his lady was
" "

have

therefore not Beatrice Portinari. There is nothing in the history of criticism, it seems to me, that surpasses the credulity with which the identification of Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari has been accepted. The

320

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

he speaks of have had Beatrice, must contemporaries, his fellow citizens and friends, the very eyes from which he wished his secret to be kept. Yet it is generally supposed
Fita Niiova^ the first work

of Dante's in which for its readers his own

objected

in the very that in the Fita Nuova Dante betrays his secret be breath with which he speaks of keeping it! It cannot even that, as the Vita Nuova was written after the death

of Beatrice, the necessity for concealing her identity had ceased to exist for Dante. In the first place, the death of a mistress, Platonic or non-Platonic, can hardly have appealed
the scruples of Dante as a release from the necessity of And in the second place, it would appear protecting her name. from the Fita Nuova that he had already referred to her as
to

Beatrice
now

before the time

of the speaking of the use Fita Nuova; in Beatrice name the early prose parts of the of for the prose of the Fita Nuova was certainly written after for I am Beatrice. date death the the assigned speaking of fourteenth Bice his her in now as monna the allusion to of
poem which, as he tells in the was prose comment, written immediately after the meeting her it it Since describes. thus appears from with which Dante's evidence that he had used this name before the date
sonnet,

which he assigns for her death. I which Dante constantly makes

am

not

Fita Nuova,

xxiv,

hardly be argued that the assigned for her death, it can by her had been removed obligation to conceal her true name death. But the directest evidence that Beatrice was not the true name of his lady is given by Dante himself in his first reference
mia
mente,
to

her, Fita Nuova,


la quale

ii. 6-7,

as

la gloriosa donna

della
non

fu chiamata da molti Beatrice, i quali


"

sapeano che si chiamare. With whatever shade of meaning be interpreted these words may and they have proved
to many their unavoidable stumbling-block that the true name somehow of the lady was for Beatrice Portinari is so weak The case
"

implication is
not

Beatrice.

that the only relation that she may reasonably be supposed to have had is to have served as a schermo with the Beatrice of Dante della veritade. It is justpossible that, as Beatrice Portinari

happened

to

have

the

same

name

that Dante

had chosen for

BEATRICE

321

the lady of the Vita Nuova and the Divina Commedia, Dante have permitted it to be beHeved that she was may indeed the he had permitted as of his devotions, just object false belief about other ladies. It is in the sense, the same

therefore, of creating a schermo della veritade that I think Boccaccio be understood in his identification of must Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari.
the literary convention which required a poet to write of his lady under a fictitiousname. This widespread convention, which indicates that Beatrice been a fictitious name, in the must also have appears "Fiammetta" to this of Boccaccio, To the possible objection that the convention may have been disregarded by argument
I have

referred above

to

in the poems which he addressed to the historic Laura, I reply that the historicity of Laura as Laura has yet to be proved. The kind produced to identify the Laura of of proof that is commonly

Dante

justas

it was

disregarded

by Petrarca

with Laura, the daughter of Audibert de Noves and in Moore's de Sade, is shown the wife of Hugh essay on Beatrice, when he says: "And as to Laura such scepticism is
Petrarca

simply absurd, since her existence is as certain as anything in history, and her family survives near Avignon to this day." The proof of the actual existence of Laura de Sade has nothing do to was the original of whatever with proving that she the Laura of Petrarca. I might as well say that I know that William Shakespeare wrote the Shakespeare plays because I have been in his house at Stratford. There are, as a matter of

fact, very
Petrarca
was

good

reasons

for believing that

one not really some with a name here. Let me, however, point out certain go into these reasons is supposed to have seen Beatrice curious parallels. Dante for the first time in May, and the third meeting with her which he describes was apparently in a church. The first

the Laura of Laura. I cannot

he of Boccaccio with his mistress, Maria, whom Easter Eve in a church. on was celebrated as Fiammetta, in Holy Week The firstmeeting of Petrarca with Laura was
meeting

in

church. Li view of the fact that we are dealing here with three great poets, almost contemporaries, who followed more
a

322

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

literary conventions, the coincidence of their firstmeetings with their mistresses in a church at the rebirth time of the year and of Christ suggests that we must take the identity accounts of the ladies of these meetings and the
or

less the

same

with a grain of allegory. The theme of rebirth, thus suggested by the three Poets, is proved to be consciously intended by Dante in the very titleof the Vita Nuova. thus
met

BELLA Grouped with the "Realists the devout terminology


as

(properlyso
of Moore Realists,"
"

called)"
"

"

to

continue he designates whom These

"spurious

or

there are those Separatists."

heretics among the Dantists, while admitting that the have been an actual contemporary Beatrice of Dante must of her Dante's, identification Beatrice the of with reject be known. Portinari and declare that her identity can never
1 share the belief that the Beatrice of Dante was Beatrice not far from believing that it is impossible to Portinari; but I am
As I have already indicated, I identify who she was. the Beatrice of Dante with Bella, the mother of Dante. My identification of the Beatrice of Dante with Bella, the mother of Dante, is based, first,on the allegorical meaning

know

of the Vita Nuova

cryptograms In order to present this cryptographic media. evidence have I briefly interpretation develop to the adequately, shall

and second, on and the Divina Commedia, which I have deciphered in the Divina Corn-

of the character to which the cryptographic evidence points. It is certain that Of the mother of Dante littleis known. her Christian name Bella, and it has been was that she If the
was

conjectured

di Scolaio degli Abati. the daughter of Durante is Christian name of Dante, as a conjecture true, the was contraction of Durante, possibly derived from his maternal Bella

whose Dante
in
or

grandfather. the first of the two wives of Dante's father, is usually spelled Alighiero. She gave birth to name
was

in Florence, and before 1278.

Dante

was

her only child. She died

BEATRICE

323

Lapa, the daughter of second wife of Alighiero was Chiarissimo Cialuffi.By his second wife, Lapa, Ahghiero had three children. The names of both Bella and Lapa appear

The

in

document

dated

May

16, 1332,

at

which

date Lapa

was

stillalive.* The fact that the mother was succeeded by in the lifeof Dante was a profound determinant,

stepmother I believe, for

of his imagination; it supplied, by posed accident, a personal experience of two mothers which predishim to the myth or two the dual mothers, of the of mother, that plays so important a part in the symbolism the peculiar development
the Divina Commedia. In 1278, the latest date, according to Toynbee, that can be thirteen years old. assigned for the death of Bella, Dante was His association with his mother, therefore, can scarcely, at There his childhood. beyond the longest, have extended is very good evidence, however, that his mother held a unique position in Dante's affection. This evidence consists of the family to fact that she is the only member of his immediate he refers in the course of his entire work. The very whom phrasing of his reference to her implies, as I shall show, the love. peculiar character of his filial in the words is made Dante's reference to his mother

addressed

to

him

by Virgil, InJ.viii. 44-45:


Alma sdegnosa, in te s'incinse. colei che

Benedetta

This is the only overt reference in the entire works of Dante to Dante's mother; and outside of what he has to say about his it is the only reference in his entire works to any ancestors, feature of this remarkable member of his family. The reference to Dante's mother is that it is a paraphrase of the words addressed to Christ, Luke xi. 27, in reference to Mary, the mother of Christ: it came "And to pass, as he spake these things, a certain lifted up her voice, and said unto woman of the company
for the foregoing *My authority Toynbee, in his Dante Alighieri.
statements

regarding

Bella

is

Paget

324

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

him, Blessed is the womb thou hast sucked."


Now

that bare thee, and the paps which

mouth

the imphcation of the words which Dante puts in the pretation of Virgil are of the greatest importance for the interIn Commedia. of the symbolism of the Divina the Biblical address to is to be identified with

paraphrasing in his address to Dante Christ, Virgil is implying that Dante Christ
as

identification of Dante with Christ accords with the numerous same of the examples identification that we have already noticed. And in paraphrasing, in his reference to the mother of Dante, the Biblical the divine
son.

This

reference to Mary, the mother of Christ, Virgil is implying that Bella, the mother of Dante, is to be identified with Mary, the mother of Christ, as the deified or divine mother. Now
as this identification of Bella with Mary the divine mother is, as we shall see, constantly paralleled both in the Vita Nuova ciation and the Divina Com?nedia by the intimate asso-

whether the words which here puts in the mouth Virgil are actually intended of by Dante as a reference to his own mother. The proof that he intends them so appears in the interior sequences to be found in the passage in which the words occur. The sequences
Dante appear
42
43 44 45
as

which Dante describes as and Mary. It has sometimes been doubted

existing between

Beatrice

follows, Inf.viii.42-48:
via poi iL

dicendo cello baciommi lo

costa
con

con

gli
braccia

Altri
mi alma

cani
cinse

Le
e

volto che
sua

disse in
te

sdegnosa

BEnedettA
quel bonta cosi fu
non

colei al
e

s'incinse

46 47

monDo

48

s'e

che I'ombra

persona orgogliosa MEmoria fregi


sua

qui

fuRiosa

Read

of altri,42;

of le, 43;
d

of //,44;
46;
on me

be

of benedetta,
47;

45: BELLA. Read


R

oi benedetta, 45;
madre.

of mondo,

of memoria,

48: o{furiosa,

Note

that the

two

sequences key

benedetta^ line

45.

BEATRICE

325

takably with the beloved mother, as she thus unmisis distortion in dream-like the this passage, appears of the hated father in the figure of Filippo Argenti, whose act in laying his hands on the boat, a mother image, in jealous Associated
order
to

prevent

Dante's

union with the mother as son. the jealous dominated to an unThere is evidence that Dante was usual now degree by his love for his mother. I am referring in to a peculiar habit of thought all his work which shows form his abstract cona habit ception of thought which led him to habit This is imagery. in life terms the of mother of his measure mother of of the emotion with which the memory Dante his imagination. as dominated mother conceived images, as I showed in the preceding chapter, the earth, the he recreated the encircHng sea. Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise; he had lost in his universe in the image of the mother whom to her in imagination. And youth in order that he might return
"

passage, the symbol of incestuous image, is so cruelly resented by Dante

to his mother desire to return expressing this same that he can be completely understood when he enunciates as desiderio di ciascuna // sommo the universal tendency of life: dato, e lo ritornare al suo Principio. cosa, e prima della Natura It is impossible within the limits of the present volume to

it is only

as

the mother imagery in the works of Dante as it spreads from his abstract conception of the universe to his conceptions is But Hfe. a daily details not there page, of the of I venture to say, in the whole of the Divina Commedia where have by those who this imagery may not be seen eyes to see it.
trace

I will confine myself, therefore, to citing a single instance been Florence; and having here. Dante's birthplace was he was unable exiled from Florence under penalty of death, it to desire was to to return to it. But return the with him attempts on his part constantly, and led to long and fruitless in the imagination the decree of exile repealed. Now alike in of Dante Florence and the image of his mother were being both his birthplace^and they were alike in being both
to

have

denied

under penalty being both suo in accordingly,

to

him

of death. And
principio
to

they which

were

alike, he desired.

326
as even

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY desiderio, to
return.

OF

DANTE

his sommo

of Florence, Dante identified the city with his mother, and itis only in the light of this identification that his allusions to the city, expressed as they constantly are in terms of mother imagery, be properly understood. In the pathetic allusion to his exile in the beginning of the Convivio he speaks of the dolcissimo seno of the bellissima e Jamosissima di Roma^ figlia
can

in his hatred

In his love of Florence and as the source of his misery,

Fiorenza della mia Par. XV,

nel quale nato e nudrito Jul fino al colmo vita. And in the description of primitive Florence, he puts into the mouth of his ancestor which
.
. .

Cacciaguida,
contemporary

he

contrasts

her

primitive

of the cryptograms in this passage, in which Dante's native city denies him and him. That it was his conscious intention in this names description of Florence to identify the city of his birth with his mother is proved by another cryptogram the which are the lines immediately passage contains. Following
seen

unmistakable We have already

licentiousness, expressing references to the sexual life.

purity with the contrast

her
in

(pp.92-4)some

succeeding
NOMA DANTE

the passage
:

containing

the acrostic:

ella

non

Bellincion Berti vid' io andar cinto Di cuoio e d' osso, e venir dallo specchio La donna sua senza il viso dipinto; E vidi quel de' Nerli e quel del Vecchio Esser contenti alia pellescoperta, E le sue donne al fuso ed al pennecchio. O fortunate! Ciascuna era certa Della sua sepoltura, ed ancor nulla Era per Francia nel letto deserta. L' una a vegghiava studio della culla, E consolando V idioma usava Che prima i padri e le madri trastulla; L' altra, traendo alia rocca la chioma, la sua Favoleggiava famiglia con De' Troiani, di Fiesole, e di Roma. Saria tenuta allor tal maraviglia Una Cianghella, un Lapo Salterello, Qual or saria Cincinnato e Corniglia.

112

115

118

121

124

127

BEATRICE
A cosi riposato, a cosi bello Viver di cittadini, a cosi fida Cittadinanza, a cosi dolce ostello, in alte grida, Maria mi die', chiamata Batisteo E neir antico vostro Insieme fui cristiano e Cacciaguida. fu mio frate ed Eliseo; Moronto Mia donna di val di Pado, venne a me E quindi il soprannome tuo si feo.

327

130

133

136

This passage consists of nine terzine. Nine is the maternal Consider the following marginal letters on the first number. lines of the nine terzine:

Now terzina:

consider the following marginal

letters of the first

112

BEL
DI LA

113
114

Read:

di

bella

This passage
an

the passage preceding it (see p. 92) are guida, Cacciaelaborate play on the idea of mother and son. {radice) the root of Dante, is speaking in praise of and

in the uncorrupted good old-fashioned domestic mothers Florence of an earlier time. Dante's mother, Bella, appears twice in cryptograms, and the Virgin Mary, line 133, appears in the open mia donna.
text.

Note,

lines 114

and

137, la donna

sua

and

328

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Another Florence

instance of Dante's identification of Bella with in Par. xxiii,84-88, in which Bella is also occurs

identified with the Virgin Mary. this passage appears as follows:


84 85 86 87 88
senza
o su

The

interior sequence

in

principio veder benigna che virtu t'esaltasti per occhi


nome

dei

fuLgori

si gL'imprenti loco lArgirmi


non
eran

agli il

li Bel

chE

possenti sempre invoco

del

fior

ch'io

of B 87; che, del bel is a hint to The reading terminates on bel. II nome Bel fior look for a name. is the mystic rose, the Virgin. And
Florentine suggests his mother city. Another instance of the association of the name of Bella is found in an interior sequence in the with the Virgin Mary
to

Read:

84; o{ fulgore, of bel, 88: bella.

of gi', 85;

of largirmi, 86;

Hot

any

Hymn
13
14

to

the Virgin, Par. xxxiii. 13-16:


donna
che
sua

sei

tanto

grande
grazia ed

tanto
A
te
senz'

15

vuol qual disianza

vuoL

volar
non

vaLi non ricorre ali

16

la

tua

BEnignita

pur

soccorre

Read
BELLA.

13; of vali.,

a,

14;

of vuol. 15;

be

of benignita, 16:

THE

MOTHER

CULT

The

emotional
whom
return

miscellaneous
mother

disposition of Dante to recreate, out of the his the personal experience materials of in he had lost in his childhood order that he

is further to be inferred to her in imagination might from the fact that he allied himself with the various contemporary forms of thought which expressed the mother cult. In many and primitive religions there appears the vast
vague
*Sce Mother

figure of the Mother


in Hastings,

of the Gods.* This figure


of Religion
and

must
on

be
"The

Encyclopaedia

Ethics, the article

of the Gods."

BEATRICE

329

last analysis, as expressing for the people understood, in the the need of including in who believed in the divine mother their religious conceptions of the universe a counterpart of identifiedby the human mother. The Mother of the Gods was Kronos, and she was Homer supposed with Rhea, the wife of Zeus by from Kronos have son to swallowing their prevented devour in place to concealing Zeus and by giving Kronos in swaddling clothes. The wrapped of her son a large stone place localized in Crete, which thus became the birthstory was of Zeus. The significance which Dante attaches to this in appears from his curious elaboration of the myth myth

Inf.xiv.
Rhea
appears in the four terzine.

Inf.xiv. 94-105:
94

'In mezzo mar siede un paese guasto,' Diss' egli allora, 'che s' appella Creta, Sotto il cui rege fu gia il mondo casto. Una montagna v' e, che gia fu lieta Ida; di fronde, D' acqua e che si chiamo Ora e diserta come cosa vieta. fida Rea la scelse gia per cuna Del suo figliuolo;e per celarlo meglio, Quando piangea vi facea far le grida. dritto un gran veglio, Dentro dal monte sta Che tien volte le spalle inver Damiata, E Roma suo guarda si come speglio.

97

100

103

Consider

first the following marginal

letters of the first

lines of these terzine:


94
IN u
100

97

103

Read:

nudri

In connection with the idea of nourishment consider also lines: letters following on same the the marginal

330

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

in celar, line loi. hint of a hidden meaning Speg/io, line 105, like specchio in other passages in the Divina Commedia, is a mother image. Cf. the tre specchi in Par. ii.

There

is

loi

(seep. 216).The

mirror

which

the father is obviously the mother. are sea the mother city. The and the mountain mother The is in man the mountain old symbols. who stands erect
phallic. The conception

reproduces the image of Here the mirror is Rome,

of the divine mother, primitive

which

is an

which understood as a sort of universalization of the human mother, is apparently absent from the orthodox forms of Christianity. The conception survives, indeed, in the expression in the "was Apostles' Creed that Christ conceived of the Holy

feature of many

religions and

essential is to be

Ghost."

the implication of this phrase as to the motherhood Persons God is of of seldom recognized, and the three hood the Trinity are generally considered as male, a divine fatheris not with which a divine motherhood consciously
or

But

associated. But in the Christian picture of the eternal, lifeas the complete fulfillment of the lifeof man,

universal, the absence

of anything
enduring
as

adequately
"

corresponding

to

which divine reality. So great is the need of a child for its mother were that the "children of God" unable to believe without reservation in a picture of the perfect lifein which the mother
was

relation of child to mother was imperfection imperfection in the picture itself an an possibly be conceived as existing in the could not

the profound and feltfrom the beginning

missing. From the very beginning, therefore, of the Christian era, into the picture, to put back there appeared the tendency either in the form of legend or of heretical doctrine, the figure less or that had been already more of the divine mother eliminated from the orthodox form of faith. It is possible to assign to two causes the elimination of the from form divine mother the orthodox of Christianity. The firstwas

which

the early Christian ideal of asceticism, according to the sexual life,even under the sanction of marriage,

BEATRICE

331

hood reprehensible. Recognition of the "Motherwould have entailed a recognition of sex as an at utter variance with the element of the divine lifethat was fact, ideal It is Christianity. a moreover, that ascetic of early had been in the cult of the divine mother pagan religions invariably by exalmost ceremonies tremely accompanied of an
was

regarded of God"

as

licentious character. It was natural, therefore, that Fathers the Christian ever should look askance at a cult, in whatChristian rehabilitation, which had proved in practice
to

lead

to

sexual
cause

irregularities in

the

conduct

of

the

worshippers. The second

which may be assigned the elimination from orthodox Christianity of the concept of the divine mother was the rationalistic tendency, due to the influence not of Greek thought, to define the nature of God in terms "accident" The could merely anthropomorphic. of sex
to

accordingly find no place in the definition of the Christian in the Trinity as "substance." This rationalistic tendency in the Divina definition of the Trinity is "reconciled"

of the Trinity as a family Triad; the reconciliation appears in the opening lines of hifernoiii, tively where the three persons of the Trinity are associated respecintellect, with the three categories of the mind, will,
Commedia

with the concept

and emotion. But neither the asceticism nor the rationalism of early for a form Christianity could suppress the popular demand of faith in which the divine mother, as a counterpart of the human mother, was assigned an adequate role. This popular
ways: first,by the identification of the Holy Ghost as the divine mother, and second, by the the human virtual deification of Mary, mother of Christ, as QtoTOKos, the mother of God. The cult of the mother in the early history of Christianity

demand

was

met

in

two

was

developed

"the manifold Gnosticism in Hastings' Encyclopedia Ethics y of Religion and "prevalent in the first two era, which centuries of our higher Christian a or teachings with the gnosis, combined

extremely explicit form in Gnosticism, systems of belief," according to the article on in


an

332

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

The gnosis or "higher knowledge," to which the Theodotus, "the Gnostics laid claim was, to according knowledge what we have become, where we of who we were,

knowledge."

were,

into what place hastening, whence we rebirth." Fundamental in


most,

we are

have

been

thrown;

redeemed;
if not

what

whither we is birth, what

are

is

all,of the Gnostic sects is the family Triad, consisting of as a conception of the Godhead is light, and, Father, whose essence the supreme unknown and the Son. This divine associated with him, the Mother mother is explicitly identified by the Gnostics with the Holy Ghost The
numerous

of the orthodox Christian Trinity. in the Divina Gnostic elements


and
never,

Commedia

are

occasion, later in the Beatrice resembles in what the way chapter, to show Gnostic figure of the divine and fallen mother. But in the in the I can meantime cite as Gnostic certain elements independent Divina Commedia are of the mother which

precise; they have sufficiently recognized. I shall have

however,

been

symbolism

bolism of Beatrice, but which indicate the mother symas a of the poem whole. is the Common to Gnosticism and the Divina Commedia idea of rebirth. The Gnostic belief in the ascent of the soul
Dante's successive stages of being is analogous to ascent through the four stages of Earth, Hell, Purgatory, and is analogous to the "Wheel Paradise. This ascent of Birth,"

through

concept

can

migration concept of the transrelated to the Pythagorean the "Wheel of Birth" the soul of the soul. From Dante escape only in union with God, a union which

conceives himself as accomplishing at the end of his poem. One of the numerous expressions in the Divina Commedia of the idea of rebirth is to be found in the phrase seconda
mentators. trouble to the comphrase that has given much This phrase appears twice. The first appearance is in hif.i. 115-117:

morte,

Ove udirai le disperate strida Di quegli antichi spiritidolenti, Che la seconda morte ciascun grida:

BEATRICE

333

The

for" the second death as something spirits are "crying out for "proclaim" Norton's be desired, so to grida that have birth, as we Death and already seen, misses the sense. its The death of a spiritin Hell means are ambivalent terms. birth in another region. implication of rebirth in seconda morte is evident The same in the second appearance of the words in Par. xx. 115-117:
in tanto E credendo s' accese Di vero amor, ch' alia morte Fu degna di venire a questo
foco seconda gioco.

The

"fire of love" is like the fire of Hell, through which the soul passes to be reborn. Gnosticism idea common to Another and the Divina divine is the use Commedia of light as the symbol of the principle of good,
and

of darkness

as

the symbol

of the

principle of evil. formed out There is a Gnostic belief that the heavens were Sophia or Prunicos. This of the body of the male-female as belief is obviously analogous to Dante's idea of Heaven, having the form of the as well as of Hell and Purgatory, female body. According to another Gnostic belief, there proceed from ing the Father, or Supreme God, a number of beings in a descendin their totality scale of dignity; these divine creatures the fulness of all blessedness and make up the Pleroma, from each other, they perfection. Distinguishable as they are God, who is himself impersonal are manifestations of the one This belief has its analogies in the Angelic and unknowable. Orders of the Divina Commedia ment, and in the orderly arrangeaccording to their degrees of merit, of the souls who Dante in his ascent meet through the heavenly spheres. for The use of cabala, mystical letters, and numbers was the Gnostics. The prevalent among cryptic meanings Commedia cannot, cryptographic character of the Divina therefore, be considered as unrelated to the cryptography of be found in the Gnostics, numerous examples of which may by C. W. King. Especially The Gnostics and Their Remains^

334

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the custom the Gnostics was of calculating, prevalent among by various methods, the numerical value of proper names by other names or phrases and then expressing these names Gnostics had The have the same also numerical value. which
names their neophytes, the new the custom of renaming being chosen for the appropriate or fortunate numerical value to theory which possess. The which they were supposed person or thing of different underlay this use for the same having the same names according to numerical value was,

that "things equal to the same thing were equal to each other." Of Dante's use of the ine enigmatic cinquecento diece e cinque. King says: "That genuGnostic Dante employs with great effect this numerical expression of a Name." These few of the manifold analogies between Gnosticism
The Gnostics and
Their Remains,

however much or little they prove and the Divina Commedia, in themselves the mother symbolism of the Divina Commedia, is intimately related to the prove that the Divina Commedia Gnostic forms of thought in which the cult of the mother is an

essential feature. The cult of the mother is implicit in the Gnostic doctrine of the motherhood of the Holy Ghost. But the form in which the cult attained itswidest expression was in the exaltation of the Virgin Mary, as combining the perfections of the human
well as of the divine mother. The cult of the Virgin Mary developed to extremes of Mariolatry. which earned the name Traces of the cult of the Virgin Mary are certainly to be recognized in the Divina Commedia.
as as they did the of the Gnostic ideas, meeting hostility of the orthodox church of Rome, survived in more or less modified form in the Middle Ages in certain heretical sects and in the writings of the Catholic mystics. I need not

Many

here discuss the mystical elements of the Divina Commedia; for our present purposes they may be taken for granted. But
I wish to emphasize is the fact that in medieval mysticism the cult of the mother is likewise highly developed. Indicative of the mystical cult of the mother are many expressions in the writings of the great mystic St. Bernard,

what

BEATRICE

335

in the the St. Bernard who leads Dante to the Virgin Mary conckision of Paradiso. In his Gnosticism, in his cult of the Virgin Mary, and in his mysticism, Dante is related to the principal forms of religious thought in the Middle Ages in which the cult of the is expressed. And in all these forms of the cult of mother
there is an element which, for lack of a better be called incestuous. I have frequently already term, must been obliged to refer to the suggestion of incest in primitive Let it suffice, therefore, in and medieval symbolism. myth regard to Gnosticism, to the cult of the Virgin Mary, and to medieval mysticism, to say that the incestuous element in

the mother

of thought arises necessarily from the idea, of the sexual life, of the expressed almost universally in terms God man, as a son, conceived as a conceived with union of
these forms mother. There
remains

the mother

referring now Middle Ages

be briefly considered a form of the cult of social rather than religious. I am which was to the remarkable convention prevailing in the
to

chivalric love. This convention, in to an reproduce society equivalent which sought Mary, I be believe, Virgin must, of the religious cult of the understood in the last analysis as a simulation between lover that
was

known

as

son and the and mistress of the relations between the human in These divine mother. relations, necessarily, are the same, ideal form, as the relations between the son and his human mother. That the relationship between lover and mistress in indeed a simulation of the ideal relationship chivalric love was

and mother is proved by the rules of the sodefined. called Courts of Love, by which the relationship was love, not his wife, but a According to these rules a man must be chaste. lady married to some one else; and his love must The lover, moreover, as it must stand in a feudal would seem,

between

son

relation to the lady's husband, to father. Now


Love
are

as

to subject

ruler, or

as

son

the foregoing conditions imposed


to

by the Courts

of
son

simulate the relations of exactly calculated be married, like his and mother. The lady of the lover must

336

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

mother;

justas
lady

be and the lover must he is to his own

to subject

his love for his mother be chaste, just as not the ideal of chastity was chaste, although convention attained. The of chivalric love was,
must

subject

the lady's husband, father. And his love for his


must

be

always first, a

recognition of the existence of a sexual character in the love of the son for his mother; and, second, a belief that the love of the son for his mother is the ideal form of love. The ideal

of chivalric love was his contemporaries.

expressed, par excellence^by Dante

and

BEATRICE
In view of the manifold which may thus be shown

AND

BELLA

aspects of the cult of the mother let to exist in the work of Dante now us the evidence for identifying Beatrice, the examine central female figure of the Divina Commedia^ with Bella, the mother of Dante. There is no lack of expressions in the Divina Commedia
the maternal character which indicate, in quite literal terms, first Dante in the her to appearance very of Beatrice, In Terrestrial Paradise Dante says of her, Purg. xxx. 79-80:
Cosi la madre al figliopar superba, Com'ella parve a me.

And

in Par. i. 101-102,

Dante
con

speaks of her
quel sembiante figliuol deliro.

as

looking

at

him

Che

madre

fa sopra

And
to

again in Par. xxii. 4-7, Dante him


come

says that Beatrice spoke

madre, che soccorre figliuol Subito al pallido ed anelo Con la sua voce, che 11 suol ben disporre.

In addition

media these direct allusions in the Divina Comto the maternal stantly character of Beatrice, there is condeveloped, in the presence of Beatrice as if by association
to

of thought,

flood of maternal

imagery.

To

refer

BEATRICE

337

again Dante

to

in the Terrestrial Paradise, her first appearance her, he saw says, Piirg. xxx. 43-45, that when
Volsimi alia sinistra col rispitto Col quale il fantolin corre alia mamma, ha o Quando paura quando egli e afflitto.

his an allusion to Virgil as straightway making I leave dokissimo patre, he alludes, line 52, to V antic a matre. out to the further working of the the reader, however, maternal associations which suggest themselves to the mind that of Dante in the presence of Beatrice, with the assurance
And they
an

are

numerous;

and confine myself

acrostic by which the maternal think, is definitely proved. The very first words which four The Purg. Dante begin xxx. Beatrice addresses to 73. terzine, 73-84, which follow this line and which give the Dante read on words of Beatrice and their remarkable ejffect
as

present to showing I character of Beatrice, as


at

follows:
Beatrice: ben sem 'Guardaci ben: ben sem, Come degnasti d' accedere al monte?
felice'? sapei tu che qui e 1' uom Gli occhi mi cadder giu nel chiaro fonte; in esso, i trassi all'erba, Ma veggendomi Tanta vergogna mi gravo la fronte. Cosi la madre al figliopar superba, Com' ella parve e me; per che d' amaro Sente il sapor della pietate acerba. Ella si tacque, e gli Angeli cantaro Di subito: In te, Domine, speravi; Ma non meos passaro. oltre pedes Non
76

79

82

the firstlines of the four terzine of this passage consider the following marginal letters:
On
73
GUA
GLI

76
79
82

COSI
E

LA

MADRE

Read:
The

eguaglia

cosi

la

madre

interiorsequences

in the

same

passage appear

as

follows :

338
73

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
ben
sem

OF
Ben

DANTE
BEatrice
monte fELice

74 75

ben guardaci degnasti come


non

sem

d'accedere
che

AL
e

sapei
b

tu

qui
al,

L'uom

Read

of the third ben^'jy,

74;
l

el

75: of/^//V^,
uom^

bella.

Read
Note

be

oi Beatrice^73;
two

al,

74;

before
a

75:

bella.

that the

readings form

cross.

The
Nnova

which and the Virgin Mary. Dante recalls how she sat ove s'udiano parole della Regina della gloria^ Vita Nuova^ v. 2-3; and at her death he says that lo S ignore della giustizia chiamb quest a gentilissima a gloriare sotto Vinsegna di quella reina benedetta
Maria,
questa

maternal character of Beatrice is indicated in the Vita by the intimate association and the Divina Commedia Dante is constantly declaring to exist between Beatrice

lo cui nome ju in grandissima Vita Nuova, Beatrice beat a.


