Dante: The Divine Comedy

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Caccia de’ Cacciaconti of Asciano

A member of the Brigata Spendereccia, the Spendthrift Brigade, a club founded by twelve wealthy Sienese, in the second half of the thirteenth century, who vied with each other in squandering their money on riotous living.

Inferno Canto XXIX:121-139. He is in the tenth chasm.


Dante’s great-great-grandfather, whose son was Alighiero I. Cacciaguida’s wife was Alighiera of the Aldighieri family of Ferrara.

He took part in Saint Bernard of Clairvaux’s crusade of 1147 under Emperor Conrad III, and was killed. His brother’s name Eliseo suggests a connection with the Elisei family.

Paradiso Canto XV:88-148. He is in the Fifth sphere of Mars.

Paradiso Canto XVI:1-45. He was born, according to Dante in August of 1091, under the sign of Leo, calculated from the period of Mars orbit, 687 days, multiplied by the 580 orbits mentioned. He was then fifty-six when he joined the Crusade.

Paradiso Canto XVIII:1-57. He leaves Dante to rejoin the other spirits, in the Fifth Sphere of Mars.

Caccianimico, Venedico de’

His father Alberto was head of the Bolognese Guelphs. He himself was a leading Guelph, exiled in 1289, and a follower of Marquis Obizzo II d’Este of Ferrara. He assisted the Marquis in the seduction of his own sister, Ghisola, who later married Niccolò de Fontana of Ferrara in 1270. Dante met him in exile, possibly in Florence.

Inferno Canto XVIII:40-66. He is in the eighth circle, first chasm, of pimps, go-betweens, and panders.


The three-headed shepherd, son of Hephaestus and Medusa. He lived in a deep cave in the Aventine forest. He stole two of Hercules’s prize bulls, and four heifers, after Hercules had taken the cattle of King Geryon in his Tenth Labour. Hercules battered him to death. Dante follows Livy i. 7, and Virgil Aeneid viii 193-267, where Virgil calls him semihominis, leading to Dante confusing him with the Centaurs, who guard the Violent higher up, in the seventh circle.

As an enemy of Evander and Hercules he is an enemy of Rome.

Inferno Canto XXV:1-33. He is in the eighth circle, with the thieves.


The son of the Phoenician King Agenor, who searches for his sister Europa, stolen by Jupiter in the form of a bull. He sows the serpent’s teeth, and founds Thebes, but offends the sacred Serpent of Mars. He and his wife Harmonia are ultimately turned into snakes. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses IV 563 et al.

Inferno Canto XXV:79-151. Mentioned, as an example of mutation.


Caecilius Statius the comic poet (d. 168 BC)

Purgatorio Canto XXII:94-114. He is in Limbo.

Cagnano, Angelo or Angiolello da

See Carignano

Cagnazzo, a demon

Inferno Canto XXI:97-139. A demon guarding the eighth circle, the fifth chasm, of the barrators.

Inferno Canto XXII:97-123. He does not trust Ciampolo.


The high priest among the Pharisees, see John xi 47-53, who said ‘it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should perish not’. His father-in-law was Annas, see John xviii 13.

Inferno Canto XXIII:82-126. He is in the eighth circle.


The son of Adam and Eve, who killed his brother Abel. He was expelled from Eden to the land of Nod. See Genesis iv.

Inferno Canto XX:100-130. Paradiso Canto II:46-105. The Man in the Moon in popular superstition, was Cain carrying a bundle of thorns as he went to sacrifice.

Purgatorio Canto XIV:124-151. He is the first of the voices, signifying envy.

Calboli, Fulcieri da

The grandson of Rinieri, and Podestà of Milan, Parma, and Modena, but notorious for his tenure at Florence, from January to November 1303, by favour of the Blacks, when he proved a bitter enemy of the Whites.

Purgatorio Canto XIV:28-66. He is mentioned, adversely.

Calboli, Rinieri da

Rinieri a Guelph of Forlì, was Podestà of Faenza in 1247, Parma in 1252, and Ravenna in 1265 and 1292. He attacked Forlì in 1276 but had to retire to Calboli in the valley of Montone, where he surrendered to Guido da Montefeltro, the Captain of Forlì, who razed the stronghold. When Rinier was re-elected Podestà of Faenza in 1292 Mainardo Pagano was Captain. The citizens opposed a tax levied on them by the Count of Romagna, and successfully opposed him. In 1294 the da Calboli were expelled by the Ghibellines, but returned with other Guelphs in 1296, when their enemies were away fighting against Bologna. Shortly after this the Guelphs were routed again and expelled by the Ghibellines, and the aged Rinier was killed.

Purgatorio Canto XIV:1-27. He is among the envious.

Calcabrina, a demon

Inferno Canto XXI:97-139. A demon guarding the eighth circle, the fifth chasm, of the barrators.

Inferno Canto XXII:124-151. He and Alichino quarrel.


The Greek augur, the brother of Leucippe and Theonoë. At Aulis, where the Greek ships waited for a favourable wind to sail to Troy, Calchas interpreted the appearance of a snake that killed a sparrow and her eight fledglings, and then was turned to stone. It signified that Troy would be taken in the tenth year after a long struggle. He also prophesied that they must pacify Artemis by sacrificing Agamemnon’s daughter, Iphigenia. After that the north-east wind dropped and the fleet was able to set sail for Troy.

Inferno Canto XX:100-130. He is mentioned in the eighth circle.


An ancient Florentine family, a branch of the Donati. See the note to Paradiso Canto XVI.

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.


The Muse of Epic Poetry, the mother of Orpheus, and the eldest sister of the Muses (see the fuller entry under Muses). She took the lead in the competition with the Pierides.

Purgatorio Canto I:1-27. Dante asks her to accompany his words.

Callisto, or Helice

An Arcadian nympth, a favourite of Artemis-Diana, raped by Jupiter. Diana expelled her from her company, and she was changed by Juno into a bear, and hunted by her son Arcas. Jupiter placed her in the sky as the constellation of the Bear, Ursa Major, and Arcas as the constellation of the little Bear, Ursa Minor, at the pole, towards which the ‘pointers’ Dubhe and Merak, of the Great Bear, or Plough, point as it circles on Polaris the pole-star. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses II 409-528.

Purgatorio Canto XXV:109-139. She is mentioned.

Paradiso Canto XXXI:28-63. The Great Bear, circling over the northern latitudes.

Callixtus I, Saint and Pope

Saint Callixtus I, Pope (217-222AD).

Paradiso Canto XXVII:1-66. He died for the faith.


See Pazzi.


Inferno Canto I:100-111. A virgin warrior, the Roman version of an Amazon, whose death is described in Aeneid XI.

Inferno Canto IV:106-129. She is among the heroes and heroines in Limbo.

Camino, Gaia da

The daughter of Gherardo da Camino. The reference to her is unclear, and may refer to her virtue or her lack of it.

Purgatorio Canto XVI:97-145. She is mentioned.

Camino, Gherardo da

Captain-General of Treviso from 1283 till his death in 1306 when he was succeeded by his son Riccardo. Gerard’s daughter Gaia died in 1311. The allusion to her is not understood.

Purgatorio Canto XVI:97-145. He is mentioned.

Camino, Riccardo da

The brother of Gaia, and husband of Giovanna Visconti, who was treacherously murdered at Treviso where the rivers Sile and Cagnano meet, in 1312.

