Dante: The Divine Comedy



Sabellius (3rd century). The Sabellian heresy identified the Son with the Father as one Person differing only in name. (It is later called Patripassianism ie. the Father suffers, and Modalism)

Paradiso Canto XIII:91-142. He is mentioned.


Lucan, in Pharsalia ix 763 and 790, tells of the two soldiers of Cato’s army who were stung by snakes while marching across Libya. Sabellus melted, while the other swelled.

Inferno Canto XXV:79-151. The story is mentioned.

Sachetti, of Florence

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

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.


The Sultan or Soldan, Salhad-din, 1137-1193 AD, the Kurdish founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty of Egypt. He took Jerusalem in 1187AD, after defeating the Christians earlier at the battle of The Horns of Hattin. He is Dante’s type of Islamic nobility and magnificence. (See Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe’ for an image of how Saladin was perceived in terms of chivalry.)

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


The daughter of Herodias, who was married to Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, who was therefore Salome’s stepfather. She danced before him and he granted her a request. Her mother Herodias whom John the Baptist had reproved for marrying Herod, her previous husband Philip’s brother, took her revenge by telling Salome to ask for his head. Herod reluctantly fulfilled the wish, and Salome danced naked, holding the Baptist’s head on a dish. See Mark vi 21-28.

Paradiso Canto XVIII:100-136. The incident is alluded to.

Salterello, Lapo

A corrupt political lawyer, exiled with Dante and the Whites in 1302.

Paradiso Canto XV:88-148. He is mentioned.

Salvani, Provenzano

The leading Ghibelline among the Sienese, at Montaperti, in 1260, where the Florentines were defeated. He was the strongest advocate for the destruction of the city at the subsequent council, held at Empoli, after the battle. He is said to have once humbled himself by dressing as a beggar to procure the money to ransom a friend imprisoned by Charles of Anjou. He was defeated and killed at Colle, in Valdelsa, in June 1269, leading a mixed body of Tuscan Ghibellines and foreign mercenaries. He was captured by French cavalry under Guy de Montfort, and murdered by an exiled Guelph of the Tolomei family. ‘Siena’s plain’ is the famous piazza known as the Campo in front of the palace of the Commune.

Purgatorio Canto XI:73-117. Purgatorio Canto XI:118-142. He is among the proud.

Samaria, The Woman of

A woman of Samaria, who came to draw water at the well, to whom Christ offered water, even though the Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with each other. ‘Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst.’ See John iv 7-15.

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


The prophet. The son of Elkanah and Hannah, called by God. See First Samuel iii.

Paradiso Canto IV:1-63. He exists with God in the Empyrean.

Sancha, daughter of Raymond Berenger

Sannella, della of Florence

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

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.

Sapia, de’ Saracini

A noble lady of Siena, the wife of Viviano dei Saracini, lord of Castiglioncello. She was one of the Guelph exiles, at Colle in the Val d’Elsa, who watched the rout of the Sienese Ghibellines, under Provenzan Salvani, who died there, on June 11th 1269. In 1265 she had assisted her husband in founding a hospice for travellers, and, after his death in 1269, gave his castle to the commune of Siena. Piero Pettignano, a Franciscan, who was beatified, prayed for her. The Sienese purchased the harbour of Talamone in 1303, for 8000 florins from the Abbot of San Salvatore, hoping to create a viable port. Talamone is on the Tyrrhenian Sea, southwest of the Sienese Maremma. It consumed vast sums of money, but could not be kept clear, and was in an unhealthy area, which caused the death of a number of the admirals (contractors) directing the dredging. Previously, in 1295, the Sienese had spent money, searching, in vain, for the stream of Diana, that was supposed to flow beneath the city.

Purgatorio Canto XIII:85-154. She is among the envious in Purgatory.


She and her husband Ananias sold possessions but kept back part of the price when other followers of Christ sold everything and gave everything into common ownership, to allow distribution according to need. They were rebuked by Peter for hypocrisy and died. See Acts iv 32-37 and V 1-11.

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


The wife of Abraham. An ancestress of Christ. See Genesis.

Paradiso Canto XXXII:1-36. She is seated in Heaven, below the Virgin.


King of Assyria, the type of luxury.

Paradiso Canto XV:88-148. He is mentioned.

Satan, Dis, Lucifer

The rebellious angel, identified with Dis, and with Lucifer ‘the son of morning’ (an incarnation of Dionysus and the other consorts of the pre-Christian great Goddess, and sharing her ‘star’ Venus) who was banished from Heaven for his pride, and in his fall penetrated into the cavern of Hell, and threw up behind him the Mountain of Purgatory. He tempted Christ in the wilderness, see Matthew iv.

Inferno Canto VIII:64-81. The city of Dis is his city of the dead.

Inferno Canto XI:1-66. His throne is in the ninth, the smallest circle, in the last ring, the Giudecca, of Cocytus.

Inferno Canto XXXI:97-145. The poets are set down in the Ninth Circle that swallowed him.

Inferno Canto XXXIV:1-54. Lucifer’s banners (his wings) advance, in a parody of a Latin hymn by Fortunatus (6th century), Vexilla regis prodeunt. His red, yellow and black faces indicate Hate, Powerlessness, and Ignorance, contrasted to the attributes of the Holy Trinity, namely Love, Power, and Wisdom. He is triple-faced as a representative of the pagan triple-Goddess. The three winds produced by his wings are lust, pride and avarice. He is identified with Dis.

Inferno Canto XXXIV:70-139. He is also called Beelzebub. Virgil, carrying Dante, clambers downwards on Satan’s body, towards his thighs, and then at the centre of the earth reverses. The poets now climb again upwards, through a tunnel under the hemisphere of the earth opposite Jerusalem, to emerge at the foot of the Mountain of Purgatory. They move from evening to dawn of Easter Monday, since the opposite hemisphere is twelve hours behind Jerusalem. The little stream, they climb up alongside, is Lethe, which takes away the memory of sin and evil.

Purgatorio Canto XII:1-63. He is depicted on the roadway.

