There was obscure periods in History (and there will be more, be careful) when people thought that the Earth was plane and the men couldn’t fly. Even now, I promise because I have tried, the man cannot fly, he needs to use an airplane to do it (and please, don’t try it again, I promise it hurts).
When Dante wrote Divine Comedy there was one of these periods… you know, Black Plagues and devils planning over every town… superstitious and witches… magic cauldrons and black magic and… well, a book that tried to unite all the wisdom of a time called Divine Comedy.
I know, divine reader, you have studied in a great University and all wisdoms together cannot level your (our) knowledge about Hebrew and Latin, about Mythology or the Roman Empire… well, if you know all of these things, please stop reading and send me an email telling me the secret of the Eternal Youth… if not, I will remember you that Dante Alighieri used one particular cosmology taken from a Sufi mystic philosopher called (copy-paste, I love you)… Abū ‘Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī (‘أبو عبد الله محمد ابن علي ابن محمد ابن عربي ). This fact is known by everybody who has read Divine Comedy… or it must be. If you want to know more about this philosopher, please stop reading because I will try to make a different question about our two writers. There are many interesting books about them and even you can look for one online Encyclopedia that begins with a W.
I ask myself next question: was there not a time when different religions were in a permanent and stupid war? Wasn’t a time without any contact between Catholic and Muslim world? When we are trying to imagine the 12th century we could paint something like this: people hitting each other with a great stone or (the cleverest ones) with some woods or lances… or… (omG) we can imagine a society with politics and an social organization, literature… a society with people who read (omG again and again) and people who share each other (even between cultures, omG) their respective discoveries. That was how Dante Alighieri, a well-travelled man, could read Ibn Arabi and how he could try to compose a verse about the land, the heaven and the philosophy and the religion and the Humankind. Dante didn’t try to do a unique sight of the world, a unique philosophical vision of the creation or the History… he tried to compare a greater world and vision, to a greater point of view… that is maybe the beginning of this Divine Comedy.
Then I asked to myself: and that world of witches and superstition? I can read now a different point of view and they weren’t mixing into a cauldron the parts of the spell, they were reading and writing too and, I suspect, there were many few witches flying with their broomsticks than we think.
I recommend to take a look to Ibn Arabi cosmology, it will be very interesting to a better understanding of Dante’s book.. but if you don’t like philosophy or you got bored with it… Dante had a very interesting correspondence too with a friend… satiric-erotic-stupid-pseudo-
And after the reading, please consider this:
(Before reading, please consider this, from http://dictionary.reference.
1.the use of words to convey
a. technique of indicating,