"

mentioned other
rescue

as

two

are

nelle parole di xxix. In Inf. ii she is one the of a trinity of blessed ladies of whom Lucia and the Virgin Mary; to the she comes
reverenza

of Dante at the bidding of the Virgin Mary; and her in the Empyrean is very Heaven place in the mystic rose near the place of the Virgin Mary. The character of Beatrice, as developed the throughout Vita Nuova, is Virgin-like, divine: "she not the seemed but of God." In more daughter of mortal man than the sense
common

to

cui radice e 39-41. From

lover's adoration, she is miraculous: miracolo la Vita Nuova, xxx solamente la mirabile Trinitade.
"

her proceed powerful and excellent influences behold her; she is, indeed, the exemplar of upon all who Vita her in The Nuova, describe xxvi, words that womanhood. Benignamente e vestita d'umilta, and, in the sonnet, coronata d'umilta
vestuta,
are

like the words

in the prayer
creatura.

to

the Virgin,

Par. xxxiii. 2:
Umile
ed alta piiiche

In Purg. xxxiii.4-6, Beatrice is explicitly associated with Maria:


E Beatrice sospirosa e pia Quelleascoltava si fatta, che poco Piu alia croce si cambio Maria.

BEATRICE

339

the divinity of Beatrice is clearly implied, for she repeats as applying to herself the words of Christ to his disciples,words which would be inappropriate on the lips of any woman but the divine mother: And in lines 10-12
Modicum,
Et iterum Modicum,
et
.

non

videbitis videbitis

me,

et

vos

me.

is in effect an association of Beatrice with Mary identification of the two, as the human mother deified and the divine mother. It is analogous to the identification which Dante makes of himself with Christ. The identity of Beatrice This is borne out by several cryptograms. and Mary Following are the last ten lines of Par. i,
a

significant

position:
si come veder si puo cadere Foco di nube) se 1' impeto primo da falsopiacere. L' atterra, torto bene estimo, Non dei piu ammirar, se d' un rivo Lo tuo salir, se non come Se d' alto monte scende giuso ad imo. Maraviglia sarebbe in te, se privo D' impedimento giu ti fossi assiso, Come a terra quiete in foco vivo.' Quinci rivolse inver lo cielo il viso.

(E

133

136

139

142

Consider
the
canto

the following marginal letters on the last line of and on the firstlines of the three preceding terzine:

Read:

nome

qui
to

This acrostic seems read on lines 121-142:

be part of

longer acrostic

to

be

La provvidenza assetta, che cotanto Del suo lume fa il ciel sempre quieto, Nel qual si volge quel ch' ha maggior fretta:

121

340

THE
Ed

CRYPTOGRAPHY
li,com'

OF

DANTE

to decreto, si Cen porta la virtu di quella corda, Che cid che scocca drizza in segno lieto. forma non Ver' d che, come s' accorda Molte fiate alia intenzion dell' arte, Perch' a risponder la materia c sorda, Cosi da questo corso si diparte Talor la creatura, ch' ha potere Di piegar, cosi pinta, in altra parte, (E si come veder si pud cadere Foco di nube) se I'impeto primo L' atterra, da falso piacere. torto Non dei piu ammirar, se bene estimo, Lo tuo salir,se non d' un rivo come Se d' alto monte scende giuso ad imo. Maraviglia sarebbe in te, se privo D' impedimento giu ti fossi assiso. Come a terra quiete in foco vivo.' Quincirivolse inver lo cielo ilviso.
ora a

124

127

130

133

136

139

142

Consider
the
seven

the last line of the canto and the firstlines of marginal letters: preceding terzine the follovi'ing
on

Read:

cosi

vela

nome

qui

is veiled here, it may be in maraviglia, line for vagli These words maymaria. 139, which is an anagram be is in Beatrice, to mean that the understood who speaking text, is the equivalent of Mary. It is worth noting that immediately under Maraviglia, on

If the

name

the last three lines of the passage, there marginal letters:

are

the following

BEATRICE

341

Read:
In the passage containing the acrostic interior sequences, as follows:
133 134 135 136 137
e nome

qui

are

several

si foco

come

vedEr
se nube torto

di dei

si puo L'impeto da

cadere
prime

I'atterra
non

fALso
se come

piu

ammlrar
se
non

Id
se

tuo

saliR

piacere Bene estimo d'un rivo

138 139
140

141

imo ad scende giuso in Maraviglia te se sarebbe privo d' impEDimento ti fosse assise giu in terRA foco a come quiete vivo monte

d'Alto

the second e of veder, ^22\ ^ before impeto, 134; al of falsOy 135; B oi bene, 136: bella. Read a 135; i o{ ammirar, 136; r oi salir, 137; a of oijalso, alto, 138; M of maraviglia, 139: maria. Note that these two sequences key on the word/also,135. Read m of maraviglia, 139; ed of impedimenta, 140; ra of
terra,

Read

141

: madre.

that the second and initialoi Maraviglia, 139;

Note

third sequences

key

on

the

There is another interior sequence which involves the word maraviglia. It appears in Purg. xxviii. 39-43 (seep. 367). The maternal character of Beatrice is indicated by the
constant

nine, the nine association of her with the number being, in effect, the nine months of pregnancy. According to the Vita Nuova, a nine is connected with all the principal

Dante tells and in Vita Nuova, xxx, of her life, why the "friendly" to her. The chief reason, so number nine was be this: Nine is a miracle, to according to Dante, seems because it represents the multiplication of three, the number
events

This of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by itself. is surely, in the language of such a symbolist as Dante, to be taken as a reference to the way in which the Trinity begot

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

into^ the and conceived, or, in other words, multiplied itself Christ. Thus divine man-child nine, as representing the multiphcation of Trinity by itself, represents the miracle by

Christ, according to the Apostles' Creed, was conceived Holy Ghost born Virgin Mary. The of the and of the nine, therefore, which is so friendly to Beatrice, identifiesher as a and further identifies her with symbol of motherhood, which the divine mother, Holy Ghost.
A
as

symbolized

both by Mary

and by the

curious confirmation of this identification,by means of is be in Mary found Beatrice to a the number nine, of with passage in the Vita Nuova which has always given trouble to In order to show the constant association Dante in Beatrice to the date of nine with wishes show assigned for her death a nine in the day, the month, and the to the Christian calendar, Fusanza nostra^ year. According the nine appears in the year, which was 1290, but not in the the
commentators.

is therefore the month, the 8th of June; and Dante obliged, in order to get a day and a month with a nine in have considered as them, to do what various commentators he does is to take juggling with other calendars. What
day

and

recourse

the calendar of Syria, in which June, the month assigned for the death of Beatrice, is the ninth month; and to the calendar of Arabia, according to which the eighth of
to

June, the

assigned for the death of Beatrice, is the ninth. For the discussion of these calendars the reader may refer to Moore's essay on "Beatrice," day Now

it is generally considered to be, as this "juggling," isjuggling, indeed, but juggling with a purpose quite different

from

is not to be conthe purpose usually assigned. Dante sidered here as "juggling" Syria and with the calendars of

in order to escape from the difficultyof finding nines is using these calendars to where they do not exist. He indicate that the date of the death of Beatrice must be reckoned according to the calendars that would have been for the reason that used for the dates of the Virgin Mary, Arabia
Beatrice is
to

be identified with

the Virgin

Mary

as

the

divine mother.

BEATRICE

343

intimate, so association of nine with Beatrice was according to the Vita Nuova^ that questa donna fu accomdare ad intendere^ che ella era del nove a pagnata dal ?Jumero nove^ un cioe un miracolo^ la cui radice e solamente la mirabile Vita Nuova^ xxx. That Beatrice was Trinitade. a nine in fact The
"

the numerical value may be shown by a method of computing One method of computing the numerical value of ofher name. is to add together the numerical values of all the a name
letters of the
to
name,

and

if the

sum

is more

than

one

integer,

so that the the integers of the sum add together in turn integer This final sum integer. as a gives the appears single is it from which obtained. numerical value of the name The numerical value of a letter corresponds to the number

of its position in the alphabet. According alphabet as including the letter k, the numerical
letters of
Beatrice
are as

to

the

Latin

values of the

follows:

B E

5
I
20

A
T

R I c
E

l8 9 3

The of 63
"

sum

is63 ; and the sum of these numbers of the integers is 9, the be added together which, as I said, must
"

numerical value of Beatrice. The fact that the name express the number with her as

be calculated to of Beatrice may ciates nine, the very number which Dante assoher symbol, is a coincidence that would

have appealed to the kind of Gnostic interest that produced in the Divina Commedia I am the enigma of the dxv. of the opinion, therefore, that along with the meaning of the name Beatrice, as "She who blesses," the numerical value of the

for Dante to use the name a determinant nine was the central female character of his poem. In connection with the numerical value of the
name as

for

name

344

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Beatrice, which gives, first,a 63 and, second, a 9, it is interesting to note that the number of times the name of Beatrice in the Divina Commedia is exactly 63; so that is mentioned from the if computed the numerical value of the name, number of times itis mentioned, may again be expressed as 9. This coincidence is,in my opinion, not an accident; and 1 feel to be confirmed in my opinion by the fact that there seems something equally cryptic suggested in the number of times
in the Divina Commedia^ of Christ is mentioned namely, 39, a number which reduces by the addition of its integers first to 12 and then to 3, the number of the Trinity. And in view of the fact that, as I have tried to show, Dante

the

name

identifies himself with Christ in the Divina Commedia and is in Dante, di name that the the necessita^ of mentioned is Christ Divina Commedia once, the number of times that

be considered to be 40. The number 40 for Christ, is to the number par excellence 4, and 4 reduces he by his divine Incarnation, a four of the makes, since
mentioned
may

Trinity. Four

dates at man the number of the perfect least from the sacred tetrad of Pythagoras, a conception that finds its echo in Dante's expression: Ben tetragono^ Par. xvii. 24.
as

63 which appears in the process of computing the numerical value of Beatrice and also in the number of times has also a is mentioned in the Divina Commedia the name in the life of the Virgin Mary. significant appearance
According
to
was

The

her death

at the time of medieval belief the age of Mary 63.* Since there is no historical foundation for

assigning this age to Mary, I suggest that it was assigned to her by the early symbolists for the simple reason that, like the name of Beatrice, it can be reduced to the number 9, which

If this suggestion is expresses the function of motherhood. reasonable, it suggests in turn that Beatrice and the divine
mother,
*Begley

like Dante

and

the divine

son,

are

to

be identified.

by several cabalistic soliloquies of the Virgin Mary, made Each a Josephus century. of the seventeenth monk of the soliloquies Biblia being her supposed age when contains 63 cabalas, "that she died." CabalisHca or the Cabalistic Bible. Rev. VValter Begley, London, 1903.
quotes

Mazza,

"

BEATRICE
"

345

This number

same

association of the beloved" as mother with the in Purg. ix. 64-81: nine appears in acrostics
A guisa d' uom che in dubbio si raccerta, in conforto sua E che muta paura, Poi che la verita gli e discoperta. cura senza Mi cambia' io: e come Videmi il Duca mio, su per lo balzo inver 1' altura. Si mosse, ed io diretro io innalzo Lettor, tu vedi ben com' La mia materia, e pero con piu arte io la Non ti maravigliar s' rincalzo. in parte, eravamo Noi ci appressammo, ed Che la, dove pareami prima un rotto diparte, fesso che muro Pur come un Vidi una porta, e tre gradi di sotto, di color diversi, Per gire ad essa, facea motto. non Ed un portier che ancor l' occhio piu e piu v' apersi, E come Vidil seder sopra il grado soprano, lo sofFersi: Tal nella faccia, ch' io non
64

67

70

73

76

79

the first lines of the first three terzine the following marginal letters: Consider
on

64

A MICA
L

67 70

Read:

l'amica

look for concealed meaning. the first lines of the last three terzine the following marginal letters: Lines 70-73 Consider on
are a

hint

to

73

NO
V E

76 79

Read: Note

nove

in which this acrostic that the number of the canto in this canto NOVE nine is developed appears is nine, and that of of Lucia and also the symbohsm the mother symbolism to the uterine region, the porta, line 76, as the entrance Purgatory proper.

346

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
8, Dante

OF

DANTE

In Pa7\ iv.

1 1

addresses Beatrice in the following


amante,
o

words

amanza

del prlmo

diva.

that Beatrice as the daughter of God is also be considered as again must the amanza of God, Dante identifying her with the divine mother Mary, who is referred to, Pu7'g. XX. sposa dello Spirito Santo. 97-98, as queWunica In thus implying

This reference to the Spirito Santo^ by the way, need not be taken as disproving the mother symbolism of the Holy Ghost, the consistently is throughout supported as this symbolism of the Holy Ghost mother symbolism is here disguised, as it is disguised in all orthodox definitions In the of the character of the third person of the Trinity. foregoing quotation, indeed, the association of the Spirito a as Santo with Mary as wife is rather to be understood
Divina Commedia. The

veiled identification of the two. Now the character of Beatrice so as the mother of the divine son

as

the amanza of God and is indicated by Dante in

several cryptographic allusions to her, in which the divine son Let me is indicated as in her womb. show first that this is contained in the cryptic allusion which Dante meaning Par. vii. 14. e per ICE, to Beatrice: per BE makes This allusion to Beatrice by the firstand last letters of her
name

indication that she was form of Beatrice. called Bice, the contracted sometimes And in the Vita Nuova it appears that Dante did indeed call in Fita A^^^(9^;^,^xxiv,[Dante her Bice. In the sonnet says:

is,according

to

Boccaccio,

an

lo vidi

monna

Vanna

monna

Bice.

Now

in connection

remarkable discussion records. In


Vanna

and

a makes of Bice Dante with this use both in the sonnet statement and in the prose of the meeting with Beatrice which the sonnet ladies, monna to the two referring,in the sonnet, Bice respectively, Dante says: monna

Amor mi disse: E quella ha nome

Questa e
Amor,

Primavera,
si mi somiglla.

And

in the prose

comment

he explains how

Love

said

to

him

BEATRICE

347

in his heart

that

molt a somiglianza What, then, is the resemblance Love ?

quella Beatrice chiamerebbe che ha meco.

Amore^

per

which

Beatrice has with


to

I suggest that the answer to this question is Beatrice in the letters of the name which are These letters are eatr. the form bice. The cryptographic

be found in

omitted

significance of these letters,as showing the resemblance of Beatrice to Love, is to be discovered in the fact that, as we have already seen, the letter t is the A form symbol of the cross and so of Christ, or the divine man. is ow, for the Italian word for man so that the t of eatr be considered as representing, in the divine form, cm. may
Replace
eatr;

the

t,

It appears, then, that BEATRICE resembles love by virtue of the fact that device, in is actually spelt, by a cryptographic AMORE Beatrice or bice BEATRICE. + amore, thus equals and
eatr

therefore, by its equivalent become eaomr, amore. or

cm,

in the letters

"

AMORE

"

ICE.

for t is to be made in the substitution of cm be as and ice. omitted letters in the allusion to Beatrice The letters of Beatrice intervening between be and ice are for the t, and the letters are aomr, Substitute om or ATR.
The
same

Amor, or the divine child, the Latin form of amore. idea of This same is thus inside Beatrice, as in her womb. Love, as the divine child, in the womb of his mother, has already been noted in the words of the prayer to the Virgin in the opening lines of Par. xxxiii. In this passage, moreover, Dante shows by a cryptographic device that it is himself
AMOR,

pondence of the mother, and thus, by the corresthe meaning and the of the cryptogram identifies himself with the of the text, manifest meaning divine child and his mother with the divine mother. The passage, Par. xxxiii. 1-15, reads as follows: who
is in the womb between
figliadel tuo Figlio, 'Vergine Madre, Umile ed alta piu che creatura, Termine fisso d' eterno consiglio,

348

THE
Tu

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

se' natura colei che 1' umana Fattore Nobilitasti si, che il suo fattura. Non disdegno di farsi sua 1' Nel ventre tuo amore, si raccese Per lo cui caldo nell' eterna pace fiore. Cosi e germinato questo Qui sei a noi meridiana face Di caritate, e giuso intra i mortali Sei di speranza fontana vivace. Donna, tanto sei grande e tanto vali, Che qual vuol grazia ed a te non ricorre, Sua disianza vuol volar senz' ali.

lO

13

first the following marginal lines of the firstthree terzine:

Consider

letters of the first

VER T
NE

Read:

ventre

This recalls the phrase nel ventre tuo^ line 7. For the interior sequence in this passage see p. 328. Now note the following marginal letters on the firstlines of the five terzine, five being the number
name:
IV E T

of letters in Dante's

7
10

QUI

SEI

A D

13

Read: The

quivi

sei,

dante

that here written, is in the ventre. Dante was I surmise, that he could also be unaware, not be nel ventre device, by another cryptographic to shown since Dante's initials reversed, a. d., are contained in the word madrey line i.
so

has the spelled form form it is here considered. The n, t, and letters used in reading the acrostic the same

letter v,

line

i,

vi,

and
dante

in this
are

of

ventre,

Dante,

as

BEATRICE

349

is immediately followed dante, acrostic: sei quivi, by a passage of five terzine which contains an acrostic. The passage, Par. xxxiii. 16-30, reads: The
La

benignita non pur soccorre 16 fiate A chi domanda, ma molte Liberamente precorre. al domandar In te misericordia, in te pietate, 19 In te magnificenza, in te s' aduna e di bontate. Quantunque in creatura Or questi, che dall' infima lacuna 22 Deir universe infin qui ha vedute Le vite spiritaliad una ad una, Supplica a te per grazia di virtute 25 Tanto che possa con levarsi gli occhi 1' ultima salute. Piu alto verso Ed io, che mai per mio veder non 28 arsi Piu ch' io fo per lo suo, tutt'i miei preghi Ti porgo, e prego che non sieno scarsi,
tua
"

Consider

the initialsof the firstlines of these five terzine:

designation of God a already seen, The symbolism of Christ which identifiesGod with the sun. in the womb symbolism, of the divine mother corresponds, in sun to the sun at night in the womb of the earth. That
ELios

is, as

we

have

the sun god, is to be understood as in this zine nocturnal phase is expressed by the acrostic on the five terimmediately following:

the

ELios

here,

as

Perche tu ogni nube gli disleghi 31 Di sua mortalita coi preghi tuoi, Si che il sommo piacer gli si dispieghi. Ancor ti prego, Regina che puoi 34 Cid che tu vuoli, che conservi sani, Dopo tanto veder, gli affettisuoi.

350

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Vinca tua guardia i movimenti umani: Vedi Beatrice con quanti Beati Per li miei preghi ti chiudon le mani.' Gli occhi da Dio diletti e venerati, Fissi neir orator, dimostraro ne i Quanto devoti preghi le son grati. lume si drizzaro, Indi air eterno Nel qual non si de' creder che s' inii Per creatura 1' occhio tanto chiaro.

37

40

43

the following marginal of these terzine:

Consider

letters

on

the first lines

Read: The

pervigilia

that is enclosed in the vigil is for the rising of the sun womb surrect of the night; it corresponds to the vigil for the rein Christ, Divina the allegory of the and, of Commedia^ has been to the mystic rebirth of Dante, who symbolized, in the acrostic on the opening lines of the canto, in the womb as of the divine mother.
elios; acrostics: sei quivi, dante; it is be frames PERVIGILIA, to appear, and noted, on of five terzine. Their identity of structure and their consonance of far intentional to meaning go proving their character. In view of the foregoing cryptograms indicate which Dante in the womb, let us return as to the consideranow tion

The

three consecutive

in connecice, of the cryptographic device: be tion The dille. with the thrice repeated word: passage in which the device appears reads as follows, Par. vii. 10-15:
. . .

lo dubitava, e dicea: 'Dille, dille,' Fra me, 'dille,'diceva, 'alia mia donna Che mi disseta con le dolci stille'; Ma quella riverenza che s'indonna Di tutto me, pur per be e per ice. Mi richinava come I'uom ch'assonna.

10

13

BEATRICE

351

the double meanings play on of the words in this passage is extraordinary. I wish to call attention particularly to the use of the word indonna^ line 13; the punning idea of this word
as

The

"in lady"
AMOR

suggests
Beatrice.

showing repeated Dille^ lines 10 and 11. is, of course: "Tell her." But the letters

in

the meaning gram of the cryptoNotice, also, the thrice The literalmeaning of 'Dille
dil,
as we

have

are one already seen, of the cryptographic guises for the name dille, dille of Dante; so that dille, may be taken to mean: "To her, Dante; to her, Dante; There is to her, Dante."

certainly in this cryptic iteration the suggestion of the act by means its mother's womb. of which the child enters In the Christian symbolism Ages Love of the Middle signifiessometimes, as in the passage just quoted from the prayer to the Virgin Mary, the divine son; and sometimes, as in the inscription over the gate of Hell, the Holy Ghost. The resemblance of Beatrice to Love, which Dante speaks of in the Vita Nuova^ indicates, therefore, that she resembles Love in the sense that she reproduces Love, as the divine child, in her womb; and also that she is to be identified with Love as the Holy Ghost, the divine mother in the Trinity. It is now the word possible to understand why Dante uses pur^ or "merely," in speaking of
quella riverenza che s'indonna Di
tutto
me,

pur

per

be

per

ice.

In the form of her name be as sented and ice Beatrice is reprebeing as yet without the divine child in her womb. as Per BE e per ICE, therefore, she is represented as still less reverence than virginal,and accordingly as commanding

in the fullform of the name, Beatrice, which represents her as having the divine child in her womb and therefore as being now the divine mother. This interpretation of Bice as the virginal and Beatrice as is supported by the use which the maternal form of the name Dante makes of the two forms in the Vita Nuova. The only in the verse allusion to Beatrice by name of the Vita Nuova that may be supposed to have been written before the time

352

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

have been assigned for her death is in the Bice to which we referring, Vita Nuova^ xxiv. After her death she is consistently Beatrice. called The

character of Beatrice is expressed symmaternal bolically by her death and consequent to Heaven; ascent her death symbolizes the act by which Dante is reunited to Heaven with her, as in incest, and her ascent symbolizes by Dante is borne God. The form to or act the which reborn, Beatrice is therefore applied to her after her death as to
the mother, whereas the form her death as to the virgin who into her womb. That Bice is applied to her before has not yet received the son

by the ascent of Beatrice to Paradise is the means which Dante is reborn has already been suggested. In Dante's sleep with Beatrice in the Terrestrial Paradise is symbolized
the sexual union by which Dante, as the son, begets himself in his own anew mother in order to be reborn. By this act he is to be understood as entering her womb, and it is in her womb in their ascent to that Beatrice carries Dante Paradise. Paradise and the womb There is nothing and the same.

of fact,one unusual in this phantasy of returning to the womb of the mother as to the ideal state of in myth, religion, and dream. For existence; it is common the symbolism of Dante's sleep with Beatrice, see pp. 380-7. That Dante is indeed to be considered as in the of womb Beatrice in his ascent is frequently implied by to Paradise double entente. A striking instance of such a double meaning is to be seen in the words of Beatrice to Dante, Par. i.88-89:
are, as a

matter

Tu stesso ti fai grosso falso immaginar. Col

These

words

occur

a just

few lines before Beatrice,

as

I have

already pointed out, is likened to a mother turning toward her delirious child Dante. The v^ox^ grosso has, of course two

meanings

in Italian; it means, first,"dull" "stupid;" or and, second, it means pregnant." The double meaning of the be developed, follows: therefore, as whole passage may Beatrice and Dante are ascending together to Paradise, and
"

BEATRICE Dante,

353

on that he is still earth, is confused by the ascent the novel experiences which produces. When Beatrice, therefore, says in effect to Dante that in his false

who

imagines

he conjecture

is making himselfpregnant, she is virtually implying that what he is really doing is making her pregnant. The passage. Par. i. 88-90, which contains the phrase just quoted,

is as

follows:
E comincio: Tu stesso ti fai grosso Col falso immaginar, si che non vedi Cio che vedresti, se l' avessi scosso.

Consider the following marginal lettersof these three lines:


88
89 90
E CO c

Read: The

ecco

intention of this acrostic may be to call attention to in the words: tu stesso tifai grosso. the double meaning A similar suggestion of Dante's union with Beatrice will appear, I believe, in the firstseventy lines o( Par. xviii,if the In this reader is alert to the possible double meanings. passage Cacciaguida, as the ancestor of Dante, is obviously a father image, and when it is said of him that
Gia si godeva solo del Quellospecchio beato,
suo

verbo

as a the word verl^o, word used like Logos for Christ, may well be understood to refer not merely to what Cacciaguida has been saying, but also to his Christ-like son. The specchio

beato^

as

which In the Hght


unnatural

in the three mirrors in Par. ii,is a father image, reinforces the father imagery of Cacciaguida himself.
to

trinity, and meaning

it is not of this symbolism of father and son, the family think of Beatrice as completing as with child, in view of the possible double
io sono disgrava.
to

of her words:
Presso
a

colui ch'ogni
a

torto

Disgrava,

as

disburdens, has

possible reference

delivery

354

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

in childbirth. The idea words, Hnes 65-66:

seems

to

be adumbrated

again in the

bianca donna, quando 11 volto il carco. Suo si discarchi di vergogna

The
meaning

importance
seems

contains. The

of the passage as containing to be suggested by the cryptograms firstfour terzine of the canto are:

double which it

Gia si godeva solo del suo verbo Quellospecchio beato, ed io gustava Lo mio, temprando col dolce 1' acerbo; E quella Donna ch' a Dio mi menava, Disse: 'Muta pensier, pensa ch' io sono Presso a colui ch' ogni torto disgrava.' Io mi rivolsi all'amoroso suono Del mio conforto, e quale io allor vidi Negli occhi santi amor, qui l' abbandono; Non perch' io pur del mio parlar diffidi, Ma per la mente puo reddire che non la guidi. Sopra se tanto, s' non altri

10

first the following marginal lines of these four terzine:


I

Consider

letters of the first

G E 10 N

7
10

Read:

genio

Genio suggests ingegno, a word which Dante often hint of the presence of a cryptogram. In the same the following passage appears

uses

as

interior

sequence:
2 3 4 5
quello lo mio
e

specchio tempranDo

bEato col
ch'a

io gustava ed dolce 1' acerbo dio


mi
menava sono

quella disse muTA


e

doNna

pensier
d

pensa

ch'io

Read
TA

of

muta^

2; of i^eato, 5: DANTE.

of temprando^ 3; firstn of donna^ 4;

BEATRICE

355

where, as I passage in the Divina Commedia in the open text as Bella, believe, Beatrice is actually named the Christian name of Dante's mother. The passage to which I refer is to be found in Inf.ii.52-54, where Virgil is tellng There
is
a

Dante

how

he

was

persuaded

to

come

to

the aid of Dante.

Virgil says:
lo era tra color che son sospesi, beata e bella, E donna mi chiamo io la richiesi. Tal che di comandare

In this,the firstallusion to Beatrice in the Divina Commedia, Beatrice it is highly significant that Beatrice is not named as be understood, and that the allusion to her as beata e bella may is far as the structure as concerned, as of the sentence her in a punning use of the proper name actually naming Bella. Consider the interior sequences in the passage that includes the foregoing lines:
50 51
52 53 54 dirotti nel io
e

perch

'io

punto primo tra era coloR donna Mi chiamo


di

venni Di che
son che BEata

quEl
mi

te

che delve

intesi

sospesi bella richiesi LA

tAl

55

che lucevan

comandare

io

La piu

gli
d

occhi

suoi
r

che

stella

of quel, 50; o{ tal, 54: MADRE.


e

Read

of di, 51 ;

of color, 52;

of mi, ^y,

Read The

be

oi beata, 53;

of /^, 54;

la,

55:

bella.

interior sequences in the rest of this canto repeat the idea of mother. The following sequences are in lines 68-75:
68
69
e con

I'aiuta
io
son

70 71 72 73 74 75

vEgno
amoR quanDo di te

mestieri ne siA si ch'io ti beaTRice che loco tornar di ove


cio
mi
mosse
saro

ch'e

al

sue

caMpare

consolata faccio andare disio parlare signor lui a

che dinanzi

mi

fa al

mio

Mi

lodero

sovente
e

tacette

Allora

poi

comincia'io

3S6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read:
vegno^ 71

of campare^ 68;

69; of j/Vz,

tr

of beatrice^ 70;

of

: matre.

Read:

o{ vegno^ 71;

of

amor,

72;

of qtiando, 73;

of mi,

74; firstA of allora, 75:

madre.

Note Note

that the

two

sequences

key

on

the

of vegno, 71.

the initialsof the lines of the terzina, 70-72:


70
I

71 72

V
A

Read:

via

Beatrice is the "way"


The
91

from

one

lifeto another.
is in lines 91-94:
sua
raerce

following interior sequence


io che
ne

son

fatta

Da

dio

tale tange m'assale


si

92 93 94

la vostRa non raiseria d'esto incendio fiamMA E gentil


r

mi
non

donna

nel

ciel

che
ma

compiange

Read
e,

from
madre.

of da, 91;

of

vostra,

92;

of

fiamma,

93;

94:

The
101 102 103 104

following interior sequences


si
mosse e venne con

are

in lines 101-105:
era

Mi che sedea disse beATricE che che


d non

loco Dov'io al I'ANTica rachele dio di loda vara


quel dElla che

soccoRri per
ant

fame

tanto
schiera

105

uscio
loi;

te

volgare
e

Read

of dov

of antica, 102; last

of beatrice,

103: DANTE. This signature begins significantly in dov io era and ends in Beatrice, and the other sequence passes through the same word, Beatrice. Read m of mi, 102; at of beatrice, 103; first r of soccorri, 104;
e

of della, 105: There

matre.

use

is in the Vita Nuova another curious instance of the of Bella which can only be properly understood, I believe,

BEATRICE

357

as

punning Vita Nuova^

personification^

of Dante's mother. In reference to the name in a highly elaborate discussion of Uterary xxv, discussion, moreover, a which immediately
use

of cites a number of Bice, Dante He in the classicalpoets. says: examples of personification "That the poets have thus spoken as has been said, appears from Virgil, who says that Juno, that is,a goddess hostile to in the the Trojans, spoke to ^olus, lord of the winds, here, here to Mole, namque first of the ^neid: tibi,etc. (iEolus, here: Tuus, thee, and that this lord replied to her, follows the cryptic

etc.);

0 regina, quid optes^etc. (Thine,O queen, what thou askest, In poet the inanimate thing speaks to the etc.). this same animate thing, in the third of the iEneid, here: Dardanidoe In Lucan duri, etc. (Ye hardy Trojans, the animate

etc.).

Roma, tamen the inanimate, here: Multum, thing speaks O Rome, to civic debes civilibus armis (Much dost thou owe, to knowledge as Horace a man speaks to his own arms). In Horace, another person; and not only are they the words of but he says them as the interpreter of the good Homer, here, in his book on Poetry: Die mihi, Musa, virum, etc. (Tellto In Ovid, Love speaks as if he Muse, of the man, me, etc.). human a were person, at the beginning of the book of the for Love, here: Bella mihi, video, bella parantur, ait Remedy
to

(Wars against
The
"wars,"

preparing, he says).* Bella, Latin for use of Bella to which I referred is the in the quotation from Ovid. But before proceeding to
me,

see,

wars

are

explain the cryptic use opinion that the whole


seems,

of Bella here, I wish to express my passage is not at all as simple as it and that all the quotations are intended to convey a

double meaning. The cryptic character of the passage, indeed, is distinctly following it. immediately in the words hinted by Dante He says: be clear to any one who "And by this the matter may now is perplexed
part of this my littlebook. in order that no uncultured person may derive any "And over-boldness herefrom, I say, that the poets do not speak

in any

Norton's

translation.