Paradiso Canto IX:127-142. Identified by Dante with Mars, the patron god of Florence.

Paradiso Canto XIX:1-90. He fell through desiring what he did not have, and ought not to have, at that time: by anticipating knowledge and God’s Will.

Paradiso Canto XXIX:1-66. Pride was the source of his fall, and he is imprisoned at the base of the universe.


The son of heaven and Earth and ruler of the Golden Age. He was dethroned by his three sons. Warned of this he devoured his offspring at birth (see Goya’s painting of the Giant) but Rhea hid Jupiter on Ida.

Inferno Canto XIV:73-120. He ruled Crete in the Golden Age.

Paradiso Canto XXI:1-51. His was the Golden Age. Saturn signifies duty, control and constriction in Astrology, and placed in the fire-sign Leo, noted for its expansiveness, and pride, Dante indicates the need for temperance and moderation, the one force balancing the other, in a golden mean.

Paradiso Canto XXII:100-154. The father by Rhea of Jupiter (and of Ceres-Demeter, Juno-Hera, Dis-Hades and Neptune-Poseidon)


The son of Kish, and the first King of Israel, anointed so by Samuel at Mizpeh. See First Samuel. He was defeated by the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, and fell on his sword. (First Samuel xxxi 1-4) David’s lament on Saul says ‘Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you’ (Second Samuel i. 21)

Purgatorio Canto X:46-72. His daughter was Michal.

Purgatorio Canto XII:1-63. He is depicted on the roadway.


Paradiso Canto IV:64-114. Caius Mucius Scaevola, an early Roman who demonstrated the strength of will of the Roman people, and their disregard for their own lives, to his enemies, by setting his right hand in the coals. He had penetrated the enemy lines to kill Lars Porsena, King of Clusium, but killed the king’s secretary sitting beside him instead. He was afterwards called Scaevola, ‘left-handed’. He signifies constancy in later art. See Livy 2:12-13.

Scala, Alberto della

Lord of Verona, and father of Can Grande della Scala, he died the year after the Vision in 1301, having appointed his deformed and depraved, illegitimate son Guiseppe to the abbacy of San Zeno.

Purgatorio Canto XVIII:112-145. He is mentioned.

Scala, Bartolommeo della

Lord of Verona, his arms a ladder surmounted by the imperial eagle. Dante took refuge with him sometime between the summer of 1302 and Bartolommeo’s death in March 1304.

Paradiso Canto XVII:1-99. He is mentioned.

Scala, Can Grande della

Inferno Canto I:61-99. Francesco (1291-1329), probably the ‘Greyhound’ of Canto I, Dante’s patron at Verona to whom the Paradiso was dedicated and who sheltered him from 1316. He received the last thirteen Cantos of the Paradiso, left unfinished at Dante’s death, from Dante’s son Jacopo. He was born in Verona (between Feltre in Venetia and Montefeltro in Romagna see Canto I). He became lord of Verona in 1311, was an Imperial Vicar, and in 1318 the head of the Ghibelline party. He was an art patron, and kept a civilised and stately court. His elder brother was Bartolommeo, who Dante took refuge with around 1303. Can Grande was one of the great military men of his age. In 1311 he showed his mettle by recovering Brescia and taking Vicenza.

Paradiso Canto XVII:1-99. He is mentioned as being nine years old (nine years and one month in April 1300).

Scala, Giuseppe della

The illegitimate, deformed, and depraved son of Alberto della Scala who held the abbacy of San Zeno from 1291 to 1314. Dante may have known him during his stay in Verona in 1303-4.

Purgatorio Canto XVIII:112-145. He is mentioned.

Scarmiglione, a demon

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

Schicchi, Gianni

A Florentine of the Cavalcanti family, known for his powers of mimicry. He was induced by Buoso Donati’s son, Simone, to impersonate his dead father and dictate a will in his favour, acquiring, in the process, the beautiful mare known as the donna della torma, the Lady of the Herd.

Inferno Canto XXX:1-48. He is a rabid spirit in the tenth chasm.

Sciancato, Puccio

Puccio Sciancato, ‘The Lame’, de’ GaligaiA noble Florentine, and a thief.

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

Scipio Africanus

Inferno Canto XXXI:97-145. Publius Cornelius Scipio, who conquered Hannibal at the battle of Zama near Carthage in 202 BC. He received the title Africanus. He opposed the razing of Carthage in 146 BC when the Carthaginian survivors of the Third Punic War were sold into slavery. He was ultimately accused of high treason by Cato the Elder, the censor, and others, and died in self-imposed exile in 183 BC.

Purgatorio Canto XXIX:106-132. His Triumph is mentioned.

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

Scornigiani, Farinata de’

The son of Marzucco, whose father showed great fortitude when his son was murdered by pardoning the murderers.

Purgatorio Canto VI:1-24. He is with the late-repentant.

Scornigiani, Marzucco de’

The father of Farinata who showed great fortitude when his son was murdered, by pardoning the murderers. He was a Pisan noble who became a Franciscan friar.

Purgatorio Canto VI:1-24. He is mentioned.

Scot, Michael

Michael Scott of Balwearie (c1190-1250) studied at Oxford, Paris and Toledo. He followed the Emperor Frederick II to his court, though he died in Scotland. He was a translator of Aristotle, and a famous astrologer.

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

Scrovigni, Rinaldo degli

Inferno Canto XVII:31-78. A Paduan usurer, said to have been the father of Enrico who had the Madonna of the Arena built at Padua (c1303) and was painted by Giotto, offering up a model of the chapel, in Giotto’s fresco of the Last Judgement. The family arms were ‘an azure sow on field argent’.


Inferno Canto XXX:1-48. The daughter of Cadmus of Thebes, loved by Jupiter, and destroyed by Juno who tricked her into asking Jupiter to make love to her in the guise in which he made love to Juno herself. His divine fire killed Semele. Their child was the ‘twice born’ Dionysus-Bacchus. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses II 261.

Paradiso Canto XXI:1-51. She is mentioned.