Paradiso Canto IX:1-66. His death is prophesied.

Cancellieri, Focaccia de’

One of the Cancellieri family of Pistoia, who fomented an internal feud in which many of his kinsmen died. This feud was the source of the Blacks and Whites, the Neri and Bianchi factions, introduced into Florence also.

Inferno Canto XXXII:40-69. He is in Caïna, in the Ninth Circle.


Inferno Canto XIV:43-72. An Argive chief in the war of the seven against Thebes who scaled the wall, and was struck down by Jupiter’s lightning bolt. He was a symbol of pride. (See Aeschylus: Seven against Thebes)

Inferno Canto XXV:1-33. Cacus outdoes him in pride and arrogance.

Capet, Hugh

King of France (987-996) here confused with his father Hugh the Great (Duke of the Franks, Count of Paris, died 956) who was the supposed son of a butcher. When Louis V died in 987, and the Carlovingian Dynasty ended it was Hugh who succeeded, and founded the Capetian Dynasty, not his son and successor Robert I. On Louis V’s death, his uncle Duke Charles of Lorraine, son of Louis IV, was the only survivor of the Carlovingian line. He was captured by Hugh and imprisoned till his death in 991. He was not a monk, and Dante may have confused him with the last of the Merovingians Childeric III who was deposed by Pepin le Bref in 751 and compelled to become a monk. Between 1060 and 1300 four Philip’s (I-IV) and four Louis’s (VI-IX) ruled France between them.

Purgatorio Canto XX:43-96. He is among the avaricious.


A Florentine alchemist, known to Dante, burnt alive at Siena in 1293.

Inferno Canto XXIX:121-139. He is in the tenth chasm.

Inferno Canto XXX:1-48. He is attacked by Gianni Schicci.


An ancient Florentine family.

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.

Capulets, the Cappelleti of Verona

Purgatorio Canto VI:76-151. Feuded with the Montagues, see Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for a fictitious re-creation of the feuding.

Carignano, Angiolello da

Malatestino Malatesta of Rimini, the ‘one-eyed traitor’, ‘the young mastiff’, obtained possession of Fano, and added it to Rimini. He invited the two chief nobles Guido del Cassero, and Agniello to meet him at La Cattolica on the Adriatic between Fano and Rimini. Their boat was intercepted and they were drowned off the headland of Focaro, between Fano and La Cattolica. The headland was notorious for its dangerous winds, so much so that sailors made vows and prayers for safe passage.

Inferno Canto XXVIII:55-90. Their death is prophesied.

Carlino, see Pazzi

Carpigna, Guido da

Renowned for his liberality. A member of a noted family near Montefeltro. He died between 1270 and 1289.

Purgatorio Canto XIV:67-123. He is mentioned.

Casalodi, Alberta da

The Brescian Counts of Casalodi held Mantua in 1272 but were unpopular and threatened with expulsion. Pinamonte de Buonaccorsi, obtained control, by advising Alberta to banish the powerful nobles, as a source of trouble. He then took over, massacred any opponents, expelled Alberta, and held Mantua until 1291.

Inferno Canto XX:52-99. Mentioned regarding Mantuan history.


A musician of Florence or Pistoia, and a personal friend of Dante’s, whose poetry he set to music, including perhaps this second canzone which Dante annotated in the Convivio. He died between 1283 and 1300. He gathers with the dead souls who are not condemned to the Acheron, at Rome, the portal of salvation. Since the Jubilee, which began on Christmas day 1299, all those who have wished for grace have been carried to Purgatory, by the Angel.

Purgatorio Canto II:79-114. He is entering Purgatory.

Cassero, Guido del

Malatestino Malatesta of Rimini, the ‘one-eyed traitor’, ‘the young mastiff’, obtained possession of Fano, and added it to Rimini. He invited the two chief nobles Guido, and Agniello da Carignano to meet him at La Cattolica on the Adriatic between Fano and Rimini. Their boat was intercepted and they were drowned off the headland of Focaro, between Fano and La Cattolica. The headland was notorious for its dangerous winds, so much so that sailors made vows and prayers for safe passage.

Inferno Canto XXVIII:55-90. Their death is prophesied.

Cassero, Jacopo del

A Guelph from Fano, in the mark of Ancona, between Romagna and the Kingdom of Naples, ruled by Charles II of Anjou. He was Podestà of Bologna in 1296. He frustrated the designs on the city of Azzo VII d’Este, Marquess of Ferrara, incurring Azzo’s wrath, and exchanged his office for that of Milan, in 1298. He was murdered on Azzo’s orders at Oriaco, near the River Brenta, between Venice and Padua, and died in the marshes there, while fleeing to La Mira would have taken him to drier land. The Paduans are called Antenori from their founder Antenor. Riccardo da Camino was one of the assassins.

Purgatorio Canto V:64-84. He is one of the late repentants.


With Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius plotted to assassinate Julius Caesar, fearful of Caesar’s increasing power, and the death of the Republic. Caesar was murdered on the Ides of March in 44BC, in the Hall of Pompey where the Senate were due to meet. One of the Casca brothers struck the first blow, with a sweep of his dagger just below the throat. In the ensuing Civil War, Octavian, later Augustus Caesar, and Mark Antony, defeated Cassius at the First Battle of Philippi, and Brutus at the Second Battle of Philippi, in 42BC. Dante holds him in special opprobrium, because of his complicity in the murder of the founder of the Roman Empire.

Inferno Canto XXXIV:55-69. He is tormented in one of Satan’s mouths.

Paradiso Canto VI:1-111. Mentioned in the summary of Imperial history.

Castello, Guido da

A gentleman of Treviso, noted for his hospitality and generosity. To the French the Lombards were tricky, and often usurers, perhaps the source of his name, being in contrast, the ‘honest one’, simplice.

Purgatorio Canto XVI:97-145. He is mentioned.

Castor and Pollux

Purgatorio Canto IV:52-87. The Twins, the Dioscuri, the Gemini, represented by that constellation of the Zodiac. They were the twin sons of Tyndareus and Leda, famous for their horsemanship, though Pollux (Polydeuces) may have been Zeus’s swan-son, and Helen’s brother, while Castor was mortal and Clytaemnestra’s brother. Pollux refused immortality unless his brother could share it, and Zeus set them among the stars. They are the saviours of shipwrecked sailors, and were worshipped by the Spartans

Castrocaro, Counts of

Ghibellines, based in the stronghold of Castrocaro, near Forlì

Purgatorio Canto XIV:67-123. They are mentioned.

Catalano, Catalini or Malavolti

One of the Frati Gaudenti, or Jovial Friars, a derisive name for the Cavalieri di S. Maria (Ordo militae beatae Mariae) founded at Bologna in 1261, with the approval of Urban IV, to act as mediators, and protect the weak. It was disbanded due to its laxity. Catelano de’ Catalini (or de’ Malavolti) c.1210-1285, and Loderingo degli Andalò, a Ghibelline, were called to Florence, from Bologna, in 1266 to act together as Podestà, and reform the government. They were accused of hypocrisy and corruption and expelled. The Gardingo district (Piazza di Firenze) the site of the Uberti Palace, was destroyed in a rising against the Ghibellines.

Inferno Canto XXIII:82-126. They are in the eighth circle.


An ancient Florentine family. See the note to Paradiso Canto XVI.

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.