358

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

thus without reason, and that those who rhyme ought not to for what they say; reason speak thus, unless they have some him who should rhyme since it would be a great disgrace to anything under the garb of a figure or of rhetorical coloring, if afterward, being asked, he should not be able to denude

of this garb, in such wise that they should have a true meaning. And my firstfriend and I are well acquainted foolishly."* with those who rhyme thus This concluding paragraph should be taken to heart; it
his words expresses as clearly as possible the cryptic character of Dante's imagery. It ought to be obvious, indeed, from the insistence with which he dwells on the meaning which the imiagery covers, that the reader is expressly directed to look

for

hidden meaning. There is another passage in the Vita Nuova analogous reference to a hidden meaning;
a

what with a someI will quote it

indication of the emphasis with which is proclaimed by Dante. the existence of a hidden meaning Donna^ cK avete At the close of his comment on the canzone, Vita Nuova, xix, Dante says: intelletto d'amove. "I say, indeed, that to make the meaning of this canzone
here,
en

passant^

as

an

be needful clear it might divisions; but nevertheless it will


more

to
not

more employ displease me

minute that he

who

wit enough to understand it by already made should let it alone; for surely its meaning to too many even communicated has
not

means

of those I fear I have

divisions which have been many should hear it.* Prepared


now

made,

through these if it should happen that

with a suspicion of the duplicity of the language of the Vita Nuova, let us return to the examples of from Dante the classical poets. quotes personification which intended These quotations, apparently as examples merely of personification, are really intended to illustrate the hidden
meaning of the Vita Nuova. The clues to the hidden meaning context of the which they illustrate appear in the unquoted passages of which Dante quotes merely the beginnings. As in deciphering the cryptic use of Bice and oi per BE e per ICE
*

Norton's

translation.

BEATRICE

359

it

consider the omitted letters, so here it will be necessary to consider the omitted words. But before considering the passages in their entirety, let
was

necessary

to

examine what they present in the briefer form in which they appear in the text of the Vita Nuova. Notice, first,the is the figure of reference to Juno,who, as the wife of Jupiter, the divine mother. Notice, next, in the quotation from Lucan,
us

the Roma^ symbol


second,

the which, as has been developed earlier,is,first, in Christian divine the church, and, mother of the for Amor^ a the very word palindrome which

appears in connection with the cryptic use of Bice and per Be e per Ice. In connection with the two appearances of the divine mother in Juno and Roma the Bella of the quotation from Ovid may be taken as at least a hint that Bella is here used in a double sense Dante. That it is a appears from
suggest the name hint indeed, and a
to

of the mother of very strong hint,

the fact that in the passage to which Dante Dardanidae duri^ there the refers, beginning appears "Seek out your ancient mother." This command command: is uttered
regard to is as follows:

the oracle whom his future. The passage, had

by

has consulted in ^^neas as in the words of iEneas,

I thus said, when suddenly all seemed to tremble, both the temple itself,and the laurel of the god; the whole mountain quaked around, and the sanctuary being In humble reverence we exposed to view, the tripod moaned. fall to the ground, and a voice reaches our Ye hardy ears: land which first produced the same you of Dardanus, from your forefather's stock shall receive you in its fertile bosom after allyour dangers; search out your ancient mother. There the family of over every coast, and i^neas shall rule his children's children, and they who from them shall
sons
*

"Scarcely

sprmg. In connection with the command here expressed to "search out this passage distinctly develops your ancient mother," by a return to the the idea of rebirth as to be accomplished bosom fruitful
*Mneid,

of that mother.
translation.

The

means

of rebirth here

iii. Davidson's

36o

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

suggested is thus, incestuous. The

as

we

have

seen

it

to

be

elsewhere,

quoted is the third referred passage which I have just to by Dante; the two preceding it prepare for the rebirth precision. The first passage to symbolism with remarkable which Dante refers reads as follows: hath given "i^olus (for the sire of gods and the king of men thee power both to smooth the waves, and raise them with Sea, transby detested a race me the wind), porting sails the Tuscan Ilium, and its conquered gods, into Italy. Strike force

into thy winds, everset different ways, and strew

and sink the ships; or drive them the ocean with carcasses."* It appears from this passage that the divine mother is hostile to the Trojans, be beings, are to who, as human considered as her sons; and that in order to wreak her wrath she appeals to yEolus as representing the power There thus appears the family triad of of the divine father. father, mother, and son, in which the son is the of the
on

her

sons,

hostilityof the father and the mother. This relation is exactly appropriate to the son as incestuous in relation to his father and his mother as resisting the incestuous act.
TuuSy references, beginning 0 regina, quid optes,is the reply of iEolus to Juno,in which he the power of the mother as supreme. acknowledges Now the hostility of Juno as the divine mother is offset in the ^neid by the benignity of Venus, who, as the mother

object

The

second

of

Dante's

acter of iEneas, is to be considered as completing the dual charThe of the dual mother symbolism of the divine mother. is elaborated in the ^neid to a degree that has not, I believe, been sufficientlyappreciated; Juno and Venus, as representing

and aspects of the divine mother of the Trojans, have their counterparts particularly of the mother of iEneas, from which in Crete, as the malignant the motherland Italy, benignant as are the Trojans motherland expelled and the
two

into which they that the theme


return

to

received. Nor is it sufficientlyrecognized is rebirth involving, in the of the Mneid account the ancient mother, incest. It is on of
are

*JEneid, i.

Davidson's

translation.

BEATRICE

361

Iliad in the Homeric this theme, which is also to be seen takes Virgil as his poetic father; and Odyssey^ that Dante for Virgil works out the theme of rebirth with a conscious himself. The only by Dante elaboration that is exceeded to the conthe two ception analogy between poems extends even in the jEneid^ as in the Divina Commedia^ of the infernal regions as the womb. This idea is expressly implied, in his descent to the infernal indeed, by the fact that iEneas, regions, sees there the shades of his descendants waiting for their birth. The two mothers in the JEneid^ as in the Divina first,the mother who be understood Commedia, as, to are

who expels the child as in birth, and, second, the mother incest. in her into back as the act of receives the child womb We have now the firstthree of Dante's classical examined instances of personification, and find that they imply, with
scarcely be considered as accidental, the media. mother symbolism of the Vita Nuova and the Divina ComThe fourth of his references is to Lucan, a reference the passage is appropriate which includes the cryptic Roma; to as ascent himself in his imagined applied to Dante
an

aptness that

can

Paradise. The "Still, much

passage reads as does Rome owe

follows:
to

the

arms

of her citizens,

have come to pass. since for thy (Nero) sake these events "When, thou shalt late repair thy allotted duties fulfilled, to the stars, the palace of heaven, preferred by thee, shall it please thee to whether receive thee, the skies rejoicing; wield the sceptre, or whether to ascend the flaming chariot

of Phoebus, in no way

and with thy wandering fire to survey the earth, by every at the change of the sun; alarmed divinity will it be yielded to thee and to thy free choice will leave it what god thou shalt wish to be, where to nature

establish the sovereignty of the world."* Dante's next reference is to a description of "the man"; this description islikewise appropriate to himself (appropriate "many both as to his wanderings men among and cities" his as to of mingling "feigned allegorical method and also The passage in Ars Poetica reads as follows: with true").
*Pharsalia, i.
Riley's translation, London, 1853.

362

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the man my muse, who, after the time of and cities of the destruction of Troy, surveyed the manners He meditates not to produce smoke from a flash, men,' many fire,that he may thence bring forth but out of smoke to elicit his instances of the marvelous with beauty, such as Antime,

'"Sing

for

Nor does he phates, Scylla, the Cyclops, and Charybdis. from Meleager's death, nor trace the date Diomede's return from Leda's eggs: he always hastens rise of the Trojanwar to the event: on and hurries away his reader into the midst of interesting circumstances, no otherwise than as if they and what he despairs of, as to receiving already known; forms a polish from his touch, he omits; and in such a manner his fictions,so intermingles the false with the true, that the the end middle is not inconsistent with the beginning, nor
were

with the middle."* The last of the classical allusions that Dante makes, the in which appears the Bella^ is again appropriate to Dante one in its description of t\\Q.war love, which is expressed indeed

of

in the Divina incest. Notice


mother.

The God

resulting from the symbolized again, in this passage, the reference to the Amoris reads as follows: passage in Remedium Commedia
as

of this of Love had read the titleand the name is being treatise when he said, 'War, I see, war meditated Cupid, Forbear, to accuse me.' thy poet of such a against crime; me, who so oft have borne thy standards with thee by whom, for my leader. I am no son of Tydeus, wounded "The
thy mother returned into the yielding air with of Mars. Other youths full oft grow cool; I have doing even and shouldst thou enquire what I am stillin love."t The last sentence recalls the lines, Purg. describes himself:
ever

the steeds loved; I


am

now,

xxiv. 52-54, in

which

Dante

lo mi son un che, quando Amor noto, ed a quel modo mi spira, Che ditta dentro, vo significando.
*Smart's translation.

tRiley'stranslation.

BEATRICE

363

of the passages cited by Dante as examples of personification brings to light such astonishing analogies with the hidden meaning of the Vita Nuova to as and the Divina Commedia suggest that the
at

The

foregoing glance

the

sense

for referring to them is only another ostensible reason della veritade. This suspicion is reinforced by the schermo hint he gives of a hidden meaning in his discussion, quoted
above, of the necessity of having imagery be denuded. The may

from which the meaning whole discussion, with its


a

elaboration of mother symbolism, Bella may have been intended as


name

suggests
a

that the Latin

of Dante's mother. The in a passage so aptly describing after the reference to the man Dante himself makes in my the conjecture, opinion, more more than probable than probable especially in view of the fact that the reader, in the suppressed words of the quotation,
"

punning reference to the mention of Bella immediately

is directed

to

seek

out

"the

ancient mother."

In fact, the

seem of the passage must curiously in the general simple air of the out of place and unmotivated Vita Nuova be understood, as Dante himself unless it may hints, as having some such hidden meaning.

scholastic elaboration

LIA
There is stillanother

AND

MATELDA

what I regard as a Dante's description of the dream

instance in the Divina Commedia punning use oi bella for Bella; it occurs in which
he
sees

of in

Lia, Purg.

xxvii. 97-99:
Giovane
Donna
e

Bella in sogno
per

Cogliendo

vedere andar fiori.

una

mi parea landa

In the form of Lia Dante sees his mother Bella in a dream. But Lia is to be understood as one of the two aspects of his mother; Lia refers.This dream of the other aspect is Rachel, to whom Lia and Rachel is a prophetic dream, in that it foreshadows

the

two

maternal

figures of Matelda

and

Beatrice

whom

364

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

in the Terrestrial Paradise. awakening, Matelda and Beatrice are likewise to be considered, as I shall show, as representing the mother as a duality. form of the mother appears That Lia is indeed a dream from the cryptogram in the passage in which she speaks. For is
to
see,
on

Dante

nized, who, as is generally recogLia in the corresponds in the Terrestrial Paradise to is indicated with dream. The maternal character of Matelda the greatest possible precision. In the first place, the very figure in which the word a sight of her suggests to Dante
turn

this cryptogram Let us now

see

to

page 409. Matelda,

madre

occurs,

Purg. xxviii. 49-51:


Tu mi fai rimembrar, dove e qual Proserpina nel tempo che perdette La madre lei,ed ella priniavera.
era

Moreover, Dante,
was

character Dante makes

to suggests the mother goddess of the spring. The maternal is stillfurther indicated by the comparison which

Proserpina,

whom

Matelda

here

of her with Venus,

Purg. xxviii. 64-66:

lume Non credo che splendesse tanto Sotto le ciglia a Venere trafitta Dal figlio,fuor di tutto suo costume.
as the divine comparison of Matelda with Venus for the fact of the incestuous mother is further remarkable relation indicated as existing between Venus and her son Cupid, by whom fuor di tutto suo she is here said to be trafitta

This

the his Cupid in own act mother. of wounding Another, and crucial, indication of the maternal character of Matelda is the fact that it is she who bathes Dante in the This bathing, like the sacrament mystic stream. of baptism,
costume.

There

is only

one

interpretation

to

be put upon

being waters symbolizes birth, the symbol of the immersing borrowed from the amniotic fluid in which the child is born. There is no lack of cryptographic proof of the maternal in the character of Matelda. Following are the proper names passage which describes Matelda, Purg. xxviii. 64-75:

BEATRICE

365

VENERE ELLESPONTO
XERSE

LEANDRO SESTO ABIDO

is

not

an

Italian letter. As

sign of the

cross

it may

have already seen, be considered, as we as equivalent to Substitute, ingly, the letter t, another sign of the cross. accordin for the initial x of xerse, T and consider all the letters: initial following names the proper and contiguous
V EL
T

LEA

S ABI

Read:

bella

vista

Following

are

the four terzine which

include the speech of

Matelda:
'Vol siete nuovi, e forse perch' io rido,' Comincio ella, 'in questo loco eletto Air umana natura per suo nido, Maravigliando tienvi alcun sospetto; Ma luce rende il salmo Delectasti, intelletto. Che puote disnebbiar vostro E tu che sei dinanzi, e mi pregasti, Di' s' altro vuoi udir, ch' io venni presta Ad ogni tua question, tanto che basti.' 'e il suon della foresta, 'L' acqua,' diss' io, Impugna dentro a me novella fede Di cosa, ch' io udi' contraria a questa.'

76

79

82

85

Consider marginal

the firstlines of the four terzine the following letters:


on

366

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

76
79
82

vol
MAR

E LA

85

Read: The
stream

velo

maria

passage which describes Dante's baptism in the mystic is as follows, Purg. xxxi. at the hands of Matelda

97-111:

Quando

fui presso alia beata riva, Asperges vie si dolcemente udissi, Ch' io nol so rimembrar, non ch' io lo scriva. La bella Donna nelle braccia aprissi, Abbracciommi la testa, e mi sommerse, Ove convenne io V inghiottissi; acqua ch' Indi mi tolse, e bagnato mi ofFerse Dentro alia danza delle quattro belle, E ciascuna del braccio mi coperse. 'Noi sem qui ninfe, e nel ciel semo stelle; Pria che Beatrice discendesse al mondo, Fummo ordinate a lei per sue ancelle. Menrenti agli occhi suoi; ma nel giocondo Lume dentro i tuoi e aguzzeranno ch' Le tre di la, che miran piu profondo.'

97

100

103

106

109

the following marginal these five terzine:

Consider

lettersof the firstlines of

For the cryptogram


98,
see

on

the Latin words

Asperges

me,

line

page

284.

Following are interior sequences in the lines describing the firstappearance of Matelda, Purg. xxviii.39-43, 48-51:

BEATRICE
39
Maraviglia Donna

367
pensare si gia fior

per
una

tutt'altro

40 41
42 43

cantAndo

ed

soletta che iscegliendo tutta ch'ai la

da

fiore

ond'ERa pinta deh donna BELLA

sua

raggi

via d'amore

Read
second
BELLA. a

in

vertical line m
41;

of maraviglia^ 39;
er
or

of donna^ 40;
43:
madre

of cantandoy

era^

42;

bella,

Maraviglia^
VAGLI
MARIA.

as

we

have

already noted, is

an

anagram

for

48
49 50

intenDEr ch'io possa tu mi fai dove rimembRar tempo nel che proserpinA

tanto

che
e

tu
era

canti

qual

perdette

51

la

Madre

lei

ed

ella

primavera
a

of irjtender, 48; second m proserpina, 50; 51 : madre. of madre


de
^

Read

of rimemhrar^

49;

of

that this word begins with the initial of the word through Proserpina^ a recognized madre in the text and runs mother image. Various attempts have been made identify Matelda to
In view of the name. with historic persons bearing the same I regard these unmistakable mother symbolism of Matelda identificationsas beside the mark. I suggest, on the contrary, I have tried to Matelda, just as that Dante chose the name Beatrice, for cryptographic show that he chose the name The name is composed Matelda reasons. of letters derived from mater ^ Bella, and Dante in the following order:
MAT EL DA

Note

from from
from

MATER BELLA
DANTE

in association with appears in the Vita Nuova Beatrice a figure which, as I think, corresponds to Matelda. in the sonnet, Vita This figure is Giovanna, mentioned Nuova J xxiv, with Bice;

There

lo vidi

monna

Vanna

monna

Bice.

368

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

In the prose description of his meeting the meeting which is recorded also in the sonnet,
monna

two

ladies, the
says of

Dante

that she/w gia molto donna di questo mio primo di questa donna era Giovanna^ salvo che per la amico. E lo nome Vera beltade^ secondo sua nome cli altri crede, imposto
PRIMAVERA:

Vanna

chiamata. E appresso lei guardandOy donne andaro presso di vidi venire la mirabile Beatrice, ^ueste Funa appresso V altra^ e parvemi che Amore me cosi mi parlasse
e

cost

era

nel

core^

dicesse: ^uella prima


d'oggi; che
'

questa

venuta

Primavera solo per nominata io mossi lo impositore del nome a


e

PRIMJFERJ,' cost: chiamarla cioe 'prima Beatrice si mostrera dopo Fimaginazione del

verra,' suo

lo dtc he

fedele.
mystic,
asso-

ciation be to of the two explained, it by understanding seems to me, them to represent together the dual character of the mother. On this hypothesis GioMatelda; vanna to as a must and there are, correspond matter of fact, two verbal coincidences which support the ladies, which is best hypothesis. In the dream of Lia, who, as is generally recognized, is the dream form of Matelda, Lia is spoken of as giovane e bella. I have already suggested that bella is a
punning
use

There

is indicated here

an

intimate,

even

punning pun is no

for Bella; and I likewise suggest that giovane is a reference to the Giovanna of the Vita Nuova. This worse, at any rate, than Dante's own of primavera
VERRA.

for PRIMA Giovanna

identification thus suggested ot is suggested again in the words in and Matelda which Dante, addressing Matelda, says that she reminds him Proserpina lost primavera. of Proserpina at the time when

The

And

there is another
O madre

suggestion in Par. xii.80, in the words:


sua

veramente

Giovanna.

identification of Giovanna of the two with one ment there remains to explain Dante's statemothers is correct, that she was gia molto donna di questo mio primo amico. Now Guido Cavalcanti; but as the first friend of Dante was the meaning of nothing in allegory is ever simple, Dante's

If my

"first friend," in the temporal sense of the word, may be his father. That the father is indeed understood to

also be
a

friend

BEATRICE

369

himself in the Vita Nuova when he says, in connection with the death of the father of Beatrice, that "there is no friendship so intimate as that of a good father with a good child, and of a good child with a good father." With the primo aynico, then, understood as having a double reference to Guido Cavalcanti and to Dante's father, there is
nothing inconsistent in regarding Giovanna, the lady of this friend, as representing, under one of the two maternal Dante. I aspects, the mother of conclude, therefore, with the the dual suggestion that justas in the Divina Commedia character of Bella is represented by Beatrice and Matelda, it is represented in the Vita Nuova by Beatrice and Giovanna, and in the Convivio by Beatrice and Lucia.

is declared by Dante

LA
As

VITA

NUOVA

referred so constantly in the preceding pages to the Vita Nuova, I will record here my conviction that the Vita Nuova was conceived and written as an integral part of
detail of the Vita Nuova consistent with the plan of the Divina Commedia; impossible to the consistency, indeed, is so close that it seems the Divina that is not accept
Commedia.
a

I have

There

is not

the orthodox opinion that the relation of the two less accidental. I have not or the space to works is more develop here the essential unity of conception which the Vita Nuova and the Divina Commedia reveal. For cryptographic

of this unity see pp. 420-1. I will confine myself at on the first sonnet present to a brief comment of the Vita Nuova; in this sonnet the complete conception not only of is expressed but of the Divina Commedia the Vita Nuova itself
evidence
in parvo.

media, of the Vita Nuova, like the Divina Compurports to be the record of a dream; and this dream has for Dante, like the prophetic dreams of the Bible and hidden meaning. The a again like the Divina Commedia, is addressed to friends of Dante's; it describes the sonnet

The

first sonnet

dream

to

them

and asks them

to

interpret it.In

none

of the

370

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the given correctly. Lo


responses
rion

to

sonnet,
verace

however,
giudhio

the interpretation del detto sogno^ says Dante,


was

e ora veduto allora per alcuno^ ma alii manijestissimo last is be to statement taken piu semplici.How seriously this be imagined from Dante's reference, Purg. xvi. 88, to may r anima semplicetta^che sa nulla.

fu

prose account of the dream is as follows: "And a came sweet thinking of her (Beatrice), slumber overin which a marvelous me, vision appeared to me; for I saw in my chamber a cloud of the color of fire, methought within which I discerned a shape of a Lord of aspect fearful The
whoso might look upon him; and he seemed to me so joyful within himself that a marvelous thing it was; and in his words few, he said many a save not, things which I understood tuns (I am these: Ego Dominus among which I understood
to

person sleeping, be lightly in a that she seemed wrapped naked, save I, regarding very intently, recognized crimson cloth; whom as the lady of the salutation, who had the day before deigned And in one of his hands it seemed to me he held to salute me.

thy

Lord). In his

arms

meseemed
to

to

see

me

to

that he thing which was all on fire; and it seemed to me (Behold thy heart).And said these words: Vide cor tuum he awoke when he had remained awhile, it seemed to me that her that slept; and he so far prevailed upon her with his craft burning in his hand; her eat that thing which was as to make but a short while and she ate it timidly. After this it was
a

bitter lament; and as he wept he gathered up this lady in his arms, and with her it seemed I feltsuch to me that he went away toward heaven. Whereat slumber could not endure it, great anguish, that my weak before his joy turned into
most

and I awoke." The obvious interpretation of this dream, in the light of the a death of Beatrice, is that it was prophetic subsequent But foreshadowed. dream in which the death of Beatrice was is also the it ought to be equally obvious that this dream but
was

broken,

equivalent of the dream which Dante imagines himself


exact

of the Divina Commedia^ being carried to heaven as

in

by

*Norton's

translation.

BEATRICE

371

Beatrice. In the dream of the Fita Nuova the "Lord of aspect fearful," or Dominus^ is the equivalent of God in the Divina Co7nmedia; the lady in his arms the equivalent of Beatrice;

himself. the heart of Dante the equivalent of Dante lady by eating the heart and then being carried to Heaven is analogous, in the Divina Commedia^ to Beatrice In myth and dream, in her womb. carrying Dante to Heaven
and The nation; a of eating is commonly symbol of the act of impregthis symbolism survives in various stories, as in the Bible and in Boccaccio, of impregnation through eating the the
act

tween analogies which I have here suggested bethe dream and the Divina Cornof the Vita Nuova media are far,however, from giving a complete interpretation of the dream. Let us examine, therefore, for further light, the provenance of the dramatic situation which the dream in the presents. This situation, as Scherillo has shown conclusively, is derived from a popular troubador story of a feudal lord who discovers the infidelityof his wife with one of his liegemen (Italian, fedeli; old French, feaux; Provengal In revenge the lord kills the paramour fiel). of his wife, cuts of this story; indicate seems the troubador provenance of his dream in his reference. Vita Nuova^ iii. 68, to trovatoriy and in his use oi fedeli^ line 72, as expressing the relationship of the trovatori to their feudal lord. Now in appropriating from this gruesome love, tale of illicit indeed, he
to

mandrake. The obvious

Vita Nuova

his heart, and compels his wife to eat hardly be imagined have been ignorant to
out

it. Dante

can

jealousy, and
Dante
can

murder the situation presented as portraying only be understood


been

in his dream,
Beatrice
as a

married woman who has She is portrayed, moreover,


one

of her husband's relation to their standing, in the feudal system, in a filial lord. I have already spoken of the cult of the mother as the conventions ventions of chivalric love; the conunderlying love instance, in the present appear of chivalric

unfaithful to her husband. having been unfaithful with as be understood as fedeli, who must

where

the lover of the married

lady

stands

in

relation

3/-i

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

relation both to her and to her husband. analogous to the filial This filial relationship is immediately intensifiedin the dream by the fact that the "Lord of aspect fearful" is conceived as
Dante. love Along with the illicit godlike by the human thus expresses as existing between Dante which the dream and Beatrice it is further implied, therefore, that this illicit
moreover, character. Important, in connection with the sin of the two lovers is to remember the punishment meted out for it. Since, as I pointed out above, the eating of the heart symbolizes the sexual act, the in the Inferno^ in all the punishments is a as punishment,

love

has

an

incestuous

repetitionofthe sin itself. The firstdream of the Vita shown that it does, the dream be interpreted, therefore, as illicit love between Dante and

paralleling, as I have is to of the Divina Commedia, referring to the existence of Beatrice, who is portrayed as

Nuova,

married to the "Lord of aspect fearful."This "Lord of aspect fearful," moreover, is to be understood as a father to Dante, for in Fita Nuova, xii,he addresses Dante as "my The son."

implication, therefore, of the maternal character of Beatrice in the dream is not to be avoided. Now the essential situation in the dream, as 1 have thus defined it,is the essential situation in the whole of the Vita
apparent innocence of the tone of the Vita Nuova has concealed the fact that it tellsa story of incestuous love, a story jealousy, and murder of father and son as rivals for
"

Nuova. The

the possession of the mother. Beatrice is the mother; the father is God, or Love, who desires to have Beatrice with him in Heaven; the son isDante, who desires to have Beatrice with him on earth. In these conflicting desires is represented a jealousy the jealousy of the father and the son, which its in Beatrice, death as the revenge wreaks and, of ized symbolin the eating of Dante's heart, in the death of Dante. But the death be understood as an ambivalent of Dante must symbol. It symbolizes not only his death but also his entrance into the womb he thus attains of the mother, through whom his rebirth, or Vita Nuova. The situation suggested in the dream is the identical situ-

BEATRICE

"

373

in the recognized by medieval symboHsts incestuous relation, in so far an relation of Christ to Mary to the source as it the divine of life, expresses the son's return mother. It is this reunion and rebirth which is symbolized by by the descent into Hell, and by the the death on the cross, In the Vita Nuova^ therefore, Dante is into Heaven. ascent ation which
was
"

associating himself with Christ, and Beatrice with Mary, under the guise of the conventions of chivalric love.

THE

DESCENT

OF

BEATRICE

In the light of the maternal character of Beatrice as it thus appears in the essential situation of the Viia Nuova, let us now examine the essential situation in which she appears in

What, in other words, does the Divina Inferno.

Commedia

say

from Hell? Dante that Beatrice does to rescue The words of Beatrice herself in reference to Dante Purg. xxx. 124-141: the answer,
in sulla soglia fui Di mia seconda etade, e mutai vita, Questisi tolse a me, e diessi altrui, a Quando di came spirto era salita, E bellezza e virtii cresciuta m' era, Fu' io a lui men e men cara gradita; E volse i passi suoi per via non vera, di ben false, Imagini seguendo Che nulla promission rendono intera. Ne impetrare ispirazion mi valse, Con le quali ed in sogno ed altrimenti Lo rivocai; si poco a lui ne calse. Tanto giu cadde, che tutti argomenti Alia salute sua eran gia corti, Fuor che mostrargli le perdute genti. Per questo visitai 1' uscio dei morti, Ed a colui che 1' ha quassu condotto, furon porti. Li preghi miei piangendo

give

Si

tosto

come

124

127

130

133

136

139

will, however, that Beatrice, as she here tellsus, visited the portal of the dead; she was moved, by the command, as are we transmitted by told in Inf.ii.,
It
was

not

of her

own

374

TH-E

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Lucia, of the divine mother Mary. She was ment thus the instruof the divine mother; and the maternal significance of her act should appear from what we have already discovered to the female as of the gate of Hell. In the gate of symbolism Beatrice meets Hell (or the paternal image of Virgil,

vulva)

and the meeting of father and mother in such a region results, Dante. But it is naturally, in the birth, or rebirth, of the filial on not this aspect of the symbolism of the visit of Beatrice to the portal of the dead that I wish to dwell at present; I wish, call attention to the striking analogies which may be shown to exist between the visit of Beatrice to the portal of the dead and certain ancient myths. Common to many peoples are myths of the descent of a living person to the abode of the dead. These myths may be
to to the sex corresponding of the Among descent. to the the men person supposed to make the miraculous feat is ascribed are Hercules, Ulysses, whom be cited, other examples may iEneas, and St. Paul. Many these analogies between and it is obvious that there are descents and the descent of Christ into Hell after the crucifixion. The myth of the descent of a living man into the abode two

instead,

divided

into

groups,

of the dead is referable to the sun myth, according to which descends into the earth at evening in order to be the sun In the last analysis, however, the reborn in the morning. feature is in a constant rebirth symbolism, all which
variations of the sun myth, symbolizes the rebirth not of the by but of the hero, man, as sun qua sun, accomplished an act of reunion with the original source of his life.As the lifeis his mother, these myths are of a man's original source
implying incest. invariably expressed in terms In the variation of the myth in which the person supposed is stillthe to make the symbolism the descent is a woman of rebirth; the person to be reborn, however, is symbolism not the woman who makes the descent, but her son whom she descends into the abode of the dead to deliver, or bring to

lifeagain. The the mother. An example

woman

who

makes

the descent is invariably


to
save

of the descent of the mother

her

son

BEATRICE

375

appears in the myth of the great Babylonian mother goddess Istar, who descended into Arahi, or Hades, to bring back to Hfe her son Tammuz. Analogous to this story is the Greek
to goddess Aphrodite of the descent of the mother Adonis. As indicative of the sex symbolism redeem which believed in to these myths expressed those who them, it is said that in the temple of the Syriac Aphrodite sexual her were relations with the priestesses representing supposed

myth

to

ransom

soul

from

Hades,

just as

Adonis

had

been

ransomed.* Hell, or the abode of the dead in general, is invariably a symbol of the mother. Accordingly itis necessary to recognize that in the myth of the descent of the mother into Hell, Hell
to be identified; are the mother she descends into the as the source womb of life, of the earth because the womb, is what she herself becomes at the moment of delivering her child.

and

into the abode of the dead of the mother appears also, in a modified form, in the myth of the great Egyptian mother goddess Isis.And it is of particular interest descent
to
note,

The

the early identified with the Virgin Mary. Now the myth of the descent of the mother into the abode of the dead survived and it is in this survival that the myth here late into the us principally concerns comparatively in the central female figure of the Gnostic Christian era
" "

in this connection, Egyptian myth with

that

as

result of the contact of Isis became Christianity,


a

according to certain sects, Bardelo. As a feature of a system of belief with which Dante preeminent intimately acquainted (the intimacy is evident, indeed, was
or,

belief, Sophia,

in the Divtna Commedia that I have others which I lack space to already pointed out and in many discuss here), the maternal of the descent of symbolism have been understood by Dante. The fact, thereSophia must fore,
in the Gnostic
elements

that he reproduces in the myth be taken indicate descent must to Beatrice a similar mother symbolism.
*See
Hastings: Dictionary

of Beatrice a similar that he intends for


Hades.

oj Religion

and

Ethics; Descent

to

376

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

which have descent as we the corresponds already of the mother it in primitive myth and in Gnosticism. The feature to seen
to

There

is, moreover,

feature in Christian

beHef

which I refer is the descent to the earth of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove. In the doctrine of the Holy Ghost as male, the descent of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove is understood Mary Virgin as the male principle through which the conceived her divine child. In the doctrine of the Holy Ghost

be female, the descent in the form of a dove to Mary must understood as an expression of the identity of the Holy Ghost as the divine mother. and Mary The descent of the mother has a double meaning in ancient
as

which I have no space to develop first,the act of birth: the mother descends to deliver her child; and it means, second, the act by which the child is conceived: t\\Qfallof the mother, as in the fallof Eve. The delivery of the child, as symbolized in and medieval symbolism here in detail. It means, myths of the descent of the mother, and the conception of the child, as symbolized in myths of the fallen mother, are sometimes represented as evil acts and sometimes as benign.

ambivalence of these acts depends upon the imagined value of the mother herself, in expelling the child from her in birth and in receiving her child back into her womb womb in rebirth. The dual character of the mother is expressed in the Bible, as was gesis, recognized in early Biblical execommonly in the contrasting figures of Eve and Mary.
The

THE
There

MYSTIC

PROCESSION

remains to be considered in connection with the interpretation of the character of Beatrice the part that she Procession, described in the closing plays in the Mystic cantos of Purgatorio. The pageant of the Mystic Procession
is generally supposed to represent the history of the Church terminating with the transference of the Papal See to Avignon in 1309; and the parallels,indeed, between the pageant and

the history of the Church interpretation. I am willing

lend
to

plausibility to this grant, therefore, that there are


some

BEATRICE

377

allusions to the history of the Church the pageant. But the deeper symbolism symbolism Let us
assume

in the dumb-show of is the of the pageant

of rebirth. for the

moment,

however,

pretation that the inter-

of the pageant as simply a representation of the To a degree that certainly history of the Church is correct. further explanation, this history of the Church is demands The harlot and the represented in terms of the sexual life.
giant embracing in the car and the giant dragging away the car of the pageant, with the harlot in it, the closing scene the sex symbolism quite obvious; but this symbolism make

has indeed been present in almost every detail of the pageant. It is certainly obvious in the incident of the dragon issuing from a hole in the earth between the two wheels of the car The car, as the and piercing the floor of the car with his tail. symbol of the Church, is the symbol of the divine mother, who is thus represented, as in all myths of rebirth, as being prostituted. Now the reason that the history of the Church, in so far it is represented in the pageant, is represented in terms as of form is is life the the sexual life, simply that the sexual under first is is Whatever be which all existence may symbolized. created, and then, by the fact of existing in time, becomes
what it was
not at

first. There

is firstthe birth and then the


"change

Into something

new

and

strange."

be expressed, as in the language of the may in the as or, philosophers, in the problem of becoming, language of myth and religion,in the theme of rebirth. Thus change is distinction between being and becoming the fundamental by in the sexual life conceived as the means dramatized which, first, the birth of the individual and, second, his be accomplished. new, rebirth, or becoming may Fundamentally, Procession is a therefore, the Mystic

This

representation of the history of the universe. If the universe be considered to have a life, the story of its lifeis the may
story of itsorigin,or birth, and of its development,
or

rebirth.