Sammuramat, Queen of the New Assyrian Empire, ruled 810-805 BC, whose policies were successful during the minority of her son Abadnirari III. She was supposed to have succeeded her husband Shamshi-Adad V, Ninus, (according to Orosius). Though Dante is correct in believing that the Assyrians held Egypt (the Soldan’s land) it was not till much later under Esarhaddon. She surrounded Babylon with brick walls, and was the ancestress of Polydaemon. Ovid in the Metamorphoses links her to the Babylonian goddess Dercetis worshipped in Syria as Atargatis, who was half-woman and half-fish and identified with Aphrodite by the Greeks. Semiramis was her daughter, and was said to have been cast out at birth, and tended by doves. Fish and doves were sacred to Dercetis who was the consort of the Babylonian great god Adad.

Inferno Canto V:52-72. Dante takes her as a type of licentiousness, has her ruler of Egypt (the Sultan’s land) and has her rule over many languages, presumably a reference to Babylon’s identification with the Tower of Babel.


Lucius Annaeus Seneca, the Roman philosopher, moralist and senator, d.65 AD. He was a member of Zeno’s Stoic school, and tutor to the Emperor Nero who drove him to commit suicide.

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


King of Assyria was defeated by Hezekiah, King of Judah and killed by his own sons. See Second Kings xix 37.

Purgatorio Canto XII:1-63. He is depicted on the roadway.

Sextus I, Saint and Pope

Saint Sixtus or Sextus I, Pope (115-125).

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

Sibyl, The

Paradiso Canto XXXIII:49-145. The Sibyl at Cumae, the oracular voice of Apollo, wrote her oracles on leaves, which the wind scattered. See Aeneid iii 441 and vi 74.


The husband of Dido, and a Phoenician of Sidon, whom his brother, Pygmalion King of Tyre, killed, out of greed for gold. Roused by a vision of the dead Sychaeus, Dido fled from Sidon and founded Carthage in North Africa. See Virgil’s Aeneid I 340.

Paradiso Canto IX:67-126 Dido’s love for Aeneas wrongs the memory of Sychaeus. See Virgil’s Aeneid I 720.

Sigier of Brabant

Sigier (d. c. 1283) a professor in the University of Paris, where the ‘straw-littered’ Rue du Fouarre ran close to the river in the Latin Quarter, and was the centre of the Arts Schools at Paris. He disputed with the mendicant orders, and Aquinas was one of his opponents. He was driven from his University chair, and was assassinated, or executed, at the papal Court at Orvieto.

Paradiso Canto X:130-148. He is in the fourth sphere of Prudence.

Signa, Bonifazio da

The Guelph, Fazio de’ Mori Ubaldini da Signa, held several Florentine offices from 1310 inwards. He was a fierce opponent of the Whites.

Paradiso Canto XVI:46-87. He is mentioned.

Simon Magus

Simon of Samaria (Simon the Sorcerer) who was rebuked by Saint Peter for thinking that ‘the gift of God may be purchased with money’ in Acts viii 9-24. The Simonists or Simoniacs, guilty of trading in holy offices, derive their name from him.

Inferno Canto XIX:1-30. They are punished in the eighth circle.

Paradiso Canto XXX:97-148. He is mentioned.


The Greek lyric poet (c556-467BC).

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


A Greek, who allowed himself to be captured by the Trojans, and lied to them, convincing them to admit the Wooden Horse into Troy.

See Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid ii 57 et seq. (Dante, as a Tuscan considers himself of Trojan descent and opposed to the Greeks.)

Inferno Canto XXX:91-129. He is in the tenth chasm.


Purgatorio Canto XIX:1-36. The Sirens were the daughters of Acheloüs, companions of Proserpine, who were changed to birds in order to search for her over the seas. They inhabited three small rocky islands off Campania from which they lured sailors to destruction by their sweet songs. They had the heads of women and the bodies of birds. They lured Ulysses’s sailors towards them. He resisted by having his ears plugged with wax, and having himself tied to the mast. See Homer’s Odyssey XII, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, V 552 and XIV 88.

Purgatorio Canto XXXI:43-69. The Siren is mentioned, as the voice of temptation.

Paradiso Canto XII:1-36. They are mentioned.

Sismondi, Ghibellines of Pisa

See Ugolino.

Sizii, of Florence

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

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.


The Greek philosopher, 470?-399BC. He was born after the Persian defeat at Platea in 479, and in the flowering of Athenian splendour. His greatest pupil was Plato who in his dialogues portrays Socrates critical and analytical style of philosophy. Socrates fought at Potidaea and in other actions of the Peloponnesian War with Sparta. His philosophy according to Plato was noted for his use of inductive arguments and the search for universal definitions, and his use of the conversational ‘dialectic’ to explore ideas. He died in prison, after drinking hemlock, being charged with the corruption of the State. See Plato, The Apology, Crito, etc.

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

Soldanieri, Gianni de’

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

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.

Gianni was a Ghibelline who nevertheless became leader of the Guelph commons of Florence, when they rebelled against the government of Guido Novello, and the Ghibelline nobles after Manfred’s defeat at Benevento in 1265.

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


The King of Israel, son of David and Bathsheba, so wise, before Christianity, that there was a debate, here resolved, as to whether as a Jew he was damned or saved. See First Kings iii 12.

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

Paradiso Canto XIII:1-51. He is unequalled in earthly wisdom, ‘the understanding heart’.

Paradiso Canto XIII:91-142. He chose as his gift, practical Wisdom. See First Kings iii 5-15.


Appointed Archon of Athens in 594BC and given dictatorial powers to serve as ‘conciliator’. He made laws that brought about the emancipation of the individual, who became a member of the polity rather than his clan, and promoted trades and crafts. The laws were codified and each citizen was allowed to bring his case to court. The peasants were emancipated and the aristocracy curtailed. The Constitution was reformed providing for a Popular Assembly and Court elected by the people (in cross-class phyles) who also elected their Council of 400. The Archons and Treasurer were elected from the members of the first class by the Popular Assembly. The new laws unfortunately created internal division.

Paradiso Canto VIII:85-148. He is an archetypal lawgiver.