Cato, of Utica

Marcius Portius Cato, the Younger (95-46BC), the Republican opponent of Julius Caesar. He supported Pompey as the lesser of two evils, and was noted for his honesty and moral stance. After the battle of Thapsus, in 46 BC, he committed suicide while governor of Utica near Carthage rather than fall into enemy hands. This was regarded as an act of supreme devotion to liberty. Cato the lawgiver is depicted with the righteous in Virgil’s Aeneid VIII 670. Dante derived his knowledge of Cato from Lucan’s Pharsalia II 373. Cato’s wife was Marcia.

Inferno Canto XIV:1-42. Cato crossed the Libyan desert in 47BC, at the head of Pompey’s army, to meet up with Juba, King of Numidia. The march is described by Lucan in Pharsalia IX 411 et seq.

Purgatorio Canto I:28-84. The Poets meet him. The Mount of Purgatory is in Cato’s care.

Cavalcanti, Cavalcante de’

The father of the poet Guido Cavalcanti, is mentioned in Boccaccio’s Decameron VI 9, in a tale which concerns Guido.

Inferno Canto X:52-72. He is in the Sixth Circle as a heretic.

Cavalcanti, Francesco (Guercio) de’

Francesco, who changes from serpent to man, and back, was killed by the villagers of Gaville, in the upper Val d’Arno, the murderers and others being summarily executed by his kinsmen.

Inferno Canto XXV:79-151. He is in the eighth circle.

Cavalcanti, Guido de’

The poet, son of Cavalcante Cavalcanti, born between 1250 and 1259, was Farinata’s son-in-law, and a prominent White (Bianchi) Guelf. He married Farinata’ daughter, Beatrice, during one of the attempts to forge peace through marriage alliances. He, ‘the first of my friends’, and Dante are the chief poets of the Florentine School of the dolce stil nuove style of lyric poetry that superseded the Bolognese school of Guido Guinicelli. The Vita Nuova was dedicated to Guido. He was exiled with the Whites (a decision Dante was party to) in June 1300 to Sarzana in the Lunigiana. Allowed to return to Florence, due to illness, caused by the unhealthy locality, he died in the August and was buried on August 29th, but was still alive at the time of the Vision itself. He is mentioned in Bocaccio’s Decameron VI 9.

Inferno Canto X:52-72. His father Cavalcante asks after him. Dante mentions Guido’s disdain of Virgil, through poetic preference, political allegiance, Epicurean principles, preference for Italian over Latin, or some other reason.

See Ciacco’s prophecy and Inferno Canto VI:64-93 for an indirect reference.

Purgatorio Canto XI:73-117. Dante expresses the view that he has surpassed the poetic school of Guido Guinicelli. (The earlier poet who wrote the lines ‘Love was not before the gentle heart, nor the gentle heart before love’)

Celestine V, Saint and Pope

Pietro da Morrone, a saintly hermit from the Abruzzi, was compelled to become Pope by the Cardinals in 1294, at the age of eighty. Five months later, worn out, he abdicated. He was confined by his successor Boniface VIII till his death in 1296. He was canonised in 1313.

Inferno Canto III:58-69. Celestine is the likeliest candidate, as attested by Petrarch and others, for he who made ‘il gran rifiuto’.

Inferno Canto XXVII:58-136. Dante again refers to Celestine’s indifference to the Papal honour.


Fabulous creatures, living in the mountains of Thessaly, half man and half horse. They were the sons of Ixion, and a cloud, in the form of Juno. They fought violently at the battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs, at the marriage feast of Pirithoüs and Hippodamia, at which Theseus was present. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses XII 210. Virgil calls them furentes in Georgics ii 45-456.

Inferno Canto XII:49-99. They guard the river of blood in the seventh circle.

Purgatorio Canto XXIV:100-154. The battle is referred to.


The triple headed hound of Hell, with snakes for hair, and barbed tail, that guarded the gates of Tartarus. The foam from his mouth was poisonous. He was born of Echidne by Typhon. Associated with the Egyptian god Anubis, by the Greeks. He was dragged from Hell by Hercules (The Twelfth Labour) and the foam from his mouth gave birth to the poisonous plant aconite.

Inferno Canto VI:1-33. He guards the third circle of the gluttonous.

Inferno Canto IX:64-105. His throat is still scarred from Hercules assault on him.


See Ciacco’s prophecy and Inferno Canto VI:64-93 for an indirect reference.

Paradiso Canto XVI:46-87. They are mentioned among the ancient Florentine families. Leaders of the Whites they originated from Acone in the Val di Sieve. See the note to Paradiso Canto XVI.

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned indirectly.

Charlemagne, Emperor

Charles (Born 742, Ruled 768-814 AD), the son of Pepin the Short, King of the Franks. He conquered the Langobard kingdom in 773-774, and extended his empire into Slav territory. As the Founder of the Holy Roman Empire, Pope Leo III (795-816) crowned him Emperor 23-24 December 800, with the Imperial title ‘Romanorum gubernans imperium’. By the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 812, the Eastern Roman Emperor, Michael I, recognised Charlemagne as Emperor in exchange for the surrender of Istria, Venetia, and Dalmatia. He died at Aix-la-Chapelle in 814 and was entombed in the Dome. He was the legendary rebuilder of Florence.

Inferno Canto XXXI:1-45 Roland (Orlando) Charlemagne’s nephew, and the hero of the battle of Roncesvalles, went down to defeat with his Franks, fighting against the Saracens, while attempting to hold the valley in 778AD. He blew his horn in desperation, to alert his uncle eight miles away, but Charlemagne was misled by the advice of the traitor Ganelon, and did not provide aid. The epic is told in the Old French Chanson de Roland, the ‘Song of Roland’, where the intensity of Roland’s blast on the horn shattered it. The defeat allowed Arab incursions into Narbonne in 793.

Paradiso Canto VI:1-111. Mentioned in the summary of Imperial history, as having protected the Church by use of Imperial force and right.

Paradiso Canto XVIII:1-57. He is in the Fifth Sphere of Mars.

Charles of Lorraine

See Hugh Capet.

Charles I of Anjou, King of Naples and Sicily

The brother of Louis IX of France, and Count of Provence. He defeated Manfred King of Sicily, at Benevento, in 1265, and seized Naples and Sicily, supported by Pope Clement IV. He was described as silent, serious and cold, though not uncultured. He schemed to bring down the Eastern Emperor Michael Paleologus, but was opposed by King Pere II of Aragon whose wife Constance (Constanza) was Manfred’s daughter. On Easter Monday 1282 the approaches of a young French soldier to a young Sicilian woman in Palermo provoked his murder by her husband, and, while the bells called Vespers, it led to a chain reaction of anti-French massacres in Sicily. Pere was able to take advantage of a power vacuum, and ousted Charles from Sicily. It was the beginning of the ninety-year ‘War of the Vespers’. He and Peter (Pere) both died in 1285.

Inferno Canto XIX:88-133. Charles refused to accept one of Pope Nicholas III’s nieces as a wife for his nephew, and Nicholas deprived Charles of the office of Senator of Rome, and accepted money from Michael Paleologus, helping to fuel Charles’s anti-Byzantine policy.

Inferno Canto XXVIII:1-21. Manfred trusted the pass of Ceperano (on the Liris) to the barons of Apulia, in 1266. They betrayed the pass to Charles, leading to Manfred’s defeat and death at Benevento.