378

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

And

the history of the universe as a whole is identical with the history of every part of the universe, whether the part be individual. In the institution, like the Church, or an an

of the universe which God imagines, there is one just plot, the plot of birth and rebirth, a drama in which the dramatis personae are three, the paternal principle, the principle. This plot is the maternal principle, and the filial divine drama therefore, since the life of the universal form of life.And in form as the lifeof the individual, universe is the same life, Dante sees in the pageant the representation of his own which is typical of the lifeof all mankind. I lack the space to treat of the symbolism of the Mystic in detail; I will confine myself, therefore, to of referring to a few of the indications of its symbolism legend, in The car, as ancient myth and rebirth. commonly represents the mother, and as Beatrice appears in the car, she and the mother are identified.Any such identification of
Procession

contained

with Now synecdoche.

to note symbolism harlot appears in it. The harlot is likewise, therefore, to be identified with the mother; and Beatrice and the harlot together symbolize the mother in her dual aspect. The two

is, indeed, the essence of container for the it is of the highest importance that after Beatrice has left the car, the

aspects of the mother, as we have already noted, are, first, in union and as the receiving of the child into the womb, pregnancy, and, second, the expelling of the child from the in the act of birth. Either aspect appears in myth as womb,

for good or for evil. ambivalent Just as one of the two aspects of the motherhood of Beatrice is represented by the harlot, so one of the two aspects as of motherhood symbolized by the car is represented by the
and legend
as

the griffon draws and attaches the car. in Christian legend, The grifi^onrepresents, as commonly Christ. And in the griffon, since Christ represents bot God Dante sees the representation of himself in and mankind, human one aspect of his dual nature, and divine. The other
tree to

which

is aspect of the dual nature of Christ, Dante, or mankind, represented by the giant, who, after the disappearance of the

BEATRICE

379

griffon, drags the car away. As Beatrice was replaced by the harlot, the griffon is replaced by the giant; the giant, by thus replacing the griffon, is indicated as an aspect of the griffon. The giant, accordingly, also represents an aspect of Dante himself; and when it is prophesied of the dvx, who is Dante, is that Dante represents the

that he shall slay the giant, a partial meaning his own lower nature. The dvx shall overcome reborn or regenerate Dante unregenerate. The pole of the car,
Dante,

justas

the giant represents

the griffon is attached to the is phallic. The phallic symbolism car, of the pole is plainly indicated by the fact that as soon as the pole is united with the tree, a recognized mother symbol, the tree, which has been leafless, puts forth blossoms. The griffon is,indeed, the son who accomplishes his rebirth by the act of incest, since incest is the means of returning to the original source of life. The griffon is attached to the car, as a mother symbol, in the tree, as a mother symbol, in rebirth. But the griffon, like Christ, is peculiar in possessing his human and divine nature in He is his human once at together perfection. his reborn self. This peculiarity is implied in the self and doppia fiera. fiera^ epithets animal binato^ bijorme
to

by which

birth, and

the rebirth symbolism cession of the details of the prois described incident descents two the already of the into The is the car. of the eagle eagle usually interpreted as a symbol of the empire, and the descent of the eagle into the form or other, of the car as a symbol of the union, in some empire and the church. As a matter of fact, the firstdescent of the eagle into the car symbolizes the union of God, or the father, with the mother, the union which results in the birth of the eagle into the car symbolizes the union of the son with the mother. The son descends in the guise of the father, and, as the result of the incestuous union, is reborn. This interpretation of the descent is confirmed by an ancient of the eagle as rebirth symbolism Hebrew belief to which Frazer refers in his Folk-lore in the of the
son.

Repeating

The

second

descent

Old Testament.

"Certainly,"
renew

have thought that eagles

he says, "the Hebrews to seem their youth by moulting their

38o

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE
"

feathers."

ciii. xAnd is renewed youth rightly explain the belief in the renewal of the eagle's youth by the moulting of its feathers. Compare J. Morgenstern, Assyriologie^ 'On Gilgames-Epic, xi, 274-320,' Zeitschriftfiir

in

note

to

5, 'Thy

he adds: Psalm this sentence like the eagle.' The commentators

xxix. (191 5) p. 294, 'Baethgen quotes a tradition from Bar Hebraeus, that when the eagle grows old he casts off his Rashi, comfeathers and clothes himself with new ones. menting specific.He says that from year to year the eagle casts off his old wings and his youth feathers and puts on new, and thereby renews of the constantly.'" The rebirth symbolism of this myth of the of the myth eagle recalls the rebirth symbolism Dante have as we already seen, phoenix, with which,
on

this

same

verse,

is

even

more

identifieshimself. The phoenix rises from its own ashes; the feathers. incestuous from its The own son, accomplishing eagle his rebirth like the phoenix and the eagle, is to be understood,
semen. these veils, as rising from his own The analogy between this myth of the rebirth of the eagle and the descent of the eagle in the pageant of the Mystic

beneath

Procession

appears

leaving the car from above cries:


O

in the fact that the eagle is described as a voice covered with its feathers, whereupon

navicella mia,

com'

nial sci

carca.

It is the protesting voice of the replaced father. It is immediately after the griffon has bound the pole of describes himself as falling the car to the tree that Dante asleep; and it is in this sleep, as I suggested in an earlier be understood to unite himself with chapter, that he must Beatrice. This union is not, indeed, expressed in such plain be overlooked. It has been overlooked, terms that it cannot apparently, for six centuries. But the indications are such that,
to
once

show for a moment description of his sleep, let us revert to the griffon's act of tying the pole of the car to the mystic tree. The tree is a mother symbol, so used indeed in the story of the

pointed how Dante

out,

they can scarcely be denied. In order indicates his union with Beatrice in the

BEATRICE

381

by Dante. of Eden from which it is here borrowed And the pole, as I suggested, is phallic. The union of the leafless, phallic pole and the maternal tree, which before was himself results in the tree's putting forth blossoms. The grifi^on
Garden
as

the symbolism makes clear in the words which he is about to unite the pole and the tree:
Si si conserva
il seme

he

utters

d'ognl giusto.

The

by Dante that is performed sleep is simply an imitation of the symbol of Christ.


act

with
act

Beatrice in his

of the griffon, the

quote the passage in which the sleep of Dante is described. In its innuendo, in its implying everything with the air of saying nothing at all, this passage, Purg. xxxii. 61-87, is one of the subtlest in the Divina Commedia:
Let
me now

lo intesi, ne qui non non si canta L' inno che quella gente allor cantaro, Ne la nota quanta. soffersi tutta S' io potessi ritrar come assonnaro di Siringa, Gli occhi spietati, udendo Gli occhi a cui piu vegghiar costo si caro; Come con pittor che esemplo pinga io m' addormentai; Disegnerei com' Ma qualvuol sia che 1' assonnar ben finga. Pero trascorro a quando mi svegliai, E dico ch' un splendor ml squarcio il velo Del sonno, ed un chiamar: 'Surgi, che fai?' a Quale veder dei fiorettidel melo, Che del suo pomo gli Angeli fa ghiotti, E perpetue fa nozze nel cielo, Pietro e Giovanni e Jacopo condotti E vinti ritornaro alia parola, Dalla qual furon magglor sonni rotti, E videro scemata loro scuola, Moise d' Elia, di Cosi come Ed al Maestro suo cangiata stola; Tal torna' io, e vidi quella pia Sopra me starsi, che conducitrice Fu de' miei passi lungo il fiume pria; E tutto in dubbio dissi: *0v' e Beatrice?' Ond' ella: *Vedi lei sotto la fronda Nuova sedere in sulla sua radice.

lo

61

64

67

70

73

76

79

82

85

382

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

in which Dante I wish firstto call attention to the manner says that he would depict how he fell asleep "if he could eyes sank to slumber while hearing of portray how the pitiless Syrinx." In this allusion Dante is apparently suggesting some of parallel between the way the "pitiless" eyes sank to eyes slumber while hearing of Syrinx and the way his own in lines alluded to sank to slumber while hearing the hymn 61-63. Such, however, is not the case; Dante's eyes cannot be likened to pitiless eyes; and the parallel which Dante
sort

be suggesting is a blind to throw the reader off the track of his real meaning. The real meaning, indeed, is to be found in following up the allusion to the "pitiless" eyes. To understand the allusion to the pitilesseyes that sank to
seems

to

must refer to the first slumber while hearing of Syrinx, we book of the Metamorphoses of Ovid; the pitilesseyes are the eyes of Argus, the "all seeing," and the story that Ovid tells had fallen in as follows. Jupiter of them may be summarized from his love with lo, and in order to conceal his amour jealous wife Juno, who had followed him to the spot where

he
cow. cow

was

stillwith the seduced maiden, he changed lo into a Juno,who was not completely deceived, demanded the in hope her from husband; as a and Jupiter, still the gift

of diverting her suspicions, gave it to her. Juno straightway Argus, placed the cow under the guard of the hundred-eyed so that Jupiter might not again gain possession of it.As this he comintolerable to the amorous Jupiter, situation was manded lo his son Mercury to kill Argus away. and steal in Mercury a to the guise of accordingly, shepherd, went guarding lo, and by playing to him on his where Argus was pipe and telling him the story of Syrinx, caused the hundred
eyes of Argus
was

at

last

to

and thus gained asleep. Mercury possession of the metamorphosed maiden. Juno, however, inconsolable at the death of her faithful Argus, transplanted his hundred
eyes

close in slumber. cut off his head

As

soon

as

Argus

into the

tail of her

favorite bird, the

peacock. Now it is evident from this story that the way the pitiless hardly have been cited by eyes of Argus sank to sleep can

BEATRICE

383

parallel to the way his own sank to sleep. It is indeed, that both Argus and Dante true, sank to sleep in hearing music. But beyond the hearing of music the parallel ends; for Dante is a lover and Argus is a guard who keeps the lover away from his mistress. The real parallel, therefore,
as
a

Dante

be considered as suggesting in his which Dante must allusion is to some to the pitiless eyes of Argus Argus-like eyes that were guarding Beatrice from himself as her lover. But if Dante is referring to some Argus-like eyes that are

Beatrice and not to his own, like where can these Argusto this question, let us eyes be found? For the answer description of the Mystic Procession as he turn to Dante's firstsees it.What he firstsees is candlesticks, Purg. xxix. 50, fleur-de-lys. then twenty-four and elders crowned with Candlesticks and fleur-de-lys were universally recognized as
guarding

phallic symbols. Immediately singing, lines 85-86:

after these elders, who

are

Benedetta Nelle figlied'Adamo,


comes

tue

the triumphal

car

in which

as a the car, surrounding animali Dante says, lines 94-96:

Beatrice is to appear; and guard, quattro animali. Of these

Ognuno

di sei ali, era pennuto Le penne d'occhi; e piene gli occhi d'Argo, Se fosser vivi, sarebber cotali.

then, as guarding the triumphal car of Beatrice, the car which is the symbol of the divine mother and with which Beatrice is to be identified as the divine mother, are expressly Argus-like Dante's in description to cited the eyes referred of his sleep. And these guardian eyes are expressly described as intervening between the mother symbol of the car and the

Here

phallic symbols of the candlesticks and the fleur-de-lys. Accordingly, when Dante says that he would tellhow he himself fellasleep "if he could portray how the pitilesseyes be undersank to slumber while hearing of Syrinx," he must stood
to

guardian

the Argus-like animali. But though he

refer

to

eyes
cannot

in the wings of the say how these eyes

384

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

put closed in slumber, he can at least say how they were he for he is informed, on as tellsus, off their guard, waking that the animals with the Argus-like eyes had already departed. In accomplishing, therefore, what he accomplished in his sleep with Beatrice, he had been freed from the jealous restraint of the eyes that would have guarded her from him
were

as just

to

the eyes of Argus guarded lo from Jupiter. The duplicity of the entire passage in which Dante refers his sleep consists in the fact that he describes it in the very

words with which he apparently disclaims the ability to describe it.But there are still more precise indications of the character of his sleep in what he has to say of his waking. He is wakened, he records, Purg. xxxii. 72, by a voice as crying to him: Surgi, che fai? In the abruptness of this and in the accusatory tone of the che fai? there is certainly a suggestion that Dante has been doing something in his sleep that has not been completely sanctioned; the imperative character of this unsanctioned act is to be guessed, to say the least, from the immediate allusion, Purg. xxxii. 74-75, to the
Che del suo E perpetue
pomo
nozze

melo gll Angeli fa ghiotti fa nel cielo.

The eating of the apple, as in thestory of the fallof Adam and for Eve, is sexual union, and this unmistakable symbolism is symbolism made absolutely explicit in the allusion to the By these allusions to the apple and the nozze perpetue nozze. before the on awakening and by the incident, immediately
sleep, of the griffon tying the phallic pole to the maternal is bounded by images of sexual union tree, the sleep of Dante happened during the sleep. to suggest what which serve Moreover,

tion there is a wealth of detail in the further descripof what happened after the waking which repeats this

same

as

symbolism of sexual union. There is first the allusion to the Transfiguration of Christ, figuration recorded in Matthew xvii; in this account of the TransChrist ascends "into a high mountain apart" and
by
"a

is there "overshadowed"
a

voice

out

of the cloud, which

bright cloud;" "and behold said, This is my beloved Son,

BEATRICE

385

incident of the Transfiguration had a profound significance for Dante, as may be in the use which he makes of the incident in the Convivio seen in defining the four meanings of allegory. Just what this I from fact infer was the that the cloud, as well as significance a was the mountain, widely recognized mother symbol.* For Christ to have been overshadowed by the bright cloud signified for Dante that Christ was enclosed in the womb of from as a the cloud the cloud mother symbol; and the voice Christ as the beloved son have been for must announcing Dante the voice of the Holy Ghost, or mother principle of the divine Trinity. In the incident of the Transfiguration, therefore,
am

in whom

well pleased."

The

be understood, in the language of medie^ al been reunited with the divine mother. to have symbolism, This union is, indeed, further implied in the fact that after Christ was the union transfigured, or changed, as in rebirth. Thus the allusion to the Transfiguration is a further implication
must

Christ

in Dante's sleep. what happened For the interpretation of the sleep of Dante as symbolizing his union with Beatrice there is the following cryptographic found be five in first to the terzine in which the confirmation sleep is referred to. This passage begins with line 61, with the
as

to

falls asleep, and allusion to the music during which Dante Consider the ends, line 75, with the allusion to the nozze. following marginal letters on the firstlines of these terzine:

Read:

qui

si

copola

In the continuation of the canto images appear stillmore which confirm the interpretation of the sleep which I suggest. Beatrice is discovered
sotto

la frond
sua

Nuova
*See Hirn,

sedere in sulla

radice.

The Sacred Shrine.

386

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

The

radice is phallic, and the fact that Beatrice is described have here an as seated upon the radice suggests that we marriage custom, analogy with an ancient Roman referred
to

in Hastings' Encyclopaedia in the articleon "Phallism" of bride Religion and Ethics: "At Roman was marriages the image Priapus de Civ. to (Augustine, required of sit upon the Dei, vii. 24; Lactantius, Div. Inst. \.

20)."

Dante

This

also refers declaration that

to

Beatrice Beatrice

as

she who

m'avea

chiuso.
must

had

moreover, as certainly not be overlooked. She being surrounded by the nymphs with lights in their hands; be here an to there seems allusion to the virgins in the "which xxv, took their lamps, and went parable, Matthew

enclosed is described,

Dante

forth

the bridegroom." Thus Beatrice may be understood like bride. by a to be the virgins surrounded It is further significant of the symbolism of Dante's sleep
to
meet

that it is after he wakes from it that the character of the mystic pageant itselfchanges from images of innocence to images of guilt, as in the fox that leaps into the car, the dragon that pierces the car with his tail,the harlot in the car
embracing the giant. I have already alluded to the accusatory towt ai? addressed to Dante, as ifwhat he had done oi t\\Q. chef in his sleep had not been completely sanctioned. The sense of

guilt, as implied in these images following the union of Dante and Beatrice, is thus like the sense of guilt that followed the Garden of Eden, of Adam and Eve, a union, in the same I have already union, as the reader will recall, which indicated incestuous union, sanctioned as it may be in myth and legend as the means of rebirth, is nevertheless consistently treated as guilty, or at least as
as

incestuous. The

incurring the jealous hostility of the father. The act by which is to be reborn, as suggested in the Biblical account, mankind is therefore ambivalent; it is good, in that it is the means by the mother; and it is which man attains the kingdom of God" evil in that it entails a usurpation of the rights of the father. The in Genesis may be read in the light of this interpretation of incest as the means of rebirth: God is become Lord "And Behold, as the man the said.
verses

following

BEATRICE

387

one

lest he put forth good and evil: and now, of us, to know his hand, and take also of the tree of life,and eat, and live forever:

the Lord God sent him forth from the garden, from whence he was to tillthe ground taken." This expulsion of the guilty i\dam and Eve is reproduced in the mystic pageant of the Divina Commedia by the flight "Therefore
Dante, as a result of his guilty act, of the giant, in whom himself, together with the puttana, in whom Dante now sees Beatrice, the mother with whom now sees the act has been But though the act is evil, in the sense consummated. of incurring the anger of the father, it is the highest virtue, in

by which Dante is to be reborn to the father. The result of the union is and so to return indicated in the prophecy this accordingly of the dxv; I have is Dante himself, personage, as and as the dxv, shown, the
sense

that it is the

means

or

himself reborn, Dante


Con

is to slay,

as

Beatrice foretells,

quel gigante che

con

la fuia lei delinque.

complet other words, he is to slay himself, as human and inand his own mother, as human and incomplete, in becoming, in her and through her and with her, complete and divine.

In

THE I have
now

VARIETY

OF

MOTHER

SYMBOLS

shown that in her various manifestations in the Vita Nuova Beatrice represents and the Divina Commedia Bella, the mother of Dante, conceived as an incarnation of the divine mother. It is in this ascription of divine motherhood Dante to a human be to must mother that understood fulfill the mysterious promise that he makes at the end of the in what is apparently of the Divina Commedia: project
Appresso
a

Vita Nuova^

his earliest allusion

to

the

viirabil visione, nella quale vidi cose, che mi fecero proporre di dir piii di questa benedetta, infino non a tanto che io

questo sonetto

apparve

me

una

388

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

trattare di lei.E di venire potessi piu degnamente a cid io studio quanta posso, si com' ella sa veraceSicche, di Colui, se mente. piacere sara per cui tutte le cose vivono, che la mia vita per alquanti anni duri, fu detto spero di dire di lei quello che mai non d'alcuna.
non

of Beatrice is not, however, the in the Divina Commedia; as I only mother symboHsm showed in Chapter VII, Earth is a mother symbol, Hell is a mother is a mother symbol, Paradise is a mother symbol. Purgatory is symbol; and a series of other symbols of the mother developed throughout the entire poem. Thus the universe of Dante's experience is a long succession of symbols, which are
mother

The

symboHsm

be understood as who exists in God.


to

Divina
oscura;

Commedia^

incarnations, of the one divine mother Among in the these mother symbols I have already shown, are as the selva

the lupa; the moon, with its waxing and waning as in pregnancy and delivery; the sea, with the analogous swelling and sinking of its tides; the car in the Mystic Procession; the in the Terrestrial Paradise; Giovanna, Lia, Rachel, tree Lucia; the maggior valle in che Vacqua si spanda; the city of Florence, as the birthplace of the poet; and the mystic rose. These are only a few of the mother symbols in in which, indeed, the principal Commedia, the Divina experiences through which Dante describes himself as passing are expressed in terms of mother symbolism. Let me conclude as serve the list,therefore, with a final example that may as typical of the working of Dante's imagination, dominated by his love for his mother and his desire to return it was to her. In

Matelda,

Inf. xix.
were

sinners

the fonts in dethe Baptistry in Florence, and scribes openings of the how he broke one a of these fonts in order to save drowning in it: child who was
Non mi parean meno ampi ne maggiori, Che quei che son nel mio bel San Giovanni Fatti per loco de' battezzatori;
16

16-21, in describing the holes in which inserted head first,Dante likens them to

the

BEATRICE
L'

389

delliquali, ancor non e molt' anni, un Rupp' 10 per un che dentro vi annegava: E questo sia suggel ch' ogni uomo sganni.

19

last line of the passage quoted is to be noticed particularl for itimplies that Dante had been considered guilty of sacrilege in thus breaking one of the sacred containers and delivering a child from it. The the only means of it in a it a was life, was that nevertheless guilty act, saving a violation of a symbol of the divine mother, and so of the divine mother herself.The degree to which the baptismal font is to be considered as a mother symbol appears from the a as reenactment of birth; the of baptism symbolism
as

Disinterested

the

act

had

been

as

in which the child is immersed symbolizes in the immersed is fluid in the amniotic which the child symbolizes the and the font which holds the water womb, In view, therefore, of the maternal symbolism itself. of womb

baptismal

water

the font, Dante's act of breaking it and delivering a child from itis only to be understood as a symbolized act of incest; so in no other way, indeed, is the guilt from which Dante for. curiously seeks to exculpate himself to be accounted to This guilt is exactly analogous the guilt of Uzza,
9-10: recorded in i Chronicles xiii. "And when they came unto the threshing floor of Chidon, hold the ark; for the oxen Uzza to put forth his hand
as

stumbled. kindled against Uzza, and "And the anger of the Lord was him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he smote he died before God."
The divine
ark, for the Hebrews,
to

and mother, incestuous profanation.

the supreme symbol of the it was it an to save even touch That the Baptistry of Florence, like
was

the ark of the Hebrews, was considered by Dante as a mother which he had no right to open, symbol, a symbol of the womb Cacciaguida, appears from his reference to it,in the words of baptized. as the place where he himself was Through
the long series of mother symbols contained in the

390

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

series of mother symbols which are to be incarnations of the divine mother, Dante as understood from Earth to Heaven by a series of his journey as makes births and rebirths. The is to return to of his journey
Divina Commedia^
a

of Hfe in which lifemay be renewed the various incarnations of the divine mother through which Dante passes are all imperfect; they are arranged, indeed, in an ascending scale of perfection, so
source

his mother as the But and fulfilled.

object

that Dante passes from the less perfect to the more perfect, he attains to until, in the penultimate stage of his journey, his own human but now Bella in the transfigured mother figure of Beatrice. Beatrice is the supreme incarnation of the divine mother. But as an incarnation she is not the divine mother herself; of the divine reality she is only the most perfect

Bella

as

appearance; and Dante Mary to and thence reality. In the return be understood
to

in passing as he does from Beatrice God, passes from appearance to to

with which the vision ends God is to as as a divine well as a divine motherhood fatherhood; and Dante himself, by the fact of coming home, becomes himself the divine son. The home coming that I have in Convivio describe is described by Dante to attempted iv.
12:

God

II sommo desiderio di clascuna cosa, e prima dalla Principio. E Natura dato, e lo ritornare al suo Iddio e Principio delle nostre e anime perocche Fattore di quelle simili a se, siccom' e scritto: 1' uomo 'Facciamo e simiglianza ad immagine desidera tornare essa nostra'; anima massimamente E a via per quello. sicconie peregrine che va per una fu, che ogni casa da lungi la quale mai non vede, che 1' essere, e non trovando cio albergo, crede che sia in casa dirizza la credenza all' altra, e cosi di casa tanto che all' albergo viene; cosi 1' anima nostra, fatto incontanente e non mai che nel nuovo dirizza gli occhi al di questa vita entra, cammino Bene, del suo Sommo e pero qualunque termine in se avere cosa alcun bene, crede che vede, che paia la sua E perche e conoscenza prima sia esso.

BEATRICE

391

imperfetta,
piccioli comincia parvoli

per

non

essere

sperta
e

ne

dottrinata,
quelli li vedemo
e e

beni

le

un porno; massimamente desiderare uno piu oltre procedendo, uccellino; desiderare bello e pivi oltre, vestimento;

prima desiderare

paiono grandi; desiderare. a

pero

da

Onde

poi

poi il poi

cavallo,

poi

una

donna:

grandi, incontra
che
va

poi

e grandi, poi in di queste nulla perche e

le ricchezze non E questo grandissime.


e

poi

cose

cercando,

credelo che

trovare

che vedere si dinanzi all' altro

puote

l'

uno

quello piii oltre. Per desiderabile sta


per anima li copre bile, desidera-

trova

agli occhi

della

nostra

'1 minimo modo quasi piramidale, che dell' ultimo tutti, ed e quasi punta prima ch' e Dio, quasi base di tutti.

Chapter

IX

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

Chapter

IX

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

universe, and of an anthropomorphic symboHsm identified be Bella, is to the mother of that Beatrice with Dante, versal, conceived as an incarnation of the divine, or unibe Veltro to dxv are and the mother, and that the identified with Dante, conceived as an incarnation of the divine, or universal, son, I have completed the principal part This of the task that I set for myself in the present volume. it has been, first,to part of the task has been a double one: in the Divina Commedia^ show the presence of cryptograms on the and, second, to show the bearing of these cryptograms for But Commedia. Divina an exhaustive of the meaning analysis of the Divina indeed,
Commedia

WITH the

the proof that the Divina

Commedia

is based

on

there remain

to

be

con-

sidered

which may prove, certain aspects of the cryptography be insoluble, to and certain aspects of the meaning but which which lie beyond the scope of the present volume for further research. I wish to define as a program

THE
In

LONG

ANAGRAMMATIC

ACROSTIC

of of the cryptography examination concluding my first,long Dante I will show four groups of cryptograms: in passages acrostics; second, cryptograms anagrammatic Italian; third, cryptograms on not groups of proper names;
and, fourth, acrostics on the firstlines of consecutive cantos. been Examples of the first,second, and third groups have shown in previous chapters.