Sordello, the poet, was born at Goito near Mantua c1200, and wrote in the Provençal language. He carried on an affair with Cunizza da Romano, Ezzelino III’s sister, and wife of Count Ricciardo di San Bonifazio, while staying at Treviso, and was obliged to flee to Provence in 1229. Sordello had abducted her for political reasons at her brother’s request. He returned in 1265 as a knight in the service of Charles of Anjou, and received possessions in the Kingdom of Naples. He died a violent death some time after June 1269. His finest poem, written about 1240, is a planh (lament) on the death of Blacatz, a Provençal baron, in the service of Count Raymond Berenger IV, in which he rebukes the kings and princes of Europe, and tells them to eat the dead man’s heart, and be inspired to valiant action. Sordello inspires Dante to a similar invective.

Purgatorio Canto VI:49-75. He is one of the late-repentant.


The monstrous daughter of Typhon and Echidne with woman’s head, lion’s body, serpent’s tail, and eagle’s wings.Themis was the goddess of Justice, daughter of Heaven and Earth, with oracular powers, and the Sphinx was her oracular priestess, who set Oedipus the famous riddle ‘ What goes on four legs in the morning, two at midday, and three in the evening?’ which he answered correctly with ‘Mankind’. Themis in anger at the riddle being solved sent a wild beast to ravage the countryside. Dante says Naiades, instead of Laiades for Oedipus the son of Laius, following a textual corruption of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (corrected by Heinsius) in VII 759 et al where the story is referred to.

Purgatorio Canto XXXIII:1-57. She is mentioned.


The poet Publius Papinius Statius, born at Naples c50AD, not Toulouse, and died there c96AD. He lived at Rome in Vespasian’s Titus’s and Domitian’s reigns, and dedicated his Thebaid to the latter, an epic about the War of the Seven against Thebes. His Achilleid, dealing with the Trojan War, was left unfinished. His shorter poems the Silvae were unknown to Dante.

Purgatorio Canto XXI:76-136. He accompanies the Poets through the rest of Purgatory.

Stephen, Saint

Purgatorio Canto XV:82-145. The first Christian Martyr who was stoned to death. See Acts vii 54-60.

Stephen Ouros II, King of Servia

Stephen Ouros II (1275-1321) of Servia, called Rascia from its capital. He issued counterfeit Venetian coins.

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

Stricca of Siena

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. Stricca was a noted spendthrift.

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

Sylvester, Saint and Pope

Inferno Canto XIX:88-133. The Pope, Sylvester I, who according to the forged document of the Middle Ages called the Donation of Constantine, received temporal power in Italy from the Emperor Constantine. Dante regarded this as a fatal confusion of the temporal and spiritual spheres.

Inferno Canto XXVII:58-136. He lived on Mount Soracte, and was summoned by Constantine, to cure his leprosy.

Sylvester, Silvestro follower of St Francis

He was a priest of Assisi, a kinsman of Saint Clare, and the only ecclesiastic among the first Franciscans. He is supposed to have tried to cheat Francis over some stone for his church, and was overcome by his unworldly generosity.

Paradiso Canto XI:43-117. He is mentioned.

Syren, The

See Siren.


Purgatorio Canto XXXII:64-99. Mercury lulled Argus, by telling her tale. She was pursued by Pan, and turned into a reed. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses i 568 et seq.

Sychaeus, Sichaeus

The mythical husband of Dido, Queen of Carthage. See Virgil’s Aeneid.

Inferno Canto V:52-72. He is referred to as Dido’s husband.

Taddeo, Alderotti

Taddeo (Thaddeus) was a writer on medicine who made a poor translation of Aristotle’s Ethics into Italian. He died in 1303.

Paradiso Canto XII:37-105. He is mentioned.

Tarlati, Cino or Guccio de’

The head of the Ghibellines in Arezzo, who drowned in the Arno, while pursuing or being pursued by the Bostoli, a family of exiled Aretine Guelphs who had taken refuge in the Castel di Rondine, after the battle of Campaldino in 1289.

Purgatorio Canto VI:1-24. He is with the late-repentant.


Inferno Canto IV:106-129. The second of the two Etruscan Kings of Rome of that name, Tarquin the Tyrant, Tarquinius Superbus, who was expelled from Rome in a rising led by Junius Brutus in 510BC.

Tegghiaio, see Aldobrandi


The son of Ulysses.

Inferno Canto XXVI:85-142. He is mentioned indirectly.


The Roman playwright and comic poet (195-159BC).

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


Inferno Canto XVIII:100-136. A character in Terence’s play Eunuchus. Thraso, her lover, sent her a slave girl as a present by his servant Gnaso, and when asked she gave this flattering reply via Gnaso. Cicero quotes it in De Amicitia 38. Dante turns it into direct question and answer.


The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of Miletus. He is said to have died shortly before the fall of Sardis in 546/5 BC. The early scientific work ascribed to him included an almanac and the introduction of the Phoenician practice of navigating by Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. He postulated a primary element of matter, and chose water. He therefore raised the issue of the One and the Many, and is the first individual philosopher of Ionia, the cradle of Western thought.

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


Themis was the goddess of Justice, daughter of Heaven and Earth, with oracular powers. The Sphinx was her oracular priestess, who set Oedipus the famous riddle ‘ What goes on four legs in the morning, two at midday, and three in the evening?’ which he answered correctly with ‘Mankind’. Themis in anger at the riddle being solved sent a wild beast to ravage the countryside. Dante says Naiades, instead of Laiades for Oedipus the son of Laius, following a textual corruption of Ovid’s Metamorphoses VII 759 et al where the story is referred to.

Purgatorio Canto XXXIII:1-57. She is mentioned.


Legendary king of Athens who killed the Minotaur, aided by Ariadne the daughter of King Minos of Crete. He also made an unsuccessful attempt to rescue Proserpine. He was punished, by being placed in Hades, and, in the version of myth Dante follows, was rescued by Hercules.

Inferno Canto IX:34-63. The Furies seek a fuller revenge than they were able to take on Theseus, for his attempted rescue of Persephone.