In 1268, at Tagliacozzo, Charles defeated Conradin, Manfred’s nephew, using reserve troops, on the advice of Erard de Valéry (Alardo). He married Beatrice of Provence, and then Margaret of Burgundy.

Purgatorio Canto VII:64-136. He is one of the negligent rulers. His son Charles II of Anjou and Naples, is inferior to him.

Purgatorio Canto XI:118-142. He imprisoned a friend of Provenzan Salvani.

Purgatorio Canto XX:43-96. He received Provence as a dowry, on marrying Beatrice in 1246, after the death of her father Raymond Berenger. He defeated Conradin, last of the Swabians, at Tagliacozzo. On Oct 29th 1268 two months after his defeat the seventeen-year-old Conradin was beheaded, on Charles’s orders. Charles’s son was Charles the Lame, who assisted him in trying to retake Sicily. He was supposed to have had Thomas Aquinas poisoned in 1274, though this is spurious.

Charles II, King of Naples

Carlo Zoppo, Charles the Lame, the son of Charles I of Anjou. King of Naples (Apulia) and Count of Anjou and Provence (1243-1309), and alive at the time of the Vision. Titular King of Jerusalem, and head of the Italian Guelphs in 1300.

Purgatorio Canto VII:64-136. Dante regards him as far inferior to his father.

Purgatorio Canto XX:43-96. Attempting with his father to regain Sicily he was captured by Roger di Loria, the admiral of Peter III of Aragon, near Naples in a naval battle, and taken prisoner, in June 1284. His life was spared on the instigation of Manfred’s daughter Costanza. He was still in captibity in 1285 when he succeeded his father as King of Naples. In 1305 he married his younger daughter Beatrice to Azzo VIII of Este, Marquis of Ferrara, of evil reputation, and her senior by many years, presumably for a consideration.

Paradiso Canto VI:1-111. Mentioned in the summary of Imperial history, with disdain.

Paradiso Canto VIII:31-84. Charles Martel was his son, who died before him.

Paradiso Canto XIX:91-148. He is held as an example of poor kingship.

Paradiso Canto XX:1-72. He is a burden to Naples.

Charles Martel

Charles (1271-1295) the eldest son of Charles II of Naples and Mary of Hungary, the daughter of Stephen IV. Dante probably met him in March 1295 when he visited Florence, and was popular. He died in the August. He was married to Clemenz, or Clementina, the daughter of Emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg, and his line might have reconciled the Guelph and Ghibelline factions, but his early death quenched Dante’s hopes. His brother was Robert Duke of Calabria. His daughter Clemenza married Louis X of France. His wife Clemenz died in 1296. His son Caroberto became heir to Naples but was ousted by Robert, his uncle.

Paradiso Canto VIII:31-84. He describes the regions over which he would have held power including Provence, of which the Angevin kings of Naples were Counts; Hungary of which he had already been crowned king in 1290 at Naples, holding it from his mother; and Sicily, which would already have been his had it not been for the Sicilian Vespers, in 1282, the rising in Palermo against the French that led to rule by the House of Aragon.

Charles of Valois

See Ciacco’s prophecy and Inferno Canto VI:64-93 for an indirect reference.

Inferno Canto XXIV:130-151. Vanni Fucci’s prophecy, covers his involvement in the entry of the Blacks into Florence in November 1301.

Purgatorio Canto XX:43-96. The brother of Philip IV, the Fair, nicknamed Senzaterra (Lackland, so called as a younger son or because of his failures in Sicily in 1302) who entered Florence in November 1301, and left in the following April. He supported the Neri (Blacks) at Boniface’s instigation, using treachery and perjury to coerce the Signoria, and left the city, covered with disgrace, and loaded with plunder, leaving the Neri in control. The treachery of he and Philip his brother towards the Count of Flanders in 1299 was revenged three years later at Courtrai, where the Flemish (‘Douay, Lille, Ghent and Bruges’) routed the French.

Charles Robert (Carobert)

Paradiso Canto IX:1-66. The son of Charles Martel and Clemenza. See the entry for Charles.


The ferryman of the River Acheron in the Underworld. His price for ferrying a dead spirit across the river was an obolus, a coin, without which the spirit was doomed to wander the deserted shore without refuge. The Greeks placed an obolus in the mouths of the dead, as their fare. Acheron, the son of Gaea, quenched the thirst of the Titans and was thrown by Zeus into the Underworld, where he was changed into the river bearing his name. The other rivers of the Underworld were the Cocytus a tributary of the Acheron, with its tributary the Phlegethon, the Lethe, and the Styx.

Inferno Canto III:70-99. He tells Dante to depart since he is still living.

Inferno Canto III:100-136. He ferries the dead souls over the Acheron.


The whirlpool in the straits of Messina. She was the daughter of Neptune and Earth hurled, by Jupiter’s thunderbolt, into the sea. The rock Scylla not mentioned here was nearby in the other cliff, a dog-like monster with six heads. To be between Scylla and Charybdis was to be in dire straits. (See Ovid’s Metamorphoses XIII 730)

Inferno Canto VII:1-39. Dante compares the dance of the Avaricious to the waves of Charybdis’s whirlpool.

Chiaramontesi, Durante de’

An ancient Florentine family. See the note to Paradiso Canto XVI.

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned in connection with falsification of the measures. See note to Purgatorio.


The wise Centaur, son of Saturn and Philyra, to whom Apollo entrusted his son Aesculapius, and who variously reared Jason, and Achilles. He was wounded by one of Hercules’s poisoned arrows, but could not die because he was immortal. Prometheus accepted immortality in his stead to allow him to end his suffering.

Inferno Canto XII:49-99. Chiron appoints Nessus to guide them in the seventh circle.

Purgatorio Canto IX:34-63. He is mentioned.


Inferno Canto IV:1-63. The Saviour, whose name is not mentioned explicitly in the Inferno. Dante follows the legend that Christ descended to Hell in the year 33AD (fifty two years after Virgil’s death and entry into Limbo).

Inferno Canto XII:28-48. The earth shook at his death, prior to his descent into Hell. See Matthew xxvii 51.

Inferno Canto XXXIV:70-139. Christ is the symbol of Divine Humanity, sinless from birth.

Purgatorio Canto VI:76-151. Dante calls God, incarnate in Christ, the highest Jove (Jupiter), thereby identifying supreme Empire and law with the Deity, while superseding the Pagan Gods.

Purgatorio Canto XX:43-96. The Pope is his Vicar on earth. His trial and crucifixion is referred to.

Purgatorio Canto XXI:1-33. He offered water to the woman of Samaria. See John iv 7-15.

Purgatorio Canto XXI:1-33. He appeared at Emmaus after the Resurrection. See Luke xxiv 13-15.

Purgatorio Canto XXIII:37-90. On the cross, Christ cried out: ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ Matthew xxviii 46, Mark xv 34.

Purgatorio Canto XXXI:70-90. He is represented by the Grifon in the Divine Pageant.

Purgatorio Canto XXXII:64-99. At the Transfiguration, see Matthew xviii 1-8 Christ shone like the sun in white raiment, and Moses and Elias appeared talking with him, and after they were overcome he said ‘Arise, and be not afraid’. Christ is the apple-tree, in accord with the Song of Solomon ii 3, ‘As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons.’