[395]

396

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

long anagrammatlc acrostics, which I will now show, be intentional, I be bel to are, eve, cannot and they proved I But imperfectly deciphered. give these readings, imperfect to indicate that as that they seem they are, for the reason

The

they are readings were acrostics of which approximate actually intended by Dante. Indeed, I am inclined to suspect that the Divina Commedia may possibly contain a continuous acrostic extending from the beginning to the end. I have not deciphered such an acrostic, and I am unable to do so. But I have deciphered long acrostics which seem to be confirmable in part as intended by Dante. The impression that 1 get from these long readings, separated as they are from each other for being separated, is that they without any apparent reason be fragments of a unit which I am unable to reconstruct. may acrostics seems existence of these long anagrammatic to be indicated by the repeated appearance of certain acrostic These words peremas, poema, dante. as vel, words, such The appear with such a constancy of repetition as to suggest that they should be connected together in some continuous frequent The reading. possibility of reading them together intended by suggests that some such continuous reading was Dante. But in view of the nature of the anagrammatic acrostic form
I regard
account, therefore, I have, in the previous chapters, used only a few of the long acrostics to support my interpretation I wish to And of the symbolism of the Divina Commedia. make it clear that my general thesis does not depend on the

acrostics as extremely of the liabilityto error,

the attempt liable to error.

to

decipher

these long

On

long readings shown in this chapter. The method, however, by which these long anagrammatic acrostics are to be deciphered is precisely the same method, in longer to text, was the that applied passages of used the short anagrammatic acrostics shown in the preceding chapters. In some of the short acrostics, the reader the acrostic letters appear in the text in the will remember, exact sequence in which they are to be read. An example of deciphering such a sequence is the nati firstfour terzine of Inf.i: discovered in the initialsof the

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

397

in other of the short acrostics the acrostic letters appear in such an order that they have to be rearranged to reveal their hidden meaning. An example of an acrostic that requires letters is the vela pene such a transposition of the acrostic discovered in the marginal letters of the firstlines of the first
But

four terzine of Par. i:

transposition of letters is the essential characteristic and I have accordingly called the acrostics of the anagram, in which such a transposition of letters is necessary anagrammatic acrostics. All the long acrostics that I have deciphered in the sense defined. are anagrammatic In order to clarify the relation of the anagrammatic to the

Such

define, first,an anagram, of acrostic, let me and, second, an acrostic as generally understood. An anagram, according to the New English Dictionary, is: or I. A transposition phrase, of the letters of a word, name, a new may whereby word or phrase is formed." An anagram
common

form

"

"2. A transposition, a mutation." The loosely ov Jig. also be: following example of the use of the word as well as an example is quoted by the New English Dictionary from of an anagram is Augustus Howell: "This Gustavus was (whose anagram

great Captain. "Another is:"The true anagram


a

to

note,

the

two

quoted from Hickeringell, is Sevitia.'' It is of interest oijesuita illustrating the motive for using anagrams, as that by their authors to anagrams given are supposed
example,

of the words from which they are formed. as expressing the meaning of an anagram formed from it is appears in the definition which of the word in the Remains, 1674, of W. Camden. of "anagrammatisme"
express the meaning This understanding

398

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

is there defined as "a dissolution of a name truly written into his letters,as his elements, and a new transposition, without addition, connection of it by artificial subtraction or change of any letter, into different words, some making applyable to the person named." perfect sence According to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica^ the construction
"Anagrammatisme"
"

of anagrams invention being

is

an

amusement

of great

ascribed without authority the later Hebrew probably writers, particularly 'secret fond Kabbalists, it, were the asserting that of in the numbers A mysteries are woven of letters.'
because
...

antiquity, its to the Jews,

is the change oi Ave Maria^ gratia plena^ anagram well-known Dominus into Virgo serena^ tecum et immaculata. pia, munda Among to Pilate's question, ^uid est others are the answer Veritas?' namely, 'Est vir qui adest;' and the transposition
'
"

into Honor est a Nilo; and of Flo: ence of Horatio Nelson Nightingale into Flit on, cheering angel'. James Fs courtiers discovered in 'James Stuart' 'A just master,' and converted
'

'

'

'

'

'

'Charles

James
now

Stuart' into 'Claimes

Arthur's

seat.'"

the meaning examine of the word acrostic, Greek from is derived extreme, axpos, the and artxos, which line, Acrostic having is defined two as verse. order, row, According to the first definition, an principal meanings. acrostic is a composition, usually in verse, which contains a
us

Let

that is also called an acrostic. particular kind of cryptogram According to the second definition, the word designates the itself.It is in this sense cryptogram ticular of designating a parkind

of cryptogram

that I will

use

the word

in the

following pages. In the sense limiting of the word, then, to which I am myself, an acrostic is commonly understood as a cryptogram tively, which is composed of the initialletters, to be read conseculines in This a verse. composition usually of the of common of an acrostic is inadequate in one understanding
important particular: the initial letters used in an acrostic be the are not may necessarily the initials of lines. They initials of any of the divisions of the composition in which the etc. They stanzas, acrostic occurs, such as chapters, cantos,

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

399

of consecutive words. An example of also be the initials an of the chapters of a work of the initials acrostic composed Poliphili; the initials is to be found in the Hypnerotomachia
may

of the chapters of this anonymous


FRANCiscus
name

coLUMNA

PERAMAViT.

of the author of the work name of the initialsof of his mistress. An acrostic composed 'IXGTS, composed of the initials consecutive words is the ^\r]aovs XpLaros Qeov Ttos ScorTyp, "Jesus Christ, of the words: the Son of God, the Savior," Dante We of the chapter, that shall see, in the course
acrostics analogous to these two examples. composed Now it is to be noted that in the anagram the precise letters of letters to be used are indicated by number and the exact the anagrammatic the word or phrase which is to undergo letters and of the transformation. This indication of the however, enable the of letters to be used does not, number decipherer to be certain that the anagram which he finds is intended. In the firstplace, a decipherer may find an anagram intended at all. was in a word or phrase where no anagram find an anagram And in the second place, he may which is different from the intended one. Take, for instance, the word have been directed to find for which, let us assume, we ROMA, for roma: amor, There are several anagrams an anagram. MARC, ARMO, RAMO, of and nothing in the nature and MORA; itselfwill aid us in determining which of these the anagram

frater work spell: poliam This acrostic rcveals the in which it appears and the

Though intended and which was not. variations was letters themselves are indicated, there is no indication the order in which they are to be rearranged.
As

the
as

to

therefore, the common with the anagram, form of acrostic, which is to be read consecutively on initials, indicates the cryptographic letters in their proper order. xAnd form common it would seem, of acrostic perhaps, that the Such letters are. indicates also just what the cryptographic in the however, is the case, only in those acrostics, as begin at the beginning of a alphabetical psalms, which it. For all acrostics that composition and end at the end of or the extend through less than the entire text, the extent contrasted

400

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

it, are indicated acrostic, and so the letters that compose merely by the spelling which the decipherer isable to discover. Now the anagrammatic acrostic,which I find in the Divina portant imCommedia, differs from the common acrostic in two particulars; it is not read consecutively; and, using it does initial and contiguous letters, it is not as read initials. on exclusively

of the acrostic and in not the histories of anagrammatic have But the fact that the form may not cryptography. been described by the historians is no evidence that the form is or a not that it was valid acrostic anagrammatic for not used by Dante. Indeed, in regard to the precedents the anagrammatic acrostic, I find them plainly enough in the irregular clusters of significant letters which the makers of
as

So far

I know,

such forms is

combination described

have frequently placed on the margins of the cryptograms opening lines of their texts. An instance of such an irregular letter cluster has already been noted in the firsttwo lines of Purgatorio:
1 2

PE

OMA

This letter cluster is acrostic in the sense that the letters it are all either initials or contiguous to which compose in an earlier chapter, these initials.And saw since, as we be rearranged to read poema, letters may the cluster is I call this cluster of letters, therefore, an anagrammatic. that I have used in acrostic; and the method anagrammatic
deciphering it is identically the method used in deciphering the long acrostics to be shown in the following pages. Like matic the anagram acrostic, the anagramand unlike the common in indicate does not the order cant which the signifiacrostic

be read. And unlike both the anagram and the common acrostic that is coextensive with the composition in which it appears, the anagrammatic acrostic does not, of indication as to what the significant itself, give an exact letters are: it indicates by its structure merely the initials

letters are

to

and

an

indeterminate

number

of contiguous

letters.

PROBLEMATIC
But

ASPECTS

401

ifthe anagrammatic acrostic indicates by itsstructure merely the initial letters and an indeterminate number of how letters, letters be can these contiguous contiguous
how, all? The contiguous letters are many: then, can the decipherer know which of them to choose? Is he not free, by reason of the indeterminate indications of the anagrammatic acrostic form, to pick out at fancy the determined
at

letters that spell whatever to word or phrase he happens if the acrostic is not And preconceive? necessarily coextensi is free to fix its not the decipherer with the text, limits arbitrarily?

doubt, in view of the incomplete guidance that the afforded by the anagrammatic acrostic structure, in In deciphering is great. deciphering probability of error anagrams of any kind and in deciphering any acrostic for which definite instructions have not been supplied by the
There
can

be

no

author to take the initialson an exact number of specified lines, the reading, however it may be confirmed, cannot be absolutely proved as intentional. But the confirmations may be strong, and the decipherer is by no means free to wander at will.Though the anagrammatic

letters acrostic form failsto indicate exactly how many are to be taken or exactly what all of them are, it indicates enough of them to guide the decipherer in the right direction. invariably, in the long anagrammatic Almost acrostics
I shall show in the Divina Commedia^ the letters spelling an important word appear in such proximity as to suggest the word to any one who has freed himself from the convention which is, after all, merely a convention of which
"

"

reading

letters in the usual order from left to right. Let me the first six show again the anagrammatic acrostic on lines of Purgatorio:
1

PE

CANT

OMA
c

5
6
ecco

DO E

Read:

poema.

dante

The

marginal

letters which

show

in the firsttwo

lines are

402

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

PE

and

OMA.

Though

these letters have

to

in the usual order, they can as in the order in which they occur. To a practised POEMA decipherer the word is plainly visible.It is a word, moreover, It makes which appears frequently in other cryptograms. in relation to the Divina Commedia. obviously good sense It is at the beginning of an important unit of text, and, as is

spell POEMA

be rearranged easily be read

to

well known

any student of cryptography, the beginning of a unit of text is a likely place in which to find a cryptogram is not in itself a and especially a signature. But poema
to

is the signature if there be one? Close at signature. Where hand are the initialsof lines 4 and 5, e and d, which suggest DANTE, and the rest of the letters of the name appear, also hand, in fourth, letters fifth at the third, close and of line 4. But this reading, so far, is not satisfactory. C intervenes the letters e and a in line 4, and another c, the initial rupted of line 3, intervenes between poema and the broken or interThe decipherer of an anagrammatic DANTE. acrostic is not free to skip about among letters to or non-contiguous
He disregard initials. is restricted and thereby he is guided. The two be accounted for: and the presence, in c's must for them is an to account contiguous letters, of the means

between

indication that the whole reading is intentional; the e and the o are in plain sight, and ecco completes the reading on the two terzine. Thus is the process by which the decipherer works
he finds a collocation of letters that spells systematic. When POEMA and the name of the author of the poem he is inclined believe that the collocation of letters was intentionally to arranged

spell just those words. The intended the words ciphere thus deprobability is greater than that he did not intend them. The guide, then, for the decipherer, is the existence, in an
to author that the author

by

the

place, of letters spelling words that show by a consonance position and meaning with the text. Following the guide, the decipherer chooses the letters spelling the appropriate
letters as the remaining words and rejects irrelevant. The chief difficultyin deciphering is to find, as in
consonant

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

403

in the reading above, the links between the more seem important actually to which words cryptographic in particular it isin this dijfficulty protrude from the text. And likely to be misled by his that the decipherer is most ingenuity or lack of it.The outstanding words are, in most of Their indicated. I the instances which will show, plainly by their "high visibility," by the intention is confirmed to the sense of the text in of their meaning correspondence by the hints which Dante gives which they are embodied, recurrence of the same of a hidden meaning, by the constant cations indiletters spelling the same words; that is, by the same in Chapter I. of intention that I enumerated The short anagrammatic acrostics are easier to decipher acrostics. convincing than the long anagrammatic and more But the long readings shown in this chapter are applications to long passages of precisely the same method that was applied instances the long readings to the short passages. In many in which the short extend through passages of the text letters are used to spell either readings appear, and the same different words. Examples or of such concurrent the same in the preceding chapters. readings have already been shown The passage which we have just at the beginning examined For together of Purgatorio is an especially good example. on dante, ecco the first six with the reading: poema. on lines are the two readings: peremas the first and spem, lines of the firstfour terzine (see ing pp. 27-8).Far from suggestin concurrent an each other, these accidental character in that they intensify readings are mutually corroborative, the sense. Dante's choice of the anagrammatic acrostic form for both short and long, may the majority of his cryptograms, have been determined, first,by the fact that it allowed him letters in strict greater freedom than an acrostic with the fact that, being less easy to sequence, and, second, by the I do not decipher, it offered surer means of concealment. Dante believe that in the construction of his cryptograms The was primarily interested in having them deciphered. I explained in chief philosophic interest of cryptograms, is,as
Ecco

404

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Chapter I, that they express, as latent in a given text, the fundamental difference between appearance and reality. In the universe in parvo which the Divina Commedia may well be considered to be, the problem of appearance and reality had to have a place; it is symbolized, therefore, by the
relation of the manifest meaning of the text to the cryptograms These it may cryptograms contains. also have which been used to give the poem a form derived from the idea as the form of the universe is derived from the expressed, just
ideas oi its
creator.

The

difficulty,or

even,

impossibility, of deciphering the cryptograms text may for which they were be quite irrelevant to the purpose inserted. But the difficulty, or even the impossibility, of deciphering the anagrammatic acrostics in the Divina in no wise necessarily implies that these anagramCommedia matic
exist.The evidence for their existence, in the repetition of certain cryptographic forms that keep from the text, like islands that unite with each emerging other at the bottom of a sea, is so clear and so consistent that acrostics do
not

it may in the

be, the

be controverted. As an example of the long anagrammatic acrostic form let us acrostic in the firstlines examine firstthe anagrammatic of the terzine. Par. xxxiii. 100-145. As I showed in Chapter it cannot
II, page 30, there is an acrostic on the last line of this canto and the firstlines of the three preceding terzine. This acrostic

The long acrostic will include some reads: l'amata. of the ever, letters used for l'amata; l'amata the word will not, howappear in it.

the following marginal letterson the firstthree terzine:


Consider

the firstlines of

Notice that these letters,minus


Now

the

ai,

spell poema.
letters on

consider the following marginal lines of the next two terzine:

the first

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

405

109
112

NO
MA

Notice that these letters spell noma. Now consider the following marginal lines of the remaining terzine:
115
117
121

letters

on

the first

N
E

O O

124

127
130

Q.U
D

Notice
l'omo.

that these letters, minus


then,
on

QUQu,

spell

dante

and
100:

Read,
POEMA

all the letters given, beginning


DANTE

line

noma

qui
see

QUA

l'oMO.

Easy
POEMA,

to
NOMA,

in
DANTE,

this reading

are

and l'omo. have referred in discussing in general the salient words that appear in the anagrammatic acrostics, is the difficulty of connecting these words into the continuous reading which
suggest. I have solved the difficultyhere by the But this solution is not use which I have made of the ququ. the only solution possible. For instance, if instead of the letters qu of the first word ^uella^ line 127, the letters on

The

the salient words: difficulty,to which I

they

seem

to

be taken; and if, instead of the ma of i 12, simply the m; and if,instead of simply n of the word Nella on line 115, the letters ne; the reading might be considered as: poema noma
QUEL QUI
DANTE.
a

QUEL
on

l'oMO.

variation omitting the l oi


POEMA
NOMA

Or

this second reading might be made by line 127, and the e oi Nella, line 115: ^uella^
QUEL
OMO DANTE

QUI

variations illustrate the difficultyof deciphering the form of the anagrammatic exact acrostic; but this difficulty, however great it may be, in no way invalidates the readings as an to the reading actually intended by approximation
Dante.

These

The words

poema,

noma,

dante,

and

l'omo

appear

so

4o6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

acrostic form, and they so nearly plainly in the anagrammatic into a sentence, and this sentence group of themselves to as autothe poem, great a relevance biographi expresses so Dante it I find doubt difficult to that that
intended
some

cryptographic exhausted. For consider the following marginal the lines from line 133 to the end of the canto:

which The

I have

approximation here shown as

the anagrammatic acrostic actually existing in the text. interest of this passage is not yet

to

letters of all

Read:
The

peremas

qui
peremas

vel.

dante

si

cela

nel

poema

sentence:

the acrostic readings, as himself in the poem. The

is frequently repeated in is also the idea that Dante conceals exact repetition of the firstsentence,
qui
vel,

and the repetition of the ideas expressed in both, confirm the intention of the acrostic.

The

last ten terzine of /w/.v show a reading marginal letters of their firstlines:
115
118
121

on

ing the follow-

POI
MA E MA SE LE

124

127

NCI

Read:

peremas

qui.

mi

celo

nel

poema.

dante

Manifest on lines 115-121 is the poema; and the peremas lines 124 and 130 is scarcely disguised by the intervening on letters of 127. The dante at the end is unmistakable.
Tn Par. viii consider the following marginal letters on the firstlines of the terzine from line 112 to the end of the canto:

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

407

112

115
118
121

o
E

124

PER
L

127
130

QUI
velo. sono

Read:
Dante

peremas

qui

says
on

in this reading

that he is in the

text.

But

where? Consider letters:


146

the last three lines the following marginal


TA E

147
148

OND

Read: The which


o

dante

belongs
dante
as:

to

the

the long reading which is given above and be signs. The complete reading, therefore, mayperemas
velo.

considered Consider
twenty-one

song

qui.

dante

the following marginal lines oi Par. x:

letters

on

all the first

Read:
NEL

peremas l'eGUALE

qui

velo.

ecco DIO

che

dante

s'e

fatto

qui

POEMA

CON

This reading is determined appears as a unit on lines 10,

by the salient words. Dante 11, and 12. Velo appears on

408

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

lines 13 and
l'equale qui

I4;

peremas

on
on

appears clearly of the firstfour terzine, thus:

lines 15, 16, and 17. The the regular ten-line frame

Read:

l'eguale

qui

This refers to Dante's identification of himself with Christ, in line i. For the interior sequence in this passage t\\Qfig/io Chapter III, page 88. see in which The the longer reading is found is passage immediately
i^ which terzina, Par. x. 22-24, the reader is expressly directed to the lines preceding:

followed by

Or ti riman, lettor, sopra il tuo banco Dietro pensando a cio che si preliba, S'esser vuoi lieto assai prima che stance.

well be taken character of the passage. An three lines, thus:

These

words

may

as

hint of the graphic cryptoacrostic appears on these


a

Read;
in the acrostic on these lines which direct the reader to reconsider what he has been reading, have in mind hear ye not?" ears, the Biblical words: "Having May
Dante,

the first lines of the first five terzine of Purg. consider the following marginal letters:
On

xxxii

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

409

clustered letters last two. on the the of poema The initialsof the firstsix lines are:

The

letters of

dante

are

on

the first two


a, c, e,

lines,

t,

d,

a.

Read:

tace

da

This corresponds to the meaning of the text. Dante but sight is extinct. sense so fixedly that every Consider

islooking

in Purg. xxxiii the following marginal letters on the firstlines of all the terzine from line 100 to the end of the
canto:
100

VE E

124

E
MA

103 106 109


112

127
130 133 136 139
142
BEL

Q.UAN
LE SET

CO
C S

DINAN O
PER LA L

115
118
121

MA I
P

145
vel.
dante

Read:
POEMA

peremas

qui

si

cela

con

bella

in

This passage contains


pig rimasi

two

concurrent
rii,

and
29.

puri

which

readings, the acrostics: have been shown in

Chapter

II, page

the following marginal letters on the five terzine, Purg. xxvii. 100-114:

Consider

all the lines of

108 109
no 111 112

lei
E CHE

lo

Q.UAN
LE

TEN

113
114

E
V

4IO

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

This acrostic confirms the idea that Lia is a dream the mother.
In Par. iiiconsider the following marginal firstlines of the firsttwenty-seven terzine:

form of

letters of the

QUI

COME

The

reading which

I have

here deciphered

is determined

in itsessential words by the initial letters. Poema, lines 55-64, is unmistakable; lines 19-31, disguised and the peremas,
the intervening n, line 25, is almost equally as unmistakable. All the letters of dante except the d occur initials,and the significa is suggested by three initials, merely
s,

by

of the passage in which this acrostic naming belia is twice used. The first BELLA appears the adjective instance is in the second line.The marginal words of the first to suggest that bella has a reference to Bella: six lines seem
text

and In the

G,

F.

QUEL
DI

SOL
BELLA

PROVANDO
ED
'

10

ME

STESSO

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

411

The
QUEL

sun

and
DI

edio BELLA,

are

both symbols
PROVANDO
as EDIO

of Dante.
ME

SOL

In the words: he may STESSO,


as

accordingly be considered
to
BELLA.

referring to himself

belonging

The

second bella occurs


Non

in the line. Par. iii. 48:

mi ti celera I'esser piu bella.


to be capable as composed of expressing "Being Bella will no longer conceal me

These

words are by double entente: from thee."

so

Words in the text that may be considered as cryptographic hints are pastille^ line 13, meaning "marginal notes," and levai lo capo^ line 6. Capo is a word that suggests a cryptographic device.

Inf.XX.
Ed

100-114,

reads:
100

io: 'Maestro, i tuoi raglonamenti Mi son si certi, e prendon si mia fede, Che gli altrimi sarian carboni spenti. Ma dimmi della gente che procede, Se tu ne vedi alcun degno di nota; Che solo a cio la mia mente rifiede.' Allor mi disse: 'Quel che dalla gota Porge la barba in sulle spalle brune, Fu, quando Grecia fu di maschi vota Si che appena rimaser per le cune, Augure, e diede il punto Calcanta con In Aulide a tagliar la prima fune. Euripilo ebbe nome, e cosi il canta L' alta mia Tragedia in alcun loco: Ben lo sai tu, che la sai tutta quanta.

103

106

109

112

Consider
marginal

lines of these five terzine the following the first letters:


on

Taking
MADRE, VI

the
SEI.

of

euripilo

for its equivalent

v,

read;

412

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

And

exactly

as

mother appears the following marginal


terzina:
112

this acrostic indicates, the name of Dante's in an acrostic in the same passage. Consider

letters of the three lines of the last

E L
B

113
114

AL

Read:
The

bella

terzina immediately
97-99, reads:

preceding the foregoing passage,

Inf.XX.

Pero t' assenno, che se tu mai odi Originar la mia terra altrimenti, La verita nulla menzogna frodi.'

marginal letters of the firstline of this terzina and of the firstlines of the next four terzine are:

The

Read:

peremas

This passage and neighboring lines contain several words hints of cryptograms, nome^ 112; no; that are augure^ magiche jrode 117. ^ The words in the last terzina, 11 2-1 13:
cosi il canta

L'alta mia Tragedia

in alcun loco,

taken in connection with the acrostics indicating the mother, aware was of suggest that Dante of the mother symbolism the jEneid, the tragedy to which Virgil is referring in the text. for his Commedia That has the same Dante symbolism appears
canto.

from
The

the acrostic on the opening first four terzine, Inf.xxi. 1-12,


altro parlando
cantar
non

lines of the
are:

next

Cosi di ponte in ponte, Che la mia commedia Venimmo, e tenevamo

cura,

il colmo,

quando

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

413

Ristemmo per veder 1' altra fessura Di Malebolge, e gli altri pianti vani; E vidila mirabilmente oscura. Arzana de' Viniziani Quale neir Bolle r inverno la tenace pece A rimpalmar lilegni lor non sani, in Che navicar non e ponno, quella vece Chi fa suo legno nuovo, e chi ristoppa Le coste a quel che piu viaggi fece;

10

Consider
marginal

on

ing all the twelve lines of this passage the followletters:

Read: Compare

ecco

che

dante

si

rivela

qui

con

bella

in this acrostic containing the name of bella connection with the mention with the of the Commedia in connection with acrostic containing the name of bella xx. the passage in which Virgil refers to his Tragedia, Inf. 113. In the present passage Dante declares that Virgil and he
were

speaking
Che

of things
la mia commedia
cantar
non

cura.

therefore be inferred from the acrostic that the subject the relation of Dante of their conversation was with his mother Bella. This relation is, indeed, the hidden of
It may

subject
two

the entire Commedia.

following passage, Par. xxiii.85-90, consists of terzine:


The
O benigna virtu che si gl' imprenti, Su t' esaltasti per largirmi loco
Agli occhi li,che non eran possenti. II nome del bel fior ch' io sempre invoco E mane tutto e sera, mi ristrinse L' animo ad avvisar lo maggior foco.

85

88

414

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Consider
these
two

the following marginal terzine:

letters on

all the lines of

in this passage and the interior sequence del belfior see page 328. significance of // nome
For

for the

following four terzine, Inj. vi. 64-75, comprise prophecy which Ciacco makes about Florence:
The
'Dopo lunga tenzone egli a me: Verranno e la parte al sangue, selvaggla 1' Caccera con altra molta ofFensione. Poi appresso convien che questa caggia Infra tre soli, e che 1' altra sormonti Con la forza di tal che teste piaggia. le fronti, Alte terra, lungo tempo Tenendo 1' altra sotto gravi pesi, Come che di cio pianga, e che ne adonti. Giusti son due, ma intesi: non vi sono Superbia, invidia ed avarizia sono Le tre faville che hanno i cori accesi.'

the

Ed

64

67

70

73

"two reference, line 73, to the be to Dante himself to supposed

The

ones" just

is generally

and his friend Guido Cavalcanti. No proof, so far as I know, has been given for these identifications.There is confirmation, however, in the

anagrammatic acrostics which the passage contains. Observe, first,that the prophetic words of Ciacco begin, Let us, therefore, line 64, after the introductory Ed a me. e^li consider, as a preliminary, the following marginal letters of
the first line of the prophecy itself, which begins with Dopo lunga tenzone^ and of the firstlines of the remaining terzine in which the prophecy appears:

PROBLEMATIC
64

ASPECTS

415

DO POI ALTE

67

70

73

GIU poeta
guido

Read: Let
us

il

the complete text of the four terzine and consider the following marginal letterson their firstlines:
now

return

to

64

ED

67

POI
ALTE

70 73

GIUSTI poeta vi

SON noma

DUE
essi:

MA

NO guido
e

Read:

il

dante

V. V,

In medieval Italian the letter u was as the same the letter I have here taken, therefore, the u oi due for its equivalent and have used it as the equivalent of its spelled form vi. The

acrostic

just deciphered

acrostic extending through Consider on the firstlines of these terzine, the following marginal letters:
76
QUI
FA D
E

by is confirmed the remainder of the same

another
canto.

Inf.vi. 76-115,

79
82

85
88
91

MA GL E

94

Read:

peremas

qui

vel.

feci

qui

guido

dante

the firstlines of the firstnine terzine oi Par. xi the following marginal letters:
on
I

Consider

o c
E

16
19
22

E c
T

7
10

QUA
P

25

13

Read:

ecco

qui

poeta

4i6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the following marginal letters of the firstlines of the last nine terzine oi Inf.xxxiii:

Consider

133
136 139
142

E
T

148

151
154
157

A C
ED

10
N

145

c
dante

Read:
The

eccomi

following acrostic appears in Dante's description of sider the punishment of the peccator carnally Inf.v. 34-54. Conthe following marginal letters on the first lines of the
terzine:
34 QUA
INT
E Dl

37
40

43

46
49

EC CM
L

52

Read:

mi

celo
are

qui.
two

dante

examples of acrostics reading peremas, in which the letters of the word are very plain but in which intrudes. It may be that the two words are the word non fragments of a longer reading (see p. 410). The first acrostic is in Par. iii. 19-33:
io di lor m' accorsi, Subito, si com' Quellestimando specchiati sembianti, Per veder di cui fosser, gli occhi torsi; E nulla vidi, e ritorsili avanti Dritti nel lume della dolce guida, Che sorridendo ardea negli occhi santi. 'Non ti maravigliar perch' io sorrida,' Mi disse, 'appresso il tuo pueril coto, fida, Poi sopra il vero Io pid non ancor Ma ti rivolve, come suole, a voto. Vere sustanzie son ci6 che tu vedi, di voto. Qui rilegate per manco
19

Following

22

25

28

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS
31

417

Pero paria con esse, ed odi, e credi; luce che le appaga Chd la verace Da se non lascia lor torcer li piedi.'

Consider

ing the firstlines of these five terzine the followmarginal letters:


on

Read: The

peremas

[non]
is Par. xxvi. 43-57:

following passage

Sternilmi tu ancora, 43 cominciando L' alto preconio, che grida V arcane Di qui laggiu sopra ogni altro bando.' Ed io udi': 'Per intellettoumano, 46 E per autoritadi a lui concorde, De' tuoi amori a Dio guarda il soprano. Ma di' ancor, se tu senti altre corde 49 Tirarti verso lui, si che tu suone Con quanti denti questo amor ti morde.' Non fu latente la santa intenzione 52 Deir aquila di Cristo, anzi m' accorsi Dove volea menar mia professione. Pero ricominciai: 'Tutti quel morsi, 55 Che posson far lo cor volger a Dio, Alia mia caritate son concorsi;

Consider on the firstlines of the five terzine the following marginal letters:

Read:

peremas

[non]
letters on
all the lines,

Consider

the following marginal

Inf.xxxiii. 139-157:

4i8

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read:

ecco

che

dante

si

indica

nel

poema

All the letters of Consider

dante

appear

as

initials. letters on all the lines of

the following marginal the five terzine, Purg. xvi. 37-51 :

the following marginal letters on the firstseven terzine oi Purg. viii:


Consider

lines of the first

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

419

may be to lo nuovo grin perereference of the cryptogram d'amore^ Hne 4, which is exactly what Dante represents himself to be throughout For the the Divina Commedia. on the Latin phrase: te lucis ante, see pp. 97-8. cryptogram

The

The

seventh terzina, 19-21, is a distinct hint to penetrate on the veil, and the cryptogram this terzina is a further hint to look for a hidden meaning. Consider on the terzina the following marginal letters:
19
20

A c CER

21

Read:

cerca

Consider on the first lines of the following marginal letters:


22

next

four terzine the

I
E

25
28

Read:

veli

This repeats the idea of velo


Consider

....

sottiky line 20.

the following marginal the terzine, Purg. xxx. 118-145:


118
121

letterson

the firstlines of

133 136

NE T

124

SI

139
142

PER
A

127
130

Q.U
E

145 qui
dante

Read: Notice

peremas

appears on the margin clearly dante last five lines,interrupted only by the per, 139.

how

of the

the following marginal letters on the terzine. Par. xxix. 100-145: Consider

the firstHnes of

420

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF
124

DANTE
DI
MA

127
130

PE

Q
E S

.133 136 139


142

LA O

V UNO noma
M nel

145

Read: Note

peremas

qui

velo.

dante

si

poema

is spelled on the marginal that the word poema four being initials, letters, all but one consecutive lines, of
II 2-1 21.

A proof of the close relationship between the Vita Nuova appears in the fact that the Vita and the Divina Commedia Nuova contains cryptograms similar in meaning and identical found in the Divina Commedia. in form to cryptograms Following are the last five lines of the fourteenth sonnet

in the Vita Nuova^

xxiv. 59-63:

Venire inverso il loco la ov' i' era, dell' altra meraviglia: L' una appresso la mente E si come mi ridice, Amor disse: e Primavera, Questa mi Amor, si mi somiglia. E quella ha nome

Consider
59
60 61 62

the following marginal


V
L E

letters of these lines:

AM E

63

Read: The
The

velame

line preceding these five lines begins with lo vidi.

in the Vita Nuova appears in two eighteenth sonnet have been sufficient,Dante that must versions. For reasons and then gives firstwhat he calls the Primo cominciamento The Primo cominciamento the final form of the completed sonnet.
reads:

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

421

Era venuta mia nella mente donna, La gentil valore che per suo Fu posta dair altissimo signore Nel ciel deir umiltate, ov' e Maria.

Consider

the following marginal


ER

letters of these four lines:

LA FU
NE

Read: The

funerale

sonnet

commemorates

the first anniversary


reads:

of the

death of Beatrice. The Secondo cominciamento


Era
venuta

mia nella mente Quelladonna gentil, cui piange Amore, Entro quel punto, che lo suo valore io facia. Vi trasse a riguardar quel ch' la sentia, Amor, che nella mente S' era svegliato nel distrutto core, E diceva a' sospiri: Andate fuore; Per che ciascun dolente sen partia. Piangendo usciano fuori del mio petto mena Con una voce, che sovente Le lagrime dogliose agli occhi tristi. Ma quelli, che n' uscian con maggior pena, Venien dicendo: O nobile intelletto,

Oggi fa r

anno

che nel ciel salisti.

Consider this
sonnet:

the following marginal

letters of all the Hnes of

PER PIA C
LE MA LA

QU
ENT

VI AM
S

VE O vi

ED

Read:

peremas

vel.

poema

cela

qui

dante

422

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

CONTINUOUS

ACROSTICS

THROUGH

ENTIRE The
first of the

CANTOS

I have deciphered in which a continuous reading from beginning to end' is Inf.i. On the first lines of the first four terzine appears, as the Consider now the the acrostic nati. reader will remember,
cantos

marginal

letters of the firstlines of the

next

four terzine:

Read: the firstlines of the next following marginal letters:


On six terzine consider
now

the

It thus appears that on the firstlines of the firstfourteen terzine of Inf. i there is a consecutive series of acrostics, reading:
NATI. GUARDA
ME.