Inferno Canto XII:1-27. The killer of the Minotaur.

Purgatorio Canto XXIV:100-154. He was present at the battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs.


The sea goddess, the daughter of Nereus and Doris. The wife of Peleus, and mother of Achilles.

Purgatorio Canto IX:34-63. She hid her son Achilles on Scyros to try and save him from his fate at Troy.

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

Thibaut II, King of Navarre

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.

Inferno Canto XXII:31-75. He is Ciampolo’s master.


A Babylonian girl, who in Ovid’s story (Metamorphoses IV 55-166) kills herself, when she finds that Pyramus, her lover, has, in turn, killed himself. He wrongly believes that a lion has savaged and taken her, on reaching their meeting place. The mulberry tree under which they were to meet has red fruit thereafter, its leaves and roots being soaked with his blood. The story is one of true love, and Shakespeare used it as a basis for the ending of Romeo and Juliet, despite his unfortunate ridiculing of the story in The Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Purgatorio Canto XXVII:1-45. The story is mentioned.

Thomas, Saint, the Apostle

Didymus ‘twin’, doubting Thomas, the apostle who needed physical verification of the resurrection. (See Verrochio’s wonderful bronze in Florence which Leonardo may have had a hand in.)

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned. His feast day is December 21st.

Thomas Aquinas, Saint

The ‘Angelic Doctor’ of theology, and medieval philosopher (c1225-1274). He entered the Dominican order, and sought to achieve a synthesis between Aristotelian philosophy and Christian thought. There was an erroneous tradition that he was poisoned in the Abbey of Fossanuova, at the instigation of Charles of Anjou, while travelling to the Council of Lyons in 1274.

Purgatorio Canto XX:43-96. His death is mentioned.

Purgatorio Canto XXII:115-154. He recommended sobriety to women and young people, quoting Valerius Maximus II i. 3 ‘Vini usus olim romanis feminis ignotus fuit: the use of wine was once unknown to young Roman women.’

Paradiso Canto X:64-99. He is in the fourth sphere of Prudence. He was the pupil of Albertus Magnus, and with him ‘christianised’ Aristotle. Aquinas completed the work in Summa contra Gentiles, and Summa Theologica. A man of sweetness and holiness he was canonized in 1323, two years after Dante’s death, and influenced Dante greatly.

Paradiso Canto XII:106-145. Paradiso Canto XII:106-145. He is mentioned.

Tiberius Caesar

The third Caesar (14-37AD) in whose reign Christ was crucified. He campaigned against the German tribes. He stifled the conspiracy of Sejanus, who was executed, and, embittered, retired to Capri in 27AD and died at Misenum.

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


The Theban seer. He spent seven years in the form of a woman after striking a pair of coupling snakes. On striking them again he was changed back. He was therefore called upon, by Jupiter, to judge an argument, between himself and Juno, as to whether men or women get the most pleasure from lovemaking. Deciding in favour of women, and so Jupiter, Juno struck him blind, Jupiter giving him the power of prophecy to compensate for his blindness.

See Ovid’s Metamorphoses III 324-332.

Inferno Canto XX:31-51. He is in the eighth circle.


The son of Laomedon, and husband of Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. His wife gained eternal life for him, but not eternal youth. Dante makes the lunar aurora his mistress, while the solar aurora is his wife. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses IX 421.

Purgatorio Canto IX:1-33. He is mentioned.


The Roman Emperor (79-81 AD), son of Vespasian, who captured Jerusalem and destroyed and looted the Temple in 70AD. The eruption of Pompeii occurred in his reign.

Purgatorio Canto XXI:76-136. He is mentioned.

Paradiso Canto VI:1-111. Mentioned in the summary of Imperial history. Dante’ views him as having revenged the death of Christ, which was in turn God’s vengeance on Mankind for the sin of the Fall.

Tityus, Tityos

A Giant, hurled into Tartarus beneath Mount Etna, by Jupiter.

Inferno Canto XXXI:97-145. He helps guard the central pit.


Paradiso Canto IV:1-63. The Archangel Raphael helped his son Tobias to cure his blindness. See O. T. Apocrypha, the Book of Tobit.


The Scythian queen whose son was murdered by Cyrus, the Persian King, and who in turn murdered Cyrus, throwing his head into a cauldron of blood, saying ‘Satia te sanguine quem sitisti cuius per annos triginta insatiabilis perseverasti’ ‘Be sated with the blood you thirsted for, that you insatiably persisted in drinking for thirty years.’ (Orosius ii 7, ch 6).

Purgatorio Canto XII:1-63. She is depicted on the roadway.


Titus Manlius Torquatus, dictator and consul 353-340BC.

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

Tosinghi, Della Tosa, of Florence

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

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned indirectly.

Trajan, Emperor

Adopted Emperor (98-117AD), after the mutiny of the Praetorian Guard (97). The first Emperor of Provincial origin. He was given the title Optimus by the Senate in 117. He oversaw the greatest extent of the Roman Empire, conquering Dacia, Armenia, Assyria, Mesopotamia, and Arabia. Dante gives the popular story of Trajan and the widow derived from the Fiore di Filosofi. Pope Gregory supposedly interceded on his behalf through prayer, to bring about Trajan’s deliverance from hell, to allow him time for repentance.

Purgatorio Canto X:73-96. The story is depicted on the frieze.

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

Paradiso Canto XX:73-148. He returned from hell to his body at Gregory’s intercession which was predestined and then was saved at the second death.

Traversari, Piero

A Ghibelline of Ravenna, (c1145-1225), and the most distinguished member of the Traversara family. He was repeatedly Podestà of Ravenna. From a family of noble Ghibellines, Pier’s son Paolo turned Guelph on his father’s death, and the family influence declined until the Traversari were virtually extinct by 1300.

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

Tribaldello, Tebaldello

One of the Zambrasi of Faenza who had a spite against the Ghibelline Lambertazzi, a Bolognese family, opened the gate to their enemies, the Geremei, a Bolognese Guelph family, after the Lambertazzi had taken refuge in Faenza in 1280.