Paradiso Canto VII:1-54. The Crucifixion was both supreme justice exacted on human nature for the Fall, and supreme injustice when the person on whom it fell is considered.

Paradiso Canto IX:67-126. Rahab, the prostitute, symbol of the Church, who was the first to welcome Joshua into what became Israel, was the first spirit snatched up to Heaven at Christ’s triumph.

Paradiso Canto XI:1-42. As the Bridegroom of the Church.

Paradiso Canto XI:43-117. Saint Francis exhibited the five wounds of Christ, as stigmata, and bore the marks for two years.

Paradiso Canto XIII:91-142. Christ is Humanity’s delight and joy.

Paradiso Canto XIV:67-139. Dante’s vision of Christ on the Cross.

Paradiso Canto XXV:1-63. He is referred to as Jèsu.

Paradiso Canto XXV:97-139. The Pelican, supposed to feed its young with its own blood, is a symbol of Christ. He with the Virgin alone ascended to Heaven in body as well as in spirit. Enoch and Elijah were only elevated to the Earthly Paradise.

Chrysostom, Saint John

John Chrysostom, or Golden Mouth (c 344-407) Archbishop of Constantinople, of fearless eloquence, who denounced the vices of the Court and was persecuted and exiled by the Empress Eudoxia.

Paradiso Canto XII:106-145. He is in the Fourth Sphere of the Sun.


A Florentine, Ciacco (hog), was a contemporary of Dante. He was renowned for his gluttony, and is mentioned in a story in Bocaccio’s Decameron (ix.8). He is said to have died in 1286.

Canto VI:34-63. He is punished in the third circle, of the gluttonous.


A member of the household of, Teobaldo II, Thibaut V Count of Champagne, King of Navarre (1253-1270), son of the poet-king Thibaut I mentioned by Dante in his De Vulgari Eloquentia. (see Blake’s engraving, ‘Ciampolo tormented by Devils’, British Museum, London)

Inferno Canto XXII:31-75. He is in the eighth circle of barrators.

Inferno Canto XXII:76-96. He names other barrators with him.

Inferno Canto XXII:97-123. He tricks the demons.

Cianfa, see Donati

Ciangella, della Tosa

Paradiso Canto XV:88-148. A notorious shrew who married an Imolese.


Giovanno Cimabue, the great Florentine painter (c1240-c1302).

Purgatorio Canto XI:73-117. He was surpassed by his pupil Giotto.


Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus, dictator 458 and 439BC. His name derives from the word cincinnus, a curl of hair. He conquered the Aequians.

Paradiso Canto VI:1-111. Mentioned in the summary of Imperial history.

Paradiso Canto XV:88-148. The type of the good citizen.


Inferno Canto XXX:1-48. Myrrha the daughter of Cinyras, a Cyprian king, the son of Pygmalion, conceived an incestuous passion for him, and in darkness, using an assumed name, entered his bed. She conceived Adonis, and was changed into the myrrh-tree from which Adonis was born. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses X 299.


The witch, the daughter of Titan and Perse, who lived on the ‘island’ of Aeaea (Cape Circeo, on the coast of western Italy). She bewitched the followers of Ulysses, and delayed him on her island. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses XIV 247, and Homer’s Odyssey.

Inferno Canto XXVI:85-142. She is mentioned.

Purgatorio Canto XIV:28-66. She is mentioned.

Ciriatto, a demon

Inferno Canto XXI:97-139. A demon guarding the eighth circle, the fifth chasm, of the barrators.

Inferno Canto XXII:31-75. He torments Ciampolo.

Clare, Saint

Chiari Scifi of Assisi, now known as Santa Clara, Saint Clare (c1194-1253), the friend and disciple of Saint Francis of Assisi, who founded the order of Franciscan nuns known as the ‘Poor Clares’ (The Order wore a grey habit, with white coif covered with black veil)

Paradiso Canto III:97-130. She is higher in Heaven than Piccarda.

Clement IV, Pope

Purgatorio Canto III:103-145. He had Manfred’s body disinterred and reburied, with the rites of excommunication, outside the Papal territory.

Clement V, Pope

Inferno Canto XIX:31-87. Bertrand de Got (Goth), Archbishop of Bordeaux, elected Pope in 1305, through the support of Philip IV, the Fair, of France. He transferred the Papal See to Avignon where it remained until 1377. He died eleven years after Boniface VIII in 1314.

Paradiso Canto XVII:1-99. Encouraged the Emperor Henry VII’s expedition to Italy but was disloyal to him.

Paradiso Canto XXVII:1-66. An indirect reference to the Gascon Pope.

Paradiso Canto XXX:97-148. Supported Henry VII and then turned away from him. His place in Hell is reserved.

Clemenz, wife of Charles Martel

Paradiso Canto IX:1-66. Dante addresses her, living, though she is assumed to have died in 1295. She was the daughter of the Emperor Rudolph. She was the mother of Caroberto.


Cleopatra VII, Queen of Ptolemaic Egypt( 68-30BC, r.51-30BC). Of Macedonian origin. She had a child Caesarion with Julius Caesar and married Mark Antony, committing suicide on his death following the lost battle of Actium. She had twins by Antony, namely Cleopatra Selene, and Alexander Helios.

Inferno Canto V:52-72. She is a carnal sinner in Limbo.

Paradiso Canto VI:1-111. Mentioned in the summary of Imperial history.

Cletus, Saint and Pope

Saint Cletus, Pope (76-88AD).

Paradiso Canto XXVII:1-66. He died for the faith.


The Muse of History, one of the nine Musae the daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne (Memory), and patronesses of the liberal arts. Their haunts were Mount Helicon and Mount Parnassus, and their sacred springs were Aganippe and Hippocrene on Helicon, and Castalia on Parnassus. Statius’s Thebaid begins with an invocation to her, setting the Pagan, not Christian, tone of the poem.

Purgatorio Canto XXII:55-93. She is mentioned.


One of the Three Fates, the Moerae, whom Erebus and Night conceived: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. Atropos is the smallest but the most terrible. Clotho spins the thread of life, Lachesis measures it out, and Atropos ‘she who cannot be avoided or turned’ shears it. At Delphi only two fates were worshipped of Birth and Death. Dante here has Lachesis as the spinner, and Clotho apparently as the measurer, or Clotho is both and the syntax is misleading.

Purgatorio Canto XXI:1-33. She is mentioned.


Paradiso Canto XVII:1-99. The daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. The wife of the Ethiopian king Merops. She was loved by Apollo and bore him Phaethon, who came to her to ask for the truth about his paternity. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses I 756 et seq.

Conio, Counts of

Ghelphs, based in the stronghold of Conio, near Forlì. Conio was ruled by the Barbiano family, and Count Alberigo da Barbiano of Conio was a famous condottiere in the next epoch, who won the battle of Marino in 1379. One of St Catherine’s letters is addressed to him.

Purgatorio Canto XIV:67-123. They are mentioned.

Conrad, see Malaspina and Palazzo

Conrad III, Emperor

The son of Rudolph II of Burgundy, raised at the Saxon Court. Hohenstaufen leader of the Second Crusade (1147-1149) with Louis VII of France. Emperor from 1137-1152.

Paradiso Canto XV:88-148. Cacciaguida served him.


The son of Conrad IV of Germany (1250-1254), he was defeated at Tagliacozzo in 1268 and executed at Naples, at the age of seventeen.