COPIO

MENTE

that I showed in Chapter II the reader will remember that lines i, 4, 7, and 10, on which the nati appears, may also The coincidence of the two be considered to give dante. is to lines seem to indicate that dante readings on the same Now

be identified with the first acrostic as dante,

nati

as

typical

man.

Taking
on

the complete

reading

then the the first

fourteen terzine may


GUARDA
ME, DANTE

be considered:
COPIO (nATI).
MENTE

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

423
true

The

meaning

the symboHsm "copies mind,"

of he In Divina Commedia. saying that of the identification Dante isimplying an of himself


of
dante

: copio

mente,

is profoundly

with Intelligence which is constantly repeated throughout the Trinity the three persons are entire poem. In the Christian indicates in the inscription represented respectively, as Dante Power, Intellect, and Love; as over the gate of Hell, Inf.iii, Intellect corresponds to the divine Son. The identification Christ has already been which Dante makes of himself with indicated, and this identification carries with it,therefore, the identification of Dante with Intelligence. This identification is indeed expressed by an acrostic shown in Chapter VI, on found mente. the very lines on which we have just

The

DANTE,

as

identified with
ECCO

mente,

appears thus:

31 34

ED
EN T

quasi

37
40

Read: Now
GUARDA MENTE,

ecco

quasi

me,

dante

on ME.

the very
COPIO

lines
MENTE,

on or

which
GUARDA

we

have
ME,

found
DANTE.
on

nati.

COPIO

there appears another reading. Consider lines the following marginal letters:

these

Consider

marginal

in the succeeding letters:

seven

terzine the

following

424

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read:

loque

questa

mente

the following marginal fifteen terzine:


Consider

letters in the succeeding

Observe
POETA;
maro

on

cryptographic
see

lines 73, 76, and 79 the maro is the name of Virgil. For use which Dante makes of maro

following the the remarkable in this passage

pp. 190-3. Observe also that, exactly as in the finallines of Paradiso already examined, all the letters of dante appear in the initialsof the lines. Consider now the following marginal letters on the first

lines of the remaining

terzine of the

canto:

Read; the continuous anagrammatic acrostic reading firstlines of all the terzine oi Inf.i appears: Thus
on

the

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

425
POEMA

MENTE

(eCCO
ME,

QUASI
"

ME,

(orGUARDA
MENTE

DANTE
POETA CALLE.

NATI

NEL DANTE) COGITA COPIO MENTE). LOQ.UE

Q.UESTA QUESTO

QUANDO
OVE E

MARO

QUI

MI

RICEVE,

DANTE.

INDICA

This reading is,in effect,a synopsis of the Following

text

of the

canto.

is the continuous anagrammatic acrostic on the firstlines of all the terzine of Purg. xxix. Consider first on the first lines of the first twenty-nine terzine the following marginal letters:
I

CA
E

7
10

A
NO NE E

13 16
19
22

MA
E

PERCHE

XL

25
28 31 34

C SOT
M D o

37
40

OR PO

CON

VI

43

Read:
SONO COSI

peremas VELATO

qui
QUI

poema. CON

eccomi,
BELLA

dante

aldighiero.

consider the following marginal nine terzine: Now


88 91 94
P SI

letters on

the

next

103 106
109
112

LO
E

OGN AD MA
dante

97
100

TAN

Read:

poema:

lo

signa

And finally consider the following marginal letters of the firstlines of the remaining terzine of the canto:

426

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read:
Notice

poema:

dante

fello

qui

but

one

is on the marginal letters,all that the word poema being initials,of the firstlines of four consecutive
as

terzine, 139-148. The complete acrostic in this canto,


peremas

thus deciphered, is:


aldighiero. dante sono

qui qui

poema. con

eccomi,
bella.

dante

cosi

velato DANTE

poema:

lo

signa.

poema:

FELLO

QUI.

In Purg. the mention


pertinent marginal

XXX,

to

the firstlines of all the terzine preceding of Dante, line 55, appears a reading particularlythe following the sense of the text. Consider
on

letters:
I

QUA
E F

28
CHE

CO
S

31 34

7
10

EL s T V PER MA NE DI

37
40

13

QUA
COT
T

16
19
22

43

46
49

I E

25

52
qui
vel.

Read:
On

peremas

ecco

che

dante

s'e

fatto

qui

the first lines of the terzine from consider the following marginal letters:
55 58
61
dante

line ^^

to

line 78

67 70

TU
RE

QUA
I VI eguaglia

73 76
qui
virtu

GUA

64

GLI

Read:

dante

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

427

Inlaid in this passage are other important cryptograms, which I have already shown, referring to the symbolism. be understood, however, as belonging throughout the canto. continuous reading that runs On the firstlines of all the remaining terzine of the consider the following marginal letters: They
are

not

to

to

the

canto

Read:
IN

peremas

qui

vel.

ecco

come

dante

si

noma

qui

POEMA

complete anagrammatic deciphered, is:


peremas

The

acrostic in this canto,

as

thus

qui
qui

vel. virtu,

ecco
peremas

CHE

DANTE

s'e VEL.

FATTO ECCO

QUI.
COME

DANTE DANTE

EGUAGLIA
SI

QUI

NOMA

QUI

IN

POEMA.

NON-ITALIAN I have in Chapter

PHRASES

III several examples of cryptograms For Italian. discussion on the passages not of this form see page 95. I will show here other examples. of cryptogram In Purg. vii. 82, is the Latin ^\vr2ist'. Salve regina. These

shown

for vel be regarded as an anagram a signare. words may This reading is appropriate to the symbolism of the Divina Commedia^ in which the divine regina veils Bella, the mother of Dante.

428

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

There

is nothing
salve

the phrase: for VEL A

prove, indeed, that Dante regina, to be considered as an


to

intended
anagram

there is plenty of evidence that phrases from the Bible and from the literature of the Church
siGNARE.

But

were

to excommonly considered contain cryptograms pressin the inner meaning of the phrases. An example is from the I have quoted the well-known anagram which Encyclopaedia Brittanica^ the change of Ave Maria^ gratia

et pia^ munda It is my belief that Dante immaculata. considered all, or to be nearly all, the Latin phrases in the Divina Commedia into readings transformable, like the foregoing anagram, for my belief is the appropriate to his symbolism. The reason fact that cryptographic transformations of many of his Latin phrases into appropriate readings may actually be shown. In Purg. xxvii. 58, is the Latin phrase: Venite^ benedicti patris mei. Consider in these words the final and contiguous letters as follows, changing the di q"{ benedicti into the letter d, of which the letters di are the spelled form:
VENITE

plena^ Dominus

tecum

into

Virgo

serena^

E
NEDCTI ATRIS EI

BENEDICTI
PATRIS MEI

Read:

reciti:

sei

dante

In Purg. xxiii.11, is the Latin phrase: Labia mea, Domine. These words contain a cryptic reference to Bella, the mother of Dante. Consider in these words the following initialand contiguous letters:
LABIA
MEA

LABIA
MEA

DOMINE

DOMI
mia bela

Read:
Bela

odami,

be suggested in the words: kind of bella may Domine. The per modoy which immediately follow Labia mea^ ODA of the deciphered reading is echoed in the words of Dante, line 13:
as
a

PROBLEMATIC
O dolce Padre, che
e

ASPECTS
quel ch'i 'odo?

429

That

in the suggest that he heard bella Latin Labia mea^ Dominey is indicated in the acrostic on the three lines of the terzina in which the Latin phrase appears:
Dante

intended

to

10 11 12

LABI
TAL

Read:
As
we

taci

bella

be read cita; both taci may already seen, sense make and it is difficultto choose between them. in The Latin word Ave appears apart from a Latin context
have Purg. This
X.

40,

word

121. and Par. xvi. 34, and with Maria in Par. iii. was recognized early in the Middle Ages as a

for eva. The thus associates the palindrome palindrome divine mother Mary^ to as woman the Ave was the whom uttered, with the fallen mother Eve. This association of the
two

mothers

in

an

identical form
Commedia.

is fundamental

in the

symbolism
In Purg.

of the Divina
x.,

These

words

line 44, appears the Latin Ecce ancilla Dei. yield a signature in which the t is missing.

is suggested by the reference which the Latin words, have to Christ. The symbol of used in the Annunciation, Christ is the cross, in as has already appeared and the cross,
T

The

several cryptograms, is to be considered as represented by the letter t. A hint of the silent t, as the image of the cross of Christ, may be taken from the words, line 39, imagine che tace. By supplying, then, the imagine che tace^ the complete reading is: dante.
In Par. xxiii.128, is the Latin phrase :/?^^/"^rof//. Consider in these words the initialand marginal letters as follows:

430

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

REGINA COELI

R COEL

concealed." Latin words Regina coeli are from an antiphone sung in the office of the Virgin. The association of celor with a hymn to the Virgin has a bearing on the fundamental ism symbolhave Commedia. Dante, Divina as we seen, of the

Read:

celor,

Latin for "I

am

The

portrays himself at the culmination of his mystical journey, as concealed in the womb of the divine mother. In Par. xx. 94, appears the Latin Regnum coelorum. These words
CELOR.

may

be

considered

as

yielding the

same

acrostic:

coelorum acrostic on both Regina coeli and Regnum be Regnum The may also coelorum as cor considered as cor. kingdom recalls the Biblical: "The of God is within you," Luke xvii. 21. The symbolism of God as the of the kingdom heart or as within the body is fundamental in the Divina Commedia,

The

In Par. xxix, line 12, are two Latin words, ubi and quando; and three lines later, line 15, is the Latin subsisto. These sider three Latin words, taken together, yield a signature. Conin these three words the following terminal and contiguous

letters:

Read:
Bioo

bioo.

dant

is the Greek Btoco, "I exist" or "I live;" it echoes the sense of Dante's Latin subsisto. In the firsttwelve lines oiPurg. xxxiii are three expressions in Latin: Deus^ venerunt et non genteSy line i; Modicum,
videbitis
me,

Et

iterum,
12.

videbitis me,

line

lines lo-ii; determinant

expressions is the meaning which conveying in the anagrammatic acrostic to be found on initialand contiguous letters of all the words involved.

et vos and Modicum, in the choice of these they may be considered as

the

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

431

hint for the method be taken may cryptogram


A
Or
tre
or

of deciphering these words from the words, lines i and


alternando

as

2:

quattro.

the Latin words, therefore, in alternating groups of three and four. As there are fifteen Latin words in all,the last word, me^ will fall outside the last group of four. The first group, then, which is of the first three words, gentes. Consider in these words the comprises Deus, venerunt

Let

us

arrange

following initialand contiguous

letters:

In the letters selected above the v is to equivalent vi, the spelled form of v. The therefore, it may spells iin^ or one; as a one,

be taken
un

as

its

of venerunt be taken as its thus:

cabalistic equivalent a. The selected letters may


DE VENERUNT DE VI

accordingly be transposed

ENER

GENTES

GENTES
dante

Read:
The

vi

segnerete

second group, which is of the succeeding /owr words, et 72on comprises Modicum^ videbitis.Consider in these words the following initialand contiguous letters:
modicum ET NGN VIDEBITIS
m

E NO VIDE

Read: The

vedi

nome

is the in vi segnerete But dante. name notice that by the the initialand contiguous letters of omission of the e of vide be read: nome V has the vid. the words of this group may value of five; i the value of one; and d the value of five
name

which

the reader is thus directed

to

see

432

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

hundred.

there thus appears omitting the zeroes, Thus nome the reading vedi 515. may cryptic number into nome: converted 515. The
third and

By

the be

fourth groups,

of three and
me^

Jour

words

respectively, comprise

et respectively in Consider et vos these words videbitis. initial and contiguous letters:

iterum

cum^ and modifollowing the

{Thirdgroup, of three words)

last readings taken together are thus: metti me V has the value of five; i the value of one. Thus the VVI. in the 515 appears again, and the cryptogram cryptic number last two groups may be considered as metti me, 515.
two

The

The
and To

entire reading for the four groups of alternating three four words is thus: vi segnerete dante. vedi nome

(or NOME

515).metti

me

515.

these deciphered

Latin words, me, three and four words.

readings may be added the last of the which fallsoutside the alternating groups of

like It is to be noted that me is used to rhyme with itself, Crista and Dante's symbol 10 vidi. This identical rhyming is, like the identical rhyming on a detail me on vidi, 10 of
imitation of Christ. In Purg. xvi. 19, is the Latin phrase: Agnus Dei. The as v; so that the phrase is an anagram agnus is the same
SEGNA
Div

Dante's

of for:

(515).

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

433

is the Latin phrase: Beati pauperes xii. no, spiritu.Consider in these words the following telesticletters:
In Purg.

Read:
Dante
to

here be considered as hearing himself referred in the words of the Beatitudes.


may
XV,

line 38, is the Latin phrase: Beati misericordes. These Latin words may be considered to yield a signature in which the n is missing. Consider in these words the following telesticletters:
In Purg.
BEATI EATI DES

MISERICORDES

Read:
The

sei

date

lines missing n is referred to in an acrostic on the first of the four terzine ending with the terzina in which the Latin phrase appears:
28
31 34
NGN

TOS PO
N

37

Read:

non

posto

In Purg. xxii. 5 and 6, are the Latin words: Beati and sitiunt. These two words, taken together, conceal a signature in which the d of Dante is missing. The context indicates that the missing d is to be supplied. Consider

contiguous

in the two letters:

Latin words

the following jfinal and

beati sitiunt

EATI
NT

Read:
DANTE.

ti,

ante.

With

supplied, the reading

is

ti,

434

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

several hints in the Notice, in the firstplace, line 3:


There
are

context

to

supply

the

d.

Avendomi

dal viso

un

colpo

raso.

words are capable of being taken from Dante's viso^ has been removed These

whole of the second terzina, in which is so phrased as to imply that Beati and sitiunt, which suggest line 6. senz the sound of dante, altro, cio Jorniro^

hint that a letter or signature. And the the Latin words appear,
as a

Line 17 reads:
Piu strinse mai di
are
non

vista persona.

The

words

their context, letter d.


Another

capable, when removed being understood as an allusion to the of


vista

di

non

from
unseen

acrostic on which

reference to the concealed d may be found in an the initials of the five lines ending with the line in

sitiunt appears:
2

3
4

A E
D

5
6

c d
an

Read:
There
canto

cela

is also

acrostic
to

which

seems

and sitiunt. Consider letters:


1
2

all the firsteighteen lines of the point to the signature hidden in Beati lines 1-18 the following marginal on
on
10

Gi
L

QU
AC PUR O
NE

II 12

3
4

AVE
E DET

13
14

5
6 7
8 9

CON
E M
SE A

15
16

CHE M PI SI

17
18

Read:

peremas

qui

vel.

ecco

che

dante

signa

qui

poema

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

435
tecta

In Purg.
sunt

xxix. 3, is the Latin phrase: Beati quorum peccata. Consider the final letters of these words:

Compare
morata^

with
i.

the

sense

of this telestic the donna

inna-

line

In Purg. xix. 73, is the Latin phrase: Adhaesit pavimento Consider in these words the following final and mea. anima contiguous letters:

xix^ 99, is the Latin phrase: Scias quod ego Jui Petri. Consider in these words the following final successor and contiguous letters:

In Purg.

In the ultimate identification of himself with God, Dante, in a sense, becomes God.
is the Latin phrase: Summae Deus clementiae. Taking the u of Deus for its equivalent v, consider in these words the following final and contiguous letters:
XXV.

In Purg.

121,

436

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

SUMMAE
DEUS

AE
DEUS NTIAE dante

CLEMENTIAE

Read:

ave.

sei

Sperent in te. These words contain a signature which may be deciphered by substituting, in the phrase: In te^ Domine, speravi, page 443, an a for as the I, and by supplying a d, in accordance with hints in the Consider in these Latin words the following text to do so. initialand contiguous letters:
In Par.
xxv.

98, is the Latin

Read:
By
PER

per

se,

ante
a

supplying
SE,

from

the

context,

the reading may

be

DANTE.

supply a d may be the fact that the Latin words immediately followed by di, the preposition which may are be considered as the spelled form of d. is here concealed is hinted in the acrostic That DANTE
A hint
to
on

lines 94-99:
94
E

95
96

LA

DOV

QUE
E PRIMA

97
98
99

SPERENT A dante pare

Read:
Another having

peremas

velo.

qui
are

as

hint that the Latin words a cryptic reference to Dante


Le nuove il segno, ed

to

may

be understood be taken from

Dante's

words, lines 88-89:


e

Pongono

le scritture antiche lo mi addita. esso

is surely a double meaning in these words. Dante is he is referring not only to the New and Old Testaments;

There

PROBLEMATIC
to

ASPECTS

437

and old ways of writing, the nection manifest and the cryptic. In the present instance, in conDante in in Latin Sperent te^ says effect with the that he is himself referred to. referring also the
new

28-30, Cacciaguida, the addresses Dante in Latin. His words are: In Par.
xv.

ancestor

of Dante,

O sanguis meus, o superinfusa Gratia Dei! sicut tibi,cui Bis unquam coeli ianua reclusa?

Consider the words

the following initialand contiguous of this terzina:

letters of all

Read: Rebus In

peremas

vi.

song

qui

in

rebus

tug

cacciaguida

is a well recognized

word

in cryptography. in the preceding the four terzine,

with the cryptogram connection passage, let me show the cryptogram Par. XV. 34-45 :

on

Ch6 dentro agli occhi suoi ardeva un riso lo fondo Tal, ch' io pensai co' miei toccar Delia mia grazia e del mio Paradise. Indi ad udire ed a veder giocondo, Giunse lo spirto al suo principio cose intesi,si parld profondo: Ch' io non

34

37

438

THE
N^

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

per elezion mi si nascose, Ma per necessity, ch^ il suo concetto Al segno dei mortal si soprappose. 1' arco dell' ardente affetto E quando Fu si sfocato che il parlar discese intelletto; Inver lo segno del nostro

40

43

the following marginal of these terzine:

Consider

letters of the firstlines

34

CH I
N

37
40

43

Read:

niche.

Italian transliteration of the Greek vIkt]. inseveral hints in this passage: cose cK to non tesiy s) parlo projondo^ 38~395 ^^ P^''^ elezion mi si nascose, intelletto, 40; segno del nostro 45. for "victory," expresses Dante's satisfaction Ni/cry,Greek This may There are
be
an

in his meeting image contrasts


as

with

Cacciaguida,

who

as

benign

father

it appears

with the malignant in Filippo Argenti.

and hated

father image

entirely of a vii. 1-3, is a terzina composed combination of Latin and Hebrew. This terzina recalls the foregoing Latin terzina, in which a rebus is discovered. Consider in the words of the present terzina the following In
Par.

initialand contiguous letters:

Read:

peremas.

suo

figlio

dante

rischiara

bella

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

439

In Gnostic

to

Light, in the incestuou as the divine son, he is relation with the divine mother through whom be reborn, is described as shining upon, or illuminating, symbolism

her. InP"r^.
as

xxvi. lines 140-147, there is a passage in Provencal, The passage is: if uttered by the Provencal poet Arnaut.
Tan
m'

abellis

vostre

cortes

deman,

Qu'ieu no-m puesc, ni-m voil a vos cobrire. leu sui Arnaut, que plor, e vau cantan, Consiros vei la passada folor, E vei jauzen lo jorn qu' esper, denan. Ara vos prec per aquella valor, de 1' escalina, Que vos guida al som de ma dolor. Sovenha vos a temps
Consider
marginal

142

145

all the letters:


on TAN M I

lines in Provencal

the

following

140

ABELL

141
142

Q.U
lEU CON
E V

143
144

145
146

ARA

QU SQ
vece arnaut, nomo

147

Read:
Notice,

quasi
moreover,

qui

bella

that the first and last words

of the first

line of the Provencal:


TAN DEMAN,

spell DANTE, "signature."

MAN.

The

MAN

suggcsts, like "hand"


a

in English,

In Purg.
to

XXX

there is

series of Latin
as

be considered which are The first appears on line 1


phrase

1 :

containing Veni^ sponsa^ de Libano.

quotations, all of hidden meaning.

This

be is followed, line 15, by alleluiando^ which may considered as another foreign word. In these five foreign words consider the following initial and contiguous letters:

440

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

The

next

Consider
letters:

tanti senis, Hne 17. phrase is: ad vocem in these words the following initialand contiguous

Latin

Read:

savio

dante

Possibly the
together, thus:

two

phrases, with alleluiando^ should be read

Read:

savio

dante

si

vela

con

bella

The phrase: Veni^ sponsa^ de Libano is uttered by un di loro^ The association of these words with Dante quasi da del messo. appears from the consideration of the phrases: del del messo, da dio (seep. and messo

'^2S)-

Immediately
are

two

following the two Latin phrases justconsidered They in Benedictus lines : 19-21 appear others.
0

qui venisy and Manibus

date liliaplenis.

Consider

the following initial and

contiguous

letters in

these Latin words:

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

441

Read:

veli,

dante,

bella

qui

poema

xii. 93, is the Latin phrase: decimas quae sunt 'Dei.Consider in these words the following telestic pauperum its equivalent v: letters, taking the final u oi pauperum as
In Par.

Read:

peremas

vi

dante

In Far, xiii.100, is the Latin phrase: si est dare primum Consider in these words the following initialand esse. motum contiguous letters:

Read:

peremas

dio

In Purg. ix. 140, is the Latin sentence: These words contain a signature, dante,

Te Deum

laudamus.

in which

is missing, and the missing n is unmistakably Consider the following the passage in which the words occur. initialand contiguous letters in the Latin words:

the letter n referred to in

442

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

TE
DEUM
LAUDAMUS

TE
DEV
LA

(u and

being

equivalent)

Read: With
are

vel:
an n

date

the reading hints in the various


as vel: dante.

understood
two

Now dante. there would be vel: be is date to text vel: that this The similarity of the sound of the
as

phrases is so confusing that,


Or si or
no

Dante

suggests, line 145,

s'intendon le parole.

in line 132 there is an expression which is so phrased that it may be understood, when taken from itscontext, as a direct allusion to the missing n: chi 'ndietro si guata. By removing the chi from this phrase there appears the following: N dietro And
si guata. Dante has further indicated the silent n in an acrostic in the passage in which the Latin phrase appears. The last ten

lines of the

canto

are:

Non rugghio si, ne si mostro si acra Tarpeia, come il le fu buono tolto Metello, per che poi rimase macra. lo mi rivolsi attento al primo tuono, E Te Deum laudamus mi parea Udir in voce mista al dolce suono. Tale imagine appunto mi rendea Cio ch' io udiva, qual prender si suole

136

139

142

Quando
Che
or

cantar
no s'

si

or

con organi si stea: intendon le parole.

145

Consider marginal

the letters:
on

regular

ten-line frame

the

following

136

142

TA

145

C
n

Read:

taci

which concludes with the lines justquoted the part of records a curious instance of disobedience on Dante. The angel of God has just Dante permitted and Virgil
passage

The

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

443

to

into Purgatory pass through the entrance he says, Hnes 131-132; admitting the poets
Che
Entrate; di fuor torna
ma

proper, and

in

facciovi accorti chi 'ndietro si guata.


out

Now

in spite of the threatened penalty of being turned he looked back, Dante states, line 139, that
lo mi rivolsi attento
al primo
suono.

if

But why, ifthe angel meant Dante inflicted? Why was

There
poem,

is apparently

but the answer justbeen deciphered. looking back, in the laudamus. Te Deum In Purg.
XXX.

the penalty not what he said, was di fuor? not compelled to tornare answer no given to this question in the is implied in the cryptogram which has
Dante
sense

turned having his of


was

out,
name

as

result of turned out of

83-84,

are

two

These speravi and pedes meos. and end of a passage in

Latin phrases: In te^ Domine, ning Latin words indicate the beginPsalm

sung by the angels. But limits of the passage ? He why does Dante indicate the exact does so, as I shall show, as a means of getting the exact letters Notice, in the first place, the for a cryptogram. needed Of the first five in In te, Domine. of his name
a

suggestion letters in this phrase

The the poet's name. have escaped the to scarcely be imagined coincidence can be converted the letters In te, D can attention of Dante. Now

four belong

to

D by the cabalistic method of considering in Arabic is letter a i, one the notation, as the letter the which a, to one, or the firstletter of the alphabet. corresponding Consider now the following initial and contiguous letters,

into Jn

te,

changing by the recognized into a's: the I of Domine

cabalistic method

the

of In and

444

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Consider In Par. xi. 62, is the Latin phrase :"/":or"2Wp^/r(?. in these words the following initialand contiguous letters:
ET CORAM PATRE
E

PA

Read:

pace

Consider
contiguous
ET

in the letters:
T

same

words

the

following

final and

CORAM PATRE

MA RE

Read:

mater

I suspect that in the of the Divina Commedia

This double

meaning of the word.


seen

of single Latin words in the text be a double meaning. there may rearrange anagrammatic may appear in an
use
"

is velle^ Another ave eva. the anagram which appears in Par. iv. 25 and Par. xxxiii. I43. This may be is el being a good form for //.Another example read el vel, Delectasti^ Purg. xxviii. 80, quoted from Psalm xcii. 4. This As de is a symbol for celasti de. of word is an anagram

We

have

is: celasti dante. the meaning of the anagram letters In Par. xxvi. 17, reference is made to the Greek ing alpha and omega. These letters may be considered as suggestbeginning is in a, or a the that alpha^ and signature, o, as a om^^", or o, is the end, of aldighiero. used for
Dante,
.
.

aldighiero,
or

and in in the Divina times and many ways expressed many Alpha Commedia^ is implicit again in these letters,for "I am and Omega saith the Lord."
. .

ED,

is exactly analogous to the constant for DANTE. The identification of Dante

use

of de, Christ,

GROUPS
We have already
seen on

OF

PROPER

NAMES
III examples
names

in Chapter

constructed

the proper

of

cryptoof grams passage. The

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

445

of this kind which I showed is constructed Christ on the names of the group of souls that accompanied from Hell to Heaven. And I suggested that by in his ascent in a cryptogram on the firstletters of their signing his name Dante identifies himself with them. I give here names
firstcryptogram
on other groups of proper names. examples of cryptograms In the nobile castello Dante sees the heroes and heroines of antiquity and then the philosophers. Both these groups the first letters of the signatures on cryptographic show

The names. passage containing proper heroines, Inf.iv. 1 21-129, is as follows:

the

heroes

and

lo vidi Elettra con molti compagni, Tra' quai conobbi Ettore ed Enea, Cesare armato con gli occhi grifagni. la Pentesilea, Vidi Cammilla e Dair altra parte vidi il re Latino, Che con Lavinia sua figlia sedea. Vidi quel Bruto che caccio Tarquino, Marzia e Corniglia, Lucrezia, Julia, E solo in parte vidi il Saladino.

121

124

127

Note

that the initials of these three terzine


121

are:

I
V

124

127

Read:

i v,

that is, 515.

the following initial and contiguous letters in all in this passage of heroes and heroines: the proper names Consider

446

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read:
BELLA

peremas

vel.

ecco

qui

dante

colla

sua

matre

The

following

passage,

Inf. iv. 130-144,

contains

the

philosophers:
Poi che innalzai un poco piu le ciglia, di color che sanno, Vidi il Maestro Seder tra filosoficafainigha. Tutti lo niiran, tutti onor gli fanno. Quivi vid' io Socrate e Platone, Che innanzi agli altri piu presso gli stanno. Democrito, che il mondo a caso pone, Diogenes, Anassagora e Tale, Empedocles, Eraclito e Zenone: E vidi il buono accoglitor del quale, Dioscoride dico: e vidi Orfeo, Tullio e Lino e Seneca morale: Euclide goemetra e Tolommeo, Ippocrate, Avicenna e Galieno, feo. Averrois, che il gran comento
130

133

136

139

142

Dante is // maestro di sees whom line 131. It is to be noted that Dante, who color che sanno^ is here referring to Aristotle, does not mention him by name. The reason that Dante does not mention Aristotle by name

The

first philosopher

for the sake of the duplicity of his intention. In di color che s anno he isindicating not only referring to ilmaestro
is simply similar duplicity appears in the anonymous allusions to David, Par. xx. 38, ^Eneas, InJ.\. Purg. xxii. loi. 73-74" ^nd Homer, Aristotle is seated, as Dante famiglia^ says, tra filosofica to him. These three form a with Socrates and Plato nearest to the divine philosophic trinity as a family analogous Trinity. This philosophic trinity is likewise analogous to the Aristotle but

himself. A

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

447

Regarded thus poetical trinity of Virgil, Statius, and Dante. as a trinity, the three supreme philosophers are separated by Dante in his poem separately, from the rest and are named lines 130-135. Notice that in the line in which he mentions Plato and Socrates:

Quivi vid'
the Q.UIVI himself.
The
vid'io

io Socrate

Platone,

is the equivalent

of quivi

515,

or

Dante

about Aristotle, Plato, and grouped lines, 136-I44. in the next Socrates are named by the has spelled his name Recall first that Dante line 137: "string" cipher method on philosophers
Diogenes, ANassagora
e

TalE.

The

first letters of signature is especially plain because the the three names spell in themselves: dant. Diogenes In to these three philosophers, addition

Anassagora,

by themselves, there and Tale, who give a dant are trinity of Aristotle, the philosophic grouped about Empedocles, Socrates, and Plato the following: Democrito, Dioscoride, Orfeo, Tullio, Lino, Seneca, Eraclito, Zenone,

Euclide,
Averrois.

Tolommeo,

Ippocrate,

Avicenna,

Galieno,

and

letters, the following contiguous of these names beginning with the initials, noticing that the i of Ippocrate be regarded as is aspirated in the original Greek and so may

Take

supplying

an

h:

448

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read;

dante

aldighiero,
"zero"

tu

sei

zero
an

Or, by regarding the


TU,

as

the equivalent

of

o:

sei

DANTE

ALDIGHIERO.

I beHeve

double

sense

is to be understood in the that this cryptogram is here which I have here indicated. Dante
to

arrogating

himself

the
at

philosophers and saying is nothing. man Notice, his


name moreover, on

combined wisdom of all the time that the wisdom of the same
comes

nearly Dante the initialsof lines 140-144:

how

to

spelling

D T E

I
A

With

the

next

line,in which he says with


non

double meaning,

lo

posso

ritrar di tutti appieno,

he

the spelling. Consider completes following marginal letters:

for this spelling the

Interesting in connection with Dante's play on the names of the ancient philosophers is his reference to Thomas Aquinas, Par. x. 97-99, which is so phrased as to suggest the Aquinas, who is speaking, indicates name of Dante. Thomas thus the
names

of his companions

and himself:

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS
destra piu vicino, Alberto fummi, ed esso d' Aquino. ed io Thomas
a

449

Questiche
E

m'

Frate e maestro di Cologna,

himself, ed io Thomas words in which he refers to d'Aquino, begin with Dante's symbol ed io, and the letters be conbeginning the two that follow may sidered proper names be dant qui. T as read: which may and d'aquin,

The

is spelled by the initial t Notice also that 10 dante of Thomas preceding: na ed io t. and the six letters immediately is a group of proper names firstfive terzine of this passage are There
in Purg. vii.9 i-i follows: as
1 2.