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

Tristram, Tristan

The legendary lover of Isolde (Iseult) in the Medieval stories centred around King Arthur. The type of the great lover. (See Gottfried Von Strassburg’s Tristan). He was Tristan of Lyonesse, one of King Arthur’s knights who loved Iseult (Yseult) the wife of King Mark of Cornwall, who subsequently killed him.

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

Tully, Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106-43BC, the Roman orator and statesman, born at Arpinum of a wealthy family. He was elected Consul in 63BC, and supported Pompey. His writings were influential on medieval thinking.

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


Inferno Canto I:100-111. The young king of the Rutulians, an Italian people with their capital at Ardea, south of Rome, not far from modern Anzio. His death at the hands of Aeneas is described in Book XII of the Aeneid and concludes the work. Also see Ovid, The Metamorphoses Book XV. Aeneas married Lavinia, Turnus’s intended bride.


He killed Menalippus, in the war of the Seven against Thebes, though mortally wounded by him. When Menalippus’s head was brought to him he gnawed at the skull, in a frenzy of rage. See Statius, The Thebaid viii.

Inferno Canto XXXII:70-123. He is mentioned.

Typhoeus, or Typhon

A Giant, hurled into Tartarus beneath Mount Etna, by Jupiter.

Inferno Canto XXXI:97-145. He helps guard the central pit.

Paradiso Canto VIII:31-84. He is mentioned in connection with Sicily.

Ubaldini, Ottaviano degli, Cardinal

Cardinal Ottiaviano degli Ubaldini who died in 1273 was known simply as ‘the Cardinal’. He is reported to have rejoiced at the outcome of Montaperti, the only one at the Papal Court to do so, and to have said: ‘If I have a soul, I have lost it a thousand times over on behalf of the Ghibellines.’ The Ghibellines were often unfairly accused of heresy for political reasons. Dante seems to assess individuals purely on spiritual grounds.

Inferno Canto X:94-136. He is among the heretics in the Sixth Circle.

Ubaldini, Ruggieri degli, Archbishop of Pisa

In 1288 Ugolino della Gherardesca A leading Guelph of Pisa, who led one party while his grandson Nino de’ Visconti led the other, intrigued with Ruggieri, the Archbishop, the nephew of Cardinal Ottaviano degli Ubaldini, and leader of the Ghibellines in Pisa, who was supported by the Lanfranchi, Sismondi, Gualandi and other families, and Nino was expelled. The Archbishop however betrayed him and had Ugolino and four of his sons and grandsons (his sons were Gaddo, and Uguccione, his grandsons Nino, called Brigata, and Anselmuccio or ‘little Anselm’) imprisoned in the Torre dei Gualandi in July 1288. When Guido da Montefeltro took command of the Pisan forces, in March 1289, the keys were thrown into the river Arno and the prisoners left to starve to death, even a priest being denied them. The tower was known afterwards as the Torre della Fame, the Tower of Famine. (See Blake’s tempera illustration ‘Ugolino with his sons and grandsons in Prison’, Private Collection.) Ugolino had previously acquired a reputation by the surrender of certain castles to the Florentine and Lucchese after the defeat of the Pisans by the Genoese at Meloria in 1284. (The islands of Caprara and Gorgona mentioned, north-west of Elba, and south-west of Livorno respectively, were held by Pisa at the time.)

Inferno Canto XXXIII:1-90. He is in the Ninth Circle.

Ubaldini, Ubaldino dalla Pila degli

A member of the Tuscan Ghibelline family, and brother to Cardinal Ottaviano, father of Archbishop Ruggieri of Pisa, and uncle of Ugolino d’Azzo.

Purgatorio Canto XXIV:1-33. He is among the gluttonous.

Ubaldini, Ugolino d’Azzo degli

A wealthy nobleman of Faenza. He married Beatrice Lanzia the daughter of Provenzan Salvani and died in 1293 at a great age.

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

Ubaldo, Saint

Bishop of Gubbio 1160, selected a hermitage site on the mountain nearby, but was unable ever to retire there.

Paradiso Canto XI:43-117. He is mentioned.

Ubbriachi, of Florence

Inferno Canto XVII:31-78. The Florentine Ubbriachi family were Ghibellines. Their arms were ‘a goose argent upon field gules’.

Uberti, Farinata degli

The head of the Uberti clan from 1239, who supported the Ghibellines, Dante’s party, annihilated the Florentine Guelfs at the battle of Montaperti (a village near Siena, on a hill near the River Arbia) on September 4th 1260. Farinata opposed the destruction of Florence urged by the Sienese, and Pisans, but after the final triumph of the Guelfs in 1266, the family were excluded from amnesty, and banished forever. When Arnolfo di Cambio built the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence he was forbidden to build where the rebel Uberti houses had stood. Farinata died around 1264.

Inferno Canto VI:64-93. Dante enquires of him.

Inferno Canto X:22-51. Farinata is in the Sixth Circle as a heretic, and recalls the overthrow of his Guelf enemies in 1248 and 1260, and Dante their return in 1251 and 1266. The Uberti were forbidden to return, even after the pacification in 1280.

Inferno Canto X:73-93. He prophesies Dante’s failed attempt to return from exile, and then explains the knowledge the dead have of the world above, having prophetic vision, but unable to see things that actually happen, once they are dead.

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. The family and its pride mentioned.

Ubertino of Casale

Ubertino (1259-1338) leader of the Spirituals, the party of strict observance within the Franciscan Order.

Paradiso Canto XII:106-145. He is mentioned.

Ughi, of Florence

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

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.

Ugo, Marquis of Tuscany

Hugo of Brandenburg, Imperial Vicar of Tuscany for Otho III, died on Saint Thomas’s day. He had created many knights of the families who all retained his coat of arms (barry white and red with divers charges). The Della Bella had a gold border to the arms.

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned.

Ugolino, see Fantolini, Gherardesca, Ubaldini

Uguccione della Gherardesca

See Ugolino.