Purgatorio Canto XX:43-96. He is mentioned.

Constance, Empress

Purgatorio Canto III:103-145. The wife of Frederick II, and grandmother of Manfred. She was the daughter of King Roger II, and heiress of the Norman House of Tancred that conquered Sicily and Southern Italy from the Saracens in the eleventh century, and so of the crown of ‘the Two Sicilies’ (Naples and Sicily).

Paradiso Canto III:97-130. She had married Henry son of Frederick Barbarossa in 1186, who was afterwards Emperor Henry VI, and bore him Frederick, later Emperor Frederick II. Frederick Barbarossa, Henry and Frederick II were the three stormwinds of Suabia. She assumed the regency for her son, after Henry’s death at the early age of 32. She died in 1198. Dante follows the tradition that she had been a nun, and had been forced to make a political marriage against her will.

Constance, Costanza Queen of Aragon

Purgatorio Canto III:103-145. The daughter of Manfred, and wife of Peter (Pere) III of Aragon, who avenged Manfred’s death by conquering Sicily in 1282, after the Sicilian Vespers, taking it from Charles of Anjou.

Purgatorio Canto VII:64-136. She was the mother of James II, King of Aragon, and Frederick II, King of Sicily (both were reigning in 1300).

Constantine the Great

The ruler of the Western Roman Empire (lived c280-337) after his victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge on the Tiber in 312 AD. The son of Helena. He defeated Licinius at Adrianople and Chrysopolis in 324, becoming sole ruler of the eastern and western empire (totius orbis imperator).Byzantium was renamed Constantinople in 330 and made the second Rome, and the Christian capital as he had embraced Christianity. He died in 337 after receiving baptism on his deathbed. He consolidated Diocletian’s structure of the absolute state, to emphasise the divine nature of the Emperor.

Inferno Canto XIX:88-133. The Donation of Constantine was a forged document of the Middle Ages, in which Pope Sylvester I was supposed to have cured Constantine of leprosy, he then resolving to transfer his capital to Constantinople, leaving the Pope with temporal power in Italy. Dante saw this as the source of the fatal involvement of the Church in temporal power, and as a consequence the Empire’s involvement in coveting the spiritual power of the Church. He considered the Donation invalid as the Emperor could not relinquish temporal power, nor could the Pope receive it. (See Dante De Monarchia iii 10 etc)

Inferno Canto XXVII:58-136. The cure of his leprosy mentioned.

Paradiso Canto VI:1-111. He is mentioned.

Paradiso Canto XX:1-72. He is in the sixth sphere of Jupiter.

Conti Guidi, the

Lords of Montemurlo which they sold to Florence in 1254.

Paradiso Canto XVI:46-87. They are mentioned among the ancient Florentine families.


The daughter of Scipio Africanus (Publius Cornelius Scipio Major), and the wife of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, and mother of Tiberius and Caius the two famous tribunes, the Gracchi. A type of the noble Roman woman. She claimed that ‘her sons were her jewels’.

Inferno Canto IV:106-129. She is among the heroes and heroines in Limbo.

Paradiso Canto XV:88-148. She is mentioned as a type of the good woman.

Corneto, Rinieri da

A notorious highwayman of Dante’s time.

Inferno Canto XII:100-139 He is in the seventh circle.

Cosenza, Bishop of

Purgatorio Canto III:103-145. He disinterred Manfred’s body from the cairn at Benevento and re-interred it across the Verde (Garigliano) outside the kingdom of Naples, with all the rites of excommunication, on the orders of Pope Clement IV.

Costanza, see Constance, Queen of Aragon


Marcus Licinius Crassus, surnamed Dives, the Wealthy, triumvir with Caesar and Pompey in 60BC. He was notorious for his love of gold, and being killed in battle with the Parthians, their King Orodes (Hyrodes) poured molten gold down his throat. (Florus, Epitome iii 2)

Purgatorio Canto XX:97-151. He is mentioned.


The wife of Aeneas, lost at Troy. See Virgil’s Aeneid II 735.

Paradiso Canto IX:67-126. Dido’s love for Aeneas wrongs her memory.

Cunizza, see Romano


The love-god, the son of Venus-Aphrodite. Called Cupido or Amor. The archer whose arrows cause desire in those they hit.

Paradiso Canto VIII:1-30. He is mentioned.


Inferno Canto XXVIII:91-111. Advised by Curio, according to Lucan (see Pharsalia i. 281) Caesar crossed the Rubicon (‘iacta alea est – the die is cast’), near Rimini, and declared war by that act against the Republic in 49BC. The Rubicon was at that time the boundary between Italy and Cisalpine Gaul.


A fabulous race of giants on the coast of Sicily, with one eye in the centre of their foreheads.

Inferno Canto XIV:43-72. They forged Jupiter’s lightning bolts in the fires of Mount Aetna on Sicily.


King of the Medes and Persians, defeated by the Massagetae in 529 BC. Tomyris, the Scythian Queen, cut off his head and threw it into a cauldron of blood. See the entry for Tomyris.

Purgatorio Canto XII:1-63. He is mentioned.


Inferno Canto XVII:79-136. The Athenian artificer who made the labyrinth at Cnossos, for the Cretan king Minos. The father of Icarus, he made waxen wings, in order for them to escape from Crete. Flying too near the sun Icarus’s wings melted and he fell into the sea. He was buried on the island of Icaria, and the Icarian Sea and the island, were named after him. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses VIII 195.

Inferno Canto XXIX:100-120. He is mentioned.

Paradiso Canto VIII:85-148. The type of the artificer, the inventor and craftsman.

Damian see Peter


An Israelite, taken up by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, after his capture of Jerusalem. He interpreted the king’s dreams and himself saw prophetic visions. He initially refused the king’s meat and wine. See Daniel i 8 and 17.

Purgatorio Canto XXII:115-154. He is mentioned.

Paradiso Canto IV:1-63. He divined the king’s dream and interpreted it as well, as Beatrice divines and answers Dante’s doubts. See Daniel ii.

Paradiso Canto XXIX:127-145. Daniel vii 10 indicates the vastness of the Angel multitude.


For the history of the period immediately after the Vision, involving Dante’s exile, see Ciacco’s prophecy.

Inferno Canto X:73-93. Farinata warns him of his long exile, telling him that not fifty moons will pass before he learns how hard it is to return from banishment. The date of the Vision is April 1300, and Dante’s efforts at return were thwarted by the failure of Pope Benedict XI, who succeeded Boniface to achieve reconciliation in early 1304. Benedict visited Florence but left on June 4th leaving the rebellious city under an interdict. It was less than fifty one lunar months before Dante’s efforts at return failed, suggesting a communication with Benedict (Dante was acting as secretary then to Allessandro da Romano, of the old Ghibelline family of the Counts Guidi, who was the leader of the Ghibellines in exile) some time in March or early April.

Inferno Canto XIX:1-30. Dante broke one of the pozzetti or round holes that surrounded the font in the Baptistery (St John) in Florence, to help a child (said to have been Antonio the son of Baldinaccio de’ Cavicciuoli). Dante explains here, to counter charges, presumably of sacrilege made against him.

Inferno Canto XXI:59-96. Dante indicates he was present at the surrender of the Pisan fortress of Caprona, besieged by the Tuscan Guelphs in August 1289. He fought at Campaldino later that year.