The

Colui che piu sied' alto, e fa sembianti dovea, D' aver negletto cIo che far bocca agli altrui canti, E che non move fu, che potea Ridolfo imperador Sanar le piaghe ch' hanno Italia morta, Si che tardi per altri si ricrea. L' altro, che nella vista lui conforta, dove 1' acqua Resse la terra nasce, ne Che Molta in Albia, ed Albia in mar porta: fasce Ottacchero ebbe nome, e nelle Fu meglio assai che Vincislao suo figlio Barbuto, cui lussuria ed ozio pasce. E quel Nasetto, che stretto a consiglio ha benigno Par con aspetto, si colui ch' il disfiorando Mori fuggendo e giglio:

91

94

97

100

103

Consider

the following marginal

letters of the first lines of

these terzine:

Read: The
are:

claro

initials of the first five proper

names

in this passage

450

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

RIDOLFO

ITALIA
MOLTA

I
M

ALBIA
ALBIA

A A

Read: The

maria

rest

of the proper

names

in the passage

are:

OTTACHERO
VINCISLAO

FRANCIA

Consider these
names:

the following initial and

contiguous

letters of

VI
FRA

Read:

vi

faro

Thus the complete is: VI faro MARIA.

reading

on

this group

of proper

names

in the description of the Valley of the This passage occurs Princes, the greynbo which, as I have already shown, is associated in Dante's symbolism with the divine mother, Maria. In InJ. (and we have xvi. 94-102, isa group of proper names
regard Alpe as a proper name). Of these names consider the following contiguous letters beginning with the initials:
a

right

to

VESO APENNINO

V APEN
A

ACQ.UAQUETA
FORLI
BENEDETTO ALPE

FORLI
BEN AL

Read:

fanno

via

per

bella

and river passage shows Dante's elaborate water following is Note immediately the symbol of that symbolism. lonza. the cord and the

The

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

451
we

In Purg. xiv. 16-48, is a group of proper names of which letters: consider the following initialand contiguous

Read:

factito

per

bella

Factito is Latin. This passage is an elaborate description of the Arno and is another instance of Dante's river-mother symbolism.

following passage, description of himself:


The

Purg.

vii, 4-9,

contains

Virgil's

fosser volte 'Prima che a questo monte L' anime degne di salire a Dio, Fur r ossa mie per Ottavian sepolte. lo son Virgilio; e per null' altro rio fe': Lo ciel perdei, che per non aver il Duca Cosi rispose allora mio.

in this passage the three proper names following initial and contiguous letters:

Of

consider

the

the following initialand contiguous letters of all the proper names of the last ten lines oi Purg. vii: Consider

452

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Read:
The

ecco

vi

nom.

matre

bella

eguaglia

maria

The cryptogram in the series is Beatrice. this with thus associates Bella, Beatrice, and Maria. Compare on cosi la madre, the acrostic: eguaglia page 337. shown There are two on groups of proper other cryptograms
firstname
names Beatrice. which include the name Consider, first, the following initialand contiguous in Par. xxix. 1-9: of all the proper names

letters

latona montone libra


beatrice

la

mon l bea
bella

Read:
Now

noma

consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of the first four terzine oi Par. xxxii:

Read:
passage refers to Eve, and the meaning may be that Eve is quick or prone to sin. Now consider in this passage the following initial and contiguous letters of the proper names: The

Read:

Beatrice

vi

sara

madre

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

453

Consider,

finally, the following marginal

letters of the

firstsix linesof the passage:


1 2

A
LIB
E L

3
4

CO

5
6

QU
EC

Read:

ecco

qui

bella

ACROSTICS

ON

FIRST

LINES

OF

CONSECUTIVE

CANTOS

for to use recognized device in cryptography acrostics not only the initialpositions of lines or of stanzas cesco but also of larger units of text, as in the signature of Franin the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. This Colonna
It is
a

the signature, as I have already explained, is written on initialsof the chapters of the book. I will now show that in an use makes of the initialpositions analogous way Dante I am of his cantos. unable, however, to find a continuous
Imagine that the first lines reading through all the cantos. are under the other like the lines written one of the cantos of Inferno^ of a poem. The first lines of the first four cantos follows: written thus together, appear as

Inf. i. I. Inf. ii. I. Inf.iii.I. Inf.iv. I.


Consider

del cammin di nostra Nel mezzo vita Lo giorno se n'andava, e I'aer bruno Per me si va nella citta dolente I'alto sonno Ruppemi nella testa

the following marginal

letters of these lines:

454

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

This acrostic prunello, as the evil or fruitlesstree, stands Compare thus at the beginning oi Inferno. the thorn symbolism New Testament, Inf. the of and also pruno^ 32. xiii. in connection with this acrostic prunello the firstlines of the firstthirteen cantos of Inferno:
now

Consider

Inf. Inf. 1 Inf. ii Inf. iv Inf. V Inf. vi Inf. vii Inf.viii. Inf. ix. Inf. X. Inf. xi. Inf. xii. Inf.xiii.
Consider
1.

Nel mezzo di nostra del cammin vita Lo giorno se n'andava, e I'aer bruno Per me si va nella citta dolente Ruppemi I'alto sonno nella testa Cos! discesi del cerchio primaio Al tornar della mente, che si chiuse Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe lo dico seguitando, ch'assai prima Quel color che vilta di fuor mi pinse

Ora

sen va secreto per un calle In su r estremita d' un' alta ripa Era lo loco, ove a scender la riva Non era ancor di la Nesso arrivato

the following marginal


NEL LO p RU C AL P

letters of these lines:

ii. iii. iv.


V.

vi. vii.

Read:

copio

qui

lo

prunello.

dante

This acrostic is appropriate to the symbolism of Inferno, in which Dante "copies the thorn-tree" in the sense that he represents himself as leading the evil lifeof which the thorntree is the symbol. Notice that the acrostic is read on the first
lines of thirteen cantos. The symbolism of the number of thirteen as unlucky or evil is appropriate to the meaning of the acrostic. Notice, moreover, that it is in the thirteenth
canto,

which the acrostic ends, that the.pruno, suggesting the prunello of the acrostic, is mentioned.
on

Following

are

the first lines of the last three

cantos

of

Inferno:

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

455

InJ. xxxii. Inf.xxxiii. Inf.xxxiv.


Consider

I.

I. I.

S'io avessi le rime aspre e chiocce La bocca sollevo dal fiero pasto inferni Vexilla Regis prodeunt

the following marginal

letters of these lines:

Read:

si

vela

Following
Purgatorio:
Purg.
Purg.

are

the first lines of the last


Tanto Deus,

two

cantos

of

xxxii. xxxiii.

I. I.

gli occhi miei fissied attenti venerunt gentes, alternando


eran

Consider

the following marginal


TAN

letters of these lines:

xxxii.
xxxiii. Read:
dante

DE

Following
Paradiso:

are

the first lines of the first four

cantos

of

i. I. Par. ii. I. Par. ili. i. Par. iv. I.


Par.

move gloria di colui che tutto O voi che siete in piccioletta barca Quel sol, che pria d'amor mi scaldo il petto Intra due cibi, distanti e moventi

La

Consider

the following marginal


i.
LA

letters of these lines:

"

ii. iii. iv.

vo

QUE
INTRA

Read:

lavoro

qui

dante

There

is another i. ii. iii. iv.


L

reading

on

the marginal

letters, thus:

Qu
I

Read:

loqui

4S6

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Following Paradiso:

are

the first lines of

cantos

xxvi

to

xxviii of

Par. xxvi, i. Par. xxvii. i. Par. xxviii. I.

Mentr'io dubbiava per lo viso spento Al Padre, al Figlio, alio Spirito Santo Poscia che contra alia vita presente

Consider

the following marginal

letters of these lines:

Following
Paradiso
:

are

the first lines of

cantos

xxiv

to

xxix of

Par. xxiv. i Par. I XXV. Par. xxvi. i Par. xxvii. i Par. xxviii. i Par. xxix. i

O sodalizio eletto alia gran cena Se mai continga che il poema sacro Mentr' io dubbiava per lo viso spento Padre, Al al Figlio, alio Spirito Santo Poscia che contra alia vita presente i figlidi Latona Quando ambedue

Consider

the following marginal

letters of these lines:

Read:

qui

dante

posa

mano

al

poema

Following

are

the first lines of the last four

cantos

of

Paradiso:
Par. XXX. Par. xxxi. Par. xxxii. Par. xxxiii.
I. i. i. i.

Forse sei milia miglia di lontano In forma dunque di Candida rosa AfFetto al suo piacer quel contemplante Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo Figlio

Consider

the following marginal

letters of these lines:

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

457

Read;
These last two
readings on the firstlines of the last cantos Commedia should be considered together:
QUI
MANO AL POEMA. FIN. AVE.

of the Divina
DANTE POSA

be that the readings on Or it may the first lines of the last cantos of the three canticles should be read together DANTE. FIN. AVE. thus: SI VELA Some I have shown in the of the cryptograms which present chapter are so apparent that there can be no question of the validity of the reading. Others are obscure, and the But I have presented them for two reading is problematic. first,because as a group they show indications of reasons, intention, and second, because as a group they point to a inclusive more cryptographic plan in the Divina Commedia than I have been able to prove. Part of my purpose, therefore, in showing cryptic readings of which I am not certain, is to
suggest the direction which should be followed in further investigations of Dante's cryptography.

PROBLEMS Turning
now

OF

MEANING

to the the problems of cryptography in conclusion enumerate the problems of meaning, let me formal elements of which the Divina Commedia is composed and indicate the opportunities which these elements offer for

from

further analysis. The Divina Commedia Aldighiero is an unsurpassed, of Dante It if not the supreme, synthesis of human thought. condenses into a unit of almost unbelievable complexity the it existed in Dante's time. It is a as universe of knowledge
compendium of the political, artistic, philosophical, history religious of the world.

and

458

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

But
no means

is by the historical element in the Divina Commedia As Dante himself declares, the Divina paramount.
is
own

Commedia

an

by

his

allegory, a kind of poetical creation which, definition, expresses, along with a literal or

historical meaning, a non-historical or allegorical meaning. Now has a peculiar as an allegory the Divina Commedia

feature which

it shares with many other allegories, but not with all.It purports to be the record of a dream. It is called a vision by Dante himself, and in addition to its dream form as
a

whole, it contains within itselfa number and many observations as to the meaning obvious, therefore, that Dante attaches

of other dreams It is of dreams.


an

importance

to

mode of expression, and that in casting the in the form of a dream he may be either Divina Commedia or to recording some actual dream-material else attempting the dream-poem make express in form and in meaning what
as a

dreams

he understands of the form and meaning of dreams in general. The main action of the Divina Commedia, which, as we have now is an allegory cast in the form of a dream and seen,
an embodying which Dante,

ideaof the journey through of a living man fundamental in is Divina media, Comdead the abodes of the the but itis not, of course, original with Dante. It appears, indeed, in countless forms in the mythologies of all peoples. Among the heroes of classicalmythology who descended alive
Theseus, ^Eneas, In was taken alive to Heaven. Christian belief St. Paul was "caught up to the third heaven," and it is recorded of Christ, in the Apostles' Creed, into Hell after the crucifixion and after that he descended into Heaven. All these instances are three days ascended

alive through and Paradise. The

element of history, is a journey as the author, tells of making while he is still the post-mortem regions of Hell, Purgatory, important

the underworld of the dead and Hercules; and Ganymede


to

are

Odysseus,

They set, so to speak, expressly cited in the Divina Commedia. for Dante's journeyand prove that Dante the example consciously adapted an ancient myth for the main action of his poem. There
are

thus, according

to

the foregoing analysis, four

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

459

history, allegory, principal elements in the Divina Commedia: dream, and myth. Of these four elements the historical is the one that has been most adequately studied in the past, the failure of the historians to identify correctly though Beatrice, the dxv, understan misand the Veltro has led to a complete

If the identifications of of the entire poem. these characters which I have made in the preceding pages be are accepted, the chief historical difficultiesof the poem
solved. into which The the Divina three elements remaining be analyzed, allegory, dream, Commedia and myth, may important have from however an they differ each other,

with history, which is limited to expressing its single literalmeaning, allegory, dream, and are than one capable respectively of expressing more myth

feature in

common.

In

contrast

at meaning In regard

once.

the duplicities of allegory the reader of Dante is left in no doubt; for the letter to Can Grande and the definitions of allegory in Convivio contain two profound are precisely distinguished. which its multiple meanings
to

having a duplicity of dreams as rational as well as has been believed from their obviously irrational meaning by the modern early antiquity, and this belief is confirmed study of dreams. The rational as well as the irrational meaning of myths

The

by in antiquity, and is likewise confirmed modern scholarship. In popular usage, indeed, the mythical is per se untrue, unreal. But the popular view of the mythical is obviously in contradiction to the recognized character of false the However myths as primitive theories of cosmogony. theories thus expressed may appear in the light of modern be denied the possession on that account science, they cannot In its original sense, a sort of rational meaning. myth of some
was

recognized

something said; and the something said contrasts of a magical with a something done in a primitive ceremony of bringing performed with the object character, a ceremony similar to the change indicated in about a change in nature In other terms, symbolic form by the words and the action.
a

is merely

46o

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

the myth was originally the spoken part of a drama enacted for a practical purpose; and with the gradual disappearance of the drama itselfthe spoken part survived in narrative form. Two fundamental are to be found, I believe, in much errors of the modern
symbolism

study of myths.

The

firstis the

error

that the

ism, unconscious symbolof ancient myths is This dreams. error to the symbolism analogous of based on the failure to recognize that the most archaic forms

is always

indeed have originated unconsciously in of myth, which must dream-like phantasies, were reshaped at a very early period by highly self-conscious and sophisticated priests and poets,
priests in the period of the Babylonian such as the Hebrew Captivity and the poets of the Homeric period and the great Greek dramatists. In this reshaping of the archaic material to recognize are at last beginning the symbolism which we
must

self-conscious expression of the priests and poets who used it. pretation interThe second error myth which appears in modern
a

have

been

of supposing that the ancient mythwere and makers myths personifying, in the so-called sun diurnal or progress of the sun vegetation myths, the annual or the recurrence and especially primitive of crops. Man, is too egocentric to be so exclusively preoccupied with man, In the last analysis the lifeof a nature that is not his own.
error

is the

the so-called sun and vegetation myths to be purely autobiographical^ borrowing

must

be understood from the recurrent

lifeof the
in which

called sun or the therefore, as symbolizing, not the rebirth of the sun but the rebirth of man. crops, In view of the rational, as well as of the irrational,meaning that must thus be recognized in allegory, dream, and myth, it appears that there is needed for the interpretation of the Divina Commedia^ first,a serious analysis of Dante's own definition of allegory, a study of this definition,indeed, in the light of the Aquinian account study of the dream and myth
of knowledge;

and the crops merely the symbols ofthe manner itnagines that he himself man may survive. The somust all be interpreted, and vegetation myths
sun

elements

and, second, a of the poem in the

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

461

light of the modern analysis of dreams and myths in general. No adequate analysis of Dante's definition of allegory has to me, yet, it seems appeared; nor has any attempt, so far as
I know,
as
a

been

made
as

to

interpret the poem


as

as

dream

and

and as myth, the poem identificain the light of the tion be completely reexamined must and the Veltro of Beatrice with Bella and of the dxv with Dante. by the I have been in the present volume Limited as allegory,

myth. Moreover,

dream,

purpose primary Divina Commedia^


preparation,

presentation allegory, dream,


But

of the of presenting the cryptography in I have postponed a to study now Commedia^ The Symbolism the of the Divina as views of the Divina Commedia of my own

and myth. as these views are implicit in the partial interpretation I wish, in of the poem as a whole which I have made already, conclusion, to define them as briefly as possible. media The analysis that I propose to make of the Divina Comallegory will show that the various ways in which to an must the correspond allegory is to be understood In have other words, the various ways we of understanding.
as
an

Comdeclares that the Divina media^ as an allegory, expresses, correspond to the four modes of cognition. The literal meaning corresponds to sensation; to to perception; the moral meaning the allegorical meaning

four meanings

which

Dante

to the symbolical meaning of mode of cognition which appears in the Aquinian account intuition, knowledge as as revelation^ and in other accounts This view of the multiple apperception and interpretation.'^ definition of symbolism, meanings of allegory will lead to a new

conception;

and the anagogical

or

according to which allegory is based on the use of things is based on the use of as signs of other things and symbolism things as signs of mind or mental states. This fundamental distinction between allegory and symbolism, entailed in the

fundamental
as

distinction between based on the four modes


to The Problem

the four meanings

gory of alle-

possible
*See

it of cognition, will make analyse with precision the four distinct and con
of Christianity.

J. Royce:

462

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY Dante

OF

DANTE

sistent meanings Divina Commedia.

which

actually Commedia
as

expresses
as

in the

symbolizing the sexual life in its literalaspects my view that the sexual lifeappears in dreams as itself the symbol of something else as the symbol, indeed, oi t\\t convict of the intellect, emotion, and
to
"

In my analysis of the Divina the Freudian view of dreams

dream

I oppose

persotiified
himself
as

individual. This view of the sex symbolism of dreams in general will illuminate the profounder implications of the sex symbolism of the Divina Commedia. I also dissent from the Freudian view of dreams as wishwill of the dreamer
an

This fulfillments.

view involves the Freudians in the difficulty that have every of explaining as wish-fulfillments dreams to fulfill appearance oifailing wishes; and to help themselves

of this difficulty they have invented a quite too gullible The wish is invariably fulfilled, according to the Freudian view, in who strives to thwart spite of the censor, the wish. But how can it be shown that the thwarting power, whatever it is,is always evaded or defeated, and that the wish is always fulfilled in spite of it? In dreaming, as in any other
out
"censor."

activity, asleep or awake, there is doubtless a wish that itself; but there is nothing in the evidence of strives to fulfill dreams themselves to warrant the belief that the striving to fulfill a wish is any oftener, or in any other way, successful in dreaming have no such one Dreams than it is in waking life. hundred per cent success in fulfilling the wishes implied in the dream activity. By virtue of their very liability to failure dreams
the Freudians represent them to be, and they are accordingly better fitted to the use which Dante makes as the form of life. of the dream-form I have been obliged, in advance of my forthcoming study,
are
more

lifelike than

detail of the mythical element of the Divina Commedia^ the myth of the journey of a living person through the abodes of the dead. But the interpretation of the myth I have expressed it in the present as remains, as I volume wish to say with all possible emphasis, incomplete.
to

treat

in

some

Our

examination

of the myth

has resulted,

so

far, in the

PROBLEMATIC

ASPECTS

463

discovery that it implies a parallel between the structure of body; human the the universe and the structure of the in is in which man at once eternal and universe is a womb from it, the seed that repetition the child that is expelled it,and the foetus that remains in it.But the parallel reenters body is only the shell between the universe and the human its fundamental of the myth; it implies, as of the meaning a the universe and the human parallel between meaning, I will discuss in mind, a psycho-physical parallelism which In the light of this Divina Commedia. The Symbolism of the I have been psycho-physical parallelism the relation which to call incestuous in the of a better term, obliged, for want be a special relation between present volume will appear to the three faculties of the mind, will, intellect,and emotion, dramatized, in the myths of as which are to be understood in conflict and in union. rebirth, as Father, Son, and Mother

family as a symbol of the individual of th-t of the divine Trinity, in appears in the Christian account hand to the one which the Three Persons correspond on Father, Son, and Mother and on the other hand to the three individual, will,intellect, facultiesof the human and emotion. in the early implied is family The Trinity as a unmistakably Gospel of the Hebrews, where the Holy Ghost is represented baptism: "Thou art my as saying to Christ at the time of the first-born son;" and where Christ Himself is represented as mother, the of the temptation: "My saying in the account Holy Spirit,lately took me by one of my hairs and carried me Further Tabor." to the great mountain support for the be found in L. L. maternal character of the Holy Ghost may
An

identical

use

Paine's "The

Ethnic Trinities." That

the Trinity, which

was

likewise recognized as corresponding recognized as a family, was in individual appears to the the work on the human tween beis made Trinity by St. Augustine, where a comparison having a trinity of Trinity and man God as a as
The faculties. the human Dante, and it is essential
Commedia

correspondences between individual family and the human


same

the Trinity and are expressed by

the interpretation of the Divina that these correspondences be recognized as the


to

464

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

means

cation expresses, primarily, the identifiwhich Dante of himself with God, and so, in general, the divine, or by
nature

universal,

of

man.

FINIS.

LIST

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS

LIST

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS

here listed are bracketed letters the cryptograms belong. to which the cryptograms which indicate the classifications Acrostic; [An] Anagram; [C] Cabala; [I S] Interior [Ac] means

Following

Sequence;

[L S] Letter Sequence;
on

[Sep L] Play

[P] Pun; [S C] String Cipher; Separate Letters; [T]Telestic.

DIVINA
REFERENCE CRYPTOGRAM

COMMEDIA
PAGE

Inf.i.
1-4 1-9
1-12 1-12

Nemica Dante Nati r NoN


Dante

[Ac] [Ac] [Ac]


So Ben Ir. Dante

24-25,31-34,37-39,396-397 104-105 24-25,31-34,37-39,103,396-397

[Ac]

103-104

3-7 7-1
1

9-12
10-12

31-36
31-42
31-42

[IS] Dante [IS] Taci D [Ac] Taci [Ac] lo Dante [IS] Mente [Ac]
Ecco
Bella Bella

105
105
104 104 184 183-184

Quasi Me,
[IS] [IS] [IS] [IS]

Dante

[Ac]

183-184

47-49

186-187

47-50 49-52
51-54

186-187 186-187 186-187

Madre
Madre

55-66 58-61 67-69 67-69 67-69


67-87 70-74 71
74

"lo
Mare

Vidi"QuaMe,

Dante

[Ac]

141

[IS] [Ac] Rem [Ac] Nome [Ac]


Maro
Dante Roma

Bella

187
191 191 191

Rinato

Poeta

[Ac]

189-190 190 192-193


191

[IS] (Maro) (Amor) [An] Dante [L S]

[467]

468
REFERENCE

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

CRYPTOGRAM

PAGE

86-89
88-99

Bella

Cave Matre
Matre Matre Dante Me,
515

97-101
100-104 loi-ios

103-106
100-102 100-102

[IS] [Ac] [IS] [IS] [IS] [IS]

187

186
187-188 187-188 187-188 187-188

Veltro

[Ac]
Poema.

171-172 171-172

[C]

100-114

Peremas
IN

Qui

Ecco

Dante,

Quasi

Veltro
171-173

101-105

106-108
111-114 127-133

127-136
127-136

1-136

[Ac] T : Dante [IS] CiTA Dante [Ac] Madre [IS] Capo Qui. Ed lo [Ac] Capo EscE Qui. Dante [Ac] Indica Ed Io [Ac] Nel Mente Dante) Cogita (Ecco Quasi Me, Nati Me, Dante Copio PoEMA (or GuARDA Mente Poeta Loque Mente). Quando Questa Mi Dante. Maro Riceve, Questo Indica Qui OvE E Calle [Ac]
"

Feltro

175
174
188

151

151-152
40-41

"

422-425

Inj.ii.
1-2
I-I2

LoTo L'Omo
Io Era

[Ac] Io [Ac]
Dante

41-42
41-42, 141-142 141-143
141-142

3-8

[T]

7-9

Omo

50-54
53-55 53 58-60 58-69 61-63 67-69

Qui [Ac] Madre [IS] Bella [IS] Bella [P] Deo [Ac] O Leo [Ac] Snella [Ac]
Leo

355 355

355
193-194 193-194

193-195
193-194

68-71
71-75 70-72
91-94
101-103

102-105

[Ac] Matre [IS] Madre [IS] Via [Ac] Madre [IS] Dante [IS] Matre [IS]

355-356 355-35^
355-35^

356 356 356

Inf.Hi.
1-9

Per

Me

Si Va,

Per

Me

Si Va,

Per

Me

Si Va.
224-225 70

Dante
7

Si Fa Suo Sigillo

[Ac]

Dante

[S C]

LIST

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS
PAGE

469

REFERENCE

CRYPTOGRAM

Inf.iv.
1-12 1-12

Vero NoN Dante Mira Dante

T:Velor

[Ac] [Ac]
Dante ?

176 176-177

46-69
55-66

Riusci

[Ac]

100 loo-ioi

[Ac]
Dant

56-60
57
118-132 121-129
1

[Ac]

loi

Copio
515

[S C] 515 [Ac and C] [C]


Vel.

72 I43-I44

445

21-129

Peremas

Ecco

Qui

Dante

Colla

Sua

Matre
445-446

Bella
130-144

[Ac]
O
Dante
Aldighiero

Sei Tu, Tu

(Dante Aldighiero,
476-478
144-145
447

133-15

Sei Zero) Dante E Elios

[Ac] [Ac]

134
137

Quivi 515 [C] Dante [S C]


lo Vi, Dante

7i"447

140-145

[Ac]

448

Inf.V.
34-54 115-142

Mi

Celo

Peremas

Qui. Qui.

Dante
Mi

[Ac]
Nel

416

Celo

Poema.

Dante

[Ac]

406

Inf.vi.
64-75 64-75 76-115 85-87

II Poeta II Poeta
Peremas

Guido [Ac] Essi: Guido E Dante Vi Noma [Ac] Dante Feci Guido E Vel. [Ac] Qui Qui
. .

415-416
.

415-416
415 69-70

Dante,

Se'

Qui [Ac]

Inf.vii.
I
I

Dante, Pene,
Pace

Dante, Pene D

Aleppe

(orChrist) [Ac]

303-305 306

1-4

[T] [Ac]

305

Inf. viii.
7

Maro
Bella Madre

42-45
45-48 82-93
83

Savio Dante
Vedi Dante Poema:

85-87
87 94-108

[P] [IS] [IS] [Ac] [S C] [Ac] [S C]


Dante

192 324 324 43-44 72

44
72

[Ac]

77-79 79

105

Dante

[L S]

470

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
CRYPTOGRAM

OF

DANTE

REFERENCE

PAGE

Inf.ix.
82-84

Me,
S15

D..A..

[Ac]
"
.

236 23s 235


235

82-84 88-90

Vela
51S

88-90

[C] [Ac] [C]

Inf.X.
1-3
1-12

LoTO

i-iS
22-33 39

127-136

[Ac] [Ac] O Sole [Ac] Sole [Ac] Dante [S C] L'AcQUA [Ac]


O Leo

287-288 287-288
287
288

73

301-302

Inf.xi.
61-72

PoEMA Dante

106

(with Ed Io) [Ac] [S C]

150-151 72

Inf.xii.
75

Dante

[S C]

72

Inf.xiii.
1-5
9-83

Dante Matre

[IS] [IS]

94
234

Inf.xiv.
94-105
94-105

NuDRi In Una

[Ac]
Madre

329

[Ac]

329

Inf.XV.
zz--iZ

Cela

Ed Id

[Ac]

148

Inf.xvi.
43-51 43-54 43-54 88-90
94-102

Peremas
Spem

[Ac] [Ac] Dante [Ac] Punto [Ac]


Fanno Via Per Bella

277-278
277 277-278

52

[Ac]

450
218-219 217-218

106-114
121-136

Pio EscE

[Ac]
Maschio

[Ac]

LIST

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS
PAGE

471

REFERENCE

CRYPTOGRAM

Inf.xvii.
I-I2 11-12

Sequela Dante
Dante

86

[Ac] [Ac] [S C]

64
64
73

Inf.xviii.
33
34-54

Dante
Peremas

127-136 127-136
130

Taide Dante
Dante

[S C] Qui Dante [Ac] Qui [Ac] [S C]

73

[Ac]

278-279

59-60 59-60
71

Inf.XX.
97-1 97-1
II
II

Peremas Ed

[Ac]
,

276-277,412
277 411 411-412

100-114 112-114

[Ac] Sei Vi IVIadre, [Ac] Bella [Ac]

lo Sperma

Inf.xxi.
1-12 loi

Ecco Dante

Che

Dante

Si Rivela

Qui Con

Bella

[Ac]

412-413 73

[SC]

Inf. xxii.
105

Dante

[SC]

72

Inf. xxiii.
67-78 76-78 145-148
148

PoEMA, Vedi Dante

Ecco

Vi Dante

[Ac]

86-87

[Ac]

86-87
70 70

lo, Dante

[Ac] [S C]

Inf.xxiv.
21

Dante

43-54
70-84
91-111 91-111
100

[S C] Sole [Ac] lo Dante [Ac]


Ecco
515

73
289 70-80

Ed!

Ecco

Dante!

[Ac]

167-168 169-170 169


170

lo

109-111

[C] [Sep L] E ]VIe [Ac]

472
REFERENCE

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
CRYPTOGRAM

OF

DANTE

PAGE

Inf.XXV.
13-24

Peremas Nome Dante

28-36 75

Ed

(Spem) [Ac] [Ac] [Ac]

275-276
152-153

73

/"/.xxvi
19-24 19-24 71-81

85-96 95
115
117

Qui [Ac] [T] Pleo [Ac] Limne [Ac] Dante [S C] Dante [S C] Dante [S C]
lo ViDi

Peremas

140 140
299

300 73

72 72

Inf.xxviii.
9 141

Dante

Dante

[S C] [S C]

72
73

Inf.XXX.
jj

Dante

[S C]

72

Inf.xxxi.
67
67
67

IVTaria
MiRA

[Ac]
[Ac]
Bella

245-246 245-246

A Me

Chiami
Prece

Mia

[T]

245-246

67-78
92

Dante

[Ac] [S C]

245
73

Inf.xxxiii.
85-96

T: Velor

[Ac]

.'

^77-^7^

Inf.xxxiii.
22-24

Qua

46-57
55-57
109-111

133-157

[Ac] [Ac] Come Pene [Ac] Grido Dante [Ac] EccoMi Dante [Ac]
Copio.
Ed Io Ecco

Bella

297

296
297 70

416

139-157

Che

Dante

Si Indica

Nel

Poema

[Ac]

....

417-418

LIST

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS
PAGE

473

REFERENCE

CRYPTOGRAM

Inf.xxxiv.
I 22

Vi SiGNo:
Feto

Dante

[T]

90

22-24

Feto
Feto

[L S] [IS]
Non SoNO Vivo

236-237
236-237

22-26 34-60
40-42

[IS]
Dante

236-237
213-214
213-214 213-214
238

43-45
88-90

88-96
90-92

92-94 92-94 92 118-129


130-139

134-139

[Ac] Qui [Ac] Vel [Ac] Eli [Ac] Elios [Ac] Pene [IS] Pene [IS] Pene [IS] Penis [An] LoQui Ed [Ac] Sol:D...e [Ac] Dante Esce Qui [Ac]
Sole

Sole:

238 238 238 238


"

237

154-155
25-26,34 26-27, 34

Purg. i.

1-6
1-12

Poema.
Peremas

Ecco

Dante

[Ac]

28, 400-403

(Spem) [Ac]

27, 35, 223

Purg. a.
1-12

Segno Taci

[Ac]
Dante

44-45 96

41-46
43-45 46

(or Cita Dante) [Ac] Sei Dante [Ac] Gira. Sei Dante [Ac]

96 96

Purg.

in.
76

Dante

[S C]

71

Purg. iv.
19-21 31-33

CoLMA
Pene

[Ac] [Ac]

249 249-250

Purg.

vi. Velo

40-51
46-49 76-87

[Ac] Vel. Sono Qui. Dante Acque [Ac]


Velo.