The Greek hero, from Ithaca, the son of Laërtes (or by repute Sisyphus) and the great-grandson of Mercury through his mother Anticlea, daughter of the thief Autolycus. He was noted for his cunning and intelligence. See Homer The Iliad, and The Odyssey, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses XIII and XIV. He discovered Achilles hiding on Scyros, where his mother Thetis had concealed him, at the court of Lycomedes, and took him to the Trojan War. Deidamia fell in love with him, and bore him a son, and died of grief when he left. Ulysses stole the Palladium, a wooden statue of Pallas Athene, the safety of which guaranteed the safety of Troy, and he invented the Trojan Horse, by which the Greeks entered Troy. However Troy’s destruction led to Aeneas’s wanderings and the later founding of Rome, by Romulus. Dante is in that sense a Trojan descended from Aeneas, and therefore hostile to Greeks, and vice versa.

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

Inferno Canto XXVI:85-142. He makes a last voyage, Of Dante’s invention, to the Mount of Purgatory, in the southern hemisphere, via Gibraltar and the Atlantic, where he is wrecked.

Purgatorio Canto XIX:1-36. The Siren’s song seduced his sailors, and drove his ship off course. He resisted by having himself tied to the mast, and filling his ears with wax. See Homer’s Odyssey XII.

Paradiso Canto XXVII:67-96. His voyage beyond Cadiz is mentioned.

Urania, the Muse

One of the Nine Muses, the mother of Linus the poet by Apollo (though some say otherwise). She was later the Muse of Astronomy, and heavenly things, including the music of the spheres.

Purgatorio Canto XXIX:37-61. Dante invokes her aid.

Urban I, Saint and Pope

Saint Urban I, Pope (222-230 AD).

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


Purgatorio Canto X:46-72. Uzzah is referred to indirectly. He was the son of Abinadab who, when King David danced before the Ark of the Covenant, put his hand out to steady it, because the oxen shook it, and God struck him down, and he died there. See Second Samuel vi 6.

Valbona, Lizio di

See Lizio.

Valéry, see Alardo

Vanni, see Fucci


Publius Terentius Varro Atacinus, the Roman author of epics and satires (82-36BC)

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

Vechietti, of Florence

Paradiso Canto XV:88-148. One of the ancient Guelph families. The Vecchio.

Venedico, see Caccianimico

Venus, Cytherea, Aphrodite

The daughter of Jupiter and Dione, and the goddess of Love. As Cytherea she sprang from the sea-foam near that Aegean island. (See Botticelli’s painting The Birth of Venus, Uffizi Gallery, Florence). She is the mother of Cupid, mother of Aeneas by Anchises, lover of Mars and Adonis, and the dove is her sacred bird. As the planet Venus, she is the morning and evening star, and an incarnation of Ashtaroth, or Ishtar, the Assyro-Babylonian goddess. Her attributes, assumed from that goddess, were inherited by the Virgin Mary. She is stella maris, the star of the sea etc.

Purgatorio Canto XXVII:94-114. The planet is called, Cytherea.

Purgatorio Canto XXVIII:52-138.Cupid accidentally wounded her, making her fall in love with Adonis. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses X 524-735.

Paradiso Canto VIII:1-30. She is called the Cyprian, the island of Cyprus being sacred to her. Dione is her mother, Cupid her son.

Paradiso Canto XXII:100-154. Dione’s daughter.


Saint Veronica gave her handkerchief to Christ to wipe his brow as he carried the Cross, and when he returned it to her it was said to carry the imprint of his features. It was exhibited at Rome each year at New Year and Easter.

Paradiso Canto XXXI:94-142. It is mentioned.

Verrucchio, see Malatesta

Victor, Saint see Hugh and Richard

Vigne, Piero delle

Chancellor of the Two Sicilies, and minister to the Emperor Frederick II. (c1190-1249) He recast the laws, and was in Frederick’s confidence until 1247, when he was accused of plotting with Pope Innocent IV, was blinded, and imprisoned, subsequently committing suicide. He was born in poverty in Capua. He was a poet, and said to have composed the first Italian sonnet. He was compared, at the height of his power, to St Peter, holding the keys of punishment and mercy.

Inferno Canto XIII:31-78. He is in the seventh circle.


Publius Vergilius Maro, the Roman poet, born at Andes near Mantua 70BC, author of the Aeneid, and Dante’s guide from Inferno I to Purgatorio XXX. Julius Caesar died too early to be his patron, in 44BC. He is the type of Human Philosophy, which guides the mind from unworthiness to bliss. Virgil wrote the pastoral Eclogues, the philosophic Georgics, and the epic Aeneid, based on models provided by Theocritus, Hesiod and Homer. He died 19BC and was buried at Naples. The Aeneid, the story of Aeneas, provided the link to Dante between the Greek world of Homer and Troy, and the Roman Empire.

Inferno Canto I:61-99. He meets Dante and becomes his guide. His position is amongst the virtuous pagans, and he must turn back from Paradise.

Inferno Canto XIII:31-78. In Aeneid iii 22, Virgil gives the episode of Polydorus from which Dante developed the wood of suicides.

Purgatorio Canto III:1-45. Virgil’s biographers, Suetonius and Donatus, record that Augustus ordered Virgil’s body moved from Brindisi (Brundisium) in southeast Italy, where he died on an abortive journey to Greece, back to Naples (Parthenope). In La Pia’s words to Dante there is an echo of the lines on Virgil’s tomb, at Naples, ‘MANTUA ME GENUIT, CALABRI RAPUERE, TENET NUNC PARTHENOPE : CECINI PASCUA, RURA, DUCES.’ ‘Mantua bore me, Calabria took me, Naples holds me: I sang of pastures, farms, and heroes.’

Purgatorio Canto VI 25-48. See Aeneid vi 372 where Aeneas, in the underworld, guided by the Sibyl, meets his pilot Palinurus, who, drowned at sea, and not properly buried, cannot cross the Acheron for a hundred years. He entreats Aeneas to carry him across, at which the Sibyl tells him: ‘Cease to imagine that divine decree can be altered by prayer.’ Virgil explains that the words were uttered in a Pagan world, where Christian prayers had as yet no efficacy, since they were not uttered from a state of grace.