Inferno Canto XXII:1-30. He indicates that he saw the campaigning in Aretine territory (in 1289 also?).

Purgatorio Canto XXIV:34-99. Bonagiunta quotes the opening line of the famous first canzone of the Vita Nuova.

Purgatorio Canto XXX:49-81. Beatrice speaks his name.

Purgatorio Canto XXX:82-145. She refers indirectly to his work the Vita Nuova, his early tribute to her memory. He first saw her in May 1274, and she died in June 1290 in her twenty-fifth year on the threshold of her second age of life.

Paradiso Canto V:85-139. Dante, entering the sphere of Mercury that rules Gemini his birth-sign, comments on his own mercurial nature, subject to change and inconstancy.

Paradiso Canto VIII:31-84. The spirit of Charles Martel quotes Dante’s own opening line of the first canzone of the Convivio.

Paradiso Canto XXIV:115-154. In the Metaphysics Aristotle shows that the prime Mover, which causes motion but is not itself moved, must be eternal, must be substantial, and actual, the prime object of desire, and of intellectual apprehension. From these five attributes Aquinas builds his five proofs of the existence of God.

Dante confirms his belief in the Trinity. The sources in the Testaments are chiefly: in the OT the plural form of the word for God, the use of the plural in Genesis i 26, the threefold cry in Isaiah vi 3: in the NT the baptism formula in Matthew xviii 19, the text of the three heavenly witnesses in First Epistles of John v 7 (Vulgate and AV), and the threefold formula in Romans xi 36: but the Unity of the Trinity is the breath behind the word throughout according to Petrus Lombardus and others.

Paradiso Canto XXV:1-63. Dante refused to accept a laurel crown at Bologna in 1318, invited to do so by Giovanni del Virgilio, hoping still to return to Florence, and be crowned there.


Paradiso Canto I:1-36. Apollo loved Daphne, the daughter of the river-god Peneus (hence Peneian), who was changed into a laurel-tree by the river-god, as Apollo pursued her. He then adopted her laurel as the sacred tree whose leaves would crown his lyre etc. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses I 452-548.

Dati, Bonturo de’

Inferno Canto XXI:31-58. Head of the popular party in Lucca, and the worst barrator or abuser of office in the city. Dante’s comment is ironic, presumably since Bonturo was loudest to deny the offence.


The King of Israel. The son of Jesse, anointed by Samuel. See the Bible, First and Second Samuel, and First Kings. The type of the pious King.

Inferno Canto IV:1-63. Christ takes his spirit from Limbo into Paradise.

Inferno Canto XXVIII:112-142. King David’s Gilonite counsellor from Giloh, Ahitophel, see Second Samuel xv-xviii, conspired with David’s son Absalom against the King, and subsequently hanged himself when his counsel was not followed. Absalom was killed at the battle in the wood of Ephraim, and David mourned for him, saying ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!’

Purgatorio Canto X:46-72. He danced before the Ark of the Covenant, in an act of humility and worship. See the Second Book of Samuel vi 6.

Paradiso Canto XX:1-72. He is in the sixth sphere of Jupiter. David is the earthly ancestor of Christ, born at the time when Aeneas came into Italy, so making manifest the Divine ordination of the Roman Empire.

Paradiso Canto XXV:64-96. Dante refers to the Vulgate, the Psalm of David ix 10.

Paradiso Canto XXXII:1-36. The great-grandson of Ruth. The ‘singer’ of Psalm 51, the Miserere.

Decii, the

See Justinians’ Empire.


The daughter of Oeneus, king of Calydon, and the sister of Meleager. She was wooed and won by Hercules, and unwittingly caused the death of Hercules, through the shirt of Nessus.

Inferno Canto XII:49-99. She is mentioned.


Inferno Canto XXVI:43-84Achilles was discovered in hiding on Scyros, where his mother Thetis had concealed him, at the court of Lycomedes. Deidamia fell in love with him there, and bore him a son, and died of grief when he left.

Purgatorio Canto XXII:94-114. She is in Limbo. One of the people celebrated by Statius in his epic poetry.

Deïphile, Deiphyle

The daughter of King Adrastus of Argos, wife of Tydeus, and mother of Diomede.

Purgatorio Canto XXII:94-114. She is in Limbo. One of the people celebrated by Statius in his epic poetry.


The Greek philosopher, of Aldera, d.361 BC, who developed Leucippus’s ideas of Atomism. Aristotle said that ‘they make all things number, and produce them from numbers’, indicating a quantitative theory which did not require a ‘prime mover’. He was influential in the development of the theory of knowledge, and of ethics, where he maintained a theory of the harmony of well being of the ethical man, who chooses ‘the goods of the soul’. Dante regards him as having taught that the world arises from chance arrangements of atoms.

Inferno Canto IV:130-151. He is among the philosophers in Limbo.


Phyllis, the daughter of the Thracian King Sithon (living near Mount Rhodope in Thrace) was loved by Demophoön, King of Melos, the son of Theseus and Phaedra. He failed to keep his promise to return to her, and when he did eventually return to find her she had committed suicide, but had been transformed into an almond tree by Athene. (See Burne-Jones painting ‘The Tree of Forgiveness’, Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Merseyside, England) See Ovid’s Heroides.

Paradiso Canto IX:67-126. He is mentioned.

Diana, see Artemis


The mythical Queen of Phoenician Carthage, probably an incarnation of Astarte the Great Goddess, who loved Aeneas and committed suicide when he deserted her. She broke faith with the memory of her dead husband Sychaeus for him. (See the Aeneid i of Virgil, and Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage.)

Inferno Canto V:52-72. She is a carnal sinner in Limbo.

Inferno Canto V:70-142. Paolo and Francesca are among her companions.

Purgatorio Canto XX:97-151. Her brother was Pygmalion, King of Tyre. See Aeneid i 350 where he is the murderer of Sychaeus.

Paradiso Canto VIII:1-30. Cupid sat in her lap disguised as Aeneas’s son, Ascanius, and inspired her with love for Aeneas. See Virgil’s Aeneid I 650.

Paradiso Canto IX:67-126. Her love of Aeneas wronged the memory of Sichaeus and Aeneas’s wife Creüsa.


The Cynic, Diogenes of Sinope d. 323 BC a follower of Antisthenes, who was the founder of the School of the Dog, and who taught in the Gymnasium known as the Kynosarges. He spent most of his life in Athens after being banished and died in Corinth. He called himself the Dog and held up animal life as a model for human beings, and the barbarians as better than the civilised. His task was the recoining of values. He advocated a positive asceticism in order to attain freedom, and deliberately flouted convention doing in public what should be done in private. He called himself a citizen of the world, and famously replied to Alexander’s request as to what he needed ‘for you to stand out of my light’.

Inferno Canto IV:130-151. He is among the philosophers in Limbo.


The daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, or of Earth and Air, and the mother of Venus-Aphrodite. Originally an oak-goddess at Dodona.

Paradiso Canto VIII:1-30. She is mentioned.

Paradiso Canto XXII:100-154. The mother of Venus-Aphrodite.


The Greek hero, the son of Tydeus, King of Argos, and the companion of Ulysses at Troy. See Homer, The Iliad, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses XIV, XV et al.

Inferno Canto XXVI:43-84. He is in the eighth circle, eighth chasm.

Dionysius, King of Portugal

King of Portugal (1279-1325).