Dante

81-82

[Ac] [Ac]

81-82

301-302

106

Ecco

Me,

Dante

63

474
REFERENCE

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE
PAGE

CRYPTOGRAM

Purg. vii. Divo 4-9 15-18


82

Omo Vel

[Ac] [Ac]
a Signare

451 51-52

[An]
[Ac]
Mater Bella

427-428
449 449

91-112
91-112

E Claro
Vi Faro

[Ac]
Maria

127-136

Ecco

Vi NoM.

Eguaglia

Maria

[Ac] 451-452

Purg. viii. Dante 1-21


13 19-21

Tu

Celi Dante

Cerca
Veli

Qui L'Eguale [Ac] [Ac]

[Ac]

418 97-98 419 419

22-33

26
58-69
90

Dante

[Ac] [S C] Pleo [Ac] Dante [S C]

'

72
301

71

Purg. ix. 64-72

63-81
136-145
140

[Ac] [Ac] Taci N [Ac] Vel Dante [Ac]


Nove

L'Amica

345 345
442 442

Purg.

X.

35
40

Dante [S C] Eva [An]


Dante
Dante

71
429

44
48

74

Dante

[Ac] [S C] [S C]

429 72

73

Purg. xi.
1-9 44

Velo

Dante

62

[Ac] [S C] Dante [S C]

47-48
72

71

Purg. xti.
25-28 25-28

Dante
Dante

[IS] [IS]
Da

95
95

26-29 25-63
no

Da VoM

Da

Da

[IS]

95
12-14 433

Sei Tu

[Ac] [T]

LIST

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS
PAGE

475

REFERENCE

CRYPTOGRAM

Purg. xiii. MORTE 145-154


80

Dante

82

Dante

[Ac] [S C] [S C]

45
73

73

Purg. xiv.
10-12

Pene

[Ac]
Io," Disse Per Bella

292

16-27

"Ed

16-48
Purg.
XV.

Factito

[Ac] [Ac]

146-147 45
1

28-39
38

NoN

98
118-129
1

18-129

127-129

[Ac] Sei Dante [T] Dante [S C] L'Omo Ed [Ac] Lome [Ac] Sole [Ac]

PosTO

433 433 73
290 290

291

Purg. xvi. Segna 19


37-51 67-84

Div

(515)[An and C]
Ecco Che
Poema

432

Peremas. Peremas

Vela

Dante

[Ac]
.

418 48-49 73

Vel

[Ac]

96

Dante

[S C]

Purg. xvii.
133-139

L'Amata

[Ac]

47-48

Purg. xviii. PostoL'Anell: 1-4


1-12

"Ed

Io"

[Ac]

148-149
148-149

Poema

(withEd Io) [Ac]

Purg. xix.
38

Dante
Amato

73
99

[S C] [T]
Dio

73
435

Io Saro

[T]

435

Purg.

XX.

1-3
loo-iii

Contra Dante

[Ac] [Ac]

50-51 60-61

Purg. xxi. 67-69 515

68-101
82-102

51S

[C] [C]
Nome
Dante

197
197

Stazio Col

[Ac]

i97

4/6
REFERENCE

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
CRYPTOGRAM

OF

DANTE

PAGE

Purg. xxii.
i-i8

Peremas PoEMA

Qui

Vel.

Ecco

Che

Dante

Signa

Qui
434 434 433-434 178 82-83 84

2-6

S-6
28-39 94-108 109-111

[Ac] Cela D [Ac] Ti, Dante [T] T: Velor [Ac] Dante [Ac] Dante [Ac] Quivi
.

Purg. xxiii. Taci 10-12


II

Bella
I,

[Ac]
Bella

429

Od

AM

Mia

[Ac]

428

22-33
33

Omo

[Sep L] E Me [P]

206

206

Purg. xxiv.
49-54

Marco

Di Dante

[Ac]

150

Purg.
10-21

XXV.

Dante Taci
Ave.
d

13-15
121

[Ac] [Ac]
Sei Dante

84-86 84-86

[T]

435-436

Purg.

xxvi. PoEMA. 103-114


140-147
140

Ed Vece

Quasi
Dante,

lo [Ac] Arnaut, Nomo

149

Qui

Bella

[Ac]
'

....

439
439

Man

[An]

Purg.

xxvii. lo Dante 8
58 97
97

[T]
Sei Dante

98-99

Reciti: Bella Peremas Poema

[T]

428

[P] [P] Qui Vel. [Ac]


Dante Si Cela

363-364 368

GlOVANNA

100-114

Con

Bella

in

409

Purg. xxviii. Madre 39-43


48-51 64-75 76-87
80

Bella

[IS] [Ac] [Ac] [An]

367
367
364-365

Madre
Bella Velo

[IS]
E Vista Maria De

365-366
444

Celasti

LIST

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS
PAGE

477

REFERENCE

CRYPTOGRAM

Purg. xxix. Amati 3


16-24 16-22
23-24

E Me
E Me,
Per

[T] [Ac]
Dante

435 65-66

[Ac]
Poema.
Poema

65-66 65-66

Mi

[Ac]

1-154

Peremas
SoNO

Qui

Eccomi,

Dante

Aldighiero.

Cosi Velato

Qui Con
Dante

Bella.

Poema

:
....

Dante
425-426

Lo
Purg.

SiGNA.

Fello

Qui [Ac]

XXX.

II

DisvELA
Savio

Bella

17

Dante Dante
Vid

[Ac] [Ac]
Si Vela
Bella

439-44" 439-44"

11-17
19-21

Savio

Con

Bella
in

Veli, Dante,

Qui

[Ac] Poema [Ac]

440 440-441

55-66 62-63
73-75 73-75 73-84
83-84

Quasi
Dante Bella
Bella

[Ac] [An] [IS] [IS]


Cessi Poema.

137-138

55-5^
338 338

Equaglia Peremas Peremas Peremas Dante Ecco

Cosi La Madre Dante


Dante
Vel.

[Ac] [Ac]
Che
Dante S'e Fatto

337 443 419

118-145 1-145

Qui Qui
Come

[Ac]
Ecco

Eguaglia Dante

Qui

Virtu.

Peremas

Si Noma

Qui

in

Qui. Qui Vel. Poema [Ac]

426-427

Purg. xxxi. Dante 57


97-11
1

[SC]
Si Noma

72

Bella Peremas

Qui [Ac]

366
384

98

[Ac]

Purg. xxxii. 1-6 Tace


1-12

61-75
1

51-160

[Ac] Poema Qui Cela Dante [Ac] QuiSiCopoLA [Ac] Vela Dant Poema [Ac]

Da

409 408-409

385 5^-57

Purg.

xxxiii.
I 10 10

Vi Segnerete Vedi Nome


515

Dante

[Ac]

430-431 43^-432
43^-432 432

Nome, Dux,

II-I2

METT1ME515

[Ac] [Ac and C] [Ac and C]


Aldighiero

43

515, Dante

[An and C]

115-128
121-123

43-57

Mente

[Ac]

478
reference

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
cryptogram

OF

DANTE

page

43-57
43-57

Me

Dante

[Ac] [Ac]

121-123

Dante
Dante Dante

Si Finge

126
124 124 124

43-45
43-45 47-49

Dante Segna
515

[IS] [IS] [IS]


Dante

52-56 52-63
5S-S7 69-90

[IS]

125
211-212
122

515 Peremas

[C] [Q
Vi Ed

Io.

Peremas

Vi Edi Io

[Ac]

280-282

100-145
119

Qui Vel. [Ac] IVIatelda [An]


Peremas

Dante

Si Cela

Con

Bella

in

PoEMA

409
280-282

136-145
142-145

Pio RiMAsi PuRi Rii

[Ac] [Ac]

28-29, 28-29,

35-36 35-36

Par. i.
1-3
i-io

In Una
Vela

Perla Pene

[Ac] [Ac]

29-30, 36
29-30,

36, 297
75 75 64-65 64-65 51

8
10

13-24 21-24

85-87
88-90
107-110
1

[L S] [L S] Io Entro [Ac] Dante Segno [Ac] Aprio [Ac] Ecco [Ac] Dante [Ac]
Io Dante

Dant

353 69
339-34" 341
341 341 340 340-341

21-142

Cosi Vela
Bella

Nome

Qui [Ac]

133-136
135-139
139-141
139

IMaria Madre
Vagli

[IS] [IS] [IS]


Maria

140-142

Dico

[An] [Ac] Qui

Par. it.
1-4
I-IO

Rotor. VOLTO Pene:

Dante

[Ac]
Di Luce

62-63
62

[Ac]
Raggio

34-36

[Ac]

258-259

Par. in. 1-6


1-81

Quel Sol Di [Ac] Peremas Qui


Bella Dante

Bella.

Provando

Edio

Me

Stesso
410-411

Vel.

Dante Nel Poema

Significa

Qui

Come
410

E LAmata

[Ac]

14

[S C]

73

LIST
cryptogram

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS
page

479

reference

19-33 48
121-130
121

[Non] [Ac] Bella [P] Cela Ed [Ac] Eva [An]


Peremas

416-417
411

153 429

Par. iv.
13-24

Dante

25

[Ac] El Vel [An]

76-77
444

Par.
97-1

V.

1 1

Pesce

112-114
112-114

136-139

[Ac] Peremas [Ac] Seme [Ac] Pene Ed [Ac]

260-261 262 261-262


259

Par. vi.
61-72
73
124

Dante Dante Dante

Qui [Ac]
[S C] [S C]
Dante

61-62
72 73

124-142
133-142

Poema.
515

Qui [Ac]

200-201 201-202

[C]

Par. vii.
1-3

Peremas.
Peremas.

1-27

Suo Figlio Dante Ecco Qui Poema


Dille

Rischiara

Bella

[Ac]

438
282-283

10-15
13

Dille, Dille,
Indonna PoETA

[Ac] [C and P]

350351
351 347
282-284
282-283

[P]

14

Be-Amor-Ice

[An]

16-18
16-25

16-25
27

76-87
132

[Ac] Spem [Ac] Sperma [Ac] Dante [S C] SoLvo Ed [Ac] Dante [S C]

282-283

73

153-154 73

Par. via.
1-12

Peremas

35 35-39
100-103 112-148

(e Sperma) [Ac] Dante [S C] Vi [Ac] Dante Peremas [Ac] Sono Qui. Dante Velo. Peremas

223-224 73 82-83 50

[Ac]

406-407

48o

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

REFERENCE

CRYPTOGRAM

PAGE

Par. ix. 136-142 136-142

Amato SoNO

[Ac]

262-263 Di Bella.
Dante

Qui

L'Amato

[Ac]

....

262-263

PaT.

X.

i-S
i-io
1-21

Dante
Peremas

Poet

L'Eguale

[IS] Qui [Ac] Qui Velo.


Poema

88
408

Ecco

Che Con

Dante

S'e Patto

Qui
10-12

Nel

L'Eguale

Dio

[Ac]

....

22-24 38

43-46

52-54
79
99 99
120

146-148
Par. xi.
1-27 62 62

[Ac] SoRDi [Ac] Dante [S C] Peremas [Ac] Rise [Ac] Dante [S C] Dant Qui [Ac] lo Dante [L S] Dante [S C] Seme [Ac]

Dante

407 87-88
408 72

50 51 73
449 449

72
292

Ecco
Pace

Qui

Poeta

[Ac]

415
444
444

[Ac] Mater [T]

Par. xii.
93

Peremas Dante

Vi Dante

[T]

441

96 Par. xiii.

[S C]

71

64-73
73-81
100

Sole

Peremas

[Ac] (Sperma) (Spem) [Ac]


Dio

286
286-287
441

Peremas

[Ac]

Par. xiv.
38

Dante

70-81 133-139

[S C] Poema [Ac] Peremas [Ac]

73 44-45 284

Par.

XV.

19-24
22-24

Dante
Dant

[Ac] [T]

68-69 68-69

LIST

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS
page

481

reference

cryptogram

28-30

Peremas
GUiDA

Vi.

Sono

Qui

In

Rebus

Tuo

Caccia437

34-45

Niche

[Ac] [Ac]
P]
.

437-438
212

46-57
94-1
II

[C and 515, EIlSei D. NoMi, FiORENZA,


Dante Dante Dante

No,
.E.

No, No

[Ac]

....

92-93

99-102
99-102

105-108
108-111

[IS] [IS] [IS]


NoN Noma Dante Amoros

93 93 104

Ella
Bella

[Ac]
A

92-93

112-114

Di Bella

[Ac]

326-327

112-138

E IVI aria

[Ac]

326-327

Par. xvi.
34

Eva

[An]

429

Par. xvii.
19-21

Seme

[Ac]

19S

Par. xviii.
1-12

Genio
Dante

2-5 37-39
37-48 70-81

[Ac] [IS] Dante [Ac] Ed [Ac] Copio.


CoMPREsi
Dante "lo ViDi"

354
354
80-81
80-81

[Ac]

155-156 158
158 158 155-159 156-157 i59 207

71-75 76-78
78-81

78 82-93

86-89
93

[IS] Dante [IS] Dant [IS] DiL, 515 [C] DiMosTRo [Ac] Dante [IS] Mater [An]

Par. xix.
11-12

Ed

40-51

lo [C] Pene [Ac]

205
291

115-140
124-128

Vel Dante

[Ac]

159-164
163-164

lo Dante

125-129
128-129 130-133
132

132-136
13s

[IS] [IS] Mi [Sep. L] VediD...e [Ac] Dante [S C] Dante [IS] L'Omo [L S]

163-164 163-164
159-162 71. 162 162

162-163

482

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
CRYPTOGRAM

OF

DANTE
PAGE

REFERENCE

Par.

XX.

38

D.A:

ViD

[An]
COSI DaNTE

204-205

38-68
40-72

RiGUARDAVI

[Ac]

202-205
202-203

Cela

48-52 52-55 53-56


94 94

[Ac] [IS] Dante [IS] Dante [IS] Celor [Ac] Cor [Ac]
Dante

Ed

203-204
203-204 203-204 430

430

Par. xxii.

28-36
145-154

PoEMA

Qui

Pleo

[Ac] [Ac]

46-47
300-301

Par. xxiii.
1-3

13-24

55-66
58-60 61-63 64-66
84-88

85-90
91
109-120

113-116
128

128

[Ac] (Spem) (Sperma) [Ac] Peremas (Spem) [Ac] Pene [Ac] Ecco [Ac] Nome [Ac] Bella [IS] O Bella Sei Tu [Ac] Dante [L S] Si Copola [Ac] Dante [Ac] Celor [Ac] Cor [Ac]
Peremas

CopOLA

292-293

279-280

285 285 285-286 285-286


328

413-414

75
293 294
429-430

429-430

Par.

XXV.

28-30
30

Ride

70

[Ac] [S C] Dante [S C]
Dante Peremas Velo. Dante Pare

50 73
74

94-99
98
130-139

Qui [Ac]

436
436
233

Per

Se, Dante

Pressa

[Ac] Sia [Ac]

Par. xxvi.
1-3 13-22

Medus LoQui
Peremas

Ed

[Ac] [Ac] [Non] [Acj [Ac]

223

154 444 417

17

Aldighiero

43-57
94-105

r, Dante

58

LIST
CRYPTOGRAM

OF

CRYPTOGRAMS
PAGE

483

REFERENCE

103-104
133-142

134-136
141-142

[Ac] [Ac] Elios [Ac] Coda [Ac]


Come
Pene

r, Dante

58 294

294 294

Par. xxvii. Coda 1-12


10

43-45
43-48

[Ac] Dante [S C] Noma [Ac]


Peremas

295
71

67-68

Dante

[Ac]

67-68

Par. xxviii. Dante 70


75

Dante

[S C] [S C]

72
73

Par. xxix.
1-9
12

Noma Bioo Poema

Bella

[Ac]

452
430
48-49

61-75
100-145 Par.
XXX.

[T] [Ac] Peremas Qui Velo.

Dante

Si Noma

Nel

Poema

[Ac]

420

91-99

Copio lo ViDi

[Ac]

138-139 139

95-99

Par. xxxi.
83

Dante

C] [S.

72

Par. xxxii. Ecco 1-6


1-12

Qui

Bella
Vi Sara

[Ac]
Madre

452-453
452

Snella Beatrice E JVTe Se'

[Ac] [Ac]

1-18

136-144
142-144

[Ac]
[Ac]

452 67

Qui, Dante

67

Par. xxxiii. A. D I
1-9

348
348

Ventre

i-iS 13-16
16-30
28-39

[Ac] Quivi Sei, Dante Bella [IS] Elios [Ac]


Via Per
"Ed lo"

[Ac]

348 328 349

[Ac]

147

31-45

Pervigilia

[Ac]

149-150

484
reference

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

cryptogram

page

46-57 46-48
49-51
52-54

Ceda
515

Bernardo

[Ac]

135-136 136

[C] [IS] [C] [C] [C]


Noma

lo ViDi
515

136-137
136

55-57
91-93

515 515

136 135

100-145

PoEMA Dante

Qui

Dante

Qua L'Omo

[Ac]

404-406
107-108 107-108

123-126
124-127 124-126 125 127-130

[IS] Dante [IS] Sole [Ac] Dante [L S] QuELLA Circulazion Pareva Da Se [Ac] Dentro
Ecco Mi, Dis, Dante

289 106-108

Dagli

Occhi

Miei
109

129-130

Aldighiero Dante Si Cela

[An]
Nel Poema

109-110

133-145

136-145
139 139-142 142-145

Qui Vel. L'Amata [Ac] Pene [P]


Peremas

[Ac]
.. .

406
266
iii

30, 36-37

Dante

143

[IS] Salma [Ac] El Vel [An]


FIRST LINES OF

30-31,36-37
444

ACROSTICS

ON

CONSECUTIVE
Prunello Copio Si Vela

CANTOS
453-454

Inf.i-iv. Inf.i-xiii. Inf.xxxii-xxxiv.


Purg. xxxii-xxxiii. Par. i-iv. Par. i-iv. Par. xxvi-xxviii. Par. xxiv-xxix Par. xxx-xxxiii.

[Ac]
Lo Prunello. Dante

Qui [Ac] Dante [Ac] Lavoro Qui Dante [Ac] Loqui [Ac] Poema [Ac] Al Posa Mano Dante Qui Fin. Ave [Ac]
VITA NUOVA

[Ac]

454 455 455 455 455 456

Poema

[Ac]

456 457

V. N. xxiv. V. N. xxiv. V. N. V. N. V. N. V. N.
XXV. XXX. XXXV. XXXV.

B-Amore-Ice
Velame Bella

[An]

346-347
420

[Ac] [P]
as

356-362
341-344 420-421

Beatrice

Funerale Peremas

[C] [Ac]
9

Vi

Vel.

Poema

Cela

Qui
421

Dante

[Ac]

INDEX

INDEX

Aquinas,
A,
use cryptographic as 444. a//a,

448-9; 461.

his account

edge, of knowl-

of,

as

Aleppe,
Argenti,
Argus,

303;

Filippo,

189, 325, 438.

Abecedarian
Abraham, Acrostic,

psalms, K., ix.

7.

382-4.

defined, 398-9; defined, 396-421; matic, illustrated, 23-52.

anagram-

Aristotle, 446-7. Ark, mother symbolism


of, Arnaut, Arrow,

of, 298, 389.


439.

forms

Provengal

poet,

Adam, Adonis,

36, 59, 181, 304, 384, 386, 387.

Arte,

as

of, 260. symbolism hint of cryptogram,

18, 50.

375. Adultery, 262, 303. ^neas, descent to hell of, 361, 374, 458. Aeneid, 359, 360; mother quoted, in, 360-1, 412. symbolism Aldighiera degli Aldighieri, wife Cacciaguida, 119. Aldighieri,
119. Aldighiero,

Ascent, D.'s of Purgatory, 243-254; 458; to Paradise of of Ganymede, Beatrice, 254, 352-3, 371 ; of Christ, 167, 458; of Dante, 254-67, 352-3, 361, 371 ; of St. Paul, 458.
Asceticism, 330-1. Ave, palindrome

of

for Eva,
B

429.

form
form

of D.'s of D.'s

cognomen,

Babel, Tower
cognomen,

109-10, 119. Alighiero, D.'s father, 119. definiAllegory, D.C. as, 3,458, 459; tion of, 461-2; raison d'itre of, 11. Allighieri, form of D.'s cognomen, 119.

of, 244-7, 297. Francis, vii. Die, Phil. " Psych., Baldwin's
Bacon, 254Baptism,

226,

248, 364, 366, 388-9. of Florence, of, 388-9.

Baptistry Bardelo, Bathing,

mother

symbolism

Amor,
192;

anagram

for Roma
as,

Christ
as,

192,

and Maro, Holy 347;

375. symbolism of, 35-6,


284,

Ghost
Amorosa
Anagram,

184, 226.

364, 366.

Visione, 8, 317-8.
as

pseudonym, Maria, example of, Ave defined, 397-9. Anonymity, literary, 10.

9;

classic etc. 428;

Beast, number of, in Rev., 7, 9, 116-7. Ghost, Holy Beatrice, 313-91; as


341-4, 352-3; as a 351; as mother, Mary, Virgin as 341^4; nine, 341-4; identified descent with of, 373-6; cession, Proin Mystic Bella, viii, 336-63; 376-87; in V. N., 324, 338,

Anonymous

allusions in referring to D., 446. Antaeus, 309-10.


Antictona,
242.

D.

C.

as,

351-2 346, 341-3, Portinari, Beatrice


315-21

Aphrodite, Appearance

375.

and

reality,

11-12;

130.

; various of, 313-15. Beatrice Portinari, 313-21.

not 369-73; viii, 313, 314, identheories as to tity

I487]

488

THE

CRYPTOGRAPHY
182,

OF

DANTE

Beatrice, sister of Roberto, Begley, W., vii, 344.

Bella,

tified iden322-328; mother, Beatrice, viii, 336-63; with identified with Virgin Mary, 323-4;
D.'s punning

Chronicles, cited, 389. Church, symbolism mother 182, 262, 376-7. Cicero, 6.

of, 179,

Ciotto di Jerusalemme, Cloud,

163-4.

reference to, 323-4; references to, 355, 356-63. Benvenuto da Imola, 174-5.
overt

Bernard,

St., 136, 147, 334-5. in, 7, 9, 116-7. Bible, cryptography

Bice, 17, 315-8, 346-7. Birth, See Death and Rebirth. Amorosa Boccaccio, vii, 185, 371; Visione, 8, 316-8; Life of D., vii,
315-322. Booth, W. Buca

symbol, 384-5. mother Colonna, Francesco, 8, 9, 399, 453. Continuous entire acrostics through cantos, 422-7. Convivio, 55, 239, 242, 253, 265, 268,
309,314,326,390-1. Cord, symbolism of, 219-20. Corpse, symbolism of, 37-8, 228, 267. Covert, J.,ix.

S., vii.

Cranes,

letter-making,

16.

d'un sasso, 240-1. Burella, natural, 240-1.

Creed, Apostles', 330, 342. Crista, as identical rhyme, 139. Cross,


1

Cabala,

7, 116-9. Cacciaguida, 68, 93, 119, 195, 326-7, 353, 438Cammino ascoso, 240-1.
Candlesticks,

T, 78, 81, 82, 87, loi, 177, as 78, 347, 365, 429; as X, 8r, 96, 365; in form cryptograms of, 41, 107, 163-4, 338; symbol of Christ, 78,
80,
loi,

251, 347, 429.


of, 272-3.

Crucifixion, symbolism Crux ansata, 251. Cryptograms,

Can

Grande,

314, 459; DXV, 118.

of, 383. symbolism D.'s letter to, 36, 171; identified as erroneously

Car, symbolism of, 18, 378. Casini, T, vii, 46. Castello, nobile, 228-30. Cavalcanti, Guido, 368-9, Cerberus, Chivalric
217. Love,

414-5.

defined, 3-4; indications of, 4-5, 13-4, of intention for 23-4, 91-2, 102, 401-3; motives use of, 9-12, 403-4; symbolic use of, See Acrostics, 8, 1 1-2, loi-ii. quences, SeCabala, Anagrams, Interior Letter Sequences, Palindromes, String Ciphers, Telestics. See also List of Cryptograms.
260, 362, 364.

Cupid,
319, 335-6.

Christ,

Aleppe, 303; as Amor, 192, four, 344; as incestous son, 347; as intellect, 123, as 38, 266, 272-3; tified ten, as 169, 196; D. iden184, 463;
as

D
Da,

symbol

of D., 152.

Daniel,

cited, 76.

with, 31, 123, 139, 157, 170-1, 226, 175, 184, 21 1-2, 303-5, 324, gotten, be339, 344, 350, 373; eternally in Greek 266; acrostic, 6, in Inf., not 95, 399; mentioned 78-9; rebirth of, 32 (seealso Christ incestuous by as son); symbolized fish, 306; by griffon, symbolized by sun, 34, 215, 387-9; symbolized by sym272-3, 349-50; symbolized bol by T, of Osiris, 251 ; symbolized 78-9, 347; words of, to Nicodemus, 31-2.

lost and found, Dante, as identified with Christ,

32, loi-ii; 31, 41, 93, 108, 123, 139, 157, 170-1, 174-5, 184, 21 1-2, 226, 303-5, 324, 339f 344. 350, 373, 408, 432; identified with 163-4; with ciotlo di Jerusalemme,

115-26; with eagle, 201; foetus, Fante, 76-7; with with God, 106-11, 96, 133, 236-41; with 146, 161, 260; with intellect, 123, lonza, 423; 182-4; 183-4, with with Lucifer, 213-7; with mankind,
42, 103, 105, 206; with Mente, 123,

DXV,

INDEX
31, 103; 183-4, 422-3; with Nati, with Phoenix, 167-71; with Romeo, 200-1; 226-7, 229-30, with Sperma,
288; 252-3; with sun, with Veltro, 102; 70, with universe, love for his mother, 3, 171-82; 323-5, 328; suggested in anonymous

489
of, 185, 209-10, symbolism 307, 371-2, 384. Ed, symbol of D., 152. Ed Io, symbol of D., 145-152.
217,

Eating,

237-9,

allusions, 204, 446; symbolism of his journey, 37-8, loi-ii, 227-306; of his sleep with Bea^ symbolism trice, 36, 254, 380-7; united cryptoSee graphically with Taide, 59-60, Ad, Di, Dil, Ed, Ed Io, Io Vidi,

of. Elios, 238-9, 295, 349. Emotion, to love and corresponding Holy Ghost, ix, 184, 226, 463. See Trinity. Empyrean, Enigma Eunoe, Eve, the spaceless, 263-5, 3^6. See DXV. 12. forte,

Eden.

See Garden

Vel. David, 204-5, 446. for birth, 242, 272. Death, ambivalent See Morte seconda and Rebirth.
Descent

35, 195, 199, 248, 264.


304, 306, 384,

14, 36, 179, 181, 386, 387, 429, 452.

in mytholunderworld, ogy, 374, 458; of Beatrice, 373-6; of Christ, 167, 215, 303-4, fer, 458; of D., 227-243, 303-4; of Luci215, 273; of mother, 374-5; of sun, 34, 215.
to

231,

Faith, 226.
Falcon,
Family,
208-10.
as

Di, symbol of D., 152. Dil, symbol of D., 15, 155-9. C. H., viii. Dinsmore, Dis, city of, 229, 231. Divina Commedia, in to, allusion V. N., 387; as allegory, 3, 458, dream, as 459, 461-2; 458, 459, 460, 461-2; as history, 457-8, 459;
309-10, 459-60, myth, divisions of, 10, 39-42.
as

of the individual symbol 184, 225-6, 463; as symbol mind, of Trinity, ix, 184, 192, 207-8, 255, 266, 330-2, 346.

Father, 170, 189, 268, 368-9, 386-7. See Alighiero, Argenti, CacciaCavalcanti, God, Lion, guida, Satan, Trinity, VirLucifer, Pape gil. Faye, E. de, ix. Feltro, 180-2. Fiametta,
321.

462-4;

Donnelly,
Dragon,

I., 5. 217, 377.

Dream,

96, 189, 253, 458, 459, 460, 461-2; in Purgatory, 250, 363, 364; in V. N., 369-73; of dejd vii, 274.

cantos, consecutive 453-7. acrostics on, Fish, symbolism of, 6, 95, 226, 260, 306, 399Fleming, W. K., ix.

Fire, symbolism lines of First

of, 85, 253, 333.

Dream-Uke Durante,

representation,
66, 322.

186-325.

Fletcher,

DVX.
DXV,

See DXV.

identified with Dante, viii, 3, 115-26; identified with others, 1168; symbolism of, 126, 179, 379.

J. B., vii, viii. Fleur-de-lys, symbolism of, 227, 383. Florence, mother symbolism of, 325-8. Face, 256.
Foglie, 256. Font, mother symbolism of, 388-9.

Form,
Foro

universal, 129-164. d'un sasso, 240-1. Christ


as,

Eagle, dream of, 250; guise of D. and Trinity, 201-11; of symbolism of, 379-80.
Earth,
as

Four,

344;

39-42;

of 216-7; rima, 40; in trinity, 40; man


groups

division into, ii^ terza


as,

344.

mother,

227-8,

267-75,

3^8.

Francesca,

298.

Easter,

34, 273.

Frazer,

J. G., ix, 219,

379-80.

490
Freud,

THE
S., ix, 274.

CRYPTOGRAPHY

OF

DANTE

Freudian

psychology,

viii, ix, 462.

Hell, symbolism of, 188, 227-43, 275, See Descent to 288, 298, 361. underworld. Henry, Emperor,
117.
8, 92,
n.

Gabriel, 236.
458. Garden 248, 36, 181, 210, of Eden, 253. 306-310. E. G., vii, 175, n. Gardner, Gate, city of Dis, 229; of Hell, 194, 224, 228, 229-30, 271, 275, 374, 423; 348; symbolproper, ism of Purgatory of, 235, 298.

Herbert,
Hercules,

George,
310,

Ganymede,

symbolism Hesiod, 397. Hirn, Y., ix, 244, n., 258, n., 385, n. History, D. C. as, 457-8, 459; symbolized in Mystic Procession, 376-7. Holbrook,
Holy R. T., viii, 16, 303.
184, 193, 198,
200,

374, 458; Pillars of, of, 267, 270, 271, 298-9.

Ghost,

330,

Genesis, cited, no, 255, 386-7. D.'s symbolical, 267-72. Geography, Geryon, 217-8. Giant,
377, symbolism "Gibberish," 17, 244-7, 303-6. Giovanna, 367-8.

5, 346, 463. Homer, 329. Hope, Horace, 225-6.


361-2.

See Trinity.

of, 116,

379.

Hypnerotomachia

Poliphili. See

Col-

Giunchi,

247.
198, 266,

I 331-5, 375-6,
7, 444;

Gnosticism,
438-9-

God,
as as

as

alpha and

omega,

light, 106-11; as 330; (see Holy 330 38, mother, Ghost); D. identified with, 106-11;
return

father,

I, cryptographic 163-4, 169. IdeaUsm, 254.


Iliad, 361. Incest,

use

of, 15, 16, 155,

to,

38,

106-11,

symbolism Trinity.