Purgatorio Canto XXII:25-54. Statius refers to the lines from the Aeneid iii 56-57: ‘quid non mortalia pectora cogis Auri sacra fames: why do you not drive the human heart, accursed greed for gold?’ Though Statius suffers for his prodigality, not avarice, he was alerted to his sin by all the dimensions of the power of gold.

Purgatorio Canto XXII:55-93. Statius refers to Virgil’s Eclogue iv 5-7, The Golden Age renews. (‘Iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto: Now a new race descends from the high heavens.’)

Purgatorio Canto XXVII:115-142. He speaks to Dante for the last time, is still present, but silent, in Canto XXIX 55-56, and Dante mourns his loss in Canto XXX 46-59. He crowns Dante as king and bishop over himself i.e. Dante is beyond earthly temporal and spiritual power and in the primal realm beyond the worldly institutions of Empire and Church.

Purgatorio Canto XXX:1-48. Those in the chariot repeat words from Aeneid vi 884, ‘Manibus o date lilia plenis: Give lilies from full hands! I too shall scatter scarlet flowers...’ the words said by Anchises regarding the funeral of Iulus (Ascanius) his grandson.

Purgatorio Canto XXX:49-81. Just prior to the appearance of Beatrice, Dante’s guide in Paradise, Virgil, has turned back towards Limbo, his guidance no longer needed, or possible. Dante’s last words directed towards him, though he has already departed, are a quotation from his own Aeneid iv:23, ‘Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae: I know the tokens of the ancient flame.’

Visconti, Galeazzo, of Milan

He married Beatrice d’Este, after the death of her first husband Nino de’ Visconti of Pisa. His arms were a viper.

Purgatorio Canto VIII:46-84. He is alluded to.

Visconti, Nino

Nino Visconti of Pisa, judge of Gallura, one of the four jurisdictions of Sardinia (Cagliari, Logodoro, Gallura, and Arborea) which belonged at the time to Pisa. He hanged Friar Gomita who took bribes to release prisoners etc. He married Beatrice d’Este, daughter of Obizzo d’Este II of Ferrara, by whom he had a daughter Giovanna, voted a pension by the Guelphs in 1328. After Nino’s death Beatrice married Galeazzo Visconti of Milan, a separate branch. The Milanese Visconti suffered misfortune in 1302. The arms of the Milanese Visconti was a viper, that of Nino, a cock. Giovanna married Riccardo da Cammino of Treviso. The arrangements for Beatrice’s marriage were in progress at easter 1300, and the wedding took place in the June.

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

Purgatorio Canto VIII:46-84. Nino is with the negligent rulers.

Visdomini, of Florence

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

Paradiso Canto XVI:88-154. Mentioned indirectly.

Vitaliano, del Dente, or di Jacopo Vitalliani

Inferno Canto XVII:31-78. One of these Paduan usurers may be intended here.


The son of Juno, who was the god of fire and the blacksmith of the gods, and with the Cyclopes forged Jupiter’s lightning bolt in the fires of Mount Aetna on Sicily.

Inferno Canto XIV:43-72.

Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia

Ottocar’s son Wenceslas II (1278-1305)(not the earlier king and Saint) was allowed to retain Bohemia and Moravia, after his father’s death, but had to give up Austria and Styria (Rudolph I’s sons Albert and Rudolph were invested with these), Carinthia and Carniola. He was seemingly noted for his sybaritic ways. He was still alive at the time of the Vision.

Purgatorio Canto VII:64-136. He is mentioned, unfavourably.

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

William of Orange

The hero of French Romance, historically one of Charlemagne’s knights, who, after fighting the Saracens, retired to die as a monk in 812.

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

William II, King of Sicily

William, the Good, Norman King of Sicily and Naples (1166-1189), the last king of the House of Tancred, reigning over ‘The Two Sicilies’. He was the nephew of the Empress Constance. He is considered a model ruler by Dante.

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

William, Marquis of Montferrat

William Longsword, Marquis of Montferrat and Canavese (1254-1292), one of the most powerful and active warrior lords of his age. He also ruled Tortona, Pavia and Vercelli. He favoured Charles of Anjou but turned against him, joined by several towns including Alessandria in Piedmont. Alessandria rebelled against William himself in 1290. He was captured by the citizens, and exhibited in an iron cage until his death seventeen months later in 1292. His son John tried to avenge him, but failed, though causing great suffering in Alessandria, and Canavese, which was part of its territory.

Purgatorio Canto VII:64-136. He is one of the negligent rulers.


King of Persia (495-465BC) who crossed the Hellespont, the modern Dardanelles, at the gateway to the Black Sea, by a bridge of boats, and returned, having lost an army and a navy, defeated by the Greek Alliance. See Orosius ii 9,10.

Purgatorio Canto XXVIII:52-138. He is mentioned.

Paradiso Canto VIII:85-148. The type of the military leader.

Zanche, Michel

The Vicar in Logodoro, Sardinia, of Enzio, the natural son of Frederick II, who made Enzio King of Sardinia. He married Adelasia di Torres, mistress of Logodoro and Gallura (northwest and northeast respectively). Enzio was captured by the Bolognese in 1249, and died a prisoner in 1271. Adelasia divorced him and married Zanche, who governed corruptly till his murder by his son-in-law Branca d’Oria, about 1290.

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

Inferno Canto XXXIII:91-157. His murderer Branca is in the ninth.

Zeno, the philosopher

This is not Zeno the Eleatic philosopher, but Zeno of Cittium c.310BC, the founder of the Stoic school of which Seneca was a member.

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

Zeno, Abbot of San.

Gherardo II (d 1187), Abbot of the church and monastery of San Zeno in Verona, who lived during the reign of Frederick Barbarossa.

Purgatorio Canto XVIII:112-145. He is among the Slothful.

Zita, Santa

Inferno Canto XXI:31-58. The patron saint of Lucca. The cathedral there has a crucifix with the face of Christ, santo volto, supposed to have been carved by Nicodemus, and finished by the Angels. Its help was invoked in times of need. (The River Serchio flows a few miles north)