Paradiso Canto XIX:91-148. He is held as an example of poor kingship.

Dionysius, the Aeropagite

See Acts xvii, to whom were ascribed certain mystical writings, especially one on the Celestial Hierarchy, which were possibly composed in the fifth or sixth century.

Paradiso Canto X:100-129. He is in the fourth sphere of Prudence.

Paradiso Canto XXVIII:94-139. The mystical sixth century writings of the pseudo-Dionysius were ascribed to the Aeropagite, Saint Paul’s convert on Mars’s hill. Dionysius was supposed to have learned of the hierarchies and other matters from Saint Paul, who had seen them when rapt up into the third heaven.

Dionysius, the Tyrant of Syracuse

The Elder, tyrant of Syracuse (405-367BC). He led the Greek cities of Sicily in resistance to the Carthaginians.

Inferno Canto XII:100-139. He is in the seventh circle, the first ring.


The Greek physician and author of a work on Materia Medica particularly botany, who lived about 50AD.

Inferno Canto IV:130-151. He is among the group of wise men in Limbo.

Dis, see Satan

Dolcino, Friar

A native of Novara, he became head of the sect of The Apostolic Brothers, after the death of its founder Segarelli in 1300. They were purists, but were accused of heresies, such as the treating of women and goods as common. Clement V ordered a crusade against the sect in 1305, and they fled to the hills between Novara and Vercelli, but were forced into surrender. Dolcino and Margaret of Trent, held to be his mistress, were burned alive at Vercelli in June 1307.

Inferno Canto XXVIII:55-90. He is in the ninth chasm as a sower of dissent.

Dominic, Saint

Saint Dominic (Guzman) (1170-1221) the founder of the Order of Preachers, called Dominican or Black Friars. He was born at Calahorra in Spain of noble parentage. As a young man he became a canon and preached against heresy. He was active among the Albigensians, trying to convert by persuasion, as Simon de Montfort was perpetrating his massacres. He preached throughout Europe and died in Bologna.

Paradiso Canto X:64-99. He is mentioned.

Paradiso Canto XI:1-42. He is mentioned. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican.

Paradiso Canto XI:118-139. He is mentioned.

Paradiso Canto XII:37-105. His mother Giovanna Guzman dreamed before his birth that she was whelping a dog with a burning torch in his mouth that would set the world on fire. His godmother had a dream in which she saw a star on his forehead illuminating the earth. He founded the Order at of Dominicans or Friars Preachers at Toulouse in 1215. He tried to convert the Albigensian heretics, and stimulated the study of theology in the universities.


The Roman Emperor (81-96AD) who completed the conquest of Britain. His initially benevolent rule became despotic (he claimed the title Dominus et Deus, Master and God) and led to his murder after a palace conspiracy. He took action (for ‘atheism and Jewish sympathies’ says Dio) against Titus Flavius Clemens, consul in 95, and his wife Domitilla whom the fourth century Christian tradition counted as a Christian. Domitian was accused by Eusebius and Tertullian of Christian persecution, but there is little or no evidence extant.

Purgatorio Canto XXII:55-93. He is mentioned, adversely.

Donati, Buoso

A noble Florentine, and a thief.

Inferno Canto XXV:79-151. He mutates into a serpent. See Blake’s Watercolour ‘Buoso Donati attacked by the Serpent’, Tate Gallery, London. (It may be Buoso degli Abati who is intended.)

Inferno Canto XXX:1-48. His son Simone caused Gianni Schicci to impersonate his father, Buoso, and forge a will.

Donati, Cianfa

A Florentine noble, and a thief.

Inferno Canto XXV:34-78. He appears as a six-footed serpent.

Donati, Corso

See Ciacco’s prophecy and Inferno Canto VI:64-93 for an indirect reference.

Purgatorio Canto XXIV:34-99. Forese Donati, his brother, predicts his end. Corso was Podestà of Bologna, in 1283 and 1288, and of Pistoia, in 1289, and leader of the Florentine Neri. He went to Rome in 1300, and induced Boniface to bring in Charles de Valois to broker a peace in Florence between the exiled factions. Charles favoured the Blacks, and Corso then tried to gain supreme power. Suspected of intrigue with his father-in-law Ugucione della Faggiuola the Ghibelline captain, and the papal legate Napoleone Orsini, to overthrow the government, and become lord of Florence, he was condemned to death when the plot was discovered (on October 6th 1308). He fled through the Porta Santa Croce but was overtaken and killed by Catalan mercenaries in the service of the King of Naples. He was said to have thrown himself from his horse and been lanced to death on the ground. Dante develops this.

Donati, Forese

Dante’s friend, Forese di Simone Donati, the brother of Corso and Piccarda. He was nicknamed Bicci Novello, and died on July 28th 1296. He was a distant relative of Dante’s wife Gemma Donati.

His own wife was Nella.

Purgatorio Canto XXIII:37-90. He is among the gluttonous.

Donati, Piccarda

The daughter of Simone Donati, and the sister of Forese Donati, Dante’s friend, and of Corso Donati.

Purgatorio Canto XXIV:1-33. She is mentioned, as being in Paradise.

Paradiso Canto III:34-60. She is in the sphere of the Moon, appearing to Dante there because of her neglect of her vows. She had taken the habit of the Poor Clares in the convent at Florence, and was forcibly abducted from there by Corso her brother in 1288 or thereabouts, and compelled to marry Rosselino della Tosa, a turbulent noble of the Black faction. She died shortly afterwards.

Donati, Ubertino

Ubertino Donati, the ancestor of Dante’s wife Gemma, had married one of the daughters of Bellincion Berti, a sister of Gualdrada, and strongly objected to his father-in-law giving the hand of a third daughter to one of the Adimari. A fourth daughter may have been the wife of Dante’s great-grandfather Alighiero I.

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.


Aelius Donatus wrote an elementary Latin Grammar in the fourth century.

Paradiso Canto XII:106-145. He is in the Fourth Sphere of the Sun.

Doria (D’Oria), Branca

The son-in-law of Michel Zanche, whom he murdered. He was a member of the famous Ghibelline family from Genoa, and the murder took place at a banquet to which he had invited his father-in-law. He was still alive in 1300, the date of the Vision.

Inferno Canto XXII:76-96. Zanche is in the eighth circle.

Draghignazzo, a demon

Inferno Canto XXI:97-139. A demon guarding the eighth circle, the fifth chasm, of the barrators.

Inferno Canto XXII:31-75. He wants to torment Ciampolo.

Duca, Guido del

A Ghibelline of Bertinoro, of the Onesti family of Ravenna, who was judge to the Podestà of Rimini in 1199. He was a follower of the Ghibelline leader Pier Traversaro. Pier, aided by the Mainardi of Bertinoro, obtained power in Ravenna and drove the Guelphs out. The Guelphs then attacked Bertinoro, destroyed the Mainardi houses, and expelled Pier’s followers. Guido was one, following Pier to Ravenna, and still alive there in 1229.

Purgatorio Canto XIV:1-27. He is among the envious.

Purgatorio Canto XIV:67-123. His invective against Romagna.

Duera, Buoso da

Bribed by the French, Buoso leader of the Cremonese, treacherously allowed Charles of Anjou entry to Parma, in 1266, at the beginning of his campaign against Manfred, who had organised its resistance.

Inferno Canto XXXII:70-123. He is in the Ninth Circle.